No Comments

Florida Fun in February

February not only brings beautiful weather but, Valentine’s Day and President’s Day.   These are all reasons to Celebrate, but we live in a 55 Plus Community in Beautiful, Sunny, Central Florida, making every day a reason to celebrate.  The activities in Solivita, Celebration, Reunion and our surrounding communities fill all our days and our calendars.  In addition to planned activities, Florida has great parks, beaches, lakes, and ponds; all providing opportunities for outdoor fun.  

February is Strawberry Season and this year the berries are especially sweet and juicy.  From Late December through March, Central Florida produces close to 300 million pounds of strawberries, most grown within a 20-mile radius of Plant City.  Plant City is a quick 45-minute drive from Solivita.  Central Florida is known as the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World; and Florida Strawberries are World Class.  You can visit Plant City for Strawberries, Strawberry Shortcake, and Strawberries with Ice Cream, or you can stop by the local fruit and vegetable stand and pick these berries up fresh from the garden.    

We are going to visit Universal Studios in Orlando and celebrate Mardi Gras this year; a quick trip from Solivita.   Universal puts on a big celebration including big-name concerts, a Mardi Gras Parade with Street Performers, Bands, and Cajun and Creole Cuisine.  

For Valentine’s Week we are going to visit the Space Coast for the Seafood and Music Fest.  The Space Coast is a quick drive from Solivita.  One of the great things about life in Central Florida is that we are no more than 1.5 hours from either coast, and Central Florida is out of the way of coastal storms.  The Space Coast Seafood and Music Fest is an annual event; and there will not only be great seafood but some wonderful performers, including Willie Nelson, Don McLean, the Wailers, and the Los Lonely Boys.  Please visit the festival website at:

February 16 – 18th also brings Central Florida the Silver Spurs Rodeo in Kissimmee.  This year will be the 140th Silver Spurs Rodeo Show attracting cowboys on the pro-circuit and bringing Central Florida a great show featuring bull riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and team roping.  A fun event for you and for visiting grandchildren, as the Rodeo Clowns come out and perform for fun too.  Children under Age 10 are free.  A nice evening or afternoon out within 20 minutes of Solivita.

On February 17th the Beer, Bourbon, & BBQ Festival is held in Tampa at the Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 N. Ashley Drive.  Another Great Event.  Live Music, 60 Beers on Tap, 40 Bourbons and Lots of BBQ.  So much is going on we cannot make all the events, but this is certainly a great list to choose from.

Sprinkled in between the men in our family have a golf outing in Mount Dora while the ladies are going to the spa, do a bit of shopping and enjoy a nice lunch.    Although this month has not been as warm as other years, the cooler temperatures did not slow us down.  

No Comments

Florida Strawberry Shortcake

2/3 Cup Sugar 1/4 Tsp.  Salt
1/2 Cup Butter or shortening 1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Large Egg 2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract 1/2 Cup Milk
Whipped Cream
2 Pints or More Fresh Strawberries, Sliced and Sweetened with some sugar.  I leave the berries to sit overnight so that juices begin to flow.   If your berries do not get juicy, add a bit of jam to a pot and melt it over the berries.  I do not sweeten and slice all the berries, as I save some unsweetened and unsliced berries for the garnish.
Cream the sugar and butter or shortening.  Add egg and vanilla, beat well.  Combine dry ingredients and add alternately with milk to the creamed mixture.  Spread evenly in a greased 9” Square Baking Pan.
Beat the Heavy Cream, you can sweeten with a bit of sugar and add a touch of vanilla too, your decision.  Beat into soft peaks and refrigerate until ready to use.  Make this within 1 hour of serving.
Bake at 350 for 20 – 25 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.  Cut cooled shortcake into nine servings.  Split each serving horizontally and fill with whipped cream and strawberries.  Replace top of cake and garnish with more berries and another dollop of whipped cream.  Serve immediately.  

No Comments

Local, Delicious, Mexican in Hanes City

La Fiesta Mexicana

Very Local, Very Good Mexican.  Come hungry in your shorts, tee shirts, jeans, and sandals.  This restaurant is casual, clean and the service is friendly and quite good, a perfect Casual Dinner you do not have to cook.  The Chips and Salsa are fresh, and I personally think the Guacamole served here is the best I have had since Mexico.    The beer is ice cold and everything we have ever ordered has been served hot and delicious.  The mole is outstanding, the sauces are flavorful, and we have enjoyed every enchilada, burrito, and fajita that has come to our table.    Bring a Group or come alone, however do not miss giving this local gem a try.

No Comments


Florida decorating is light, airy, bright, colorful, and comfortable.  I love the comfort of a Recliner, but strongly dislike the look. Recently while shopping, I found myself in a furniture store.  While wandering around I experienced an epiphany of sorts.  The new recliners are sure not the recliners of my youth, they are sleek, stylish, and quite comfortable.   Got me thinking, what a nice addition a recliner would be in our home. Glad to say, our Solivita Floorplan is generous, providing room for a reading/relaxing spot in our master bedroom and the chair on the left would be a perfect fit. I love the look of Urban Modern and Mid-Century Design and this comfortable chair, paired with a small table, and a floor lamp will be a nice touch. A great place to relax with a book, kick my shoes off, do a bit of research, edit some listings, or just enjoy a few peaceful moments in the quiet of our Central Florida Home. Time to look at the fabric selection and do a bit of Shopping…..

