Mixed Dish

Dishing love for The Florentine, the English news magazine for Florence lovers!!

Best. view. ever. From Piazzale Michelangelo. Firenze, Italia.

I was introduced to the incredible publication, The Florentine, in 2015 when I was in planning mode for a return visit to Florence. I simply wanted access to events and exhibits information and what I received when I signed up for the newsletter and started following The Florentine on social media was beautifully curated insight into the monthly happenings in the city known as the “Birthplace of the Renaissance”.

During my dive into The Florentine’s offerings, I connected with Mary Gray the publication’s Events + associate editor  and Editor, The Tuscan Times. I shared with Mary that I fell in love with Florence during the summer of 1992 when I was a student of the Florida State University International Program and how much the glorious city meant to me as she was gathering quotes and stories from “Repeat Visitors” (like me). Fast forward to my sheer joy as I read the April 2017 issue of The Florentine and saw my quote included in the article aptly titled “The Returners“.

Dishing about being eternally drawn to Firenze!

Click on the hyperlinks to view the article and follow The Florentine on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and sign up for the newsletter!

2015 – Il Duomo

For more dishing about Florence, put “Florence” in the search box on the home page of The Candi Dish blog and all articles will pop up!

Overjoyed to have my product invention: RestoPresto with me on this return visit to Florence!

The joy of assembling bicycles for the children of U.S. Service Members during Fleet Week 2017!

I am walking on sunshine today…despite the non-stop rain and fog in Manhattan because I had the honor of volunteering with the USO today!

When my friend of 30+ years, who also happens to be a Veteran, retired Commander in the United States Navy and pilot for Delta, invited me to join the Delta Team to assemble bikes for the kids of U.S. Service Members, I jumped at the chance.


The USO’s ” Operation That’s My Ride” at Pier 88 on the Hudson River yielded approximately 500 bikes and tricycles for the children of military families serving on bases and ships.  The USO and its terrific sponsors (see below) made it very easy for a bicycle assembling novice like me to partner up with my friend (who is used to these types of tasks because he has 2 amazing daughters) and the feeling of accomplishment coupled with the thought of the smiles on the faces of the recipients were truly fantastic.

The bike assembly was followed by a tour of the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), from Norfolk, Virginia during which I met proud Marines. It was really great.

Here are a few photos from this special event.


SPONSORS: Delta, Pepsi, SOMPO International, 21st Century Fox, Blackrock, Citi, Toyota, HBO & PWC.

It Was 23 Years Ago Today – Part 1

Happy 23rd Manhattanversary to me!

Repurposing the following post from 3 years ago when I celebrated my 20th Manhattan-versary!!

So much has happened in 3 years….my network of phenomenal people across the globe continues to blossom, my beloved product invention RestoPresto was granted a design patent AND was featured on The Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda; I spoke at an event for Escape The City about changing careers after 40, which was liberating and was asked to contribute to a new digital magazine called The Reset which published my article about being “45, Single, Childfree & Joyful”; I have attended events, concerts and productions which took my breath away; I launched an advisory business to help people navigate the challenging process of bringing an idea for a product to market, which is incredibly fulfilling AND I am constantly learning new things in business, about history, about myself, about life and of course, about New York.

I am grateful for all of it and do not take anything for granted!

Please enjoy my re-post and feel free to share it, make comments and of course contact me with any questions about my advisory services, RestoPresto or my “Guide to Manhattan”.


Sidewalk Chalk Writing

Sidewalk Chalk Writing

Well, it was “20 years ago today” last week to be exact. I moved to NY in May of 1994 with enormous enthusiasm, money borrowed from my younger Sister, a job, no apartment, few contacts and a heap of certainty.

1994 Skyline

1994 Skyline

20 years later, I am grateful to NY for being my home, my comfort, my springboard on which to move forward, stand still and temporarily revert at my own pace and on my own terms.


“Manhattanhenge” 2013

“Manhattanhenge” 2013


Despite the constant change of skyline, storefront and trends, NY is not fickle with respect to her endless possibilities, diversity, vibrancy and genuine heart and soul.


Tulips in Midtown

Central Park

Central Park

Queensboro (Ed Koch) Bridge

Queensboro (Ed Koch) Bridge


Celebrating Super Bowl XLVIII n the City


Anne Frank Center, Downtown

The Anne Frank Center, Downtown











I have taken tons of snapshots of the City over the years and have chosen some favorites to share!


Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball

Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball










Park Avenue

Park Avenue


Each snap celebrates a remarkable moment that is uniquely New York.

Central Park Snowstorm

Upper West Side

Upper West Side




Bryant Park

Bryant Park

Stay tuned for Part II (and possibly a Part III) with more snaps!

