Florida. The Art-Deco Heaven.

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So the travels have begun with a long (very long) drive to Florida from Galveston Island. In Joe’s little car with no A/C. So much for my start back to life on wheels after five and a half years of car-free living. Florida is a place that I have been in and out of a few times for equestrian related things in my long ago past but I never really got to see it and never have I been to Hollywood or Miami where I’ve been able to go this Spring/Summer.

We started here to pick up the RV that Joe and I will begin our American Road Travels in, as well as to visit, while there, some of his family.

I was also getting to see Florida with the new eye’s of a traveling tourist rather than work or mission.

And I’m in love.

Art-Deco ANYTHING is my favorite…my love…my choice in all. And so of course the houses, the cute little motels all over the place…even the frickin trailer parks have grabbed my heart here.

Joe thankfully is all about the get out on foot travel and that we have done. But the sun shines very bright and the heat itself isn’t felt long before the sun exhaustion is…so we also end each day rather tired…simply worn out. Even our feet hurt, but we’ve had so much incredible joy walking for hours and hours among these buildings, these houses (many mid-century as well so a double whammy of perfect love.)

The water here is blue blue blue and the way much is built for walkable living….the artistic community…the food trucks and oh. my. gosh the most amazing food and restaurants and so unbelievably cheap but GOOD….ok, the list grows of why I have played with the idea of just staying here. In any case….I will forever have Florida on the map to come back to…and we haven’t even done the Keys yet! Not even Hemingway’s house yet! There is so much more to do!

On this trip I have lost about half of my pictures sadly but as I said, there is still more time and so I hope to be able to recapture some of those as well as much more new.

I have been utterly fascinated with Cuban food (Can’t wait for an actual trip to Cuba) and the fact that Florida is SO preserved! The historic Art-Deco entire cities and the houses are in great shape, and for such a hurricane hit state, too. I mean, coming from Galveston, this is a big deal. I truly think that Galveston should check out the preservations processes here.

Another item I have been absolutely in love with and just can’t get over is all the greenspace and trees and grass area’s and the lay out of places, such as Miami beach. Ok ok, I am comparing Galveston a lot but seriously…the beach, the park space, the baordwalks, the restaurants, shops, hotels and the houses are laid out in such perfection that this is truly a city to take note and example of. PEOPLE. Especially in the size of space and amount of people…this state really knew how to build for the people and for growth while keeping comfort and beauty.

Hollywood is very much a mix of Burbank, California and Galvesto Island, Texas in a way.

The one thing I see a lack of and am pretty surprised at is the bike community, but much of it is car-free still. Where I am staying, in Hollywood, I am smack dab in the heart of Down Town and there are about a hundred restaurants at my feet. I’ve eaten three meals out daily and have yet to be able to have bee to all of them. And the gelato is not helping bikini season at 500. There are parks and grocery store and library all in walking distance and the beach is less than a mile and a half away but an easy walk or a hop on the trolley (bus style…again, Galveston take note for the bringing back of the island trolley) take care of that, too.

http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2015-02-20/10-great-art-deco-cities-you-might-not-know-about/1 Doesn’t even name Miami in this top 10 list but it is apparently the largest area of Art-Deco in America. On the list I have been to 5 out of 10 and it is a pretty good list that I hope to finish the next five of but in the meantime I am super happy that I decided to come to Florida and see a state that I seriously never had given thought to…and was very very wrong to have done so. Especially in my love of certain types of architecture. Not to mention food. And art…and….oy. Florida.

I will talk much more but in the mean time…here is a thousand words in each picture of simply gorgeous Art-Deco architecture.

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Florida. Livable Community.

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So my travels have begun with Florida. Florida is a place that I have been in and out of a few times for equestrian related things in my long ago past but I never really got to see it and never have I been to Hollywood or Miami where I’ve been able to go this Spring/Summer. Btw, anybody know any ideas on natural safe sunblock? I can’t stand slathering cancer causing chemicals on my skin only to prevent cancer but even staying covered up my skin is needing it here.
I am meeting family and playing tourist and living the food, art, walkability, of the community.

