nicole livas

Nicole’s Notes: Move The Monarchs’ Chains… It’s Ladies Night!

August 7th, 2014 at 9:07 pm by under Personalities, Sports, Uncategorized

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ODU’s first ever Ladies Night scored well with the participants and the staff. About 300 of us got guided tours, trivia sessions, drills and wine on the Norfolk campus. I didn’t really know what to expect when I got the invitation to come out. My sister Cozy joined me. I’m thinking I should’ve left the purse and jewelry at home, but I still managed to get through the drills okay. (Don’t ask Coach Bobby Wilder how my pass looked).  What a fun experience and an awesome idea to bring us chicks together for fun and information (I still don’t know much about football, but I do like to yell “Move The Chains” during games). Check out this video of the four hour event from Old Dominion University. And sign up early next year- the 300 spaces filled up fast for the first one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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.

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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.

 


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. :-)

 

 

 

 

 


Nicole’s Notes: Free dental care, from the heart

March 12th, 2014 at 11:46 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Health, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

UPDATE : Racheal Judy emailed me today and said they broke a record over the weekend. The patient you see in this picture below is Melissa. She is thanking Dr. Tim Johnston, owner of Norge Dental Center, for saving 3 teeth that she would’ve lost in the next 6 months if she hadn’t gotten the proper care.

Norge Dental Care, Dentistry From The Heart

Norge Dental Care, Dentistry From The Heart

In the third year of the Dentistry From The Heart program, Judy  wrote:
 *   257 patients were seen
 *   over $100,000 of free dental work was provided completely for FREE
 *   913 dental services were performed (including exams, cleanings, fillings, etc)
 *   First patient arrived at 12:10 am to get in line.
 *   Event was supposed to end at 5:00 pm, but dentists stayed until 8:30 pm to make sure no one was turned away.
Look at these pictures.

What a way to start your new week – with a big healthy smile!

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There’s nothing like a clean fresh mouth! Some folks are scared to visit the dentist, but I just love how my teeth feel and look after my appointments. I realize everyone doesn’t have dental benefits or enough money to get the recommended cleanings and exams twice a year- and any other dental work that’s needed. And it can get expensive!

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Norge staff member with patient, 2013

There’s a local group of dentists and volunteers working to make sure anyone who needs, can get dental care. The Norge Dental Center in Williamsburg is hosting its free Dentistry From The Heart event on Saturday, March 22 at its offices on Richmond Road from 8:00 am until 4:00pm. Fillings, extractions, or cleanings will be performed for those 18 and older who can’t get dental care elsewhere. Registration starts at 7:30 am. Patients should arrive early and be dressed for a long wait in line. Also bring chairs, blankets, snacks and water. Patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis. Rachael Judy from Norge Dental reached out to me a couple of years ago about this event and she’s been following up ever since. She emailed me this after the clinic last year, “Our very first patient came at 10:20 pm the night before, and slept there to receive care! His name is William and he drove from Gates County, NC.  He and a few others camped outside.  We served over 200 patients with free dental care!   James was our patient who traveled the longest distance……He traveled from New Jersey to receive care.  We were able to save a tooth he would’ve lost had he waited much longer.”

Judy said they had over a dozen dentists volunteer their time. They came from their own practices to help their four Norge Dental Center dentists serve more people. For more information, visit their website or call (757) 941-7682.

We’d love to hear from you after your visit. Post your comments and share some pictures with me on Facebook.

 

 

 

 


Nicole’s Notes: “More Than Boobs” raising cancer awareness

February 19th, 2014 at 7:42 pm by under Health, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

UPDATE: The event was a success! What an amazing show of strength and courage by the models- all survivors of various forms of cancer, and support from their families and friends. Organizer Justin Pantophlet tells me they raised $5,293.00! Here are some pictures from Saturday.

