Category Archives: Girlfriend Getaway

Central Florida Travel Bloggers – Travel Knowledge Central!

The Top 5 was at the Orlando Science Center today to attend the Central Florida Chapter Meeting of the Travel Blog Exchange, also known as TBEX, which is an international association of travel-specific bloggers. While there, we discussed all sorts of things related to travel, websites, blogging, etc., and we also got to hear from Jeff Stanford of the Orlando Science Center as well as Susan Lomax of the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Chapter President Ben Reed leading a discussion about travel blogs.

I was pleased I got to see some old friends, including Britt Reints of Miss Britt and the TBEX Chapter’s organizer and president Ben Reed of Adventures With Ben, as well as discover some new friends and exciting blogs. So, Central Floridians, in addition to checking out the “Other Orlando Blogs” at the top of this blog, you can also visit these great sites:

Today's attendees are awesome bloggers located right here in Central Florida.

I enjoyed re-exploring the Science Center and highly recommend you visit the special Music Box exhibit.  And, a very special thanks to Ben for organizing today’s valuable meeting!

Top 5 editor Bess Auer with Ben Reed.


Filed under Blogger Extraordinaire, Education, Girlfriend Getaway, Literary, Orlando, Tourist

Cranes Roost: Light Up the Holidays

If you are looking for a free way to celebrate the holiday spirit, Crane’s Roost at Uptown Altamonte is an excellent place to spend the evening.

This lakeside park setting was created twenty years ago by the city to give residents a central place to gather for different events. The annual Fourth of July’s Red, Hot, and Boom! is held there as well as many other festivals and get-togethers.  And, what we like best is the large sidewalk provides an easy stroll around the lake, and it is almost exactly one mile in distance. Good way to keep track of your exercise, no?

Crane’s Roost annual holiday display of lights starts on December 4 and lasts through January. Your family can also enjoy special music, live entertainment, fireworks, and of course Santa and Mrs. Claus. The region’s largest Christmas tree will be on display as well as the Holiday Fountain show. Food and drink will be available for purchase throughout the venue, and parking is close by.

And all this for FREE! Sounds like a  deal to us!

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Filed under family, Fun, Girlfriend Getaway, Seasonal

Make A Wish and Lady Bloggers!

The Top 5 was honored to join several fellow “lady bloggers” last night at The Wine Room on Park Avenue in Winter Park. Organized by Kim Taylor of The Pulse of Central Florida, I got to see Colleen Burns of Yelp Orlando and Lady Ballers, Jeanette of J’s Everyday Fashion (who dished on her celebrity interview with Giuliana Rancic), Katy Widrick of Growing Bolder and her own blog, Jackie of Momjovi, and then Katy of The Balanced Foodie. On the way out, I even ran into Holly Shakespeare!

The Lady Bloggers!

So, our gathering was not the only event happening at The Wine Room. Roll out the red carpet, spin out the DJ, and turn on the spotlights… a fashion show was making its way right through the middle of the establishment! Fashions were provided by Liz’s Fashion Experience, and so we got to watch slinky long-legged models in high heels and faux fur as they strutted the “catwalk” to the front. And, it was all raising money for the Make A Wish foundation… so we loved it!

So, the night was a dazzling time, all the way around! Looking forward to the next gathering of the Lady Bloggers!


Filed under Blogger Extraordinaire, Celebrity, Fashion, Fun, Girlfriend Getaway, Just for Me, winter park

FaceTime Success

The first-ever Central Florida Tweet Up was a solid success Thursday night at Eden Bar at the Enzian. Special thanks to the Doterati for hosting a “pre-tweet up” to get the ball rolling for a spectacular evening!

The exciting news? At 8:03 pm, our hashtag of #cfltweet was “trending topic” in Orlando!

Here’s the list of who attended (some of us have multiple usernames):

  • kwidrick
  • alexiskn
  • fallynstarr
  • crowdtamers
  • BNVfilms
  • Kitmurphy
  • OrlandoImprov
  • JFordMakeUp
  • DavidJhinson
  • BeckiPR
  • reilly_tyne
  • annngo
  • Fltoodo
  • LRLMovie
  • Jenvargas
  • AnalogArtist
  • PulseofCFL
  • LadyBallers
  • YelpOrlando
  • whoframedabbie
  • ColleenBurns
  • SwimmerJoe
  • Social_Citizen
  • Grooveshark
  • TheDailyCity
  • BerMatt
  • cherylp3
  • Tperlmuttr
  • BigDawgPaulShow
  • Splatterweb
  • EdenBar
  • FloridaFilmFest
  • EnzianTheater
  • CurefortheRun
  • willspot
  • KimberlyTaylor
  • dafoodie
  • gehernando
  • centralfltop5
  • peglegpug
  • bananakin
  • somacowgeoff
  • brightgirl
  • sarahlogic
  • comasowjen
  • brianfeldman
  • jsevrydayfashion
  • aaronford
  • geekluv
  • izonorlando
  • relayhunterscrk
  • Hkmouse
  • RevJonB
  • Parkmaitland
  • undomest_diva
  • hollyshakespear
  • SFarkash

