Monthly Archives: April 2010

That’s the Life

If I die I want to come back as a dog that lives in one of those giant and beautiful houses across the street from the Coronado Dog Beach.  That would be the life.

I swear there are many non-dog-friendly beaches in town that are less well-kept and beautiful than the Coronado Dog Beach.

I'm pretty sure Gary is smiling

When you go, you find dogs of all shapes and sizes running, playing and frolicking in the surf.  What is amazing is that while you see hundreds of dogs, you rarely see a fight.  It is as if the dogs enter a bite-free zone when they step onto the sand.  The people are nicer at the dog beach than they are at other beaches too.  I think it would be difficult to go to that beach and not say one word to a total stranger.  Every one is friendly.

Screw the Prozac, next time you’re feeling blue, grab a pup and head to Coronado.  It will cure what ails you.

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Filed under Activities, Animals, Beauty, Entertainment, Sights, Travel

Back in Phoenix

Any one that knows me, knows that I am an SDSU Aztec through and through.  I spent five (for shame) of the best years of my life at that school getting my under-grad degree in communications. 

What many people don’t know is that in addition to being an Aztec, “I am a Phoenix.”  I got my MBA in marketing through University of Phoenix a few years back … and what a tremendous experience it was?!

Over the last six months I made a new friend named Molly who is also a Phoenix … but even more so than me – she got her MBA through University of Phoenix and is also a professor there.  She recommended me to be a teacher as well.

Figuring I had nothing to lose, I sent in my application and went through the 4 1/2 hour interview process … and they accepted me.  Next thing you know I’m in a four-week faculty certification course, and assuming I pass that I’ll move on to a mentorship, or student-teaching program. 

This isn’t something I will do in lieu of my day job … this will be a supplement to it.  The don’t hire any one who isn’t working in the field that they will be teaching.  I will only teach one marketing, business or communications night class each week. 

My fingers are crossed that it all goes well. (Cross yours too for me, if you don’t mind.)

I had no idea what I was in for when I submitted my application, but every step – even the interview – has been great fun.  It reminds me of being back in my MBA program.  So it is fair to say that I am happy to be back in Phoenix.

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Filed under Activities, Business, Education, Resources

FourSquare … Not Just for Children Any More

Adults ruin everything kids deem cool and hip … Facebook, fashion, music … and even Four Square.

You remember that game you played in elementary school with the handball and the four squares painted on the black top?  Well this FourSquare is a little different.

For those of you unaware of this new Internet phenomenon, FourSquare is basically a mobile application that allows you to “check in” when you are at a new location, connect with people who are there or have been there, and earn rewards for frequent visitation.

I joined FourSquare six months ago and promptly quit when I got a computer virus shortly thereafter (I can’t guarantee it was because of FourSquare … it could have been purely coincidental). 

Since then, FourSquare has catapulted to the potential “it” Web application of 2010, showing three-times growth in a two-month period (as reported in early February 2010 by ReadWriteWeb.com); growth by nearly 100,000 users in 10 days and more than 22 million check-ins by its users since late-March 2010 (as reported by Mashable).

Any kinks that I originally experienced are long-gone.  FourSquare is here to stay.

So why use it?

If you’re a consumer, it provides value in:

  • learning tips about specific locations
  • finding out where a hot-spot is based on quantity of check-ins
  • special offers and freebies for frequent customers (as tabulated by managers/owners of locations monitoring FourSquare)
  • finding friends easily
  • learning about new locations in your area
  • navigating new cities or places based on peer review

What FourSquare means for businesses and marketers?

  • Location, location, location.  Marketing is on the move.  For example:

“Location based consumer targeting looks set to provide benefits for both Foursquare and a number of the companies it has reportedly signed deals with, such as restaurant recommendation site Zagat and Warner Bros, with the promotion of new film Valentines Day offering users the chance to win unique Foursquare badges (Source: Punch Communications).”

  • Word-of-mouth marketing has gone (pardon the buzz word) viral.  We went from mass e-mails to YouTube to Facebook to Twitter … and now FourSquare.  Ignoring social media in marketing campaigns is like ignoring the Mack Truck coming right for you.
  • Marketing campaigns must be integrated.  FourSquare gives users the options to post reviews that include links to blog posts or Web sites, and they can share all of that  information with their thousands of Twitter and Facebook friends with the simple click of a button on their hand-held mobile device.

So yeah … I like FourSquare now.  And even though I’m relatively new to it, the value is apparent and based on research it appears that this sort of location-based marketing will only continue to integrate itself into our society as Yelp recently launched a location check-in application. 

“Many people presume it’s only a matter of time until Facebook moves into the location space, which will seriously shake that market up. Yahoo this week had a patent published for geo-located, social Augmented Reality (Source: ReadWriteWeb).”

If you don’t believe this lowly Type A media/marketing-junkie, maybe you’ll listen to BusinessWeek’s senior writer Om Malik about why he loves it.

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Filed under Entertainment, Facebook, FourSquare, Resources, Twitter, WebWorld

Villa Capri

Scott and I once spent a day on the beautiful island of Capri in the southern part of Italy.  Aside from the flocks of tourists that go there in summertime, it is a place I could see myself living out my days.  

