Category Archives: Around CFL

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.  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.

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 Defenders of Wildlife, 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.

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

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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

Silver Sponsor – The Closing Agent.


Tickets available @

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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.”

Crisis management plans are essential to predicting possibilities and preparing for hypothetical eventualities. 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 (

Restaurants Picks We Wish Were Apart of Orlando’s Magical Dining Month

With Magical Dining in full swing it seems like almost every top restaurant in Orlando is included, well almost.

The restaurants we wish made the list for Magical Dining this year are:


Epcot Restaurants

– A highly coveted table at Le Cellier, San Angel Inn, Monsieur Paul and the many others would be a welcomed addition by many to Magical Dining. We know it’s a pipe dream with the logistics in a theme park, but it is supposed to be Magical Dining right?!

200 Epcot Center Dr Lake Buena Vista, FL 32821 (407) WDW-DINE

Charley’s Steakhouse

– How is it that one of nation’s TOP steakhouses not invited to join in Magical Dining? Do not despair though; as they do have their own version matching the MD event. This does leave many to wonder was this a Magical Dining snub or something else?

2901 Parkway Blvd A1, Kissimmee, FL 34747 (407) 239-1270

Kings Orlando

– Yes, many people think of it as a bowling alley with perhaps typical bowling alley food; but did you know everything on their decadent menu is made from scratch? Offerings include maple glazed scallops, buffalo wontons and more. Kings is one of the only three restaurants in Orlando with 5 Bubbles via Trip Advisor (the only other two are below) with exceptional ratings on virtually every other social media source.

8255 International Dr #120, Orlando, FL 32819 (407) 363-0200

Chatham’s Place

– Chatham’s Place closes for a month during the summer to offer its employees a break every year and never loses any guests. It sounds unbelievable but it’s true! This place is always packed. It’s a hidden gem just off Sand Lake. They probably don’t need Magical Dining, but most would love to see them added.

7575 Dr Phillips Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819 (407) 345-2992

Victoria & Albert’s

– With a virtually perfect Zagat Score, plus being a Top Three restaurant on Trip Advisor National Rankings, this restaurant always exceeds expectations. Please keep in mind they book a minimum of six months in advance for a table. But this restaurant would truly make Disney’s Magical Dining truly live up to its name.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa 4401 Floridian Way Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830  (407) 939-7707 


Review | Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month at Hamilton’s Kitchen


Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month 2014 (NOW!)

More than 75 restaurants are serving up savings this Month PLUS portion of proceeds to benefit the Foundation for Foster Children!

More details HERE




Inaugural Orlando Couples Cook-Off Presented by Edible Orlando and the Orlando Date Night Guide!

Calling all Cooking Couples!!! Prizes, Fun for a great cause!


This will be the 1st Annual Orlando Couples Cook-Off!

1 Mystery Box of Local Ingredients

+ 1 State-of-the-Art Designer Kitchen

+ 1 Hour to Cook Up a Killer Dish

= 1 Chance to Win Appliances, a Gourmet Stay & Dine Package, and More!!

May the Best Couple Win!  

Get ready for a fast-paced, hands-on cooking competition designed to give couples the opportunity to test their skills for the chance to win fabulous prizes and the title of Orlando’s Top Culinary Couple. Proceeds to support Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Five couples will compete in each of the 3 qualifying rounds, with one winner from each advancing to the finals.

**Entry is $150 PER COUPLE**(buy here)

Proceeds supporting Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

Qualifying Rounds:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday, October 3, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

Final Round:  Friday, November 14, 2014  (Tickets to attend as an observer at the Finals Taste and Cheer Event go on sale Oct. 20)

All events run from 6:30pm to approximately 9pm.

