Can I Please Get Some #MoreSoCal?- Verizon Wireless Encourages SoCal Residents to Share the Love

I grew up in Southern California and absolutely love everything about living in America’s Finest City, aka: San Diego. When Verizon Wireless asked me to be an ambassador for their #MoreSoCal campaign, I couldn’t have been more excited!

You’re probably wondering, what is the #MoreSoCal campaign? Participants are encouraged to share what they love about Southern California! The weather, the people, the cutting-edge fashion, the entertainment. SoCal is where people go to see and be seen. Anyone who wants to participate can simply Tweet or post a photo on Instagram about a SoCal experience they can’t get enough of using the hashtag #MoreSoCal. The collective posts using the #MoreSoCal hashtag creates an unique image gallery of all the amazing things we’re able to see and do in So Cal.

As a part of their Ambassador program I have been actively Tweeting and Instagraming my amazing SoCal experiences with my brand new LG G pad compliments of Verizon. Having this device has made me a lot more efficient in getting work done and staying connected while enjoying San Diego.

LG G Pad Setup

Here are a few snapshots of why I love and want #MoreSoCal. These photos were taken in the few short weeks the campaign has been running so you get an idea of just how fantastic SoCal life can be!

Hula Hooping in San Diego

Running on boardwalk in SoCal means bumping elbows with bike riders, roller bladers, people tossing footballs, frisbees and even hula hoopers.  A guy set up a station that offered free hula hooping for anyone who wanted to have some fun. I took a break from my run to bring back childhood memories. I soon came to the realization that I was getting just as good of a workout from hula hooping as I was with running so I hula hooped for a good 15 minutes before running off into the sun.

Salute to the Military at Petco Park

 Baseball season is back and I couldn’t be happier! I love root, root, rooting for my Padres! This snapshot was taken on Opening Day where a salute to our military  was in order before the game. The gorgeous weather and view make the games even more enjoyable.

Poolside Kale Salad in San Diego

So Cal Nachos

 SoCal is known for being a pioneer in the healthy and clean eating movement. The two food porn photos are the epitome of healthy yet delicious food in SoCal. I’m enjoying a fresh homemade south west kale salad poolside and then I attended a party where I noshed on delicious gluten-free, vegan version of nachos. The “chips” are sweet peppers and the toppings are fresh beans cooked down with veggies and spices.

Wine Tasting at Orfila Winery

Orfila Winery View

You’ve seen scenic views of SoCal on the beach and poolside, but wait, there’s more! Yep, a mountain view is just a short 20 minute drive away. We really do have everything at our doorstep. Here I am wine tasting with my  friends from Gogobot San Diego at Orfila Winery in Escondido, just north of San Diego. I am in love with the scenery!

What are your favorite #MoreSoCal moments? Please share them with me using the hashtag. Feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram to check out my lastest #MoreSoCal adventures.

Marketing Melodie’s Top 10 Favorite Things About SXSW 2014

3 ‘s a charm! This was my third year attending SXSW and I really felt like I got the hang of it! I attended more sessions and events than ever before, yet felt like I had more time on my hands to do all the things I wanted to do. I was a lot better at planning my schedule each day and I also learned about the term FOMO (fear of missing out) at SXSW. You over book yourself and don’t enjoy the session, meetup or event you’re currently at because you fear that you’re missing out on something bigger and better. I was able to let go of FOMO which significantly enhanced my positive experience this year. Just like previous years (SXSW 2012 recap here and my top 10 at SXSW 2013 here), there was so much to learn and experience at SXSW that I decided to once again share my top 10 favorite things about SXSW 2014. 

1. SXSW Yoga and Meditation- I was grateful and honored to be invited back as a speaker and teacher for SXSW Yoga and SXSW Meditation. Any opportunity I get to teach yoga and meditation to fellow tech-crazed and social media savvy attendees is a blessing. It was great to be surrounded by so many like minded people in the technology space and even better to create a deeper connection with them by teaching them something I love. I taught yoga poses that can easily be done during breaks at work so busy professionals know how to incorporate yoga into their daily lives. I also taught various meditation techniques so people could find a style that fits their needs.

