Annual Stiletto Run Teeters into Delray Beach Nov. 16

Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world. ~ Marilyn Monroe

This event is luring me, tempting me, drawing me like a moth to a flame.

After all, it combines three of my favorite things: Delray Beach, stiletto shoes, and an offbeat event. I want go so badly I can taste it.

The First Annual Stiletto Run, presented by Vince Canning Shoes, teeters into downtown Delray Beach 5 – 8 p.m., Nov. 16, 2012. You don a pair of heels – and there are requirements and restrictions, such as a minimum heel height of three inches, no wedges, no taping the shoes to your feet and so on – and then race other similarly clad contestants over a course of 75 meters.

Runners who sprint the fastest in the highest heels or create the most fabulous pair of stilettos will win prizes, and the first place finisher will snag a two-night stay at the new Hyatt Place in Delray Beach, valued at a cool $700.

The crazy categories include:

  • Men’s 75 Meter Dash – Men donning stilettos vie for balance and best time
  • Stiletto Strut – Prize awarded to the best strut, swag or sashay
  • Team Relay – Teams of four race a 4-leg relay

Sneak a peek at the video. It's sure to 'pump' you up!

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Video: Proven Reasons for a New Smyrna Beach Vacation

There's a boatload of reasons to visit New Smyrna Beach, and I can prove it.

Just check out my video of this charming surfing town. The pictures definitely do some talking!

You’ll find New Smyrna Beach just a few waves south of Daytona Beach. It’s the second-oldest city in North America, one of the closest beaches to Orlando, and boasts loads of quirky restaurants and shops as well as fabulous fishing and abundant nature.

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SandSculpting Championship & Beach Festival Blows into Fort Myers Beach

This festival is fun, costs very little to attend, and it’s at Fort Myers Beach.

I thought that might get your attention.

The 2012 American SandSculpting Championship and Beach Festival blows into Fort Myers Beach (Holiday Inn Fort Myers Beach, 6890 Estero Boulevard) Nov. 16-25, 2012. This popular, family-friendly event features 16 of the world's best Master Sculptors competing for the ‘American Solo Champion’ title, ten of the world’s top Master Sculptors competing for the ‘American Doubles Champion’ title, plus many local and amateur sculptors.

But admiring the amazing works of art is just the tip of the sandbar. The Festival features:

  • World renowned Artist and Master Sand Sculptor John Gowdy, creating a painting on a spinning canvas, timed to music, in less than 10 minutes
  • QUICK SAND, a show in which sculptors go head-to-head in a 10-minute competition and advance to further championship rounds based on audience applause
  • Sand Sculpting Lessons and Demos, so you can learn how it’s done from the masters
  • Sand Vendor Village, with over 50 vendors offering food, beverages, specialty retail and arts and crafts
  • Kids Activity Areas, with bounce houses, water slides, climbing walls, and a large sand area complete with sculpting tools where your little ones can create their own master pieces

And I really like this idea. You can step inside a specially designed sculpture and have your photo taken.

Sounds perfect for holiday cards!

The details: The event will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and children 5 and older. Children under 4 get in free. Advance tickets are available at discounted prices.

Fun Fact: The sculptors will pile and carve over 1,000 tons of sand to create their works of art at Fort Myers Beach this year.

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Letters from a Soldier

In honor of Veterans Day, I was going to include one of the letters a soldier friend named Mario sent to me while he was serving in Afghanistan. I wanted everyone to catch a glimpse of what some of these men and women sacrifice to protect us.

But as I went through the letters, I realized I couldn’t use them. They were just too painful and personal. One was about a terrifying helicopter ride over Kabul. Another talked about a friend who committed suicide. Yet another was about working with two friends, being separated and losing them both to an incendiary device moments later. And finally there was a plea asking me to send chocolate.

At last, I found part of a letter I could share. Here’s what Mario said:

I plan to go home at the beginning of next year. When I go back it will be the best part of the hunting season and I want to see my woods again, my mountains and my world. I want to spend some moments seeing places I hunted with my father when I was just a little bit older than a kid. I didn’t know how beautiful and important those same trees and rocks and smells would become for me… for the rest of my life.

