Category Archives: Around CFL

Valencia College Grad Brandon Chang starts

There is no doubt. Orlando is a town of love and compassion. Our community has shown its heart to the world this week. We’re more than just a vacation town. We are a town of culture, compassion, and creatives. Members of our arts, tech and digital media industries want to volunteer and help our families just as much as anyone else. Enter: local web engineer and graphic designer, Brandon Chang. Now in case you want a scholarship to study here o any other place we recommend you to read this article.

After moving to Central Florida with a good friend to attend Valencia College’s Graphic Design program, Brandon Chang fell in love with Orlando and made our city his home. After graduation, he got a cool job at PurpleRockScissors, a local digital design agency, and met and fell in love again with an even cooler lady named BG. Kingston, Jamaica may be the place of his birth but like many, he made Orlando his adopted hometown.

Upon hearing of the attack on Pulse Orlando, like all of us, Brandon immediately wanted to help his hometown. With a unique skillset and a simple idea, he turned to his co-workers at PRPL to make it happen. “I was inspired by the community and the people who decided to come together after the shootings, and took time to gather for a gesture towards the affected families and friends, and to the larger LGBTQ community,” he says. “I also could not of done this without the amazing talent of my peers and co-workers at Purple Rock Scissors who really helped make the idea a reality.

Check out Purple’s moving video tribute to Orlando called, “Orlando United.”

His idea has now turned into a website called Project, a site where Facebook users can include their profile images on what he hopes will be an infinite rainbow flag on the web filled with pictures of Orlando’s LGBTQ community, its allies, and eventually the allies and members of the LGBTQ around the world. “I hope that with Project Pride, I can hope to bring the amazing sense of community that has been happening here, to places and people who want to show their support and make a stand, no matter how small, for those affected. I hope that over time, we can show this collaborative flag as a measure of the strength of the community.

Great idea from ‘just a guy with an eye for small details!’ A social show of solidarity to bring us all together. Simple, right? Brandon says, “Anybody can help by taking part! Add yourself to the project, and be a piece of the whole. Share it and hopefully share some love along with it.

Project Pride 2 #OrlandoUnited

Currently there are 819 supporters, including yours truly. How cool would it be to see this number grow into the tens of thousands… millions… BILLIONS?! Click on the image above to add your profile picture! Oh, and don’t worry Twitter and Instagrammers. Brandon and the team will try and support linkage to these social sites too, and as soon as possible.

Speaking of the Project team, it’s a big one. Brandon wanted to make sure to extend gratitude and shout outs to all his co-workers for their time and extraordinary efforts. “I’d just like to to thank the people who took part in building this project along-side me, who really shaped and molded the idea into what it is today,” he says. “A huge shout out to Matt Eagle, Devin Jacoviello, Rob Ignasiak, Don Page, Dean Wagman, Erin Butler, Brandon Shaw, and others who took their time to make this happen. Also a thank you to all those who participated and added themselves to the project, and shared.

Find out more about Brandon Chang and check out his impressive portfolio here:

[UPDATE] Local note: In tribute to the lives lost at Pulse and in support of freedom lovers worldwide, tomorrow morning, June 17th, Orange County Government will display Section 93 of the Sea-to-Sea Rainbow Flag on their Administration Building at 201 S. Rosalind Ave. Today, Executive Director of LoveisLove Key West, Mark Ebenhoch will be in town with the flag. Find more information on their Facebook event page here:

The Sea-to-Sea Flag has become a globally-recognized symbol of the LGBTQ movement and symbolizes acceptance, understanding, education, solidarity and inclusion.

The original rainbow flag was designed by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978 as a symbol of gay and lesbian pride in response to anti-gay activities. In the spring of 2003, Baker and a team of volunteers cut and sewed a 1.25-mile-long version of the flag in Key West, to celebrate the iconic banner’s 25th anniversary. On June 15, 2003, some 2,000 volunteers unfurled the flag from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico along the entire length of Duval Street, in a sea-to-sea representation of pride and diversity. Sections of the flag have since traveled worldwide.

Living Room Theater fuses authenticity and fun

Bear, Dog and Otter — collectively known as Living Room Theater — are systematically occupying Central Florida homes for evening gatherings of captivating engagement and heart-stirring pathos.

The Orlando-based immersive theater troup — Tisse Mallon (Bear), Jack Graham (Dog) and Banks Helfrich (Otter) — act out performance pieces, personal reflections and conversations that are profoundly human and ring with truth.

The performances are remarkable as much in what they do as what they don’t do. The three players don’t recite practiced lines of dialog or monologue, they don’t involve their audiences in interactive exercises and they don’t leave viewers with pat answers or easy lessons learned. It shows the passion from the performers and if you’re into acting, joining The Actor’s Group Orlando can teach the tips and secrets on how to enable the character in you.

“Paths of absurdity, raw truth and love intersect as Bear, Otter and Dog invite you into a living room to share vignettes reflecting upon our humanity,” LRT’s promotional text says. “Through pensive to comical conversations, experimental performance pieces and live instrumentals, a story emerges. No two shows alike.”


Randa Black recently was host of an LRT event at her place in Maitland.

Living Room Theater seeks out hosts who invite friends to an evening of food, drinks and the comfortable camaraderie of couches and chairs. Preparing a carefully curated half-dozen vignettes, LRT players rehearse loosely and privately before each show. After that, spontaneity rules in their live pieces: They search for words, self-edit, backtrack, clarify thoughts and amplify nuanced meanings. They argue, in the way close friends do, in trying both to explain themselves and to understand each other’s ideas and expression as they interact. The result has the unmistakable ring of believability.

Now Living Room Theater is coming to the 2016 Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, which starts on Wednesday, May 18. The Fringe — held each May — is more than two weeks of theater, music, dance, and fine arts. Orlando’s was the first American Fringe Festival and has become one of the largest. (See for locations and lineups.)

In following up with LRT, we asked founder Tisse Mallon a few probing questions:

JT: How did this start, and how long have you three been doing LRT?

