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Lake Nona MARCH 2021



A New Hospital Close to Home









Photo courtesy of UCF Lake Nona Medical Center







YOUR BEST MOMENTS. At Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, we’re grateful for your

commitment to staying safe. And even in times of uncertainty, you can be certain of our commitment to your safety. As Florida’s leader in women’s healthcare, we’ll provide you with the highest level of quality, personalized and safe care — because getting the medical attention you need is important to us, and to you.


ULTRA-EXPRESSIVE | U N I Q U E LY B O L D Live Your Life in Brilliant Color





420 E. Church Street, Ste 113, Orlando, FL 32801

+ WHAT’S Inside

Contents | March 2021 Departments

Features 12



The partners at Abacus Life know that life insurance is personal property. They empower clients to make an informed decision about their policy.


4 Ways to De-Clutter Your Mind Now



DIY: Bunny Scrape Painting



Get the Dish on Nutrition for Your Pets



How to Keep Your Child Engaged in

Their Education


What to Expect in the Divorce Process



CFHLA Public Servant of the Year



How Your Garden Grows



5 Documentaries to Watch Right Now


ADVENTHEALTH FOR WOMEN CUTEST BABY CONTEST Get to know the adorable winners of the 2021 Cutest Baby Contest!





Top Private Schools in Central Florida



The Ultimate Full-Body, At-Home Workout



There’s No Place Like Brunch



My Chamber Family





One Heart for Women & Children



UCF Lake Nona Medical Center is now open, providing Lake Nona residents and surrounding communities with full-service healthcare.


From the theme parks to Winter Park, these three staycation ideas cover all that the Orlando area has to offer for residents and visitors alike.


A mother’s harrowing tale of her son’s decline into mental illness and signs to watch for in teens and young adults.

Web Life



Go online for stories and photos not seen in print.

• More stories from local communities • An expanded web calendar

Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021

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+ LETTER From the Publisher

Spring is a Time of


What a difference a year makes! Luckily, the spring season is all about renewal. We are so excited to bring you this month’s issue. As you flip through the pages, we feel it will inspire you to be more mindful, to de-clutter your mind and to continue to be your best self ever. This spring, life is truly flourishing all around us, and there is nothing that adds more joy to life than hearing the precious giggles of a baby. This year marks the13th annual Cutest Baby Contest, brought to you by Lifestyle Publications and AdventHealth for Women. What a blast our team had at the dinosaur-themed photoshoot inside the Harry P. Leu Gardens Dinosaur Invasion exhibit. You can meet this year’s winners on page 16. Thank you again for welcoming us into your home. We would love to hear from you on our social media platforms. So reach out and share with us how you’re celebrating spring in your community!

CEO/PUBLISHER Kristi Gomen kristi@karstmediagroup.com EXECUTIVE EDITOR Lyndsay Fogarty lyndsay@karstmediagroup.com DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL MEDIA & SPECIAL EVENTS Catie Moore catie@karstmediagroup.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Michael Feland Michael Caibio CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Tiffany Alrefae, Kimberly Blaker, Michael Brehne, Stina D’Uva, Christie Fogarty, Lauren Margolis, Jaclyn Rymer


Kristi Gomen Publisher



www.CentralFloridaLifestyle.com Lifestyle Publications is comprised of multiple editions, each mailed monthly, directly to homes and businesses throughout Central Florida. Lifestyle Publications is published monthly by Karst Media Group. Copyright 2021. All rights reserved. WINDERMERE LIFESTYLE, DR. PHILLIPS LIFESTYLE, METROWEST LIFESTYLE, WINTER GARDEN LIFESTYLE, CELEBRATION LIFESTYLE, DOWNTOWN ORLANDO LIFESTYLE, WINTER PARK LIFESTYLE, COLLEGE PARK LIFESTYLE, LAKE NONA LIFESTYLE, AVALON PARK LIFESTYLE, WATERFORD LAKES LIFESTYLE, OVIEDO LIFESTYLE, WINTER SPRINGS LIFESTYLE and CENTRAL FLORIDA LIFESTYLE are federally registered trademarks. Reproduction or use in whole or in part of the contents of this magazine or of the trademarks of Lifestyle Publications without written permission of the Publisher is prohibited. Lifestyle Publications makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of content published. Neither the publishers nor advertisers will be held responsible for any errors found herein, and the publishers accept no liability for the accuracy of statements made by advertisers in ads and/ or in paid promotional features. March 2021.

Proud Member of:

Follow us: • facebook.com/centralfloridalifestyle • instagram.com/yourlifestylemagazine • twitter.com/cflifestylemag A Product of Karst Media


Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021

A picture is worth a thousand words. Join us for The Picture of Health. AdventHealth and Wall Crawl are spreading joy through color and creativity with The Picture of Health, an interactive experience to help you feel incredible, inside and out. Every Sunday in April, May and June, admission to Wall Crawl is on us. Bring your phone, your camera, or use an on-site photographer to capture yourself and your family looking and feeling your best in a variety of beautiful, indoor photo environments.

To reserve your ticket today, visit WallCrawl.com/AdventHealth. FREE every Sunday in April, May and June, compliments of AdventHealth Medical Group!

Tickets are required for entry and must be reserved online in advance.


Wall Crawl 1016 West Church Street Orlando, FL 32805

+ LIVING Mindfully


Ways to De-Clutter Your Mind Now

Use these tips to free your brain of overwhelming thoughts, tasks and information so you can be more productive throughout the day. By Lyndsay Fogarty


ave you ever been in the middle of something when you think of a task you forgot, leading you to another project? Then you find yourself stuck with several half-finished projects that you can't check off of your mental to-do list? When your brain is filled with clutter, it can be hard to focus on simple tasks. Here are some tips for freeing up your mind and staying productive.

Put it on Paper

When you feel overwhelmed with thoughts, tasks and information, writing it all down can help you visualize the bigger picture. Take some time each evening to purge everything that's been on your mind. Don't worry about grammar or spelling errors, and try to continuously write in the time you've allotted for this activity. Once you've gotten all of your thoughts out, take some time to review them and create a to-do list for the following day. Prioritize tasks for yourself and delegate others when you can. Also, put important dates and notes into a day planner that you can reference often. Hav-


Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021

ing your journal and planner as a back-up will keep your brain free of that clutter.

Manage Your Time

It may feel productive to multitask; however, the brain can't actually handle it. In "Brain Rules" by John Medina, the author notes that individuals who are interrupted or switch between tasks take 50% longer to complete a task and could potentially make up to 50% more errors. This is because the brain is wired to do one thing at a time. Try designating a specific amount of time that you're going to spend on each task. Don't answer emails or check your phone during this time, and push out any thoughts about the other items on your list. Once you're done with the task at hand, move on to the next thing. It takes time to perfect this strategy but it will free your brain of the clutter that comes with multitasking.

Avoid Information Overload

The brain gathers information through a variety of mediums that

seem like a normal part of the day. But this over-stimulates the brain and becomes clutter. Do your best to limit your screen time during the day and choose a set time to scroll through social media instead of picking up your phone all day long. Once you don't have a constant stream of other people's opinions and ideas coming in, you will find that your own flow much easier.

Do Something For Yourself Every Day

That doesn't mean sitting down for a Netflix binge or listening to several episodes of a new podcast that was recommended to you. Remember, you're avoiding information overload by being mindful of screen time. Instead, engage your body in a form of exercise that you enjoy, tend to your backyard garden or participate in a creative activity such as painting. During this time, put your phone away so you can truly focus on the task at hand and give your brain a break from the daily grind.


Do it Yourself!

Bunny Scrape Painting With Easter right around the corner, this festive craft is one that the whole family can do together. By Catie Moore

What You’ll Need:

• • • • • • • •

Bunny template White card stock Scissors Small paint scraper Stiff pieces of cardboard Acrylic paint in your favorite colors Colored glitter or glitter glue Large pom-poms

What You’ll Do:

1 2 3 4 5 10

Step 1: Prepare your work surface. Lay out newspaper across the table and have paper towels handy to wipe up messy hands and spills. Step 2: Print your bunny silhouettes out directly onto the cardstock then cut them out. Step 3: Squeeze small dots of paint onto the bunny silhouette, using as many different colors as you want. Make sure the paint dots cover the entire bunny. There’s no such thing as too much. Step 4: Starting at the bottom and working your way up to the top, drag the paint scraper across the entire bunny silhouette to distribute the paint. This technique pushes the paint away from your kiddos so they don’t get too messy. Step 5: Decorate with glitter and allow to dry completely. Then glue on a pom-pom for a bunny tail.

Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021


• • • • • • • • • • Promotional Feature • • • • • • • • • •

Abacus Life

Options for Your Life Insurance The partners at Abacus Life know that life insurance is personal property. They empower clients with the information they need to make an informed decision about their policy.


everal years ago, Matthew Ganovsky was contacted by a Windermere client who thought his $1 million life insurance policy had lapsed. Being diagnosed with ALS, he wanted to ensure his family would be taken care of when he no longer could. Through Abacus Life, a national firm headquartered in MetroWest that he built alongside his partners, Sean McNealy and Scott Kirby, Ganovsky changed his life. A review of the policy revealed that he still had coverage if he made a late premium payment. After Ganovsky walked him through his options, he chose to sell it for $440,000 — money that he was able to use to pay off the family home and set his family up for future success. “A lot of people don’t realize that their life insurance is personal property like a house or car,” Ganovsky says. “And like any other asset, it can actually be sold.”


Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021

• • • • • • • • • • Promotional Feature • • • • • • • • • •

Should I Consider Selling My Life Insurance Policy?

There are many reasons why someone would look into selling or liquidating their life insurance policy. It could be that the premiums have become too expensive to manage on a monthly basis. Or, an individual may find that they no longer need the coverage or that they could use some extra income (for example, to cover medical costs of a terminal illness). Abacus Life has developed a number of options to assist people if they no longer need or can no longer afford their coverage. These include selling the policy for all cash or even retaining a portion for their beneficiaries. “When it comes down to it,” says Ganovsky, “don’t ever lapse or surrender your policy without exploring the possibility of selling it.”

How Does It Work?

As a direct buyer of life insurance policies, Abacus Life streamlines the entire process for their clients. First, they evaluate the policy

based on the client’s overall health, medical records and premiums. Typically, the offer is two to five times the cash value of what the insurance company is willing to provide. When a settlement has been agreed upon, they write a check directly to the policy owner with no additional fees or expense. Ganovsky and his partners understand the delicacy of the matter at hand. That’s why it’s important for them to make the process personal for their clients and truly educate them on what to expect throughout the entire process.

Will I Be Eligible?

The average age of an Abacus Life client is 75 years old. The average policy is $1 million, though they can go as low as $200,000 or as high as $100 million. The best way to find out your eligibility is to call Abacus Life and share your story. With over 20 years of experience, they keep their clients’ needs top of mind every step of the way.

Are you unsure if a Life Settlement is right for you? Are you in the process of selling your policy and need a second opinion? Call today for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation!


Jay Jackson President & CEO

Sean McNealy Managing Partner

Matthew Ganovsky Managing Partner

BY THE NUMBERS • $200 million paid to seniors by Abacus Life in 2020 • $143 billion is forfeited back to insurance companies each year in the U.S. • 90% of seniors would have considered a life settlement if they knew this option existed • 76.4 million Americans will be of retirement age by 2020. • Only 1 out of every 10 policies receive a payout from the insurance companies

2101 Park Center Drive, Suite 170 Orlando, FL 32835 AbacusLifeSettlements.com

Scott Kirby Managing Partner www.CentralFloridaLifestyle.com


+ DID YOU Know

Get the Dish on Proper Nutrition for New Pets Use these tips to ensure that all of your pet's unique nutritional needs are being met so they grow into healthy, strong adult animals. Courtesy of the Pet Food Institute


s families continue to cope with changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, many are taking advantage of more time at home by welcoming a new puppy or kitten to their households. One possible reason for animal lovers expanding their households is the mental and physical health benefits from the human-animal bond. A library of studies shared by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute found that pet ownership can lower blood pressure, reduce feelings of loneliness or stress, and help manage depression. Before welcoming a new pet, even seasoned pet owners may benefit from a refresher on proper care, especially when it comes to feeding and nutrition. Dogs and cats have unique nutritional requirements, so their food must be carefully formulated. Puppies and kittens need more of certain important nutrients, such as protein, fat and key minerals, to grow into healthy, strong adult animals. If you’ve welcomed a new pet to the family, or plan to soon, learn how to care for its special nutritional needs with this advice. 14

Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021

Identifying Life Stages

Food labeled for puppies and kittens or pets of all life stages include different levels of nutrients than food for only adult pets. It includes additional sources of energy, such as protein and calories, to support rapid growth and development. Your veterinarian can help determine an appropriate time to transition your pet to adult food — usually when it's nearly full-grown. For kittens, that may be around 10-12 months. For puppies, the timing varies depending on size, with larger breeds taking up to two years to fully mature.

Understanding Food Labels

Pet food labels help shoppers make informed decisions about their dog or cat's food. Some key pieces of information include the pet's intended life stage and a claim of complete and balanced nutrition, which confirms each serving provides the proper levels of more than 40 essential nutrients that pets require. Labels also include a guaranteed analysis, which identifies a minimum or maximum of at least four nutrients: protein, fat, fiber and moisture. State regulators,

who read pet food labels for compliance, also review the package to ensure accuracy. In fact, pet food is one of the most highly regulated food products in the U.S. with oversight at both the state and federal levels.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Pet obesity can lead to health issues such as joint damage, difficulty breathing, cancer and heart disease, so helping your pet maintain a healthy weight is important. For example, consider how many treats you give your pet throughout the day. Treats can reinforce good behavior, keep pets occupied, aid in training or show love. However, they should be given in moderation, accounting for no more than 10% of a pet’s caloric intake. Pet food is formulated to provide dozens of essential nutrients that pets need in their diets, so avoid using treats in place of regular meals. Also know that sharing table scraps adds calories and many common human foods can be dangerous for animals. Providing your pet with the right nutrition early in life can help ensure proper growth and long-term wellbeing.

Now Offering Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy! Are you experiencing radiating pain into the arms or legs? This could be due to a herniated disc or disc bulge, sciatic nerve irritation, degenerative disc disease or spinal stenosis.

Call 407-395-8632

to schedule a new patient exam and determine if decompression therapy is right for you!



Get to know the adorable winners of the 2021 Cutest Baby Contest! Special thank you to Leu Gardens for hosting us at this year’s photo shoot. Check out the Dinosaur Invasion exhibit through April 18.

1st Place: Zeke


Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021


Proud parents: Allen and Lindsay Community: Sanford What are some of Zeke’s favorite things? He loves to dance! He will dance to just about any kind of music. He likes playing with his dogs, Flash and Diego. He also loves any kind of ball! What is Zeke’s most precious moment? One of Zeke’s most precious moments would have to be when he started walking at 9 months old. We were so excited! It seemed as if he skipped crawling and went straight to standing up and taking steps. Now, he is running everywhere! What is your favorite story to tell about Zeke? It would have to be the story of him being born. It was the absolute best feeling to be able to finally see him after what felt like the longest pregnancy ever. Everything, from the beginning to the end of delivery, was just perfect and it was something that I had been hoping would go just right. After meeting Zeke we felt like our family was complete and now we couldn’t imagine life without him!


2nd Place: Ayeza

Proud parents: Mahek and Fahad Community: Orlando What are some of Ayeza’s favorite things? Ayeza is very active and a fun-loving girl who loves to smile all the time. She enjoys building blocks with her older sister and brother, climbing on her little slide, and playing with her bounce and spin puppy. When she’s not playing with her toys, she makes TikTok videos with her siblings. Ayeza loves giving us kisses, which we can’t get enough of. What is Ayeza’s most precious moment? The most precious moment of Ayeza was when she pulled herself up to stand while holding on to our sofa and then she let go of her hands and was standing without any support for a few seconds at only 7 months of age. What is your favorite story to tell about Ayeza? Whenever Ayeza’s daddy comes home from work, she crawls very fast towards him and keeps following him until he picks her up and cuddles her.