I am still surprised not to see much of a biking community here (In Hollywood area mostly) though the traffic, round abouts roads and such are a little scary. Though Miami Beach and St. Augustine, Florida are listed on Wikipedia as car-free communities in the world. And I have found Hollywood and Miami Beach to be incredibly walkable with a decent pubic transport. The grocery is easier and closer to get to than Galveston for me and the sidewalks and safe neigborhoods give me no reason to see why you couldn’t live car-free here.

The Street list’s Miami as a car-free place to retire.
But not everybody likes the Heat either.
I am a huge fan of both mid-century and art-deco architecture and living by the water. The water ways here are so awesome and the way it is but and laid out is just really…well thought I think. There are more yachts then boats and the amount of sailboats has me swooning.

I have lost some of my pictures from this trip but will take some more. Frankly I can’t get enough. It is so sunny and pretty here and the entire state seems to well thought out. From living young or retired to vacation and tourism to shops, Entertainment and restaurants and parks and greespace and on the water life and fun.

The food is very affordable. I have been really surprised, though Joe keeps reminding me that I live on what we call “Island Prices” back in Galveston. In one other comparison is how different the menu’s are from restaurant to restaurant and in a two bock radius there are no less than forty restaurants. The island really offers very little in type and then on top of that the problem there is that each place has the same menu…and usually even the same cooks who have rotated around to each place. Small town living. Sigh. I am not trying to bash but there it is.I love it. Sometimes I want to fix it. Like a bad relationship.

Joe and I have loved it here and got really interested in the thought of investing in a home here. We are still looking into that and I am still trying to figure out why so many homes are in foreclosure but also something about not being forced to move once you are? Not sure so if anybody can shed some light that would be great. Aside from foreclosure we are finding beautiful homes for half the price they would be on the island. Not bad at all…and swoon…many mid-century or art-deco ! And pools!

I’ve been a bit surprised by having read that a lot of people say that there is no diversity here….as in no Asian or Indian, very little African-American or black and mostly Spanish. I have found a wide variety of Spanish from all kinds of places (Cuba being only one) and a lot of Jamaican and Thai and even Indian (maybe not as much in restaurants is all.) Though Spanish is probably the heaviest of all of those it seems pretty even with white. Of course for me I change and travel to a lot of places and each place will be heavier in one or two than another so it doesn’t freak me out or even bother me. It just seems to be a heavy topic when looking things up about Florida on the www and an observation.

And how I love the Cuban’s for the food….my heart belongs to the Cubano sandwich.
BTW, a really cute recommended movie is the Chef , but be ready to be hungry is you watch it. It’s on Netflix.
I AM very pleasantly surprised at the huge artistic community that Florida offers, especially in the Hollywood area. There are Artwalks here and not far there is a (soon to be visited) Artist Lofts of Artspace. The parks and greenspace really blows me away…and the tree’s ! It’s very family friendly here but seemes a very bend of young and single, older and retired, lower and very upper class, family and children, business and art. I am still hunting out some live local music spots that aren’t about and for the tourists.

We haven’t headed to the keys yet and are actually planning to come back in winter for that and head up to Chicago before snow weather happens. But there is still so much more to see in Florida and cant do it all in one trip.

The trailer home parks and tiny old motels still fascinate me. The historic preservation . Especially in a hurricane hit state.
The colors…oh my…the colors.

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Morning Meditation

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I was doing a piece on color and the brain and thought back to what colors have meant to me in my life journey.

My absolute favorite color has always been green. I loved the color of new life and spring. When the brown and bare woods suddenly flourished and the fields of grass waves from a dull winter brown to a vibrant alive green.

After my divorce I suddenly was attracted and pulled to the color orange so strongly it would take my breath away. I had previously not only wasn’t fond of orange but had even hated the color other than when in a sunset. I began finding my eye seeking the color out however, or coming across it as if by accident. Suddenly it was everywhere and I wanted to be where it was.

The day that I went to see a loft for rent which had an orange front door, however, I chose to look into why a color I had once disliked was now something I couldn’t get enough of. It turns out that the color orange…not green…is the color of new beginnings. A new start, more than green, of new life not that of birth. Fitting.

Ever since then I listen to what color has started pulling me toward it since.