Tag Archives: truly nolen

Orlando, you are #TRULYLoved

It’s been a heavy month for the world, and in Orlando specifically. Our local City and County government, as well as our LGBTQ and Latinx communities have been working through their grief non-stop since the tragedy at Pulse. People here are slowly healing but still, we can’t forget. But we can make it better, all of us.

#LocalLoveOrlando Map (Pulse Edition) by Macbeth Studio

#LocalLoveOrlando Map (Pulse Edition) by Macbeth Studio

As a citizen and resident, I knew I wanted to do something. More than just saying ‘thank you,’ more than just a friendly tweet of encouragement. Smiles were the first thing that came to mind. They’re free, and anyone can inspire one, anywhere and at any time.

Many individuals and Orlando agencies have had to work through their grief, non-stop, over the past month including; City of Orlando and Mayor Buddy Dyer‘s office and communications teams, City of Orlando District 4 Commissioner Patty Sheehan, Orange County and Mayor Teresa Jacobs‘ office and communications teams, Orlando Police Department and Chief John Mina, Orlando Fire Department and Chief Williams, The Center, Orlando’s LGBT Community Center of Central Florida, and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Metro Orlando.

So… what’s the plan?

First things first – the smiles. I don’t know about you, but when I see one of Truly Nolen’s Volkswagen Bugs driving down the road, I immediately smile. From the ears on the roof to the tail on the back, I could be sitting in the worst traffic ever, see that mouse car, and smile. Did you know that Truly Nolen also has a Mouse Limo? It’s true! If seeing a huge, yellow Mouse Limo roll down the road doesn’t make you smile, I’m not sure what else will.

Truly Nolen Limo Side

Another thing that makes me smile? CUPCAKES. Win! Little cups of cake and icing, and enough joy to fit in the palm of your hand. Who doesn’t love a good cupcake? Even when they’re bad, they’re good. (Note: I have never had a bad cupcake, even ones I’ve baked myself. And I don’t cook.) 

So… I decided to combine the two, and thanks to Truly Nolen and Sprinkles Disney Springs, tomorrow’s JOYride will be a little sweeter!

How did I come to cupcakes and Mouse Limos?

At last month’s Mascot Games at the Amway Center, Jack Martin, who drives Truly Nolen’s Southeast U.S. Mouse Limo all over the country, offered to take me for a ride in the limo – and of course I said yes! After the attack on Pulse happened on June 12th, I knew I wanted to do more than just take a joyride around town in an unusual, but really cool limo.

Wait. JOY… ride. JOYride!! Makes PERFECT sense. 

Luckily Truly Nolen is as active in their communities (all over the United States) as Central Florida Top 5 and I are here in Orlando. In fact, we’ve teamed up a few times before. We received a not-as-scary-as-it-sounds bug education at Truly Nolen University and they also introduced us to a young quilting expert named Faith-Christina Duncan and her friends at the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida.

After brainstorming with Truly Nolen’s Community Events, Social Media, and PR Manager, Toby Srebnik, we came up with a plan. Why not share smiles with everyone in Orlando (including those on the road) on our Mouse Limo JOYride through Orlando?

Next, I needed to locate cupcakes… dozens of delicious, colorful cupcakes. The first company that came to mind, who was equally as community-minded, was Sprinkles Bakery.  Sure, they have an amazing new Cupcake ATM at Disney Springs, but could they fill a very tall order of 5 dozen cupcakes? A quick call to Sprinkles Los Angeles and Sprinkles Disney Springs sealed the deal! The answer was an immediate YES!

The answer is always YES to cupcakes. Especially Sprinkles cupcakes!

The answer is always YES to cupcakes. Especially Sprinkles cupcakes!

[To learn more about them, read our 5 Things You Never Knew About Sprinkles Bakery post!]

So, tomorrow, I will be hand delivering smiles and Sprinkles cupcakes, via Truly Nolen’s Mouse Limo (the Official JOYride Vehicle!) to – just a few – of the people who have tirelessly kept our Orlando community safe and loved; City of Orlando, Orange County, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and The LGBT Center of Central Florida!

