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Overwhelmed by familiar choice in Orlando

Sushi

Brian, Mango and I are getting more and more settled into our new home in Orlando. We're in a 2/2 apartment, in a complex that's part of a planned community — there's a community association and even a monthly magazine for the area. 

Over the next year, while our Alabama house is on the market, we plan to explore many areas to live around Orlando and its surrounding suburbs so as to not limit ourselves to where we are now. But so far, we really do like where we are, especially the convenience of lots of shopping and restaurants nearby — some even within walking distance. But things like property tax, HOA fees, and higher housing costs are a factor.

It's funny, though, the things I haven't done yet since moving here almost a month ago because I'm not sure where to go — like, "Where should I go to get my hair cut and colored that's not a rip-off?" Or, "Where is a good, reputable nail salon?" And sushi, for instance — we love sushi, but there are literally 4 or 5 places within a couple miles of us — which to choose? I even get paralyzed when looking at my daily Groupon and LivingSocial e-mails — where are these places? Are they any good? Because we all know these group coupon places can be hit-or-miss.

And then there are the important services we need: family doctor, eye doctor, dentist, veterinarian, car shop, etc. It's so easy to be overwhelmed by choice these days. 

But, for the most part, I've found that the United States, especially the Southeast, is becoming homogenized. I have my neighborhood Publix, plus Walmart, Aldi and Winn-Dixie for groceries — the exact same four places I shopped for groceries in Alabama. Down the road is Kohl's, SuperTarget, T.J. Maxx, Ross, Old Navy, Petco — the same stores I frequented in Alabama. With the exception of a few Florida-based chains, like Sedano's Supermarkets, or Beall's department store — there's not much that's all that different. And that is both comforting and disconcerting all at once.

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Bring it on, Florida!

I’ve finally had some time to sit down this week, as I’m holed up in a hotel room in Atlanta, about 10 miles from where I grew up in Marietta/East Cobb, going through training for my new job. Luckily, everyone else at work is going through or will go through training too, as we’re moving over to a new CMS next month.

I’m officially a Cox Media Group employee — web manager at WFTV.com in Orlando. I oversee a staff of 4 web producers who keep WFTV.com and icFlorida.com running. Last week was my first in the newsroom, and already I’ve grown to love my web producer team and many other folks throughout the building who are as enthusiastic about the web and digital as I am.

The next year (or more — yikes!) is going to be a little rough — we’ll have our house in Birmingham on the market while renting in Orlando, so paying for two homes? Not so much fun. And we’re adjusting to apartment life again: no backyard, lots of neighbors — and plastic doggie doo-doo bags are a must to pick up Mango’s mess.

On the plus side, my husband has ample job opportunity, we’re close to our Happy Place (Disney World, for those of you not in on that), and I am eager at the opportunities ahead of me with WFTV. Bring it on!

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A warm welcome to Cox

Something that's been especially nice about this big life transition is the warm welcome I've received from folks at my new company, Cox Media Group. I've yet to even load the moving truck for WFTV in Orlando, and already several from across the company have reached out over Twitter, LinkedIn and email to congratulate me in my new position as WFTV web manager and welcome me to the Cox family.

A big thanks to Mathilde Piard, Rob Quigley and Lauren Davidson for their insight on working at Cox during my interview process. Also — a big thanks to Mark Joyella for putting a good word in for me.

Finally, waving "hi!" to my new coworkers who have reached out: David Pait, Fred Steube, Reena Bhardwaj, and Dan Prudhomme. I look forward to working with all of you!