Unfortunately, I don’t see my bank roll growing enough any time soon to become a resident of Capri, so we recently discovered a way to enjoy a piece of it right here in good ol’ San Diego.

Scott celebrated his 34th birthday yesterday so we wanted to go out to dinner to celebrate.  Usually when we go out, we gravitate to places where we have coupons or discount offers – and birthdays are much of the same.  Thumbing through our Restaurant.com gift certificates, we found one for Villa Capri 2 and opted to go to it since it is close to our house.  It turned out to be a fantastic choice.

Villa Capri captures a lot of the same flavors from the southern region of Italy – seafood, lemon, capers, chicken dishes.  I had some of the best shrimp scampi ever and Scott thoroughly enjoyed his chicken picata.  Unlike many wannabe Italian joints, this place did not serve a heaping side of pasta along with the dishes.

Instead, it came with a side of perfectly cooked vegetables.

The restaurant has a cozy, yet modern Italian feel.  The prices are moderate-to-high for Italian food, but with a Restaurant.com gift certificate, you can get out of there at a very reasonable fee.

We had the pleasure of dining at Villa Capri 2, but the original is just down the road in Carmel Valley if that is more convenient.

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Filed under Eats, Restaurants, Sights

Brunch at Bellefleur

We had some family come to town this past weekend and we wanted to take them out for a special treat on Sunday morning.  What better way to enjoy your company than over a smorgasbord of food?

Before our trip to the Flower Fields in Carlsbad, we went to BelleFleur Restaurant and Winery for brunch.  I’ve never seen such a diverse spread at such a low price.  For $21.95 for adults or $9.95 for children, you are given options beyond what you could imagine.

  • carving stations
  • omelette bars
  • Mexican entrees
  • pastries
  • desserts
  • cheese board
  • fresh seafood
  • pizza
  • entrees – chicken parmesan, macaroni and cheese, meatballs, macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi, fried chicken
  • soups
  • salads
  • taco bar

And so much more …  the list could go on and on.  On top of the great food, brunch comes with free-flowing mimosas or champagne. 

Plus, when you roll out of the restaurant, you literally walk right into the Carlsbad Premium Outlets for shopping.  Almost like an adult Disneyland scenario.   Not bad, if you ask me.

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Filed under Activities, Drinks, Eats, Family, Restaurants, Shopping, Sights

La Costa is Gonna Cost Ya

But it is so worth it.  Last weekend I redeemed a gift certificate to La Costa Spa.  It is such a beautiful place that offers world-class facilities and services.Spa inside women's locker room

I went for a shiatsu massage, but spent the entire day using the facilities and feeling like, well, a Greek goddess.  With the purchase of one service, patrons have access to the pools, the fountains, the spas, saunas, relaxation rooms, and body scrubs.

When there, you get a taste of the good life … and it tastes divine.  However, unless you’re feeling flushed with cash don’t get too used to the taste as you definitely pay more for the services at La Costa than you would at most other spas in town.

For a special occasion or treat to yourself, add a trip to La Costa to your bucket list.  It does not disappoint.

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Head-to-Toe Women’s Expo

Scott (husband) to me: What do you do at this women’s expo?  Talk about periods and learn how to keep your whale tail in your pants?

Me to Scott:  I guess it is possible, but I really don’t think so.  We are going to be shopping, eating, learning about fashion, beauty and cooking … I’m sure there will be chocolate.  Ya, know … girl stuff.

That husband of mine is a real jokester.

San Diego Bargain Mama's VIP Gals

Today my friend Stacey, better known as San Diego Bargain Mama, invited me to a VIP event at the Head-to-Toe Women’s Expo with a bunch of other local ladies.  We were lucky enough to have a private room to chat and meet the founders of the expo and featured speaker Carolyn Gross.  We then got to sit front row at Carolyn’s presentation, and listen to her message about whining or shining … shining is the right choice.

After that all of San Diego Bargain Mama’s gals were let loose – pink-feather boa and tiara clad – to explore all that the expo had to offer.  The name doesn’t lie … the expo has everything a girl could want or need:

My favorite purchase of the day

  • clothes
  • accessories
  • financial planning
  • make-up
  • hair care/wigs
  • vitamins
  • diet programs
  • jewelry
  • cooking utensils/demos
  • food
  • permanent make-up
  • massage/spa services
  • fitness
  • waxing/threading
  • baby stuff
  • photography
  • arts/crafts
  • fashion shows
  • lingerie
  • intimate items
  • party favors
  • home decor
  • and of course … chocolate

Mom and Me Learning About Self Efficacy from Carolyn Gross

It was a great day out, and Stacey was kind enough to let me bring my mom with me since she was visiting from out-of-town.  Mom purchased hair care products, a purse, and some cookies.  She also got a shirt for me … which I would have bought myself if she hadn’t beat me to it.  It is my new favorite shirt.  How can you go wrong with sparkles and leopard print combined, right?

The expo comes to town two times per year and it is also in Pasadena twice a year.  It is a fantastic way to spend the day with the girls.  There really is something for everyone.  And I’m sure if you did want to talk to someone about hiding your whale tale, you could find them there too.

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