Category Archives: New & Hot

Flash Mob in Orlando! Be a Part of It!

The Top 5 is so excited that a flash mob is being organized in Orlando to celebrate tourism!  So, what’s a flash mob, you ask? Here’s one performed in Stockolm in tribute to Michael Jackson:

So, we definitely want to be a part of this, and we’re sure you do, too. First of all, sign up here: FLASH MOB FACEBOOK INVITE

Singers, Dancers, EVERYONE (that means you and me). They’re hoping to have one core group to be our “voice” and then have EVERYONE else in our community that wants to be part of history…and well, something very cool.

Sign up here and put your email into the comments. All event locations and times will be handled via email…not through Facebook.

Flash mob choreographer:
Michael Wanzie, master of all that is entertainment.

End of January (have to be vague about the date at this point, but they have already zoned in on the event and location). The goal will be to target a time when the MOST people can be present.

Rehearsal will be announced 2 days before the event via email. They will then announce, via private email…where we will rehearse (1 hour).

You will learn where the event will happen the night prior to the actual event.

$0 but the memory will be priceless!

There is no doubt this will go viral. What we’ll hope for is the event will be impactful, moving and help clearly illustrate that Orlando is open for business and we’re FUN.

We love this idea! Come on, Orlando, and let’s make it BIG!

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Filed under Fun, New & Hot, Orlando

Black Friday Shopping Tips and Apps From J’s Everyday Fashion

It’s the day before Thanksgiving and I am already looking past tomorrow’s Turkey Day and onwards to the infamous Black Friday–the biggest shopping day of the retail year!  Black Friday can be tempting and terrifying all at the same time… the deals, the crowds, the parking, the savings, the credit card bills…yikes!  But rest assured our favorite fashionista blogger J from J’s Everyday Fashion has helped make this year’s Black Friday a bit easier.  So, without further ado, here are her suggestions, originally posted on November 17 …and thanks, J, for letting us re-post it!

5 Things to Know about Black Friday at the Florida Mall




Today I was invited to a blogging/technology lunch with some other bloggers and the marketing folks at the Florida Mall. We talked about the upcoming holiday events at the mall and enjoyed some tasty lunch from Buca de Beppo!

Here are 5 things you need to know about Black Friday at the Florida Mall:

1. Approximately 50 stores will be opening at midnight on Black Friday. Night owls rejoice!
2. They are expecting 100,000 guests. Pack a snack and be ready to shop, shop, shop.
3.  Lanvin hits H&M on November 20th. Check out this FabSugar feature to see pictures from the line.
4. There are a bunch of new stores at the mall to check out including Charming Charlie (affordable accessories), A’Gaci (a Forever 21 type), and Cotton On (an Australian brand that reminds me of American Eagle).
5. Finally, check out these apps to help with your Black Friday shopping: here’s no better way to maximize your Simon shopping experience than the free Simon Malls iPhone App. And there’s no better way to maximize your shopping experience when you get there than with the Simon Malls app.

Park’n Find: This will save you time finding your car in a crowded mall parking lot. Park’n Find uses GPS to remember where you parked so you can find it again later. The app can also remind you to put more money on the meter using push notifications. is a year-round bargain hunters application where forum members meet online to swap deals, coupons codes and savings strategies. But each year, as Black Friday rolls around they really get serious. Black Friday will keep users up to date on the latest BF ads and discounts. It pulls information from the online forums as new deals are posted.

Mall Maps Deluxe can help you navigate the crowded mall. Mall Maps has detailed floor plans for more than 1,000 shopping centers in all 50 states. You can even directions to the mall or search the phone directory of the mall’s retail stores.


The TGI Black Fridayapp is powered by and, this app is designed to help users prepare for the Black Friday. Find ads, deals and coupons from major retailers — sometimes before they are released to the public — then create a shopping list and compare prices. offers this application for tracking Black Friday Deals. Some people wait all year for them, while others seek out Black Friday-like deals every day. This application does both!

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Filed under Fashion, General Info, Guest Blogger Extraordinaire, New & Hot

Take Out for Thanksgiving? Oh yeah!

So, I met up with several Orlando area tweeters and bloggers at Boston Market for a tasting of the restaurant’s newly enhanced menu. I spent time with @dafoodie, @thedailycity, @kiran_, and @tastychomps and we had a lovely time catching up over some very yummy food.

Top 5 editor Bess Auer with Mark Baratelli of the The Daily City and Kiran Srivastava of Chatterbox.

Now, the non-foodie in me (I love to eat but not to cook!) started to think a bit ahead… Thanksgiving is just around the corner, right? I’ve got my smoked turkey ordered from Bubbalou’s but am in desperate need of some really good side dishes. (I’m not kidding…I really do not cook.)  So, what better timing for me than to be able to sample some side dishes tonight?

