03/13/15 Home and Garden
Turn right at the cows.
It's true. To get to Valrico Forest, take the State Road 60 exit off Interstate 75 south. Go about 6 miles east, past hundreds of other businesses that line the congested six-lane road.
At Miller Road, right in the midst of this commercial strip sharing a block with a Speedway gas station and a Burger King, is a tree-dotted pasture on which a bunch of cows graze. That's where you turn....
02/13/15 Real Estate
Jennifer Bush's roots are firmly planted in Countryway. She grew up in the sprawling neighborhood of more than 1,500 homes on tree-lined streets that wind around ponds and small lakes just north of Old Tampa Bay.
So, it just made sense that when she and her husband, Jay, got married in 2009, that's where they would look to buy a house. With the help of her stepfather, Jim Sacarello, a real estate agent who also lives in Countryway, where he is chairman of the landscape committee, they found a perfect place — a 2,200-square-foot house with four bedrooms and a cozy back yard. It was perfect....
12/19/14 Home and Garden
Like an unkempt sentry with torn clothes and rotting teeth, the shut-down Belleview Biltmore Hotel stands guard at the entrance to the exclusive Belleview Island.
The ghosts of baseball legends Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio, railroad tycoon Henry Plant and the other former bigwigs who are said to roam the halls of the 118-year-old wooden hotel are the phantasmal neighbors of the residents that must pass by to get to their 31 multimillion-dollar waterfront homes on the 21-acre island on the Intracoastal Waterway....
10/17/14 Home and Garden
Lisa and Jeff Dressel were sitting in their hotel room waiting for the real estate agent to pick them up and show them houses for sale in the Tampa Bay area, especially along the Interstate 275 corridor between Tampa and St. Petersburg. It was 1994.
Jeff, a financial service intermediary, was being transferred from Chicago, and although the Dressels, at that time parents of two small children, didn't want to be right on the water, they wanted to be close....
10/13/14 Life Times
Comparison shopping is only fun when comparing the price of things one's heart desires — like a designer purse, a new car or tortilla chips.
Looking for the best price on life's boring necessities — car insurance, a washer and dryer, pool chemicals — not so much.
Same goes for the pain of having to slog through mountains of data and numbers trying to find the best Medicare Advantage or Part D plan. But, at open enrollment time, which is now, everyone 65 and older who wants health care (and enough money left over to be able to eat) must put down his or her head and ... Figure. It. Out....
09/22/14 Life Times
When you're a young boy growing up in Manchester, England, it's tough not to dream of one day becoming a world-class soccer player.
Tony Michaelides, a 61-year-old bubbly bloke with an alarmingly pleasant disposition and a thick British accent who now lives in Pass-a-Grille, dreamed of just that during his childhood in northern England. He spent hours and hours every day kicking around a soccer ball. ...
09/22/14 Home and Garden
There are few hidden pockets of remote, underdeveloped waterfront properties in the Tampa Bay area.
But the southeast corner of Tampa Bay, including Apollo Beach and its surrounding bay flats and marshes is one of those places.
And, when a job transfer moved Greg Seibert and his family across the state from Jupiter, they discovered it. Seibert, who sells medical equipment to hospitals, was reassigned to cover the territory between St. Petersburg and Naples. He could live anywhere in that stretch....
09/19/14 Human Interest
The first time 87-year-old Lorraine Edie saw color television, she was on it.
As a finalist in the ninth Pillsbury Bake-Off in 1957, Edie had been invited to appear on Meet the Millers, a popular Buffalo, N.Y., talk show.
Though her recipe for Whole Wheat Caramel Rolls didn't win, she still has fond memories — especially every year around Bake-Off time — of competing in Beverly Hills, Calif., for the then-grand prize of $25,000. This year's Bake-Off, the 47th (there was not a bake-off every year), will be held Nov. 2-4 in Nashville, and the grand prize winner takes home $1 million. ...
09/19/14 Life Times
The other day, I walked into the kitchen and noticed the cats' water dish was almost empty. I grabbed a glass out of the cupboard, walked over to the sink and filled it up.
I turned off the faucet and momentarily forgot why I had filled the glass with water. Then I walked into the living room and dumped it in a potted plant.
When I returned to put the glass back in the kitchen, I once again spotted the nearly empty cat bowl. ...
Two Tampa Bay area women are once again so close to winning $1 million they can almost taste it — or, at least, smell it in the oven.
Marie Valdes, 55, of Brandon and Anna Zovko, 81, of Tampa are among the 100 finalists who will compete for the grand prize money at the 47th Pillsbury Bake-Off on Nov. 3 in Nashville.
And they are also among the 45 of those 100 who are have been there before. Though it seems as if it would be a long shot to be chosen twice — let alone three times, as Zovko has been — out of the tens of thousands of recipes submitted to every contest, Pillsbury said, nearly half the winning entrants seem to know the secret of getting to the top....
08/25/14 Life Times
Jane Goodall no longer spends her days crouched on the floor of a rainforest studying chimpanzees making tools, raising their young or folding branch over branch to make nests in which to sleep high in the trees.
The 80-year-old scientist now spends 300 days a year standing at podiums, sitting in boardrooms, and addressing groups of people, young and old, about the importance of doing everything we can every day to preserve and save the earth....
08/25/14 Life Times
Doc was shopping for shirts and ties back in the Big and Tall department.
I was excited to help him — for about seven minutes. Shopping for men's dress shirts is about as fun as emptying the dishwasher.
"I'm going up to the makeup counter. Come get me when you're done, okay?" I told him as I went scurrying up to get my Free Gift with purchase, a marketing strategy so brilliant cosmetic companies do it on a regular basis. ...
Neighborhood Profile: Meadow Pointe, Wesley Chapel
Neighborhood Profile: Meadow Pointe, Wesley Chapel, Pasco County08/14/14 Home and Garden
When Thomas Wolfe wrote You Can't Go Home Again, he obviously didn't know Nicole Nodal.
The registered nurse and work-at-home mom grew up in Wesley Chapel so, after a short stint in New Tampa, the then-pregnant-with-her-third-child Nodal moved back in 2009.
She chose Meadow Pointe. It's not the exact neighborhood in which she grew up but it was the neighborhood in which many of her friends lived. It was familiar. She was home....
07/21/14 Life Times
My dad had a slight stroke — an oxymoron if ever there was one.
He's recovering from the cruel trick his 81-year-old body played on him, rendering his left arm and leg almost useless. Six months later, that hand and foot still seem to have minds of their own but the 6-foot-4 father of five with a heart of gold and a full head of silver hair will not be defeated.
When he reaches for something with his left hand, it's as if he's a human claw machine, his brain deliberating its movement the way in which one determines the direction to move the claw hovering over a pile of plush toys. When his hand hits its mark, it clamps on just the way the claw does....
07/21/14 Human Interest
Dressed in a blue Bike Around Kansas souvenir T-shirt and capri pants, Dianne Franz, 71, moves her 5-foot-9 frame gingerly about her tidy Palm Harbor condo.
The retired middle school teacher, originally from Long Island, points to a map of the United States that takes up most of one wall in her study. It's dotted from east to west and north to south with dozens of yellow Magic Marker lines — and that's what she wants to talk about....