If you attended and are not on the list, PLEASE leave a comment so I can correct it! And, to follow these great tweeps, @ComaSowJen has created a list on Twitter to make it easy for you.

If you add up all our followers, we reach an audience of over 76,000 people! (Now, that’s the power of social media!)

For a more complete review of the night, you can see my Girlfriend Getaway post, featuring my Chevy Camaro.  Here’s a short video of the night:

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Filed under Blogger Extraordinaire, Fun, General Info, Girlfriend Getaway, Uniquely Florida

Facetime! Let’s Meet in Person!

In this strange new world we live in, where see more friends on Facebook than we ever see in our daily lives, wouldn’t it be nice to actually breathe the same air space and talk face to face for a while?

When I started the Top 5 (a year ago this month) I had no idea how it would take off and grow. I have met so many wonderful people across this fair state of ours, and so many people passionate about a cause, whether it be Disney, finding a cure for cancer, traveling, feeding the hungry, wearing T-shirts! (Yes, wearing T-Shirts, as in Jason Sadler of Jacksonville.)

Through blogging, Facebook, and Twitter, I have befriended quite a few Central Florida characters, and I am not talking about Chip and Dale from Disney!

  • I am talking about those lovable guys at SomaCow, the world’s greatest internet radio show, ever!
  • I’m talking about every NASA geek who’s “on the grid”…and yes, they are sooo much smarter and less geeky than I ever could have imagined! (Who else could be cool enough to tweet from outer space?)
  • I’m talking about every artist, actor, singer, and musician who is brilliant and talented enough to see the value of connecting their art to the world virtually. @thedailycity, @enzian, and @unitedarts have shown me just how talented Orlando is!
  • I’m talking about the passionate non-profits, who give more and more of themselves to help support others. Simply inspiring!
  • I’m talking about the “mom bloggers” who thankfully analyze everything their child eats, plays, talks, and does in order that I won’t have to!
  • I’m talking about the other “Girls on the Go!” who do a much better job talking about cars than I do!
  • I’m talking about the theme park junkies, such as @FlallDay, who seems far too wise for his years! He and others know more about Disney, Universal, and Sea World than the CEOs of those parks could ever know. Why? Because these guys and gals are infiltrating the parks every morning, noon, and night and seeing it from both a visitor’s and insider’s perspective.
  • I’m talking about all the marketing and PR tweeps who are grinding down this social media phenomenon and figuring out how to best leverage the unusual format to their clients’ advantage.
  • I’m talking about the travel bloggers, such as @MtDora, @Roritravel, @adventureswithben, and @JeffTitelius, who give me fabulous tips and guidance so I will always appear to know what I’m doing!
  • I’m talking about the fit and nutrition bloggers, such as @swimmerjoe, @kwidrick, and @dafoodie, whose knowledge of exercise and/or diet inspires to head to the gym yet another day.
  • I’m talking about other “Florida” bloggers, such as @PulseofCFL,@fl2native, @orlandofl407, and @fltoodoo, because we share a common love of the Sunshine State.
  • I’m talking about the organizations who have decided to tackle social media, therefore delivering their events straight to my computer: organizations such as @orlandosci, @madcowtheater, @orlandoshakes. If they didn’t “socialize” I’d never know what they were doing!
  • I’m talking about the tweeps that just love to tweet, like @jenvargas, @brermatt, @anakenn, @somacowjen, and many, many others simply because I feel like we’re friends (virtual ones).

So, as you can see, these virtual acquaintances have become a large part of my life, strange as it is! So, that is why I decided to host tonight’s Central Florida Tweet Up in order to have a little facetime with those I “talk with” almost daily. I’d love to have a drink and just put a face with a username so next time I see them online, it’s all the more personal.

Here are the details:

Tonight, Thursday, July 22
At Eden Bar at the Enzian Theater
7 pm – 9 pm


Filed under Blogger Extraordinaire, Fun, Girlfriend Getaway, Just for Me, Uniquely Florida

Malibus and Mail Carriers – Won’t You Join Me?

