Category Archives: Orlando

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

Central Florida is LivingStrong!

Congratulations to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Orlando for being named the recipient of not just one, but two LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project awards! These awards will bring cancer support programs to patients in Central Florida, and are funded by LIVESTRONG, the organization founded by cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong.

I have long been a fan of Lance Armstrong, and indeed, one of my very first blog posts was about Lance returning to ride in the Tour de France just after a short retirement.

So, when I heard that Central Florida was in the running for one of his great programs, I Facebooked, tweeted, and blogged to get people to vote. I am so proud it paid off, as I feel it will be a true benefit to cancer patients as well as local artists. (FYI: Over a two-week period, more than 260,000 votes were cast and M. D. Anderson – Orlando was among the finalists. WOW!)

“This is a tremendous opportunity for M. D. Anderson – Orlando and we are thrilled to be named as a recipient of these awards,” said Clarence Brown, III, MD, president and CEO, M. D. Anderson – Orlando. “We want to give special thanks to LIVESTRONG and to everyone who voted in support of this program here in Central Florida. We are very excited to move forward and provide these programs to our patients.”

For the first program, United Arts of Central Florida will work with The Creative Center’s Artists-in-Residence program and will allow patients to explore, absorb, and express themselves creatively as they endure diagnosis and treatment. The program will work bedside as well as in small group settings with men, women, and children.

“Through the generosity of LIVESTRONG, United Arts is proud to facilitate in bringing local artists to M. D. Anderson – Orlando as the fight against cancer continues,” said Cory Warren, events manager, United Arts of Central Florida. “We are honored to continue the success of The Creative Center’s Artists-in-Residence program locally by coupling the arts and medicine in the full spectrum of the healing process.”

The second program, The Cancer Transitions is designed to support, educate and empower people with cancer in the transitional period after treatment is over. By incorporating support groups, education, nutrition and physical exercise, as well as addressing other medical management, a survivor’s psychosocial and quality of life issues will be discussed.

M. D. Anderson – Orlando was selected as a recipient for the $20,000 in LIVESTRONG grants following a national online voting campaign involving more than 170 hospitals and cancer centers.

Congrats and use it well!

More LIVESTRONG News:  “The 28 Can’t Wait.”

You can support the LIVESTRONG foundation even more by buying really, really cool yellow gear. (Yeah, there are other colors, too, but yellow is the really, really cool one, no?)

Between now and midnight on November 30, all LIVESTRONG gear will be 28% off in honor of the 28 million survivors who are fighting this disease.

Get your LIVESTRONG gear today, and use the discount code THE28 to get 28% off! Click here to shop now.


Filed under Celebrity, Charity, Contest, General Info, Non-profit, Orlando, Out of Orlando, The Arts

Mennello Museum of Art: Where Fairies Come to Life!

The Top 5 ventured to the magical Mennello Museum of Art to see some real magic come to life… glowing mushrooms and wood fairies came out to play under the oldest oak tree in Orlando. (225 years old I hear!)  This unusual fundraiser, entitled Magnifique, benefited Voci Dance…and it was so much fun!

And, while we were strolling among the fairy folk, we also ventured into the museum itself… what a treat!  If you have never been to the museum before, do yourself a favor and stop by this lovely place. You will feel like you’ve been transported to Santa Fe!

Special thanks to Mark Baratelli of for the heads up about Magnifique fundraiser!

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Filed under Charity, Fun, Museum, Orlando, The Arts

Twitter to the Rescue!

I had heard about this before, but just rediscovered this valuable information… For those who live in Orlando, you can follow any calls made to the Orlando Police Department (Orange County Sheriff’s Office is in development.)

Just put in OrlPol + the zip code you want to follow, and you will receive tweets anytime a call goes out.  Here’s an example: @OrlPol32803

We love the idea of people keeping watch in their neighborhoods, even in a virtual, online, social media type of way! Way to go! Let’s keep Orlando as safe as possible!

And to view a map of where the calls are lodged, you can click here.


Filed under General Info, Orlando, Resident done good

Go Green in College Park – This Wednesday!

Infusion Tea and the Artistree Co-Op is one of my favorite little places in the Orlando area.

Imagine yourself in a charming, indie boutique with a bit of a vegan and gypsy feel thrown in… awesome loose leaf teas and an incredibly delish menu make this a sure thing for a great meal.  And, then throw in the attached Artristree Co-op, one of the best places in town to find deals on the cutest locally made arts and crafts, and you’ve got a winning combination!

Here’s the invitation for this Wednesday, where you can buy environmentally-responsible gifts as well as be in the running to win a $400 gift basket!



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Filed under Fashion, Fun, General Info, Orlando

Orlando Food & Wine Festival: Yum!

The third annual Orlando Food & Wine Fest is this weekend!

The mouth-watering third annual Orlando Food & Wine Festival will take place in downtown Orlando on Robinson Street along Lake Eola on Saturday, November 13 (from 1:00pm to 9:00pm) and Sunday the 14th (from 12:00pm to 7:00pm). Was that a mouthful or what?


It will feature Top Chef Season 7 contestant Kenny Gilbert in a live cooking demonstration, collegiate and professional sports games in the outdoor sports bar, entertainment by national recording artists WAR, Fourplay and Marc Antoine. Not Marc Anthony…. Marc Antonie (he’s an acoustic guitarist!)

Kenny Gilbert

It will be presented and produced by 103.1 WLOQ, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and will benefit the Children’s Home Society of Florida.


To savor the event, expect to pay between $2 and $6 for the sample sized offerings from 36 of Orlando’s Top restaurants and over 50 wines from all over the world! Don’t be drinking them all though now, save some for me. Tickets are $10 for one day or $15 for both Saturday and Sunday and you can buy them here.


If you’re curious as to who will be serving, here’s the list. This list includes Ruth, Mitchell, Dexter, Tommy, Charley, monkeys, an owl, a frog, and a lion, among others. It’s a jungle out there!


Oh! and the DaFoodie car will be there (right at the entrance) Don’t be shy… take a picture with it and upload it to the DaFoodie Facebook page for a chance to get it featured on our blog.

This post was written by guest blogger extraordinaire Gustavo Hernando, AKA Dafoodie, whose incredibly delectable site can be viewed at You can also follow him on Twitter.

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Filed under Fun, General Info, Guest Blogger Extraordinaire, Orlando

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