Avalon Park Sun Orlando February 2023

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Love is in the Air This February in Downtown Avalon Park

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and Downtown Avalon Park is the perfect place to celebrate! From romantic dinners to sweet treats and unique shopping experiences, there are a variety of events and specials for everyone to enjoy. Whether you are looking for a unique gift for your special someone, or simply want to show your love for family and friends, Downtown Avalon Park has it all. So come and join us in the celebration of Valentine’s Day for the entire month of February!

Special Events

With a variety of special events and activities, you will be sure to find something fun to do. From business openings to unique experiences, Downtown Avalon Park has something for everyone.

Candle Making Class

Avalon General and The Plum Owl Co will be hosting a Candle Making Class just in time for Valentine’s Day! Join them on February 4th at 10 am at the Marketplace. Tickets are $25 per person and include your first mimosa!

Pearl Time Grand Opening

Kickoff soft opening week on Saturday, February 11 from 10 am. - 7 pm. with Pearl Shucking Experiences and Refreshments. Book an experience or pick up the perfect Valentine’s Day gift.


Celebrate Lunar New Years for Avalon Park’s first annual SpringFest, presented by AsiaTrend. Join us Saturday, February 11th from 12 pm - 6 pm for a full day of activities and performances.

-Fantasy Nature Arts: Valentine’s Day Kids’ Arts and Crafts

- Sunday, February 5th from 2 pm - 5 pm.

-Every guest receives a free glass of wine on Friday, February 10th.

-Valentine’s Day Card Workshop: Snack and sip while making cards for your special someone at the ACC on February 11 from 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. Tickets are $35 online and $40 at the door.

Arts and Culture Center

-Wonder Arte: Valentine’s Day crafts - Saturday, February 4th from 10:30 am to 2 pm.

Fat Tuesday, February 21st, kicks off the celebration with pre-party specials 5-6 pm, live music from Brown Bag Brass Band 6-9pm, and 6-10 pm Specials & themed cocktails.

East Orlando Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Feast in the East event Thursday, February 23 from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. This restaurant catering extravaganza offers unlimited food, beverages and entertainment for just $30 per person in advance or $40 at the door.

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Mardi Gras at the Marketplace Feast in the East Mardi Gras 2023 at the Pavilion

being in the midst of a pandemic. After talking with many leaders, we found Daytona Beach would be a great fit for a community where people can live, learn, work and play, like in Avalon Park Orlando, or Celebration or Baldwin Park. The land is in a great location near Interstate 95. Additionally, Daytona Beach has a world brand. I am writing this Coffee with Beat on the train from Zurich to Basel, Switzerland, and I asked 6 random passengers on the train if they knew of Daytona Beach. They all said YES, and of the six, three had heard about Tampa, three had not. It is amazing for me to see that half a world away on a train in central Europe, double the people I asked knew Daytona Beach over Tampa.

On February 19th, the world-famous Daytona 500 is taking place. However, the most important difference between Avalon Park Daytona Beach, and all Avalon Park’s for that matter, is that the Daytona 500 is a race…fast and over in one day. While Avalon Park Daytona Beach is the opposite of a race, it is a very long-term engagement.

We will start construction of Avalon Park Daytona soon, however, soon means in 1 - 5 years. When we bought Avalon Park Orlando, at the time (1989) 9,400 acres, we waited eight years before starting construction. I am glad we did. There was

timing, timing” is more important.

However, the most important thing in the development of an entire small town is having SKIN IN THE GAME.

These days most of Avalon Park Group’s competitors operate with other people’s money, from Wall Street or other sources, where the manager often has no SKIN IN THE GAME. We believe in longterm investing in the communities we build, along with all stakeholders, homeowners, tenants, local government, and the community at large. For most developers, their investment is at its highest when buying the land and putting in infrastructure, such as roads, sewer and water lines, parks, etc. Then, the next step is typically to sell-off to builders and others, either getting their money back, or making a profit in good times, or losing their shirt in bad times. This is where Avalon Park Group is different, we continue to invest. Today our investment in Avalon Park Orlando has never been higher, even with the community 99% complete. Why? Again, we have SKIN IN THE GAME and invest alongside the community, in public infrastructure, buildings, startup companies, non-profit organizations and more.

Having SKIN IN THE GAME does not stop at a financial commitment to infrastructure and businesses, it goes far beyond that. By supporting organizations and members of the community, like the Boys and Girls Club. And when I return from my week-long business trip to Switzerland, we will attend the Mayor’s Gala benefitting First Step this Saturday in Daytona Beach. This is the same in all of our communities, such as in Avalon Park Orlando, supporting events like the Cook Off to Cure Chili Cook Off and the Rotary Club Poker Tournament, organized by long-time residents and community members with true SKIN IN THE GAME.

At the end of the day if we are all aligned, we can reach so much more for all constituents. Avalon Park Group will stay for the long time, in good and bad times, as we have proven in Orlando over the last third of a century.

Love is in the Air This February in Downtown Avalon Park Cont.


For a truly special Valentine’s Day experience, head to Downtown Avalon Park for an unforgettable evening of delicious food.

Mejana Mediterranean Grill

Celebrate Valentine’s Day All Week at Pho Akaushi with a complimentary glass of Rose Wine for every adult guest over 21 and a special Valentine’s menu for you and your significant other or friend. This special runs from Tuesday, February 14 - Tuesday, February 21.

Cheese to Share

Heart Charcuterie for Two: Variety of fine cheeses, cured meats, seasonal fruit, sweets and valentine’s accompaniments ($39.99). Pre-order to pick up through February 14th!

Shopping & Services

If you’re looking to give the perfect gift this Valentine’s Day, why not shop and support local in Downtown Avalon Park?

Elite Dentistry

BOGO for our single whitening pens ($20 value while supplies last).

