Wow this summer is flying by. I haven’t had a chance to update much because I’ve had a lot on my plate from hosting marketing workshops, attending conferences, teaching yoga classes and keeping up with my marketing consulting clients. I’ve been fortunate enough to explore some amazing places this summer despite my busy schedule and am grateful that I designed a career which grants me the freedom to travel at my leisure. I recently shared my adventures from Terranea Resort located in the beautiful Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. Immediately after returning from my trip to paradise, I hopped on a plane to the Pacific Northwest! I landed in Seattle which is a town I have been to before but this was the first time I was actually going to have an opportunity to explore the city.
My trip was a combination of visiting friends, family and business so I definitely hit all the birds with one stone. If you remember my trip in March to Chicago, I brought the San Diego sunshine! It was 70s and sunny my entire stay. I brought the San Diego sunshine to Seattle too! It sprinkled on my first day. After that it was perfect sunny weather. In Chicago, I navigated the city utilizing Facebook recommendations and Foursquare tips and uncovered many hidden gems in the city that even my friend and cousin who both live there didn’t know about. In the Pacific Northwest, I once again turned to Facebook and Foursquare to learn about that hotspots in both Seattle and Portland (My Portland trip will be in another post!). The Seattlelite Foursquare list had so many things that I was already planning to do. I also purchased the Seattle City Pass which I highly recommend. It includes passes to 6 attractions for only $69 including the world famous Space Needle. If I purchased the tickets individually it would have cost over $130.
Click on the Facebook image below to check out all the recommendations:
I love attending sporting events. There is always so much excitement and positive energy. I’m a die hard San Diego Padres fan but I always think it’s fun to catch a baseball game whenever I travel. In fact, my goal is to attend a baseball game in every MLB stadium. So far I’ve been to 7. I attended my first Mariners game at Safeco Field. I also attended a Sounders Soccer game at Centurylink Field which is definitely something everyone needs to experience when visiting Seattle.
I celebrated 4th of July in Seattle by watching the fireworks at the renowned Gasworks Park at the “Family 4th at Lake Union” event. It was a gorgeous evening and an amazing fireworks display. Even when it’s not 4th of July, I recommend a visit to Gasworks park. They have group photo ops and you’ll see unique displays that can’t be found anywhere else.
Other must sees in Seattle include the Pacific Science Center. I was in awe of the Michael Jackson laser show. I had no idea what to expect since I’ve never seen a laser show but I highly recommend it. I fell in love with the butterfly garden at the Pacific Science Center. The beautiful delicate creatures were fluttering all around and sometimes stopping for a photo op.
Anyone who visits Seattle needs to make a stop at the world famous Pike Place Market. It’s a giant farmer’s market that’s always open and buzzing with excitement with flying fish, curious tourists and hungry locals seeking the freshest of the fresh fare. The flagship Starbucks is found here too.
Being from San Diego, I’m lucky to have the World Famous San Diego Zoo in my backyard. Visiting the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle however was very relaxing. It’s a lot smaller than the San Diego Zoo so I didn’t feel rushed to try and see every exhibit. I enjoyed feeding the birds and watching the animals lounge around. Since I use Foursquare to explore new cities, I was excited to discover a check in special at the Zoo. They gifted guests with a plush animal toy with check in!
Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. Hiram what?! That’s what I said when someone tried to explain to me what the “locks” were. All I know is that it’s something unique that I recommend experiencing. I was fortunate enough to experience the locks both on a boat and on land! I’ll let Wikipedia take it from here and explain what the locks are.
If you want to feel like a kid in Charlie’s Chocolate factory, $6 is all is takes for a grand tour of the Theo Chocolate Factory. All of their chocolate is organic, fair trade and made right in Seattle. The tour began with chocolate education and then they let you taste more chocolate than you’ll ever need while giving you a sneak peek at all the contraptions used to churn out their delicious chocolate.
