Three Simple Ways to Attract Opportunity: Recognize, Magnetize, And Seize

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” –Sir Winston Churchill

All you need is one great opportunity, and your life will be all you’ve dreamed of, right? But isn’t it sad and unfair that opportunity won’t present itself to you?

Hogwash!

Here are three simple—simple!—ways to attract opportunity. It’s up to you to open the door, because opportunity is knocking right now.

RECOGNIZE – Opportunity is all around you. No, don’t scoff at this. It’s true. Too often, we’re so mired in our current situation—our heads down in depression, shame, or disgust—that we can’t see what’s in front of us. Strive to live in the moment. It’s important to be self-aware, but equally important to be aware of what life is presenting to you right now. Stop thinking about what you don’t want, and concentrate on what you do want. Envision your goal, but don’t stop there. Take a step toward it every day. Even baby steps will eventually take you to where you want to be.

MAGNETIZE – To attract opportunity, be the best you can be right where you stand. Maybe you hate your job. Maybe you’re in an unhappy relationship. Maybe you’re facing financial strain.

Dig in.

This is not to say that you should entrench yourself, but that you should be boldly aware of your current situation, and take whatever steps you can to remedy them in this moment. What can you do right now to make the situation better, even by degrees? Firstly and most easily, you can have a better attitude. Laugh at the situation, ala Tom Hanks in The Money Pit. If you can laugh at a problem and smile at yourself in the mirror, then you’ve already cleared your mind enough to recognize the opportunity for improvement in your current situation.

No matter your present job, be the best you can be at it. So what if you’re a janitor? Be the janitor with shining sinks and faucets, shimmering mirrors, and gleaming tiles. Soon you’ll be recognized for your exceptional work, and fresh opportunity will present itself.

Stay positive.

Positivity attracts positivity, and the opposite is equally true. Case in point: Two of my best friends and I began to work on our attitudes, striving to be more positive even in frustrating, infuriating, and unfortunate situations. None of us were truly unhappy with our jobs, but we each had realized that what we have to offer was being overlooked, ignored, or unappreciated. Instead of feeling unhappy or despairing, we each tried to put a positive spin on our different difficult situations. What can I do today to make my workplace better? How can I improve my relationship with that difficult coworker? How can I make my boss’s job easier? How can I raise our company’s bottom line? We each listened to or read positive affirmations every day. We studied the law of attraction. We worked to improve ourselves, and most importantly, our attitudes.

Out of the blue, each one of us received a new career opportunity in our various fields—each within the same three-week period. These opportunities practically fell into each of our laps, as we really didn’t seek them! The opportunities seemingly appeared out of nowhere. In truth, perhaps they’d been there all along, but none of us, until then, had been aware enough to see what lay in front of us.

SEIZE IT! Courageously take the hand of opportunity when it appears. For some, this may the toughest part. Change can be scary. We may think it’s better to remain secure where we are, even if we’re not ultimately happy.

Understand this: The only secure thing is that there is no such thing as security.

Economies collapse. Bubbles burst. Jobs move overseas. Relationships end. Homes are foreclosed, and money is lost. But life moves on. It’s up to you to move on with it. When opportunity presents itself—and it will if you recognize and magnetize it—be brave enough to step out and grab it.

I can tell you that my two dear friends and I couldn’t help but hesitate when opportunity presented itself to each of us. We each had made some improvements in our current jobs, largely because we’d become more positive. Still, there is little, if any, growth in standing still. We each seized the opportunity presented, we each expanded our reach and our knowledge base, and we each are excited and emboldened to enjoy our success, while watching for even more new opportunities as they come our way.

If you’ve already let a great opportunity pass you by, don’t dwell in the past. Recognize, magnetize, and be ready to seize the next one coming your way!

Self-Reflection: How I Checked Myself Before I Wrecked Myself, and How You Can Do It, Too

I can’t say I’m disappointed to see 2016 come to an end. This has been an incredibly tough year for my family and me. My husband of twenty years (the handsome man you see in deep contemplation above) was diagnosed with metastatic cancer. My daddy underwent cardiac surgery again. Hurricane Matthew tore apart the roof of my home. And, no small wake-up call, I turned fifty.

But I survived. To be honest, in retrospect, I think I have thrived, and you can do the same, regardless of the challenges you face. How? Follow my lead.

