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Family-Friendly Activities to Celebrate Friday the 13th

Step over cracks, don’t walk under any ladders, and heaven forbid if you break a mirror. Doing these activities anytime is cause for some people to scramble back to their bedroom, lock their door, and cower under the covers. These superstitious folks would be even more dismayed if this happened today, Friday the 13th. This day has always been a cause of anxiety and fear, but it took on another life with the debut of the motion picture horror franchise by the same name in 1980. Eleven sequels followed, giving some an extreme fear of the occasion.

There are ways to celebrate the fear and terror that come with the holiday, such as taking ghost tours. Voted one of the top 10 ghost tours by TripAdvisor, American Ghost Adventures takes you on a spine-tingling tour of historic downtown Orlando. They will describe the tragic events that have befallen our ancestors to make their spirits restlessly roam the area. Haunts don’t confine themselves just to Orlando. Central Florida has plenty of areas that are known for their unexplained phenomenon. Tour the ghostly streets of St. Cloud, Kissimmee, and Palm Bay for proof of this.

For others, Friday the 13th is just another day. There’s plenty of family-friendly activities that will make you forget the “13th” part of today’s calendar, and focus on the “fun” Friday aspect. To still maintain a little bit of mystical elements, head to Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster for some delicious food and amazing magic. It’s a full evening of fun, food, and thrills equipped for all ages. There’s nothing that takes away the fear for a child more than a good intimate object. IKEA Orlando celebrates National Rubber Ducky Day from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with crafts, photos with the largest ducky you’ve ever seen, and fishing for ducks. For the older kids, head to the Orlando Science Center for the start of the technology showcase, Otronicon. This is an annual way for kids of Orlando to be reminded just how cool science can be.

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Exploring Orlando’s Low-Cost Medical Options

Today is National Pharmacist Day which honors the professional who is often the final member of the devoted medical team that’s attempting to get you healthy. It’s fitting that they’re part of the medical community because health care is something that’s on nearly everyone’s minds these days. Insurance plans are constantly on the rise, politically arguing in Washington puts coverage for millions in question, and prices of medical services and prescriptions are higher than ever. Worrying about health care does not help you if you’re already ailing, but there are inexpensive options out there, especially here in the Orlando area.

Grace Medical Home is a medical facility that puts patients above profits. This is often a buzzword-laden phrase that’s used to curry favor in the healthcare industry, but this Orlando-based medical home means it. Since obtaining its 501(c)(3) status in 2008, they’ve opened their doors to countless patients, families, and children within the community who are most in-need of affordable medical treatment. One of the tenements of their belief is practicing medicine in God’s image, and turning away no patient that can be helped because of their economic background. They accept donations and have volunteering opportunities.

One of the problems of our current healthcare system is that people without insurance go to the emergency room for issues that could more appropriately be diagnosed and treated by a family doctor. This clogs up ERs and reduces the amount of time that can be spent on the patients that are in most need of attention. With 30 locations in Central Florida, and growing, Centra Care offers an alternative to ER visits with affordable medical care services. You can have non-life threatening issues addressed including broken bones, infections, stomach issues, and more. Once you’ve received a prescription to begin to mend, you could be in for sticker shock. Many pharmaceuticals are priced exceptionally high, even for those that carry insurance. Some Central Floridians may not be aware, but Publix offers an extensive list of free prescriptions ranging from blood pressure medicine to 14-day antibiotics. No one should go into debt because they want to feel better. Using these resources can help to avoid this no-win situation.

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When Everything Else Is Closed, Orlando Leaves the Lights On

The gifts have all been opened, you’ve stuffed yourself on some of the finest food you’ve had all year, and your mandated two to three holiday snoozes have been exercised. Now what? For many families, staying at home and being together is their timeless Christmas tradition. So, nothing more is needed. Still, for others who want to leave home to make indelible holiday memories together, going out is a must. In many places in the US, this can be a problem as most establishments shut their doors on Christmas Day. Since we live in one of the most iconic tourist spots in the world here in Orlando, you have plenty of options should you choose to venture out.