No Comments

Why Using a Realtor When Building a Home is Worth It!

Think you don’t need a Realtor representing you when you are shopping new construction, think again.  Your Realtor is the Pro On Your Side during the Entire Process.  From floor plan to lot choice, I will be your eyes and ears and help you avoid unexpected issues that can arise when building a new home.  It is important to have an experienced, knowledgeable professional on your side, even if the process seems straightforward.

Your realtor will assist with negotiations, after all, that is what realtors do for a living. Your Realtor will be with you from start to finish assisting you with the builder.  When I work with clients building new homes, I meet each client at the Sales Center, answer questions that arise while choosing floor plans, finishes, colors, materials, etc. and I share my wealth of knowledge to assist you in building the home of your dreams.   I will review your contract, be on site for all inspections, and keep a watch over your new build.  I am the third party representing your interests in this transaction and I will provide insight into deadlines, contractual changes, and I make sure that you and your investment are fully protected throughout the entire process.  

There are many choices to be made when building a new home and I will advise you of smart upgrade choices.  Sure, you want upgrades, we all want upgrades, and the builders sure love to sell upgrades, but not all upgrades are created equal.  I will point you toward the upgrades that will get you the most “bang for your buck” when it comes to resale value; and I will be happy to point you in the right direction when it comes to finishes that pay off on a resale.  

Don’t forget, everyone at the Sales Center is Polite, Friendly, and happy to work with you, but remember, they work for the builder, I on the other hand work for you.  Before you visit the Sales Center give me a call and I will be happy to arrange an appointment with you.  

No Comments


As of 1/12/2018 Bella Verde has:

23 Active Listings and

4 Pending Listings (Homes Sold but not yet closed)

In 2017 Bella Verde Sold:

36 Homes

And we listed 47 Homes

We are Always Actively Working FOR and WITH All of Our Clients.  Please call, email, or text Lorraine, Lee, or any of our Agents for information on any residence or property you may want to view.  Stop by and see us at 149 Bell Tower Xing in Solivita.  We are always happy to meet with you and to answer any questions you may have.
Solivita is in Central Florida and is an Acclaimed, 55 Plus Community.

No Comments

Christmas Dinner at Charley’s Steak House

Beautiful Steakhouse, reminiscent of New York Steakhouses, honestly if my eyes had been closed I would have thought I was “back in the day” dining at Peter Lugers in Brooklyn.  But my eyes were open, and Charley’s brought back Nice Memories of earlier years.  Charley’s is clean, comfortable, modern, dark, and delicious just the way you expect a Steakhouse to be.  Charley’s has multiple locations, two that are an easy drive from Solivita.
Our waiter was knowledgeable, he explained the subtle differences of each cut of beef and the flavor profiles each cut offers.  He explained the difference between Wagyu Beef and Kobe Beef and we each selected our steaks.  None of us were disappointed, from cocktails to steaks, dinner was delightful.  Our sides were equally delicious, and our service was wonderful.  Our table started with the Grilled Caesar Salad, and along with our steaks we shared Au Gratin Potatoes, Cedar Plank Cauliflower, and Jumbo Asparagus.  Charley’s is not a Tuesday Night Meal, but rather a Really Nice Meal, to be enjoyed on a Special Occasion.  
The sides were as good as the steaks, in fact the sides were so good, my sister said “next time I dine in Charley’s I am skipping the steak and just enjoying the sides.”

No Comments

Fun in Florida

We had so many events scheduled in December that we found it hard to keep track of all the events happening in and around Solivita.  We Enjoyed Scrooge the Musical at Osceola Playhouse.  This was a fun event.  Osceola Playhouse is in Kissimmee, only a short drive from Solivita, their website is and it is worth a visit.  The playhouse is a nice spot to see a show, take an art or pottery class, or volunteer and share your talents while learning some new ones.  Osceola Arts always has something going on.   You can buy a ticket for the season and see all their offerings or just purchase a ticket for one show.
We visited Gaylord Palms and experienced Christmas Around the World Ice Event, the Enchanting Light Show, the Cirque Unwrapped Show, and enjoyed the beautiful Christmas Trees at Gaylord.   We visited the Alpine Village, took pleasure in sharing dinner with family, and ended our evening with Coffee by the Firepit.   Gaylord Palms is only a few short miles from Solivita.
We took the children skating in Celebration and we watched the snowfall, Florida Style.
Solivita had a Great Holiday Kick Off to the Season with their Tree Lighting Celebration.  Later we took a golf cart ride around our community to view our neighbors brightly decorated homes and enjoyed hot chocolate on Lemon Grove Drive.  
New Year’s Eve is always fun in Solivita.  We had cocktails, attended the dinner at Mosaics where we enjoyed the company of friends while listening to music.  The Street Party was fun too, we danced the night away in the warmth of the Central Florida Weather.  I think this may have been one of the warmest New Year’s Eves in years.   Solivita poured Champagne, handed out horns and hats, dropped the ball, and began 2018 with a Great Fireworks Display.   What a Pleasure, to have well planned events in our community; nice dinners, dancing, entertainment; all easy and fun since we just hop in our Golf Cart and Go.  Which by the way, was decorated for New Year’s Eve.  
To finish a month of Celebrations, this Saturday we are going to neighbors for their Annual New Year Brunch and on Sunday we are attending Casino Night.  Oh, Monday is Trivia, the plans and events just keeps on coming.  Better look at our calendar as I know we have more planned and we do not want to miss any of it.    Come to Solivita and see for yourself how lovely life in Central Florida truly is.  We Do Live Better Here for Less.  Our neighbors and our neighborhood is active.  You can be busy or not, it is all up to you.    You can participate in planned activities or plan your own.  Spend a day on the golf course, an afternoon at the pool, or an hour playing tennis, all in your own backyard surrounded by beauty and warm weather.  