3rd Place: Emerson


Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021


Proud parents: Jennifer and Steve Community: Williamsburg What are some of Emerson’s favorite things? He loves anything that makes a rattle noise, playing with cars (specifically the wheels), his ball drop and ball pit, laughing (especially with daddy), yogurt and his grandparents. What is Emerson’s most precious moment? The moment we got to meet him. We feel very fortunate to have had him a few weeks before hospital rules had to change. It was my husband and I, along with my parents, there to greet him as he made his way into the world and our hearts. We were all immediately smitten and have only gotten increasingly more so. What is your favorite story to tell about Emerson? Hearing his belly laugh for the first time. We went to a friend’s house for a socially distanced visit, and her husband was bouncing a ball to their daughter. This sound and action was absolutely hysterical to Emerson. He really is such a happy and giggly baby who still loves strange new sounds and playing ball himself now.

Cutest Babies Born at AdventHealth for Women

AdventHealth for Women’s Focus on Whole Person Care

AdventHealth for Women offers a whole person approach to health care that embraces women at every stage of their lives. The AdventHealth for Women care network includes four Baby Place locations and an extensive support network for new parents, including Birth Experience Coordinators, parent education, lactation services and more.


Our world-class physicians provide personalized expertise close to home. From well-woman checkups and mammograms to OB care and pelvic health, you’ll always have a choice of experts in a variety of specialties. And our specially trained Women’s Health Navigator helps manage your health throughout your lifetime by finding providers and helping to coordinate your whole family’s care. Our nationally recognized care is focused on delivering health care that is coordinated, streamlined and convenient. Learn more at AdventHealthforWomen.com.




+ EXPERT ADVICE | Education

Tips for Keeping your Child Engaged in their Education

Connecting with your child and keeping their education on track is easier than you think. By Tiffany Alrefae, Assistant Head of School - Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Windermere Preparatory School


eeping track of school work, practices, and playdates can be overwhelming. Therefore, staying involved is the key to ensuring that your child will continue to grow emotionally, socially, and academically. The tips below will help you connect with your child and keep them engaged in their education.

1 2

BE IN THE KNOW — Stay informed of what is happening in your child’s classes. Attend parent conferences and events. Connect with their teacher and school.

EXPLORE OPPORTUNITIES — Try new things. Provide your child with the opportunity to extend their interests beyond the classroom: trips, internships, activities, books, and games.

3 4

THIS JUST IN — Make current event topics a part of your daily conversations. Having discussions about national and world events provides a learning opportunity for parents and children. BACK IN MY DAY — Discuss your own educational experiences with your child and talk about the skills that led to your success at school and beyond.

These ideas will keep you informed regarding your child’s education and provide opportunities for your family to have fun together.

If you’re interested in learning more about Windermere Preparatory School, call 407-905-7737 or email info@windermereprep.com to set up a private tour of our campus.

Tiffany Alrefae is the Assistant Head of School at Windermere Preparatory School, a private college preparatory school educating students from Pre-K3 through Grade 12. Founded in 2000, Windermere Preparatory School is a member of the Nord Anglia Education Family of Schools and is located on a 48-acre campus in Southwest Orlando.


Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021

Legal Areas of Practice By our Team of Attorneys Administrative Advance Directives Bankruptcy Business Buy / Sell Contracts Commercial Contracts Corporation Criminal Employment Estate Planning Family Law Guardianship Litigation Last Wills Medicaid Powers Of Attorney Pre-Nuptials Probate Real Estate Special Needs Title & Closings Trusts Trademark

Estate Planning Wills, Trusts, Probate, Living Wills, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Directives, Pre-Need Guardians, Trust Administration, Pet (Animal) Trusts

Probate With or without a Last Will, in order to obtain assets, pay debts and taxes and distribute remaining assets to the heirs or beneficiaries, the deceased’s estate requires the assistance of an attorney to manage the court supervised administration.

Corporation & Business Law Contracts, Start-ups, Purchase or Sales, Corporations (Inc.), Limited Liability Companies (LLC’s), Trademarks, Copyrights, Franchise Agreements Kristen Jackson

Real Estate

Attorney At Law

Closings, Title Insurance, Sales & Purchases, Leases, Contract Review, Contract Preparation


Credit Cards Accepted

www.JacksonLawPA.com Offices: Orlando www.CentralFloridaLifestyle.com



• • • • • • Promotional Feature • • • • • •

What to Expect From The Divorce Process Although necessary, filing for divorce can be risky. Learn about what you will go through each step of the way. By Michael B. Brehne, Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, P.A


f someone asked me what to expect during the divorce process, I could simply answer, “Expect the unexpected.” Divorce, like most litigation, plays out like a game of Chutes and Ladders. You never know when you’re going to be lifted up or sliding down! You can also expect that things won’t always go your way. When you file for dissolution (divorce), you’re putting your life, your children’s lives, your personal belongings, your lifelong investments, your business and everything else that you control into the hands of a judge. The only opportunity for this person to get to know you is at the hearings. In most cases, parents can come to an agreement about time-sharing with their children, but they struggle with the financial issues of divorce. Other times, money means nothing and it’s all about the children. When couples can’t agree, the divorce case becomes more costly and protracted. A settlement can be reached in many ways. The parties can always agree between themselves about how to handle children and financial issues. This often occurs in the later stages of litigation when they realize that their life savings would be better spent on themselves and their children rather than on lawyers and expert witnesses. During the litigation, the parties will be required to attend a mediation where a mutually agreed upon thirdparty lawyer will listen to each side and try to get them to agree to all issues. At

this point, the parties and their respective attorneys will work toward a mediated settlement agreement that becomes the basis for the final judgment. When the parties cannot agree, the mediator cannot bring them together, and the attorneys representing the parties cannot convince them to come to an agreement, the case will proceed to trial. The judge will listen to evidence presented by each side, most often without ever meeting the children, and decide where they will live and with whom as well as their allowed activities, their school and more. The judge also makes decisions on alimony and child support payments as well as the division of marital assets. This could include a forced sale of real property or even a business interest if the judge feels the evidence

and equity warrants it. A judge once told me that he understands my client wants “A” and the other side wants “B” then assured us he was going to award “C,” which was something “neither one of us thought of or would want.” This was the impetus for the parties to seriously reconsider their positions and resulted in a settlement. In an action for dissolution, nothing is certain. These cases twist and turn based on the case’s circumstances and the personalities of the parties and the attorneys representing them. If you find yourself thinking about divorce, call the Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, PA and schedule a consultation for our best assessment on how to proceed in your particular case..

Michael Brehne has dedicated his 24-year career to representing injured people in motorcycle and car accidents, and represents people when their insurance claims have been denied. He has earned a reputation as a tenacious and skilled trial lawyer when representing his clients against large corporate defendants and insurance companies. He is also the author of “Watching Out for Florida Motorcyclists: Legal Rights of Injured Bikers.”


Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021


CFHLA Public Servant of the Year Each year, The Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association recognizes a community leader as the Public Servant of the Year for their dedication to the advancement of Central Florida’s hospitality industry. The 2020 Public Servant of the Year is Dr. Raul Pino and the Florida Department of Health in Orange County. This award was presented at CFHLA’s February luncheon on Feb. 18, at the Embassy Suites Orlando - Lake Buena Vista South. Taking into consideration the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19 in 2020, CFHLA recognized Dr. Pino and the Florida Department of Health in Orange County for their integral role in keeping the community safe and informed throughout the constantly evolving state of affairs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past year, Dr. Pino has been a constant presence and resource for the public. He has stood side by side with Mayor Demings, Mayor Dyer and many of our local elected and community leaders to keep the citizens and businesses of Orange County “in the know” as new information was discovered daily. Thanks to his collabora-

tion with our region’s leaders, Dr. Pino and his department helped to advise the recommendations and guidelines to keep local businesses open and operating and to allow the hospitality industry to continue welcoming visitors to Orange County safely.

CFHLA Board Member Jay Leonard, General Manager of the Wyndham and Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs Resort Area; CFHLA 2020 Public Servant of the Year, Dr. Raul Pino, Florida Department of Health; Orange County Mayor, Jerry Demings; and CFHLA Board Member Jon McGavin, Area General Manager, Grande Lakes Orlando.

Rocks the Promenade

Saint Patrick’s

Sunday March 21st



Free Admission



Third Sunday of EVERY MONTH 1:00pm to 5:00pm 2 Bands / Non-Stop Music


i schoolofrock.com www.CentralFloridaLifestyle.com



How Your

Garden Grows

Learn about what you should be planting in the spring season to make the most of Florida’s beautiful weather. By Lauren Margolis


pring officially starts on March 20, and that means gardening season is here as well. While you can technically garden all year-round in Florida, springtime is when many people prefer to plant beautiful flowers. It’s also a great time to start a vegetable garden. Here, Robert Bowden, the director for Leu Gardens in Winter Park, shares his gardening knowledge and tips for growing your own backyard garden.