If you have no culinary skills whatsoever, and would be relegated to hot dogs and potato chips for your holiday meal if you couldn’t find an open establishment, many of Orlando’s finest restaurants open their doors to Christmas Day revelers. Don’t think of this as the final scene from “A Christmas Story,” these are truly some of the best dining options in Central Florida. If you’re feeling like giving your Christmas dinner an Italian feel, come out to Christini’s Ristorante Italiano. Located near International Drive and Sand Lake Road, this would be the perfect final stop if you’re headed to Universal or Sea World for the day. If your destination is a Disney park, think about visiting Celebration. Not only can you be part of their nightly snowfall, you can enjoy some fine, Spanish and Cuban cuisine at Columbia Restaurant.

If you eat dinner early and want to find an evening activity, think about heading up I-95 to witness the majesty of St. Augustine’s famous Night of Lights. It’s hard to find a more incredible light display, something that was agreed upon by National Geographic, who named this holiday display one of the 10 best in the world. For some family-appropriate fun and games, head to The Firkin and Kegler Entertainment Center. With arcade games, billiards, simulated golf, and more, there’s something for everyone there. This is just a snapshot of all that Orlando has to offer. If you’re venturing out today, enjoy. Have a very Merry Christmas and a tremendously Happy Holidays!

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Hair It Is, Your Last Chance for a Great Hair Day On Christmas

Today is Christmas Eve, but it’s not too late to get a new hairstyle, an enhancement to your current look, or a clean shave. Several area barbershops and salons are open today, and will be open into next week to get you the look you crave for the start of 2017. For the ladies, Passion Hair Design, along East Colonial in Orlando, has experienced hair stylists devoted to your every need. Whether you’re seeking hair extensions, straightening, or any other hair-related service, they’ll be there for you. Open today until 2:00 p.m., Winter Park Village Salon not only provides you with hair styling from one of 22 stylists, ensuring minimal waiting time, they can also give you pedicures and manicures.

Located in College Park, Firefly Salon specializes in Wella Hair Color and professional makeup. This will allow you to look like a new person at your next holiday party. Located on Edgewater Drive, Alchemy Hair Salon takes the whole salon experience and makes it suitable for the whole family. Since everyone needs hair styling, this establishment offers cuts, styling, and color, allowing you to skip the multiple hair-related stops for mom, dad, and kids. Speaking of kids, to get them looking their holiday best for pictures that will last a lifetime, head to Glamour Kids Braids. Located along International Drive, they can create braids for ages three and up.

Family hair adventures are great, but sometimes a guy just needs the comfort of the traditional red, white, and blue barber pole. There are countless excellent barber options in Orlando, including J Henry’s Barber Shop. This place is known throughout Central Florida for creating some of the best fades around, and is accessible from its spacious parking lot that includes plenty of room for the bike traffic that’s common in the area. If you’re looking for the works including a haircut, facial hair trim, and old-fashioned shave with the use of a straight razor, head to Liberty Barbershop. Located in The Milk District, if you want your beard cut to fine precision and detail, this is the place for you.

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Celebrate Christmas Eve Eve With Family Fun

T’was the night before the night before Christmas, when all through the house, the family was incredibly bored. With most area kids off school for the entire week leading up to Christmas, there might be some cabin fever setting in. If you aren’t preparing for holiday dinners, wrapping gifts, or (gasp) still shopping, what’s there to do for family fun on the day before Christmas Eve, also known as Christmas Eve Eve/Festivus?

Hosted by No steeples, an organization that reminds everyone that church is more than just a building, families can enjoy a celebration of winter (by Orlando standards) at the 8th Annual “I CAN’T WAIT 4 CHRISTMAS EVE” event. Families will gather to sing Christmas carols and savor hot cocoa while learning about the true meaning of the season. You’ll also discover ways of bringing joy into your home during the holidays. This event, which runs from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., is sure to make every grinch’s heart grow three sizes and help every Scrooge embrace the day.

