Miss Musings

A modern miss provides commentary on sociological and psychological issues concerning politics, the media, literature, and everyday observances.

13 ways to know you are from Orlando

Want to know if you are really from Orlando? Here are thirteen signs that The City Beautiful is more than a vacation destination to you.

1. You get annoyed when people call UCF “Central Florida.”


2. No one asks “where are you from?” at the Florida Mall. They know. 


3. Winter Park is as close as you are going to get to an artsy cultural town.


4. Downtown Orlando has a baby skyline that you can’t help loving, even if literally all of the buildings are banks. 


5. You never go to Disney – like ever. You went to Disney before it was cool. 

“Can we go to Disney — “


6. The beach is a distant memory… the B-line is an all too real daily nightmare. 


7. International drive drives you bonkers. 


8. You get McDonald’s at the largest McDonald’s in the world. Oh yeah. 


9. NOLE OR GATOR FAN? You side with your hometown Knights. Right on.


10. Driving past a Starbucks?


11. You can go home and dry off if you decide to ride Popeye at Islands of Adventure. (Score!)


12. Buying presents for Disney fans is as easy as stepping into a local Target or Walmart. Or stepping anywhere, in fact.


13. Riding on I-4 today?


But in the end, no matter how much you love or hate Orlando…


Orlando Artegon Marketplace Grand Opening is Promising, Perplexing

Image Credit: Artegon Facebook Page

Orlando’s art lovers flocked to the Artegon Marketplace grand opening Thursday, November 20. The optimally-located Festival Bay Mall was closed recently, but reopened as an indoor daily arts festival for grassroots artists to sell their quirkier pieces.

In lieu of stores and kiosks, the marketplace hosts booths of alternative art. Some items sold include underwater photo prints, balloon sculptures, football fan posters, hammocks and designer handbags. The booths are structured by metal “curtains” that resemble cages, adding to the underground feel of the hipster-esque shopping center.

Artegon will surely provide jobs and stir up business for local artists, and while the turnout was not enormous, the locals seemed to enjoy the artsy ambiance of the reclaimed mall. Oddly, the marketplace still shows shades of Festival Bay, as the Ron Jon’s Surf Shop, Shepler’s, Cinemark theater and Bass Pro Shop are still intact. These franchises, while popular, may detract from the new cultural vibe of the marketplace, and limit its ability to shake off the fruitless image of the unsuccessful mall.

The grand opening consisted of several events throughout the day, from the ribbon cutting by Mayor Dyer to stilt walker performances to live music (unabashedly country, which again, seemed dichotomous to the artsy theme).

Tickets were handed out to incoming arts mavens with little explanation, and until I got in a large line near one of Festival Bay’s closed stores, I realized presenting the ticket granted you an Artegon “swag bag” containing a shirt, free mini-golf game and various other items.

The message of Artegon is loud and clear: to provide a space for undiscovered and locally-known artists to sell their pieces year round. However, there are drawbacks to placing a marketplace within a bankrupt, gutted out mall – the most popular and highly unrelated franchises (selling warehouse books and cowboy boots galore) are inappropriate beacons among the underground artistry. Further, the mall boasts an overly open floor plan and is still under crowded in critical areas such as the Cinemark theater and food court entrance.

Despite Artegon’s efforts, the marketplace still has to shake off the Festival Bay aura. While Artegon may be the best thing that has ever happened to the Orlando arts sector next to the opening of the new Dr. Phillips Center, it still has plenty of marketing and development to undergo to be a convincing arts hub.

Did you check out Artegon? Let me know what you think. Keep up with Miss Musings on Facebook.

3 great ‘self dates’ for introverts


Courtesy of atlast-weddings.blogspot.com

So you want to go out somewhere, but you don’t want awkward small talk to distract you (as it always does). You seek enlightenment, some coffee maybe, and a couple of hours to unwind in comfortable silence. It sounds like you are in need of a quick “self date,” which means exactly what it sounds like: a night out by yourself, not on the prowl for a lover or hashing out your day with your friends.

But where should/can you go… (gasp)… by yourself?

A museum!