SXSW Yoga

SXSW Meditation 2014

2. Gogo’s BBQ on a Private Jet-  When Gogo announced they’d be taking SXSW by storm to host an exclusive BBQ on their private jet, I knew I needed to snag an invite. I used the power of social media to Tweet and Facebook them and being the lucky girl that I am, I got in! They surprised me by picking me up in my very own stretch limo. When I arrived, they had Keith’s BBQ waiting for me, then we were escorted out to take flight on their private jet. While up in the air, we learned about their latest technology that allows you to share your exact location, connect to the internet and text in the air.  Gogo helps you stay productive while traveling. They understands that just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean that the world stops working. When our flight landed, I was presented with the most generous swag bag that came in the cutest airline messenger bag. My gifts included a brand new Moto X phone installed with the lastest Gogo apps, Monster headphones with a noise cancelling feature that will come in handy for long flights, and a Chromebook so I can easily stay connected when traveling. This event was so wonderful that I can’t thank Gogo enough. I will absolutely be connecting to Gogo on my next flight. The photos and video speak for themselves.

SXSW Gogo

3. WordPress Happiness Bar- The WordPress Happiness bar in the trade show makes me happy every year and this year they’ve done it again! Their experts were on hand and helped me fix several issues I had been experiencing on my WordPress site. Thank you again WordPress! I look forward to your booth every year and will continue rockin’ your t-shirt! 

Wordpress Happiness Bar SXSW

4. Mark Cuban- I am a huge Mark Cuban fan.  I attended the One on One interview with him and left so inspired. He encouraged us to look at every job as an opportunity where you get paid to learn. Having this mindset has already helped me be more positive about my career and jobs I accept for my business. I love his entrepreneurial spirit, his strong opinions on Shark  and of course his enthusiasm as owner of the Dallas Mavericks. (Since I have no home team for basketball here in San Diego, I cheer for the Mavericks). Mark Cuban is definitely interested in sharing advice to help other entrepreneurs succeed.

5. DIY- The New Culinary MovementFor the first time ever, SXSW Interactive had a food track for their sessions. This only makes sense since technology is becoming more and more prevalent in the culinary world. 3D Food printing was all the rage this year. Oreo even had a 3D Oreo printing station set up that had people waiting well over an hour to customize and print their own oreo. I attended a great panel called DIY- The New Culinary Movement featuring Top Chef Paul Qui! Cooking, baking and creating healthy recipes is one of my favorite past times. Since I spend so much of my spare time with DIY culinary projects, it was great learning from experts in this industry how the DIY food movement is growing. 

SXSW Top Chef Paul Qui

6. Cronuts after Midnight- I’ve heard a lot of hype about Cronuts but have never actually seen one in real life. Well SXSW and Alison and Partners made this possible at their Cronuts at Midnight party. I met the creator, Dominique Ansel who also created the chocolate chip cookie milk shot glass. I had fun talking tech while enjoying some unique sweet treats. This event was also another nod to the culinary movement in the tech scene. Combining my favorite things (culinary arts + technology) always makes me happy.

SXSW Crounuts after Midnight

7. Yahoo!, Upright Citizens Brigade and Jeffrey Tambor- SXSW Interactive combines education and entertainment seamlessly! They brought back more SXSW Comdey acts this year and thanks to Yahoo! I watched an epic performance by Upright Citizens Brigade, featuring the hilarious Jeffrey Tambor. I love his character(s) in Arrested Development. Watching him live was just as entertaining. Improv acting is so intriguing to me. I’ve taken improv classes myself and shared the benefits of improv with 10 reasons taking an improv class will make you happy. I always learn new ideas and strategies for thinking on my feet while speaking when I watch an improv show. Having improvisational skills is a must especially since I want to continue growing my speaking business

Jeffery Tambor SXSW

8. Wearables- Wearables were the the talk of town! One of my favorite parts of SXSW was being able to gift FitBits to 2 lucky winners. I partnered up with my friends at SweatGuru to make this possible. I first shared ways to stay Fit at SXSW. Then at the actual event,  I gathered fitness data by asking attendees to complete a quick fitness survey and also encouraged everyone to post a photo of themselves staying Fit at SXSW. I had a lot of fun connecting with other SXSW attendees who enjoy health and fitness. I met a lady who wears 20 different devices and Shaq’s presentation “Wearables and Beyond” was entertaining. He shared how his FitBit has helped him stay healthy since retiring as a professional athlete.