Over at Winter Park High School, Journey Church offers an evening celebration tonight from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. The featured entertainment of the evening is the telling of the untold true story known as “The Night AFTER Christmas.” This represents the first Christmas event for one of the newest churches in the Orlando area. Journey Church was founded this past September, and invites you and your family to join and help to forge the future of the new organization. In addition to the show, there will be cookies and milk (if Santa doesn’t get to them first), interactive coloring books for kids, and lots of laughter. So, enjoy some pre-Christmas family fun and, of course, Happy Festivus…for the rest of us.

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Shop, Craft & Pop: Orlando’s Growing Pop-Up Phenomenon

Living in the internet age certainly has its pros and cons. On one hand, you can create just about any product, offer any service, highlight your culinary cuisine, and sell any other number of items that appeal to online shoppers. E-Commerce is popular these days because merchants can save money on the overhead costs of maintaining a storefront. This can be passed on to the customers through lower prices which can increase business, and (hopefully) increase revenue. Still, it can be tough to reach new customers by being an online-only business. For these companies, there’s now an emerging trend for new customers to experience products or services in-person.

This growing trend, known as pop-up shops, has become a phenomenon throughout Orlando recently. So much so that the Orlando Sentinel highlighted the practice in October. Usually how it works is a brick and mortar business will host the pop-up event at their location. Not only does this help the online business, it also brings in some new foot traffic for the hosting business that they may not have experienced without the pop-up setting up shop for a few hours, days, or months. If you’re an online-only business looking for ways to get a pop-up started in the Orlando area, there are plenty of resources on the internet to help.

There’s a lot of exciting pop-ups on the horizon within the community. On December 29, Winter Park’s Studio 18 will be hosting Divinci Glen Valenci Jr. For just $10, the man who’s worked with Grammy Award-winning Lauryn Hill can give you pointers on how to get your musical talents noticed. Ring in 2017 in style at W XYZ, Aloft Orlando Downtown’s bar. This New Years’ Eve party, hosted by Whats2Hot.com, brings together music, craft cocktails, and a pop-up art gallery. On January 7, Samba Brazilian Steakhouse welcomes nationally-known comedians to treat you to a night of laughs, Brazilian drinks, and tasty appetizers. Eventbrite can keep you abreast of all the latest must-see pop-ups throughout Central Florida in 2017 and beyond.

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Russian Ballet of Orlando Presents: The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker is a fairytale of a child’s imagination, dreams and excitement, as Clara ventures to different places, with her Nutcracker Prince by her side. Russian Ballet brings to life this traditional tale of the Nutcracker, turning it into an experience you are bound to remember. Our Nutcracker is focused on incorporating the community, interacting with our audience, and creating a family environment that every family can attend.

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As a young child, one of my favorite parts of Christmas was hearing Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite on my mother’s record player. Sure, presents were great, candy canes are sweet, and Christmas lights are beautiful, but nothing got me in the spirit quite like the Nutcracker. We would move all the furniture to the perimeter of the living room, and I would practice dancing, sashaying and pirouetting in my leotards, narrowly avoiding delicate vases and items precariously stacked on bookcases. My free wheeling dance moves threatened many delicately placed strings of lights and ornaments. I took ballet classes for a while, and wasn’t particularly good at it, but I truly loved dancing to the “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy” and “Waltz of the Snowflakes.”  Every time I hear the opening notes of the overture, I am transported back to that living room, during Christmastime, a child dancing and full of wonder and excitement. 

A lot of things have changed in my life since then, but my affection for Tchaikovsky’s classic Christmas ballet and its recognizable score has remained the same. The only thing better than twirling around my childhood living room to the “Waltz of the Flowers” is seeing it performed live, by real dancers! The dancers of the Russian Ballet of Orlando are a lot more talented than I was, so be prepared to be dazzled and taken away by the holiday magic on December 20th when they perform The Nutcracker.

In the classic story, the heroine, young Clara, and her nutcracker-turned-prince venture through a kingdom of sweet things and Christmas magic brought to life, eventually taking their rightful thrones in the kingdom of sweets. What better way to experience this Christmas story than by actually seeing it come to life, performed by young dancers fostering the practice of ballet as an art form! The Russian Ballet of Orlando is dedicated to helping young dancers build memories, character, and lifelong friendship through their program of classical choreography, fulfilling their mission of educating the public and preserving the traditions of ballet and the performing arts. Help them fulfill this altruistic mission by experiencing the magic together with friends and loved ones.   