Facing health scares, financial loss, a natural disaster, and more, threw me into a tailspin—or twelve. Each of these awful events also caused me to look hard at what is important to me. And let me tell you, it isn’t material things. Don’t misunderstand me; I appreciate the security of my lovely little home, my dependable car, my paycheck. But I quickly learned that these things mean very little unless I am happy and content.

Enter self-reflection.

Turning fifty absolutely causes one to think about the fact that, in all likelihood, your life is at least half over. I realized—am still realizing—that now is the time to make changes that point me in the direction where I want to go, where I want to end up, what I want to accomplish. And since none of us knows our expiration date, we may be beyond the halfway point right now.

I realized I wasn’t happy with the three jobs I was working. Ten years of editing and ghostwriting, while enjoyable in the moment, left me feeling as though I was spinning my wheels, writing award-winning books for others instead of telling my own stories. Adjunct teaching left me feeling like my skills and education were not appreciated (read: low pay and no benefits). My sales job—the one I worked solely for health insurance—left me feeling undervalued, disrespected, even bullied, at times. In addition, it had been over a year since my family had been on vacation, or even enjoyed a long weekend together. No, I couldn’t simply quit work—I needed a paycheck more than ever—but I knew I had to take steps toward getting out of the situations in which I’d become mired.

I began to ask myself questions, keeping personal fulfillment in mind. What kind of job could I do that would help other people, yet still leave me with enough creative juices to write? If money were no object, what kind of work would I enjoy doing? And, since money is important to me, what could I do to ensure my family’s and my own financial stability? How could I change my weekly and daily routine to allow me to spend more time with my family? What hobbies bring me satisfaction, and how can I reintroduce them into my life?

Tough questions, indeed, but questions I began to ask myself daily. I wrote down these questions. I made lists of possible solutions. I prayed and meditated. I crunched numbers. I worked on these questions, and the more I thought about them, the more clearly I saw what steps I needed to take to make changes that would lead me where I wanted to be.

I made changes.

I spent four months completing a recertification class to return to a satisfying career path I’d once followed for many years, then left behind. I turned in a lengthy notice to leave my ghostwriting and editing job, which I’ve loved for years, but which keeps me from my own writing. Last week, I quit my “benefits” job; the one I disliked but stuck with simply for health insurance.

Monday I’ll begin a full-time job (with great benefits!) in a field I love—one that simultaneously fulfills me and helps other people. Soon I’ll be starting my final ghostwriting project, and when that one’s done, my writing time will be mine! All mine! And perhaps best of all, I now have weekends available to spend with my family, and vacations together definitely are in our future.

I’m not Superwoman. I’m not the best time manager, and I’m pitiful at remembering birthdays, phone numbers, and even names. But after facing some terrible, life-altering events, I took stock of what is important to me, and I made changes.

If I can ask and answer those difficult questions, so can you.

Don’t be afraid of introspection, and please, don’t wait for an illness or a natural disaster before examining your purpose in life and what it is that makes you happy. You may not be able to move away, or quit your job, or uproot your lifestyle today, but once you know exactly what it is that’s important to you, you absolutely can begin taking steps toward that goal—even if they’re baby steps.

Be truthful with yourself. Ask the hard questions. Face the tough answers. Because what you know—really know—about yourself and your goals—is more important than what anyone else thinks. This is your life. Check it!

 

Call Me a Fresko Foodie!

While I frequently play at being an amateur foodie, it’s been quite a while since I’ve written a restaurant review about my culinary adventures. Fortunately, our recent meal at Fresko Restaurant & Grill on South Ridgewood Avenue in South Daytona proved scrumptious enough to bring my taste buds and pen out of hiding. Fresko recently opened their authentic Greek-cuisine restaurant in the space locals know as the old US 1 Restaurant.

My husband Randy and I stopped in relatively late on a Friday evening with friends Ron and Paula. Updated décor includes a royal-blue-and-white color scheme replete with Greek key motifs and traditional stoneware adding charm to rustic brick walls, plus tables graced with floral arrangements designed by a family member of one of the owners. Near the restaurant’s entrance, a Greek market is being built, and shelves were already lined with canned goods, sweets, and spices, and a glass display case promises freshly made offerings, as well. Outside, a tiki bar was temporarily closed, but we were told it would soon be open and staffed.

Fresko Market

The Fresko Greek Market (coming soon!)