In addition to Boston Market’s normal sides, here’s some of the new gourmet sides we got to try:

  • Loaded Mashed Potatoes
  • Garlicky Lemon Savoy Spinach
  • Squash Casserole (My favorite!)
  • Mediterranean Green Beans

Yep, I am one step ahead of you… I’m already placing my order for next week!

And, what else is new at Boston Market?  Well, for one things, there were ceramic plates and real silverware. And, table service… really!

I think this change is a positive step for the chain.  And, they have definitely made my Thanksgiving easier!

Some of the new yummy side dishes!


Filed under Blogger Extraordinaire, Fun, General Info, New & Hot, Seasonal

Orlando Film Fest: Will U B There?


The Top 5 will be at the opening night of the Orlando Film Fest. In fact, has invited us to attend and tweet on their behalf as we take on the sights and sounds of opening night!


Billed as “Independent film for everyone!”, there are over 300 filmmakers expected to attend, and most films will have a Q&A afterwards. And what’s even more fun? If you love to laugh, you can also attend the Fool Fest at SAK Comedy Lab, held in conjunction with the Orlando Film Fest.

Held at the fabulous Plaza Cinema Cafe in downtown Orlando, there’s a new movie starting just about every 30 to 45 minutes, so there’s bound to be a movie or two that you simply MUST SEE!  Click here for the full schedule.



Filed under Blogger Extraordinaire, Fun, New & Hot, Orlando, The Arts

Changes for the Central Florida Top 5

The first year for the Central Florida Top 5 (founded in July 2009) brought many exciting events and an overwhelming response from the Central Florida community. I have taken great delight in researching and attending new shows, concerts, literary and art events, as well as supporting many non-profits. My Top 5 judges have been so supportive, and I have met countless terrific people I am now proud to call friends.

So, it would be natural that I would want to continue doing the wonderful things that work, and move past the things that are not as successful. (For example, I will never hold another video contest!) Keeping those things in mind, the Top 5 is evolving by moving entirely to Facebook, Twitter, and the Top 5 blog.

The separate, free-standing Top 5 website is being discontinued as updating it took several days of tedious web work and design each and every month.  So after much thought and discussion, it was decided I can convey the same information about upcoming events and streamline my audience by simply posting that info on my blog and Facebook pages. And, the much-loved calendar–by far the most-visited page on the free-standing website–can be recreated on the Facebook page. (In fact, the Calendar App is upgrading and getting ready to launch even as I type this!)

Our Facebook Welcome Page - go check it out!

And even better, Facebook will be a “one-stop-shop” where you can view the Top 5’s latest Youtube videos, photo albums, tweets, and other info.  Also, it will be even easier for you to interact with me and give feedback, let me know about other great events happening around town, as well as state how you liked the events you attended. It seems like a real win-win!

So, to those of you who enjoyed my separate, free-standing website, forgive me for simplifying my busy life. I hope you will transfer over your following to this blog and become a fan on Facebook, and I hope to provide even more complete coverage through these online venues. (Yes, there will still be the Top 5 events in different categories each month… you will just visit my blog to see them!)

So, thanks for hanging in there and I hope you enjoy this new format for streamlining my information to you. I do love writing about Central Florida… so here’s to you, readers and fans! Thanks for being there! 🙂


Filed under Blogger Extraordinaire, General Info, Just for Me, New & Hot

Park Avenue Fashion Week: The Swag Bag!

I was so excited to stop by the Kick Off Party for Park Avenue Fashion Week at Tuni on Park Avenue earlier tonight.  As a VIP ticket holder, I received a special invite to stop by and pick up a “swag bag.” Hmmm…they peaked my curiosity.  Just what would a swag bag from PAFW include?

Well, the build-up was fun enough, as Tuni had a special “photo wall” prepared for VIPs to have their picture taken, and they had live mannequins modeling in the windows (fun!) as well as champagne and a DJ inside the boutique.






So, I flashed my VIP ticket and was shown past the DJ to the back where the “check in” table was located.  There I received my silver swag…


Top 5 Editor Bess Auer has got swag!


And on my way out, I was suddenly fodder for the paparazzi!



And so, just what was inside the bag???



  • Program of Events for Park Avenue Fashion Week
  • Gift certificate from La Belle Furs for a free 100% cashmere scarf
  • Chocolate High Heel (edible – yum!)
  • Gift certificate from Syngery for $20 off any UGG purchase
  • Fall edition of Brite Magazine
  • A catalog of Van Gogh Vodka Imports
  • A beaded/ribbon necklace and hope earrings from Tuni
  • Two complimentary tickets to a Festival of Orchestra performance
  • A tie-dye tank top and peace symbol necklace from Sultre
  • A bottle of Aveda Rosemary Mint Hand and Body Wash from Gary Lambert Salon
  • Gift card for $25 off any hair service over $50 for four visits from Gary Lambert Salon
  • Eye glass cleaner and gift certificate for $100 off any pair of glasses from e|o Eyes & Optics
  • Gift certificate for $25 to Current (if you spend $125)
  • Gift certificate for $25 to Coralia Leets Jewelry Boutique
  • American Heart Association “Go Red” red dress pin
  • One complimentary admission to a Rollins College sporting event
  • A gift certificate for $5 off any dinner at Tolla’s
  • A card for a complimentary drink at Fleming’s
  • Sample of Oribe shampoo and conditioner and a gift certificate for $10 to Kendall & Kendall Hair Color Studio
  • Sample of Biomega shampoo and conditioner from Marvaldi Hair and Make Up Studio
  • A gift certificate for $25 to Eileen Fisher (if you spend $50)
  • A coupon to enter to win $500 towards an outfit from Thread
  • A key from Eileen Fisher and Synergy to possibly win either $100 gift certificate or a pair of UGG Classic Boots
  • A gift certificate for $100 to Tuni (if you spend $200 or more)