 

It couldn’t have been possible without these sponsors/donors: Murphy’s Irish Pub * Stihl Corporation * Townebank * Bay Disposal * Moore Consultant Services * ESME Boutique* Beach FC Soccer * Dan Ryan’s For Men * Dennis Blackmore @ Creed Realty * Cambria Children’s Boutique * Rico Marcelo Photography * Kazam Bikes * MindTheatre art by Karl Greaves * Andrew Carney Portrait Photography * Lendy’s Café * Bravo’s * Mobile Beats * Tapped Gastropub * Keagan’s Restaurant * Brother’s Pizza * Route 58 Deli

Now, the inspiration behind the event: How cute is this picture? The man you see getting a sweet kiss from his daughter is Steve Golding.

Steve Golding

Steve Golding getting a kiss from his daughter

He lost his battle with cancer at the age of 50. His brother in law, Justin Pantophlet, emailed me this info about Steve,                                                             My brother-in-law passed away of lung cancer that metastasized to the brain. He is born and bred from New York City. A true city boy and he would help clean up after 9/11 everyday.  As he was not a policeman or firefighter, he was not considered a first responder, but he he did help to clean up everyday. It is believed that the asbestos/smog that he incurred during the cleanup fostered his cancer.  Unfortunately he was not eligible for the Zodroga Act. He did charity work for “Rolling Thunder.”

That’s the main reason why Justin became involved in raising cancer awareness. He invited me to emcee a fashion show he organized sponsored by “More Than Boobs” or MTB on Saturday February 22, 2014 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Lesner Inn in Virginia Beach. Tickets start at $40. The band Borderline Crazy will provide the entertainment.

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Just check out the model’s stories and you’ll see why this event is so special to so many people. I think cancer has touched all of our lives- whether it’s a friend or a relative or co-worker who has been diagnosed. My godfather, Sid, fought a tough battle with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer.

Nicole with her late godfather, Sid

Nicole with her late godfather, Sid

I visited him and helped him when he was getting treatment in Chicago and as we took our walk around the cancer ward I saw all different types of people… different ages, sexes, races, sizes… fighting the same fight. Multiple myeloma is the same cancer NBC anchor Tom Brokaw recently announced he’s battling. One of my sorority sisters from college was diagnosed with breast cancer and she has shared stories with me about the process from diagnosis to treatment and the struggles that come along with it especially the cost of treatment and the time needed to heal. Honestly, it seems I hear a new story every few days from people I work with or see in my everyday errands about their diagnosis or a family member’s.

"MTB Fashion Show Models"

“MTB Fashion Show Models”

Justin actually said he had no idea the “MTB Fashion Show” would become such a big event. He wrote,

                           Never did I think I would be still be involved in doing this to this day. The idea was to have an event where we could support good cause that did not involve running or walking for a cure.  While those events serve their purposes and raise a tremendous amount of awareness, I wanted to do something outside of the box. I started the organization over 3 years ago and the reason leading up to the start was because of my personal experiences with my brother-in-law. It started with the first event called “Beer for Boobs Tour” which is now our Cruising for Cancer Tour. This event is still a very popular and fun event that has evolved throughout the years. It was at that first event that I recognized how much people were starved for something different that is fun, entertaining, inspiring and where you can still get involved with participating in a good cause. One our guest stated to me that he was having such a great time celebrating individuals that are survivors and he was all smiles. That same individual is one of our cancer survivor models this year. From there, MTB organized our very first cancer awareness fashion show where we had only 5 models, once which has since passed away. That event had touched so may people by it stories, inspiration, celebration and entertainment that we have continued to host these fashion shows. The idea behind our events quickly became one of entertaining, empowering, celebrating and inspiring of the individual cancer survivors and patients. We do this on the basis on welcoming all cancer survivors. Among our Cruising for Cancer Tour and the cancer awareness fashion show event, we also had our very first karaoke contest in raising cancer awareness in October of 2013″.

These are pictures from last year’s event.