I mentioned that this was also a business trip. A quick shout out to my Seattle based client, Insect Shield. I have been consulting with them for the past couple years but I have never met their team in person. I love that the power of technology allows me to help people with their marketing even if we’re not in the same location. Insect Shield’s Marketing Director initially connected with me on LinkedIn so it was a pleasure to finally meet her in her home town. I celebrated my Grandpa’s 87th birthday in Seattle too. By the end of my trip, I was an official Seattleite! I even have the shiny Foursquare badge to prove it!
I conclude this post by once sharing my gratitude for opportunities to travel, explore new places and spend time with friends and family. I’ll definitely be going back to Seattle sometime. If you plan to visit, I trust that I’ve given you a few great recommendations on what to do during your stay.
By now you’ve probably at least seen a tweet or Facebook post about Social Media Day San Diego. It’s right around the corner! The event will be hosted on June 30th, 2012 at the Marina Kitchen inside the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina. Social Media Day is an international day that celebrates the revolution of media and the digital space. We’re all connected now more than ever because of social media; so on June 30th, let’s show our appreciation by getting off our computer screens, meeting new people and hanging out with friends at Social Media Day San Diego! If this isn’t enough to convince you to go, here are 5 reasons to attend Social Media Day San Diego:
1. Experience some of San Diego’s greatest products on Social Media- There will be tons of goodies and giveaways from local companies on Social Media! We’re raffling off some amazing prizes and if you are one of the first 100 people to arrive at the event, you’ll receive a Social Media Day gift bag filled with surprises.
2. Enjoy the luxurious atmosphere and view- What better way to socialize with old friends and meet new ones than in the extravagant Marina Kitchen inside the Marriott?
3. Network with hundreds of Social Media savvy professionals attending this event- You won’t hear the questions “Why would I want to tweet what I ate that day?” or “Why would you check in somewhere” at this event. Come out to network and make new friends with smart and tech savvy like minded individuals.
4. Have fun with games, contests and social media inspired interactive activities- We put out a call for sponsors and have received an abundance of replies! It’s so great to see so many businesses embracing social media. Our sponsors will be conducting fun social media inspired games, contests and have additional promotional offers for you to take advantage of.
5. Put San Diego on the Map- Social Media Day events will be happening across the nation and world so this is a great opportunity for San Diego to really make a mark in the social space and show everyone just how great the San Diego Social Media community is. We’ll have the Minglestream tweet wall ready for action with the hashtag #smdaysd. The best way to celebrate Social Media Day is to actually include social media in the mix!
Full event details are below:
When: Saturday, June 30th
Time: 5PM – 9PM
Where: Marina Kitchen – inside the San Diego Marriott Marquis- Get directions.
This is a free event, however, we do encourage you to RSVP
Official Website: http://www.socialmediadaysandiego.com/
Most of you already know that while Marketing is my expertise, Yoga is my passion. Yoga has really touched me in all areas of my life and I definitely want to share and inspire others through yoga. I was grateful when I completed my Yoga Teacher’s Training at the beginning of 2011. Since then, yoga has become an even bigger part of my life. It’s such an honor to be able to integrate yoga into my career and I’ll continue to do so as I move forward. I’ve been able to teach yoga to busy professionals like myself by hosting yoga classes and workshops, Yoga for the Busy Body. I also have had the honor to teach classes through Forward Motion and at La Jolla Yoga Center.
This past weekend, through the power of Social Media, I was graced with the opportunity to attend the first annual Tadasana Yoga & Music Festival in Santa Monica. From VIP experiences at the @Padres games to satisfying the foodie in me at the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, it never ceases to amaze me how I keep receiving opportunities through social media. My friend and fellow yogi @VeronicaRaye won a 3 day pass through Twitter. She then heard about a Facebook contest through Manifestation Yoga and encouraged me to enter. The requirements were to upload a photo of yourself on their Facebook page, and share what Tadasana means to you. The person with the most LIKES on their photo would win a 3 day pass ($295 value!). I typically don’t like to solicit people for LIKES to win something. I believe that posting good content is the best way to earn a “LIKE”. However I decided to enter the contest since it was a way for me to share my love of yoga with others.
