Tag Archives: bess auer

We’ve been nominated for a Bright House Networks Sunshine Blog Award!

We have some exciting news! Central Florida Top 5 has been nominated for our 2nd Bright House Networks Sunshine Blog Award! We are honored to have been nominated alongside so many other great local blogs – and with so many blogs owned and/or curated by females! (High fives to my Central Florida Lady Bloggers!)

The Sunshine Blog Awards are given out during FLBlogCon’s FORUM presented by Bright House Networks, a smaller version of their much larger held in September. Of course blogging and social media topics are covered here too but this year will feature a great lineup of speakers including our own Guest Contributor and chef about town, Chef Dennis Littley! You can learn more about the program and speakers here.

Blogcurious or interested in attending? We hear tickets are still available, and if you use the discount code ‘LASTCHANCE,’ you’ll get $10 off! This year’s FORUM takes place at the Maitland Civic Center, a historic local landmark all its own! (Map)

Speaker schedule:

  • 4:00pm – Live streaming demo from Chef Dennis
  • 4:45pm – Pinterest Power by Kim Vij
  • 5:30pm – Passion into Profit by Pam Hoelze (who will pinch hit for staple Justice Mitchell)
  • 6:15pm – Blogger Breakout (by niche)
  • 6:15pm – Sunshine Blog Awards presentation
  • 7:00pm – End

In the last couple of years, Central Florida Top 5 has gone through a lot of growth and changes, but our heart has always remained within our community and our eyes peeled on our home turf. In approaching our seventh year serving the Central Florida community, we were beyond thrilled to learn of our nomination in the “Best Community/Neighborhood Blog,” and thank our readers and fellow bloggers for nominating for us!  We especially thank Bright House Networks without whom none of this would be possible.

We need your help. Would you consider voting for us, FTW (for the win)?

Sunshine Blog Awards Vote 2016

Anyone, anywhere can vote once, even if you live outside the counties we currently cover; Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake, Brevard, or Polk. This means our out-of-state and out-of-country readers CAN participate!

Are you ready to vote? Voting ends TODAY, so please act quickly! Here’s what you do:

You may remember Top 5 was voted “Best Blog on Non-Profit/Cause,” in 2014 and we were super proud! Brian’s face here really says it all… (We LOVE YOU, Brian!)

Sunshine Awards 2014 Brian

Top 5 Owner, Brian, poses with an awards swag bag full of Sunshine!


Sunshine Awards 2014 CFLT5

Thank you for voting in 2014! Can we do it again in 2016?

On behalf of the Top 5 Team, we thank you for your continued support as we keep growing! And, should you decide to vote for us as your Best Neighborhood/Community Blog, we thank you for that too!

Show Your Local Love at Canvs on June 5th

Since we were founded in 2009, Central Florida Top 5 has been all about celebrating the amazing things happening here in our region.

We’ve cheered on SunRail and the Dr. Phillips Center. We’ve covered the opening of the Orlando Eye and the arrival of cool new businesses like Gods and Monsters. We’ve walked a mile in her shoes and learned how sharing bikes can get us all farther.

Now, coming up on June 5th, from 3pm to 9pm, all citizens of Orlando are invited to a community celebration of everything we love about The City Beautiful. Macbeth Photography is holding a very special edition of their monthly “First Friday” photography event series at Canvs in the Church Street Exchange building.

Working with artist Nathan Selikoff of Local Notebooks, the Macbeth team researched all of the official neighborhoods of downtown Orlando and created a hand-painted map that showcases each neighborhood and the community as a whole. Here’s how it looks:

Central Florida events First Friday Fotos Local Love

For $20, you get a 5-10 minute photoshoot in front of this beautiful map. One of the images will be lightly retouched and made available via Facebook; all the others will be available for download later. Food and drink vendors will be present, but have yet to be announced.

The proceeds from the Local Love event will go to benefit the work of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness (CFCH). Wondering who they are? You might recognize this video as their work:

Possibly better known as the organization behind the Rethink Homelessness campaign on Facebook, the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness is ultimately responsible for conducting the research and coordinating the implementation of community-wide solutions to the homelessness crisis. Their leadership has helped to put Orlando on the path to making homelessness brief, one-time, and rare.

