Tuesday, April 22, 2014

4th Annual Celtic Festival To Benefit Ormond Beach Mainstreet

The skirl of bagpipes means the Clans are ready to gather for the 4th Annual Ormond Beach Celtic Festival and Highland Games, April 26-27, 2014.  This great event returns to Rockefeller Gardens with 5 stages of music, 2 days of Highland Games, authentic Celtic food, vendors selling everything from claddagh rings to tartan kilts, kids activities and so much more!  Whether you're celebrating your Celtic heritage or can't tell haggis from colcannon, the Ormond Beach Celtic Festival has something to love.  The weekend attracts more than 10,000 locals and visitors each year.  Admission is $5 each day for adults.  Children under 12 are admitted free.

Here are the Celtic Festival Quick Facts:

Festival Hours:

Friday, April 25 - Whisky Tasting 5:30 pm

Oceanside Country Club, 75 N. Halifax Dr., Ormond Beach

TICKETS @ OrmondWhiskyTasting.eventbrite.com ($25)

Saturday, April 26, 10 am - 8 pm;
Sunday, April 27, 11 am - 5 pm
Rockefeller Gardens, 25 Riverside Dr., Ormond Beach, FL

Planned activities:

For a complete schedule visit the website at www.OrmondBeachCelticFestival.com

Musicians and dancers from the United States, Canada and the British Isles fill 4 stages with continuous music from more than 20 bands.

The jam tent and workshops are free and open to anyone who wishes to participate.

Rosie O'Grady's Highlander pipe band is on parade twice each day.

(Headliners appear on the Main Stage both
Saturday and Sunday)

Patrick Ball - Theater of Legend, Celtic Harp & Spoken Word (www.patrickball.com)

Brendan Nolan - Irish Singer & Songwriter (www.brendannolan.com)

Highland Games
Saturday - NASGA sanctioned competition in Caber Toss, Braemar Stone, Scottish Hammer, Sheaf Toss, Weight for Height and Weight for Distance

Sunday - Workshops and demonstrations

Performances by Irish step dancers and Scottish Country dancers

Join in the fun 5 pm Saturday at our "Ceilidh".  This dance party and workshop with live musicians will teach you all you need to know to start stepping out in the Celtic fashion.

Learn more about Celtic heritage in clan tents featuring history and culture

Clan Challenge Games - darts, tug of war, corn hole and more

Kirkin' o' the Tartan church service - Sunday morning

2014 Honored Clan - Clan Campbell

Daily clan parade led by Rosie O'Grady's Highlanders
Dog parade and costume competition

Kids Zone
Elf and Fairy costume competitions
Build a faerie house
Kids' Highland Games
Face painter

Current Vendor List
(please check our website for additional vendors)
AAA Travel
Aunt MJ Creations
Buffington's Bar and Grill
Cameron Clan Kettle Corn
Celtic Designs by Melodye
Celtic Roar
Colleen's Celtic Cove
Faire Isle Trading Company
Highland Glenn Foods
Hershey's Ice Cream
House of Douglas
Kona Ice
La Wren's Nest
Lulu's Oceanside Grill
Metal Mistress
Michael Hayman Handmade Celtic Jewelry
Museum Replica Jewelry
Name Heritage International
O'Casey's Irish Store
SBW Photography
Simply Savory
Super Grouper
The Celtic Exchange


Best Western Castillo Del Sol, Bright House Networks, The Daytona Beach News-Journal,Money Pages Magazine, Plantation Island Resort, Ritchey Autos, S.R. Perrott, Southern Stone Event Group, Subaru of Daytona & TD Bank

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The NASCAR Foundation Now Accepting Nominations For 2014 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award

NASCAR Fans Can Nominate An Outstanding Volunteer At www.NASCAR.com/award

The NASCAR Foundation will kick off the Fourth Annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award nomination process with a call for applicants whose generosity and compassion have positively impacted the lives of children in racing communities throughout the country.

Since the award was created, The NASCAR Foundation has utilized the award to donate a combined
$525,000 to charities reflecting the commitment Betty Jane France, The NASCAR Foundation
chairwoman, has demonstrated with her charitable works and community efforts.

With the annual award presentation – which takes place during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards in Las Vegas – The NASCAR Foundation honors passionate volunteers and NASCAR fans who work
tirelessly to turn kids into winners, no matter the challenges they face. More than 50,000 children have
been helped through the combined efforts of finalists over the first three years the award has been

“The nomination process, in and of itself, is very inspiring, as we are introduced to the good works of so many individuals who personify what the foundation – and the award – are all about,” said The NASCAR Foundation Chairwoman Betty Jane France.