What Tadasana means to me: “Tadasana to me means a strong foundation for the rest of my practice. It provides me with stability, strength and helps me become more centered”. Thanks to the support of my friends and community my photo received the most LIKES and I WON! Winning post below!
I always say there is an abundance of yoga available for anyone who wants to practice. This once again proved true because my friends over at YourBuddhi were also hosting a contest on their blog. I entered that contest as well and ended up winning 2 additional 1 day passes that I was able to pass along to friends who wanted to check out the festival.
I’ve planned many events myself and all I can say is planning an event, whether large or small is a lot of work! I have a high level of respect for Event Producers. Not only is there an immense amount of behind the scenes work that takes place, there’s also the pressure of marketing the event and getting people to attend. Social Media has created a whole new job for Event Producers and that’s to really create buzz and spread the word before the event even happens. I was really happy to see Tadasana Festival taking advantages of Twitter and Facebook before the event. #Tadasana was definitely a trending topic in Santa Monica that weekend! You can find more tips on integrating Social Media with your event planning here. And here are some of my favorite highlights and photos of the event. The rest of my photos from Tadasana Festival can be viewed here.
The festival happened a week ago but I’m still inspired! I listened to so may great musicians, learned new yoga techniques and challenged myself mentally by learning new things from the speakers. I also connected with so many amazing people from all walks of life who all share a common love for yoga. I have plans to integrate more elements of yoga into my career which will include creating marketing and social media opportunities for yoga related businesses, teaching more yoga classes and hosting more yoga workshops.
<Editor’s Note> I’m very excited to have Stephanie Trinh aka @stef_funny on my team here at Marketing Melodie. She’s an ambitious Business Marketing Student at SDSU, is filled with positive energy and is even a fellow marketing nerd! I’ll let Stephanie take it from here. HIT IT STEPHANIE! </Editor’s Note>
With all the hype going on about Instagram, I’ve decided to write a little bit about this mobile app. Instagram is a free photo sharing application that allows users to take photos, apply a digital filter to the photos, and then share the photos with friends and followers. This app was originally available only for the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch when it launched. Two years later, in April 2012, it became available on Android. There were over a million downloads of the Instagram app when it was finally released on the Android system. A few days after that, Facebook acquired Instagram and its 13 employees for $1 billion in cash and stock. Amazing how quickly things change in the digital world, wouldn’t you agree?
Being that Instagram launched in October 2010, now has over 25 million users and is known as one of the most popular mobile-only social networks, why would businesses not consider playing a role on Instagram? You can post fun altered photos of your products and begin a hashtag trend for your followers. Starbucks has already jumped on the wagon and has over 400,000 followers. The point of Instagram is to share photos, so as a business you can share photos of things that relate to your brand personality or just great mobile photos of your products – be creative! Another awesome thing about Instagram is that you are also able to share your photos on Facebook and Twitter. The more social networks the better!
Here are 3 main reasons why your business should join Instagram:
1. Most people are very visual- Instagram is great because it gives us the opportunity to share fun photos of our daily lives. How interesting would it be to your fans to follow unique photos of your business’s life? You can show how much fun you have in the workplace and even take little “sneak peek” photos and have your followers figure out what the photo is. Keep them engaged, that’s why they’re following you! Just remember to keep in mind that Instagrammers don’t want to see product photography, but more artistic photography that’s been filtered.
2. There are millions of users using this app- The digital world is making changes all the time, just make sure you are caught up with the newest fad and stay in the loop. After Instagram became available on the Android, there were millions of downloads through the Android system, that pretty much means that Instagram is sort of a big deal.