TM: My main work is I’m a life coach. I call myself a holistic lifestyle teacher, and one of the things I’m constantly telling my clients is, could a short term loan benefit your finances? if you have an idea, if you have something that makes you happy, don’t wait. Just go do it. All of a sudden a few months ago, I realized, “Oh my gosh, I’ve been sitting on this idea for five or six years, I’m just going to go do it.”

Especially when Jack and Banks came into my life, I just felt like it was the right time for this. Now, in retrospect, I know that it couldn’t have happened without them. I told Banks about the idea and Jack about the idea, and they were both into it right away. When we started, I told them, “I don’t want to take forever to rehearse before we put something out there. I want to jump right into it, I just want to go do it and we’re going to fail our way forward. That’s how we’re going to learn, and that’s how we’re just going to dive into it.”

We just fell in love with it right away, and these last few months that we’ve been doing it, we’ve done more thank 50 performances and we have developed more thank 350 vignettes. We’re loving it.

JT: Why do you hold the performances in random living rooms? Why is the show always on the road instead of at a fixed location?


Tisse Mallon grills Banks Helfrich about what he really means to say.

TM: This is how it happens. We go from living room to living room to living room. We are not intending to end up on a stage. That’s because we feel there is something really special that happens in an intimate environment where there is no delineation between audience and stage and the audience is a group of familiar people who have a shared experience. That’s the general concept of the show. We try to honor three things in each and every one of our pieces: fun, connection and authenticity.

JT: How do you find venues? How do you find homes to do it in?

TM: Right now it’s been mostly word of mouth, a little bit of Facebook, and when we invite people to shows, we at the end of the show, we invite that audience then to have one in their homes, and so then they can book with us. It’s easy to book online, we just have a simple form that they fill out with dates that are available, or when they see me, I pull out my calendar, throw them on, and it’s a done deal.

JT: How large and audience and how small an audience have you gotten? What’s the biggest and what’s the smallest?

TM: The smallest we have gotten is about five people. The smallest we really want to be doing is about eight people. The largest we’ve done so far has been 30, 33. That’s been great. We’re willing to take it up to 50. At 50, that’s where we’re doubtful as to how much of the intimacy will be lost. We’re willing to try out 50, but we haven’t gotten there yet.

JT: Before we saw LRT at Randa’s house, I had assumed there would be more audience participation, sort of like Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding. I  said, “Don’t sit in front — I’ll get called on.”

TM: As to why we are immersive but not participatory — We want the experience to be pressure-free for the audience. Not having to worry about being picked on, singled out, asked to do anything or potentially embarrassed in any way allows them to comfortably enjoy the show and be more in the moment with us.

JT: What’s it like to work so closely with such a small troupe?


Jack brings his solid musicianship to the evening. Lyrics and tunes are in perfect harmony.

TM: We’re all writers,  so for all of our little vignettes we keep creating new ideas and coming up with different things. We’ve found that we have quite a passion for it, and we’ve created a database where we’re constantly plugging stuff in. When we have a show coming up we sit down and we look at the list and we’re like, “What do we want to play with tonight?” This show was made just for you. It will never be repeated again

That’s one of the things that I find really beautiful about what we’re playing with here: The more honest each one of us is willing to be about what we’re dealing with, what we’re thinking about, what we’re feeling, the more we’ll connect. Because we’re all so much alike, and it’s sometimes difficult to remember that as we go about our lives. The moment that somebody’s willing to speak it, you see a sea of people that go, “Me too.” That’s really nice. It’s, I think, a fringe benefit of doing this type of work that you see how not alone you are.

JT: Why identify as the animal characters? Why don’t you use your real names?

TM: The reason that we do that is, with personal names, it’s so easy for any of us to have an association with a name. Like “Jack.” Maybe you have a brother or a friend or a neighbor named Jack, so as soon as we call his character, “Jack,” now all of a sudden you’re thinking about that relationship with your Jack. It pulls you out of the moment. We wanted something that would be neutral but still would honor who were are. Banks, when we first started this, asked us all what animal are you? That was really easy for all of us right away. I’m like, “I’m a bear.” Jack’s like, “I’m a dog.” Banks said, “I’m an otter.” People know kind of the spirit of the animal, but they don’t have strong, strong associations with it.

Go #BackToSchool with FLBlogCon!

All the kids are going back to school to learn new things, why shouldn’t you?

Have you ever wanted to learn more about blogging? Have a Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account and not sure how to use it? Have you started a blog or a social media account and just don’t know what to do next? Click OUTK Links and get started today.

Now in its fourth year, the Florida Blogger and Social Media Conference (aka FLBlogCon) is one of the largest conferences of its kind in the southeast, and yet has retained its intimate “Floridians teaching Floridians” base on which it was founded. FLBlogCon’s annual September conference has over 300 attendees and sells out a month and a half early. Due to the demand and hunger for knowledge, they will now be delivering valuable blogging knowledge, tips and advice year-round! Click here to see details about Provigil which is a prescription drug that is helping many students focus better. Which ends up increasing their grades and test scores. You can also checkout high school tutors Adelaide that can provide excellent tutor services.

Artegon Marketplace Events: November 2015

Artegon Marketplace Orlando (Orange)

Here’s what’s going on at Artegon Marketplace in the month of NOVEMBER!

For a listing of even more signature and special events, click over to Artegon’s calendar here.


MONTHLY (3rd Saturday), JUNE 20, 6:00pm – 8:00pm

The third Saturday of every month features this FREE art, food and wine stroll through the Village at Artegon Marketplace. Mingle with artisans displaying their hand-crafted items and art while enjoying complimentary bite-sized treats, wine from Orlando’s own Quantum Leap Winery, and the jazz jams of a live three-piece band.


MONTHLY (4th Friday), JUNE 265:00pm – 9:00pm

Artegon Marketplace’s Food Truck Friday truck rally held on the fourth Friday of every month returns on April 24. Gather on Artegon’s front patio for live music, entertainment and a kaleidoscope of food options, plus savor a unique deal: bring a purchase receipt of at least $10 from The Village at Artegon Marketplace to guest services and redeem for $5 in Food Truck Bucks.