 SweatGuru at SXSW

20 Wearables at SXSW

9. SXSW Film- When SXSW Interactive ended, I stayed an extra day to enjoy SXSW film and I’m so glad I did! The first screening I attended was a series of 6 short films chosen by the Vimeo staff. Each film was different but what I enjoyed most is that after all the films were played, they replayed each one but brought in the director and actors to provide commentary over the film. It was interesting to get another perspective on each scene as it was happening from the people who created the film. The other film I had he pleasure of enjoying is called Butterfly Girl. This film was so inspirational! It’s a documentary about Abbie Evans, who lives with a rare skin disease,  Epidermolysis Bullosa. The film documents her strength, courage and positive attitude. Being that I personally suffer from a skin disease, Eczema I felt a connection to her and the movie really touched my heart. Unfortunately Abbie Evans died a few months prior to the screening but her Dad who is featured in the film both as an actor and musician was there to answer questions. I highly recommend this film!

10. PayPal Blogger Lounge and Hudson Band- I really appreciated the blogger lounge hosted by PayPal. They provided a relaxing area for people to take a break from the SXSW Interactive bustle. They had water, snacks, charging stations and even fun entertainment on their stage that featured successful technology professionals and musicians. SXSW Music is one of the largest music festivals in the world so it’s only natural that I’ll discover a new awesome band. The band Hudson is my favorite SXSW Music discovery this year. They have a unique, fresh, modern rock n roll sound. My best part of their band is the harpist! Yep, a member of the band busted out a harp for one of the songs. I play the harp myself and since it’s such a rare instrument, I loved seeing it incorporated into a rock n roll band.

SXSW PayPal Lounge Hudson Band

As an added bonus, I had a chance to take a yoga class at Black Swan Yoga. I loved the vibe of this donation based studio. Well it’s been another amazing SXSW. I connected with so many awesome people from all walks of life, learned a lot about new technology, added fun experiences to my memories and  enjoyed delicious Texas BBQ. Thanks to every single person who made my experience wonderful!

Marketing Melodie’s SweatGuru Guide to Staying fit at SXSW

March is officially here! For many of us that means spring is almost here, Mardi Gras is coming up and so is St. Patrick’s Day. For those of us who work in the digital space and love interactive technology, March means SXSW! Last year SXSW Interactive attracted over 30,000 attendees to Austin and I was one of them. I brought my yoga knowledge to SXSW and had the honor of teaching  fellow tech-crazed and social media savvy attendees at the conference. It was great to be surrounded by so many like minded people in the technology space and even better to create a deeper connection with those who are also interested in yoga and meditation.

I’m very excited to announce that I’m returning to SXSW Interactive this year and I’m once again hosting a yoga and a mediation session. I also just announced that I’m a SweatGuru expert when I shared 5 yoga lessons that will help you grow your business. Now I’ve partnered with SweatGuru to help you stay fit at the festival. At a conference filled with free BBQ and booze, sometimes it’s hard to keep up your healthy lifestyle, but it’s possible and here are some ways to do it in my SweatGuru Guide to Staying Fit at SXSW Interactive.

1. Practice yoga or try yoga for the very first time- Take my yoga class at SXSW Interactive. Yes you heard right, yoga classes are included with your conference badge! Yoga was developed thousands of years ago as a way to prepare the mind and body for enlightenment. What better way to prepare yourself for all the new ideas, insights, and people you will encounter at SXSW? I’ll emphasize techniques that are easy to replicate at home and at work. This is an all levels class. Whether it’s your first time practicing yoga of you’re a seasoned yogi, you’ll enjoy this fun and relaxing class. No special clothing or equipment needed, just come as you are! My class is Saturday March 8th at 9:30am in room 8A at the Convention Center. You can add it to your schedule here: SXSW Yoga

If you can’t make it to my class or would like to take more than one class, daily yoga classes are offered. Just search “SXSW Yoga” on the schedule to find all the classes.