Avalon Mail Center

Get a FREE Avalon Park Valentine postcard with any purchase.

Motto Mortgage

Offering an appraisal credit for buyers up to $600 (offer good through March 31, 2023).

Polo Floors

Thinking of updating your flooring? Check out the amazing sale going on for LVP (Luxury Vinyl Planks). Visit the show room to view the wide selection of brands and colors.

Solymar Travels Vacation Night

Solymar Travels will be hosting another Vacation Night at The 5th Floor on February 15th from 6-8 PM!

In addition to all of these great events and specials, there are also several new businesses opening in Downtown Avalon Park this February. Some openings include, Café Coqui, Pearl Time, pearl shucking experience, the newly expanded studio of Kossina Creative Photography, and the office of Representative Fred Hawkins. Whether you are looking for a romantic evening out with your sweetheart, or a fun activity with friends and family, there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

Avalon General

Sip-n-Shop at Avalon General on Thursday, February 9 with house wines and take off 10% of your purchase of $50 or more which also includes a free wine glass! $10 per person from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Additionally, they are hosting a special event for National Drink Wine Day on February 18th, with specials by the glass and bottle all day.

To stay up to date on community news, development and events, visit us at AvalonParkOrlando.com or on social media @AvalonParkOrlando.

Pho Akaushi Community Appreciation Day

From the Desk of Commissioner

Maribel Gomez Cordero

Happy February! February is the shortest month of the year. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, let’s take some time to show appreciation to our loved ones. The chilly weather is a perfect combination for a holiday that brings us all together.

I would like to let the Avalon community know that my office and the County’s Traffic Engineering Division are working on solutions to address the ongoing traffic safety issues faced by pedestrians on Avalon Park Blvd. We are in the process of putting together a community meeting for Avalon. Please stay tuned as we will be announcing the details in the coming weeks.

Orange County remains committed to our Vision Zero strategy. This is an initiative to develop strategies in order

to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries by focusing on designing safer roadways. Strategies for Vision Zero include using rectangular rapid-flashing beacons, raised crosswalks, leading pedestrian intervals, pedestrian crossing islands, pedestrian hybrid beacons, road diets, and crosswalk visibility enhancements in an effort to protect pedestrians and bicyclists from vehicles. All options will be looked at. I encourage you to visit www.visionzeronetwork.org to learn more about the initiative.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, or if you would like to receive my newsletter, you can email me at district4@ocfl.net or call my office at 407-836-5881. Blessings and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Orange County Designated as Tree City USA for 16th Consecutive Year

Honored by National Arbor Day Foundation for its continued tree-planting and protection efforts

In celebration of State Arbor Day, Orange County is sharing its recent designation by the National Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA for its 16th consecutive year. The Tree City USA program celebrates communities and their growing commitment to increasing their urban tree canopy.

“Trees provide effective and low-cost solutions to many urban challenges, including reducing pollution, removing carbon dioxide from the air and reducing energy costs for homeowners,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings. “Most importantly, residents and visitors alike enjoy being in an aesthetically pleasing environment with tree cover as a measure of quality of life.”

The Tree City USA designation, led by the Arbor Day Foundation with partners at USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, allows the necessary framework for communities to manage and expand their tree cover.

In 2022, Orange County planted more than 2,500 trees and distributed another 1,000 Florida-friendly trees to homeowners. The County continues the work in 2023

with ambitious goals to increase and protect tree canopies outlined in the County’s Sustainable Operations & Resilience Action Plan. This will be coupled with a tree ordinance that will support the conservation of pre-existing trees in new developments.

“Trees are critical to reducing air pollution and urban heat island effect,” said Carrie Black, Chief Sustainability and Resiliency Officer. “We are committed to maintaining and increasing the tree canopy on County property, in addition to updating the Tree Preservation Ordinance to provide increased protections, particularly for specimen and heritage trees, because the importance of our urban forest and environmentally sensitive lands will only continue to increase as our community grows.”


Should I Or, Shouldn’t I? Feelings Vs. Feelings.

Have you ever found it’s difficult making a decision? On the one hand, your intuition is telling you it’s right but on the other hand, you feel like it’s wrong. It’s like two voices speaking at you at the same time creating feelings of uncertainty. Or too much information often leads to confusion. Purchasing a home or hiring a realtor to sell your home are such big decisions, it’s natural to second-guess yourself, questioning if you’re making the right choice. Trusting your instincts (or feelings) is important. Here are some practical things you can do to be confident in your decision.

1. Listen to your emotions and try to identify the underlying cause of them. Our feelings can often provide valuable insight into our current situation and help us make better decisions. When buying a home, I advise my clients to listen to their feelings. If you walk into a home and “don’t feel it,” it’s probably not for you. On the other hand, “if you feel it” you move closer to making a decision.

4. It’s usually a good idea to get the opinions of knowledgeable professionals, but remember, it’s their only their opinion. Ultimately, you’re making the decision that’s best for you.

2. We often feel pressure to make a decision based on someone else’s opinion of what they think is right for you. It’s going to be your home! It’s important to give yourself permission not to please everyone – it’s ok to be selfish, making choices that feel right for you.


Buying or Selling a home can be an overwhelming process, and it’s important to have a real estate professional you can Trust. Simply put, do you believe that he/she will act in accordance with your expectations. Trust comes from knowing your realtor will keep their word, be honest with you, or deliver on their promises. Below are a couple of practical ways to help you.

1. History tends to repeat itself! Online reviews will speak to other people’s experiences, giving you a pretty good idea of the realtor’s experience and success. Check for these qualities: Communicate honestly and openly, Through on Their Promises, Always Put Your Needs First, and Did They Complete The Sale.

2. Knowing their past performance will increase your confidence they will meet or exceed your expectations. Trust is building, now it’s time to “interview” this person and to Trust how you feel about them. Trust your institution!

