Tag Archives: winter park

Bon Voyage 2010: Going on a Disney Cruise because 2+3+3+7=50

For New Year’s my family is taking a Disney Cruise to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.  So, we’ve come up with a slogan: 2+3+3+7=50

2=My parents

Married on December 19, 1960 in All Saints Episcopal Church,  my parents have figured out the key to success.

My parents at the Lazy 3 Ranch in Winter Park

+3=My two brothers and me

I had a magical childhood growing up in Winter Park on a “ranch” which now sits in the middle of Aloma Ave. and 436. Go figure that the city would grow up so fast around us!

Top 5 editor Bess Auer with her brothers.

+3=Our spouses

Yep, our family grew by three more in just two years. I got married in All Saints Church (just like my parents as well as my grandparents!) and then my brothers followed suit by getting married less than two years later.

Top 5 editor Bess Auer getting married at All Saints Church in Winter Park

+7=Our children

While I only have one child, my brothers had three each. Our family has grown by quite a bit since my parents married in 1960!

The 7 grandchildren

So now you know where we got 2+3+3+7=50!

And, to celebrate that 50, my mother wanted to do something that my father and she could share and enjoy with all of us, including my niece with special needs. A cruise seemed like the perfect choice, but not only that, she chose a DISNEY Cruise!

Needless to say between the family time, playing and relaxing, as well as the spotty wi-fi on ship, the Top 5 will not be blogging, tweeting, or Facebooking while on the cruise. (I feel the withdrawal already setting in!)

I am signing off until 2011; however, some big changes will be in store for when I come back. Thanks to Seventh Degree, Inc., the Top 5 will have a brand new look! (Yay!)  Not only will there be a totally new design with some incredible features, I am also stoked about some new additions.

Meghann Anderson, blogger extraordinaire of Meals and Miles, has agreed to be my “Go to Fitness Girl” for exercising in Central Florida.  She’ll not only be reviewing the many racing and fitness events around town (she’s done most of them!), she’ll also be giving tips and advice about staying and living healthy in Central Florida. I am so honored she’s agreed to “come aboard” the Top 5! (Did you like my boat reference there? I’m so ready for the cruise! Ha!)

So, until the launch of our new blog design, have a wonderful New Year!

Note: I do have house guests taking care of the casa and pets while we’re cruising… can you imagine the kennel bill for 3 cats and 3 dogs?!  My special guest is a former student (believe it or not! Oh, am I getting old!) who is staying here with her family. I hope she enjoys Orlando and I hope the weather warms up for them!

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Filed under disney, family, History, Just for Me

Rollins College: Founder’s Day is Here!

Long before Disney, Sea World, and certainly Universal Studios were a dream in someone’s head; way before I-4 or the Bank of America Building had been planned on paper, even before the Lake Eola Fountain was a wisp of an ideaRollins College was founded, 125 years ago today!

Founded in 1885, Rollins College opened its doors for the very first classes on November 4.  With just 66 students that first year, Rollins became known for its beautiful Florida landscape, including Lake Virginia, and top-rated faculty.


Old Knowles Hall, one of the earliest buildings at Rollins College.


With just under 3,000 students today, the college is consistently ranked as #1 in the South of “America’s Best Colleges.”  Rollins is celebrating 125 years with a very special line up of speakers, including Robert F. Kennedy tonight at 6 pm.

And, for those with some social media savvy, check out Jason Sadler from iwearyourshirt.com honoring Rollins today by wearing their shirt! (Yeah, we think that’s pretty cool!)


Filed under Education, History, Literary, Rollins College, Uniquely Florida, winter park

Billy Gardell: Winter Park Boy Makes it Big in Hollywood!

Stand up comedian and actor Billy Gardell is starring in the new CBS primetime sitcom Mike and Molly.

Billy is originally from Pittsburgh, but attended my high school when his family moved to Florida. As a classmate at Winter Park High School, I don’t pretend to have known Billy well at all–who knows if he would even remember my name! Just my graduating class had over 900 students after all!–but I do claim to remember that he was a funny guy even back then. One year for a talent show,  he donned a brown paper bag over his head to debut as the “Unknown Comic” and had the crowd in stitches! I find it so refreshing that somebody who actually knew what he wanted to do as a career (starting back in high school) had the gumption and guts to persevere until he made it. Way to go, Billy!

Mike and Molly starts September 20 on CBS. Until then, catch this interview with Craig Ferguson on the Late, Late Show. Billy confessed this was his very first talk show and that he was nervous! (I must confess, I had never seen the Craig Ferguson Show as I am always in bed by then! But, the host was gracious and very funny… me likes the Scotsman!)  And, we think Billy did an absolutely great job and are proud to claim him as a local boy done good!

Warning: Rated PG for langauge.


Filed under Celebrity, Just for Me, Resident done good, TV Fame, winter park

Rollins College makes the SAT optional!