Between the four of us, we sampled several dishes. From the orektika (appetizers) menu, I chose a personal Greek favorite, saganaki, a pan-fried Greek cheese topped with a splash of ouzo, flambéed and finished with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Because the ceilings in the restaurant are low, our server was unable to flame the cheese at our table (an initial letdown), but she served it piping hot—crisp on the outside and oozing on the inside—along with tasty wedges of warm, grilled pita wedges. After only one bite, we quickly forgot to be disappointed in the lack of a fire show.

Randy ordered soutroukakla (Greek meatballs) to share, and these light, flavorful, football-shaped meatballs simmered in a well-seasoned tomato sauce arrived topped with crumbles of melting feta cheese and several large cubes of fresh-baked bread. The order included four large meatballs—plenty to share with our famished group with a little left over.

Ron selected the gyros pikilia, a heaping platter of sliced, juicy gyro, surrounded by grilled pita wedges and topped with a hefty slathering of tzatziki ( a creamy cucumber and garlic dip made with Greek yogurt and onions). The lovely presentation included thinly sliced Roma tomatoes. The four of us worked hard to devour this yummy platter, but we still had enough to take home for lunch. This would be a perfect take-out dish to carry to a party. So cool and refreshing!

A cup of avgolemono (egg and lemon soup) arrived steaming and chock full of chunks of chicken. The soup was tangy and thick—more like a stew—and served with large, fresh bread cubes for tearing and dipping. Paula and Ron each ordered gyro wraps served in grilled pita bread. Each tzatziki-topped wrap could easily serve two people. Paula selected a side of over-roasted potatoes, which were a bit crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Ron’s side of orzo was flavored with tomato sauce that gave the dish a comforting spaghetti-like flavor.

We arrived hungry, yet we never expected each of our dishes to be so generous in portion-size, nor so hearty and filling. We each took home boxes for lunch the next day, and no one had room to sample from the dessert menu that includes, among an impressive list of choices like baklava, rice pudding, Greek chocolate cake (sokolatina), and sweet Mavrodaphne wine.

Have I used the word fresh too much? I could say it a dozen times when describing each bite we tasted, and still not convey how truly fresh the food proved to be. We’re so impressed that we’re already planning our next trip to Fresko. Hope to see you there!

 

 

Rock Bottom Is a Firm Foundation

Woman-underwater-Kaare-Long-article

Sometimes when you think you’ve reached rock bottom, you’re actually finding firm footing. When you feel stone-cold solid rock beneath your bare feet, curl your toes into it. Press hard. Wipe your tear-filled eyes, and look up. You may be surprised to see the many hands of true friends reaching down to pull you up, while others’ hands are folded in prayer on your behalf, and still others’ hands are lifted in praise for your abundant victories yet to come.

Take the hands reaching out for you. Feel yourself being lifted.

Share your gratitude and joy, as it’s contagious, and so many need your smile.

The bountiful blessing you’ve just received is wasted unless you share it.

Now is good.

Share it now.

And if you find yourself at rock bottom as you read this, reach up. Take my hand.

*

Thank you to those of you who’ve extended your hands, your love, and your friendship to Randy, Jacob, and I, as we toppled, keeled, and pitched headlong downward, found our footing, and looked up toward you for friendship, encouragement, support–and found love.

You know who you are! 

Adventures of a Neti Pot Spartan

Meet Glen Hager.

Glen is, among other things, a US Navy Veteran, a skilled craft-beer aficionado, and a CrossFit junkie. He regularly wins or places highly in local Spartan Races. In short, he’s a manly man, and a good-looking one, at that. Glen has no need for the wimpy things in life, so when my husband Randy and I encountered Glen on one of our eight-mile beach walks, we were surprised to see him sniveling. Well, sort of sniveling. Sniffling is more like it.

“Allergies,” Glen said. “I’ve tried everything short of dynamite to open my nose. Nothing works.”

“Have you tried a neti pot?” I asked. I went on to explain where to purchase and how to use this awesome little piece of equipment that’s highly recommended by physicians and surgeons to clear, clean, and soothe the sinuses. “Be sure to boil the water to sterilize it, let it cool to a comfortable temperature, and add a packet of the saline powder that’ll come in your kit.”

neti-pot

“Sounds like waterboarding,” Glen said, then puffed out his chest. “But I can take it.”