SXSW Yoga

Makreting Melodie teaching SXSW Yoga in 2013

2. Take a break to sit there and just do nothing aka Meditate!- “Meditation- It’s not what you think” is my favorite meditation quote. I saw it on a bumper sticker once and thought, what a perfect way to describe meditation! Like any powerful tool, the human brain needs a bit of a tune-up now and then. Take a break from the bustle of SXSW and give your mind and body a chance to assimilate all the new ideas and energy at the conference. This will be an all levels class, where I’ll teach a variety of techniques. My meditation class is Sunday March 9th at 11am in Room 8A at the Convention Center. You can add it to your schedule here: SXSW Meditation 

If you can’t make it to my class or would like to learn different meditation techniques, daily classes are offered. Just search “SXSW Meditation” on the schedule to find all the classes.

Meditation at SXSW

Marketing Melodie teaching SXSW Meditation in 2013

3. Connect with like-minded peopled- Sometimes staying healthy is easier if you meet others who have the same goal in mind. Here is a list of some panels and sessions that are related to fitness and health. Most likely the people interested in these sessions are also the ones who lead an active lifestyle like you. Learn about the role of technology in fitness while networking with other fitness enthusiasts.

Healthy Snacks4. Snack smart- So many companies will be luring you to check out their event, booth or attraction with free food.  I know it can be tempting to eat every bite of free food that comes across our mouths but do your best to eat the free food in moderation. Here are a few snacks I recommend you pack in your suitcase: small bag of raw almonds, cashews or another favorite nut, apples, clementine oranges (easy to peel!)  and maybe some healthy snack bars (be careful with snack bars though, some of them have as much sugar and processed ingredients as a candy bar. Look for ones that are all natural with organic ingredients). If you stay fueled with healthy food throughout the day you’re less likely to overeat when presented with the BBQ buffet and dessert bar.

5. Drink plenty of water- Water is your best friend at SXSW! And no, an alcoholic drink on the rocks doesn’t count as water. “Drink water” is such a simple tip yet it’s one of the top reasons why people may feel light headed or sick during or after the conference. A few tips on doing this:

  • I always travel with a small reusable water bottle. This way, if water is available I’m ready to fill up. Instead of ordering a cocktail on the plane I always ask the flight attendant to fill up my bottle with water. I have even seen many airports now with a filtered water fountains.
  • If you normally drink a lot of coffee, instead of drinking the extra cup of coffee grab a cold water bottle. The temperature of the water will wake you up and the consumption of the water will provide fuel to refresh your body.
  • If you have access to a car, stock up on a few big gallons of water to stash in your room. End your night and start your day drinking it. This way you’ll always avoid those overpriced hotel prices for water and have plenty on hand.
  • We all know open bars are readily available at SXSW. To me, water at those open bars is even more valuable than an extra shot. Replace one of your drinks with a bottle of water.

Make sure you find me at the conference and Tweet me to let me know if you can make one of my sessions. I’ll be giving away some fun prizes and swag from SweatGuru that you won’t want to miss. If you have any other tips for staying fit at SXSW Interactive, I would love to hear them.

My First Wise Words as a SweatGuru Expert are 5 Yoga Lessons that will Help you Grow your Business

SweatGuru LogoI’m very happy to announce that I’m officially a SweatGuru expert. I’ll be sharing my knowledge and insight on many topics related to fitness, yoga, health and even marketing and business on their blog. Let me give you a little background on my partnership with SweatGuru. I first connected with their team back in October when I attended the awesome Tech Cocktail Celebrate event in Downtown Las Vegas. I was immediately drawn to their company because it is both tech and fitness related. Since my intention this year is to help fitness professionals authentically grow their business, working together is a perfect marriage.

First of all, what is SweatGuru? SweatGuru is making access to fitness easier for both the fitness consumer and fitness professional. Their online portal provides an easy way for fitness professionals to schedule classes, communicate with students and accept payments. For the fitness consumer who wants to stay active and take classes, it’s a great resource for discovering new classes in the area,  tracking your favorite instructor and learning about health and fitness resources.