In addition to donating the event’s proceeds to the Commission, attendees of the Local Love event will be encouraged to write on signs inspired by the Cardboard Stories video embedded above. You can either share something you love about Orlando, or hold up a pre-made sign in support of Orlando’s journey to ending homelessness.

Central Florida Local Love Mayor Dyer Kay Rawlins Phil Rawlins Bess Auer

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orlando City Soccer leaders Phil and Kay Rawlins, FLBlogCon founder Bess Auer, and other community members are already standing up to show their support. (We did too!)

What makes you want to show your local love for Orlando and Central Florida? RSVP on Facebook today!

#CFLT5Day and Launching a New Central Florida Top 5

The time is NOW. The steps have been stepped. SunRail has left the station.

After nearly a year of hard work in front of and behind the scenes, a new Central Florida Top 5 is here! What do you think? A big thank you to the team at CT Social​, for the fresh new look on desktop and mobile!

New Top 5

Fun Spot America on International Drive hosted us for a ‘huuuuge‘ launch party over the weekend with nearly all of our new team of writers, some of our readers, a few very special guests and we even met a few new fans! Our readers enjoyed 20% off of wristbands for mentioning us and using the hashtag #CFLT5Day! Thank you Fun Spot!

Special guests stopped by including our longtime friend Emily Ellyn, Central Florida’s own Retro Rad Chef and Food Network Star and David Hummer, Director of Marketing at Fun Spot America. Virtual well wishes were sent by many including our founder and Central Florida native Bess Auer, the Queen of Versailles herself Jackie Siegel and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs who surprised us with our own day – literally! Mayor Jacobs proclaimed Saturday, May 16th, 2015 “Central Florida Top 5 Day” in Orange County, noting our over six years of service to the community and longevity for years to come. Thank you so much Emily, David, Jackie and Mayor Jacobs!

So what’s new exactly? A BUNCH! Here are our Top 5 awesome new things about CentralFloridaTop5.com:

  • A beautiful new website and mobile site! How do we look? Let us know in the comments by signing into social media!

Top 5 Comments


  • Easier way to submit events to our calendar (Don’t forget the pictures!)

Top 5 Submit


  • The debut of our newsletter (Coming SOON!)
  • More opportunity for YOU to get involved! Whether you have a small business in need of a boost via paid ad space or a great event in need of eyes, we can help! Feel free to email us anytime at info[at]centralfloridatop5.com.

And last but certainly NOT least…

  • Our new team of writers spanning six (with more on the way) Central Florida counties! We attempted to broadcast a live Google Hangout on Air on Saturday, to introduce all of them to you, but sadly broke the internet. (Click the link for video of what did happen!) You will be seeing and hearing from each of them very soon…
Top 5 Team

Our new Central Florida Top 5 Team at Fun Spot: Allen, Jen V, Kari, Kate, Jay, Carolyn, Greg, Kelly, Emily, Lisa, Mark, Rich, JenLee, Bun (Not pictured: Brian, Jen L, David, Nando, Dani, Mike, Cody)

Look for more great posts, local information, reviews, interviews through +Google Glass, pretty pictures, video​ and some fun partnerships in the year ahead!

To our loyal readers, THANK YOU for bearing with us through the growing pains. We appreciate YOU!

Notice something a little different about Central Florida Top 5?

Dear Central Florida Top 5 Readers,


You may have noticed a little something when visiting the site today.

Central Florida Top 5 has changed… a lot. Aesthetically of course it looks different but there are many other big things coming in the month of May, and even more great things to come in 2015.

First things first. The website. In the Central Florida blogging world, we’ve been sharing the best of Central Florida with you since 2009. And, with being one of the oldest blogs in the area, we felt we needed a change, an update… to brighten up even more. We had little idea of how or where to go with this thought process. Enter: CT Social.

CT Social

We met the CT Team at Florida BlogCon (founded by our original owner, Bess Auer) a few years ago which sparked conversation. Last year we got serious and got the creative ball rolling. Today, we’re 15 days from our full relaunch and we couldn’t be more excited to FINALLY share this great news with you! Our friends and partners CT Social gave our website a massive overhaul, which we hope you will find even more convenient and fun to explore. From backend to front page, they rebuilt us from scratch. (Keep in mind, with our soft launch comes some tweaking. We are still under construction, so we thank you for your patience in advance.)