About Artegon Marketplace Orlando:

Artegon Marketplace Orlando is a 1.1 million-square-foot shopping attraction and artisan marketplace that has transformed Orlando shopping into a new kind of experience. Located on the north end of International Drive and catering to local residents and visitors, alike, Artegon Marketplace is the area’s destination for one-of-a-kind stores, shops and foods.
There has been new construction lately according to these real estate agents in Texas, mostly apartments and house for new locals, many people have been interested on the fairfield ct homes for sale, most of these places are being run by this Property Management Company, since they sell new houses and even designs, since many people are knocking down their existing home, then preparing New Home Designs to rebuild on their existing block of land. Unique to the shopping attraction is The Village at Artegon Marketplace, housing 165 artisanal shops and stores where local craftspeople sell and demonstrate their products and services. Guests can also discover the area’s only Bass Pro Shops, Ron Jon surf shop, Sheplers Western Wear and Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, plus climb a ropes course, take in a movie at Cinemark Theaters, and much, much more.  For operating hours, directions and more information, visit Artegon Marketplace Orlando ( Like on Facebook and Follow on Twitter and Instagram #ArtegonMarketplace. Read more about this website to ensure that our clients come first. The center is owned and operated by Paragon Outlet Partners, LLC, considered one of the most influential and forward-thinking development firms in the nation.

Dine out. Do Good. September is No Kid Hungry Month! #NoKidHungry

End Child Hunger in America

Each year, 16 million children in America face food insecurity every day. September is a month when everyone can become part of the solution simply by dining out. Thousands of participating restaurants are incentivizing customers to help No Kid Hungry through unique promotions that include percentage of your purchase, discounts or coupons on your return visit. You win from the restaurant’s promotion. The restaurant wins for having you as a customer. And America’s kids win, because you helped make No Kid Hungry take a step closer to becoming a reality.

All month long you can find a participating dine out restaurant by visiting or by texting DINE to 877-877. Bring your family, friends and coworkers to enjoy a meal and special offer from one of the thousands of participating partners. Share your visit by posting a picture and tagging with #NoKidHungry


More Ways You Can Help Kids Today

There are specific, tangible things you can do to make life better for children. Right now, we’re focused on improving the national summer meals program, and we need your help.

Email, tweet or call your representative in Congress and let them know you support free, healthy summer meals for every kid.


Orlando City SC: The Home Stretch

Season Tickets Sold Out

It was announced earlier in the week that all 18,000 season tickets for the 2016 campaign, have been sold out. Earlier this summer, the club announced new plans for a larger downtown stadium, and with it an increase in the season ticket allotment from 14,000 to 18,000. For those that missed out this round, the club has a new waiting list. It’s only $75.00 per seat to hold your spot in line. For more information, visit Orlando City SC .


World Cup Champs Coming to Orlando

The US Women’s National Team will be in Orlando on October 25th for a match against Brazil. This match will be the final stop of their World Cup Victory Tour. Tickets go on sale September 1st and are available through Make sure you act fast because this is sure to be one of the hottest tickets in town!


Inaugural Growing Pains

To say the past couple of months have been a disappointment for the Lions, would be the understatement of the year. With just one win in their last 9 matches, hopes of making the playoffs are beginning to fade. In the last four matches, the lions have managed to score just one goal, while giving up thirteen. It also doesn’t help that Orlando City have seen more red cards (9) than any other club in Major League Soccer (MLS) this year. Sometimes the ejections are valid, but many times inconsistent officiating is to blame. This is not just a Orlando City problem, but a league wide problem. Major League Soccer has been plagued by officiating woes all season. My hope is there is a serious review this off-season regarding the quality of referees the league employs. With that said, the boys in purple are not mathematically out of the playoff race just yet. Is it time to start reaching for the panic button? Yes.


Upcoming Matches

Orlando City SC returns home Saturday, August 29th to take on the Chicago Fire in the Citrus Bowl.  Match is schedule to kick-off at 7:30 pm. Tickets are still available.  Get yours by visiting

For those that can’t make it out to the Citrus Bowl, the match will be carried at all City Pub locations throughout the area.  Local broadcast will be carried on My 65 / Sun Sports.

After the match this Saturday the 29th, there are only two regular season home matches left.

Sporting KC – Sunday September 13th at 7:00 pm

New York City FC – Friday August 16th at 7:00 pm

Tickets are still available for both matches.

Vamos Orlando!





Orlando City SC: The Downtown Soccer Stadium

July was a month to forget for the Lions. With 5 matches, the club managed just one draw and had to settle for an 0-4-1 record for the month. The one bright spot for Orlando City has continued to be rookie Cyle Larin.

The City lads traveled to Yankee Stadium on July 26th to play fellow newcomers, New York City FC. The Lions lost the match 5-3, however Cyle Larin made history by recording the first hat trick of his young career. Larin is quickly showing all Orlando City fans why he was the first overall pick in the Super Draft. At this stage of the season, I have to believe that Larin is the front-runner for Rookie of the Year honors.

There was also a little bit of news coming out on the last day of the month about the new stadium. Not sure if you heard about it, so here we go!

New Stadium Design Released

The club’s record in the month of July was not pretty, but the new stadium renderings are. A couple of months ago the club decided to privately fund and increase the capacity for the new downtown soccer stadium.  The stadium will be built in the same location, just two blocks west of the Amway Center, and it will be bigger! The club officially announced the new upgrades this past Friday at The Abby in Downtown Orlando. The capacity will be increased from 19,500 to 25,500.  This is good news for those of you currently on the season ticket waiting list, because season ticket allotment will increase from 14,000 to 18,000.

The stadium will also feature covered seating on all four sides.  The previous renderings that were released for the smaller capacity stadium, only had three covered sides. The covered seating will be a welcome addition to all fans familiar with the summer storms and sun here in Florida. The stadium will also feature a single tier, safe standing supporter section, the first of its kind in Major League Soccer (MLS). There will also be 31 luxury club level suites, half of which are already sold according to the club. The stadium will be the 3rd largest in all of MLS.

In the original renderings there was a rotating lion statue at the Church Street entrance of the stadium.  In the new renderings, it’s gone.  According to President and Founder, Phil Rawlins, the lion statue is still a go, unfortunately it will be at the VIP entrance and not the main Church Street entrance.