3. You can create fun contests- With the usage of hashtags, it makes it easy to track and create contests. Have your fans post a creative photo with a certain hashtag that represents your products or services and give out fun prizes. The more interactive your consumers are, the more they begin to feel like “family” to your brand.
A few days ago I mentioned to everyone that I was offered an amazing opportunity to grow Marketing Melodie but I would have to move to LA. I needed to confirm my decision no later than tomorrow. Of course I waited until the last possible day but I have decided! I sincerely appreciate every single person who replied to me when I posed the question “Should I stay or should I go (To LA) now?” It really means a lot to me, especially during times of change and growth that I have the support of my community. I learned a lot about myself from some of your answers and loved all the analogies. Here’s what you guys said….
And yes, you read the title of this post correctly. After much contemplation and weighing the pros and cons, I’ve officially accepted the offer and will be moving to LA Tuesday April 17th. This only gives me a couple weeks left in San Diego but I’m definitely going to make the most of it by hanging out with as many of your as possible! Of course I wouldn’t move without having a going away party! My official going away party is Friday April 13th at 7pm (Yes 13 is my lucky number and Friday the 13th is my lucky day!) at one of my favorite San Diego spots, McGregors! Everyone is welcome! I can’t wait to begin this next chapter of my life and again am so grateful for everyone who has been a part of my life personally, professionally and of course on Social Media! RSVP FOR MARKETING MELODIE’S GOING AWAY PARTY HERE
I’m going to be posting again very soon on all the details of my new gig, so please stay tuned! If you have any advice about moving or surviving in LA, I would love to hear from you!
Chicago is my favorite city outside of California to visit! I’ve been on three occasions and have the best time each and every single time! One of my best friends, Krissy moved back home to Chicago last year and has been nudging me to come and visit ever since. A few months back we decided St. Patrick’s Day weekend would be the perfect time for me to adventure out to Chicago again. The timing worked out perfectly because I was already traveling to Austin for SXSW March 8-14th so instead of flying all the way back to San Diego, I flew to Chicago on March 15th and stayed for St. Patrick’s Day weekend. As a bonus I brought the San Diego sunshine to Chicago with me! It was 70s and sunny my entire stay!
I love traveling and exploring new places but I don’t like to have strict agendas or time tables to follow. I enjoy being able to relax and check out new places without feeling like I need to see everything. I generally travel with a few ideas in my head of places I’d like to check out but leave things completely open as I truly believe that things always work out exactly how they’re supposed to. The Explore Chicago website does such a great job at showcasing so many different attractions in their city. They have something for everyone, no matter what type of entertainment you’re in to.
What I found exciting about all the attractions they list is that the City of Chicago has Foursquare badges you can unlock by exploring! I took a look at the lists and there was such a great variety of attractions that I decided to use their Windy City Badge list and On Location Badge list as a guideline for touring the city since many of these spots were places I wanted to visit anyway! Here’s a glimpse of my adventures in Chicago, I’m highlighting locations that helped me unlock these 2 shiny new badges in addition to other fun things I experienced.
My first night in town was Thursday. I was craving Chicago style pizza! I turned to Twitter and Facebook to see what everyone thought was best and I started a little pizza war as people debated different spots. I kept hearing about Gino’s East and Lou Malnatis. Pequods was also mentioned a couple times. When Krissy got home from work, I told her was recommended and asked what she thought. “I’m taking you to Pequods, that’s the best pizza in Chicago”. So it was decided, Pequods for dinner and I’m so happy we went there. Their pizza somehow has a caramelized crust that adds a delicious crunch to the deep dish. It’s to die for! I can easily say their pizza is now my favorite of all time!
On Friday during the day I met up with my cousin Genevieve who attends college at the Art Institute in Chicago. We walked around the gorgeous Garfield Park Conservatory. So many beautiful species of plants and so many unique plants I’ve never even heard of. We then took the train over and toured the University of Illinois at Chicago campus where we also visited the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum located on campus. So much history in this little house! I wouldn’t have known about either of these spots if it wasn’t for Foursquare!