** There will be one winning couple from each qualifying round. Each winning couple receives complimentary admission to the finals. **


More details @


Greater Orlando Heart Walk Laces Up on September 6th

Each year, 1.2 million Americans will suffer a coronary attack and 700,000 will have a stroke. In Central Florida, over 4,200 deaths are caused a year due to a cardiovascular issue. By adopting a lifestyle of physical activity, individuals can reduce their healthcare costs, increase their productivity and improve their overall quality of life and longevity. That’s where the Greater Orlando Heart Walk comes into play

WHAT:  Saturday, Sept. 6, an estimated 20,000 participants are expected to attend the Greater Orlando Heart Walk to benefit the lifesaving work of the American Heart Association. Walkers will unite to create hope, inspire change and celebrate at the University of Central Florida at Memory Mall.

WHO: Combining fitness and philanthropy, this annual walk brings together over 100 local corporate sponsors, walk teams, individual walkers, survivors of heart disease and stroke and lifestyle change heroes who are all taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle while raising funds to combat heart disease and stroke, the No. 1 and No. 4 leading killers, respectively, of American men and women.

Speakers and special guests include:

  • Heart disease and stroke survivors of all ages, lifestyle change award winners
  • Sportacus, LazyTown’s very own athletic, super-active SuperHero, SHADES from the Solar Bears and UCF’s own Knightro
  • Cardiologists, medical professionals and high-level community volunteers
  • The Fox Sports Florida Girls  — Jordana and Annilie
  • Emcees: Jayme King, FOX 35, Dana Taylor, Mix 105.1, Rick Stacy, Sunny 105.9 and Dustin Kross, AMP Radio 101.9

WHEN:  Saturday, Sept. 6 – Festivities (giveaways, entertainment, a tribute to survivors, pre-walk warm-up and more!) start at 7 a.m.Walk Kick-off at 8 a.m. at the University of Central Florida at Memory Mall – 4000 Central Florida Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32816. (It is best to arrive before 7:30 a.m. to avoid road closures and difficulty parking.) Mini-show by Sportacus at 9:15am, immediately followed by hands-only CPR training that will continue until crowds die down, or around 10 a.m.

Mayor Dyer appoints two new Deputy Chiefs

Deputy Chief Smith   Deputy Chief Rolon

September 5, 2014 – ORLANDO, FL – Today, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced the appointment of two new Deputy Chiefs.

Mayor Dyer has appointed Orlando Rolon, a 21 -year Orlando Police Department veteran, to succeed Deputy Chief Charles Robinson as he retires after more than 27 years of service at the City of Orlando.  Additionally, Mayor Dyer has appointed Eric Smith, a 20-year Orlando Police Department veteran to succeed Deputy Chief Carl Metzger as he retires after more than 25 years of service at the City of Orlando.

“As Mayor, my top priority is the safety of our community and investing in the Orlando Police Department by providing the latest training, technology and working closely with our residents,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.  “I am confident Deputy Chiefs Rolon and Smith will continue to work diligently with us in protecting our City against crime.”

Newly promoted Deputy Chief Rolon will now be responsible for the Administrative Services Bureau which includes the Communications Division, the False Alarm Reduction Program, Property and Evidence and the Records Unit.

During his 21-year tenure with the Orlando Police Department, Deputy Chief Rolon has worked in many capacities including Southwest Patrol Sergeant, Parramore Heritage Bikes Sergeant, Public Information Officer, North Patrol Watch Commander, Mayor’s Assistant and Liaison for Hispanic Affairs, Downtown Bikes Commander and Traffic Enforcement Section Commander.  Most recently he served as the Professional Standards Commander and in addition to his regular job assignments has served on the Emergency Response Team and as the Crisis Negotiations Team Commander.

Rolon is a graduate of Colonial High School and served in the United States Marine Corps Reserves.  He also served as the president of the Central Florida Chapter of the National Latino Peace Officers Association.  Rolon is currently working on a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Columbia College.

Newly promoted Deputy Chief Smith will now be responsible for the Special Services Bureau which includes the Airport Division, K-9 Unit, Mounted Patrol Unit and Traffic Enforcement Division.