What to Grow in the Spring Season

Bowden says there is a short window where the Central Florida climate offers favorable conditions to plant produce such as lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash and


Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021

beans in your vegetable garden. Your spring garden will last about two months, which is the perfect amount of time for these plants to produce vegetables that you can use in your kitchen. Once May approaches and the summer hits, Bowden says the intense heat and humidity will be too much for your spring crops.

When to Start Planting

Mid to late March, preferably after the last full moon of the month, is the sweet spot for planting spring vegetable gardens. At this time, the weather is favorable for producing your favorite vegetables ahead of the summer heat. Expert flower garden tip! Be sure to take out your winter flowers before planting your summer annuals. Bowden says this is important for your garden because the roots of your summer annuals need to be well established to start growing before the hot weather comes. If you wait to plant in the summer, the individual flowers don’t have the ability to get enough water and nutrients in the roots for them to flourish.

How to Make a Compost Pile

A compost pile is a soil conditioner that is rich in nutrients. Composting helps the soil retain moisture, providing your garden with the ability to grow healthier plants. As opposed to fertilizer, which feeds the plants, compost feeds the soil. It’s easy to make your own compost pile. Bowden says you can include any kind of organic material, including coffee grounds and vegetable stems. He suggests throwing your winter annuals into your compost pile after removing them from your garden so they don’t go to waste. However, avoid putting any type of meat or fat into your compost pile. When it’s time to transition your garden for summer, Bowden recommends cutting the plant off at ground level instead of pulling it completely. Over time, the roots will decompose and add to the organic matter. Whether you’re growing a garden of vegetables or pretty flowers this season, utilize these tips and make the most of the beautiful spring weather.

Welcome to UCF Lake Nona Medical Center:

Your new home for high-quality, patientcentered care UCF Lake Nona Medical Center is now open, providing Lake Nona residents and surrounding communities with full-service healthcare.


n late 2018, HCA Healthcare’s North Florida Division and University of Central Florida Academic Health celebrated a momentous milestone — the groundbreaking of UCF Lake Nona Medical Center. This month, the 204,709-square-foot hospital opened its doors to the public, providing full-service healthcare to Lake Nona and surrounding communities in southeast Orlando and Osceola County.

UCF Lake Nona Medical Center By the Numbers

Located adjacent to the UCF College of Medicine in Orlando’s Medical City, the full-service hospital features 64 inpatient beds, a 20-bed emergency department, four operating rooms, a cardiac catheterization lab, comprehensive imaging and laboratory services, and six private birthing suites. Designed to meet the needs of the growing community, UCF Lake Nona Medical Center has room to expand to 80 beds and is designed for future growth up to 500 beds. The facility has also invested in the latest technology to support superior quality care and patient safety, including systems to provide enhanced security, communication and patient experience, as well as innovative patient care and treatment options. The UCF Lake Nona Medical Center medical staff includes more than 250 physicians, including specialists in cardiology, colorectal surgery, gastroenterology, gynecologic oncology, infectious disease, nephrology, neurohealth sciences, OB/GYN, orthopedic surgery,


Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021

pulmonology spine and urology. In its first year, UCF Lake Nona Medical Center stands to create more than 350 additional jobs and is expected to serve more than 17,000 patients.

A Positive Community Impact

“The grand opening of UCF Lake Nona Medical Center is the realization of a vision that will impact the community for years to come,” says Wendy H. Brandon, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer. “Whether you need treatment for an acute injury or illness, or if you are seeking resources for advanced specialty care, our community can count on UCF Lake Nona Medical Center to provide high-quality, patient-centered care.” UCF Lake Nona Medical Center provides convenient access to acute inpatient care for adults in Lake Nona and surrounding communities. Previously, that level of care was only available in the area for children and veterans. Beyond expanded access, the new hospital opening is significant to Lake Nona due to the tremendous financial impact it’s poised to have on the community. To put it in numbers, the hospital will pay a projected $1.4 million in local and state taxes, in addition to providing an estimated $13.8 million in charity and uncompensated care in its first year. The opening of UCF Lake Nona Medical Center also creates access to new and innovative treatments not previously available in the area, like incisionless brain surgery to treat patients with essential tremors.

Educating Tomorrow’s Healthcare Leaders

“In addition to providing convenient access to outstanding healthcare services in Lake Nona, this hospital will provide important educational opportunities for tomorrow’s physicians and support the work of our UCF researchers seeking innovative treatments and cures,” says Dr. Deborah C. German, Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of the College of Medicine at University of Central Florida. “Today, we celebrate the next step in creating a healthcare hub in Lake Nona that will increase economic development and improve health for all.” Designed with education spaces and technology throughout, UCF Lake Nona Medical Center represents the future of medicine in Central Florida and will deliver outstanding training for tomorrow’s healthcare heroes. And because the hospital is part of UCF’s new Academic Health Sciences Center, it will eventually provide learning opportunities for UCF nursing, social work and physical therapy students as well. These students will be learning from community physician partners, as well as UCF College of Medicine physicians and researchers, who share the hospital’s commitment to developing excellent caregivers and finding cures. “With the rapid growth in Lake Nona, this community needed a hospital close to home,” Brandon says. “Our team looks forward to becoming more engaged in the region’s wellness and supporting Lake Nona’s commitment to health and well-being.”

6700 Lake Nona Boulevard Orlando, FL 32827 UCFLakeNonaMedicalCenter.com



+ ARTS & Entertainment

5 Documentaries You Have to Watch

From inspiring to shocking, these documentaries will keep you glued to the screen. By Christie Fogarty


ome documentaries are funny while others make you think. That’s why we enjoy them so much. Here’s a list of some of our favorite documentaries that you can stream right now.

“Some Kind of Heaven”

This documentary gives audiences a glimpse inside the manicured facade of The Villages, America’s largest retirement community. The self-described “Disney World for Retirees” offers a “pre-packaged paradise” for residents, with synchronized swimming, golf cart parades, and plenty of activities at every turn. However, not everything is as perfect as it seems. This film follows those attempting to buy into the retirement dream while they find their footing in the community. Where to watch it: Prime Video Why we like it: We get a glimpse into one of Central Florida’s most famous retirement communities that is right in our own backyard.

“The Devil We Know”

“The Devil We Know” follows


Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021

the story of Parkersburg, West Virginia residents as they discover that Dupont has been pumping a poisonous chemical found in Teflon into their air and water supply. Once they file one of the largest class action lawsuits in history, we see that it’s not only this small town that’s been affected by the dangers of corporate greed. Where to watch it: Netflix Why we like it: This eye-opening documentary opens the door to show the dangers of a common household product and the actions we can take to protect ourselves.

“Don’t F**k With Cats”

When a man posts a video of himself torturing and killing two small kittens, internet sleuths vow to bring him to justice. This three part docuseries follows the story of their investigation and the dark horrors that are discovered along the way. Where to watch it: Netflix Why we like it: This story shows viewers that while there are deeply disturbing individuals in the world, there are also brave individuals who will go above and

beyond to bring them to justice.


This film is based on Michelle Obama’s 2018 memoir of the same name. The documentary takes an intimate look at Obama’s life as she goes on tour to promote her book, focusing on her hopes, dreams and connections to others as she transitions back to life outside of the White House. Where to watch it: Netflix Why we like it: We get a rare and upclose view of Michelle Obama, one of America’s favorite First Ladies.

“Surviving Death”

This story explores near-death experiences, reincarnation and paranormal phenomena from both those who have experienced life after death and the researchers that study these experiences. The series is based on the 2017 book of the same title by journalist and paranormal enthusiast, Leslie Kean. Where to watch it: Netflix Why we like it: Everyone wonders what happens after we die at one point or another. This documentary gives us clues from researchers and personal stories.


Spotlight on

EDUCATION Take a Closer Look at Some of the Top Private Schools in Central Florida.


Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021


Foundation Academy Foundation Academy (FA) is a PreK3 through 12th grade private, Christ-centered college preparatory school that was founded in 1958 as a ministry of Winter Garden’s First Baptist Church. It has grown to include three campuses where educators teach fundamental subject learning and enrichment classes that foster creative learning to place emphasis on developing the whole child. Additionally, nurturing relationships with students and their families creates an environment where children feel emotionally safe while also opening their minds and providing a bedrock for learning. FA’s goal is to develop independent learners who reflect social, emotional and academic competence. “Our educators engage both sides of children’s brains by providing hands-on activities as a natural part of the learning process,” Angel Whitehead, principal of FA’s Plant Street campus, says. “Teaching methods that stimulate both sides of the brain keep students excited and engaged in the learning process in a more meaningful and fun way.” For older students, examples include practicing hands-on experiments in the science lab and, most recently, creating social studies projects to reflect the contributions of Black Americans in history. Younger students at FA’s Lakeside campus have the opportunity to learn STEM through planting seeds and participating in enrichment activities in its outdoor garden. Students in all grade levels, and across the school’s three campuses, participate in multimedia experiences such as art and music. Amanda Donaho, principal at the Lakeside campus, notes that the first seven years of a child’s life are a critical time because

this is when the right side of the brain, which is responsible for empathy, imagination and creativity, is developed. Combining a focus on the right brain while encouraging left brain growth through fun, engaging lessons lays the foundation for learning in the younger years. “Overall, students need exposure in a variety of teaching methods, activities that spark curiosity and time to play,” Donaho says. “This is what helps grow well-rounded individuals who love to learn and have compassion for the world around them.” Foundation Academy is more than a stop along the way in the educational process; it is an experience in learning that lasts a lifetime and beyond. FOUNDATION ACADEMY Plant Street (PreK - 6th Grade) 125 E. Plant Street, Winter Garden, FL 34787 407.656.3677 Lakeside Campus (Kindergarten - 1st Grade) 8464 Winter Garden Vineland Road, Orlando, FL 32836 407.204.9672 Tilden Campus (7th - 12th Grade) 15304 Tilden Road, Winter Garden, FL 34787 407.877.2744 FoundationAcademy.net




The Geneva School

The First Academy

The Geneva School, founded in 1993, provides K4 through 12th grade students with a Christ-centered education in the liberal arts tradition. Education is always about formation and discovery. The thoughtfully designed curriculum and commendable staff seek to educate the entire child: mind, body and soul. We recognize there is a calling on every life and take seriously the opportunity to educate a child so that he or she will confidently excel at whatever God has called them to pursue. Students at Geneva are involved; they can easily find a sense of belonging. Students perform on the dramatic, musical and fine arts stage; compete valiantly and with integrity on the athletic field; and seek ways to joyfully serve and encourage other students and those in the community. As they grow and experience accomplishments and challenges, this culture is one where those hard-won successes build confidence and resilience because of the supportive environment. The focus of a Geneva education is not simply what kind of student your child is now but rather what kind of person your child will be as an adult. While we firmly believe that college preparedness and acceptance is an important next step on a student’s educational journey, we also firmly believe that the goal of college acceptance is far too small for such an education in these formative years. Geneva takes the long view as we watch students grow in grace, wisdom and ability from young children into full-fledged adults. Education matters; it has the power to shape people and, therefore, cultures for generations to come.

The First Academy is a Christ-centered college preparatory school serving over 1,300 Central Florida students from preschool through 12th grade. Since its opening in 1987, TFA has continued to grow the academic, fine arts and athletic programs that have elevated its students to the highest levels of achievement and helped them develop the strength of character that leads young men and women to serve their own communities and across the globe. It’s the whole Royal package that The First Academy has to offer. TFA provides the strongest balance of accelerated academics and student leadership. With a 100% college acceptance rate, the teachers are certainly doing their part. “My daughter is excited to come to school every single day because she is excited to see her teachers,” says Laura Eitel, TFA Parent and School Board Member. “She knows that her teachers love the Lord and she knows that they love her.” Top reasons why Central Florida families choose and remain at The First Academy:

THE GENEVA SCHOOL Lower School Campus 2025 SR 436 Winter Park, FL 32792

Upper School Campus 1775 Seminola Boulevard Casselberry, FL 32707

407.332.6363 GenevaSchool.org


Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021

• • • • •

Customized Learning World-Class, Caring Teachers Individualized Pathways Spiritual Formation Student Leadership Opportunities

“They say it takes a village to raise children, and we picked the right village,” says Heather Howell, TFA Parent , whose children attend TFA’s Lower School. The First Academy provides a strong partnership with parents to produce powerful and effective leaders. Every day is an Open House at TFA - RSVP for a personal tour today! THE FIRST ACADEMY 2667 Bruton Boulevard Orlando, FL 32805 407.206.8602 TheFirstAcademy.org


Windermere Preparatory School Windermere Preparatory School is a PreK-3 - Grade 12 college preparatory private school that offers both day and boarding programs. Established in 2000, Windermere Prep nurtures students’ intellectual, emotional and social growth to prepare them for the ever-changing challenges of tomorrow. Windermere Prep is the only private International Baccalaureate (IB) World School in Central Florida and a member of the Nord Anglia Education Family of Schools. Its diverse international community prepares the next generation of global leaders through exceptional academics, athletics and fine arts. Students also benefit from collaborations with world-leading organizations such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), The Juilliard School and UNICEF. Windermere Prep’s global vision provides a stimulating and diverse learning experience. Students are inspired to research, develop and debate solutions to society’s biggest challenges. The school’s IB curriculum emphasizes critical thinking through a wide range of subjects in traditional academic disciplines while encouraging an international perspective. In addition to completing college-level courses and examinations, IB Diploma Programme students are also required to engage in community service activities, individual research as well as an inquiry into the nature of knowledge. The IB program offers a rigorous curriculum that prepares students for success in college. With course offerings ranging from standard, honors, advanced placement and IB levels, students work with expert college counselors to craft a four-year academic

plan designed to help them gain entrance into their first-choice college or university of best fit. The senior class had 100% university admissions with 41% headed to the top 50 schools. On average, Windermere Prep students receive acceptances around the world with over 75% receiving acceptances to tier one and tier two colleges, based on US News and World Report College Rankings. Windermere Prep’s Fine Arts programs showcase 100+ plays, operas, concerts, dance performances and more at the state-of-the-art Cypress Center each year. During the last school year, students received 33 Applause Award nominations. Athletic programs start in Pre-K3 with competitive teams beginning in grade 6. Over 74% of students in grades 6-12 participate in at least one of over 20 sports. With a full-time strength and conditioning coach on campus, athletes can perform at their highest ability while maintaining their studies. Windermere Preparatory School students are equipped with the knowledge, the desire to seek the truth and the fortitude to become life-long learners. WINDERMERE PREPARATORY SCHOOL 6189 Winter Garden Vineland Road Windermere, FL 34786 407.905.7737 info@windermereprep.com WindermerePrep.com











From the theme parks to Winter Park, these three staycation ideas cover all that the Orlando area has to offer for residents and visitors alike. Play Like a Tourist in Lake Buena Vista and Kissimmee Where to Stay

A stay at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort offers a relaxing getaway right in your own backyard. Leave the real world behind for a little while with a visit to the Mandara Spa for a rejuvenating facial, a relaxing massage or a mani/pedi. Also, book a private cabana for an afternoon spent poolside or reserve a tee time at one of the property’s golf courses. In addition to a comfortable, secluded setting, Four Seasons Resort Orlando offers amenities that appeal to guests of all ages. While you’re there, tee off on the golf course, splash around with the kids at Explorer Island Water Park (or relax at the adults-only pool), treat yourself to a massage at The Spa and much more. The proximity of both of these hotels to the Walt Disney World Resort makes transportation easy for a family theme park day or weekend.

Where to Go

Island H20, which is located at Sunset Walk in Kissimmee, offers an immersive and interactive experience for people of all ages. From water slides and splash zones to a lazy river and a private adult pool, there is something for all members of the family to enjoy during a visit. Looking for an outdoor adventure? Choose from a variety of airboat tours at Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures, including a sunset tour and nighttime expedition, where you can glide across the water to see Florida wildlife in their natural environment. Or participate in a challenging aerial obstacle course with zip lines and a ropes course at Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park.


Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021

Where to Eat

With an abundance of delectable dining options, as well as live entertainment and retail shops representing wellknown brands and shops with Disney merchandise, Disney Springs has something for every palate and for everyone in the family. Savor celebrity chef restaurants such as Frontera Cocina and Jaleo or local concepts like Wine Bar George and Polite Pig. From casual to fine dining and from indoor seating to open-air patios, there is something for everyone. Another flavorful option is Promenade at Sunset Walk, an outdoor entertainment district that hosts weekly special events and features a variety of restaurants. Try Capone’s Coal Fired Pizza for a casual mix of traditional and specialty pizzas fresh from an 800-degree coal fired oven. Or get dressed up for a night out at Estefan Kitchen, which features Latin and Cuban flavors with a side of live music on certain nights.

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ICON Park | Free Parking | 8375 International Drive | Orlando, FL 32819 | 407-601-7907

Whether you’re into family time, mealtime, adventure theme parks, or romantic escapes, these special packages offer something for everyone to enjoy during their stay at our beautiful Orlando resort.

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A Weekend on International Drive

Hometown Hospitality in Winter Park

Where to Stay

Where to Stay

Treat yourself to a luxurious staycation at Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel. Its prime location on Universal Boulevard is close to a variety of entertainment options and is within a short drive to SeaWorld, Universal Orlando Resort, ICON Park and more. Also, book a treatment at The Spa at Shingle Creek or a tee time at the Shingle Creek Golf Club. With a close proximity to the parks, DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld offers free shuttle service to SeaWorld, Aquatica and Universal Orlando Resort. The hotel is also just a 10-minute drive to Walt Disney World. If you’re looking for a relaxing staycation, make plans to enjoy the property’s two pools, on-site restaurants, fitness center, and, of course, a warm chocolate chip welcome cookie upon arrival.

Where to Go

For a full day of marine life adventures, plan a visit to SeaWorld. In addition to a variety of rides, the park is hosting the Seven Seas Food Festival, featuring food and drink booths as well as live entertainment, every weekend through May 9. Also, cool off at Aquatica or spend a quieter day in the water at Discovery Cove. At ICON Park, a 20-acre, walkable entertainment destination on International Drive, you can mingle with celebrities at Madame Tussauds Orlando; go under the sea at SEA LIFE Orlando; and take a spin on the 400-foot The Wheel. Other attractions include Arcade City, 7D Dark Ride Adventure, StarFlyer Orlando and the new Museum of Illusions.

Where to Eat

While ICON Park is known for its attractions, the complex also features popular restaurants such as Yard House, Sugar Factory, Tapa Toro and Uncle Julio’s, among others. A walk along International Drive will also come up with casual restaurants such as Mia’s Italian Kitchen and Cafe Tu Tu Tango or fine dining establishments like Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse and Oceanaire Seafood Room.


Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021

The Alfond Inn at Rollins, a 112-room, pet-friendly boutique hotel, is located in the heart of Winter Park. The property features a conservatory, a courtyard, an elevated pool, a fitness center and on-site dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner at Hamilton’s Kitchen. Be sure to check with the front desk for guided art tours to view The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art.

Where to Go

Paddleboard Orlando specializes in teaching firsttime paddlers how to navigate the water while standing up and staying dry. The company also offers paddleboarding tours across Central Florida. If you’re new to the sport, take a lesson on the Winter Park Chain, Butler Chain, Conway Chain or one of your favorite waterfront locations. Also, visit Orlando Science Center, featuring four floors of interactive exhibits, an observatory and a variety of learning experiences. Check out the Planet Pioneers exhibit through May 9 and save the date for Kids Night at the Museum on April 11.

Where to Eat

Winter Park’s Park Avenue is known for its wide variety of restaurants. When lunch or dinnertime rolls around, just take a stroll down Park Avenue. From a hearty Italian dinner at Prato to an American-style brunch with unlimited mimosas at 310 Park South, and everything in between, you’ll find something for every taste.




The Ultimate Full-Body, At-Home Workout Get in shape and feel good about yourself with this quick and easy workout.

By Jaclyn Rymer


hen it comes to your fitness goals, small, meaningful steps can make a difference. Maybe you don’t like going to the gym, you’ve gotten comfortable now that you work from home, or you can’t find the time to drive to the gym and back. That’s where at-home workouts are a dream. With three circuits consisting of nine workouts from the Healthy West Orange Carrot App, this ultimate fullbody, at-home workout can be done in 20 minutes. Be sure to rest for two minutes between each circuit.

1st Circuit: Arms + Cardio (3 Rounds) Tricep Dips (10): This exercise is an ef-

fective way to activate your triceps, but you also activate other muscles, like your core in this case. So although we’re targeting your arms in this circuit, you also reap the benefits of engaging your core.

Push-Ups (10): While pushups are generally sought after for their upper body strength, they impact quite a few muscle groups, including triceps, pecs, shoulders, lower back and core.

Jumping Jacks (25): This is an exercise you can take anywhere, and it’s so well rounded. They work your heart, lungs and muscles all at the same time and are a great way to keep your heart rate up.

Leg Raises (10): Though leg raises

2nd Circuit: Legs + Glutes (3 Rounds)

Wall Sits (30 seconds): How can

Lunges (10): A great leg and booty

workout, lunges also improve your flexibility and balance. By the way, they’re known to boost your metabolism, too.

Squats (10): Squats are the lunges’ side

kick. They help you tone your lower body and improve your balance, leaving you with one solid lower body build.

Calf Raises (10): Strong calves make for strong ankles, which helps to prevent ankle and knee injuries. This exercise is easy to do and is valuable for stability and strength. 3rd Circuit: Abs + Legs (3 Rounds) Planks (30 seconds): This is an incred-

ible core-strengthening and full-body exercise. They work your pelvic girdle, shoulders, legs, spine, rhomboids, trapezius and abdominal muscles.

sound like they’ll target your legs, they’re a valuable core-strengthening exercise. A strong core helps to prevent lower back pain! something so simple be so valuable? Wall sits target your entire lower body: glutes, hamstrings and quads. When done correctly, your abs also benefit!

Full-body workouts are functional and they translate well into everyday life. They help you build strength, prevent injuries, recover from injuries quicker, as well as achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Sometimes the hardest part of exercise is thinking of what to actually do, so my hope is that this full-body, at-home circuit can help get you started. Once you experiment with the HWO Carrot App, you can continue building your own at-home workouts, earning coins and challenging yourself as you level up in the app. While you prepare to embark on or revamp your workout routine, just remember, as Dr. Bill Sears said, “the best exercise is the one you’ll do!”

Jaclyn Rymer is a Winter Garden resident and National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC) who believes that a healthy lifestyle is a joyful and balanced one. She is truly passionate about helping her clients achieve sustainability and harmony in their own whole person wellness journeys. 38

Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021

Join us for an evening al fresco, social-distanced under the stars!

Hosted by Sample local restaurants, great wines, good music and support our community!

To purchase tickets go to: www.CorksAndForksMaitland.com


Contact: Bobby Neal at Bobby@VenueOnTheLake.com


A mother’s harrowing tale of her son’s decline into mental illness and signs to watch for in teens and young adults. By Kimberly Blaker


egardless of our kids’ trials and tribulations during childhood and into the early teen years, the furthest thing from most parent’s minds is that their young adult child may develop a serious mental illness. Unfortunately, it’s an equal opportunity disease that can strike even model kids who’ve rarely experienced a difficult day in their lives. The incurable brain diseases of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder combined strike one in every 25 people — typically as they enter adulthood. My son (who I’ll call Sean) was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder at the age of 19. This disease is the combined illnesses of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The first several years of his adult life were spent inside a living hell — literally. The early stage was marked primarily by delusions and paranoia: there was a government conspiracy against him, Li’l Wayne and Drake were writing derogatory songs about him, and pimps were trying to kill him. But this was only the beginning of a downward spiral. The first year of treatment showed an only mild success. Antipsychotics are relatively fast-acting, and if monitored, can be quickly adjusted or changed. Unfortunately, throughout the country, there’s a severe shortage of psychiatric beds, a lack of adequate federal and state funding for mental health care services, and laws as sick as those who are ill. So he was in and out of the hospital within days, still in psychosis. Further hindering recovery, he was allowed only one 30-minute psychiatric appointment per month despite having a severe brain disease. There are two broader problems with treatment for the SMI in America. These are laws and funding.


Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021

Well-intended laws were created decades ago to protect the rights of seriously mentally ill individuals. But legislators didn’t take into account that those with SMI are often unaware of their illness due to a symptom called anosognosia. As a result, those with SMI are most often unwilling to seek treatment. Mental health hospitals have shut down in droves in recent decades. At the same time, public funding for treatment has dwindled drastically. This has impeded the development of adequate out-patient services and housing for seriously mentally ill people. Important to note, new research indicates episodes of psychosis may cause more damage to the brain. The lack of timely, adequate, and appropriate treatment often results in each episode becoming increasingly more severe, reducing the likelihood of recovery. This had proven true for Sean. A year into his illness, he received a message from a game of Scrabble to cut off his ear or toe or to break a leg to save the world. In the middle of the night, I awakened to his blood-curdling screams. He had jumped 15 feet from a tree, fracturing his back instead. Just before this feat, he attempted, unsuccessfully, to silence the commands. He branded his arm with a fork, a scar that remains today. He was admitted for psychiatric care, but released within seven days with little improvement. Over the next three years, he was hospitalized with increasing frequency, always released within days. He was paranoid and lived in constant fear with the belief his family and friends wanted to kill him. He hallucinated that I said such horrific things to him as, “I’m going to chop off your

TAKE BACK YOUR HEALTH Part 2 + head,” or “I’ll bury you alive.” He spent nights awake sitting on his bed prepared to bolt if I broke down the door to kill him. A few years into the illness, the television told him he was Jeffrey Dahmer, and the President told him to kill me. My son isn’t violent. But statistics speak for themselves. Psychosis (hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia) often leads to violent and tragic acts by those who are otherwise nonviolent. It was a several day battle to get him hospitalized. But he was released in 3 days in the same condition. Finally, we got a little breather, though. For a couple of months, although his psychosis was still present, it had at least improved. But this often didn’t last. With Sean’s paranoia that doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and his family were trying to poison him, he often refused medication. Soon Sean took another downturn. He couldn’t comprehend real conversations because the hallucinatory voices were so overpowering. He carried on arguments with these voices, told news anchors on the TV to shut up because they were talking about him, and was angry with the Pope for something the Pope was doing to him. He repeatedly insisted he was traversing. As a result, there were two of him, or maybe three — and he didn’t

know which was the real him. He became confused and didn’t know where he was and often pleaded with me to get him home. I’d try to reassure him, “you are the real Sean, and you are safe at home.” It was heartbreaking. Finally, several years into my son’s illness, I was able to get his psychiatrist to put him on Clozapine, the gold standard for treatment-resistant patients. Although Sean still experiences mild psychosis and is disabled, he’s seen a remarkable improvement. But my son and I aren’t alone. This plays out for millions of seriously mentally ill people and their families dayafter-day, week-after-week, and year-after-year as loved ones spiral further into the abyss. In recent years, legislative proposals have been introduced. There’ve been some very small strides in changing laws to improve the care and treatment for those with SMI. Still, there’s a long way to go to ensure appropriate and adequate treatment for all the sons, daughters, parents, and siblings in America suffering from serious mental illness — and for the countless people who in the future who will be struck by this dreadful fate.




Signs to Watch for in Your Teen or Young Adult Child It’s often difficult to recognize SMI developing. That’s because many symptoms of these illnesses are also typical problems associated with the teen years. There’s no cure for schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder. Still, recovery is possible for many with these brain diseases. But early detection is crucial to the prognosis. Schizophrenia

With schizophrenia, the symptoms usually, though not always, develop gradually over months or even a couple of years. They show up as changes in behavior, thinking, and emotions. Changes in behavior may include: • Poor hygiene • Talking to oneself or odd speech • Difficulty with making or maintaining friendships • Substance abuse • Unusual facial or body movements • Unblinking vacant expressions • Trouble picking up on social cues • Threatening behaviors • Increasing isolation • Inappropriate emotional responses, like laughing at something sad. Emotional changes can be seen in: • Angry outbursts • Extreme moodiness or irritability • Severe anxiety and fearfulness. Changes in thinking might include paranoia: • Obsessing about the past • Visual or auditory hallucinations • Delusional thinking (illogical and nonsensical ideas) • Difficulty with concentration or following a train of thought • Trouble distinguishing dreams or television scenes from reality.


Bipolar is a mood disorder with swings to opposite extremes. It’s believed there may be a correlation between this disease and ADHD. There are a couple of forms of bipolar, one in which mania is more severe. The less extreme state is called hypomania. With bipolar, mood swings in teens can change in the course of just a

few hours or days. During adulthood, the swings can last much longer, for weeks or months. Depressive symptoms to watch for include: • Loss of interest in activities • Decline in grades • Difficulty concentrating • Prolonged sadness or irritability • Loss of energy • Change in sleep patterns • Change in food intake • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness • No longer experiencing pleasure • Suicidal thoughts • Anxiety, worrying, and anger The difference between mania and hypomania is primarily the severity of the state where mania is more extreme. Mania or hypomania can be seen in the following symptoms: • Decreased need for sleep • Elated mood to exaggerated optimism • Increased energy • Increased confidence • Extreme focus on projects • Increased physical or mental activity • Increased creativity or productivity • Increased libido to hypersexual thoughts and behavior • Difficulty concentrating • Inflated sense of self-importance • Risk-taking and reckless behavior • Racing speech and thoughts • Grandiose delusions • Hallucinations

Schizoaffective disorder

This disease has combined symptoms of both schizophrenia and bipolar. The symptoms, therefore, can be any combination of symptoms for the two distinct conditions.

Getting Help If your child exhibits signs of SMI, be aware that counselors and therapists often don’t have the educational and medical background to diagnose or treat these specific brain diseases. Seek an evaluation at a walk-in mental health crisis center or with a licensed psychiatrist. You can also consult with your family doctor, who can make a referral.


Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021


Our Foster Parents

Providing Hope to Children and Families in Need For children and teens without a safe, nurturing environment, the future can seem dark and uncertain. Foster parents provide a gift of a lifetime by opening their home and their hearts. Their ongoing caring commitment is critical for giving children and teens in need a chance at fulfilling their potential and enjoying a life of success. There is a great need for foster parents in the Central Florida area. Seek out ways you can support children and teens in foster care and assist those who have dedicated themselves to helping those in need. Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Florida is currently seeking potential foster parents to provide a stable and caring home for children in need, including survivors of sexual exploitation. Specialized training and ongoing professional support is provided for foster families.

For more information, call (407) 259-0056 or email FLFosterCare@devereux.org.

FLORIDA devereuxFL.org

+ IN THE Kitchen

There's No Place Like Brunch From savory or sweet dishes to savory or sweet cocktails, brunch has it all. These basic recipes cover all the bases.

Bloody Mary with Veggie-Infused Vodka Courtesy of Kelly Smylie, East Orlando

The Bloody Mary was originally made with only vodka and tomato juice when it was created in 1921. Brunch has boosted its popularity with modern variations including additions such as clam juice or infused vodka like the one found in this recipe. For the Vodka Ingredients: • 1 part carrots, peeled and cut • 1 part celery • 1 part yellow onion • 1 part red bell peppers • 2-5 cloves of garlic, peeled (optional) • Vodka of choice Directions: Fill container with vegetables (equal parts, about a quarter of the container for each one). Add vodka and cover. Store in refrigerator for 24-48 hours. Leave vegetables in container of vodka as you serve so the flavor doesn’t weaken.


Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021

Crab Cakes

Courtesy of Paddlefish Crab cakes are a versatile and savory brunch element. Serve them with a side salad for a lighter option or top them with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce for a take on eggs benedict. Ingredients: • 2.5 pounds jumbo lump crab meat, drained of excess liquid • 3 large eggs • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning • 1 tablespoon baking powder • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce • 1 heaping tablespoon English dry mustard • 1/4 cup mayonnaise • 1 ¼ sleeves Ritz crackers, pureed in food processor until fine • Canola oil for cooking Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine eggs through mayonnaise using a wire whisk until well blended. Fold in Ritz cracker crumbs to the wet mix until just combined. Mix in half of the crab meat, working until fully incorporated, then add remaining crab gently, care not to break up lumps. Mix until evenly distributed and form into 4 ounce balls. Heat 2 tablespoons Canola oil in a non-stick skillet on medium high heat. Add crab cakes and cook for 1 minute, then place on baking sheet and cook in preheated oven for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove from oven and enjoy your brunch!