“This process leads to a challenging next step: determining the four finalists for the award. And that should be a challenge, as that reflects the fact there are many, many NASCAR fans doing some great things in their respective communities.”

Last year,The NASCAR Foundation announced Don Post, event chairman of the March of Dimes
Kansas City chapter’s “Bikers for Babies” motorcycle ride, as the winner of the Third Annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award.

Post’s $100,000 donation was used to help grow and develop existing March of Dimes programs,
including research on how to improve the health of newborns, funding for educational initiatives and
community programs such as support groups that help parents cope with their baby’s hospitalization,
transition home and even death. Building on the momentum of community support surrounding Post’s
win, Kansas Speedway matched the donation with a $100,000 contribution.

The four nominated finalists will be announced in the fall of 2014, after which voting will open on NASCAR.com/Award. Each finalist will receive a minimum $25,000 donation toward the charity they support, a VIP experience at a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and a trip to the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week in Las Vegas.

The finalist who secures the most online votes will be announced as the winner during the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards in Las Vegas. The winner will receive a $100,000 donation to their children’s charity.

Family, friends and colleagues may nominate an outstanding volunteer at www.NASCAR.com/award. The deadline for submitting nominations is Friday, May 16, 2014, at midnight ET.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Corey Smith Rocks St. Augustine

So, for me to write about country music is a little odd...I am not really into some of it, even tho I sold country radio for ten years. But this fresh breath of country air with artists like Zac Brown and Eric Church really takes the "lost my dog and the train" out of the equation and gives you some really great music.

Such is the case of Corey Smith. I had the privilege to interview him last week and see him live on Saturday night with Megan at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre . I am no stranger to interviews, but it had been a long time since I had to do one. I always made a point to not ask the same old questions and it made for a delightful phoner.

Q. What music have you recently been listening to?
Corey is in the process of finishing up his 9th album, so he admitted that obviously he has been fine tuning some of his new stuff. He also likes Eric Church, Hootie and the Blowfish, Paul Simon, Randy Newman and David Allen Coe. We talked about how easy Itunes is for him, and Spotify is for me to just grab an album when you are in the mood to listen to it.

Q. What are your favorite TV shows, or something you must have in your DVR/Tivo recorder to watch when you return home from touring?
When Corey is home, he watches TV with shows his kids (ages 7 and 9). America’s Funniest Home Videos is one of their favorites (they wrestle during the commercials) Corey likes old episodes of Seinfeld and Everyone Loved Raymond and lately has gotten in to The Big Bang Theory. He’s not into reality TV more of plot based sitcoms but does like River Monsters, because he likes to fish.

Q. What sports/sporting teams/events do you follow?
A.  Corey is from Georgia, and went to University of Georgia so obviously college football is a big deal to him. I was curious to know now that he has a little notoriety behind him, did he up his game for his seats or was he still into tailgating and not sitting in the Suite sipping champagne? Thankfully, he assured me that even tho he has 20 yard line seats in the shade, he was still tailgating with the best of them. Corey also likes the Braves.  

Q. What is one personal item you can not live without?
A. razor (Ha)

Q. Favorite form of social media that you are most active?
A.  Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

Q. What is your favorite clothing brand?
A. Thrift shops, Brands not so much!!!

Q Do you have any pre-show rituals?
A. Just try to get together with the guys, try to relax,
Darius has his opening bands to do a shot with him before they go on.

I ended the interview with a usual demand, my favorite song to be placed on setlist. Corey (gently) explained that he was opening for Darius and had a 40 minute set so they were going to keep all songs upbeat. He said it was nice when someone talks about a song that he wrote as their favorite and something they can relate to and to identify with music and songs makes us normal.

My favorite song is What Happened...which he said he wrote within the first year of his marriage when the honeymoon phase started to fade. Pretty funny and pretty relatable indeed!

The show was amazing, check out my pics and Corey singing Maybe, Next Year!

Corey is on tour with Darius Rucker and is playing at a city near you-Check out tour dates here and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

One Daytona Confirms Bass Pro, New Theater as First Tenants

If it takes a village to build one, I am glad International Speedway Corporation is behind One Daytona. The new project has just confirmed its first two tenants.

An article from the Daytona Beach News Journal states that the two leases come less than a week after both the city of Daytona Beach and county government officially committed to contributing a combined $44.5 million to help cover the $53 million bill to create a network of water and sewer pipes, sidewalks, retention ponds and parking garages.

One Daytona is a premier entertainment, dining and retail destination project proposed by Jacoby Development and International Speedway Corporation.

Bass Pro Shops®, America's most popular outdoor store, and Cobb Theatres, the highly respected Southeastern-based exhibitor, have both signed letters of intent to anchor the development.