3. As you walk through the home “feel it.” Can you see yourself enjoying the family room, cooking in the kitchen, or relaxing in the master suite. Asking yourself these questions may support your gut feeling about the home. You’ll become more secure knowing you’re making the right decision.

With Love, Your Gut Instinct.

John Alexandrou - Broker/Owner since 2003 | Avalon Realty Group: 3925 Peppervine Dr., Orlando, FL 32828 407-312-3928 | AvalonRealty@gmail.com

Heart Health Diet Tips for Seniors

The importance of heart health for seniors cannot be overstated. And while everyone is susceptible to heart concerns, the risk of cardiovascular disease greatly increases with age. According to the American Heart Association, 69.1% of men and 67.9% of women in the 60–79-year-old range have cardiovascular disease. However, with the proper precautions and lifestyle changes, heart concerns can be greatly reduced. Whether it’s through a proper diet, being more active, or abstaining from certain harmful habits, seniors can take charge of their heart health and lower their chances of future heart issues.

4 Tips To Stay Heart Healthy

The prospect of staying on top of your senior loved one’s heart health might seem daunting, but it can be quite simple with some key lifestyle changes you can gradually introduce to their routine.

1. Mind their food intake. Adapting a healthier diet is crucial to increased heart health. The heart distributes nutrients throughout the body, so it stands to reason that we should be mindful of what is put into it. Eating more greens, lean proteins, and fiber are excellent ways to get your senior started towards a happier heart. Avoid overly processed foods and salt, and don’t let them overeat — maintaining a lower weight goes hand in hand with lowering cholesterol.

2. Keep them hydrated. This fact may not be common knowledge, but our sense of thirst decreases as we age. Therefore, it’s important to keep water intake optimal. The heart has to work more than it needs to when we are dehydrated, so keep those water bottles in rotation.

3. Limit alcohol consumption. For many, it’s nice to relax with a nice glass of wine or a beer after a long day. That being said, seniors shouldn’t exceed a single serving per day. Alcoholic beverages have been known to raise blood pressure. And not to mention, it can contribute to weight gain with empty calories.

4. Stay active. If your senior loved one is able, add a bit of physical activity to their day. Daily walks, gentle aerobics, and even light weight lifting can all positively impact their heart health.

A Healthy Heart Is a Happy Heart

The golden years can be some of our best years if we let them. With a few simple changes and a bit of hard work, seniors can feel their best and prevent heart issues or improve existing ones.

A Community for Seniors That Is Full of Heart

At Encore at Avalon Park, we care about senior heart health. Not only do our senior residents have access to recreational and social activities, but they also enjoy comfortable accommodations and heart-healthy meals that remind them of home.

If you need assistance caring for your senior loved one and are looking for an assisted living community in the Orlando area, visit Encore at Avalon Park and see for yourself why we’re the premier senior living solution in Central Florida. Call us today at 407-270-7500 to schedule your socially-distanced virtual tour.

It is the head messenger of our body, carrying essential oxygen and nutrients to the rest of the internal organs. We might spend a lot of our younger years training and developing our “glamour” muscles, but we must make sure we are remembering our heart health. After all, it might be the most important muscle we have.



Applications open for Florida Supervisors of Elections Scholarship

The Florida Supervisors of Elections Association will offer four $1,200 scholarships for 2023 to college students, according to Orange County Supervisor of Elections, Bill Cowles.

Applicants must be registered Florida voters and have lived in the state for at least the preceding two years. Applicant must be either a Political Science, Public Administration, Business Administration, or Journalism/Mass Communication major and be at least a junior in college.

Students must be enrolled or accepted as a full-time student in a senior college or university in Florida and have a “C” average or above for the previous year.

The deadline to apply for a scholarship is March 10, 2023. Applications are available online at www.ocfelections.gov/2023scholarship or may be picked up from the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office at 119 W Kaley Street, Orlando.

Application must be submitted to the elections office of the county in which the applicant is registered to vote. Each county will select one finalist to send to the FSE Scholarship Committee for consideration.

For additional information, please visit www.ocfelections.gov/2023scholarship or call 407-836- VOTE (8683).

Local Students Win National Theater Award at 2023 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta

Students representing Magic Curtain Productions in Orlando won a Freddie G Excellence in Dance award and earned other recognition at the 2023 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta (JTF Atlanta).

The monumental weekend dedicated to rewarding and celebrating excellent student-driven musical theater programs happened January 13-15, 2023, at the Cobb Convention Center in Atlanta.

Students Ainsley Newton and Tyler Williams made it to the callback for a yet to be announced special video project which will promote musicals in schools.

Students Nathan Paul and Tyler William were named Junior Theater Festival All-Stars, a select group of outstanding performers.


Groups enjoyed a New Works Showcase of performance selections from upcoming Broadway Junior® musicals presented by JTF groups, and other mainstage performances featuring powerhouse Broadway guests and took part in workshops.

About Magic Curtain Productions

Magic Curtain Productions (MCP) is a premier community theater in East Orlando. MCP is civic-minded and active in the community; its students frequently perform for after-school programs, community events, and at local assisted living facilities.

The group has enjoyed success at past Junior Theater Festivals. The group earned Freddie G Excellence in Dance awards (2021 JTF Texas and 2020 JTF Atlanta); a Freddie G Excellence in Ensemble Work at the 2019 JTF Atlanta; a Freddie G Excellence in Acting award (2018 JTF Atlanta), and a Freddie G Award for Excellence in Music (2016, 2015, and 2014 JTF Atlanta).

At the festival, each group performed 15 minutes of a Broadway Junior® musical for adjudicators. Magic Curtain Productions presented Disney’s Newsies JR. to actor Brion Watson (Hamilton, national tour, Wicked, national tour); Nina Meehan, Bay Area Children’s Theatre (BACT) founding CEO; and Peter Avery, director of Theater for the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE).