Not bad for some free swag, eh?

I really love the chocolate heel…I am assuming it is from PeterBrooke, and I like the jewelry from Tuni.  The tie-dye tank totally rocks, too!  As for the gift certificates, I’m going to have to spend a lot of money to be able to use them, and most have a fairly soon expiration date, so I may or may not get much use out of them.

Overall, though, PAFW is off to a fun start!


Filed under Fashion, Fun, New & Hot, winter park

Dafoodie is da Best!, one of the Top 5’s favorite “tweeps,” has been selected to compete in the Road To Success Small Business Challenge by Marriott’s Fairfield Inn & Suites.  Dafoodie, created by Gustavo Hernando, is just one of ten small business selected from across the country to compete for the grand prize of $20,000. To win, he will be traveling the country to meet set goals, but will share his journey with us by posting pictures, blogging, and tweeting about it.

Gustavo and his famed Dafoodie Smart Car at a recent lunch at Dexter's of Winter Park.

So for those unfamiliar, with, here’s how Gustavo explains his site: came about after posting pictures of entrees I’d ordered from various restaurants on my Facebook page. I got a lot of comments like ‘Wow, it looks good! Where did you eat it?’ Even at restaurants, it’s happened that people ask me what it is that I’m eating. Not all restaurants have photos of their dishes. So that got me thinking, ‘If you’re a visual person like me, you’d probably rather see an example of a restaurant’s food than read about it.’ So I decided to make a site where all you look at is pictures of food.”

So, be sure to follow Gustavo on Facebook and Twitter as he takes Dafoodie on the road to success.

Good luck, Dafoodie, we’ll be rooting for you!


Filed under Blogger Extraordinaire, General Info, New & Hot, Resident done good, Restaurant Row

Orlando Improv Festival – The Top 5 Reasons You Must Go!

So, there are tons of reasons why you should go see the performances at the first annual Orlando Improv Festival on September 20 – 21…to support local cultural and art events, to be a trend-setter, to do something out of the ordinary, etc., etc.  However, we put our heads together with the festival’s creator, Mark Baratelli of, to come up with the Top 5 reasons you simply must be there!

1. It’s a COMEDY festival.

And, in today’s world, we need to laugh more than ever!  From threats of burning Korans and the devastating unemployment rate, to in-our-face negative political ads and news of the ongoing war, couldn’t we all use a break?  Definitely! And remember, laughter is the best medicine for ALL that ails us!

2. Tickets are CHEAP.

Baratelli wanted something everyone could enjoy, and so ticket prices have been kept at just $5 – $7 per show. Where else can you see professional performers from around the country perform in our backyard for that price?

3. Performances include groups from all over the nation.

That’s right, not only do you get to see the best of Orlando’s improv talent, but you also get to see performers from Austin, Seattle, Atlanta and even Sarasota.

4. Location. Location. Location.

Being held at the Winter Park Playhouse allows for festival goers to enjoy the ambience, especially in between shows. If you haven’t been to the Playhouse yet, you are in for a treat. Located along Winter Park’s hip Orange Avenue scene, near The Ravenous Pig, Winter Park Fish Company and the new Cup of Soul Cafe, you can dine like royalty before or after a show, or kick back and relax on a comfy couch in the Playhouse’s ultra-intimate lobby.

5. It’s NOT on a weekend.

Okay, what? It’s not on a weekend?  That’s right! Baratelli realizes that his audience’s time is precious, and weekends are often packed with family obligations or other events, and so he decided Monday and Tuesday nights would be perfect to invite us out to enjoy… pure genius!  (Come on, would you rather be home cooking dinner on a boring regular Monday night, or would you prefer to be kicking back in style while being royally entertained? I know which I would choose!)

And the best part? You can join the fun for free!  The Top 5 has 2 “All-Access” Passes to giveaway. (That’s a $120 value!!!)

To Win All Access Passes:

1. Become a Top 5 fan on Facebook.

2. Leave a comment under the Orlando Improv Festival post.

3. Cross your fingers, because you just might be randomly selected to win the tickets! Winners will be chosen on Friday, September 17, so hurry to post your comment to be in the running!


Filed under Fun, General Info, New & Hot, The Arts