A Bass Pro location is an obvious choice to be across from the Daytona International Speedway. No stranger to the NASCAR scene, Bass Pro has sponsored a couple of teams and drivers including Jamie McMurray and Tony Stewart.

The other lease signee is Cobb Theaters. The new theater will be 60,000 square feet, and it will include 12 screens.

One Daytona promises to become an urban village packed with places for race fans to play, locals to get a bite or a little night life, and others to make their home.

ONE DAYTONA will be located directly across from the legendary Daytona International Speedway.

This potential landmark development encompasses 181 acres ISC already owns north of International Speedway Boulevard in Daytona Beach, FL. Near the crossroad of I-95 and I-4, this project is in close proximity to the World's Most Famous Beach and at the doorstep to the third-largest consumer region in the United States with approximately 17 million people.

The preliminary conceptual designs for the first phase of ONE DAYTONA include 1.1 million square feet of world-class shopping, fine dining, hotel, theater and other entertainment just steps from the "World Center of Racing".

Read News Journal article here and the News Daytona Beach article here.
Check out One Daytona on the Web, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

A New Office, A New Way To Work


Very fitting the first order of business in my new office is to blog about it! We are finally settling in after our close and after many many many weeks of looking for a desk, I have found one! At Office Depot, of all places, can you believe it? I scoured every little place over town! So, finally this office is an office. 

This has been a point of contention for my husband and I. It drives him absolutely nuts that I used a lap desk and a convenient horizontal position on the couch to conduct business. Part of me, would scream Jealous ala Amber (Amy Poehler) on SNL...(please tell me you have seen this sketch.) 

But really, I know he is right...I need to be somewhere to be productive to solve the world. Let's keep the whole he's right between you and I!!!

So , here I am-kitty on lap, Louis Armstrong on the Spotify being productive. Jealous?

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Wholly Guacamole® Dip and Snyder’s of Hanover Mini Review!

Get ready to #OMGuac your pretzel! So, as it is Snyder's of Hanover has delicious, addicting, can't have just a couple pretzels. So, when it was suggested from my friends at Wholly Guacamole to combine their delicious dips with their mini pretzels, I think I heard angels sing!

Some facts about the two products!

Snyder's of Hanover
Snyder's Mini Pretzels offer all the naturally delicious flavor of traditional pretzels in a crunchy, bite-size snack and have only one gram of fat per serving!

They’re perfect for:
Snacking at home
On-the-go & on the field 
Available in Single Serve Size too!

These Wholly Guacamole® Dips are:
All Natural
No Preservatives
Gluten Free
Dairy Free
Kosher Certified
Made with real Haas Avocados
Freeze for up to 3 months

Wholly Guacamole® Classic dip
Just the right amount of spice and garlic, this guacamole is sure to be a hit with everyone! Real homemade guacamole taste in this super easy peel and serve tray! You would never add chemicals or preservatives to your guacamole, so we don’t either. 

Wholly Guacamole® Spicy dip
If you like it hot, our bold flavors and spicy goodness are for you! Easy to enjoy in this peel and serve tray! 

Wholly Guacamole® Homestyle dip
Full of chunky tomatoes, onions, cilantro and jalapeno pepper, this guacamole is just the right balance of spice and bold flavors. Inspired by authentic Mexican guacamole and easy to enjoy in this peel and serve tray. 

So, obviously you can take the delicious Snyder's pretzels and get your dip on, but I did something really cool and crushed the pretzels to make a crust and then spooned the Wholly dip over it and achieved a new nirvana! 

A Friday Giveaway for You! 

The Wholly & Snyder’s Prize Pack includes:
 Wholly Guacamole products
 1 Bag of Snyder’s of Hanover Mini Pretzels
 Other fun promotional goodies

Find Wholly Guacamole of FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram

Find Snyder's of Hanover on Facebook , TwitterPinterest and Instagram

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mia Dona Market-Like Eating At Your Favorite Aunts

I found a new place in Ormond Beach that is so RIDICULOUSLY adorable, I have to keep walking outside to make sure that is indeed in our little town. Mia Dona's looks very deceiving from the outside! But you walk in and its the cutest house! Every week the menu changes, and each table is uniquely decorated. Dona uses cloth napkins which prompt me to run out to my nearest antique store and stock up!

This place has to has to make it! The wine is near retail price and they have events every week, that you can find by signing up on their website for their newsletter! They have live entertainment and their menu changes weekly. Its unreal.

This lovely portrait greets you when I walk in is the start of what is wonderful. Please take the time and visit. you will love it!