You’ll see my colleague Bruce Rader emceed. You can see more photos in this slideshow and pictures from other events the foundation has sponsored.

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 I’m honored Justin asked me to emcee the event and I’m looking forward to participating this weekend, hearing more stories, learning more about the disease and how we can all help those who are affected and their families. Hope to see you there! How has cancer touched your life? What are you doing to raise awareness? Please share your stories.

 

 

 

 


Nicole’s Notes: How have the new tunnel tolls changed your life?

February 14th, 2014 at 3:54 pm by under News, Personalities, Traffic

It’s been about two weeks since we’ve been charged to go through the Midtown and Downtown Tunnels in Norfolk.

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My first tolled ride was to get to work on Super Bowl Sunday. It was a weekend evening so it was pretty slow although V-DOT crews were inside doing work. Ever since then, I’ve taken mostly the Downtown and I can tell you, traffic is much much lighter. We’ve done the stories on how folks would probably find another route and it seems that’s the case. Andy Fox just did a story on some numbers he got from The Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO). Maybe some people didn’t buy an EZ-Pass yet and they’re going the long way in the time being. By the way, if you still have questions about tolls, check out this story Anita Blanton did. Maybe some folks just figured out it would cost the same for the tolls as it does in gas money to take the High Rise Bridge in Chesapeake or another route. So, how have the tolls changed your life? It’s going to cost me about an extra $800 a year to commute to and from work before they raise the prices. I’ve talked to folks who say they really have to follow a strategy for their trips from Portsmouth or Suffolk into Norfolk, Chesapeake or Virginia Beach. One person I talked to actually decided to quit a job he loved teaching classes at a gym in Portsmouth because he’d have to go back and forth a few times a day and it just wasn’t worth the cost. Lucky for him, he got his old job back in Norfolk. I read a letter to the editor in the Virginian-Pilot from a West Ghent resident who was actually happy to be able to get out of his neighborhood now. I can only imagine he’s talking about a change in the extreme backup on Hampton Boulevard that leads to the Midtown Tunnel. One thing I think we all should do while this system is new, check your EZ-Pass accounts. We’ve already reported on some folks who got overcharged.

Elizabeth River Crossings said it was due to a sensor issue. WAVY.com has an entire page dedicated to toll stories. Be sure to check it out. I want to know how the change is affecting you. Please share and drive safely!


No Valentine’s Candy?

February 7th, 2014 at 11:57 pm by under Health, News, Personalities

I stumbled upon this article on Fox News’ website about a ban on Valentine’s candy at a Connecticut school. It basically reports the school principal sent a letter home to parents reminding them not to have any food products attached to their child’s Valentine’s cards. Now, it’s been a while since I’ve been in school, but I remember being excited to send and receive candy grams, flowers, stuffed animals and cards for Valentine’s Day.

AP photo

AP photo

This ban at Harwinton Consolidated School is part of an effort to “encourage healthy practices and manage food choices in classrooms where allergies are present.”  I posted a question on my Facebook page asking for feedback. Reaction was varied, but it seems most people understood the need to regulate candy and junk food for health purposes.

Joanne posted, I think you have to be more cautious as to what you send because of food allergies.”

Chris wrote, “A friend of mine who is a dietitian took over for the church school cafeteria. She and I could wide changes in the cafeteria policy that included a sugar free menu, healthy vegetable, fruit for dessert, and silent lunches. They got rid of the pop and candy machines. There was such a dramatic change in the kids behavior with them not being hyped up on junk food and having a period during the day were they could rest their minds. But I still think it’s fun to celebrate the holidays.” Although Sherry and Mark think it’s going overboard. Sherry posted, “There are certain things that are right of passage for kid. Adults have gotten so strict they have forgotten that is fun for the kids. At this point their childhood is going to be ruined. I am so glad I grew up in the 70′s.” Mark added, “Seriously? Kids eat lots of candy.”