I convinced him that it’s an easy process, and while it may take a time or two to get the hang of it, he’d feel much better even after the first try.

If only!

That evening, Glen told us that when he went to pick up the neti pot I’d recommended, sitting just to the right of it was the Spartan version—a squeeze bottle with “a huge, black, nostril-filling power head.” Of course, that’s what he bought. He got it home, breezed through the instructions, and dumped out “a whole butt load of saline packs” that came in the box. The plastic neti bottle he’d purchased was stiff and firm, and it took a little effort to squeeze water out of it when he first rinsed it, so our strong-man friend knew he’d purchased the perfect macho product for his masculine needs. Remembering my admonishment about sterility, he boiled eight ounces of water in a measuring cup.

And that’s when things began to go south.

“If one packet of saline is good for you,” Glen later said, “two would do the job better and faster, right?” He dumped in two packets and poured the boiling water into his bottle and headed for the bathroom sink.

“I let the water cool for a few minutes, then I bent over the sink, inserted the big, black, power-nozzle into my nose, and gave a mighty power-squeeze. Well, the boiling water had softened the bottle just enough to allow me to generate about 150 PSI of water pressure, so I rapidly injected about four ounces of scalding water—with a saline density approximating that of the Dead Sea—into my skull.

“Hot water shot out of every orifice above my shoulders (and a few below). Snot, earwax, eye boogers, a tooth filling, that ball bearing I shoved up my nose when I was three, and the bug that crawled into my ear when I was six all came shooting out at once.”

“Oh, no, Glen!” I said, trying to contain my giggles, “What did you do?”

“Well, before I fully regained my senses, I quickly injected the other nostril.

“The good news is,” he said, “I have no more congestion! Afterward, I felt so darn good I went on a Harley ride to cool my scalded-and-salt-cured sinuses. Truly, I feel better than I have in weeks!

“I gotta say, though,” he said in a humbled voice, “do-it-yourself enemas are now off my “I Can Do This’ list.”

Yes, readers, I probably should have prefaced this truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story with a “Don’t Try This at Home” warning, but surely no one, save Glen Hager, will ever have quite this same experience.

“After all,” he said, “you should keep in mind that I’m the guy who has performed minor surgery on myself more than once with a Kabar.”

True . . . but that’s another story.

 

 

The Cost of Romance: Can You Afford It?

Romance

I don’t have to tell you that Valentine’s Day is approaching. From Kmart and Walgreens ads in your newspaper to Neiman Marcus and Louis Vuitton pitches in your inbox, retailers are quick to cash in on this made-for-lovers holiday. But do you really have to spend money to show your significant other that you care? Are you obliged to invest three month’s salary to prove your love? And in this month where all things heart-shaped are celebrated, must romance be measured by a dollar figure on a receipt?

As an experiment, I spent most of last week asking friends, family members, acquaintances, and—I’ll admit—more than one total stranger, “What is the most romantic (non-sexual) thing your significant other can do for you?” The majority of those I polled are long-married couples, though some are newlyweds, some are engaged or in a committed relationship, and a few are still single.

Pleasantly, I learned that the majority of answers had nothing to do with a purchased present. Instead, the masses (four dozen or so counts as “the masses”, right?) expressed more often than not that it’s “the little things” that they find most romantic. So what makes up the little things? Here are a few confessions about romantic actions—actions are the true gifts—that make the recipients’ hearts sing and stomachs flutter:

  • He goes for long walks with me.
  • She/he brings coffee to me in the mornings.
  • He leaves surprise love notes for me to find.
  • She’s an amazing mother to our kids.
  • He’s a wonderful father to our children.
  • She so strongly believes I can do difficult things that I begin to believe it, too.
  • He emails or texts me in the middle of his busy day, just to see how I’m doing.
  • She does my laundry.
  • He picks wildflowers for me.
  • She sometimes plans the weekend for us, so I don’t have to do it.
  • He talks to me—really listens and talks to me.
  • I overheard her telling someone how much she’s still attracted to me after all these years.
  • He dances with me in the kitchen.
  • She holds my hand in public, showing people that she’s proud to be with me.
  • He surprised me by painting the living room for me while I was at work.
  • She hugs me. You can never go wrong with a hug.
  • He holds my face in his hands and kisses my nose.
  • She/he sometimes cooks/bakes [my favorite meal].
  • He/she trusts me with his secrets.
  • She/he volunteers to run errands for me.
  • She gives me a kiss on the cheek to encourage me.