I played hookey today, skipping school to go to the WESH Channel 2 station to pick up my new Malibu, which the Southern Chevy Dealers are loaning me to drive for a month. (I know, what were they thinking, right?!)

My morning started off at Einstein’s Bagels where a former student was now working behind the counter. It is always lovely to see how my students have grown into young adults…nah, it doesn’t make me feel a bit old at all! (Well, maybe just a smidge.) At any rate, I was then off to the news station where I got to see the other ladies blogging for the Chevy “Girlfriend Getaway Orlando” promotion. Be sure to check out their blogs:

Kiran – a fellow Orbby winner who travels the world!
Caitlin – a fitness/nutrition blogger whose book Operation Beautiful will be coming out in the fall.
Meghann – another fitness/nutrition blogger who has a truly inspirational story
Jennifer – a fellow mommy blogger.

I, of course, was totally sweating over what to wear this morning, as they warned us they would be filming for a commercial, which they did. (I asked the studio how well they could photoshop, and they promised I would look like Angeline Jolie before they were finished with it!)

So, after meeting with the dealers–Thanks, Jack Starling from Starling Chevrolet Cadillac in Deland!–having a run down on the Malibu’s bells & whistles, and then our close up interviews, I was on my way in style!

For my regular readers, you’ll remember I got to drive a Chevy Traverse for the month of March and I had so much fun. Well, just think of the Malibu as a smaller, sportier version…and I’m anticipating lots of adventures in the coming month!

So I was loaded up and raring to go… and where was I going? Some fabulous Central Florida destination? Some art exhibit perhaps or an afternoon show which was part of the Orlando Cabaret? (Kiran and I both have been and it is wonderful by the way! I saw KT Sullivan while Kiran checked out The Broadway Boys!)

KT Sullivan

So, which ultra-cool place was I headed in my shiny, black Malibu?  Drum roll please………None of them. *sigh*

My son called from school ill, and so I headed out to get him. (At least he said my car was cool…that I looked like a sick spy in it. Yeah, that’s a compliment from a 13-year-old.) So, we then headed home via Walgreens to get some flu medicine.  By the time I got to the cashier, though, I realized she was the exact same former student I had seen working earlier at Einstein’s Bagels.  I commented on how I was so proud of her work ethic, when she admitted she was wasn’t at college this year and was instead having to help out with the family finances.  I was taken aback at her comment, knowing her family had lived in a home on Lake Maitland, and she had gone to private schools for most of her life. Yet, here she was working two jobs to help out her parents. Talk about a lightbulb moment!

As my son and I drove home, I felt very lucky to have a job at all, and fortunate to have opportunities such as being asked to drive and blog about a Chevy.  The economy is hitting all walks of life, not just the typical ones you’d expect. This became crystal clear to me this afternoon. It just further illustrates the importance of helping out others if you are able.

This Saturday, May 8, is the perfect opportunity. For the 18th year in a row, Florida mail carriers are helping to Stamp Out Hunger! by collecting food. Simply leave a sturdy box or bag with non-perishable food items, such as dry rice, pasta, canned foods, cereal, etc. next to your mailbox. Mail carriers will be picking up and delivering the goods to the Second Harvest Food Bank to aid families in need right here in Central Florida.

To me this is an incredible easy, yet valuable way to help others. Won’t you participate along with me?


Filed under Charity, Girlfriend Getaway, The Arts

I’m a “Girl on the Go!”

The Central Florida Top 5 is honored to have been chosen as one of Chevy’s Girls on the Go!  When I heard the Southern Chevy Dealers would be giving me a Chevy Traverse to drive around for a whole month–yeah, I know! What are they thinking?!– I didn’t even need to ask where to sign. 

You see, I’m a working mom whose day job is an English teacher at Park Maitland School (the most magical, fabulous place in the world) and who moonlights as the editor for the award-winning Top 5 Blog and website.  Start with both of those and add in toting teenagers around town to swim practice and school, grabbing grub at the grocery store, running errands, and then getting back home in time to meet my hunky hubby for dinner, well…you get the picture: I get in a whole lot of mileage zipping around town!

Yep, life is always interesting in the Auer household!  So, I hope you’ll enjoy coming along with me for the trip, as I blog, tweet, and post videos about my traversing in the Traverse… ’cause this is how I roll!

My travels start next week, so in the meantime, tune in on Twitter! I promise you’ll enjoy the ride!


Filed under family, Fun, Girlfriend Getaway