Kalin’s Chronicles: Florida Beyond Theme Parks

I love visiting Orlando, Florida.  It’s the capital of theme parks in the United States with Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Seaworld, Gatorland, and more.  But there’s a lot more to see in the Orlando area than theme parks.  About 30 minutes north , along I-4, is Sanford, Seminole County; where tourists can enjoy outdoor adventures by land, air, and sea…

Start out at the Historic Sanford Welcome Center for a one-hour Historic Downtown Walking Tour, to learn about the history of the city.  For a more extensive workout, take a walk along the 14-mile Seminole Wekiva Trail which will take you through parks, recreation, and retail areas.

To get a bird’s eye view of Sanford’s wildlife, head over to the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens and zip through the trees on Zoom Air, with 100 tree-top challenges and zip lines for the whole family.

All of that action will work up a healthy appetite for lunch; and Shula’s 347 Grill has just the ticket.   Named for the coach with the most wins in NFL history, the restaurant is known for its steaks, seafood and desserts.  Don’t leave without ordering the Key Lime pie. Continue reading Kalin’s Chronicles: Florida Beyond Theme Parks

The first time you meet Idris Elba, you shouldn’t have deep conditioner dripping from your head

Sad Spoiler Alert: I have not met Idris Elba. So this is not one of those happy posts where something magical happens at the end.

You know how growing up you had friends who were so close you called them play cousins? He’s sort of like my play British boyfriend.  If play means he has no idea I exist.

This post actually started out as a Facebook status update in response to Idris Elba singing in his new(?) video (check out the video at the end of this post. Wait! Will you at least read the post first?)

Side note – Idris is an awesome actor, a VERY good looking man, and from what I understand a great DJ and entertainer.

And a VERY good looking man.

Singer? Not so much.

But, a few of us remarked on Facebook about how it really didn’t matter, especially since the lyrics and the tone of the video are so…delicious. The funniest response I saw went something like this, ” He could juggle bottles of pink oil moisturizer while tap-dancing to the macaerena. I’d still buy that ish on DVD…”  So there you go. Emotions run high when it comes to my man Eed (that’s what I call him on our play dates together.)

Anyway, all this Idris talk reminded me of the time I almost met him.

You see at one point Eed lived in Atlanta (maybe still does) in the townhome complex of the girl who did my hair, and I was over there once getting my wig busted and she went out to her mailbox while I was under the dryer and came back and told me Idris was just at the mailbox and I almost snatched the plastic cap off my head to go stare (stare because like, what would I say?) at him, but then I thought “Grace, the first time you meet Idris Elba you shouldn’t have deep conditioner dripping from your head. You probably shouldn’t anytime you meet Idris Elba, but certainly not the first time,” she said, in the run-on sentence from hell.

Some of my friends, being who they are, chimed in.  One very supportive and equally misguided friend suggested “Nonsense! He meets thousands of women. It is important to make a memorable impression.”  A friend more grounded in reality countered, “I agree it is important to make a memorable first impression. But I must add POSITIVE memorable impression.”

Long story short, I did NOT snatch the plastic cap off my head and go running out to stare at Eed. So, I may have missed my once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the man who today is asking me in this song to share a few secrets with him.

The moral of the story? The next time Idris Elba is picking up his mail, I will, plastic cap, deep conditioner and all, RUN to go meet him. And that, is no secret. Check out this video to see why…

Kalin’s Chronicles: Summer’s Last Hurrah

Labor Day weekend is considered the last hurrah for summer vacations – especially for families, because the kids have to go back to school.  But it doesn’t have to be the end of beach season.  The travel industry’s name for the time after Labor Day but before Thanksgiving is called “Shoulder Season,” and it’s one of the best times to get deals to the beach.

Travelers can find deals as low as $50 per night at destinations like Myrtle Beach, which was named #1 Best U.S. Beach by Trip Advisor.   South Carolina’s most popular beach gets about 14-million visitors a year.  It’s also known as the golf capital of the U.S., with 102 golf courses and 32 miniature golf courses.  Myrtle Beach has hundreds of hotels, but I suggest staying a few miles north along Highway 17, at the less congested North Myrtle Beach.

One popular spot here is the Embassy Suites at Kingston Plantation.  Every suite has its own balcony with a view of the beach. Start getting into relaxation mode with a yoga session on the beach.  The hotel offers this for free on Friday mornings.  Then enjoy a complimentary breakfast buffet, including omelets and waffles.