Out of all whom I polled, only three mentioned purchased gifts; one husband planned a honeymoon after a 25-year wedding vow renewal, one husband planted rose bushes for his wife in honor of each of their children; and a third husband took his wife for a Happy Meal as a warm reminder of one of her happiest childhood events—each a sweet, romantic gesture that had significant meaning going far beyond the typical florist delivery or satin jewelry box.

Gifts and surprise presents are wonderful, no doubt, and I’m sure they mean a lot to the recipient. Still, it’s important to recognize how much each of these small moments, these priceless gifts of thought and time, mean to those who received them. Yet in this crazy-busy world, those things seem to cost us more than whipping out the Visa, and that’s exactly why they’re so precious.

While I’m not suggesting you forgo the cards, flowers, candy, or perfume, I am absolutely advocating for a gift from the heart; one that doesn’t cost a dime, but will be treasured more than any trinket money can buy. Can you afford it?

When love is at stake, how can you not?

Please Be Nice

“Be nice to each other. You can make a whole day a different day for everybody.” –Richard Dawson

 

I wonder why it is that so many people find it difficult to be nice. I’m not talking about the Southern gentility of gentlemen opening car doors for ladies, or the young taking the arm of the elderly to assist in crossing the street. Nor am I talking about putting away your cell phone at the table to engage in polite conversation with the person sitting across from you—though these things are indeed nice.

I’m talking about niceness, as in the opposite of rudeness. I’m talking about keeping a civil tone of voice instead of screaming at someone. I’m talking about taking a breath and removing the venom from your voice before answering a simple question.

We all have bad days—I get that. Alarm clock didn’t go off, kid missed the bus, tire was flat, every traffic light turned red, coffee dripped on your suit . . . Murphy’s Laws are ugly laws. The person sitting across from you, however, or the person on the other end of the phone, didn’t cause any of those issues, and they don’t deserve the brunt of your anger. Tomorrow—or even a few hours from now—these things won’t matter. You’ll be on to the next predicament, and then the next, and the next one. What makes each of these challenges easier is to understand that, no matter how bad the moment seems, it will pass, and it’s true that somewhere, someone else is dealing with something much worse than a coffee stain on a new blouse.

But enough with the bromides—except this one: life is tough. Tough for you, tough for me, tough for everyone, but that doesn’t give any of us the right to be mean.

Maybe has to do with my Appalachian upbringing, because where I’m from, we believe it’s our compulsory duty to help our neighbors—even if we don’t particularly like them or agree with their politics, religious choices, or lifestyle. Or maybe it’s because I was raised in a family where I’ve watched my father give the money he needed for his heart medication to a family who lost their home in a fire; or perhaps it’s because I lived most of my life in the South, where hospitality is the norm, and even the meanest comment is often prefaced with “Bless his heart.” Any of these experiences might explain why I’m always stunned, and sometimes even hurt, by rude behavior and meanness.

Recently I completed a simple real estate transaction, and during the very routine process of completing paperwork and legwork, I was screamed at (I’m talking about true, hold-the-phone-away-from-your-ear-to-preserve-your-eardrum screaming) by another Realtor who was angry about something over which I had no control; I was lied to multiple times by a contractor; and I saw a customer reduced to tears because a snappish title-company executive didn’t trust its own title agent (also a notary) to verify a faxed signature he witnessed and notarized. Each one of these upsetting incidents could have been rectified, or at least made easier to accept, with one thing: niceness, a.k.a. honesty and human compassion.

Look, I’m not asking you, or anyone, to jump on the free love, shirt-off-your-back, bow-down-and-kowtow bandwagon. I am, however, asking you to be nice. I’m reminding myself to be nice. NICENESS IS NOT WEAKNESS. Don’t ever mistake it as such. We all know someone in a position of leadership or power whom we can describe as “the nicest person you’ll ever meet”, and we’d never call them weak. Remember that even bad news is better received when it’s delivered respectfully, with kindness and compassion: knowing this puts you in a position of strength and power.

Do you remember the heartwarming, B-rate movie Roadhouse starring the late Patrick Swayze? If so, you’ll recall his lecture to the bar bouncers—the guys who have the job of throwing out knife-wielding, gun-toting drug-smugglers and riffraff—in which Swayze’s character repeats time and again, “Be nice.”