Does all of this sound goofy or sweet? I’m okay with either. As long as smiles are smiled tomorrow, it’s a good day. We’ll have to play it by… ear. (Ha! Mouse… Ear.)

I will also make a small delivery of wheelchair afghans and cuddly stuffed frogs for an out-of-state friend to Give Kids the World at some point on Wednesday! Please, I-4, be kind to us!

You can follow my Orlando JOYride on Google Maps! I will also post a link tomorrow beginning at 1pm from the app Glympse, so you can follow our JOYride in REAL TIME, and maybe catch a glimpse of Truly Nolen’s Mouse Limo. (More puns! Okay, I’ll stop.)

Want to join in on the fun? When you’re out tomorrow, if you see us on the road or at one of our ‘sweet’ stops, snap a picture of Truly Nolen’s Mouse Limo and hashtag it #TRULYLoved!

Not in Central Florida? No problem! Snap a picture of you and your friends smiling or forming a heart (with your hands, arms, pencils, a drawing – anything you like) and share it on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat or Facebook using #TRULYLoved! We’ll be sure to share them all!

Also, be sure to follow @TrulyNolen, @CentralFLTop5, and me, @jenvargas on Twitter for live, on the road and inside the Mouse Limo updates!


About Truly Nolen
Founded in 1938, Tucson, Arizona-based Truly Nolen of America is the largest family-owned pest control company in the United States. Our East Coast Operations Office is proudly headquartered in Orlando and is visible off Interstate 4. Truly Nolen has over 80 branch offices in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Utah. The company also has independently owned and operated franchises in an ever-growing number of territories including Kentucky, Georgia, New Jersey, Canada, Puerto Rico and over 60 countries. To learn more about Truly Nolen, visit www.trulynolen.com or follow us on Facebook(www.facebook.com/TrulyNolenand Twitter (www.twitter.com/TrulyNolen).

About Sprinkles Cupcakes
Sprinkles Cupcakes opened “the world’s first cupcake bakery” in Beverly Hills, as reported by the Food Network, and is credited by the Los Angeles Times as “the progenitor of the haute cupcake craze.”  Founded by Candace Nelson, judge on Food Network’s hit show “Cupcake Wars,” and husband Charles, Sprinkles has inspired long lines of devoted Hollywood stars and serious epicureans alike.  From Tom Cruise to Oprah Winfrey, Blake Lively to Ryan Seacrest, celebrities are abuzz about Sprinkles!  Baked fresh in small batches throughout the day, Sprinkles Cupcakes are handcrafted from the finest ingredients and contain no preservatives, trans fats or artificial flavors.  Sprinkles has 20 locations nationwide, a traveling Sprinklesmobile – the world’s first cupcake truck, and sells its cupcake mixes at over 250 Williams-Sonoma stores throughout the US and Canada.  In 2012, Sprinkles debuted the world’s first Cupcake ATM and continued its foray into classic American desserts with the launch of Sprinkles Ice Cream. For additional information and a list of future locations, please visit www.sprinkles.com.

World Down Syndrome Day & A TRULY Special Delivery

The kind folks at Truly Nolen of Orlando recently introduced us to a very talented teenager named Faith-Christina who loves quilting. “I have been making quilts and other sewing crafts for almost two years.  I decided that I wanted to sell them to people online and also raise awareness of people like me,” says Faith-Christina on her website, www.imperfectcreations.net.

Quilting Master Faith-Christina Duncan shares her love with Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida

Quilting Master Faith-Christina Duncan shared her love with DSACF by making them a one-of-a-kind quilt!

“People who are told they can never do anything just because of a ‘handicap.’ When people tell me that I can’t do something because I’m different, because I have a disability, I look at them and tell them not to dis my ability. I can do the same things you can. I just like to do them my own way,” she says. (Shhh! A little Buddy told us we may see more awesome quilts from Faith-Christina pop up around town! Maybe at the Best Buddies Friendship Walk at Lake Eola on May 7th?)