Soup of the Day

Tuna Salad

Mia dona Market on Urbanspoon

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I Survived My First Spin Class

I am a pretty religious Kelly and Michael fan. I laugh because I feel like a housewife watching it. I get up at 5:30a and start my work. Around 9a, I am at a point where I can stop and get my shower and ready on. Kelly and Michael make me LOL...a lot...but I am really amazed at her ridiculous toned body. She attributes most to her time at Soul Cycle, and of course there is so such awesomeness in Daytona...but my yoga studio started a Yoga Spin. A great class that is Half Hour Spin, Half Hour Yoga...but did I do that? No! I am the masochist that got up to try the brand new 5:30AM hour long spin class this morning! But, I think I was gonna like it because it is very music intensive. 

Do you get fitness nerves? I do! I feel like a little girl at the first day of first grade whenever I try a new studio or even run any races. I don't know what that says about me, but my insecurities are there for the world to see. 

I did it! Even though I may never feel my behind again, I am really proud of myself. I know at one point during the very awesome Florence and the Machine jam, I was screaming mentally and channeling the higher power of Kelly Ripa. I think its only because I watched Talladega Nights last night...but I literally saying Dear Sweet Baby Kelly. haha! 

Now off to google padded butt pants for spinning.

How was YOUR morning?! 

Not A Creature Was Stirring at 5am

Daunting! But I did it!

My Reward!

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Quinoa, My New Love

It isn't that I am not adventurous when it comes to eating. I feel like I do try things out of my comfort zone, sometimes I don't bring it into my kitchen to actually cook though. I don't know why but it took me forever and ever to not be scared in quinoa. Because really, what is not to love about quinoa? It is very yummy and very good for you. I am just always afraid that I am gonna screw it up. The thing about quinoa is, you can make it a million ways and each way is better than the next!

I was contacted by the people at Alter Eco to try out their quinoa and stop the scaredy cat madness.

Alter Eco quinoa is 100% fair trade, organic and non-GMO. The products are also Carbon Neutral certified, which means they have been measured and compensated for the carbon emissions of every step in the supply chain. With 4 varieties of quinoa – Royal Pearl, Royal Black, Royal Rainbow, and Royal Red – there is a texture and flavor to complement any dish!  In addition to the health benefits of quinoa as an excellent source of protein, iron, magnesium, and fiber, Alter Eco has an unwavering commitment to the environment. They are dedicated to the small farmers and their families who grow their products by making sure all of their growers receive fair wages with good working conditions.
For a bright side dish, create the Rainbow Quinoa Summer Salad – a festive and healthy side that blends vegetables and basil with nutty quinoa. The full recipe is included below - I’d love to have Alter Eco be considered for any upcoming editorial opportunities.  Further information can be found at www.AlterEcoFoods.com. Feel free to reach out to me for more recipes, high-res images, or anything else!

I went and bought farm fresh salmon and had some leftover zucchini and made one of the best meals we have had in a long time. Even the doubting husband (What is Quinoa, again?) really liked it. Win Win

Salmon with Zucchini Garlic Parmesan Quinoa

1 lb Salmon
Trader Joe's Crushed Garlic
Chicken Broth
Crushed Red Pepper
Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper

Alter Eco Rainbow Quinoa
Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper

To cook the salmon:

In a frying pan, lay the salmon on one side and season generously with garlic powder and salt and pepper and any other choice of seasoning. Flip it over and repeat then layer a thin spread of crushed garlic. Cover with chicken broth till submerged and add a dash of crushed red pepper. Cover and cook on low heat for about 10-12 minutes. The salmon will be done when it is flaky and light pink.

To cook the quinoa

Cook the quinoa according to the directions. While that is cooking, grate your zucchini and drain some of the excess water with a paper plate. Using a small frying pan, some garlic and salt and a little olive oil, fry the zucchini until it is brown, this will take about five minutes. When the quinoa is done, mix it with the zucchini and add parmesan, salt and pepper and some olive oil to your liking 

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Friday, March 28, 2014

First Taste Carrabba's Menu

Last month, I had the grand opportunity to once again participate in the First Taste Menu at Carrabba's. These folks at Carrabba's really spoil me. I took my friend Tammy and once again there was nothing that wasn't absolutely divine!

Carrabba’s Italian Grill is launching a new menu featuring new flavors and new favorites! Enjoy a range of options like our Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin, wood-grilled medallions topped with our port wine fig sauce. Or Shrimp and Scallop Linguine alla Vodka, sautéed shrimp and scallops tossed in linguine in our housemade vodka tomato cream sauce.

Enjoy a taste of Italian tradition with our housemade Limoncello. It is crafted in-restaurant with sun-ripened lemons zested by hand. Try it chilled or in one of our new specialty cocktails, the Limoncello Gimlet or a Raspberry Limoncello Drop.