Orlando’s Russian Ballet is giving me (and you, and everyone in Orlando) the chance to relive childhood and experience the magic of Christmas all over again, this month, on Tuesday, December 20th, at Calvary Assembly in Winter Park! And because it is such a special, magical, and unique thing, we want to share the joy. We are giving away ten pairs of tickets to our lucky readers.  You don’t have to battle any mouse armies, fight bees, or travel to distant, magical lands, either, my sweet sugar plum! All you have to do to qualify is like or comment on this article! So, take a brief break from inhaling the scent of pine from your Christmas tree, and put that steaming mug of hot chocolate down for just a second, because now’s your chance to win those free tickets!

Bring a date, a spouse, your kids, your friends, or your parents, and don’t miss this opportunity to share the holiday spirit with those you care about, and support the performing arts in Orlando! Tickets to The Nutcracker are a perfect pre-Christmas gift for that special someone to show how much you care about making this holiday season truly magical. Make memories that will last a lifetime this Christmas, and enjoy the heavenly sweet sounds of Tchaikovsky’s most loved ballet.

Just in case you missed the giveaway, you can pick up tickets here: https://www.tututix.com/client/russianballetorlando/. Don’t miss the chance to make this Christmas truly special, and to support our vibrant and dedicated performing arts communities here in Orlando. The show is on December 20th at Calvary Assembly in Winter Park, and starts at 7pm.    

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The only fun thing about divorce, seems to be its fictionalization. Drama can be fun when you’re not paying for it. Being entrenched in the process, is complicated and costly, and you might as well get a law degree and pass the bar, for all the education you’re going to need to efficiently complete the process.

Even without mutual children, or property, and with both parties in agreement, attaining a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage starts at approximately $450-500. The majority of that cost goes towards filing fees, and they’re unavoidable.

That being said, a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage is the closest, legal process, that you can get to an amicable parting and is composed of the following elements:

-Both parties agree to the use of this form of dissolution proceeding.

-There are no children adopted or otherwise, under the age of 18

-Neither party is pregnant.

-At least one of the parties has lived in Florida for the past six months.

-The parties have agreed on the division of all of their property (assets) and obligations (debts)

-Neither party is seeking alimony

-Both parties agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken.  

In this scenario, there are two players: the petitioner and the respondent. The petitioner files for divorce with the clerk of court:

Filing

A copy of the filing is given to the respondent, to which the respondent files an answer within 20 days.  That’s it!

But many divorces do not go simply.

Though the rise in amicable parting, also known as conscious uncoupling, gained traction with the division of Chris Martin from Gwyneth Paltrow, it is not the path that most humans take. Dissolutions of marriage in Florida see a very high causation by domestic violence

If it’s not simple, or property and/or children are involved, there is a free ½ hour consultation, where you can get your footing on how to proceed:

Consultation

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How to Get Out of this World on National Red Planet Day

It’s National Red Planet Day! The first time we saw Mars, was on this day in 1964, when NASA’s Mariner 4 transmitted images of the fourth planet from the sun, back to the third.

In addition to our proximity to the Space Coast, Orlando has a few really out of this world opportunities to discover more about  Mars:

Besides being National Red Planet Day, it is also Cyber Monday, and the Orlando Science Center is offering 15% off memberships today only.

If you take advantage of this opportunity, you can head directly to the Science Station Space Base on Level Four of OSC to explore Mars in Virtual Reality . Or visit Florida’s largest publicly accessible refractor telescope, at the Crosby Observatory. Check schedules to view other galaxies, moons, nebulas.

And if you have a free weekend to make it to Cape Canaveral, or Sanford, Eastern Florida State College and Seminole State College are homes to planetary experiences. From public telescopes, to meetings of amateur astronomical societies, all ages are welcome!

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