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Nicole’s Notes: VB woman on a mission to become “The Next Great Baker”

June 23rd, 2014 at 3:52 pm by under News, Personalities, The Hampton Roads Show, Uncategorized

A Virginia Beach woman has been serving up treats to folks in Hampton Roads for a few years now and she’s ready to show the world she is “The Next Great Baker”. TLC chose Brandy Smith as a contestant on its network show which airs Tuesday, June 24 at 9:00 p.m.

Brandy Smith of Virginia Beach, contestant on TLC's "The Next Great Baker"

Brandy Smith of Virginia Beach, contestant on TLC’s “The Next Great Baker”

They’re having a viewing party in Virginia Beach. I found out about Brandy because I did a story with her cousin McKenzie a few years ago.

McKenzie emailed me and shared this about Brandy, “Her situation is different than most on the show, 2 days before leaving to film, she found out her husband who is only 40 has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.  They have 3 young children and soon she will be the soul bread winner in her home.  Our goal in this premier party is to get her exposure for her incredible cake business.

Brandy Smith's cake

I talked to Brandy on the phone and learned the business is called “Sophisticakes” and it was born out of her love for creating cool 3-D cakes for her kids on their birthdays. She’s a trained artist so she says she created different designs. She told me she likes to create designs that nobody else can. Folks started asking her about the cakes, and before you know it she was taking orders for wedding cakes, groom’s cakes, and cakes for all occasions. She says someone she took a class with asked her to go to the casting for TLC’s “The Next Great Baker” and it was a long process that started in October, 2013.

She’s kept a positive outlook as her husband Jason fights cancer and hopes this appearance will get the word out even more about the business she loves so much. In fact, they’ve been traveling to Chicago for cancer treatment every other weekend for the past four months and says he is about to start treatment here in Hampton Roads. His disease is now stable and has not progressed.

Brandy Smith & Family

Brandy Smith & Family

Brandy said to me in an email, “We have been overwhelmed and feel truly blessed with the love and support our family has received from our friends, family, and community.”

She went on “The Hampton Roads Show” on WAVY-TV  Monday June 23 to talk about her quest and whipped up some strawberry balsamic cupcakes. Tune and support our local gal and follow her on Facebook to stay on top of her progress. Brandy told me she dreams of having a storefront business someday. Right now she gets her orders online only.

 


Hey Daddy, Read This

June 12th, 2014 at 2:09 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Community, Health, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

   “Many thoughts come to mind this  FATHER’S DAY 1993!  Father's Day 599693_10100713632756286_1292965230_n

How thankful I am to have a dad.. and all that you’ve done for me.

    You know my three children well.. their ages are 17, 10, and 7.

Kristen’s the oldest, and the there’s Dawn, and last, but not, least, is Kevin.

    My wife and my children are my greatest blessings, but let me brag about you,  dad.

 You’ve always been there for me, my brothers, sisters, mom, and I’m glad.

    While we grew up, you worked several jobs, ’cause you felt you had to do it.

We had what we needed and sometimes more- we just asked and you saw to it.

   I remember days you worked late, we knew you were home by the squeal of car brakes without fail.

Your arrival was usually good news, unless you had too spank my tail!

   Dad, you seemed to never miss church on Sunday…no matter what you did on Saturday night.

You said making time for parties and fun…and denying God was not right.

   Dad, you could fix anything… plumbing, electrical, the car, if we’d holler…

I knew you were smart, and you taught yourself, while trying to save a dollar.

   You liked to sit out on our steps… and watch the changing neighborhood.

You made your point of speaking to children and encouraging them to do good.

    If we were walking and you saw a weed in the sidewalk… you’d go back…

You always told me to pull it out… because, after winter, it would leave a crack.

   You graduated high school but once you told me you wished you had gone on to college.

Instead, you earned a Ph.D in common sense... the best kind of knowledge.

   I’ll admit, I took you for granted while growing up… you were always there.

And I was surprised when my friends would tell me they had no dad who cares..