During Smith’s 20-year tenure with the Orlando Police Department, he has worked in multiple units including, East Patrol Sergeant, K-9 Sergeant, West Patrol Watch Commander, Tactical Operations Commander and Metropolitan Bureau of Investigations Narcotics Commander.  Most recently, he served as the Orlando International Airport Division Commander.  Additionally, Deputy Chief Smith has served on the Special Weapons and Tactics Team for 19 years and served as the SWAT Commander.

Deputy Chief Smith received his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida.  He is a graduate of the DEA Command School, the U.S. Army Counter Drug School, and the Florida Law Enforcement Leadership Academy.

“I have worked closely with both Orlando Rolon and Eric Smith for over twenty years and look forward to having them on my senior staff.  Each of them have extensive experience in police operations and are up to the task of keeping Orlando a safe city.”

The appointment of Deputy Chief Rolon will go into effect on September 1, 2014 and the appointment of Deputy Chief Smith will go into effect on October 1, 2014.

Monster Jam is Racing to Orlando’s New Citrus Bowl! *Presale and Details

Tickets go on sale to the general public starting at Wednesday, August 27th at 9 AM EST. Tickets go up $5 more week of show.

2Days ONLY: Get Tickets Before Anybody Else!


Photo Credit: Feld Motor Sports

Exclusive Presale: Monster Jam is Racing to Orlando’s New Citrus Bowl!

Monster Jam® is racing to Orlando’s newly built Citrus Bowl and YOU have the opportunity to get tickets before they go onsale to the general public!

The new stadium will have 5000 less seats than in past years, so get tickets TODAY to be a part of the 1st Monster Jam crowd in the new Citrus Bowl!

Use special offer code ‘JAM‘ to access this exclusive presale offer!

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Thanks Florida K-12 School Employees  with Educator Appreciation Days

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! attractions in Florida are again showing their support for K-12 educators that work within the state.

Teachers, support staff get free admission to Ripley’s attractions in Florida from September 2 – October 19

All Ripley attractions in Orlando, Panama City Beach, St. Augustine and Key West will be FREE for educators in the state from September 2 through October 19.

 Teachers, administrators, counselors, and support staff are eligible for free admission; they just need to bring a current pay stub and photo ID when they visit the attraction.

 Additionally, up to five guests that come with an educator get 50% off their admission.RipleysBelieveItorNot

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando is conveniently located at 8201 International Drive, and is open daily from 9:00 am to midnight (last entry nightly at 11:00 pm). For more information, please visit or call 407-345-0501.

Markets of Sunshine: Family Fun Day of Shopping & Education

Markets of Sunshine vendor events is about educating the community in three categories. Lyme disease, foster care and sustainable living.
Get pampered from home party reps like: Avon, Beauty Control, Lemongrass while enjoying a few indulgences from Dr. Munchies  sponsored location.

Learn about Lyme disease and Sustainable living from Markets of Sunshine and support Community Partnership for Children and learn why we need more foster families.


As a final connection and special treat for shopping you’ll get to go home with a goodie bag filled with products and samples from their 12 vendors.
Scentsy, South Hill Design, Origami Owl, Trades of Hope, Pure Romance, ItWorks and schedule a photo session with Sunshine Photography!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

921 Town Center Dr. Dr. Munchies Sandwich Shop Orange City, FL 32763 United States

Full details:

Say What? Expert Reveals Hearing Industry Financial Hazards

Say What? Expert Reveals Hearing Industry Financial Hazards

                                                                                                                                                    By Frank Goldberg, HAS, BCHIS
With the aging of the huge Boomer population, approximately 10,000¹ U.S. citizens turn 65 each day, and will continue to do so for the next 19 years. With rising healthcare costs, many have significant concern that they may face a bona fide financial crisis. This, coupled with the fact that a large number of Boomers are working well into their retirement years, is a recipe putting older Americans at risk of not properly managing, and outright ignoring, health and wellness issues—particularly those relating to medical matters not covered by insurance and require hefty out-of-pocket expenditures.  Chief among these is hearing impairment and, more specifically, associated hearing aid device costs.