Throw on your bathing suit and straw hat and head back to the beach for sun and fun, or hit the links at the Arcadian Shores Golf Course.  At the Splash! Pool Complex, enjoy live music or participate in games like “TV Theme Songs Trivia.”  Have a lunch at Splash Cafe. Continue reading Kalin’s Chronicles: Summer’s Last Hurrah

A letter to the little girl I once was…

baby grace cropped

Editor’s note: While I’m struggling to write the sequel to the 10 things I’ve learned in 40 years post, I thought I’d revisit a post I wrote almost 2 years ago. It’s a letter to the little girl I once was. Oh if only we could go back and share our wisdom with the little girls we once were – how might our lives be different?  Some of you are familiar with this exercise but for those who aren’t, I’d encourage you to write your own letter to your former self, and if you’re inclined, share it with your daughters.  It will remind them that before you were “just” their mothers, you were young women, teens and yes, even little girls.

20 things you need to know – Hey you, standing over there looking tough and cute the way little girls often do, it’s me, well you – in about 36 years. Some things haven’t changed much. With the exception of the ribbon, your hair looked a lot like that this morning, and that stance, you still got that. You often have that same ‘four parts curiosity, one part ‘what the hell are you looking at”  look on your face even at this age – And the legs…well, like I said, some things haven’t changed much.

I wish I could protect you from, and prepare you for all that lies ahead, but I can’t. No one can really. But what I can do is share some things that only I’ll be able to. Some people think the past, present and future are all happening at once, so who knows. I know you won’t understand everything I’m saying, but take notes, you’ll need them.

  1. Some of the people in your life will disappoint you, lie to you, hurt you. Some of them are just stupid. Others are just evil. Forgive them all, stupid and evil alike, and move on. Remember what they did and learn from it. Don’t hold what they’ve done to you against anyone else.
  2. That thing you want to do with your hair in the eighties. Don’t. You leave dozens of grease spots up and down the east coast because of it, and Chris Rock will mock it mercilessly in a documentary he releases in 2009.
  3. Try to get that eating thing under control early – believe me, you’ll be fighting that battle for years. In the meantime, live your life and do the things you want to do, regardless of what the scale says.
  4. You’re going to have several really great ideas for businesses. Instead of talking yourself out of it, just do it. You are smarter, stronger and more resilient than you know.
  5. You know how they said it would be too difficult to be a successful, black, female journalist? Oprah’s like the richest person on the planet now. Seriously. Don’t listen to them.
  6. Learn early to worry less about what people think about you. The truth is, people spend a lot less time thinking about you than you know.
  7. Back in college, that cute guy that kinda looked like Tom Hanks liked you. Do NOT look at him like he’s crazy when he wants to work on “the project” at your house. That old dude on the other hand is just a freak. Stay away from him.
  8. Those two annoying, screaming things that invaded your “only child” sanctuary will become your best friends and biggest supporters.
  9. When people show you who they are, please, please, PLEASE believe them. It will save you years of heartache.
  10. Relationships aren’t always easy, but they shouldn’t always be hard. If you spend most of your time wondering if it’s worth it, it’s not.
  11. When you go to light that grill in ‘91, take a couple quick steps back. Blonde eyelashes and eyebrows are not a good look on you.
  12. Credit cards are not free money. Stop using them to make yourself feel better. In the end you’ll only feel worse and be broke.
  13. The stock market crashes on October 19, 1987 and again on September 16, 2008. If you have any more money in the future than I did, move it!
  14. On September 11, 2001 the world changes forever.
  15. Do you know who Barack Obama is? You will in 2008.
  16. That thing you’re crying your eyes out about at ages 14-16, 18, 23 and 25, in a couple of months you won’t even remember what all the drama was about.
  17. He’s not coming back. Don’t wait for him. Don’t wait for that other one either.
  18. Do you even know where Italy is? Well, in about 30 years, you spend two weeks there and it’s even more beautiful than you ever imagined. One day you’re going to live there. (If Three 6 Mafia…)
  19. All that time you spend waiting for Mr. Right, don’t. Instead, use the time to make sure you’re not Ms. Wrong.
  20. You’ve come a long way baby, and you’ve got a long way to go.

If you’d like to share a letter to your former self with the WAF community, email contribute(@)womenatforty.com.