ABOUT CARRABBA’S ITALIAN VALUES™ With Carrabba’s Italian Values, enjoy hand-prepared meals perfectly priced for any occasion. Freshly made from scratch with the finest ingredients, now more affordable than ever. Enjoy over 15 great new menu additions of authentic, housemade dishes for $15 or less. Explore our new menu and find your new favorite!

ABOUT FIRST TASTES First Tastes is an exclusive preview event that occurs nationally on the same day at the launch of a new seasonal menu. Amici Club members and a guest enjoy a complimentary tasting, hosted by the Proprietor of each Carrabba’s Italian Grill location.

ABOUT OUR AMICIS Carrabba’s Amicis – Italian for friends – are a group of customers who are brand loyalists and have asked to receive invitations to complimentary events, exclusive offers, flavorful rewards and inside information about Carrabba’s. Nationally, there are over 1,000,000 Amici Club members. To join the Amici Club visit www.carrabbas.com/amici-club

My Experience!

ARANCINI A rustic Italian favorite. Crispy bites of risotto, Italian fennel sausage, red bell peppers and romano cheese, hand-breaded and served with our housemade marinara sauce for dipping. Once again, this was amazing!! These are a great starter!

POLLO LA SCALA Sautéed chicken finished with white wine, mascarpone and our roasted red bell pepper sauce. I think this was really yummy! 

MAHI WULFE Lightly breaded, wood-grilled and topped with artichokes, sundried tomatoes and our housemade basil lemon butter sauce. Can I tell you a secret? I would bathe in their lemon butter so I knew this would be a fave! 

RIGATONI MARTINO Wood-grilled chicken, sautéed mushrooms and sundried tomatoes tossed with rigatoni in our housemade tomato cream sauce Rigatoni is one of my favorite pastas, so this was a no brainer..its a great alternative to pasta! 

PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED PORK TENDERLOIN Medallions wood-grilled and topped with our port wine fig sauce. We swore that this was something other than pork...it was so delicious.

CONCHIGLIE (con-kee-lyeh) AI FORMAGGI Shell-shaped pasta tossed in our housemade Alfredo sauce with mozzarella, fontina, romano, parmesan and goat cheese. I am sad writing about this because it is not in front of me. Hands down the best thing I have had in quite some time.

MINI CANNOLI Crisp mini pastry shell stuffed with sweet ricotta and chocolate chip filling, topped with pistachios and powdered sugar. A great finish. Don't tell my Aunt Dora but hers was only a close second. 

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

2014 Taste of Ormond

This weekend, we had the pleasure of sponsoring a table with our friends at Kistemaker Business Law Group at the 2014 Taste of Ormond event. For the first time since 2009, Taste of Ormond returns to the calendar as a benefit for Ormond Mainstreet. Local restaurants including Frappes North, Fusion 43, The Grind Gastropub, Lulu's Oceanside Grill, Theia's Pastries, Mia Dona, Cakery Creation, Einstein Bros and a host of others  offered small plates with tasty samples of their cuisine, and S.R. Perrott provided a wine bar and a craft beer tasting.

The event took place from 4 pm - 7 pm under a large tent at The Casements, 25 Riverside Drive.

Taste of Ormond is fundraiser for Ormond Beach MainStreet, the local non-profit that works to grow and enliven Ormond's core district along Granada Boulevard. The money raised will go to help new local businesses with marketing grants, fund new initiatives for downtown beautification and bring new events, art and entertainment into the district.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Thanking The Home Seller

I have been knee deep in packing as we look to close on our new home this week. Everything has taken a backseat especially this favorite outlet of mine! It sucks but there is just no time to do anything lately. 

They say house buying is stressful...I wouldn't necessarily agree with that but I will say underwriters are the devil and this mortgage industry is in a very interesting state. But all is going well, and the appropriate amount of wine and whiskey will get us through. 

We are buying from an older couple who are moving back to Virginia. I wanted to write a thank you letter to our seller and assure them that they are making the right decision by selling us our home. I have read that people use this tactic as a way to beat out other buyers, but this is just me being a sap. I have been a little melancholy packing up this house we have only lived for six years so it was important for me to tell them thank you. I wrote a quick history on us, and ended it with this:

As we pack, memories are all around us in this house and I am sure that you have had the same experience. It was important to me that you both knew our story, our excitement to make your house our home and our assurance that you are selling to two people who will spend many years building our family in it.

What do you think?
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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tomoka Marathon #Giveaway

How exciting that we have such a big event right in our backyard. At the Chamber this meeting, the Hotel and Motel Association said they were overwhelmed with traffic for those who are coming in for this race. Want to be one of them? See below!