The stadium will also include a natural grass playing surface, a 360 degree lower bowl, and a 10,000 square feet fan plaza.  The natural grass playing surface is a huge selling point in my opinion. I believe it will help the club in their efforts to bring in international talent.

It may sound silly, but Major League Soccer is one of only a few leagues in the world that allow for artificial turf. Some international stars refuse to play on it due to a higher risk of injury, because one of them had one terrible surgery and had to call Amircani Law Firm to help him with the case. For example, last month when Mexico and Costa Rica came to town for their international friendly, the Citrus Bowl had to lay grass over the artificial surface. This was also the case back in 2011 when Orlando City hosted Premier League club Newcastle United. Also, if Orlando is selected as a host city for Copa America Centenario next summer, grass will have to be installed because artificial turf is not permitted.

The new stadium is slated to be complete in 12-14 months.  The hope is that it will be open in time for the final few weeks of the 2016 season.  However I believe the club will hold off until March 2017 so the Lions can open the season in their new digs. For more information and to view the new renderings, follow the link below.


Season tickets are now available to the public.  With the 14,000 cap met, and 2000 people on the waiting list, there are only about 2000 tickets left with the increased capacity. These will go fast so act now.


Vamos Orlando!

Orlando Magic: Off Season News

Magic Sign Mario Hezonja 

On July 10th, the team announced the signing of Mario Hezonja.  Per team policy, the specifics of the deal were not released. Hezonja was taken 5th overall by the Magic in the draft last month.  The 6′-8″ Hezonja, (Super Mario) has played the last two season in the Spanish ACB league with FC Barcelona. Last season he appeared in 31 games and averaged 4.7 points per game while averaging just under 15 minutes per game. A native Croatian, Super Mario is expected to represent his country this year in the European Championship.


Aaron Gordon Has Surgery

Last week Aaron Gordon had surgery to repair his fractured jaw.  The injury was sustained while he was wrestling around with his older brother Drew on a recent family visit which according to experts like the head of the brain injury lawyer Vegas firm makes any case against the team dismissed.

His return to basketball related activities will all depend on his rehabilitation from this addiction in the holistic recovery center.  Gordon is the second youngest player in the NBA at 19, and he is looking to make a strong return in his sophomore campaign. After missing 31 games last year due to a broken bone in his foot, Gordon made the most of his off-season workouts this winter. Averaging just under 22 points per game in the Summer League earlier this month, it would seem Aaron Gordon has something to prove and we are ready to see it!

Magic In London

This season the Orlando Magic will travel to London to take on the Toronto Raptors at the O2 Arena. This regular season match up will be the first in Magic history in London.  The last time the Magic Men made the trip to London was for a couple of preseason games during the 1993 season. For season ticket holders, this game will count as a home game. A refund should be coming your way since there will only be 40 ticketed home games this season instead of the normal 41.  The match up is scheduled for January 14, 2016. More details will be available on the Orlando Magic website once the full schedule is released.

More to come… Stay tuned!

#OrlandoMagic #FCBarcelona #O2Arena #TorontoRaptors #NBA #London



Bastille Day Bash

By Kelly Green
Aka SeaWorld Mommy

Oui oui! C’est fantastique! Audubon Park Garden District’s 7th annual Bastille Day Bash is this Saturday, July 11, 2015 and will feature all things magnifique. (It’ll kind of be like being in Paris, but without the traffic jams.)

Starting off the day is a crepe breakfast (savory or sweet crepes, $20 adults, $15 kids) by East End Market’s chef-in-residence Jessica Tantalo from 9:30 a.m.–11 a.m. to the sounds of the Gypsy Swing Trio.

Bring your beret for a free open-to-the-public French-themed street fair where you’ll enjoy the pop-up Rouge Rouge vintage market with seven unique vendors from 4–7 p.m. at Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour, 2810 Corrine Drive, Orlando.

From 4:30-7 p.m. enjoy the Fourth Annual Artisan Cheese and French Wine Pairing by East End’s ever fabulous La Femme du Fromage ($30; $25 APGD members; ticket required; $45 day of IF available), Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 1603 Winter Park Road, Orlando 32803. Chef Tonda will showcase five select wines, paired with five artisanal handmade cheeses, finished with a sweet treat.

Want to meet the Queen of France and of Navarre? From 6 – 9 p.m. the Street Fair continues with food trucks, crêpes, wine cooler , baguette fencing ( En garde!) and a Marie Antoinette photo booth. #FrenchQueenSelfie? Join in on the fun on Winter Park Road outside Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 1603 Winter Park Road, Orlando 32803.

Sadly the French-themed Dinner Party Project is sold out. Quel Dommage!


You can still head on over to Bikes Beans & Bordeaux at 7:30 (no cover!). Actually, you can hang out there all day if you like: the Tour de France will be live in the morning. They’ll have Mimosas, French beer (Kronenburg), French treats all day.

There won’t be a bridge with Locks of Love, BUT if you’d like to decorate something (in a way that doesn’t destroy a structure with weight) , enter the FREE Bastille Day Decorated Bicycle contest, since we love bycicles and hoverboards, we even got online in Technomono to find what is the hoverboard 300$ best? to get for our children. Bling it, flower it, encrust it with “locks” and then ride it to the street celebration outside Emmanuel Episcopal Church. They’ll be judged and prizes will be handed out around 8 p.m.

To purchase tasting or dinner tickets and for more information, visit the Audobon Park Gardens website or their Facebook page.

Orlando City SC: Open Cup & A Little Pea

It’s the first of July and there is so much going on this month, that fans of the “Beautiful Game” are salivating with anticipation. With the U.S. Open Cup, the MLS season in full swing, and the summer transfer window opening soon, July is shaping up to be one fun ride!

U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals

Last night Orlando City faced off against fellow MLS side, Columbus Crew SC.  It was the third meeting between the two Eastern Conference foes this year, and it didn’t disappoint. After a marathon of a match last month in Charleston, the Lions would only need 90 minutes to send the Crew packing and out of the Open Cup. With goals from Kaka and Carlos Rivas in the first half, it was all the lads would need to secure the 2-0 victory, and their place in the next round of the U.S. Open Cup.  The U.S. Open Cup is the longest running domestic tournament in the United States.  The tournament is open to all eligible amateur and professional clubs, with the winner securing a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League later in the year. The Lions need just three more wins to bring home their first piece of silverware as an MLS club. But first the lads will need to get past the Chicago Fire on July 22, to keep the dream alive. Kick-off is scheduled for 8:30 pm and can be seen at any of the City Pub locations or via the U.S. Soccer channel on YouTube.

