February In Florida

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Just when you were so proud of yourself for sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions (which for most includes a new diet and stepping up the exercise) here comes February and all the trappings.

The first challenge will be those tempting Mardi Gras king cakes filled with cinnamon, sugar, pecans and little plastic babies. Then comes that chocolate-covered holiday known as Valentine’s Day, and in March, The Florida Strawberry (Shortcake!) Festival.

Don’t fret. We’re here to keep you focused on your goals while having plenty of fun,
too. In this edition, we’ve included an antioxidant-rich recipe for strawberries, we discuss which kind of chocolate is the healthiest, and, since February is Heart Health Month, we offer some tips for staving off heart disease.

And speaking of health. Isn’t it amazing that at age 83 Willie Nelson is still on the road and slated to appear at the Florida Strawberry Festival on Friday, March 3? Plenty of others
known and loved by the Baby Boomer generation and beyond will also be “playing your song” at the fruit fest: The Oak Ridge Boys, The Blues Brothers, The Bellamy Brothers , Brenda Lee, the Drifters, the Platters, the Gatlin Brothers, Patti LaBelle, Rascal Flatts
and more. Listening to all that great country and oldies music is a great,
calorie-free way to enjoy life.

Thanks to all who entered our Best Couples Contest. There were so many stories about how you met, the families you produced, and how you kept your love alive for so many years. In the end, we picked names from a bucket and those two readers share their stories in this publication.

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, remember romance is more than buying a card or box of chocolates. It’s a chance to remind that special person in your life that that you’re thinking about them and still love them dearly. That reminder can be sweet and simple such as a handwritten love letter, helping them with a chore, or something a little more
strategic such as a road trip.

For those anxious to get on the road again, we’ve included some recommendations for
romantic bed and breakfasts. Or, consider a trip to the Crowley Museum and Nature Center near Sarasota where you’ll learn all about Florida Crackers. Our story will tell you
what to expect.

For many, Valentine’s Day is marked with traditional rose-giving. However, this year, you may consider giving your sweetheart something to plant in the yard. See our guide for
some Florida native plants that are both gorgeous and in bloom this time of year.

With that, we hope you’ll sit back, relax, open up our publication and remember to

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Enjoy! Richard Reeves

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