Her dad, Mike Duncan, works at Truly Nolen as a Trainer for their Eastern Region. Faith-Christina, Mike, and mom Nancy have been have been involved with the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida since 2005. Why? Well, for one, DSACF is a wonderful organization who has served over 1,000 families and 12,000 friends and supporters in the Central Florida community for the last 25 years. Also, Faith-Christina was born in 2000 with Trisomy 21, also known as Down syndrome.

DSACF is the proud host of the Florida State Down Syndrome Conference, a free medical clinic in partnership with Arnold Palmer Hospital’s Developmental Center, free family fun days at Universal Studios and SeaWorld, free IEP support and educational evaluations from the Down Syndrome Center (Jacksonville) and much more. 

According to their website, “Truly Nolen of America partners with and supports many nonprofit organizations in the various local communities we serve across the country. We encourage our employees to participate in local events and we support them and their families. We send our kid and family favorite mouse car limo as well as our world famous antiques to events when possible.” And boy did they! Seriously, check out their Community Express truck. It’s a food truck and entertainment party on wheels!

Amy Van Bergen is DSACF’s current Executive Director, and will be retiring this month. Amy will pass her torch to longtime volunteer Interim Executive Director Ed DeAguilera. To celebrate Amy’s years of dedication, advocacy and service to this wonderful organization, Mike and Truly Nolen commissioned Faith-Christina make a special quilt and handmade receiving blankets which were presented to a very surprised Amy!

Truly Nolen Community Express

Here comes the Truly Nolen Community Express!

Mike and the Truly Nolen team took this surprise even further. A fleet of Truly Nolen mousecars left the Orlando office, led by their Community Express Truck, drove in parade formation down I-4 to Down Syndrome of Central Florida’s office on Wymore Road in Winter Park, set up a truly wonderful picnic, and made Amy and her entire DSACF team lunch! Look at Cars Website to learn more. (Want a TRULY rad mouse motorcade or party in your community?  Fill out and submit this form when seeking a request, donation or pledge.)

Truly Nolen DSACF

The Truly Nolen Community Express sets up a picnic lunch!

Which brings us to March 21st. To most people, this was simply another Monday. To others, March 21st is when a single global voice for advocating for the rights, inclusion and well being of people with Down syndrome.

Why the 21st? According to Down Syndrome International, “The date for WDSD being the 21st day of the 3rd month, was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.

On 19 December 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared 21 March as World Down Syndrome Day (A/RES/66/149). Global activities and events around WDSD each year, organised by persons with Down syndrome, their families, friends and advocates, work to raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.

In doing research for this post, Top 5 readers Mary and Phil Daikos from New York shared with us their son Evan’s story; how Mary first felt about his diagnosis of Down syndrome, and how she feels now. We’d love for you to read it and smile.

As many of you know, we were blindsided by the diagnosis of Down syndrome when Evan was 10 months old. To say we were shocked and uncertain as to what that meant for us would be an understatement. But I have a crystal clear memory of being upset about a week post-diagnosis and looking down and seeing Evan staring up at me as if to say, “What’s wrong, Mom?” That was my a-ha moment. Because, to him, nothing was wrong. Nothing had changed! Nothing.Has.Changed.

Fast forward nearly 5 years… “Down syndrome” has very little effect on our daily lives. I only really think about it when advocating for him, or when dealing with prejudgements based on his diagnosis. To us and those who know him, he’s just smart, silly, funny, crazy Evan. He has the kindest heart, is the best listener, and the biggest helper ever. Today, after school, he told me I was his “best friend”. He is my heart.

So thankful for him and every one of his beautiful chromosomes. Happy World Down Syndrome Day💙”

5 year old Evan Daikos just started Kindergarten and LOVES ice cream!

5 year old Evan Daikos just started Kindergarten and LOVES ice cream!

Upcoming DSACF events:

22nd Annual Mascot Games Presented by Wawa starts today!

Starting today through Saturday afternoon is the 22nd Annual Mascot Games Presented by WawaNew Hope for Kids staff, a bunch of really cool kids and devoted volunteers from DPR Construction and other local businesses will pack Amway Center today, Friday, June 19, at 12:30pm, and Saturday, June 20, at 2pm.  Twenty-four of the best and most popular mascots from across North America will join the Orlando Magic’s STUFF, the event’s host mascot, for this annual competition. Favorite mascots from Major League Baseball, National Football League, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association will divide into four teams as they compete against each other in a series of wild and wacky games to determine the true champions of the mascot world.