East River

East River

Here’s to the next 20 years, my dear Manhattan!

Once an FSU ‘Nole…always an FSU ‘Nole!

I graduated from Florida State University in 1993, a year before I moved to Manhattan, and am very fortunate to have access to a strong and vibrant college alumni group nationally and locally. The Florida State Alumni Association advances the university’s greatness while enriching and uniting the lives of alums. The Seminole Club of New York is a not-for-profit organization affiliated with Seminole Boosters Inc., FSU Alumni Association and the FSU Foundation. In addition to the NYC Club offering members fantastic events and networking opportunities, it works closely with University organizations to raise funds for scholarships, campus campaigns, special projects and promote the accomplishments FSU.

An FSU tradition is to host a 4-day event called “Noles in NYC” that showcases FSU talent in in theatre, music, dance and film with performances in New York. This year, the series ended with a “Celebration of Florida State with President John Thrasher” that was a blast!  Here are a few photos:

FSU President John Thrasher & FSU Alumni President & CEO Scott Attwell

President Thrasher & me

Scott Attwell, NBC & beloved FSU Alum Janice Huff and me!


I am a huge proponent of joining alumni groups and organizations in which you have a common bond with people for networking and fun opportunities. If you are lucky like I am, you obtain exposure to incredible people, positive energy and bright ideas!

There is nothing un-fun about making liberating choices: 45, Single, Child-Free & Joyful!

Have you heard of The Reset? It is a digital home base that launched in early 2017 for a new generation of women who are choosing to do things differently. It’s a community that marries relevant, relatable content with curated commerce. I love how it provides inspiration, information and ideas for how to be your best self and since it is for real women who live real lives (like me), I double love it.

So you can imagine how excited I am that The Reset published my article: “45, Single, Child-Free & Joyful” today! Here is a link, please enjoy and definitely follow The Reset on Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest as @TheResetSocial.

You can follow me @candiobrentz on Twitter and my little nugget of a product invention @RestoPresto on Twitter & Instagram!

45, Single, Child-Free and Joyful

“Free To Be…You And Me” 43 years later

On the 43rd Anniversary of Free to Be…You and Me, I am re-sharing my post about the 40th celebration with Marlo Thomas and Friends that I fortunately attended at the Paley Center in New York in 2014.

The act of treating our fellow human beings with respect and fairness is hugely relevant right now so the values and behaviors exhibited in Free to Be…You and Me are 100% spot on!

In addition to this little flashback, I am throwing in one of my fave photos ever…meeting Marlo Thomas in 2008.


Celebrating a classic in Manhattan

Celebrating a classic in Manhattan

Television, radio, film and listening to vinyl were a huge part of my early childhood in the 1970s. Simply being entertained was the focus over sticking with particular genres. I loved STYX and watched Hee Haw; enjoyed The Six Million Dollar Man as much as Broadway soundtracks (well, not really AS much but I did like seeing bionics in action).

I think that it is really something that as a kid, I was very attracted to broadcasting that had strong social messages:  “All in the Family”; “That Girl”, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, to name a few. Watching these shows as an adult, I realize that the themes, with which I now agree, were totally over my head more than 30 years ago. Given that I most certainly did not fully grasp what I was ingesting, something in them captured my attentiveness.

My introduction to “Free To Be…You And Me” was around 1980 when my 3rd grade class performed songs from the album for our family and friends in the auditorium of our elementary school.

Invitation to the 3rd Grade Production (made by me)!

Invitation to the 3rd Grade Production (made by me)!

I loved the music, which was catchy and fun.  After getting to know the lyrics, the realization of the meaning behind the words began to sink in. It was very cool that Rosey Grier, with his “defensive end” NFL stature and deep voice, told children that it is totally ALL RIGHT to cry.  Marlo Thomas & Harry Belafonte instructing kids that parents are people who can be in any profession regardless of gender? Yes!  Mel Brooks as a baby in the nursery of a hospital trying to figure out if he is a boy or a girl? Fantastic!

The strong message of moving past stereotypes, treating people fairly, embracing friendships, embracing differences and most importantly, embracing ourselves was one heckuva lesson to learn decades ago.  Some feel that it was a feminist message. I disagree. I believe “Free To Be” communicates a human message: the importance of feeling comfortable in one’s own skin and respecting others.  All people. Not just one gender, one age range, one color, one religion, one “type”.  People.

Living in Manhattan, I have access to spectacular events, many of which celebrate things that I loved as a child and still love as an adult.  I should add that while protesting and liberation movements were not a part of my childhood, the fair treatment of other was a vital theme (also, I think that I was born with this kind of internal moral compass that sounds an alarm in my head when exposed to the unjust but that is a different story for another time!)