Really, folks, it’s that simple.

You’re going to encounter incidents out of your control today; be nice. You’re going to encounter someone who is arrogant and self-inflated; be nice. You’re going to talk to someone who may be experiencing physical pain, the recent loss of a loved one, a cheating spouse, or financial or emotional bankruptcy; be nice.

If we’re truly lucky, our niceness will be contagious.

be nice

Order from etsy.com here: Be Nice Sign

Amateur Foodie Funday

About once a month, or most any time we’re traveling, my husband Randy and I enjoy our Sunday Funday with an amateur foodie fest. Our rules are simple: aim to try a different restaurant each time, or if we end up at one we’re familiar with, we must try a new dish. The final rule? Have fun! We believe we qualify as amateur foodies; first, because our waistlines prove we’ll try anything once (twice, if it’s yummy); and second, because a good portion of our home is furnished by prizes and prize money I’ve won in cooking contests. Neither of us is the new Tom Colicchio, but we know good food.

This Sunday Funday’s dining drive took us long Florida’s East Coast, so we could enjoy the sun and scenery after a rare week of chilly weather. We began our wannabe-foodie fun with a warm and filling late-morning brunch at the San Diego Grill, a casual, California-style eatery in Port Orange. Randy’s Border Omelet took up half of his plate—a three-egg omelet stuffed with bacon, not-too-spicy pico, jack cheese, and sour cream. The omelet was topped with four slices of ripe avocado and drizzled with a zigzag of sour cream. Toasted, buttered English muffins were his bread of choice, though rye and wheat toast were also available. I ordered the Ham and Cheese Quiche and received a large portion—a quarter of an entire pie. The buttery crust was homemade, flaky, and tender. Small cubes of ham and melted mild cheddar were ensconced in perfectly cooked eggs. Other offerings we passed on included peanut-butter-and-chocolate-chip waffles, spinach and tomato Benedict, French toast, and more. Both of our dishes were served with fruit salad made up of sliced strawberries, red grapes, fresh pineapple wedges (no canned stuff here), and cubes of honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon. Here we gave thanks for Florida’s year-round growing season, as everything tasted garden-fresh.

From there we drove north along A1A Scenic Highway to Flagler Beach and Flagler Beachfront Winery, because what good is a sunny day on the coast without a wine slushie? Yes, you read correctly. A wine slushie! Flagler Beachfront Winery brings in grapes from all over the US, including from their own vineyards in Ohio. The wine is bottled by the owners and local volunteers in the on-site bottling room, right across the street from the ocean. Every visit to Flagler Beachfront Winery is different from the last, as different wines and wine blends are available each time, and the winery holds a variety of fun events to keep you coming back. Sunday’s event was a book signing featuring four local authors, but fun-runs, charity events, even chocolate-cake- and popcorn-tastings are on the event list. Tapas is available for noshing, including featured meat-and-cheese plates, breads and oils, flatbreads, and more. Randy enjoyed his favorite of their many wines, Flagler Beachfront Winery’s own Blueberry Sangria wine slushie, while I tried—and loved!—their new Very Berry Sangria wine slushie. We sat on the oceanfront patio and soaked up the warm winter sun while watching dolphins play in the surf. Yeah, being an amateur Sunday Funday Foodie is a pretty great gig.

flagler winery

Next we stopped in at Break Awayz at the Beach, another oceanfront spot that came highly recommended to us, and with good reason. Break Awayz’s local claim-to-fame is their extensive craft beer list, with nearly 200 different offerings. However, their food menu is nothing to ignore, as the offerings are fresh, flavorful, and hearty far beyond the “tapas” sign that greets you. We opted for the Warm Bleu Cheese Chips and were thrilled with our choice. The chips were crunchy, not at all greasy like some homemade chips, and they were smothered with a bleu-cheese reduction made with heavy cream, then topped with sliced, crisp, green onions and a balsamic glaze. Randy tried a frosty-cold Founders Breakfast Stout, a Grand Rapids, Michigan brew made with flaked oats, bitter and sweetened chocolates and two kinds of coffee. (Beer: it’s not just for breakfast, anymore.) A couple at the table next to us ooohed-and-ahhhed over their burger sliders, vowing they were the best they’d ever had. Other menu options include everything from fish dip and stuffed portabellas to tuna tataki and lobster ravioli. The co-owners, brothers Kyle and Nick, each came by our outdoor, oceanfront table to make sure we were happy and had everything we needed. Yes, Break Awayz, we will be back!