The collection of Mascots that will be showcased at Amway Center will be unrivaled anywhere in the world,” said Dave Joswick, Executive Director of New Hope for Kids. “Our ambassador, Orlando Magic’s STUFF, has invited top notch talents, all who love to compete, and who also love knowing they’re helping kids.

The Mascot Games Presented by Wawa will once again be emceed by Fired Up Entertainment’s Scotty B, an Orlando staple. Each Mascot team will have a Celebrity Coach that will help manage the team and push them to victory. Coaches on June 19: WFTV sportscaster Christian Bruey, Orlando Sentinel sports columnist George Diaz, and 740 The Game radio personalities Ditti and Doc.

Coaching duties on June 20 will be entrusted to The Monsters from Real Radio 104.1: Russ, Dirty Jim, Angel and Carlos. Each game will feature a halftime show with local talent, Gina Incadela on June 19th and Project DJ Slam, featuring Blake Guyre!

5 cool things to look for:
  • Giveaways, coupons and more at Pizza Hut of Central Florida’s booth
  • Silent Auction items just in time for Father’s Day
  • Truly Nolen’s MouseCars and MouseLimo!
  • Avanti Resort’s ‘high five’ Selfie Contest
  • Olive Garden’s Breadstick Sandwich wagon (Saturday only, 1-5pm)
Tickets for the Mascot Games Presented by Wawa are still on sale.  General admission tickets start at $12 and can be purchased through mascotgames.org or amwaycenter.com, the Chase Box Office at Amway Center, all Ticketmaster retail locations, charge-by-phone at 800-745-3000 or at Ticketmaster.com.
On Saturday only, a limited number of VIP “Mascot Huddle” tickets, which include a Mascot meet and greet and reserved seating, are available for $30, and reserved seating is available for $20.
Group seating for Summer Camps is available by downloading a form from the event website at www.mascotgames.org under the “Summer Camps” tab. In addition, discounted corporate tickets are available, offering local companies the ability to reward and entertain their employees and/or customers.
All proceeds from the Mascot Games Presented by Wawa benefit New Hope for Kids, which provides support to children and families grieving the death of a loved one, and grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses in Central Florida. Since its inception, the event has raised more than $300,000 for New Hope for Kids.
Participating Mascots:
Albert & Alberta – University of Florida (Oh Bess…)
• Bango – Milwaukee Bucks
Billy the Marlin – Miami Marlins
Captain Fear – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
• Carlton – Toronto Maple Leafs
• Champ – Dallas Mavericks
• Fin the Whale – Vancouver Canucks
• Harry the Hawk – Atlanta Hawks
Kingston – Orlando City Soccer Club
Knightro – University of Central Florida
• Lil’ Red – University of Nebraska
• Louie – St. Louis Blues
• N.J. Devil – New Jersey Devils
• Orbit – Houston Astros
• Rangers Captain – Texas Rangers
Raymond – Tampa Bay Rays
• Rowdy – Dallas Cowboys
Sebastian – University of Miami
Shades – Orlando Solar Bears
• Slamson the Lion – Sacramento Kings
Stanley C. Panther – Florida Panthers
• Stormy – Carolina Hurricanes
STUFF – Orlando Magic
ThunderBug – Tampa Bay Lightning
• Tommy Hawk – Chicago Blackhawks (Uh oh. Will it get awkward around ThunderBug? Is the Stanley Cup visiting? We are not bitter… much.)
Be part of the games: Follow along and share on social media! Be sure to follow #MascotGames on
About New Hope for Kids
Since 1996, New Hope for Kids has been helping Central Florida children in need. Our purpose is to bring hope, healing and happiness to children and families suffering from grief, loss or life-threatening illnesses. New Hope for Kids achieves this through two programs: The Center for Grieving Children helps children and families cope with the feelings of grief and loss after the death of a loved one. Wishes for Kids grants wishes to children up to the age 19, diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. For more information visit www.newhopeforkids.org.