Typically, someone concerned about hearing loss would visit their ear, nose and throat doctor or a licensed audiologist to have their ears checked for any abnormalities. It would be determined through the diagnostic process whether or not a patient would benefit from hearing aids.  Happily, all of this is covered by Medicare or insurance because it is medical in nature. However, even with an insurance-covered medical diagnosis, the hearing impaired community quickly learns that hearing aid devices are generally not covered by insurance to any notable degree and, when a patient seeks to purchase a device on the open market, they suffer what can be unconscionable prices that would cover the cost of a new car or a down payment on real estate.

This factor alone has long been the catalyst for people avoiding corrective action for hearing loss, which only gets more debilitating over time and diminishes one’s productivity and overall quality of life. Hearing loss is one of those gray medical areas that the general public knows “of” but little to nothing “about.”

With this in mind, here are some commonly asked questions regarding hearing loss and hearing aids, also revealing why it’s imperative to seek intervention at the earliest possible date:

What are the primary causes of hearing loss and who is at risk?
Simply, but only partially stated, hearing loss can be caused by genetics (family history), medications such as chemo therapy, antibiotics, and general anesthesia to mention a few, noise exposure, diabetes and diseases like Scarlett Fever, Mumps, Measles and Rheumatic Fever and others. Hearing loss cuts across all ethnic, cultural, economic and social boundaries, so it’s a problem that affects us all—either personally, a family member or someone we care about and want to interact with.

What can be the effects of ignoring hearing loss?
The implications of ignoring the problem are not to be taken lightly as hearing loss has been linked to dementia, depression, irritability, fatigue, stress, social withdrawal, reduced alertness, memory issues and reduced earning power².  Each one of these symptoms can be individually researched to gain a fuller understanding of their implications.

How do I know if I need a hearing aid?
If you are experiencing some or all of the following symptoms, you should visit a hearing professional to diagnose why you’re experiencing them. This doesn’t necessarily mean you will need a hearing aid but only a proper medical diagnosis can determine that need. Following are some of the most common symptoms associated with hearing loss:

  • You ask people to repeat or don’t when you should to catch what they’re saying
  • You have difficulty when more than one person at a time is speaking
  • Words appear muffled
  • People appear to be mumbling
  • More difficulty with high pitch voices like women and children
  • You have to turn the TV up loud and even then it’s not 100% clear
  • You respond incorrectly when asked a question (You thought they said something else)
  • It’s easier to understand when facing the person
  • You have to strain to hear what’s being said
  • You become annoyed, embarrassed or frustrated because you can’t follow the conversation
  • You find yourself withdrawing from social and family situations

If I think I need a hearing aid, what do I do?
Diagnosis of hearing loss is a two stage process. First, you should be seen by an Ear, Nose and Throat physician to determine if any medical condition exists that is causing you to experience the symptoms. Things like excessive or occluding wax, an ear infection or a hole in the eardrum (perforation) are treatable conditions that can restore normal hearing.

If, however, it is determined that no issues exist that are visible or treatable, then stage two takes place. An examination of the hearing is performed by either an audiologist or licensed hearing aid dispenser to determine the extent and configuration of the hearing loss. Those factors will assist the professional in determining what hearing aid product will be most advantageous for you.

What questions should I ask when shopping for hearing aids?
It is important to keep in mind that hearing loss and the treatment thereof, with or without amplification, is personal and subjective. No two patients will respond the same way to the identical instruments. With that said, there are some basic questions that should asked and replied to such as:

  • Will the proposed hearing aids help me to hear better and why?
  • Why was this particular instrument recommended for me?
  • Are there other instruments that are comparable?
  • What type of style of hearing aid is best for me and why?
  • What features are inherent in the hearing aids and how do they help me?
  • What is the warranty from the manufacturer?
  • What services can I expect from your office and is there a cost?
  • What kind of care and maintenance is required?


How do I know which kind of hearing aid is right for me?
This is a mutual decision between you and the professional treating you. Your professional will consider all aspects about you to include the type and nature of your hearing loss, your lifestyle, your expectations, your needs, your vision, your dexterity, your steadiness, your alertness, your hand-eye coordination, your comprehension of the workings and manipulation of the instruments controls and so on. Then you and the provider come to a consensus to select the appropriate hearing aid devices from which to choose.