I love attending sporting events so I couldn’t leave Chicago without going to a Bulls game! The Bulls are #1 in the NBA so tickets to the game are hard to come by! I was lucky enough to get hooked up by Sports Illustrated and the Bulls PR with tickets to the game and I’m so grateful for that! We picked up our tickets right outside Will Call which was right next to the famous Michael Jordan Statue! Even though the Bulls are in first place they were missing their best player that night and lost to the Portland Trailblazers! It was still an exciting and close game though!
After the game we met up with friends at a popular tavern/restaurant called The Boundary. I was happy to see that many Chicago businesses are utilizing Foursquare specials to grow their business. I checked in at Boundary and noticed they had a pretty epic Foursquare special. “Show that you’ve checked in at The Boundary on Foursquare with parties of 3+ and receive a free Nachos plate.” The Nachos plate was enormous! Definitely more than enough to feed everyone in our group.
The next day was St. Patrick’s Day! Chicago takes their Irish heritage very seriously! They even dye their entire river GREEN! We attended a roof top party in the beautiful sunshine with a gorgeous view of the city. Then headed to Wrigleyville where walked around Wrigley Field and all the bars in that area that were all jam packed with people dressed in GREEN!
The day after St. Patrick’s day, the city calmed down. We began our day with a hearty brunch at Revolution Brewing Company. Only a couple miles from Krissy’s house and highly recommended on the Windy City List. I loved the casual and fun atmosphere here! Then it was off to more exploring! We drove to the University of Chicago campus which has such a cool historic feel to it. We also visited the Oriental Institute Museum located on campus. Before going back to our cars, we took a brisk walk past President Obama’s House! It’s on watch with the Secret Service!
Our next stop was the John Hancock tower. Their 95th Floor Signature Lounge is a great spot to grab a cocktail and watch the sunset! Before we knew it, it was dinner time! Within walking distance was Spiaggia, one of the finest Italian restaurants I’ve been watching to try. Their head chef is Sarah Gruenberg who was the Top Chef finalist in the most recent season. Their food is hands down some of the best Italian food I’ve enjoyed! Sarah was also so sweet and walked around talking to all her fans. If you’re in to Italian food and fine dining you can’t miss out on the experience of dining here! After dinner we called it a night. We had another long day planned the next day before my flight home at night.
After grabbing breakfast the next day, Krissy and I met up with my cousin Genevieve again at the Art Institute of Chicago Museum. It’s the 3rd largest museum in the world! Visitors can easily spend hours in this museum and still not see every exhibit. I was excited to see the art featured in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off especially since I recently watched the movie. If you haven’t been to this museum, it’s a MUST SEE in Chicago! After getting our culture vultures side satisfied at the museum, we walked down the road to the famous Cloud Gate Sculpture in Millennium Park that looks like a giant bean! Soon it was almost time for me to head to the airport back to home sweet San Diego, but I wanted to try deep dish pizza one more time before we left. I knew it would be hard to top my Pequods experience. A lot of friends recommended Lou Malnatis so we went there and I was honestly disappointed. The crust wasn’t very thick therefor I didn’t feel like it was a true deep dish pizza. Also the bread was soft and doughy that it almost tasted under cooked. Oh well, at least I got to try and compare 2 popular pizza spots. I’ll be returning to Pequods but not Lou Malnatis.
Before I conclude this post on my adventures in exploring Chicago, I must commend the city for doing such an amazing job at embracing social media to enhance their tourism experience. Adding a gaming element to Foursquare definitely helped me find many hidden gems that I wouldn’t normally have known about. I’m so grateful I had this opportunity to explore Chicago and you can be sure I’ll be returning very soon! Even though I packed a lot of adventure into my trip there is still so much for me to see and experience in Chicago! If you plan to go there, make sure you check out the Explore Chicago website before your visit!