   It was hard to believe that a man would make a baby… and simply leave…

but it’s happening every day… as more and more unmarried couples conceive.

   I’m just glad my dad stayed around… your example showed me the way.

I love you dad… and I want to say- thank you on this Father’s Day.

   I guess the best way to show my thanks to a very special man…

is by using your example, and working hard,

to be the best DAD I can.”

(C) 2004 Don Roberts, from the book, HEY DADDY READ THIS, IUniverse Publishing.


‘Round The Block

June 4th, 2014 at 10:28 am by under Community, Health, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

I did something very unusual Monday afternoon. I took a walk around the block, -with my neighbor. I’ll call him MIKE. He’s a public servant who happens to wear blue -and silver. MIKE arrived home at about the same time I was heading out. MIKE works crazy hours- so, we’ve got that in common. Another thing, he and his wife are raising a toddler, an infant, and a dog. I’ve been there, done that- flea & tick spray still in the cab. girl-on-bicycleMy kids are now grown and gone. But, they come back! And with their children! 5 of the 7 grands were with me on this day. We were headed out, the kids on bikes, for a ride ’round the block. And that’s when I saw MIKE roll up. He’s cool. But, sometimes I just don’t know. Maybe, it’s his job. Maybe it’s mine. We’ve had our moments- as neighbors will- “Breaking News again, huh, Don? Don’t you ever have any ‘good news?’” OUCH! (Here’s some good news: It’s called a “Good Fence!” ZING! ) Ha ha… yeah. I don’t believe our meeting this time was a coincidence. Considering the Breaking News of the day, I found myself looking for his piece of silver… to see if he had added another color to it – black. Not yet. Back to the task at hand, our children! They were ready to roll and set some new land speed records on this urban course! MIKE planned the same thing with his 3 year old, an adorable little girl, on a custom bike with no pedals- how cute! So, the 8 of us stormed the neighborhood! And while the kids did their thing, we, kinda did ours… two neighbors, two dads, two friends, just watching, and walking and talking. About what? What else? The weather, and our children.


Washington Post With An Interesting Article On Norfolk’s Susceptibility To Tidal Flooding

June 1st, 2014 at 11:03 pm by under Uncategorized, Weather

The NY Times did a front page story on this a year or so ago. Now a different take from the Washington Post…and it’s certainly worth reading: In Norfolk, evidence of climate change is in the streets at high tide


Nicole’s Notes: There’s something about that duck!

May 26th, 2014 at 11:42 pm by under News, Personalities, Uncategorized
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The Rubber Duck on his last full day in Norfolk

Time to say goodbye to the Rubber Duck who has taken up residence in the water outside the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk. The Hague area of Ghent has been buzzing with activity and people since the  40-foot tall duck arrived on May 17, and the hashtag #chryslerquack has been used countless times as folks shared their selfies with him.  So, what is it about that duck? I admit, I’ve visited it each of the three weeks it’s been around. I’ve adjusted my running, bicycling, walking, and driving route just to check him out. When I first spotted him I was amazed at how huge he was. I told someone I could sit and stare at that duck all day. The bright yellow figure just makes me smile, and it makes me smile to see folks young and old- from all different backgrounds- get joy in the visit.

I posted the question on my Facebook page, “What will you miss the most about the duck when it leaves Norfolk?” Here are of some of the answers: “The smiling faces as people walked away”, “The fascination over something so simple as a rubber duck! It’s been wonderful to see how happy this duck has made so many people!”, “Just the simple fact of how cool it is! How often do you get to see a big yellow rubber duck floating in the water! I felt like a little kid, bursting with excitement when I got to see it.”, “How it has brought art and the museum to the attention of those who might not have known we have such an awesome, free place to go.”,”All the selfies with him.”.

Nicole's first picture with the duck

Nicole’s first picture with the duck

I realize a lot of folks don’t feel the same. From the beginning, the naysayers posted comments about it not being real art. It’s there because the Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman brought the duck here as part of the Chrysler Museum’s grand reopening. The duck has made stops around the world, including Sydney, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.