To all veterans, to my father and my mother and my friend Mario and all the countless others who have served — Thank you. I wish you happiness and sand between your toes. I wish you beautiful beaches and a beautiful family.

I hope you remember what you’ve done today. I do.*

*I wrote this blog a year ago, but wanted to share it again on this very special day.

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Photo: Tandem Hang Gliding in Florida

Try tandem hang gliding for an utterly unique view of the Sunshine State.

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Florida's Wildest Adventures

Feeling like a cup of crazy? Want to scream like a little girl? These offbeat adventures are designed to thrill.

Walk on Waves

For an utterly unique experience, grab a flight on the JetLev, a custom-designed, water-propelled jetpack. You'll feel like the childhood superhero of your dreams, weightless and free, suspended in the sky with nothing above or below you. Hover on the water's surface, rocket across it at 30 miles per hour or soar as high as three stories into the air. You can snag a flight at the TradeWinds Island Grand on St. Pete Beach or at Hawks Cay Resort in Duck Key.

Ride a Rattler

Zip lining features climbs up dizzyingly high platforms and speedy flights over the treetops; roller coasters feature twists, turns and drops designed to leave your stomach in another county. A combination of the two experiences more than doubles the thrills. "The Rattlesnake," the nation's first zip line rollercoaster, has just slithered into the forest at Florida EcoSafaris at Forever Florida in St. Cloud. You'll launch from a 65-foot platform and fly at speeds up to 20 mph as you whoop, swoop and dip through 1,000 feet of adrenaline-inducing adventure.

Fly Like an Eagle

Hang gliding lets you experience flying the way a bird does. You feel the air against your face and see the world shrink into a patchwork below you; you shift your weight and ride the currents of the sky. Here in the Sunshine State you get airborne by towing up to the desired altitude behind a powered plane instead of launching from a mountain. You can try tandem hang gliding at Quest Air Hang Gliding in Groveland (west of Orlando), The Florida Ridge between Clewiston and LaBelle, Wallaby Ranch in Davenport and Paradise Hang Gliding in Islamorada in the Florida Keys.

Take a Flying Leap

If you're looking for an extreme scream, try bungee jumping. At the Track Family Recreation Center in Destin, you'll tumble off a 75-foot platform before getting snapped back into space by the elastic cord. You'll spring up and down several times, ending your experience by being lowered into an oversize airbag. Cobra Adventure Park in Panama City Beach offers the Vertical Accelerator Bungee Ride. This 'reverse bungee' rockets you towards the heavens before treating you to a freefall of 160 feet. For the ultimate freefall and glide, opt for SkyCoaster at Fun Spot Amusement Park in Kissimmee. At 300 feet high, it's the world's tallest SkyCoaster.

Jump out of a Perfectly Good Airplane

Skydiving is the very definition of radical. First, you climb into an airplane and fly to heights of more than two miles. Next, you jump out of that perfectly good airplane. You free fall at a cheek-rippling 120 to 130 miles per hour for 60 seconds. Finally, you deploy your chute and float back to terra firma.

With its abundance of open fields, flat terrain and mild winters, Florida is ideal for the sport. You can thrill to this adventure in every corner of the state, including Skydive City in Zephyrhills, Skydive Jacksonville, Skydive Palm Beach in Wellington and the Florida Skydiving Center in Lake Wales.

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Photo: Florida Skydiving Center in Lake Wales

VISIT FLORIDA Insider Lauren Tjaden skydives with a friend at the Florida Skydiving Center in Lake Wales.

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Photo: Rattlesnake Zip Line Roller coaster, Forever Florida, St. Cloud

The Rattlesnake combines the thrills of zip lining and roller coasters at Florida EcoSafaris at Forever Florida in St. Cloud.

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Photo: JetLev experience, Tradewinds Island Resorts, St. Pete Beach

Fly the JetLev at Tradewinds Island Resorts and soar like the superhero of your childhood dreams.

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Favorite Florida Photos

Are they worth a thousand words?

I thought these pictures met that standard and more, so I’m going to push back from my keyboard and let these images have center stage.

Enjoy!

 

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