Allow me to introduce you to our adorable and fun seeking Sanford365 blogger Isabella Mendez or Izzy as her friends call her.

We first “met” Isabella and boyfriend, James after reading Izzy’s submission letter that she sent us for our first ever Win a Date Night for a Year Contest. Izzy and James actually ended up being our runners up for the contest. We fell in love with both of them in reading Izzy’s submission letter and knew we had to officially meet these two.

The four of us met for lunch and after lots of laughter, hugs and silly photos, we felt like we were chatting with old friends. Izzy quickly shared her love for Sanford365 and hopes of writing for us one day. Her enthusiasm and genuine love of life and pure joy when speaking of discovering more in Sanford (both Izzy and James recently moved to Sanford, more on that below) simply brought us joy and we didn’t even hesitate to welcome her to Sanford365 as one of our bloggers.

© Michael Cairns

Izzy was in High School when she packed her bags and left her hometown in Connecticut and headed for Boston all by herself in order to pursue her dream of being a ballet dancer. There she attended Boston Ballet School where she danced in the pre-professional program, and finished out her last two years of High School by taking online courses. But sunny skies and the beaches were calling her so when the opportunity arose for her to attend a Summer intensive class at Orlando Ballet, she leapt at the opportunity and wouldn’t you know it, our Izzy was asked to stay as a trainee.

© Benevolence Photography

Isabella stayed on as a trainee for one year. She worked hard and continues to do so. She now is a full company member where she both performs and teaches.

It was while Izzy lived in Orlando that she and James met through friends, they began dating and decided to move to Lake Mary together to be closer to James’ work, but they didn’t quite feel like they were home just yet.

When it came time for them to renew their lease they began discussing the idea of moving to Sanford, a place that reminded Izzy of her small town back in Connecticut, and James, having grown up in the Keys, completely agreed. The two found a place to call home in Sanford and that is when Izzy saw the call for couples to enter our “Date Night for a Year” contest. She and James had already been looking for fun things to do for the two of them in their new city and so the love for Sanford began!

You can often find Izzy and James walking the streets with their cutie pup Charlie, they recently attended Pints and Paws for the first time and Charlie received tons of love. You can also find them at Bitters & Brass chatting it up with the bar tenders – and in awe of how the guys behind the counter make such delicious drinks.

It’s been so fun watching these two explore Sanford with fresh eyes, be on the lookout for more of Izzy’s blog posts as she continues to write for us and if you want to follow Izzy along on her Sanford and ballet adventures you can find her on Instagram @Izzy_Mendez. We love you IZZY!! <3

© Benevolence Photography

James, Izzy and Charlie at Pints and Paws 2019

Looking Spiffy for Sanford365’s Juleps and Jockeys 2019

Star Spangled Sanford 2019

Snuggled up watching Fireworks at Star Spangled Sanford 2019