20 Things You Have To Do In Central Florida This Summer

20 Things You Have To Do In Central Florida This Summer

No summer 2017 bucket list can be complete without a cat cafe. Yes, you heard me correctly.
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Whether you consider Orlando the Home of the Mouse or the City Beautiful, you are in for a real treat, because summer is approaching fast and it is the best time of year to experience both aspects of this Central Florida city. Theme parks upgrades, new restaurants, and the subtropical weather give you endless possibilities for things to do this summer. If you want the ultimate local experience in Orlando, here are 20 things you need to try this summer that combine the newest additions of 2017 with some of the city's unique classic activities.

1. Pandora: World of Avatar (open May 27, 2017)

Walk into the vibrant alien land of Pandora, from the captivating James Cameron movie Avatar, and see a different side of nature.

2. Volcano Bay (open May 25, 2017)

Talk of Universal's newest water park has been all the rage since the classic Wet 'n' Wild shut down. We're all excited to cool down in this hot addition to the Universal family.

3. Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

If you missed Jimmy Fallon while he was in town, don't worry... You can always feel like your with him now that he has his own ride at Universal. But, Jimmy, if you read this, please come back to Orlando soon!

4. WhirlyDome

Enjoy a drink while playing a sport on bumper cars, or test your skills in laser tag... How can you pass up an opportunity like that?!

5. Forever Florida (St. Cloud)

Zipline 1000 feet through Florida conservation land, or take a horseback ride back in time on an original 1800s trail ride.

6. Wekiva Island (Longwood)

If you are looking for a laid back afternoon in the water, this is the perfect place to bring some floaties and your friends. This Wekiva River hot spot also has events, corn hole, a bar, and canoes and kayaks to rent.

7. Orlando Watersports Complex

If you don't have a boat to practice some sweet jumps on a wake board, just go down to the cable park and ride (or in my case, learn to ride).

8. Paddleboard Orlando

Practice balance and strength all in one while having fun in the water. PBO offers serveral locations to rent boards and go on tour, and they hold sunset paddles that allow you and your puppy pal to enjoy a refreshing ride at the end of the day.

9. Lake Baldwin Park

This park in one of the cutest neighborhoods of the city allows your dog to cool off in the water when the walk gets too hot.

10. Orlando Farmer's Market

Every Sunday you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of Lake Eola in the heart of downtown Orlando while checking out local vendors. I suggest following my routine of listening to the talented live musicians with a fresh coconut and a platter of Filipino/Hawaiian fusion from Over Rice before you go shopping for super-cheap produce and handmade goods.

11. Orlando City Stadium

Vamos Orlando! Enjoy our own MLS teams, the men's Orlando City Lions and now the women's Orlando Pride at their official stadium. Not to mention the soccer games bring lots of pub crawls to downtown Orlando...

12. Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

From song and dance to political speakers and from local production to Broadway, the Dr. Phillips Center has it all this summer.

13. SAK Comedy Lab

Who doesn't want to be the next Jimmy Fallon or Tina Fey?! Follow in their footsteps by signing up for improv classes, or just attend a show as an audience member.

14. Orlando Cat Cafe (Clermont)

Every cat lover's dream is to relax in a coffee shop, writing or reading with cuteness surrounding them! The cats are so popular you have to book your activities with them online... YOGA WITH CATS? SIGN ME UP.

15. Foxtail Farmhouse (Winter Park, open August 2017)

As if Foxtail Coffee Co. was not already the cutest industrial-chic, ethically-sourced coffee shop to come to Winter Park in 2017, summer will bring Foxtail Farmhouse, an extension of the store serving as a specialty espresso bar and will hold coffee roasting classes. Sorry Starbucks, but my heart belongs to Foxtail.

16. Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen

The name is as much of a mouthful as the mouth full of heaven you'll have when you visit. Their unique menu proves that cooking is an art - I never thought I needed to mix the words "chocolate" and "gnocchi" until Toothsome came along. Once you leave this place, visions of truffle fries will dance through your head.

17. Tin Roof

What started in Nashville, the Music City, became a growing phenomenon of bringing local bands to one place to showcase their talents. Tin Roof is a fun, relaxed place to enjoy live music with your friends, located right next to the iconic Orlando Eye.

18. Joysticks Arcade Lounge and Retro Bar

HEEYYY YOU GUUUYSS! In the age of nostalgia, Joysticks is what everyone needs to feel like they are back in the 80s. Adults can enjoy craft beer and themed cocktails in the Goonies, Haunted Mansion, or Lightsaber Lounge. With no cover and free arcade games, it's definitely worth checking out.

19. Downtown Orlando Bar Scene

Maybe video games are not your things, and that's okay. There are so many bars to choose from, you will definitely find one that fits your style. You can find anything from an authentic Irish meal for brunch at The Harp and Celt, to the freshest mix of music from the DJs at the Other Bar, to a spicy take on a pickleback (called a Dirty Finn) at Finnhenry's.

20. Netflix

After completing the quite strenuous Orlando summer bucket list, you're going to need to go home and decompress with a solid Netflix session, in which you watch Bill Nye Saves The World.

Cover Image Credit: One Call Construction

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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8 Reasons Maryland Deserves a Visit, Hon

Maryland is a small state, but it has a big personality.

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Maryland has so much to do, from the beaches on the East coast to the mountains on the western border. These are just 8 of many reasons our state is worth a visit!

1. It is the best place to eat Maryland Crabs.

I hope you like Old Bay!

2. Ocean City, MD has so much to do!

You can lay on the beach, go swimming, play a game of mini golf, walk on the boardwalk, play carnival games, ride carnival rides, go to clubs (if you are of age), and have the best french fries of your life ('sup Thrashers) all in one place!

3. You can visit Assateague Island off of the coast of Maryland and Virginia.

There are wild horses on an island off of the coast of Maryland and Virginia, 'nough said!

4. Baltimore's Inner Harbor is full of good eats and fun activities.

You can simply walk around the Inner Harbor, ride the paddle boats, tour a submarine, go to the aquarium, or ride the Spirit of Baltimore all in the same general vicinity.

5. You can visit the National Harbor in Prince George's County.

There is so many things to do here. You can ride the huge ferris wheel with enclosed cars, ride a mechanical bull at the Cadillac Ranch, visit the MGM Grand Casino and the big Gaylord Hotel.

6. Sugar Loaf Mountain is a great place to go hiking.

7. Great Falls is also a great location to visit!

You can visit Great Falls on either the Maryland or Virginia side. It's like a mini Niagara Falls.

8. You can root for the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.

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