Avery said: “Congrats to Magic Curtain Productions for capturing the world of New York City during an important era. There was great dancing and storytelling.”

Watson agreed, “I want to extend my thanks to this cast for sharing! The amount of dancing and singing we saw during their presentation was commendable within itself. Their presentation showed that they come from a strong foundation of love and hard work.”

About The 2023 JTF Atlanta

Called a “rousing celebration of theatre” by the New York Times, the Junior Theater Festival applauds and empowers young people and educators creating student-driven musical theater around the globe.

The 2023 JTF Atlanta was an incredible weekend of singing, dancing, acting, and learning. There were 125 groups from 28 states, as well as Washington DC, Canada, and Australia, participating in the festival.

The weekend included panels and performances from the original Mean Girls Broadway cast members Krystina Alabado, Erika Henningsen, Grey Henson, Kate Rockwell, &Kyle Selig; Katy Geraghty (Into the Woods, Broadway); Taylor Iman Jones (SIX, Broadway); Daniel Yearwood (Hamilton, Broadway), and Pasek & Paul (Dear Evan Hansen, The Greatest Showman). Thomas Schumacher, president & producer, Disney Theatrical Productions delivered the festival keynote.

Additional talent appearing at the festival and cheering the young artists were director, choreographer and producer Jeff Calhoun (Newsies, Broadway); actor Cori Jaskier(Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, TheaterWorksUSA’s Charlotte’s Web); lyricist and librettist Kate Leonard (Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, Breathe, For You, Paige); composer and music supervisor Daniel J. Mertzlufft (Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, Breathe); Michael Wordly (Kinky Boots, Chicago); actor Luca Padovan (Newsies, Broadway); New York Times best-selling author Jodi Picoult (Between the Lines, Off-Broadway), and Wren Rivera (Jagged Little Pill,

Its students have been recognized as well. Cole Higginbotham (2022 JTF Atlanta), Ethan Crespo (2021 JTF Texas) and Casey Gulledge (2014 JTF Atlanta) received a Freddie G Outstanding Performance by an Individual award. Meghan McQueeney (2014 JTF Atlanta) and Kelsey Brown (2013 JTF Atlanta) earned a Freddie G Award for Outstanding Student Direction and/or Choreography award. At the 2017 JTF Atlanta student Dario Antonio won a Freddie G Broadway Junior Slam Award.

Additionally, at the festivals many MCP students have made it to the call-back for future shoots for “how-to” choreography videos for soon-to-be-released musicals: Sydney Lockwood (2017 JTF Atlanta); Hannah Restuccia (2016, 2015 and 2014 JTF Atlanta); Imani Moss and Demetri Inmon (2015 JTF Atlanta); Kelsey Brown and Alexis Buck (2014 JTF Atlanta), and Kelsey Brown and fellow student Andrea Diaz 2013).

In 2012, MCP director Rhonda Cato was one of eight exceptional educators from schools and performing arts centers around the country who were selected for the 3rd annual Freddie G Fellowship. The teachers received an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City to collaborate with each other and work one-on-one with Broadway greats. The event is sponsored by MTI’s Freddie (“G”) Gershon and his wife Myrna Gershon and is a thank-you for all that teachers do to introduce the next generation to Broadway and musical theater.

Outside of the Junior Theater Festival, MCP has won the top Showcase Award at the National Performing Arts Festival at Disney in 2015 and 2016.

About iTheatrics and the Junior Theater Festivals

iTheatrics and the Junior Theater Group produce the Junior Theater Festivals. Based in New York City, for the last decade iTheatrics has established itself as the world’s leading authority on musical theater for young people. iTheatrics works with leading public and private companies around the world—including the Kennedy Center, NBC, and all the leading theatrical licensors—to make sure that young people everywhere have access to quality musical theater programs.

In addition to the Junior Theater Festival Atlanta, iTheatrics produces, hosts, and supports Junior Theater Festivals and one-day Junior Theater Celebrations in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and New Zealand.

Past festival attendees have included Ahrens & Flaherty, Skylar Astin, Joshua Bassett, Shoshana Bean, Sierra Boggess, Nicholas Christopher, Darren Criss, Zac Efron, Cynthia Erivo, Megan Hilty, Arielle Jacobs, Kenny Leon, Caissie Levy, Kara Lindsay, Ryan McCartan, Lindsay Mendez, Alan Menken, Pasek and Paul, Ben Platt, Olivia Rodrigo, Samsel & Anderson; Steven Schwartz, Ali Stroker, and Jeanine Tesori.

Photo credit: Avery Brunkus/JTF



Digital Detox: How to Rejuvenate Your Work Without Losing Momentum

Technology is a wonderful thing. However, when it comes to business owners, it can easily become overwhelming. Workrelated emails, notifications from social media accounts and alerts from other sites are just some of the digital clutter that can consume your day. It’s time for a digital detox! Read on for advice from Avalon Park Group on how you can do a digital detox without it negatively affecting your business.

The Dangers of Over-Relying on Technology

It’s easy to get caught up in the tech-overloaded world we live in and forget that there is a life outside of gadgets and apps. You might think having the latest hardware or software will make work easier but it could be doing more harm than good. Too much reliance on technology can lead to burnout and lack of creativity; not something any business owner wants when they’re trying to stay ahead of the competition.

Advantages of Digital Detox

A digital detox is an effective way to shake off tech fatigue and get back into productivity mode. After all, every now and then our minds need a break from all of the noise generated by technology so that our ideas have room to breathe. Plus, when you take some time away from tech distractions, you’ll find yourself with more energy for things like problem-solving, strategy formulation, and goal setting—all necessary skills for successful business owners.

