50 Famous Floridians

Here on day three of this little Florida series, we’re going to take a look at 50 famous Floridians. Yesterday we looked at 25 Strange Florida Laws, and the day before that we looked at 25 Strange/Interesting Florida Facts.

  1. Ariana Grande (Pop Singer/Actress) – Boca Raton, FL
  2. Andre Johnson (Football Wood Receiver) – Miami, FL
  3. Bella Thorne (Actress/Dancer) – Pembroke Pines, FL
  4. Boof Bonser (Baseball Pitcher) – Saint Petersburg, FL
  5. Bob Ross (Painter/Art Instructor/Television Host) – Daytona Beach, FL
  6. Debbie Harry (Singer/Songwriter/Playboy Bunny) – Miami, FL
  7. Dave Eiland (Baseball Player) – Dade City, FL
  8. Delta Burke (Actress/Producer/Author) – Orlando, FL
  9. Deion Sanders (Football Corner Back/Analyst/Baseball Player) – For Myers, FL
  10. GloZell Green (YouTube Star) – Miami, FL
  11. Jazz Jennings (Transgender Woman/LGBTQ Rights Activist) – Miami, FL
  12. Jacqueline Cochran (WWII Pioneer in American Aviation/Helped Form WAAC & WASP) – Muscogee, FL
  13. Jim Morrison (“The Doors” lead singer/Songwriter/Poet) – Melbourne, FL
  14. Kelly Kelly (Wrestler/Model) – Jacksonville, FL
  15. Kelly Slater (Professional Surfer) – Cocoa Beach, FL
  16. Lillian Smith (Writer/Critic) – Jasper, FL
  17. Maurice “Trick Daddy” Young (Rapper/Producer) – Liberty City, FL
  18. Norman Reedus (Actor) – Hollywood, FL
  19. Ronnie Van Zant (“Lynard Skynard” Singer/Songwriter) – Jacksonville, FL
  20. Ryan Pickett (Football Nose Tackle) – Zephyrhills, FL
  21. Ray Lewis (Football Linebacker) – Bartow, FL
  22. Scott “Carrot Top” Thompson (Comedian/Actor/Director/Producer/Writer) – Rockledge, FL
  23. Tom Petty (Singer/Songwriter/Musician/Producer/Actor) – Gainesville, FL
  24. Tom Gordon (Baseball Pitcher) – Sebring, FL
  25. Victoria Justice (Actress/Pop Singer) – Hollywood, FL
  26. Warren Sapp (Football Defensive Tackle) – Plymouth, FL
  27. Wallace Amos, Jr. (TV Personality/Founder of “Famous Amos” Chocolate Chip Cookie Brand) – Tallahassee, FL
  28. Wesley Snipes (Actor/Producer/Martial Artist) – Orlando, FL
  29. Wilmer Valderrama (Actor/Singer/Producer) – Miami, FL
  30. Adassa (Reggae Singer/Songwriter) – Miami, FL
  31. Ace Hood (Rapper) – Port St Lucie, FL
  32. Alex Avila (Baseball Catcher) – Hialeah, FL
  33. Carl Hiaasen (Novelist/Journalist) – Fort Lauderdale, FL
  34. Chipper Jones (Baseball Player) – DeLand, FL
  35. Desmond Child (Songwriter/Musician/Producer) – Gainesville, FL
  36. Donnie Van Zant (“.38 Special” Singer/Guitarist) – Jacksonville, FL
  37. David Bellamy (“Bellamy Brothers” Singer) – Darby, FL
  38. Elizabeth Ashley (Actress) – Ocala, FL
  39. Fabiano Caruana (Chess Grandmaster/US Chess Champion) – Miami, FL
  40. Fernando Bujones (Dancer) – Miami, FL
  41. Greg Eklund (“Everclear” Drummer) – Jacksonville, FL
  42. Geno Smith (Football Quarterback) – Miami, FL
  43. Homer Bellamy (“Bellamy Brothers” Singer) – Darby, FL
  44. Jason Derulo (Singer) – Miami, FL
  45. Josh Kaufman (Singer/Songwriter/Pianist) – Sarasota, FL
  46. Jim Courier (Professional Tennis Player) – Sanford, FL
  47. Jeff Mathis (Baseball Catcher) – Mariana, FL
  48. Janet Reno (1st Female US Attorney General) – Miami, FL
  49. Katy Mixon (Actress) – Pensacola, FL
  50. Julio Oscar Mechoso (Actor) – Miami, FL

If you’ve been enjoying these neat Florida facts, be sure to check out the book Florida: Lightning, Oranges, & Space Travel (Think You Know Your States? Book 1). The Think You Know Your States? Series is a fun little series full of facts about the US states. Also out is Wisconsin: Beer, Cheese, & Football (Think You Know Your States?) (Volume 2). Plus, keep an eye out for volume three, West Virginia: Bridges, Mountains, & Coal, due out in April!