Orlando has a bunch of great museums that you could easily spend an evening visiting. Explore the Orlando Museum of Art on the first Thursday of each month and listen to local musicians while examining themed galleries, and then take a stroll through the neighboring Loch Haven Park. You could also visit the smaller Mennello Museum of American Art just across the street to satisfy your taste for folk art, or take a look at the Morse Museum of Art in the nearby town of Winter Park. The best part about attending a museum stag is that many people go by themselves to enjoy the art… in silence. It’s the recipe for the perfect introvert self date.

A movie theater!

A movie theater is the quintessential date location, yet it is often an ineffective place for a date because you can’t talk to anyone during a movie. Luckily for you introverts, NOT talking is not a bane, but a boon! Go buy yourself some popcorn (which is cheaper when it’s just for one person) and get lost in a new flick. Introverts – 1, lovers – 0.


You know those elderly people who sit and paint in parks, looking totally at peace with the world and their thoughts? Have you ever felt a smidge envious? Painting allows you to focus on one subject for a long period of time, so there is not much room for tedious over-analyzation or long-winded discussions. Grab some paints and brushes and find a quiet spot in Lake Eola park to paint some nature scenes.

Get quiet and take yourself on a date tonight whether you’re introverted or extroverted – there is so much to see when you are focused on the place you are at, rather than the people you are with.

Have some more ideas? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

8 ways NYC is like an Orlando theme park

Not long ago I found myself muddling through crowds, standing astounded on Main Street, and taking short cuts to avoid human traffic jams. But instead of the setting of Universal Studios Orlando, my adventure took place in New York City.

New York City. Courtesy of Miss Musings.

New York City. Courtesy of Miss Musings.

Everyone had told me that New York was this and that – a sewer trap ridden with rats and rude, accented remarks. I had to walk fast or be trampled. Pick pockets are everywhere. New York was absolutely nothing like this; in fact, navigating the big apple was as easy as snaking through any of Orlando’s theme parks.

Here’s how New York and a theme park are similar:

  1. You need to walk fast, but people won’t hurt you if you don’t.
  2. There are (surprisingly short) lines that are avoidable if you look for the short cuts.
  3. The tourist areas are sketchy, but you can find a tranquil haven on a bench in some green space.
  4. No one knows where anything is.
  5. People will randomly stop in front of you to take a photo of something mundane.
  6. There are people in costumes in Times Square, but they will ask you for a tip unlike the character performers at Disney.
  7. Food is everywhere, albeit expensive.
  8. Instead of Mickey Mouse ears, everyone is wearing NYPD and New York Yankee shirts. EVERYONE.


Oddly enough, I found New York City and Orlando to be close cousins, if not twins. The two towns are similar, and if you can navigate Disney safely and with alacrity, New York City will be just like another theme park.

Valencia grads: to Harvard and beyond

Image courtesy of uploads.wikimedia.org

Image courtesy of uploads.wikimedia.org


Valencia College is a unique institution to say the least. What was once Orlando’s community college is now a bachelor’s degree-granting institution, an extension of the University of Central Florida and home to a recent Harvard Medical School admit.

Cathy Gutierrez got her start at Valencia’s Osceola campus for financial reasons and then moved forward to the University of Central Florida to finish her degrees in biotechnology, molecular biology and microbiology. She completed her degrees with a stellar GPA while working at SeaWorld and Red Lobster and volunteering at Give Kids the World. The Valencia-UCF graduate will begin her journey at Harvard Medical School this summer.

Gutierrez’s success proves that Valencia’s prowess is making great strides. Our humble community college is graduating top notch students, but it is doing even more than that – the college is graduating real students with unbelievable stories.

I could report on any one of Valencia’s students due to how interesting their backgrounds are. The college’s students range from reformed convicts to high-achieving students who could not afford to attend anywhere but Valencia. The most redeeming quality of the college is its commitment to honoring hard work and achievement, while instilling these values in its students. Nearly every Valencia student or graduate whom I have met has overcome great obstacles – several jobs, difficult course loads, financial struggles, etc. – and with the help of the college, many of them have found success in the workforce and graduate school.

Click here to learn more of Gutierrez’s story. Visit Valencia’s website to learn more about its mission.

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