Ways for Carrying Out a Digital Detox

There are many ways to go about carrying out a digital detox— here are some tips:

• Make a schedule: set aside specific times throughout the day when you turn off all electronics (no email checking or social media scrolling!).

• Take regular breaks throughout the day: go for walks outside or read books instead of looking at screens all day!

• Pare down your apps: get rid of unnecessary apps on your phone or computer that don’t serve any purpose – this will reduce distractions during work hours.

• Focus on the right digital tools: when you are using technology, be strategic. For example, instead of fumbling through editing tools in Word, use a PDF editor. By using this tool, you can make quick and easy comments that are immediately sharable.

• Prioritize tasks and set realistic goals: this will help keep you focused instead of getting lost in tech overload!

Purchase Software with Automation Capabilities

Automation technology can make it easier to stay motivated and productive by automating mundane tasks and freeing you up to focus on more high-impact activities. Not only that, but software automation can also help you increase efficiency and accuracy, as well as reduce errors and costs. Accounting software can be a great place to find automation tools. Look around for one that automatically sends invoices, makes deposits, and monitors expense tracking. Plus, you’ll save time and stress in the process - something any business owner could use right now! In this way, investing in automation software is a great way to keep business productive and profitable without compromising progress.

Although it’s not technically considered automation, integrating SEO (search engine optimization) into your digital marketing content will allow you to be more hands off in your marketing efforts. Adding the right terms and strategies when you aren’t on a digital detox means that search engines will start driving more consumers to your sites without daily activities. Then, when you need to unplug, you can relax

knowing that your – and your team’s – forward thinking has once every should suffice. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed by tech overload, then don’t hesitate to take days off here and there as needed - even if it’s only for half an hour! Just remember that taking care of yourself is essential for running a successful business - after all, if you’re too burnt out from overusing technology then how can you possibly manage

There are many advantages to engaging in digital detoxes as a business owner – increased clarity and creativity among them! While too much reliance on technology can be detrimental, using it strategically alongside traditional methods can help keep your mind sharp while still allowing yourself plenty of space away from screens every now and then. As long as you prepare yourself by setting reasonable goals and expectations, engaging in regular digital detoxes won’t negatively affect your business operations but rather give them an invigorating boost!

A Coworking Space that Can Help you with your Digital Detox

The 5th Floor, located in the heart of Downtown Avalon Park, has all of the technology that you need to support you while you work remotely.

The 5th Floor Orlando offers modern and high-quality workspaces, concierge-level services that are completely customized to our tenants’ specific needs, and a convenient location above Marketplace at Avalon Park. High-tech conference rooms are an excellent space to host your workshops, meetings, and events. And when you are finished, you can leave them there, helping you with your digital detox goals.

For more information about how to get started and to reserve one of our accommodating coworking spaces, contact The 5th Floor Orlando online or call us at 407-730-3493.

Photo Credit: Iurii Laimin via Pexels

The 5th Floor Global: A Feast for the Workplace: FELFEL Fridges

Traditional workplaces often suffer from a lack of healthy and convenient meal options. Of course, a common recommended solution is for employees to bring food from home, but preparing food in advance is not always possible for modern workers, who need to juggle various work and personal commitments. Employees in workplaces all across the world continue to be plagued by the central question: What are we going to eat for lunch? At The 5th Floor in Muttenz, Switzerland, the FELFEL Fridge provides the answer.

With the motto “Good Food at Work,” the FELFEL Company takes a new approach to the standard vending machine by offering fresh, healthy meal options instead of the standard stash of junk food and candy. Their FELFEL Fridge has been installed in The 5th Floor Muttenz coworking space to provide the T5F community with a consistent and convenient supply of ready-made food that they can grab to go at any time during the work day.

Operated entirely by the FELFEL Company, the Fridge is restocked 3 - 5 times per week with a vast variety of fresh snacks and meals created by professional partner chefs from local Swiss businesses. These options range from hearty meals like Chicken and Sweet Potato Protein Bowls and Conchiglie alla Caprese pasta, to quick snacks such as buttered pretzels and plum yogurt parfaits, as well as desserts for a sweet pick-me-up, including the Bündner Nusstorte, a traditional Swiss walnut cake. The menu changes every week, with exciting new options awaiting discovery every time T5F members visit the space.

The 5th Floor Muttenz adopted the FELFEL Fridge due to the convenience and ease of use it provides to T5F members. Users of the Fridge can sign up for the FELFEL mobile app or receive a keychain badge with a chip that they can use to track and pay for their purchases with just a tap of the finger. They can even send a gift to their coworkers through the app! The 5th Floor has found that the

Fridge offers all the benefits of having a consistent supply of healthy food for the productivity and wellbeing of driven modern individuals who are strongly committed to their work, while providing added flexibility and cost savings as an alternative to traditional cafeterias.

Unless you work for a Silicon Valley technology giant like Google or Facebook, it’s unlikely that a traditional office will have the resources to provide in-house catering. Many offices, especially those outside central urban areas, are located in buildings without any proper food and beverage establishments besides vending machines filled with packaged junk food and snacks – hardly sufficient fare for a proper mid-day meal. However, without proper fuel, how can any individual perform at their best? With the FELFEL Fridge, The 5th Floor Muttenz has found a perfect middle ground for the health and convenience of our community.


Valentine’s Day Is Here

According to the National Retail Federation, Valentine’s Day spending in 2021 was in the billions. $21.8 billion, to be exact. And the average amount spent per person was roughly $165. And what exactly are Americans spending money on for their loved ones on Valentine’s Day? One can expect the usual suspects of flowers, candy (chocolate, anyone?), jewelry, a fancy dinner out, and cards of the Hallmark variety, to name a few.

