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.


Remembering the 1966 Florence Flood

2015 - Il Duomo

2015 – Il Duomo

Adoring Firenze passionately is somewhat of a pastime at The Candi Dish! It is a magical city that exudes charm, transcendent beauty and unique history: some obvious (IL DUOMO,) and some hidden (VASARI CORRIDOR). One significant and devastating piece of history occurred exactly 50 years ago today. On November 4, 1966, after a long period of steady rain the Arno River flooded Firenze. The flood took the precious lives of people and destroyed millions of masterpieces.

With RestoPresto on the Arno!

With RestoPresto on the Arno!

At its highest, the water reached over 22 feet in Santa Croce. If you have been to Florence, this statistic is quite shocking.


Basilica di Santa Croce

Here are 2 photos that I took last year that show one of the “high water mark” signs from 2 different angles on the side of a building in the Oltrarno.


Close up of the “high water mark” sign that reads: “Qui arrivo la piena dell’Arno”



The “high water mark” sign on the side of a building in the Oltrarno.

My first of many visits to Firenze was in 1992 when I entered the Florida State University International Program Study Abroad Program that summer. I was in love with the city immediately and can honestly say that my 6 weeks in Firenze changed my life in the most wonderful ways. The FSU Florence Program is celebrating its 50th Anniversary as well which means that the first round of students experienced the Arno flood in November 1966. There is a wonderful documentary by Breanna Bruner interviewing former students who were there in 1966 and how they became Angeli del Fango (“Mud Angels) – here is a link to the video:

I am proud to be a FSUIP Alum!

So today, 50 years later I honor the lives lost, the generous Angeli del Fango whose speedy volunteer efforts to save damaged pieces led to the restoration of many fine works of art and magnificent Firenze, herself.

If you are interested in a firsthand account of what was happening in Firenze after the flood, here is a terrific article by Jonah Jones via The Florentine

For stunning photos of the flood, click on this link to the Foto Locchi site which has archived photos taken in Firenze following the disaster:


Interview with Entrepreneur Candi Obrentz of The Candi Dish & RestoPresto


When I first launched my business, I sought guidance for many things: textiles, manufacturing basics, intellectual property, how to form an LLC, how in the WORLD do you get exposure and press for your product invention…you know, stuff like that! When I brilliantly engaged a fellow innovative entrepreneurial friend who generously shared her knowledge, she also introduced me to her friend, Sabina Hitchen. SCORE! I was taken by Sabina’s positive energy and genuine interest in my product creation, RestoPresto (and me). THEN the teaching began. No strings attached information sharing, tips, suggestions and ideas. WOWSA!

So when Sabina requested an interview with me to discuss my entrepreneurial journey and amazing accomplishment of RestoPresto being featured on the TODAY SHOW, I leaped at the opportunity.

Here is a link to the interview:

If you are a small business owner who needs guidance on navigating the world of PR and press (let’s face it, what entrepreneur doesn’t?), check out Sabina Knows (you can thank me later)!

All the best,

RestoPresto is a compact gadget that has TONS of uses!

RestoPresto is a compact gadget that has TONS of uses!

Hours left for the RestoPresto GIVEAWAY on Hint Mama!

Hint Mama shares valuable tips with busy parents!

Hint Mama shares valuable tips with busy parents!

Everyone loves a giveaway, right? As a small business owner and inventor, I love collaborating with great people so I jumped at the chance to do a RestoPresto pack giveaway with Hint Mama because I admire savvy moms who share tips and really dig my friends at Hint Mama who blog about how to make parenthood easier, cheaper and a bit more humorous!

Here’s the deal about RestoPresto AND the giveaway which ends in less than 2 DAYS:

  • In case you don’t know, I invented a patented consumer product called RestoPresto. It is a lightweight compact pouch that unfolds to a soft, water-repellent, thin extra layer to sit on. sit under & wear. It is an easily transportable wearable blanket that adds value to busy lives because it is with you when you need it the most. It’s several products wrapped up in one handy gadget. Here is a diagram:
RestoPresto is a compact gadget that has TONS of uses!

RestoPresto is a compact gadget that has TONS of uses!

The winner will get a RestoPresto, branded carabiner, mini-stakes, instruction guide and luggage tag.

Please note that the wonderful written review authored by one of our original, super savvy and fantastic customers: Karen Witham did not involve pay for play! Karen is a paying customer who is sharing her knowledge of RestoPresto because she and her family use it! Karen rightly points out that RestoPresto will grow with your child. From nursing your infant to outdoor play as a toddler; from a newly backpack wearing elementary school student to soccer games; from Middle School field trips to High School extra-curricular activities – RestoPresto is a compact, thin mat that kids (and adults) of all ages can use!