The duck spent some time in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the fall. Someone posted a question on its Facebook page asking where it’s going next. The posted reply is, Rubber Duck at Chrysler : “It’s a surprise! Sorry, I have to keep the secret.”

Deflated duck Tuesday morning

Deflated duck Tuesday morning

I ran by the duck Tuesday morning and saw a small group of onlookers, a few media folks, and crews in the water with a deflated yellow blob.

Nicole with deflated duck Tuesday morning. Photo by Hyunsoo Leo Kim, The Virginian Pilot

Nicole with deflated duck Tuesday morning.
Photo by Hyunsoo Leo Kim, The Virginian Pilot

I wonder how many people will track the duck and add its travels to their travel plans. Sure is tempting. For now, we’ll have to savor the memories and the selfies and keep smiling. :-)

 

 

 

 

 


Destination: Beautiful

May 22nd, 2014 at 11:54 am by under THRS Live Music, Uncategorized

This week is Mae week or , more appropriately, #maeweek.  It marks the 10th anniversary of their ground-breaking album, Destination: Beautiful and Destination: B-Sides.  To commemorate this event, Spartan Records – their label- has been releasing very limited special vinyl editions every day.  Each day, 100 copies of different color varieties have been released and quickly snapped up.  As of right now, Thursday’s edition has yet to go on sale but when it does, it will sell out quick!  So keep up with Spartan Records at this link to get yours and if you miss out, no worries – there is always Friday.

The band - Dave Elkins, Zach Gehring, Jacob Marshall, Mark Padgett and Rob Sweitzer – will be performing a live StageIt show Saturday, June 7 at 9p EST.  This will be there first time performing together since their trio of anniversary shows last year.  They have been keeping themselves busy on their own respective projects.  Dave has a new project called Schematic and released Color (n.) Inside The Lines.  Zach started a new band called Demons and they are currently recording an EP.  Jacob has been busy managing The Last Bison and Jake Clemons as well as starting the incredible Global Citizen project.  Mark has been working behind the board, producing, engineering and mixing.  He recently engineered and mixed Revery’s new album, Adora De Phonic and Rob is a member of Logan Vath’s band, The Vacant.

Click this link to get your ticket to the StageIt show and rumor has it that they will have a special announcement during the broadcast.

mae

 


Happy Mothers’ Day!

May 12th, 2014 at 11:49 am by under 10 On Your Side, Community, Personalities, Uncategorized

My wife and I (and some good friends) saw the TEMPTATIONS and the FOUR TOPS last night (Sunday, 5-11-14) GRRRRRRREAT SHOW!!! Now, I know, both groups had their glory days seemingly “a hunnert” years ago, but the music is timeless.  Unfortunately, time has taken its toll on the groups. Each has only one original member, today. BUT, the new kids on the block provided a 20-14 FLAVOR that hooks a new crowd of any age, while doing justice to the LEGACY of MOTOWN. The replacement players have talent to spare.  And both the ‘TEMPTS & ‘TOPS “stepped” so hard, WE were out of breath just watching!!!

Ferguson Center features the Temptations & four Tops

Ferguson Center features the Temptations & four Tops

Now, here’s the really great part- we got to see them for FREE. (No, I didn’t pull a “Do You Know Who I Am?- ego trip ’cause I would have gotten my feelings hurt, big time). The tickets were “make-goods” from a February concert featuring the FIFTH DIMENSION and SPINNERS at CNU’s Ferguson Center.   Problem then was, the SPINNERS didn’t show up due to bad weather. We were on the edge of a major attitude, but, The “5th -D” had a cure for that- A FANTASTIC PERFORMANCE! Florence LaRue, again, the last of the 5 originals, led the new-crew in a fresh performance of their numerous hits from the ’60′s and ’70′s. And they flavored it with a touch of  Broadway. Their extended performance left us satisfied. But, about two days later, the professionals at CNU-FERGUSON CENTER called, emailed and sent letters- to all patrons, me included, APOLOGIZING and offering the make-goods, free tickets, for another show- best seats available. Nice!!