25 Strange/Interesting Florida Facts

I’ve recently began publishing a series called Think You Know Your States?  that includes tons of interesting facts, demographic information, historical information, and famous people born in the featured state. Being a natural born Floridian, I naturally began my series with home state as volume one. I’d like to share a bit of information from the book with you today with this post, 25 Strange/Interesting Florida Facts. Tomorrow we’ll be talking about 25 Strange Florida Laws, & the following day we’ll have a listing of 50 Famous Floridians. Make sure to stick around to enjoy all the fun useless knowledge coming your way!

  1. Did you know that Florida isn’t actually the southernmost state? Hawaii is, in fact, located farther south geographically than Florida is!
  2. The state’s name is derived from a Spanish word that means “Feast of Flowers.”
  3. During one point in it’s history, Florida was actually divided into two separate states: East Florida, and West Florida. The capital of East Florida was Pensacola, and the capital of West Florida was St. Augustine.
  4. Florida produces 40% of the whole world’s orange juice supply.
  5. An estimated 1,000 people move to Florida every…single…day.
  6. Nearly 19% of Florida’s population speaks Spanish as a primary language.
  7. Florida actually has no state motto.
  8. There is an average of 1.4 million flashes of lightning per year in the state.
  9. The Everglades National Park encompasses 2,100 square miles. It is also home to the largest mangrove forest, and the slowest moving river in the world.
  10. Stephen Foster, the man who wrote “Suwanee River,” never one saw the Suwanee River. In fact, he never even stepped foot within the state of Florida!
  11. Florida is one of the very few states that do not have a personal income tax.
  12. There was no minimum wage law in place in Florida until 2004.
  13. There is no place in Florida that is more than 60 miles from the ocean.
  14. During the age of dinosaurs, the Florida peninsula was underwater and did not yet exist as a land mass. It is for this reason that no dinosaur remains were ever deposited in Florida.
  15. There are 1,700 islands in the Florida Keys, with 42 bridges connecting the islands.
  16. Floridians are often known as “Florida Crackers.” What a Florida Cracker actually is, is a person whose family were a part of Florida’s history or who were early settlers in the state.
  17. The reason that Florida oranges are so tasty is the unique sandy soil and subtropical climate that the oranges grow in. This makes Florida oranges taste unique from any others that you can buy.
  18. The Everglades lay at an elevation of six inches below sea level.
  19. The very first Christmas was celebrated by Hernando De Soto and his men in 1539 in Florida.
  20. Clearwater, Florida has the highest rate of lightning strikes per capita in the US.
  21. Plant City, Florida holds the Guinness record for the world’s largest strawberry shortcake. The shortcake was 827 square foot, and weighted 6,000 pounds! It was made in McCall Park on February 19th, of 1999.
  22. DeFuniak, Florida is home to one of only two naturally round lakes in the entire world.
  23. Potions of many motion pictures were filmed in the Tampa Bay, Florida, area, including: Edward Scissorhands, My Girl, Parent Trap II, and Ocean 11.
  24. Bern’s Steak House, in Tampa, Florida, has the world’s largest working wine cellar.
  25. Everglades City, Florida, has been reputed to be the Stone Crab Capital of The World.

If you enjoyed these 25 strange/interesting Florida facts, you can find plenty more in Florida: Lightning, Oranges, & Space Travel (Think You Know Your States? Book 1).

New Studies Show Poor Writing Skills Cost Businesses Billions

For any business to thrive, effective communication is an essential skill required of all employees, more so in writing. However, it is surprising how much businesses invest their time and money in raising their employees to a basic level of competence. A study by the panel of National Commission on Writing showed that well established companies spend almost $3.1 billion on remedial writing training annually, out of which $2.9 billion was spent on existing employees. It may appear that lack of education is the reason for poor writing skills, but this is not the case.

Going by what employers said in a report compiled by the Partnership for 21st-Century Skills, more than a quarter of college graduates demonstrated poor writing skills, which gave the impression that a college degree does not guarantee employees with effective writing skills.

Furthermore, the book “Academically Adrift 2011”, which monitored more than 2,300 students through college, reported that students acknowledged their poor writing skills, and only 50 percent of seniors felt their writing skills had improved in the course of their four year learning.

It is important for businesses to spot weak writers early, especially where their jobs entail communicating via email daily, writing reports, and presenting them at meetings.

Identify Poor Writing Skills & Train Employees

Employers are now giving much importance to writing skills during the employment process, to eliminate weak writers as early as possible. The resume and cover letter is the first area to look at when assessing writing skills. Those who make it past this stage are then requested to do a writing exercise during the interview process, to evaluate their writing skills before an offer is made. This fact is supported by the College Board data, where 50 percent of respondents said they assess writing skills when hiring professional staff, and 80 percent of companies with prospects of employment growth assess writing in the hiring process.