You may already recognize Carolyn as one of our Guest Contributors or as one of Orlando Business Journal’s 2015 Women Who Mean Business nominees. She’s also CT Social’s Communications Director and Digital Storyteller. Her business partner, Greg, is a coding and developer ninja as well as CT’s Marketing Technologist. Chief Barkologist, Hartley, definitely keeps the team motivated! Over the last year they have met with us, coached us, shared many caffeinated beverages and helped us pave the way for a new future of Central Florida Top 5.

I am also one of those big changes. You may recognize me as Top 5’s Multimedia Producer. In case we haven’t met officially, I’m Jen Vargas, Central Florida Top 5’s new Managing Editor! With me comes a team of writers located in counties all over Central Florida – 13 writers to be exact – as well as more Guest Contributors and community partnerships!

In February I replaced Top 5 Senior Editor, Ken Storey, who moved on to orangey pastures over at Orlando Tourism Report. We thank Ken for his input in the early stages of our resdesign. Rest assured, Central Florida Top 5’s owner and community catalyst, Brian Wilson, is still with us. You may not see his face around often but his heart is still here. (He’s a hard one to forget!)

What details can we share with you about our new website launch party? Not a lot yet but here are my Top 5 best hints;

  • It will be HUUUUGE.
  • We will be broadcasting LIVE via Google Hangouts On Air and YOU are invited!
  • Special Guests will stop by, in person AND online
  • You’ll get a chance to meet our new writing team
  • Exclusive local news will be announced

So, what do you think so far? Let us know in the comments or email us at info(@)centralfloridatop5.com.

Orange County’s New Technology: #SocialMedia Workgroup to Advance Citizen Engagement and Support #DigitalCommunity

Successful Digital Outreach Initiatives in Orange County, Florida

As advocates for the region’s burgeoning tech community,Instagram Ads Agency, several online and social media influencers – who also played a significant role in amplifying the digital presence of Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ 2014 State of the County in June – will continue their role as innovators and collaborators in Orange County’s new Technology and Social Media Workgroup.

To expand the online conversation and facilitate a dialogue with a broader demographic, Mayor Jacobs invited online influencers to be Social Media Ambassadors during the Mayor’s 2014 State of the County in June. The Ambassadors, who have large followings on social media networks, engaged citizens by sharing messages on social media to increase public engagement and awareness regarding Orange County’s Year of Transformation.”  Google Glass was used to record and share live from the eyes of one of the Ambassadors, making the event the first State of the County address in Florida to feature Google Glass.

[Left to right] Nadia Vanderhoof, Carlos Carbonell, Ian Suarez, Josh Murdock, Necole Pynn, Laura Kern, Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Bess Auer, David Glass, Jen Vargas and Ann Marie Varga gathered to discuss Orange County’s Technology and Social Media Workgroup.

[Left to right] Nadia Vanderhoof, Carlos Carbonell, Ian Suarez, Josh Murdock, Necole Pynn, Laura Kern, Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Bess Auer, David Glass, Jen Vargas and Ann Marie Varga gathered to discuss Orange County’s Technology and Social Media Workgroup.

“Mayor Jacobs’ State of the County Social Media Ambassadors program definitely brought awareness to the region’s innovation that has propelled our community to the national stage as the new technology hub of the southeast,” said Carlos Carbonell, CEO of Echo Interaction Group andpresident ofOrlandoTech Inc.,a nonprofit organization supporting the Orlando technology community. “I look forward to Orange County’s new Technology and Social Media Workgroup which will further support our dynamic community.”

The Orange County Technology and Social Media Workgroup will operate as a think-tank to advance new technologies, social media and mobile applications supported and developed by Orange County Government. The workgroup will also collaborate on how to best enhance online public engagement and support the growing the technology and digital community in our region.

“It is really impressive the way Mayor Jacobs and Orange County has brought together individuals from different sides of social media and the technology spectrum to work together,” said Ian Suarez, graphic designer and social media coordinator for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando. “It is important to increase public awareness on what the county is doing for our community in today’s tech savvy world. I am honored to be part of such a talented group of leaders in our community.”