No Comments

Time for a New Start!

It’s a New Year, It’s a New Start.  Time to Take Action and Make 2018 The Year for YOUR New Start.  
From the Peaceful Ponds teaming with fish and gators to the beautiful birds that live in our community, and the flocks of birds that winter with us.  Sometimes, it seems that living in Florida is almost too perfect!
Driving to work this morning in Solivita I witnessed an eagle dive into the Lake on Shorehaven in search of breakfast, what a magnificent sight.  Unfortunately, the fish got away, so not so magnificent for the eagle, but certainly a Wonderful Start to my day.  That experience got me thinking back to the days when I lived up North and commuted to work in the Winter.  The traffic, the pollution, the potholes, the ice, snow and slush, and the worst part for me, finding the time to wait while the car warmed up.  
At the start of my working life it was all fun.  I enjoyed long walks in the freshly fallen snow, building of snowmen, skating on the lake in the park; I did not even mind the snow shoveling so much.  My favorite winter memories are of coming home, my cheeks rosy red and cold, and enjoying the warmth of an evening by the fire. Must admit, by the time I was rounding my late 30’s the charm of winter had worn off and Lee and I were happy to find our perfect place in the Sun.    
Call or Email Us, and we will be happy to help you Find Your Perfect Place in the Sun.  

No Comments

Holiday Memories

We had cocktails with friends and colleagues the other evening while decorating the office for Christmas in preparation for the Fund Raiser for the Guardian Ad Litem Foster Child Program.  We all shared some Holiday Memories and spoke about what this time of the year means to each of us.  Some folks shared memories of special gifts received and given, a pair of GOGO Boots, a Hess Truck, a Special Rolling Stones Record Album, and some remembered family, food, and experiences.  I thought it would be fun to share a few with you.

One of the men in the group had a Grand Pa who would come over on Christmas Eve with a pocket full of silver dimes, of course this goes back to when the US minted coins with silver.  He would ask each grandson to jump on the scale and would give each a silver dime for every pound they weighed – up to 100 pounds.  He further went on to say, that prior to jumping on the scale he and his two brothers would consume as many Christmas Cookies and as much Hot Chocolate as they could hold to maximize their gift.  Sweet Memory of a simple time.   

Another of our friends, whose family did not celebrate Christmas, wanted Santa to come down her Chimney.  She remembers asking her mom, If I write to Santa do you think he would visit me?  Her mom said, if you never ask, you may never know.  Sure enough, Christmas Morning, Santa had found his way down her chimney and left a gift for her on the fireplace mantel.   A warm memory to be cherished.

Another friend remembers the Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes shared with Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Friends, and Neighbors from the block.  As she remembers, all were welcome, and it was never a chore to add an extra plate, or two, to the table.  The evening was not fancy, but rather fun, joyous, tasty, loud, the fish was fried and delicious, and the meal was always meatless.  A meal, all looked forward to every year.  As the cousins aged, the circle grew, and the Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes came to include more than just fish.  She remembers the last time they all shared a Christmas Eve Meal.  There was the traditional fish, but in addition the table included a baked ham, macaroni and cheese, rice, and fruit perogies for dessert.  All delicious and Sweet Memories.

Another remembers the Cookie Christmas Tree his Great Grandmother “GG” used to make.  He remembers she lived in a small house on the rail road tracks and although outside was cold in December, her house was always warm and scented with the sweet aroma of cinnamon.  There were 16 grandchildren and GG would hang her homemade cookies from the tree in the dining room.  Each of the grandchildren had their favorite cookie and when you kissed Grandma Goodbye she would hand you a tin baked especially for you filled with your favorite cookie. Truly a gift made and shared with love.   

Whatever you Celebrate, Lee and I hope you celebrate with a full, happy heart, and truly enjoy the goodness of the great life we share.  We wish you Joy, Good Health, and Most of All a Wonderful, Fulfilling Life.