The Tomoka Marathon, a Boston Marathon Qualifier, will be a new and unique multi-distance running event for the area. This event will take place in Ormond Beach, FL beginning and finishing at the historic Casements. Its one-of-a-kind route will take runners through natural and historic Florida on a beautiful course including the Tomoka State Park and returning along the Intracoastal Waterway.

This route, affectionately known as “The Tomoka Loop”, has appeal for locals and travellers alike to enjoy some of the most diverse natural “Old Florida” scenery remaining. The views include unobstructed vistas of two rivers, inland creeks and marshes, barrier island dunes and beach, as well as historic sites. “The Tomoka Loop” is designated as one of Florida’s Scenic Highways and runners will quickly see why it earned this distinction as they experience this beautiful route from the start to the finish line.

This event will be hosted by The Casements, the historic former winter home of John D. Rockefeller. It will be held in conjunction with the The Casement’s Centennial Celebration.

For more information, see them on the web, and Facebook

How would you like to have an entry for this amazing race! Enter the giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Little Blog Dress Wins An American Advertising Award

I am having a really fun Sunday. Even though at 4p, I am now starting to feel normal, last night was an awesome night! I am a member of the Daytona Beach Advertising Federation and last night was our annual award ceremony called the American Advertising Awards (formerly the Addy's). This is the first time that I entered for my company. Last year, I thought about it but this year I thought, well why not. There are a bunch of categories but there is one specific to social media....I picked the Campaign portion and presented a Powerpoint on a campaign I did for Blue Sky Swimwear. As you can imagine, it was a tad challenging to correctly portray a social media campaign for a physical entry but I thought a PP was the best way.

Last night was the Awards Gala, and this holds special meaning for my husband and I (prob more for me, because I am a sap) but it was our first official date. Nine years ago. I'm laughing because really, where does the time go? Scary. 

Addys 2005 and 2014

PS, it was a 20's themed event! So the awards started and the ceremony began, it was a lot of fun! But LOOK! I won a Silver Addy, and now it goes to district. I am really stoked. Maybe because this is me, all me, 100% solo effort. Maybe, because to be recognized in your field at any level is quite a good feeling. Sorry for the Shameless Self Indulgent Sunday Post, but I am really happy and wanted to share! 

I think I am gonna order this award to remember this coup-what do you think? 

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

NASCAR Foundation's Poker Tournament Raises $150K For Speediatrics

The NASCAR Foundation’s 2014 High Speed Hold ‘Em Charity Poker Tournament presented by Halifax Health was a fun filled night of poker benefitting The NASCAR Foundation’s Speediatrics unit at Halifax Hospital. NASCAR and Poker makes for a great combination to bring high stakes and high speeds to benefit our local community. The event was held on February 19th at Embry Riddle.

Betty Jane France,
Speediatrics exists thanks to the vision of The NASCAR Foundation Chairperson and Speediatrics founder, Betty Jane France, to create a place where kids are not intimidated by the overwhelming experience of being in the hospital. Speediatrics is helping these kids to a speedy recovery through a unique combination of caring, commitment and kindness, all with a NASCAR theme

The NASCAR Foundation Chairwoman was joined by co-chairs Richard Childress and Rick Hendrick, and the evening featured a poker tournament with players from the local business and NASCAR community.Drivers in attendance Regan Smith, Alex Bowman, Dakoda Armstrong, Jamie Dick, Jimmy Weller, John Wes Townley and IMSA driver James Gue. The poker community was represented as well,2003 World Series of Poker celebrity player Chris Moneymaker who played and won first place in the tournament

The evening culminated with a $150,000 check presentation to the Speediatrics unit at Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach.

Team Owner Rick Hendrick

Chris Moneymaker
About The NASCAR Foundation
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing Inc., (NASCAR) launched The NASCAR Foundation in January 2006. The NASCAR Foundation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit entity that embodies the compassion of the NASCAR family and its commitment to serving communities. The NASCAR Foundation seeks to raise funds and increase volunteerism to support nonprofit charities and charitable causes throughout the nation with an emphasis placed on initiatives that affect the ability of children to live, learn and play. For more information on The NASCAR Foundation, please visit the website: NASCAR.COM/foundation. Also on Facebook and Twitter

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Friday, February 14, 2014

I Took A Sick Day, Don't Tell My Boss

Originally Posted October 2012
Remember when I blogged complained told you my concerns about taking a vacation as a business owner?? I really enjoyed the feedback and I am glad I am not alone in this situation. 

This morning, I woke up and realized there was yet another clink in my plan for world domination as a business owner: I will never again be able to call my boss and tell her (lucky me, I have worked only for females) that I was sick and not coming in. Although that may not seem like a big deal, I am gonna miss the tiny feeling of satisfaction when she would say feel better and let me off without any attitude or hesitation. 