Chicharito Watch 2015

Will he or won’t he? That is the question that has fans are chomping at the bit for an answer.  After appearing for his country in front of a crowd of over 53,000, this past Saturday, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez is a wanted man! For the past few months, fans have been teased with the idea that the Little Pea (Chicharito) would be coming to Major League Soccer at some point this season. The rumor mill has been churning extra hard this week with Chicharito to Orlando stories. From a local sports reporter that shall remain nameless (He doesn’t work for WESH or WFTV), to, everyone seems to think this is a real possibility. For my own selfish reasons, I hope they are right! Javier Hernandez is just the type of young, proven international talent that MLS needs to sign in order to help shake the “Retirement League” label it is often given by fans.  To be fair, the label kind of rings true if you consider the roster of international superstars the league has signed in the past. Sure there are plenty of young American players in MLS, but the ability to attract young international talent has always been a struggle for Major League Soccer.  Chicharito might just be the guy that helps change the perception of MLS around the world. It won’t happen overnight, but if he can come here and flourish, you never know who might come next.

Orlando City Heads West

As if celebrating our independence with BBQ and fireworks wasn’t enough, Orlando City will play a late match this 4th of July against Real Salt Lake (RSL). The match is scheduled to kick-off at 10 pm and will be carried on My 65 here in Orlando.  This match is important for a few reasons… First, it would be nice to extend our winning record against clubs from the Western Conference.  The Lions are 4-1-1 this season against out of conference opponents. Second, a win keeps us above the “red line” and in contention for one of the playoff spots in the east.  Finally, there has been a lot of talk from Real Salt Lake supporters that they are the “original” lions, not Orlando City. It’s been said that Orlando City is unoriginal and just copying RSL’s lion mascot, blah blah blah… To be honest I never knew their mascot was a lion. If you look at their uniform and their team crest, the only thing you will notice is a crown, which make sense because they are Real (Spanish for royal) Salt Lake.  I know it’s just banter, but to call us unoriginal is just silly.  If we really want to get down to it, RSL has been around since 2005, which makes them 10 years old this season.  The original Orlando Lions (The club Orlando City is named after) began play in 1985 and were active until 1996.  So, please forgive me if I don’t see your lions as the “original” RSL supporters, because well, you know our Lions have 25 years of soccer history behind them.

Tickets are still available for the next home match against FC Dallas on July 11th.  Kick-off scheduled for 7:30 pm at the Citrus Bowl.

Vamos Orlando!

Photo Credit: Ismael Shah

Two Orlando Fathers Create STEM Teaching Robot

Play Smarter Meet TROBO—THE FIRST huggable, interactive, story-telling robot that promotes science and learning!

Give the gift of fun and exciting learning all wrapped up in a cuddly toy!  Purchase a TROBO Storytelling Robot and give a toy that not only makes a great companion, but encourages curiosity in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)!

TROBOs are amazing, interactive robots that actually read to children out loud and have the potential for a virtually endless story library. These interactive robots could help children with quiz solutions and can offer Brain test answers if children are stuck playing word games. Compatible with iPads and iPhones and incorporating their own TROBO app, TROBO allows children to build their own avatar, include their name in the stories, and participate in interactive puzzles every few pages—a welcome relief from the mindless and zombie-creating tech activities usually available. Plus, arriving ready to go with five included stories such as “How honey is made”, “What is lightning?”,“How does a train work?” and more, TROBO creates an early love of learning through fun and personalized technology. This is an innovative and practical, easy to follow program created by Jim Yang used to teach young children how to read and (drum-roll, please) teaches parents how to teach them. You can click here to learn more about the children learning reading review.

Companions first and teachers second, TROBOs are incredibly soft and feature no hard parts, making them perfect for cuddling, hugging and as snuggly sleeping pals.  Innovative and one-of-a-kind, TROBO makes a loveable and engaging friend creating a special bond between curious children and science.  It’s no wonder they took 2nd place at Startup Weekend, were accepted into one of six slots in the Starter Studio accelerator; invited into CANVS, a brand new tech sector co-working space; and won 2 “Maker of Merit” awards at the 2014 Maker Faire in Orlando, Florida.

Like most parents, TROBO Creators, Chris Harden and Jeremy Scheinberg found their children playing with mindless apps and watching TV more and more.  Disappointed with the lack of educational value, Jeremy and Chris set out to create a toy and app that would not only be entertaining and fun, but that they could also feel good about giving to their kids.  As engineers in the theme park and gaming industries, they realized there was a lack of quality STEM education available for young children. They put the incredible storytelling ability they learned while working with Disney, Lego and Electronic Arts to use in a fun and engaging way—TROBO was born.

Now with a campaign on Kickstarter, Chris and Jeremy are working to bring compelling stories to kids with questions about the world around them and to create a lifelong learning of science and engineering! Be one of the first to purchase your own TROBO on Kickstarter, give one to an underserved program, or make a donation of any amount and help build smarter toys!

Watch how it works here:

Orlando City Stadium Groundbreaking Set for October! Details!

Ceremonial Event to Feature Downtown Celebration

Orlando City SC and the City of Orlando has  announced the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Downtown Soccer Stadium will take place on October 16, 2014, beginning at 5:00 p.m. The event will be open to the public and fans are encouraged to participate.

Specific details of the event will be released in the coming weeks but it will be held on the property located on the northwest corner of Church Street and Parramore Avenue.

October 16 will be a landmark day for the community of Parramore, the City of Orlando, Orange County, our fans and our Club,” said Orlando City President and Founder Phil Rawlins. “We look forward to hosting an unforgettable, festive celebration to mark the ceremonial start of construction of what will be the best soccer stadium in the league.”

Photo from

Photo from

The Downtown Soccer Stadium is a 20,000-seat, state of the art venue designed to host Major League Soccer and other world class events. The stadium will be home to Orlando City SC beginning in the 2016 MLS season.