Are there hearing aids that are so discreet they can hardly be seen?
There have been dramatic advances in hearing aid styling. Not too long ago, hearing aids were large, cumbersome and very visible. There has always seemed to be a stigma about wearing hearing aids in that other people would think you were old or “not with it”. Because of that alone, many needy people forwent the use of hearing aids. Hearing aids today are discreet and some are completely invisible to the eye. That said, the style of hearing aid best suited for you will be determined by your hearing loss and other factors, which my require something less discreet. Your hearing aid professional can help you make that determination.



Recognizing the avoidance ramifications and the cost of treatment, in 2010 hearing aid industry authority

Frank Goldberg, HAS—an expert Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences—is Founder and CEO of — a company dedicated to removing barriers related to procuring affordable, high-quality hearing aid devices, professional advice and top-notch service.



Top 5 | Truly Nolen

By Laurie of Mousecations

We recently stopped by Truly Nolen’s Orlando office for a tour and lunch (luckily no bugs were on the menu).  While bugs are just part of the reality of living in a swamp infested state like Florida most of us don’t enjoy said bugs when they show up in our kitchens, showers, or beds.  Truly Nolen, with their mouse cars, has been one of the go to companies when those outside creepy crawlies come inside.

Over lunch with the a few Nolen employees and fans; including Scott Nolen, grandson of the founder, and Alex Bello, a Nolen Regional Sales Analyst, we learned a few interesting factoids on the mouse car company.

1. Truly Whitfield Nolen got his name from the middle names of his father and uncle.

He persevered despite the hard times. He lost his first wife, Dollie, in 1920 and in 1921 his son Truly Jr. and his father the Rev. Richard T. Nolen. He went to college but ended up working for the railroad, Indianapolis Water Co. and other jobs. He made sure his family was take care despite the hard times during the depression which cost him his home. He has passed on to his descendants and to Truley Nolen Pest Control that dedication to hard work, respecting others, Southern hospitality, good citizenship, and helping others in need. Truly D. Nolen is his octogenarian son who still works in the Naples office answering phones.

2. The company helps keep bugs out of the community.

The company exterminated bedbugs for free at Brandon Community Center, cleaned up a local park, sponsored Taste of Sanford, and donated art supplies to schools in Key Largo. They go to community centers, schools and events to help people learn how to decrease vermin damage to their homes and to their vacations. The average home has over $8,000 in damage by the time an exterminator is called. Truly Nolen provides insulation that has boron which has an R value of 3.7 which is greater than the average blown insulation that is only 2.5 R value. Putting in such insulation saves money and helps keep bugs away. Part of their community service is the encouragement of providing homes for bats, birds, ladybugs, and other animals that eats the bad bugs and mice. They educate people on how to detect bug infestations and which bugs are good bugs. Email them photos of that weird bug and they will tell you what you have. You might see them at parades, fairs, garden shows, and other local events with their mouse cars, antique vehicles, and mouse golf carts.

3. The Truly Nolen University in Orlando has a training school

The school teaches trainees what to look for when visiting a client. Trainees must learn the types of construction of homes so they will know the best method of treatment and types of infestation. They look for bushes against houses which harbor vermin and allow bugs to crawl into homes. Drain spouts can wash out the area around a foundation thus removing treatments. Tree limbs that touch the house are a great freeway for bugs and mice to enter a house. The training house has a bedbug room to show trainees termite damaged a termite damaged picture, jewelry box, and book as well as let them find evidence of bedbug infestation. There is glass covered cut outs in the walls to show trainees the different ways bugs and vermin can damage a building and how they can travel unseen through a building.