So, when I had the opportunity to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of “Free To Be…You And Me” hosted by Marlo Thomas and friends, I seized it in a New York minute.

Alan Alda, Rosey Grier, Carole Hart, Gloria Steinem & Marlo Thomas

Alan Alda, Rosey Grier, Carole Hart, Gloria Steinem & Marlo Thomas

The event at the Paley Center was co-moderated by Gloria Steinem (!!) and Marlo (!!) with a panel: Alan Alda and Rosey Grier, who were featured on the album and TV special; Carole Hart, the magical producer and Lettie Cottin Pogrebin, the visionary who co-guided the creation of “Free To Be”.  The panel discussions were intellectual, interesting and stimulating.  Clips of the TV special were shown and it was quite moving watching them on the big screen along with the “Free to Be” stars. Fortunately the talented writers, composers, lyricists, producers, comedians, poets and musicians behind the scenes like Dan Greenburg, Carol Hall, Sheldon Harnick, Stephen Lawrence and Tony Walton also joined the celebration. The list of brilliant contributors to the “Free To Be” album, book, TV special and Foundation is endless. I think that the prerequisite to be a part of the project (in addition to talent) was to believe in the premise:  “different does not mean wrong”!  Good stuff, right?

It was strongly acknowledged that while we have come a long way, our society has not fully achieved what “Free To Be” set out to do in 1974. We still have a lot of work to do on enriching the “sense of self” and empowering others to do the same.  What a great challenge for us!


Being a part of the celebration of something close to my heart was a tremendous experience.  I shall forever be “glad to have a friend like” Free To Be You…and Me.




Dishing the very best to you in 2017 (including my advisory services)!


On the first day of the new year there is enormous promise for the next 365 days and I hope that your next trip around the sun is filled with the best of health, peace and happiness.

2016 was an incredible year for me personally and professionally: namely, I formed friendships and connections with inspirational people who make the world a better place AND expanded the brand of my product invention RestoPresto.


RestoPresto was featured on The Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda in September 2016. AMAZING!

Many times this past year, I was asked for advice and help on starting a business, creating a product and what steps I took to obtain a design patent from the USPTO for RestoPresto. This has prompted me to offer advisory services (on a one-off or continuing basis) on the basics and particulars. “Where to start”; “how to protect your idea as you move forward”; “suggestions on forming an LLC”, “the importance of intellectual property/protecting your idea” and “legal tips from a small business owner perspective”, “prototyping”, “launching”, “crowdfunding”, “entrepreneurial support groups” and “brand building” to name a few! Supply & demand, right?!? So if you are exploring the creation of a product or ready to move to the next stage and need guidance from someone who has recently “been there and done that”, please contact me to discuss partnering on your venture. Knowledge is power and I would be happy to see if I can be of assistance by sharing what I know and what I would have done differently.

On the set of "This is It with Cheldin Barlatt Rumer" in Philadelphia to discuss all things entrepreneurship & RestoPresto

On the set of “This is It with Cheldin Barlatt Rumer” in Philadelphia to discuss all things entrepreneurship & RestoPresto

I am not big on new year’s resolutions, HOWEVER I do hope to post more on The Candi Dish to share stories, snapshots and suggestions with YOU! Oh and of course to have more fun than I did in 2016!

Happy 2017,

Happy Holidays from The Candi Dish


Whatever you do or do not celebrate in December – may your days be filled with happiness, peace and of course the very best of health!

Warmest wishes,

Veterans Day 2016


On Veterans Day and ever day, I feel gratitude for the brave men and women who have served and serve in the US Military. Today, I particularly honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.

I am sharing the words from President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Veterans Day Proclamation” on October 8, 1954 because they are simple and meaningful.

“In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.”President Dwight D. Eisenhower: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose.”

With honor and respect to each and every Veteran, I thank you for your service. I am particularly grateful that my Dad, Sergeant Bruce Obrentz, 1st Battalion 13th Marines, Whiskey Battery returned from active duty in Vietnam.

May the families and loved ones of fallen troops and the troops whose lives have been eternally altered be held in our hearts.


Remembering Gary Froid


On the 3rd anniversary of the passing of my Stepdad, Gary Froid, I am re-sharing what I wrote a week and a half after he passed.

I miss him.

If you knew Gary and remember his uniqueness, I lovingly share this with you.


My Stepfather, Gary passed away on November 5, 2013.  He was one of the most dynamic, tough, unique, firm and intelligent people that I have ever known and will ever know. He was also my friend who I have known my entire life.