In the case of current employees, training is given to those who have deficient writing skills. This may be expensive initially but in the long run it saves the company losses that may be incurred through poor writing.

A telephone conversation is one way of assessing writing skills. The use of language and grammar, order of words, and response to questions during a telephone conversation can give some insight on their writing ability. This indicates that a good verbal communicator will most likely be able to apply the same skills when writing. Ability to communicate well in speech to a person who cannot see your facial expressions or body language could mean that the same will be applied in writing.

Aromatherapy For Authors

Aromatherapy is an alternative healing process that uses natural oils mixed with other substances that are inhaled or applied to the skin. These oils, which are extracted from natural sources such as flowers, leaves, roots, are said to enhance emotional and physical well being. Experts believe when inhaled, the smell receptors in your nose stimulate parts of the brain that store emotions and memories, and influence physical, emotional and mental health.

The fragrances released from these oils have different effects depending on their mix of ingredients. For an author, scents that calm the mind, increase concentration, and enhance creativity are useful to improve overall performance of writing. Let us look at some of the scents and their qualities.


Lavender is the perfect scent when you want to calm the body and mind. It almost has an instant effect. It has properties that help reduce anxiety by soothing the nerves, and easing tension. It is used to help relieve headaches.


Vanilla scent has the most relaxing effect, to the extent that it is used to relax patients undergoing medical tests. The calming effect of vanilla reduces anxiety, and also induces restful sleep.


It stimulates the brain to improve concentration and your working memory. The sweet scent helps fight mental fatigue, and boosts your brain power. Inhaling cinnamon improves the memory functions, and increases your attention span.


An energy booster, this scent rejuvenates the mind, causing it to perform better by promoting concentration. It stimulates clear thinking and improves memory making it useful when building ideas for writing.


The sharp crisp scent of Eucalyptus stimulates the brain leading to mental clarity, enthusiasm, and alleviates mental fatigue. The scent leads you into deeper reflection, which is a good aid for writers seeking a new level of creativity.


This scent helps keep you alert and focused, while maintaining a steady flow of creativity. It is uplifting, relaxing, and helps the mind to discover new ideas, and ways of thinking by stimulating your senses or thought.

Aromatherapy is a simple natural process with great benefits to authors because of their stimulating effects, as well as their relaxing properties on the mind and body. Writers experience fatigue and mental block in the course of their work. During these times, they need extra help to achieve results. Aromatherapy, with its unique properties, provides this help by increasing performance, and promoting creativity which is vital for an Author’s success.

How To Read A Book Every Week This Year

Over the years I have collected books upon books from an endless list suggested by friends, family members, other authors, etc. Every attempt to read them did not yield results, because of the list of excuses I would come up with. It was either I didn’t have time or I couldn’t read fast enough.

For every goal you want to achieve, you will need a system to help you. The same goes for reading a book every week. I will share my approach to guide you on developing a technique that will help you read more within a shorter time. Feel free to adjust the system where necessary.

Select 3 areas of interest

Choose one topic to focus on, such as health, and expand your knowledge by reading quality books on that subject. Alternatively, you can choose one genre of fiction books to start with, and expand your base from there. Perhaps you choose romance novels. You could include many subgenres, like historical, contemporary, young adult, suspenseful, fantasy, etc.

Prepare a list of books

Use different sources to come up with an assorted list of books. Use the internet or suggestions from people and other sources. Try getting a list of over 50 books.

Classify your books

Classify them according to their topics and use this to guide your reading.

  • You can select a specific topic each month and read 4 books on that topic;
  • You can read 4 books, each on a different topic every month;
  • Allow yourself to diversify and read a book that is not related to the topics you chose.

Organize your books in order of preference

Choose topics that will have a direct impact in your life for maximum benefit. While selecting, consider the length of each book and how long it would take to read without feeling the pressure to finish in a week.

Make room for incomplete tasks

If you happen to lose interest in a book, do not force yourself to finish reading it. Save time by setting it aside for a later date and take another book.

Tips for a better reading experience

  • Learn the art of reading quicker, to save you considerable time when you have to read volumes of books.
  • Assess your reading speed using an online program.
  • Do the test repeatedly until you see progress.
  • It is highly suggested to choose books in audio format because they speed up your reading skills. However, for books that require visual support such as bodybuilding, books are preferable.
  • Visit Audible or
  • Kindle has made reading easy by making it convenient to access books and store them. Though we like the feel of physical books, having a tablet that can store all your books makes a difference.
  • Do not be discouraged if you fail to read a book as scheduled, instead carry on. The main aim of this project is not just to accomplish reading 52 books in a year, but to develop the discipline and skills that can help you manage your time and read more books than usual.
  • Set aside a special place for reading. If you are having trouble focusing, a special place will help you avoid the distractions and read better.
  • Reading aloud has the effect of increasing concentration and your memory of what you are reading.
  • Ensure your reading environment is well lit. Your lighting should neither be too much or too little to avoid straining your eyes.

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