What we, the patrons, also didn’t know, was what happened behind the scenes to make sure somebody showed up to perform at all. When learning that members of both the 5th-D and SPINNERS were in trouble, “Lisa” and her crack compadres at CNU-FERGUSON, tried to rearrange flights, coordinate ground transportation -including personally picking up performers, their crew, and equipment, from Richmond, D-C or points beyond, because…. the SOLD OUT show must go on! Talk about “beyond and above!” Turns out- The Fifth Dimension was “the” show – that day, and they were enough! The make-good tickets were a bonus (as in hitting the LOTTERY-bonus. You gotta see the reconstituted ‘TEMPTS and ‘TOPS for yourself). Meanwhile- CNU -Ferguson, thank YOU. You made-good, alright! Your professional crew- made a great memory on this Mother’s Day!

CNU -2 10365824_679161832131807_490639619446290934_nCNU COVER 1


Redskins schedule a challenge

April 23rd, 2014 at 11:46 pm by under Sports, Uncategorized

His knee is better, the brace is gone, and tonight RG-3 and the Redskins found out who they will be playing this season and when.

The NFL released their 2-thousand 14 schedule tonight, with the Redskins playing three prime time games, one on Thursday Night against the Giants, and two Monday night games, at home against the Super Bowl champion Seahawks and a game in October against the Cowboys.

Obviously the league is betting that Robert Griffin the 3rd will bounce back from his knee injury, and the addition of former Eagle DeSean Jackson will provide an exciting offense.
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Toss in a first year coach–Jay Gruden, and the NFL believes the Redskins are ready for prime time again.

The Redskins will open the season on the road against the worst team in the NFL last year, the Houston Texans, possibly against Johnny Manziel–if the Oilers make him their number one draft pick.

Then at home against the Jaguars who haven’t had a winning season in 7 years. DeSean Jackson will return to Philly in week 3–and then its prime time when the Redskins welcome Eli Manning and the Giants for a Thursday night game. Week 5–Monday Night Football at Fed Ex against Russell Wilson and the Super Bowl champs. Then on the road to Arizona, back home hosting the Titans, week 8 Monday Night Football in Dallas against the Cowboys.

The first Sunday of November finds the Skins in Minneapolis against the Vikings, followed by the Bye Week then at home against the Tampa Bay Bucs–and a big game–week 12, Kaepernick against Griffin out west against the 49ers.

Another tough one, week 13, Griffin against Andrew Luck in Indy, the Rams come to Fed Ex to open up December. Then 3 games that could decide the NFC championship, Dec 14th in New York against the Giants, the Eagles at Fed Ex, and then the final regular game of the regular season the Cowboys on Sunday December 28th.

To get the complete Redskins schedule, go to wavy-dot com and click on sports.


Nothin’ But The Blues

April 18th, 2014 at 12:16 pm by under THRS Live Music, Uncategorized

The day that you’ve been waiting for is finally here:  FRIDAY!  Yes, it’s Friday and I can’t think of a better way to kick off the weekend then by heading down to the NorVa and for some good, local blues.

Nothin’ But The Blues features some of the best blues the 757 has to offer.  Our good buddy, Anthony Rosano and The Conqueroos will join MIMSY, Soulshine, Evan Button and last week’s Live Music Friday featured artist, Jessica Doran.  Tickets are still available at the NorVa box office for just 12 bones and doors open at 7p with the show kicking off at 8p.  To give you a little preview of tonight’s shindig, here are Live Music Friday performances from Anthony and The Jess Doran Band.

 

 


Stronger Than Ever- We’re On The Run Again!

April 17th, 2014 at 2:54 pm by under Sports, Uncategorized
Stronger Than Ever..."On The Run!"

Stronger Than Ever…”On The Run!”

