Both my husband and I grew up here in Winter Park. In fact, my family’s Central Florida roots date back to the 1800s, with my grandmother being born right there on the banks of Lake Howell. And although I know lots about the Central Florida area, this website is allowing me to discover even more about the place I love to call home.
Alas, the performing arts were not passed down through the generations, as my big debut at the Bob Carr was as a 6th grader in Park Maitland School’s production of Oliver. (Yes, every student got a part. No, mine wasn’t much bigger than the third tree from the left.)
I did come full circle to Park Maitland School, though, because that’s where I currently teach sixth grade English. And through my association with Park Maitland–the school that helped produce names like Mandy Moore, Beth Littleford, and even Will Shadley–I’ve gotten to know a few working professionals like Mad Cow Theatre’s co-founder Trudy Bruner, regional actresses Darby Ballard and Kathy Baker-Wood, and even United Arts’ Cory Warren. (Yes, all these names have an association with Park Maitland in one way or another!)
I’m a Writer
But make no mistake, I am not a critic, but simply a lover of anything being performed or happening here in the Orlando area. I am a writer first, having written several novels. My first, Soul Conspiracy, was a finalist in the 1998 International Hemingway Novel Competition, while my second, Confessions of a Gator Cheerleader, received great reviews from the Orlando Sentinel and Orlando Magazine. (I admit it, I was a cheerleader at the University of Florida…Gator Nation!)
I also have written articles for Orlando Style Magazine and covered NASCAR as a staff writer for the Professional Sportswives Magazine. (Yes, I got to meet The King and interview his daughter and her family!)
And so, this website and accompanying blog, founded in the summer of 2009, were the result of marrying my writing skills with my love of Central Florida. I hope you enjoy perusing the information!
Upcoming events are submitted to my panel of judges to be evaluated and voted upon. They choose the Top 5 “best bets” in different categories:
- Performing Arts
- Visual Arts
- Special Events
- Music (Popular/Other)
Locals and tourists alike use this website and calendar to plan their schedules and to find things to do.
So, if you would like your event to be considered for the Top 5 calendar, be sure to email me info by the 20th of the previous month! Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Winner of “Best Neighborhood Blog” from the Orlando Sentinel in December 2009, the Top 5 blog is updated several times a week and features a variety of topics, ranging from reviews of concerts and shows to featuring artists and upcoming events. I also blog about personal views, such as Obama and the space shuttle program or the day we had a possum in the house! (He looked surprisingly like Mickey Mouse!)
I am always looking for interesting guest bloggers, so if you have an idea and a desire, drop me a line to tell me about it. I’ve also guest blogged on several travel and marketing sites such as the Orlano Sentinel’s “Tech for the Rest of Us,” FareCompare.com and CostaDevault.com.
As @centralfltop5, I tweet all day long, climbing my way to being ranked a Top 10 Power Tweeter in Central Florida by Twitterholic and 12th Most Influential by WeFollow. I not only tweet about upcoming events and specials my readers find useful, but about good news for Florida, such as job growth, citizens winning awards, doing good, etc.
The Top 5 is on Facebook, so perhaps consider becoming a fan? I promise not to “junk up” your wall or pester you with notifications! My Facebook fan page acts as a “one-stop-shop.” Here you can view my latest Youtube videos, assorted photo albums, my many tweets, and other information about what’s happening in Central Florida.
The Top 5 has its own channel on youtube, creating quality videos of places I’ve visited. My videos have been uploaded over 10,000 times, and views of the individual videos vary according to the topic, with some receiving over 5,000 views.
In March 2010 I was asked to participate in the Southern Chevy Dealers “Girlfriend Getaway Florida” promotion, where I got to drive a Chevy in exchange for tweeting, Facebooking, and blogging about it. I’ve done the promotion two times, with a Traverse and then a Malibu, and have just finished a third and final time while driving a Camaro. (Oh yeah!)
I publish two more blogs: The Undomesticated Diva and Holiday Shakespeare–a novel set right here in Central Florida told via a blog format! And my husband publishes Swimmer Joe. Feel free to explore these sites as well.