Durable yet sophisticated, the design and utility are appealing to various personalities and tastes of people. all of who lead active and busy lives! Proudly Made in the USA, too!

Check it out, sign up for the giveaway, share it with your network and don’t forget to follow Hint Mama and Karen Witham on Twitter!

Here is how the multi-functional RestoPresto works!

Here is how the multi-functional RestoPresto works!

Dishing about RestoPresto being featured on Katie Lee and Hoda on the TODAY SHOW!


Candi of The Candi Dish is also the inventor of RestoPresto the compact pouch that converts to a soft, thin wearable blanket.

Many people know how exciting it is to see something important to you get press because it draws attention to that product, service or endeavor. So, you can imagine the heart-pounding awesomeness that was felt watching  RestoPresto  on Steve Greenberg’s Tailgating Gadgets segment on the Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda on September 14th. See the video here:

RestoPresto is carefully designed to be easily transportable so that it is ready for you to use it how and when you need it the most.

For the Today Show segment, Steve Greenberg featured RestoPresto because it is perfect to use at the tailgate AND in the stadium. It is a lightweight, durable, soft, water-repellent thin blanket to sit on, sit under or wear at your tailgating party and is the perfect multi-purpose product to bring with you to game because it fits in bags that are Stadium Bag Policy compliant. Check out the photos:

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The design of the product enables endless configurations to meet your needs. The versatile utility makes your life a bit easier. To find out more about how RestoPresto is an innovative portable solution that combines several products into one handy gadget to be used by all get year round, click here:

If you have any questions about how RestoPresto helps make busy lives a easier and is a great fit, contact Candi:


Dishing KISSES….

Happy International Kissing Day from The Candi Dish!



Happy 240th Birthday, America!

Dishing Independence Day wishes to my fellow Americans!

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 240th Birthday to the USA! Here’s to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


The Declaration of Independence

Happy Father’s Day from The Candi Dish!



To the Dads, Uncles, Grandfathers, Step-Fathers, Guardians, Fathers-in-law, Caregivers, Moms, Friends and those who take care of kids: we wish you a lovely Father’s Day!

It’s Flag Day in the USA!

American Flag waving over Rockefeller Center, NY

American Flag waving over Rockefeller Center, NY

239 years ago, on June 14, 1777, the flag of the United States was adopted by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. The Flag Resolution stated: “Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”


American Flag waving over Fifth Avenue, NY

American Flag waving over Fifth Avenue, NY

Many Americans cherish the, often refuted, story of Betsy Ross being the designer of the first Stars and Stripes. As General George Washington’s seamstress and fellow-church congregant, legend says that Betsy Ross was commissioned around June of 1776 to create the flag from a drawing, which she subsequently re-designed and produced successfully. Some historians discredit this tale based on lack of evidence but either way the story is a great one.

Over 100 years later, Bernard John Cigrand, a young man from Waubeka, Wisconsin, authored hundreds of articles, made speeches and submitted proposals for there to be an annual observance of the birth of the Flag. He felt strongly that good would come from a “Flag Holiday”. Then, in 1949, President Truman signed an Act Of Congress designating the 14th day of June every year as National Flag Day. 55 years later, on June 14, 2004, a unanimous vote by U.S. Congress declared that Flag Day originated in Waubeka, Wisconsin recognizing Cigrand’s dedication to the cause.

Since 1777, the design of the flag has been officially modified 26 times. The 48-star flag was in effect for 47 years until the 49-star version became official on the 4th of July 1959.

American Flags painted on trees in Battery Park to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the September 11th Attacks.

American Flags painted on trees in Battery Park to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the September 11th Attacks.

IMG_6149The American Flag, which is also known as the “Stars and Stripes”, “Old Glory” and “The Star Spangled Banner” with 50stars to represent the 50 states of the United States of America was ordered by President Eisenhower on August 21,1959. The blue rectangle in the canton (specifically called the “union”) bears 50 small, white, 5-pointed stars arranged in 9 offset horizontal rows of 6 stars (top and bottom) alternating with rows of 5 stars.

The current 50-star American flag was designed in Ohio in 1958 by a then 17-year-old, Robert Heft, who created it for a high school class project. Apparently he received a B- on his assignment, which was subsequently raised to an A after his design was chosen and adopted by presidential proclamation.

Isn’t it fantastic that young adults have played integral (sometimes unrecognized) roles in US history?

“Flag of Honor” listing the name of each human who perished on September 11, 2001 displayed in Battery Park during the 10-year memorial.

“Flag of Honor” listing the name of each human who perished on September 11, 2001 displayed in Battery Park during the 10-year memorial.

Happy Birthday to the American Flag!

Photos are my own.

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