Sure it just sounds like they are a booking system for the fitness industry. However, that’s not the case. What makes SweatGuru stand out is their focus on building a strong community of fitness leaders and fitness enthusiasts. They have a team of SweatGuru Experts which I’m grateful to be a part of who contribute to their motivational and inspiring blog. Their blog is chock full of resources for anyone interested in health and fitness. My first post on SweatGuru is once again, me being authentic in combining my two passions for marketing and yoga. Without further ado, I present to you 5 Yoga Lessons that will Help you Grow your Business (click on link for full post):

Speaking from firsthand experience, my yoga practice has significantly improved my quality of life, including the success of my business and below is how it’s possible.
1. Setting intentions- Having a clear intention is an important part of any successful business.

2. Build a Strong Foundation- Have you ever tried to do a balancing pose in yoga but find yourself immediately falling over? This often happens because you haven’t set up a strong foundation.

Sara Shermis

3. Take time to re-energize- Sitting in front of a computer all day can be very straining on your body. Rather than take a shot of caffeine, I use my yoga knowledge I’ve figured out poses I can do right at my desk to regroup.

4. Being flexible- On of my favorite quotes that applies to both my business and my yoga practice is “Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape”. I have learned that in yoga, flexibility doesn’t just come from my body but also my mind.
5. Be authentic- Yoga can be intimidating. Most people think of yoga and what comes to mind is crazy poses that seem nearly impossible for the normal human body. It’s important to practice yoga in a way that’s realistic and comfortable for your own body.

To get the full post and tips on how these yoga lessons translate to helping your business, head over to my SweatGuru post here. If you are a fitness professional or just a fitness enthusiast and you’re interested in learning more about how SweatGuru can help you, please let me know and I’m happy to share my experience with you and get you set up on their system. It’s completely free to sign up!

And also, to give you a little sneak peek of my upcoming ventures, SXSW Interactive is coming up again next week. I’ll be back at SXSW teaching yoga and meditation. I’ll also be representing SweatGuru and have some fun surprises in store, so please stay tuned!

Meditation at SXSW

Marketing Melodie teaching Meditation at SXSW

Usher in the New Year with 7 Tips for Taking Sensational Selfies

Oxford Dictionary named “Selfie” the word of the year for 2013. This perfectly captures our social media crazed generation. If you don’t know what a selfie is, Oxford Dictionaries defines it as:
(n.) a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

I recently posted this selfie to show the magic of photography and that before and after photos can sometimes be misleading.

BeforeAndAfterSelfie
It’s a before and after photo of me “losing 15 lbs” with both photos taken less than 15 minutes apart. I captioned it with a few “Selfie tips”. The photo generated some buzz and soon Stacey Ross of San Diego Bargain Mama reached out to me to see if she could include me in her article about selfies for TheOnlineMom.com. My photo was one of the ones that inspired her to make sure everyone could usher in the New Year with the perfect selfie. She presents 7 tips for taking sensational selfies. Her first tip is courtesy of me:

1. Shed excess weight almost instantly! Social media educator and founder of Marketing Melodie, Melodie Tao, shared with her colleagues secrets that many marketers might not ever wish to: “Wooohooo! I Lost 15lbs in 15 minutes! It’s that easy! And also proof that ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos are misleading. On the left ‘before’ photo, I zoomed in and was slouching and sticking my stomach out. Fifteen minutes later on the right ‘after’ photo, I zoomed out, stood up straight and threw in the ‘skinny arm on hip trick!’ You can now see how much we actually have control, even before Photoshop is used!” Yes, angles, arm positioning, posture and zoom, made my before and after possible.

Other tips include:
2. Consider the lighting
3. Improve your headshots immediately
4. Take off the phone cover
5. Use your arm to frame the best image
6. Play around with lenses and filters
7. Lastly, if you’re a mom: Sensor your kids!

To read the full post and learn how to ensure you help Oxford’s word of the year live up to its name for the rest of 2013 and into the new year, click here.

Thanks again to Stacey for featuring me in her selfie article. I do hope that you learn at least one or two new tips you can apply to your next potential Facebook profile photo. For a few more laughs, here is my favorite late night comedian, Jimmy Kimmel asking pedistrians on the street if their profile photo is a selfie.