With so much emphasis placed on standardized testing lately with the “No Child Left Behind” policy, it is rather refreshing to see a swing back towards a more well-rounded student. Rollins College, celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, is doing just that by allowing admissions based on a student’s portfolio, which highlights their strengths, rather than just  single test.

Colleges who have taken the same route have reported higher admission applications and feel they are getting a broader base of students bringing a variety of talents to school.

Of course, students who are athletic-based or merit-based scholars still must qualify using the traditional SAT/ACT/GPA manner, but other students may gain access to a college education by presenting themselves in the best light.

So, to my fellow writers out there, who are like me and find math to be a terrible nemesis, rejoice in the positive direction that Rollins is headed!


Filed under Education, Rollins College

You Only Live Once… right?

If I mention a salon and day spa on posh Park Avenue in Winter Park, are you suddenly picturing $$$$$$$$$?

Well, never fear because enter YOLO Salon and Spa, and you will suddenly feel transported back in time to an earlier version of Park Ave., when unique storefronts and boutiques reigned, rather than the chain-owned stores of today. To a time when a shopper would discover a rare find, and then have to come back to that store again and again because it was the only place it could be found. And a time when most people who live in and around Winter Park could still afford to shop there!

YOLO Salon and Day Spa

That’s because YOLO, which stands for You Only Live Once, is a store packed with funky fun finds, traditional lime green and pink t-shirts customized with palm trees, and items reminiscent of Austin’s hippie feel. In fact, when I first walked in I thought it was just a store and was completely surprised to see they are also a full service salon–hair, pedicures, facials, bikini waxes, the whole nine yards!

Not surprisingly they have garnered fame among the Rollins College crowd, and most appropriately, they keep their college-aged customers (and budgets) in mind. I got a bikini wax ($35) and customized facial ($85 but I utilized their $20 discount for being a new customer), so it was nowhere near what today’s Park Ave. prices have risen to.

The day of my appointment, I arrived at YOLO a bit early to hunt through their chic boutique and was offered a drink from a makeshift tiki bar set up in the middle of the establishment. (Too cool!) There were also some comfy chairs and couches to plop down in to wait if I so chose.

Have an iced tea while you relax.

Kari, my technician, soon arrived and escorted me back. In a treatment room, she put me at ease before setting about to a painless (well, almost) waxing and then a luxurious facial. She mixed a custom mask for me based on my skin type (and she nailed it perfectly!) before massaging away my tension as well as a horrible neck crick while it dried.

And do you know what I loved the best? Although the front of the salon was packed with a variety of different lines of soaps, lotions, etc., she didn’t seem predetermined to sell me something after the facial. (You know what I am talking about! Those salons where the technicians recommend some $90 facial wash and $80 lotion, making the whole facial seem like some big sales job!)

Great selection

So, while some exotic, high-priced salons must be saved for only truly special occasions, like birthdays or Mother’s Day, YOLO Salon and Spa seems like the type of place I would want to be a regular. A place where everybody knows my name when I walk in…a place to just hang with the girls. And, for those regulars, they have a membership program for even bigger savings! During the summer months, YOLO is running all sorts of fun specials, like $30 Tuesdays, so be sure to pop in and see what they’ve got going on. (And don’t think that the better price means skimping on the service…I would put their facial up with the best in town!)

So, here’s to only living once and pretending to be a lady of leisure while I’m doing that living! And thanks to YOLO’s great prices I can afford to do that… well, at least some of the time!

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Filed under Fashion, Fun, General Info, Just for Me, Rollins College, winter park

d’ Elegance is back in Winter Park

My husband produced one of the very first auto shows in Winter Park back in 2000, and so my family has always had a fondness for the venue. This is why the Concours d’ Elegance, a premiere auto show, excites us so. After a few down years, where the cars or management were a bit underwhelming, the Concours d’ Elegance returned with a vengeance this year and hit a homerun!

First, the cars were exciting, with many out-of-state entries showcasing true elegance, luxury, or prime vintage examples. Next, the City of Winter Park allowed many of the beautiful autos to be displayed on the green park itself, greatly expanding the flow of the show to a more traditional “art show” feel. By allowing the show to venture past the bricks of Park Avenue, show goers could leisurely make their way, spending even more time gawking at the mobile feast-for-the-eyes of cars and boats. Also, the sponsors and vendors were better quality along with the refurbished Park Avenue storefronts being debuted. The DuPont Registry was also a classy, big-time touch!

Congratulations to Tim Weber and the rest of the Concours d’ Elegance for a top quality, well-attended show!

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Filed under winter park

Are you in the “Hood”?

Mark Baratelli of The Daily City has ventured past his blog and partnered with Orlando Event TV to present a new series called “Hoods.” This series will focus on a different neighborhood each time, and he has started his series with Winter Park.

Click here to view the video now.

Looking forward to the next “Hood” in the Orlando-area!

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Filed under Fun, General Info, Tourist