Maybe it’s a good opportunity for parents and teachers to teach kids to celebrate the holiday in a different way? Maybe they can work on their writing and drawing and spend more time making creative cards for their friends and family. I guess at some point we could all use a break from sugar.

 


Joy To The Mall

November 17th, 2013 at 10:24 pm by under News, Personalities

Holiday cheer took over Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia Beach on Sunday November 17, 2013.  I was honored to emcee the Joy To The Mall fashion show and fundraiser.

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Models of all ages wore holiday fashions from Macy’s, Buckle, Old Navy, Limited, Gymboree, Francesa’s, New York & Co, and Dillards. Many of the models are volunteers with CHKD’s “Circles”.

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Lots of sparkly dresses, suits, and accessories. Lots of Christmas colors… red, gold, green and some pops of blue and black. Lots of ideas for those holiday parties.

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Tickets were sold before the event online and at the door. There were door prizes and a live auction for a Coach bag. All of the proceeds go to Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters new donor milk bank programCHKD helps so many local children from minor medical procedures to life-threatening diseases. Events like this help the hospital meet the financial challenges of being able to treat every patient who comes through its doors. If you want to help, you can donate money or time. There are lots of opportunities and fundraising events.


Gowns For Military Brides on This Veterans Day

November 8th, 2013 at 4:33 pm by under News, Personalities

Planning to get married soon? You may qualify for a chance to win a free wedding gown in honor of Veteran’s Day. Maya Couture in Norfolk is partnering with Brides Across America to host a wedding gown giveaway. These are pictures from last year’s event.

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Brides must complete the registration form. The requirements include:

You must be engaged, or had a civil ceremony and planning a wedding within the next 18 months. You or your fiance were deployed within the past 5 years to Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, Bahrain, Libya, Kuwait, Korea or Japan and have not had a formal wedding.
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You or your Fiance will have an upcoming deployment to any areas specified. All military brides must bring a drivers license or their military ID for verification. Qualifying proof must accompany the bride on day of event:
Copy of deployment papers for you or your Fiance that states the time of deployment and location.

Maya Couture is taking brides by appointment only. Once they receive a bride’s completed registration,  an appointment will be made for the bride to find her dream gown.
Owner Maya Warburton Holihan has been partnering with Brides Across America for six years now, but when she emailed me about it this year she said- after becoming a military wife last year, she has an even greater appreciation for our troops and their families,  especially during deployment. This is a picture she sent me ofher wedding:

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Whether big or small, I know first hand-  wedding planning requires  a lot of time, patience, and money. This program can certainly come in handy.
This gown giveaway will be Monday November 11th, at  Maya Couture in Best Square in Norfolk, from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. Good luck and send me pictures and your story if you win a gown! I’d love to hear from you.


Celebrating Local Teens… With A Purpose!

November 4th, 2013 at 9:38 pm by under News, Personalities, Uncategorized

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TWP Peer Leader Shajhea Wilson With Nicole Livas

What an awesome night on November 1, 2013 at the Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center in Downtown Norfolk. The Teens With A Purpose annual gala just gets bigger and better! New this year: Celebrity Apprentice star, Omarosa, was the guest speaker.

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Omarosa with Nicole

The savvy businesswoman is also a Baptist minister and college professor now. She spoke to the teens and adults about giving back and helping one another. The organization gave out Move Maker awards to teens and adults for persevered despite several adversities in life. The group also acknowledged its board members and sponsors which include WAVY-TV.

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I enjoyed emceeing the event for the fourth year in a row now. Noticeably absent was Al Roker who wasn’t able to break away from The Today Show duties.  We tried to keep the program together without his wit and humor and raised money for TWP through a silent and live auction.

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The TWP members shared their talents with guests through music, poetry and dance. If you didn’t make it, but would like to help teens stay on the right track and become productive adults, click here for information on how to donate your money and/or time and talents.