4. In the 1940’s soldiers were given packets of DDT to put in their duffel bags to get rid of bugs. That was when DDT, chlordane and other chemicals were cheap and nobody stopped to see the damage to the environment and people. Bugs became resilient to chemicals to where one type of bug needed 3000 times stronger chemicals. Boraxo and boron down a drain kills drain flies while soap removes wax from bugs, suffocates bugs, and prevents wasps from using pheromes to alert their nest. Diatomacous earth cuts the cuticle of bugs which causes them to die. Diatomaceous earth, boric acid, and abamectin are green products. They use hepa vacuums to vacuüm up bug larvae, eggs, debris, and bugs from homes.

5. Truly Nolen is in 54 countries and 16 US states

North Carolina has been announced as their next state to they plan to expand into. Their business is in foreign countries tends to be commercial. In Arizona the big concern are poisonous spiders and scorpions while in Florida is about fire ants and bees. Each area has its own set of vermin for each season and there are things that can be done during each season to defend homes against bugs.

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The Great Outdoors of Central Florida: Our Top 5! (wait we need some help here!)

We have so many great National Parks here in Florida and our Top 5 are- umm eh well-

Know someone who know about “The Great Outdoors” around here? Share with our readers!

We need a writer to share more about this!

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We are also looking for stories relating to: great local news, upcoming events, food, tourism  and technology. 

Hoping to meet other fellow bloggers that want to write about local too at FLBlogCon! 

Burger lovers rejoice! Shake Shack comes to Central Florida!

by @JenVargas (with a huge shoutout to Michelle over at City Surfing Orlando!)

New Yorkers know Shake Shack. Jimmy Fallon and Spiderman villain Dane Dehaan LOVE Shake Shack. Jon Stewart, of course, is aware of the hamburger establishment known as Shake Shack. Even Kathie Lee and Hoda are crushing on Shake Shack! What took us so long?!

You may be asking yourself one of two or three questions;

1) Why DIDN’T Central Florida have a Shake Shack sooner?

2) What the heck is a “Shake Shack” and why should I care about shakes or shacks, together or separately?

and, because I really want to know;

3) Is crack Shake Shack’s secret ingredient?


1) We don’t know what took Shake Shack so long. Clearly Central Florida is one of the most popular vacation destinations IN THE WORLD, so naturally one might assume we were a given.

2) A little Shake Shack history, quoted directly from their mothership home page: “Shake Shack sprouted from a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park in Manhattan created by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) to support the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s first art installation. The cart was quite the success, with Shack Fans lined up daily for three summers.
In 2004, USHG won the bid to open a permanent kiosk in the Park: Shake Shack was born. This modern day “roadside” burger stand serves up the most delicious burgers, hot dogs, frozen custard, shakes, beer, wine and more. An instant neighborhood fixture, Shake Shack welcomed people from all over the city, country and world who gathered together to enjoy fresh, simple, high-quality versions of the classics in a majestic setting. The rest, as they say, is burger history.”

3) Sources at Winter Park’s Shake Shack location could neither confirm nor deny said speculation of crack as an ingredient. Interesting to note, said sources also could not confirm nor deny the existence of Shake Shack’s Super Secret Menu locally. Hmmm… will continue to investigate both and keep you guys posted.

Top 5 COOL things about Shake Shack:
1) The C-Line. If you are only craving desserty type goodness, this line’s for you. Bypass the hungry Shakersby, get your custard and split.
2) The view off the back porch of Lake Killarney. Just trust us. Even if it’s hot and gross, dine on the back porch at sunset. It’s just… WOW. (There’s a ping pong table too!)
3) Community Love! They certainly don’t have to however, The Shack regularly donates %5 of sales from their Winter Wonderland Concrete (a dense custard with optional mix-ins) to Central Florida’s own BASE (Believe, Achieve, Support, Educate) Camp Children’s Cancer Foundation, which provides support for children and families living with cancer. Shake Shack’s Stand For Something Good blog is also awesome.
4) NO hormones or antibiotics. EVER. SS only serves 100% all-natural Angus beef.
5) CRINKLE. FRIES. With cheese… cheddar and American. My mouth runneth over!!

For people, check out GIFN‘s Orlando Shack Media Preview GIFs!

For food, heck out my Google Story below for a few visuals…