The upside is that I don't have to ask anyone to take a sick day but the downside is I don't have to ask anyone to take a sick day. 

Usually these practices of actually taking some time for myself would set me over the edge with guilt.  Who has time to be sick?? But you see, I am writing this from vomit village. I have the stomach flu...haven't had it for years. In fact, I spent half the morning yesterday racking my brain how three beers could make this sick. When it was decided that I am not in need of a Betty Ford bed, I spent probably the most beautiful day we have had in six months and a Sunday, mind you-in my own bed wishing for death to come. 

In fact, and this only happens almost never, I was still so ill, I decided when I woke up this morning that I don't care if the world blows up-I am doing the bare minimum for Little Blog Dress Media and going straight back to bed. 

After a four hour nap, I am now coming into a more saner state of consciousness. I am actually kind of excited! I took a sick day! 

Here is how you can take a sick day without guilt:

1. Set your vacation message. I actually googled How to leave an away message when you are sick to no avail. I made a similar one to when I was on vacation and told everyone I would be back on Tuesday.

2. Do what you need to do to not drop the ball. Take your to do list for the day and do whatever is on it to ensure that you will not wake up to chaos on Tuesday when you feel better.

3. Stick by your Sick! Do NOT answer email and do not answer the phone, you are sick...not a martyr! How annoying and unprofessional you will sound on the other end...so don't. You took the day, so now take it! 

4. Do what you can to get better! You have a business to run! 

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Putting The Trust In Your Social Media Professional-Part Two

Yesterday, I blogged about establishing the trust in paying someone to do your social media marketing. Here is Part Two:

How do you know you picked the right social media marketer?

1.You trust them explicitly and heed their recommendations

2. You  start sending them information to them and they get it out in a timely manner.

3. They spell correctly

4. They engage with the customer and they answer questions and address complaints immediately.

5. They post short, not lengthy status updates about your business that aren't always about your lunch specials.

6. They aren't annoying and talk about dinner plates at 9am on a Sunday, a legal issue at 11p at night on a Wednesday or Ask you to come for Bicirdi Happy Hour (note: the typo is theirs not mine).

Social Media Responsibilities For You And Your Employees

Once you have established trust in your professional, what if you or your employees still want to partake in the social media process? Know that even though you have hired someone, you can post at any time, but this should be taken off your list of things to worry about. Just like you wouldn't stand behind your lawyer and whisper closing arguments to him in your case, why not just send them the information over and trust the process of what you are paying is taking place?

Once you have made this hire, talk to your employees or managers and make sure they follow the process suggested by the social media professional.

I am not trying to be a control freak, I promise..I am so thankful for the inside help/additional posting by my clients, I am only one person! I just hope your social media professional takes time with them, and go over their preferences and expectations when working together. The end goal is mutual for all parties: using social media properly and feeling comfortable that your money is being well spent by hiring a professional.

I have had some wonderful relations with employees and clients co-posting, and some really bad ones. I had a GM tell me if he waned to post on Facebook for the shop, he could just do it and then proceeded to ask the owner for the amount of money that they were paying me monthly because he clearly had it under control and the company could just pay him. Ha Ha!

How Much Should Your Social Media Cost To Outsource?

Speaking of money, the trust of your social media professional should come at a price that is comfortable for the both of you. You should expect to pay less for a  simple, even blanket of social media presence, someone who has his eye on the streets for any online chatter about your business and does all the things described above. Not the bare minimum by any means but you can cross off having a social media presence off your list of things to do at this level, Expect to pay a little more if your social media includes more of the creative process.

Think about if you treat your creative professionals in your life and ask if you treat them like you should. Is it because they need the hand holding? Let them prove themselves to you before meddling and you will be surprised how much more productive your business can be.
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Monday, February 10, 2014

Putting The Trust In Your Social Media Professional-Part One

This week, our air broke. I hired our A/C technician and patiently waited for him to come. When he arrived, I answered the door, put on my tool belt and stood behind him and inputted his every move, and when he wasn't looking did some duct work of my own. Then I paid for his services.

Then, my brakes went bad....rough week, right? I pulled into the auto repair shop, changed my clothes and met my mechanic in the bay. When the mechanic received a phone call, I jacked up the car and got to work, going in behind the mechanic and changing his every move. Then I paid the bill and went on my merry way.

None of these examples are true, obviously. Who in their right mind would waste the money hiring someone to do a service and then go in and do it themselves with no formal training? 

If the situations above sound ridiculous, why are some people meddling in the same manner if they pay for a creative service like social media? If you have the good sense to hire someone for your social media, or any creative job...graphic design, email marketing, etc. I would like you to think about giving them the respect to do what you are paying them to do. 