Gary in New Orleans, 1983

Gary in New Orleans, 1983

I have learned a lot about Gary in the days since he passed.  I reread the “12 Commandments” (non-religious) list that he authored.  It had been years since I read “the list” and felt a pang of sadness as each one resonated with me in a way that it had not before.

Thoughts and memories keep racing through my mind and although I had hesitated to post about the passing of my Stepfather due to how personal and intimate this loss is to me, I realize that putting those thoughts and memories to “paper” would be a good thing for me. “Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do” (Commandment #12).

Losing a loved one leaves a deep fissure in your life.  Gary lived a very full and rather intriguing life but those who knew and loved Gary agree that he left us too soon. What I am going to try to do for myself is find significance in the memories, reflections and lessons.  And oh boy, are there a lot of those.  “Above all else be true to thyself” – Pelonius (Commandment #9).

One of my two earliest memories of Gary was when I followed his suggestion to name my Teddy Bear (that he gave me), “Elmer”.  When he was a child, he had a stuffed animal named “Elmer” so why shouldn’t I?  The second was sitting with my Mom, Dad and Gary in my living room in front of a crackling fire (on one of those rare Florida evenings when you can actually use your fireplace) and watched in fright as a gigantic roach crawled up the wall.  Gary swiftly removed his shoe, stood up, squished the roach, replaced his shoe and sat back down.  He did not miss a beat.

Over a decade of friendship later, Gary became my Stepdad.  It is both unusual and comforting to have a relationship like this.  Living with Gary meant the acquisition of a gaggle of step-siblings; Sunday family BBQs; numerous strict rules; hundreds of Berol Verithin Red and Blue Pencils, notepads, binders, colored plastic paperclips and highlighters in multiple drawers; TVs in almost every room of the house; a pantry and wet bar stocked to the gills (in case of an emergency); a collection of books (all of which he had read at least once) that could rival a library; many No-Ad sunscreen bottles; deep-fried catfish; snoring of epic proportions; Popov vodka in the freezer; running the house like an office including but not limited to having a telephone system set up so that you could make room-to-room calls (each phone had its own extension) and transfer incoming calls; a second refrigerator containing beer (75%) and camera film (25%); big rafts for the pool; never knowing where the next rubber roach would be hiding to scare us; a game room filled with his colossal collections (untouchable treasures), a juke box, electric train set, (partially untouchable); arcade games and a dart board that averted any possible boredom; consistently high-maintenance boating excursions that included some sort of problem during every.single.outing.  Listening and nodding as Gary explained the “only” way to crack a stone crab, pour a beer, eat an oyster, warm up a car on a chilly morning, grill a steak, drive a car and vote. “There’s no right way to do something wrong” (Commandment #6).  The thermostat was continuously set to an arctic temperature; there were always rather unique and often enormous souvenirs to welcome into the house after each trip (exotic or not) that he took with my Mom; Christmas tree(s) plus abundant and elaborate interior and exterior decorations during the holidays; the no phone calls during dinner or after 9pm rule was a hard one to follow, especially in high school; four newspapers were delivered every day. “Read – know when to take a profit – there are worse things than having to pay taxes on a gain” (Commandment #4).

I will miss that distinctive deep voice, how I smelled of Aramis after I hugged him; his words of wisdom. “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” (Commandment #1).  I will miss him asking me how my cholesterol is every.single.time. I ate cheese in front of him; his insistence on what I should do and see on my domestic and international trips (because he had undoubtedly been there and done that before) even though our travel styles were completely different; receiving a newspaper article in the mail that had highlights, underlines and hard to read handwritten notes in the margin and on sticky notes to stress his opinion; his reliability & consistency were second to none. “Always do what you say – if things change and you can’t do what you promised, then let the person know” (Commandment #7). I will miss the annual Christmas Day chat during the “A Christmas Story” marathon on TV because I saw it with him in the theatre in 1983 and vividly remember how excited he was that a film captured his Midwestern childhood so perfectly.  That incredible generosity that touched countless lives will be missed. “Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it” (Commandment #2). I will miss how, at a restaurant, he would deliberately hand the wine list over to me in front of the server (knowing how it drove me bonkers when it was assumed that “the man” would order the wine) because he knew that I would order something that he had never tried but would enjoy; I will miss knowing that he is a phone call away if I need superlative advice on my new business venture and wish that I would have asked him more questions the last time we spoke. “Timing is everything. It’s like war in the element of surprise” (Commandment #8).  I will miss the fact that even if the lesson was tough or we did not agree on an issue or I did not understand his message at first that his points were on the mark. I will miss observing him in action socially and professionally, in his distinctive and traditional Gary Froid way. “It’s all relationships” (Commandment #5).

I will miss Gary’s singularity.


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