For more information on Orlando City SC or 2015 MLS Season Tickets, visit or call 855-ORL-CITY. Also, follow the latest Orlando City news and updates via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

About Orlando City Soccer Club:

Recently ranked 14th among all professional teams in North America, Orlando City Soccer Club (OCSC) is Major League Soccer’s newest expansion team. The Club will begin play in MLS in 2015, becoming the league’s 21st club. The Lions’ first team set the U.S. record for best start of any professional soccer club in its first USL PRO league 100 matches (66-12-22). Orlando City has won three USL PRO regular season titles and two postseason championships. Outside of the first squad, OCSC also has a youth club, Orlando City Youth Soccer (OCYS) and a U-23 team that participates in the PDL. For more information on the pro and youth clubs, visit and

George Takei to visit St. Pete/Clearwater Oct 4th

By: @jenvargas

“Oh myyy…” Set all St. Pete/Clearwater phasers to FABULOUS!! An Evening with George Takei is coming to town on October 4th, 2014!

Of all the hats he’s worn in life (and the many he currently wears) George Takei clearly wears all with a deep honor, dignity and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. As an actor, activist, Survivor, author, social media enthusiast, Grammy nominee, blogger, husband and Board Member, it is definitely Okay To Be Takei!

Most know Mr. Takei from his breakout role as Lieutenant Sulu on the original Star Trek series and their subsequent motion pictures. His film and television credits may date back to the 1950’s but he’s just as – if not more – relevant today. He will also grace the broadway stage soon portraying Vetertan and WWII war hero Sam Kimura in the musical “Allegience” by Composer Jay Kuo, and he also stars in Matt Zarley’s upcoming musical film called “Hopeful Romantic,” debuting on February 10th, 2015.

We are BIG fans here at Central Florida Top 5! We love following Mr. Takei on Twitter, Tumblr and most recognizably on his award-winning Facebook page, where he makes it rain with clever puns and crazy memes. NEVER a dull moment there.

On a personal note, I hope to get the opportunity to meet and chat with Mr. Takei next month. In 2013, I was honored to have been included on TechRepublic’s 10 Tech Heroes of 2013 alongside Mr. Takei. Also, individually, we have been recognized by the Shorty Awards, as well as have explored using Google Glass. If we do meet, all of you will know first! Keep an eye peeled to our Facebook and Twitter pages…


 Star Trek’s George Takei Hosts VSPC Film Commission Q&AOct. 4 Event at Sullivan Studios Gives Locals, Visitors Rare Chance to Mingle with Star
Buy Tickets  |   Film Commission  |   YouTube

The St. Pete/Clearwater Film Commission is proud to announce a first-ever partnership with actor, producer, radio host and social media sensation George Takei. An Evening with George Takei, which will take place from 7-10 p.m. on Oct. 4 at Sullivan Studios, will offer locals and visitors alike the chance to hear from the star in an intimate setting.

The event coincides with Takei’s visit to St. Pete/Clearwater to produce experiential and promotional videos for the Film Commission. Takei, who is best known for his portrayal of Lieutenant Sulu in Star Trek, has grown into a digital media star, too, with more than 10 million followers and fans.

“George Takei is a bonafide star, and his brand is a perfect fit for a hip, fun destination like ours,” said St. Pete/Clearwater Film Commissioner Tony Armer. “We want the digital space to be a big part of what we do moving forward, so this partnership makes a lot of sense.”

According to VSPC Interim Director David Downing, this celebrity appearance is the first of many initiatives designed to enhance both the Film Commission’s profile while contributing to the overall marketing mission of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater.

“Just like the stars from Dolphin Tale in the video we released last week, our intention is that some of his star power rubs off on the destination,” said Downing. “His appeal is undeniable.”

The event is open to the public and $25 tickets can be purchased here.

Bats: Myths and Mysteries at Orlando Science Center

By @jenvargas

Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight? The Joker asked us this back in 1990, and I don’t know about you but, I’ve been ducking him ever since. Eeep! Just say NO to Smilex, kids.

I’m not afraid of bats, are you?

Ok, I’m lying. Only slightly… afeared. They’re enough to make me a smidge concerned. You know, wings and fangs and all. But, according to Nature First Pest Control, 70% of bats are kind of a natural pest control type mammal, eating insects and fruit. One little brown bat, in an hour, can eat up to a thousand mosquitoes. The blood sucking, carnivorous ones (they say) are in South America.

Curious to see a bat up close? Learn more about bats, their environment, habitats, diet and the really cool way they listen (called echolocation) and fly around in the dark? Glide over and hang out at Orlando Science Center this Saturday and check out the new Bats: Myths and Mysteries exhibit! More info below….

Orlando Lights the Bat-Signal!

Fly into Orlando Science Center’s newest traveling exhibit, “Bats: Myths and Mysteries” on Saturday, Sept. 20 at Noon. Featuring live animals, educational simulations, interactive displays and more, it’s an experience the whole family will go batty for!

This hands-on, educational exhibit will introduce visitors to the amazing world of the flying mammal people are both frightened and fascinated by. After visiting, guests will have a new appreciation for these misunderstood creatures and be armed with knowledge to aid in the preservation of the species which also indcates when this animals come as intruders in your home you should hire experts such as the pest control olathe ks team.

Bats: Myths and Mysteries” will motivate attendees to explore the natural world, grasp the importance of bats to the ecosystem and provide the tools to protect these fascinating animals. Promoting strong community-based involvement, participants will be encouraged to conduct habitat monitoring, bat watches, become involved in bat conservation and educate others about the importance of bats around the world.

Throughout the exhibition, visitors will be immersed in the sights, smells and sounds of the tropical fruit bat habitat and get a glimpse of the vast pallet of Chiropteran diversity. Live bats will be cared for by animal keepers from the Organization for Bat Conservation who will also engage the public in daily live programs about the different species on display.