At the risk of being unkind, when it comes to social media-just because you have a Facebook account to update your daily status, a social media marketer you do not make. 

Here is my philosophy for hiring someone to do the social media for your business. First, congrats for having the kind sense to know that you need this form of new media to stay relevant in 2012. 

How To Choose The Right Social Media Marketing Company

It is blind faith to hire someone for this new marketing process but I bet you did for one of the following reasons:

1. You know you need to have social media for your business but do not have the time to do it consistently, all the while constantly looking for new trends that would improve your business using social media.

2. Your competition uses social media and you have no interest in being on the computer other than to check a seldom email.

3. You have a million things more to do than sit on Facebook and Yelp all day (like your business)

Think twice about hiring companies that offer more than social media if you just need this presence. There is a lot to be said for being good at just one thing. I am wary of these "PR firms" who do PR, web design, custom email news letters, graphics and logos, press releases, social media, your landscaping,your laundry- you name it. An all in one isn't very effective if they have spread themselves so thin that they are just a little good at all of these services instead of being really proficient in one of the fields.

A reminder: Do you not gage the success on your social media professional by your numbers. Social Media is used for branding NOT selling! Go buy some radio or consult an agency for a creative campaign if you need to sell something! Social means just that...social, non-invasive, act of the subconscious marketing.

Stay Tuned for Part Two Tomorrow! 
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Friday, January 31, 2014

5 on Friday

I'm excited to participate in this link up for the first time! Only five things huh? Here we go!

I am SO sick of being sick! I haven't been sick in so long! I credit not really having much interaction with anyone working from home, but this has taken me down...two weeks on Monday! Last night, I woke up in a sitting position with my husband patting my back, uncontrollably hacking. Going through all this IUI awesomeness...Tylenol is really all that is suggested, and my body is like...yeah, what is this Pez candy you are trying So I went to the doctor and they assured me that a Z-pack would not affect this 2WW.

Oh EM GEE, our offer was accepted on a new house. I am so nervous on the financial credit part but I am thinking positively. It is THREE times the size of this house! THREE times!! So back to pre-wedding time from a year ago where no penny shall be spent inappropriately. That is SO hard!! But, we can do it! Cross your fingers for us?

This week I fired a client who got a little wordy with me. I have, and think no one should have any, ZERO tolerance for this type of behavior. It is ok to say no thank you when you peace of mind is sacrificed!

I am looking forward to having a nice relaxing weekend with no agenda. It has rained non stop here for  couple of days, been bitter cold..and it is supposed to be 80 degrees this weekend. I mean, is the world ending and no one is telling me?

Saved you the best for last. I AM GOING TO THE TODAY SHOW. Yes, my lifelong bucket list dream is that much shorter as I will be accompanying my girlfriend Tara and her twin sister JJ were featured briefly on the Today Show as part of a Shark Tank feature. After screeching endlessly at this awesome news, she texted me this week and said they were invited for another feature and WOULD I WANT TO COME? WOULD I?? Can you hear me screaming? I pray I won't faint. vomit or pee when I go...or all of the above!! Check out their feature here!

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Grant Preparation Full Day Workshop comes to UCF Daytona Incubator

Over $2 billion in SBIR grants will be awarded to innovative small and start up companies that propose developing innovative new products and services. The purpose of this full day event is to offer an overview of both the SBIR and STTR programs, and to lead attendees through a four-step process for developing a competitive Phase 1 proposal to any of the participating agencies. 

This workshop is presented by Jim Greenwood of Greenwood Consulting Group, Jim Greenwood and his wife Gail have been active in SBIR/STTR since the programs’ inception, making firms aware of the opportunity, and teaching them how to write competitive technical and cost proposals for funding. 

They have now taught thousands of entrepreneurs in 48 states and Puerto Rico . Sponsors of these workshops include Federal Laboratories, Universities and Colleges, and Small Business Development Centers . They also are regular instructors of Phase I and Phase II proposal preparation workshops at national and regional conferences.  

An evaluation of the effectiveness of their training showed that over 90 percent of the workshop attendees indicated that the Greenwoods had improved their ability to compete for SBIR and STTR awards. One region surveyed its SBIR/STTR competitors after the Greenwoods had offered multiple workshops there, and learned that the SBIR/STTR proposal success rate was almost 50% (compared to about 17% nationally for Phase 1 proposers). Additionally, the Greenwoods have critiqued hundreds of SBIR and STTR proposals for firms throughout the United States. 

Date: February 7, 2014 8:30-4:40p
Location: UCF Business Incubator Daytona International Airport 601 Innovation Way, Daytona Beach 
RSVP Janice Stewart-janice.stewart@ucf.edu
Cost-$25 Incubator Clients, $50 All Others Breakfast and Lunch included.  

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