While it would be safe to assume that the Covid-19 pandemic would have a big effect on outings and spending for the pink and red heart holiday, it seems as though things have gone back to normal in terms of spending. If anything, it seems to be increasing now that people feel safer and more confident about going out for any reason. Especially if it involves romance. Gone are the days of making excuses to meander around the grocery store and taking one’s dog on a walk fourteen times in one day. Hallelujah, hallelujah!

And you know what, friends of the Avalon Park community? Why should we not celebrate anything and everything? Now, do not get me wrong. While I am certainly not advocating for extravagant overspending or any kind of overextension of one’s self, I am advocating for living your absolute BEST life with those that are most dear to you. If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything as a community, it is that life is so, so short. We should take every opportunity given to us to enjoy ourselves with our loved ones as much as we can because you never know what life has in store for us.

That doesn’t mean you have to have a partner though. If you’re single, round up your closest friends and take full

advantage of our local restaurants’ brunch menu (with plenty of mimosa!). Or if brunch is not really your thing, a nice walk around Avalon Park and popping into any of our community’s local boutiques is another great way to spend your time on Valentine’s Day.

Or perhaps you’re more introverted and need an excuse to recharge with some self love and care? If that is the case, make yourself your favorite dish (or treat yourself to some local takeout), and recline back on your couch with your favorite movie or a binge-worthy show. Make yourself a nice bubble bath, try out that new hobby you never make time for, or even hit the gym and work on that 2023 New Year New Me resolution.

Regardless of how you choose to spend your Valentine’s Day, whether with your partner, your closest gal pals, or by yourself, remember that Avalon Mail Center has got you covered when it comes to Valentine’s Day stamps to adorn your red or pink envelopes this lovey-dovey season. We offer cute love flowers and adorable puppies and kittens holding hearts. We even offer custom designed postcards from our very own in-house graphic artist, Michelle. From baby corgis hugging to conversation hearts, we got it all. Come visit us at 3564 Avalon Park E Blvd, Ste 1 for all of your mailbox, shipping, and printing needs


Should Your Child Do More Than Just Brush and Floss?

As an adult, your oral care routine tends to remain fairly static for a large part of your life. Brush and floss. Rinse, perhaps, if you’re fond of it. And, unless you need prosthetics, that’s about all you’ll ever do. But, what about your kids? Toddlers? Adolescents? What sort of routine should they follow? Is it the same as yours? And, should it change from time to time? Since it’s February, and Children’s Dental Health month is upon us, let’s take a quick dive into “what’s-what” from toddlers to teens when it comes to oral care.

flossing. This is extremely variable, and not really related to age, so work with your dentist on this one.

• Begin experimenting with disclosing tablets so your child can see how effective their brushing is as they learn to wield a brush on their own.


• Brushing and flossing should be the norm by this time in a child’s life. Experiment with a variety of floss options to find one that works for your child. Rotate between floss picks as well, to what works for your kids.

• Once a child learns to spit (this time varies widely) an alcohol mouth rinse could be used if warranted. Ask your dentist, but at this age, there isn’t often a need.


• Everything changes when kids become teenagers. Orthodontic appliances of all sorts come into play, and oral care can start to seem like a burden. Kids also start consuming high carbohydrate and acidic beverages, and some experiment with tobacco products, so brushing and flossing are obviously required, and mouthwashes can be used particularly for kids with braces.

• Proper prosthetic care is important to keep one’s mouth smelling and feeling fresh, so, yes … brushing the retainer becomes part of the routine.


• Use a warm washcloth or gauze pad to wipe your child’s gums after feedings. While most infants don’t begin sprouting teeth until around month six, you’ll still want to keep their gums free of oral bacteria that can develop from normal feeding.

• Before your child’s first birthday, visit the dentist for an initial check-up

• Around month six, and with the arrival of a child’s first teeth, ask your dentist if it’s the right time to start tooth brushing. For tips on how to take this not-so-fun first step in oral care, check out our article on toddler tooth-brushing training tips!


• By this age, your children will be brushing like a mad person. Be sure they learn not to brush too hard. Teach by example, and they’ll keep this good habit their entire lives.

• Once a child starts to have teeth that touch, you can introduce

• Once again disclosing tablets are a good thing to play around with, because with orthodontics it’s difficult to clean everywhere.

• Aggressive brushing at this time can contribute to early gum loss because of the physical interference of braces, and lesser area to maneuver in small mouths, so be sure your kids are getting up-todate lessons on brushing technique from their dentist.

So, as you can see, setting an oral care routine for your little ones is mostly about prepping them for brushing, the middle years are about getting them into the habit of doing things on their own, and (to a degree) the teenage years are, at least a little bit a fallback to having to be a bit of a watchdog on your kids behalf. They’ll gladly, and sometimes vehemently disagree with you as to how to take care of their teeth … your fun is in learning how to encourage, support and provide foresight without being too much of a parent while doing it! And, we all know how easy that is, right?!

Sunshine Ankle & Foot Experts February Health Fact

Why choose a foot and ankle surgeon?

Foot and ankle surgeons are the leading experts in foot and ankle care today. As doctors of podiatric medicine – also known as podiatrists, DPMs or occasionally “foot and ankle doctors” – they are the board-certified surgical specialists of the podiatric profession. Foot and ankle surgeons have more education and training specific to the foot and ankle than any other healthcare provider.

Foot and ankle surgeons treat all conditions affecting the foot and ankle, from the simple to the complex, in patients of all ages. Their intensive education and training qualify foot and ankle surgeons to perform a wide range of surgeries, for the full spectrum of foot and ankle conditions, disorders

and injuries.

Sunshine Ankle & Foot Experts can help you! Dr. Kiana Karbasi and Dr. Timothy Miller are currently seeing patients in downtown Avalon Park. Please call 407-863-3655 or visit us at www. sunshineankleandfoot.com to schedule an appointment! We love being a part of the Avalon Park Community and look forward to keeping it’s members SAFE and keeping them going!