For the Bloody Mary Ingredients: • 2 ounces vegetable vodka • 4 ounces tomato juice • Worcestershire sauce to taste • Hot sauce or sriracha sauce to taste • Pinch celery salt • Pinch horseradish • Pinch black pepper • Optional garnishes: bleu cheese stuffed olives, bacon, steamed shrimp, celery, marinated artichoke hearts Directions: Mix ingredients 1 through 7. Rub lemon on rim of glass and dip into salt or flavored salt. Fill with ice and pour mixture into glass. Garnish with toppings and enjoy!

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My Chamber Family Get to know the amazing and inspiring women of the West Orange Chamber of Commerce.


amily, as I have come to learn, can include those who aren’t related by blood or marriage. In my nearly 20 years at the chamber, I have come to appreciate the team as my family. I can honestly say that the women I spend the majority of my waking hours with know me better than most. We have all grown even closer because of the pandemic. We have endured good and bad times, moments of pure joy and laughter, moments of frustration, sadness and even anger, yet we have learned that as a family, we can survive anything!


Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021

These four women, Krista Carter, Carrie Wilson, Tracy Solly and Tracy Seebach are the best in the industry, and their tenure at the chamber ranges from 20 years to two years. Even though I’m the matriarch by age, Krista, our vice president, outranks me by tenure and is celebrating her 20th anniversary this month. Krista is so deserving of accolades as the number two at the chamber — my number one and dear friend. Oftentimes throughout the day, I call out to her for an assist on one matter or another and she never says no. She can put out any chamber fire because of her vast experience, unwavering dedication and calm demeanor. She is a graduate of the US Chamber Institute of Organization Management (IOM), a board member of the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals and a recipient of its 2015 Professional of the Year Award. Krista is also involved with the Rotary Club of Winter Garden, is a board member of the Oakland Nature Preserve and is a supporter of her daughter’s Girl Scouts troop. Another devoted mom, community volunteer and member of my chamber family since 2007 is Carrie Wilson, our director of events. Carrie

rose through the ranks and has been heading up the chamber events department, which has experienced significant change due to the pandemic. Nothing phases Carrie, and she has learned to accept change with ease, making virtual events a new norm. A graduate of IOM in 2019 and a member of the West Orange Junior Service League, Carrie is also a servant leader. Leader is the word that describes newer members of my family. I call them T-squared. Tracy Solly, our membership director, intertwines her background from the international hotel industry with our community. She delights in knowing her efforts positively connect businesses, and we delight in her tales of her homeland, Scotland. Tracy Seebach also hails from far away: Tennessee. She and I met years ago and both served on the Health Central Hospital Foundation before serving on the WOCC Board. I knew her work ethic and was thrilled when the opportunity arose to bring her into our family as my trusted executive assistant. The chamber ladies, each unique and talented, inspire me every day and fill the days with the values of family.


By Stina D’Uva



+ CALENDAR of Events ALL MONTH LONG March 1-31 Taste of Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Times vary Epcot Included in regular theme park admission 407.939.5277 DisneyWorld.Disney. Go.com The park will blossom with themed gardens, character topiaries, fresh spring flavors from around the world and live entertainment from Orlando area musicians.

March 13 AdventHealth Winter Park Road Race 10k and 2 Mile

7 a.m. Park Avenue in Winter Park 251 Park Ave. N. Winter Park, FL 32789 Entry fees vary by distance 407.896.1160 TrackShack.com For this event, the 2-mile race will be virtual and the 10k will be in person with safety protocols in place. Event benefits the Meridian Club of Winter Park Scholarship Fund.

March 17 Mighty Festival Unplugged

10 a.m. Raglan Road at Disney Springs $10 admission 407.938.0300 RaglanRoad.com This annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival features the best of Irish music, dance, food and drink. Seated guests only; two-hour time limit on tables. No gathering at bars or stages.

March 17 St. Patrick’s Day Outdoor Street Party and Celebration

5-9 p.m. Promenade at Sunset Walk 3251 Margaritaville Blvd. Kissimmee, FL 34747 Free admission SunsetWalk.com Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with street performers, lucky leprechauns, traditional food and beverage specials and live music by Herbie & The Gators.

March 20-21 The Music of Disney on Broadway March 5-7, 12-14, 19-21, 26-28 Seven Seas Food Festival

Regular theme park hours SeaWorld Orlando 7007 Sea World Dr. Orlando, FL 32821 Included in regular theme park admission 407.545.5550 SeaWorld.com Every weekend, through May 9, sip and sample your way around the world with exciting flavors and local craft beers, along with live performances.


Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021

March 13-14 Plant Sale

9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Harry P. Leu Gardens 1920 N. Forest Ave. Orlando, FL 32803 Free admission 407.246.2620 LeuGardens.org Spend an afternoon shopping a wide variety of plants directly from the area’s growers. Be sure to bring your own wagon or plant cart to carry your purchases. Face coverings are required at this event.

8 p.m. (also 1:30 p.m. Saturday matinee) Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts 445 S. Magnolia Ave. Orlando, FL 32801 Pricing varies 844.513.2014 DrPhillipsCenter.org Part of the socially distanced Frontyard Festival, some of the brightest Broadway stars will perform hits from shows like “The Lion King,” “Mary Poppins,” “Aladdin,” “Tarzan,” “Beauty and the Beast, “The Little Mermaid,” “High School Musical” and more.

AROUND THE CORNER April 2 One Heart on Fire Golf Tournament

7 a.m. registration, 8 a.m. shotgun start Falcon’s Fire Golf Club 3200 Seralago Blvd. Kissimmee, FL 34746 Pricing varies 321.299.4594 OneHeartForWomenAndChildren.org Proceeds will benefit One Heart for Women and Children’s mission of providing necessary resources for families as they transition through and overcome varying hardships.

April 11 Kids Night at the Museum

6-10 p.m. Orlando Science Center 777 E. Princeton St. Orlando, FL 32803 $70 members, $75 nonmembers 407.514.2000 OSC.org Youth ages 5 to 12 years old are invited to explore exhibits, experience enhanced programming, and enjoy dinner and a film in age-appropriate small groups to adhere to social distancing guidelines.



A Glimmer of Hope in a Time of Crisis How One Heart for Women and Children is offering a hand up for individuals and families in need throughout the Orlando community.

By Lyndsay Fogarty


he needs within our community have changed significantly in the past year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Individuals who had felt secure in their jobs were furloughed or laid off with no prospects for employment. Businesses were shuttered, some permanently. When Stephanie Bowman, founder of One Heart for Women and Children, saw the impact of this crisis, she did what she does best: stepped in with love and compassion for her neighbors. The College Park based nonprofit's mission has always been to provide vital resources to families dealing with varying hardships in their daily lives. The idea is that any helper can provide one or more of five pieces to a puzzle, which can be found right in One Heart's logo. This includes support, resources, community, faith and hope — we all have something to offer. During the pandemic, One Heart has been able to provide food for over 3 million meals to individuals and families in need throughout the community. Its food pantry is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Central Florida Lifestyle | March 2021

"Most of the families and individuals that have visited our Community Food Pantry are having to make the decision to either buy food or pay their rent or electric bill," Bowman says. "As we offer that glimmer of hope with love and compassion while they are walking this part of their journey, we are making an impact in their lives with fresh and healthy food for their family." Community partnerships range from individuals who donate their time and resources to grocery stores such as Publix, Trader Joe's and Sprouts that donate items in addition to allowing the nonprofit to purchase nonperishable items like meat, eggs and milk at a shared cost. This helps bring One Heart's food cost to $25 per family — enough food for an entire week. "We wouldn't be where we are without our partnerships," Bowman says. In this season of need, many people have been turning to One Heart for the first time ever, experiencing a "hand up" through the gift of fresh

food. Some have been former One Heart volunteers who were familiar with the mission and knew they had a safe space there. Others have been new community members from all walks of life and income levels. While there is always accountability for anyone who walks through One Heart's doors, they are never asked for their financials or turned away for any reason. An individual's previous job, where they live and what they drive has nothing to do with their current need. "The beautiful part of it is there is a place that people can come where their needs are met, but they also know that they qualify just by coming," Bowman says. One Heart thrives with community support. If you're interested in donating your time, talents or treasures, you can find more information online at OneHeartForWomenAndChildren.org. Also, follow the organization on social media at Facebook/ OneHeartMatters, where current urgent needs are posted.


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