The Latest Running News and Notes in Hampton Roads form Sportswrap Running Reporter, Jon “Flex” Leiding

 

Better Get Going!

While most people are getting ready for Spring Break plans, Runners in Hampton Roads were tearing up the streets with some swift times.  Double knot your laces, here we go!

In Newport news, the Jamestown 4H 10k was “Fast and Furious” for 31 year old,  Todd Kessler, who kicked the 6.2 mile course in 35:17, while the  Ladies Champ,  Sheila Scotti raced away in a quick 43:40.  Good Friend of the Blog Greg Dawson, from Williamsburg, ran a great 38:31.  He’s running a big Marathon in Massachusetts, this Monday.  Another Speedy Friend,  Rick Platt, won his 60-64 Age group in 43:11. Well Done Guys!

On the Southside, the Long Distance Action was in Chesapeake at the Dismal Swamp Stomp Half  Marathon.  Maryland’s Dereie Deme was the Overall Winner in 1:04:53.  Norfolk’s Will Christian was the fastest local and just a couple minutes off the victory with a strong 1:06:59.  Rebecca Rollick of Chesapeake blazed the 13.1 mile course on hand cycles. She finished in 1:16:56 as the fastest female.  Mettle Events always throws a good party with a great race as well.

In Norfolk, Football was in the air at Old dominion University and the ODU Big Blue 5K started the day’s celebration of Spring Sports activities.  Portsmouth’s Ryan Carroll topped all racing the 3.1 miles in 16:38.  That’s an average of 5:22 per mile.  The Ladies title went to Stephanie Frenchik in 18:18 which translates to 5:54 per mile.  For both, that’s some serious leg work!

Whats Coming Up for the Next few Days

Everyone's "On The Run!"

Everyone’s “On The Run!”

While most people are enjoying the holiday weekend, there are a few races locally.  This Saturday, Williamsburg hosts the Clara Byrd Baker Relay Team 5k Run/Walk for a Cure.  In Newport News, the action is going on with JLHR Race For a Better Place 5K at the Mariners Museum.  For those who have the need to “Go the Distance”, the following week, the Virginia 24 Hour Ultra Run For Cancer goes off at Sandy Bottom Park.  I have many of my Running Friends who will run Saturday, April 26th until Sunday Morning, April 27th.  Excited for you all!

 

MONDAY MAJESTY!

Boston Marathon Monday Comes Back Big!

Boston Marathon Monday Comes Back Big!

Patriots day is Monday and in Boston, the third Monday of April ALWAYS means the Boston Marathon is on.  With all the events of last year, this year has brought so much attention to it’s return.  Sports Illustrated has featured a cover to some key people and this year’s  race attendance is at an all-time high.  Many of you in Hampton Roads who went last year are making return trips and some new Runners will be making their first appearance.  Staring in Hopkinton and winding their way past Natick, Wellesley College, along the famed hills near Newton, including “Heartbreak Hill”, then the parade to greatness, ending on Boylston and the ultimate finish line.

We will be rooting for you all and watching the progress of so many of you.  “Shout outs” to guys like Andrew Hoffer, Vincent Ortiz, and John Adams, who ran with me the last few miles of the Norfolk Freedom Marathon.  So many stories will follow those famous 26.2 miles.  All of wish you ALL the very best!

 

Throwback Thursday!!!

With the Boston Marathon on Monday, I thought it would be nice to re-visit an interview with the Race Director of the Boston Marathon since 1988, Dave McGillivray.  He was also the Race director for the Run For the Dream Weekend.  Did you know that except for last years race, Dave has run the marathon course after the last finisher crosses the line.  Enjoy this “Throwback On The Run!”

 

Thanks for checking us out this week.  Feel free to share with your friends, or leave us some feedback.  Look for more soon.  Maybe I’ll catch you soon…”On The Run!”

On the Run with Sportswrap Running Reporter, Jon “Flex” Leiding on WAVY.com

With You to the Finish..."On The Run!"

With You to the Finish…”On The Run!”