Are You Ready for Some Good Eats?

The East Orlando Chamber of Commerce is Proud to announce Feast in the East is back for another year. Join the community and Chamber members on Thursday, February 23rd from 5-8PM for a sampling of East Orlando’s best restaurants and caterers who are members of the East Orlando Chamber. The Avalon Park Community Center, “The Pavilion” located at 13401 Tanja King Blvd. Orlando, FL 32828, will be transformed into a Mardi Gras themed event with a plethora of flavors and cuisines to tantalize your tastebuds. Tickets for the event are $35 pre-sale or $45 at the door for an all you can to eat and drink evening event. Try samples from Build My Burger, Bonefish Grill, Your Pie, Barrio’s Tacos, CHOP5, and more. This year, attendees can enter to win over $250 in Restaurant Gift Certificates. Remember, this is a 21 and over event. Additional activities include a Wine Pull, music, and entertainment. The Chamber looks forward to having you attend. Visit EOCC.org to purchase Tickets.

The East Orlando Chamber is also excited to announce the Kickoff of our Total Resource Campaign which runs through March 1st. If you or your company is looking for chances to engage with specific groups and target markets, there are many events, programs and councils to allow you to get in front of these member companies and representatives. Some of these opportunities include; Women in Successful Endeavors (W.I.S.E.), Quarterly Luncheons, Real Estate Council, Advocacy Council, Business Expo, Feast in the East and more. Additional advertising and marketing options are available for your business starting as low as $75. Visit the EOCC TRC Page for more details and learn how you can engage with the

business community in East Orange County.

The East Orlando Chamber of Commerce is a leader in Advocacy, Community Engagement and Regional Connections in east Orange County. Visit www.EOCC.org or call 407-2775951 to learn how more about benefits and business development opportunities.

February Calendar of Events

2/2 8:30a Coffee Club East - Bonefish Grill Waterford Lakes

2/3 4p Ribbon Cutting & Grand Opening: Kossina Creative Photography

2/6 8a Merchant Monday presented by Trustco Bank & East Orlando Chamber

2/7 9a Testimonial Tuesday Facebook Live

2/7 10a Ribbon Cutting & Grand Opening: The NOW Massage Downtown Orlando

2/7 12:30p EOCC Great Lunch Adventures at Build My Burger University

2/8 11:30a W.I.S.E. (Women in Successful Endeavors) Luncheon

2/9 8:30a Coffee Club Downtown

2/13 8a Merchant Monday presented by Trustco Bank & East Orlando Chamber

2/14 8:30a EOCC New Member Orientation Breakfast hosted by Launch Entertainment Park

2/15 5p Real Estate Connections in partnership with the East Orlando Chamber

2/16 8:30a Coffee Club Nona - Sam’s Club Lake Nona

2/17 10a EOCC Advocacy Advisory Council Virtual Meeting

2/17 5p Ribbon Cutting & Grand Opening: Prime IV Hydration & Wellness Waterford Lakes

2/20 8a Merchant Monday presented by Trustco Bank & East Orlando Chamber 2/21 9a EOCC Real Estate Advisory Council Planning Meeting

9a EOCC Nonprofit Roundtable

5p Feast in the East Avalon Park Community Center

8a Merchant Monday presented by Trustco Bank & East Orlando Chamber 2/28 10a SBE Small Business Expo Rosen Hotel






Coming together to create a healthy community


Keeping Your Heart Healthy

Your heart is one of your body’s most important organs. Pumping 100,000 times a day on average, it’s essential for distributing the much-needed oxygen and nutrients to your cells and other organs. Yet, according to the American Heart Association, heart disease continues to be the greatest health threat to Americans and is still the leading cause of death worldwide. How can we make sure we don’t add to these statistics? Eating a proper diet, getting plenty of exercise (about 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity per week), maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking all contribute to a healthy heart.

I’m often asked what I eat to keep my heart healthy. Mostly, I stick with a Mediterranean-style diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, legumes, nuts, and healthy fats. I drink plenty of water each day as well. Staying well hydrated helps your heart pump blood more easily.

Preparing heart-healthy meals does not need to be complicated. In fact, it’s better to try and keep it simple! Here are some of my favorite meals you can make that your heart—and your stomach—will thank you for.


I vary my meals so as not to get bored with eating the same things every day. My favorite breakfast options include a combination of oatmeal with ground flax, fresh or frozen berries, a banana, and sometimes a pinch of cinnamon a single hardboiled egg. Another go-to is avocado toast with smoked salmon.


Here, I try to keep it simple with a salad or leftover whole grain pasta that I toss with either grilled chicken, salmon, tuna, or any variety of beans. Hummus with veggies is a great option if you’re on the move. Plus, making your own hummus is so easy! If you do go for a storebought brand, look for one with as few ingredients as possible and a sodium level of less than 140mg.


This is where I do most of my cooking, and will be able to have leftovers for lunches the next

day or two. Dinner always consists of a protein such as fish, chicken, beans or lentils paired with a steamed or grilled vegetable. Try our Indian spiced lentils, salmon with mustard sauce, or lentil and chickpea soup.

Snacks and Dessert

I love to snack on a small handful of nuts, a fresh piece of whatever fruit is in season, sliced apple or banana with almond or peanut butter, a piece of string or other cheese with a few whole-grain crackers. My favorite treat by far is these amazing black bean brownies. I promise you they taste every bit as good as any brownie you have ever eaten! If you serve them to others, don’t let on that you made them with black beans… Even your kids will love them. In fact, my friend’s 10-year-old son told me “I never expected that from a vegetable!”

Remember, eating right along with proper exercise can help you to keep your heart healthy. Always consult your physician for diet and exercise tips that work for your body, and then come visit your local YMCA to get started on your new wellness routine!



Avalon Park Pickleball Update

Another example of the explosion of pickleball popularity : on a chilly 42 degrees and breezy day in Mesa Arizona, in the Orlando Squeeze Major League Pickleball team went 7 match wins to 5 match losses yesterday to make it into the Quarter Finals today at 1pm ET. The Squeeze are made up of 2 men and 2 women. This was their first tournament ever and they played

well together. The team is owned by one of the Vice Presidents of the Orlando Magic. Todays matches are streaming on the the Major League Pickleball YouTube channel. The Squeeze also update their Twitter page with video and tournament times. Yesterday they beat the Miami Pickleball Club 3-0 thankfully.


Rotary Club of Avalon Park’s Exciting Event Line-Up is Here! Poker Tournament, Craft Beer Festival and Community Campout. Engage with the QR code for more information.

#ServiceAboveSelf COMMUNITY

Orange County Leads the Way in Creating “EPIC” ESOL Pilot for International Drive Hotel Employees

Onsite English language instruction taught by UCF Global Sadya Pierre has a tough job. For the last five years, she has worked as a housekeeper at the Rosen Centre Hotel on International Drive. Originally from Haiti, Pierre’s limited language proficiency led to challenges communicating with guests at the resort, as well as with simply living in a largely English-speaking community.

Now she’s tackling this challenge head-on and improving her mastery of the English language through EPIC (English Program for workers in the International Drive Corridor), a pilot program led by Orange County Government and delivered by UCF Global. When Rosen Hotels & Resorts offered the class to Pierre and her co-workers, she jumped at the chance to participate and has now completed the first phase of the eight-week program, increasing her ability to communicate.

To help Sadya Pierre and others like her, Orange County Government launched EPIC, a program for English language instruction tailored to the needs of working adults in the I-Drive corridor in September 2022. Orange County’s I-Drive Community Redevelopment Act (CRA) Advisory Group that guides CRA strategy, had recommended an investment in English language instruction to support professional growth and retention.

Through this unique model, hotel and resort properties within the International Drive CRA were invited to extend the opportunity to participate in three cycles of ESOL classes to their employees. Rosen Hotels & Resorts accepted the offer and nearly 60 employees signed up, with some 100 more expressing interest. For their part, Rosen Hotels & Resorts provided space for the classes and paid their employees to attend as part of their workday. The classes were held twice a week for two hours.

“We were pleased that leadership from Rosen Hotels & Resorts stepped up to provide this innovative programming opportunity for their employees,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings. “It is rewarding to see these lifelong learners seeking to improve their ability to communicate and their eagerness to pursue professional growth in the heart of our tourism corridor.”

“I love my associates,” said Harris Rosen, President and COO

of Rosen Hotels & Resorts. “And anything that I can do to help them improve their lives, whether it be learning a second language or a new skill, I will enthusiastically support. In fact, at Rosen Hotels & Resorts, we make sure that our associates are able to attend the classes during their scheduled workday. We do this so that they do not have to worry about losing any pay while attending the classes.”

This week, the second of three phases of instruction will begin. Rosen Hotels & Resorts will extend the same benefits to the students by providing space and paying them to attend. UCF Global has set a capacity of 75 students so the program has room to grow as more resort employees show interest, as well as to evolve to continue meeting upskill demands for the area’s workforce.

According to Jennifer Haddad, M.Ed., Program Director, UCF Global Engagement, nearly 64% of the participants in this pilot program indicated better work opportunities as their main interest in the program. “UCF is dedicated to promoting broad-based prosperity throughout our community, and we’re pleased to help participants increase their earning potential while giving employers an incentive that can help to retain their employees,” Haddad said. “As a result, we know that the language instruction is a step toward the goal of supporting higher earning potential for workers and value-added retention for employers.”

UCF is collecting data on participant aspirations and challenges, and employer operational challenges, which will help the County design and implement a sustainable ESOL program once the EPIC pilot is complete. As for expansion options, the opportunity to make this program available to employees at other resort properties within the International Drive CRA area is still available.

“We would love to see additional hotels and resort properties offer these classes to their employees, and we hope more will get involved,” added Demings. “These kinds of public-private partnerships strengthen our community as a whole and can be valuable in providing upskill opportunities to our region’s talent force.”

For more information about this program, visit: www.ocfl. net/EPICPilotProgram.


16 Students Graduated from Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program on Jan. 21

On Saturday, January 21, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida hosted an in-person graduation ceremony – the first of the New Year – for its Culinary Training Program. Sixteen students were recognized for completing the 16-week course. Roberto Rivera Otero, Chef de Cuisine at Walt Disney World Culinary Concepts, was the keynote speaker.

An integral part of Second Harvest’s mission to fight hunger in Central Florida, the Culinary Training Program was introduced in 2013. Since then, more than 440 students have graduated.

The program is free to eligible students. In addition to learning hands-on food preparation and gaining kitchen training similar to the curriculum of professional culinary institutions, students spent part of their days in the classroom, learning career and life skills to help them pursue entry-level food-industry jobs. Graduates also receive occupational assistance and career matching.

For more information about how to apply for, or to make a financial contribution in support of, the Culinary Training Program, visit www.FeedHopeNow.org

Teachers of the Month:

Avalon Elementary:

Camelot Elementary:

Castle Creek Elementary:

Stone Lakes:

East River High School:

Timber Lakes Elementary:

Avalon Middle:

Timber Creek HS: Moss Park:

North Lake: Lake Nona HS:

Vonda Campbell

Chelsea Peace

Kathy Van Til

Amy Terry

Maggie Morgan

Timothy Casler

Maria Zaleski

Gabriel Holt

Flora Rodda

Karla Pullen

Cristen Krugh

Kiwanis Breakfast with Santa Pictures:

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