5 Ways to Make Small Business Saturday your Best Shopping Day this Holiday Season #ShopSmall #SmallBizSat

Thanksgiving hasn’t even arrived and I’m already hearing Holiday music every where. I wonder if there have been studies done correlating people’s spending habits to the music they hear? With the amount of emails I get and ads I see about Black Friday and more recently Cyber Monday, it makes me feel like both businesses and consumers have mastered these two designated shopping days. So today, I’d like to give you some insight on yet another day you can shop to get into the Holiday spirit. That day is Small Business Saturday. This year Small Business Saturday is on November 30th, 2013! Taken directly from Wikipedia:

“Small Business Saturday is an American shopping holiday held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. First observed on November 27, 2010, it is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which feature big box retail and e-commerce stores respectively. By contrast, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local”.

 Being a small business owner myself, I love the opportunity to support other hard working individuals. Small businesses create jobs and small businesses boost the economy. Let’s show as much support for our small businesses this year as we do to the big box stores. To make this the best Small Business Saturday for you, here are 5 ways for you to make Small Business Saturday your best shopping day.

1. Register your American Express Card- American Express originally coined and promoted Small Business Saturday and they continue to encourage consumers to shop small on this day. To make Small Business Saturday even more successful, American Express will generously give you a $10 statement credit if you spend $10 or more at a small business on this day. You must register your card in advance here. It takes just a few minutes to sign up here. After you’ve registered your card, you can check out American Express’ directory of small businesses that are participating in their promotion.

Small Business Saturday AMEX Confirmation

2. Shop Smart- Just like you strategically plan out your Black Friday shopping trips, plan out your Small Business Saturday shopping. Think about things you may need, people you want to give gifts to, small businesses that may be owned by friends or family and check to see if any businesses you love are offering specials.  I’ve made it a tradition each year to spend Small Business Saturday shopping for things that I’ll use to host friends for my birthday in December. (Speaking of birthdays, make sure you check out 13 Happy Birthday Promotions for You). I know I’ll have to spend money anyway, so why not take advantage and Shop Small on this day. Last year I bought party supplies at a Liquor Box, one of the top local markets in La Jolla. The owner was extremely friendly and he proudly had a “Shop Small” sticker on his window. He made to sure remind me to sign up for the American Express promotion (I had already done it but it was great that he was promoting it). The year before that, I bought delicious cupcakes for friends to enjoy from CUPS.

Cups Cupcakes

 

3. Use your social influence-  Help everyone enjoy a day dedicated to supporting small businesses. You always hear small business owners saying that “Word of Mouth” is their most successful form of marketing. Well Social Media is the largest form of “Word of Mouth” so make sure to spread the word online! Tweet with the #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat Hashtags, encourage your friends to sign up for their statement credit on American Express. Share this article and others promoting Small Business Saturday.

4. Dine with Friends- If shopping isn’t your thing, then take this opportunity to try a new restaurant or revisit your favorite one. What a great day to make an excuse to catch up with a friend. Thousands of restaurants are considered small businesses so you’ll have plenty of options to satisfy your culinary cravings. If you both have registered American Express Cards, politely ask the waiter to split the bill so you both get savings. Dining with friends always reminds of the time I met Keith Ferrazzi, the author of my favorite business book Never Eat Alone.

5. Take advantage of Small Business Saturday promotions- Aside from the American Express promotion, see if any other small businesses are offering promotions. I was very happy to receive my first email promoting Small Businesses by Uber, a transportation company that makes a mobile application connecting passengers with drivers. They encourage consumers to sign up for the American Express statement credit and use it on an Uber for $10 off. They also have many small business stories on their blog. (Side note: If you’ve never used Uber, you can use my code: UBERSDMEL for an additional $10 off your first ride. ) Yep, beat the Holiday traffic by taking Uber instead. Pay attention to other small businesses who may be offering specials or promotions on this day.

Small Business Saturday Uber Email

If you have any other tips on how to be a successful shopper on Small Business Saturday please let me know in the comments. Likewise, if you’re a business owner and you’re offering a promotion for Small Business Saturday, please comment below as well. Happy Small Business Saturday!

 

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Marketing Melodie