At “Bats: Myths and Mysteries” visitors will have the opportunity to:

  • Come face-to-face with 25 – 50 total specimens from around the world including straw-colored fruit bats from Africa, big brown bats from North America, Egyptian fruit bats from Africa and short-tailed fruit bats from South America.
  • Don a pair of giant bat ears and experience the sensitivity of bat hearing.
  • Learn about echolocation and the importance of bat conservation.
  • Match bats with their preferred foods.
  • Unveil the mysteries and debunk the misleading myths surrounding bats.

Experience “Bats: Myths and Mysteries” with admission to Orlando Science Center which is $19 for adults and $13 for youth (ages 3 – 11). Tickets include access to all four floors of exhibits, giant screen and 3-D educational films, one Hollywood feature-length film, and live programming.

For more information, call 407.514.2000 or visit

Coming to Orlando: Alton Brown Live! The Edible Inevitable Tour (Dr. Phillips Center on Feb. 7, 2015, Details)

Renowned foodist and television personality Alton Brown today announced the return of Alton Brown Live! The Edible Inevitable Tour, on the heels of the successful inaugural run to 46 US cities.  Over 100,000 tickets were sold for the Food Network star’s show, featuring a pinch of comedy, talk show antics, a multimedia lecture, live music (he sings!) and a dash of “extreme” food experimentation (ponchos are provided for those in the first few rows), and of course…puppets.  Enthusiastic fans and critics have raved about the interactive component where Brown invites audience members on stage to serve as his assistant.

Brown will bring Alton Brown Live! The Edible Inevitable Tour to Orlando’s new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts’ Walt Disney Theater on Saturday, February 7, 2015. Tickets are on sale now and are available at the Dr. Phillips Center Box Office by calling 844.513.2014 or visiting

“We have combined science, music, food, and a few other things no one in his right mind would allow me to do on TV, into a two hour extravaganza that’s fun for the whole family,” says Brown.  He has been cultivating the show’s material for about a decade and wrote most of the musical numbers which all take a comedic look at food.

Brown, author of seven books including the James Beard award winning “I’m Just Here for the Food” and New York Times bestselling sequence “Good Eats,” has hosted numerous food series including “Iron Chef America.”  He currently serves as host on the game show “Cutthroat Kitchen” and as a mentor/judge on “Food Network Star,” which premiers its 10th season on June 1st.  Brown created, produced and hosted the Peabody award winning series “Good Eats” for 13 years on Food Network, which still can be seen on the Cooking Channel.

Those craving Brownian wit and wisdom from its truest source can find additional show and ticketing information at

About Alton Brown

Although Alton Brown spent plenty of time in his mom’s kitchen growing up, his real interest in food sparked in college when he discovered that girls who said “no” to dates sometimes said “yes” if he offered to cook for them.  His social life may have not ignited, but the food spark did, and after spending a decade behind the camera in the commercial industry, he headed to culinary school in hopes of one day creating a new kind of cooking show.  Good Eats, the show that Brown would go on to write, produce, and host ran for 13 straight years on Food Network before making the jump to Cooking Channel where it airs today.  Combining food science, pop culture, skit humor, innovative cooking, and the occasional belching puppet, Good Eats has millions of fans and garnered a coveted Peabody award for broadcast excellence.

About MagicSpace Entertainment

Alton Brown Live is produced by MagicSpace Entertainment. The company is headed by Lee D. Marshall, Joe Marsh, John Ballard, Steve Boulay and Bruce Granath and has been producing and presenting national tours, Broadway shows, concerts and museum exhibits worldwide for over 30 years. Consistently one of the top promoters in North America, MagicSpace Entertainment typically produces and presents more than 250 events in 75 cities per year.  They have offices in Park City and Salt Lake City, UT.

About the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts:

The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization dedicated to developing and operating a new state-of-the-art performing arts center in downtown Orlando, Fla. Opening in November 2014, the performing arts center will begin to fulfill its vision of Arts For Every Life®; to be a gathering place for creativity and discovery; a vibrant urban destination where artists, audiences and students will come to experience, explore and learn.  The two-block community-gather place features the 2,700-seat Walt Disney Theater, 300-seat Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, CNL Arts Plaza, School of Arts, the DeVos Family Room, and other event rental spaces.  Future expansion plans includes a 1,700-seat acoustic theater, rehearsal room and commercial development spaces.  The Dr. Phillips Center is a public-private collaboration with the City of Orlando, Orange County, the State of Florida and generous donors. For more information or to see live footage from the construction webcam, please visit

full details

Alondra de la Parra to Conduct Orlando Philharmonic’s Season Opener

Mexican-born de la Parra is one of five finalists in the orchestra’s international Music Director Search, and will conduct Mahler Symphony No. 1

This month, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra will open its concert season with Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, performed under the baton of Mexican-born conductor Alondra de la Parra, one of five international finalists auditioning to be the Philharmonic’s next Music Director.

At 34 years old, de la Parra has gained widespread attention for her spellbinding and vibrant performances, making her one of the most compelling conductors of her generation. She holds the distinction of being the first Mexican woman to conduct in New York City, and is an official Cultural Ambassador of Mexico. She has been heralded by Plácido Domingo as “an extraordinary conductor.” After her successful debut with Orchestre de Paris, Le Monde expressed: “There is no doubt that, with Alondra de la Parra classical music has arrived into the 21st Century.” Frequently in demand as guest conductor, de la Parra has led some of the most prestigious orchestras of France, Germany, USA, Japan, Brazil, Sweden, Russia.

Orlando audiences might remember de la Parra’s appearance conducting Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 with the Orlando Philharmonic in April 2011. About that concert, raved “Her sweeping arm gestures, expressive body language and a confident command brought out the best of the orchestra.”

Also on the Philharmonic’s opening night program are Mozart’s “Paris” Symphony and Mexican composer Arturo Márquez’s Danzon No. 2.

“I like programs that have this contrast—this fight between pieces,” said de la Parra about the program. “I love to see each member of the audience leave the hall thinking, ‘I really loved this piece, and I really didn’t like this other one.’ Then my mission is accomplished. When you have a lot of the same, it tends to be boring, so I like these contrasting, fighting type programs. And although they are contrasting, I see a line mending these three pieces together—youth, discovery, and dreaming.”

The sole performance will be Saturday, September 20 at Bob Carr Theater, 401 W. Livingston Street, Orlando, beginning at 8:30 p.m., preceded by a pre-concert conversation with Alondra de la Parra at 7:30. Tickets are $20-$71, available at or 407.770.0071.