Break Awayz bleu cheese chips

 We then cruised south on A1A into Ormond-by-the-Sea, where we stopped at Lagerheads, which touts itself “The Best Dive in Town”. While it’s uber-casual, Lagerheads is far from a dive, as the menu alone attests. Fresh Cedar Key clams, seared ahi tuna, chicken piccata, and fra diablo mussels aren’t your typical dive-bar food. Since we were not exactly starving (being an amateur foodie is not without its challenges) we decided to share a crab cake croissant with a side of coleslaw. The crab cake arrived on a toasted, buttered croissant, and both were the size of a saucer. The sandwich was served with tomato slices, lettuce and a side of rémoulade sauce. Though we loved the moist, flaky crab cake, neither of us were impressed with the rémoulade, which tasted more like tartar sauce with a bit of ketchup stirred in. The coleslaw was tasty enough to make up for what the rémoulade sauce lacked, however; it was both tangy and creamy. Drink selections here included the usual soft drinks, mostly domestic beers with a few premium options, wine coolers, and a couple of red and white house-wine choices.

Blue Grotto deck

Finally, we rode farther down the coast and into Daytona Beach. We came inland, but wanted to watch the sunset over the water, so we went to Blue Grotto Waterfront Dining (outdoor seating deck pictured above) for dessert. It’s an excellent place to lounge and watch the boats come in, and on weekends you’ll be entertained with live music. We were surprised at how empty the place was, as only a half-dozen people sat among the dozens of unfilled tables outside, despite the warm evening and the acoustic guitar entertainment. Dessert options were limited to three; a cheesecake, pie and a fudge brownie sundae. We chose the fudge brownie sundae (sundae funday?), and again, we received an oversized portion—easily enough for three or four to share. My first thought when it arrived was that vanilla ice cream shouldn’t be pale yellow. Oh, and it should probably taste like vanilla, and truly, it didn’t. The ice cream tasted bland, and the fudge brownie had a mild chocolate flavor, far from what I’d call fudge. It was somewhat dry, but of course, as the ice cream melted, it moistened the brownie. Presentation—in spite of the pale-yellow ice cream—was lovely, as the entire plate was drizzled with caramel and chocolate sauces and dotted with whipped cream. In my opinion, this dessert will satisfy a sweet tooth, but I’ll likely go elsewhere the next time I want a decadent dessert. We finished our amateur foodie tour with mugs of hot coffee as we watched the sun slide toward the water—the perfect ending to Sunday Funday on Central Florida’s East Coast.

Blue grotto dessert

Welcome, Friends!

Welcome to my new blog, Read. Write. Live!  I’m an author, ghostwriter, editor, an adjunct professor of English, a licensed Realtor, and a pretty decent cook. I’m thrilled to be living on Florida’s East Coast, though I equally enjoy jaunts throughout the South and visits to the Appalachian Mountains.

Here I’ll share with you my book recommendations and reviews, my thoughts on writing, inspiration for surviving thriving in a hectic world, and a great recipe or three. (What good is living, if you don’t enjoy yummy food and a great drink along the journey?)

I’ll also treat you to posts from guest-bloggers who enjoy this creative life of reading, writing, and living, so check back often–or better still, click the link to follow this blog!

I invite you to chime in with your own comments and thoughts. Let’s Read. Write. Live!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

Discover

A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

Suzanne Heagy

Small lives, awkward moments, immense relief.

My Blog

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

The View from Goose Hill

A Second Look at What I Thought I Knew about Life

The Backwords Writer

Author Rosa Sophia

Storyshucker

A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

BlondeWriteMore

Lucy Mitchell - romance author - book blogger

Hawaii Pacific Review

Literary Journal of Hawaii Pacific University

Sliver of Stone Magazine

ISSUE 17: NOVEMBER 2018

#amnoveling

Cathy Day's course on novel-writing at Ball State University

10,000 Tons of Black Ink

Featuring quality literary or experimental fiction and creative non-fiction.

Sorry Television

Reading a book a week

%d bloggers like this: