Archive | March, 2012

“Extra” visits Orlando

29 Mar

On Monday, I had the most fun assignment of the day: go to Universal Studios to do an interview!  Doubling the fun, the chance to meet an actor who was the teenage dream for many women my age who grew up watching “Saved By The Bell.”  Yes, if you were a teenage girl in the 90’s, you went through your debates about who you had the bigger crush on: Zack or A.C. Slater. LOL! 

Bridgett Williams interviews Mario Lopez at Universal Studios

Yes, I met Mario Lopez! He’s currently hosting the entertainment show, “Extra” which airs everyday at 4 p.m. on Local 6. The show was in town to tape at the theme park this week. The episodes will air next week, so be on the look out for some ‘extra’-special editions. Mario is a very nice, down-to-earth guy. I also saw his cute little girl and beautiful fiance’ out on the shoot that day too! Remember them from his reality show about having a baby? The whole “Extra” crew was great! Hopefully, they’ll be back to tape in Orlando soon.

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Customer service? What customer service?

29 Mar

When is the last time you felt appreciated as a customer at a business? Maybe it was a helpful store manager at your local grocery store or the really nice lady at the drive-thru.  As the wedding planning wraps up, I’ve been noticing a glaring issue with the state of customer service these days. It seems to have become a scarce value in the consumer world. As I’ve chased down and begged some vendors to respond or work with me, it sticks out like a sore thumb that the economy has not really improved our customer service. One would think in a tighter economy, vendors might be more aggressive about treating customers well in order to keep them and get good referrals, but it’s just not the case.

Long before I started my news career, I had to support myself through school. All my first jobs were in the food service and retail industries, so I am a bit more particular about customer service details than most people. Having worked in fast food, fashion retail, and two country clubs, I think I know a thing or two about how to treat people the way you’d like to be treated at a place of business.

Why are there so many mistakes with orders and paperwork, bad attitudes and miscommunication? Maybe a negative impact from economy has a trickle down effect on customer service because many business owners are stressed to get sales and stay afloat.  Excuses aside, when there’s an exchange of money for service, it just seems most business owners would make the extra effort to earn business and make sure they get a good review.

When I was searching for a wedding cake, I asked around and got lots of names. There was one vendor in particular who had a mixed reputation. We really liked her samples, but the mixed reviews on her product and customer care made us mark her off the list.  Long story short, my research and referrals ultimately landed us a  much “sweeter” cake lady with “sweet” cake AND “sweet” prices too. 

Thumbs Up or Down?

So what happens when you have a less than great experience and feel as though the business did nothing to correct it? What about a wonderful experience you want to tell everyone about because you think it’s just THAT great? Same answer: write a review! In this day and age, there are countless sites out there for us to voice our opinions on a vendor, service, restaurant or business. In my opinion, reputation and customer service are almost just as important as price. My favorites are Google, Yelp, and now people are really taking to Pinterest to tell folks all about their favorites.  Do your research before you spend your hard-earned money. Most times, it pays off.

See you in the morning!

Bridgett

“The Dress” is finally here!

23 Mar

I’ve been using the blog to gush a little about my wedding plans and so I’m really excited to announce that my dress came in last week!  Why am I so relieved? The wedding is less than a month away! It sure cut it a little close, but I’m sure there are some brides who got their dresses in less time.

The puzzling part is I ordered the dress months ago, but the wait time fell during Chinese New Year.  Why does that matter?  As I soon learned, many designers have their gowns manufactured in China.  During this time, many Chinese take off time to celebrate their heritage and cultural traditions, so this pushes back the delivery dates.

I had heard horror stories about people who ordered dresses online or tried to use websites that promised faster, cheaper products, but I didn’t want to touch them. Instead, I decided to go with a local vendor who could give me the one-on-one customer care I needed for this special purchase.

As I made my way through a sea of magazines, some were bequeathed to me by the recently wed Nicole Pesecky Luca, I ripped out dozens of pages to take on shopping trips. Then I set out on a tour of almost every dress shop in the Southeast.  Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit, but I did check out the shops in my area whether I was visiting family in N.C., S.C. or Georgia.

After a trip to one shop, which shall remain nameless, I was nearly in tears from my mom’s disapproval of almost every gown I tried on. Then I took a trip with my future mother-in-law to see gowns at a shop that was straight out of the movie “Steel Magnolias.” I saw one of the most amazing veils. It was covered in Swarovski crystals and straight from Rome. The price tag? Over $1500! I knew that was over the budget!

 Ultimately, my search landed me right here at home with some Orlando shops. I got the bridesmaids dresses at Modern Bridal and my gown at Lily’s Bridal.

Here’s a sneak peek at my shoes and the lace on the train!

Satin peep-toe pumps and lace

A wedding is just one day. It goes by fast. I’m amazed at how much time goes into planning it. While I’m praying for good weather and everything to go smoothly, I’m more prayerful about the marriage itself. I pray that our union will be blessed and that God will continue to guide us and watch over us from now until forever. Long after the satin and lace has faded, it is my hope that our union exemplifies a shining example of God’s love.

See you in the morning!

Bridgett

Making a Difference

23 Mar

You’ve heard the phrase, “No news is good news.” That colloquialism points to the simple notion that most news centers around bad news. I beg to differ. After more than 15 years being inside newsrooms, I have seen my share of tragedy and horror, but I’ve also seen some pretty amazing and inspiring stories.

During my time in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia markets, I had the chance to cover a variety of issues from politics to the state fair. In Augusta, Georgia, I worked on a franchise called ‘Faith First.’  This was a weekly segment dedicated solely to highlighting news and events happening in the faith community. Now that Orlando is my home, I’m pleased to be working on the ‘Making a Difference’ franchise for Local 6.

Making a Difference  is a daily feature on people and groups making a difference in Central Florida. The segments run every night on the 7 p.m. newscast.

Here’s the link to our Making a Difference

We’re covering a wide variety of causes and events as well as individuals who have done and are doing exciting and great things.  I’d love to hear from you about people or organizations you think are Making a Difference. The more the better because some news IS ‘good news’ and the more the better!

Send an email to makingadifference@clickorlando.com 

See you in the morning!

Bridgett

Countdown to ‘I do!’

16 Mar

                         

The picture says it all, we are one month away from our wedding now! This is a snapshot from the timers we have on our cell phones. Cyrus is my best friend and I can’t wait to call him my husband 🙂 This is the biggest and most expensive thing we’ve ever done! We will be so glad when the big day finally gets here so we can celebrate what God is doing in our lives, bask in the fruits of our labor and love, and move on to enjoying married life.

We have loved every minute of our engagement, but I have experienced a few “bridezilla” moments. We changed locations from South Carolina to Georgia halfway through planning time because of family reasons and distance. I changed my mind about my dress at least twice and lost count of how many dresses I actually tried on in the process. The dress hunt is a whole other blog I will submit after the wedding! It was so much fun and so hard to choose! Now, I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of my dress, which I ordered just in time for the wedding! Who knew it would be so much fun, yet distracting and exhausting at the same time?

One more surprise, a problem with my RSVP cards. Take a look at the picture below.

RSVP See that little blank line? There’s supposed to be a name there. With no name, I have no idea who sent this! I can only look at the postmark and hope a few phone calls and texts will help solve the mystery. I found out later from some married friends that if I had written small numbers in a discreet place on the card and assigned those numbers to the corresponding person I mailed them to, there would be no mystery to solve. Why oh why didn’t someone tell me before I mailed them out? I know I talked to enough people between the invitation consultant and my girlfriends. Oh well, at least it will be fun catching up with family and friends as I make my way through the no name/no response list.

Waiting for the wedding day feels 10 times more anticipatory than a 7-year-old waiting for Christmas! We still have so much left to do: picture slide shows, favors, finalized song lists, programs, portraits, counseling and seating charts, but I know it’ll be a blast.

See you in the morning!

Bridgett

Wild about the zoo!

16 Mar Up-close with Rafiki the Maasai Giraffe

This week, I journeyed to Brevard Zoo for a special assignment that left me with a whole new impression of zoos. I grew up with a zoo in my backyard. Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, S.C. was a familiar stomping ground throughout my childhood, but I have to say it’s been a while since my last visit.

Having an impression that zoos are pretty standard, I got my socks blown off at Brevard Zoo.  Photojournalist Dave and myself were both surprised.  After snapping out of my drowsiness from the ride, I found myself surrounded by rhinoceroses, giraffes and paddling a kayak!  The best part, I got to touch the animals!

Brevard Zoo giraffe

Rafiki means 'friend' in Swahili and boy was he ever!

 The giraffes were my favorite! This is a picture of me feeding a Maasai giraffe named Rafiki. His name, which you may remember from The Lion King, means ‘friend’ in Swahili. The name really fit Rafiki, too. Animal keepers say he was raised by humans from his birth after his mother abandoned him and it made him especially comfortable around humans.

He loved the crackers and bananas we fed him and also liked to be petted. Did I mention that his breath literally blew my hair back as he leaned in to sniff me. I was quite smitten with him!

I also had a chance to pet and feed the white rhinos in another area of the zoo and learned more about their endangered status in the wild. They enjoyed having their backs rubbed with coarse plastic bristle brushes. I could not believe the size of these animals! The giraffes can grow as many as 16 feet tall, which rhinos get into the 1,300 to 3,600 pound range! 

The kayak tour which allows guests to paddle through the Expedition Africa exhibits and look at the animals. It’s the only one of its kind in the country! 

It was fascinating to learn that most kids stop coming to the zoo around the age of eight, but Brevard Zoo is working to get more of the older kids to stay with the zoo throughout their lives with more interactive and diverse experiences to offer.  I think they got this ‘kid’ excited about the zoo again for sure 🙂 There’s just something intrinsically good about taking some moments to stop and smell the roses, admire a rainbow or pet a giraffe. For me, it renews a sense of awareness about precious creations and the awesome Creator.

Up-close with Rafiki the Maasai Giraffe

"Nice to meet you Rafiki"

See you in the morning!

Bridgett

Say ‘Yes’ to the dress!

8 Mar

My wedding is coming up in April, so I’ve been very focused on being my best self in preparation for the big day! That process includes slimming down some.  When I ordered my dress, which still hasn’t come in by the way, I had to order up a size from the sample size. That was a little upsetting, but everyone says the wedding dress sizes run differently than regular sizes.

My whole life, I’ve battled a bit of bulge for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been an active person, but the real culprit has always been food choices. Growing up in the South, you’re sort of surrounded by sweet tea, fried foods and cakes. My mother and grandmother are expert bakers! Even if you didn’t have it at your house, it was at your neighbor’s or your grandmother’s house! 

When I was younger, it seemed as if I could eat whatever I wanted as long as I worked out. Well, it worked for a little while, but after 30, stuff starts to change!  Can I get an ‘amen!’  That philosophy is just not true anymore and I don’t think it ever was. 

After I got engaged, my weight started to go up a little and I directly linked it to food. We had been so happy and excited that we simply indulged in too many heavy meals and desserts. For example, we would go to our favorite frozen yogurt shop several times a week! It was like we were on a cruise! But now that time is winding down, we’re both cutting back. These days, it’s no wheats, no treats, no fatty meats and no sweets! Part of my plan included adopting the “Eat Right for Your Type” philosophy.  I went out and got the booklet for my blood type that breaks down which foods are highly beneficial, neutral or ones to avoid.

Eat Right For Your Type

Eat Right For Your Type

 

 

I have been hearing about this diet for years. First, it was the infomercials, then I did a story on the plan a few months back. As I interviewed a woman who swore it changed her life and looked at her before and after pictures, I thought it might have some merit. However, doctors still say there’s not enough research to back up the validity of the plan.

While I have not followed the diet to the tee, I have seen results combined with my exercise routine. So far, I’ve dropped 12 pounds and counting!  Here’s what I changed: very little to no gluten/wheat products, no dairy, no fried foods, no sweets. That’s really it and like I said, I have cheated some here and there because I want to enjoy my life!  In fact, the plan says if you follow it 70% of the time, you will lose weight. I guess I’m now in the number who can testify.  

Now as you know, before you try any diet plans, you should talk to your doctor and I did talk to mine. She said I was ok as long as I’m still getting enough protein, calcium and fiber in my diet. 

 I am not a paid spokesperson and perhaps my weight loss is simply due to stress and all the running around I’d doing to get ready for the wedding. LOL!

See you in the morning!

 Bridgett