The Orlando Philharmonic’s international Music Director search was announced in the spring of 2013. Following a 12-month process screening over 275 candidates, a search committee of orchestra musicians and community members chose five finalists to conduct the 2014-2015 Classics Series. Additional Music Director finalists include: Steven Jarvi of the St. Louis Symphony, conductor and cellist Eric Jacobsen, the Duluth Superior Symphony’s Dirk Meyer and former Music Director of Joffrey Ballet, Leslie B. Dunner. The Classics Series and Music Director search are sponsored by FAIRWINDS Credit Union.

Each finalist will spend a week or more in Orlando, rehearsing with musicians, meeting with the orchestra board, staff and volunteers, attending events with arts and community leaders, and conducting one of the orchestra’s five Classics Series programs. Following all five visits, the search committee will make an official recommendation to the board, who will announce the orchestra’s new Music Director in spring 2015. Audiences can learn more about the candidates and the search at

Now in its 22nd season, the Orlando Philharmonic is Central Florida’s resident professional orchestra, comprised of accomplished musicians recruited from around the world. The Philharmonic inspires audiences with over 125 musical experiences annually, ranging from classical and chamber music concerts to pops performances, staged opera productions, outdoor concerts and education programs for all ages. Learn more at | @OrlandoPhilOrch |

Winter Park Chamber to Address Diaper Need

Support your Local Diaper Bank – We are Not making this up!

“The Diaper Bank of Central Florida is here to address the basic need that so many Central Florida families cannot meet-clean diapers for their children!”

The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce is pairing with the Diaper Bank of Central Florida to raise awareness for the lack of sufficient supply of disposable diapers within our community. The Diaper Bank of Central Florida, a local branch of the National Diaper Bank Network, is a non-profit organization working to bring good health, cleanliness and happiness to babies and families in our community. Beginning the week of Sept. 8 through the end of the month, the Chamber will act as a collection site for diaper donations.

According to the Diaper Bank of Central Florida, diapers are not covered by WIC, food stamps or any other government program. Diapers are mandatory for day care centers and even free and subsidized facilities require parents to provide a day’s supply of disposable diapers.

“As a parent, I understand first-hand the expense of diapers,” said Patrick Chapin, President/CEO, Winter Park Chamber of Commerce. “They are not always top of mind need, but consider this: when children are in daycare, parents are able to complete higher education programs, attend job training courses and work outside the home. By allowing parents to better their lives, the cycle of poverty can end.”

Local businesses and residents are encouraged to support the Diaper Bank of Central Florida’s mission to ensure every newborn, infant and toddler is supplied with this most basic need. Disposable diapers and pull-ups in any size, including open packages, are welcome to be dropped off at the Winter Park Welcome Center, located at 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789 weekdays from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. To learn more about diaper need in our community visit the Diaper Bank of Central Florida online at

Follow @

Like @

The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce represents more than 800 businesses, community organizations and individuals in an effort to develop, promote and sustain a vital, thriving business climate throughout the community and to initiate, support and enhance the civic, educational and economic well-being of the area.

Winter Park Wine & Dine 2014 Details

We are calling this a “Top 5” worthy event!

Look at this great line up for this year!



Expected restaurants and local businesses include:

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant
Carmel Cafe & Wine Bar
4 Rivers Smokehouse
The COOP- “Southern Restaurant”.
Wine on the Way
Sushi Pop.
Mellow Mushroom Winter Park
Shake Shack.
Houndstooth Sauce Co.
K Wine Bar.
Funky Monkey Wine Company.
P is for Pie
Brio Tuscan Grille
Lombardi’s Seafood.
Pi Hole PIzza
Bungalow 23
Lineage Coffee Roasting
Houndtooth Sauce Company.
Sweet By Holly Cupcakes
Whole Foods Market Winter Park
Rex Goliath
The Basement
Sassafras Sweet Shoppe
John & Shirley’s Catering
Orange Theory Fitness
Dunkin Donuts
Kilwin’s Chocolates & Ice Cream.
PRP Wine
Pr’s Taco Palace
Jeremiah’s Italian Ice.
Rogue Pub Orlando
And more!

Presenting Sponsor – Keller Williams Winter Park

Platinum Sponsors – Mercedes-Benz of Orlando, & Maxmedia Outdoor Advertising, Movement Mortgage, & Sihle Insurance. If want some premium insurance services, then visit uk motor trader insurance.

Silver Sponsor – The Closing Agent.


Tickets available @

Share on Facebook @

American Advertising Federation-Orlando to Host Crisis Communications Panel

The American Advertising Federation-Orlando is hosting a crisis communications panel from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at 310 Lakeside downtown Orlando on Thursday, September 11, 2014. The panel is comprised of 5 industry experts, including:

  • Loreen C. Bobo, P.E. I-4 Ultimate Construction Manager
  • Joel Staley, PR & Media Training Professional – Domestic, Multicultural, International, Edelman
  • Mason Moore, VP PR & Social Influence, Fry Hammond & Barr
  • Mike Harris, Partner & Co-Founder, Uproar PR
  • Tim Fisher, Creative Partner, ACME Brand Studio

“AAF-Orlando is proud to host this unique event for the local business community,” says Jon Ruhff, President of AAF-Orlando. “The panel of talented industry leaders will give guests valuable insight into crisis management practices that can help brands and companies reduce the amount of damage done during and after a crisis.” The video production singapore helps you in the boost your business.

Crisis management plans are essential to digital marketing Agency and preparing for hypothetical eventualities, if this topic is from your interest, learn more about modern marketing at The Crisis PR event will serve as an outlet for any company, large or small, looking for insight on a plan to minimize the ill effects of a potential crisis. Panel topics will include:

  • Anticipating and preparing for a crisis
  • Identifying and defining a potential threat
  • Crafting the proper message
  • Best practices: internal and external communication

Tickets are $20 for members and $25 for non-members and can be purchased at the event or online. A portion of the ticket proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross of Mid Florida. About the American Advertising Federation of Orlando

American Advertising Federation of Orlando (