Wordless Wednesday: Tahigaus Beach

tahigaus beach

Wordless Wednesday: Santa Monica Sunset

santa monica california sunset

Social Media Marketing World 2013

social media marketing worldThis spring, I’ve been on a conference bender. I’ve attended three big conferences in the last 3 months, with 2 more in the next month. I can barely recover from one conference before heading out for another, and haven’t adequately blogged about my experiences.

Last week I attended Social Media Marketing World 2013 in San Diego. I was sent by my company, and have already written a recap on the DegreeSearch blog, but there were a few more personal notes that I wanted to put into a blog post here. As soon as I heard about SMMW13, I knew this was THE social media conference for me to attend this year. I’ve been registering for a mix of blogging, search/SEO, and social media events this year, and knew I’d get the best social media information at SMMW13. The list of keynotes and speakers was intense: Guy Kawasaki, Mari Smith, Ric Dragon, Mark Schaefer, Lee Odden, Nichole Kelly, Sally Hogshead, Chris Brogan, Jay Baer, and many other social media practitioners that I’ve come to love and respect.

I knew that the conference would be intense, so I arrived a day before the official conference events began. I did a little shopping, sightseeing, and relaxing. I love going into a conference knowing as many attendees as possible, so I planned a dinner on Saturday night to start the mingling early. The 12 people who attended this dinner ended up being the people that I spent the most time with during the event.

degreesearch business cardsSocial Media Marketing World was the first conference that I’ve attended on behalf of a company. I’ve done some networking for clients before, but it was the first time where I set aside my personal interests (and the business cards with my blog on them) and planned my conference schedule around the sessions that will best help my company. Luckily, my coworker Joseph created these awesome DegreeSearch business cards, and I gained a nice amount of new followers for my company. There were a lot of representatives within higher education, and I loved talking strategy with others who interact in the same circles as I do.

There were some amazing keynotes and sessions that I attended. This is what my conference schedule looked like:


  • Social Media Marketing in 2013: New Research and Its Implications by Michael Stelzner
  • Advanced Networking: How to Make Lasting Connections by Larry Benet
  • 10 Ways To Improve Your Facebook Reach by Mari Smith
  • Using Google+ To Build a Platform by Guy Kawasaki
  • The Science Of Community Building In The Age of Social Media by Ric Dragon
  • Social Media ROI: How to Finally Deliver Measurable Results  by Nichole Kelly
  • How To Fascinate With Your Social Media Messages by Sally Hogshead


  • Are We Getting Better or Just Busier? Panel by Jay Baer, Mark Schaefer, Chris Brogan, and Mario Sundar
  • How to Build a Thriving Community With Blogs – Panel with Srinivas Rao, Marcus Sheridan, Michael Stelzner, and Joe Pulizzi
  • Community Building for Big Brands –  Panel with Sarah Robinson, Susan Wassel (Sharpie), Ekaterina Walter (Intel) and Kat Smith (Petco)
  • Google+ Marketing Success: It’s Much More Than a Social Network  by Jesse Stay
  • How to Implement and Optimize Your Social Strategy by Neal Schaffer
  • Why It Pays To Be Likeable by Dave Kerpen

taking notes at smmw13Every time I attend an event, I’m torn about the best ways to take notes. Do I use my laptop, iPad, or just tweet as I go?

This time around, I decided to take handwritten notes. I’ve read lots of studies that say that you retain information better when you take handwritten notes, and I believe this to be true. I feel like I retained a lot more information than the usual event, but I still kept Twitter open to share awesome quotes. I had a few people tell me that they wished that they took notes by hand. Maybe it will be the new trend. I’m going to do it again at Type-A Philly this weekend.

One of the sessions I really enjoyed was Sally Hogshead talking about How To Fascinate, a personality assessment based on how others view you (not how you view yourself). I took the test, and found out I am a catalyst (motivated by passion and rebellion, appealing to others with emotion and creativity). It’s a great test – I think you should do it!

kersten anderson nicole bullockFrom a social perspective, a social media conference is a great place to make new friends. I met people in the hotel lobby, hotel bar, hotel pool, and throughout the conference areas. Conference attendees were, on the whole, friendly, attentive, and fun to be around.

One of the key friends that I made was Kersten from Speakeasy Market Strategies in Tulsa. She gave me a lot of inspiration, we collaborated some ideas, and she gave me some confidence in the things I’m doing right in social media marketing. But we also became fast friends – we were swimsuit shopping within an hour of meeting each other Saturday, and the fun didn’t stop until we arrived at the airport Wednesday. Kersten and I did a trolley tour of San Diego on Sunday before the craziness of the conference began, hung out at the parties, and roomed together the last night.

The opening night party was at the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park. We loaded up tour buses at the Marriott, and drove about 10 minutes to the museum. There was a fun game to find people to fill out a “Twitter bingo card” that got people networking (for the chance to win fabulous prizes!). The party atmosphere continued back on the bus to the Marriott, and into the bar. Whether or not you were drinking, people were having fun. I like to be around happy people. I met people from all over the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Philippines, and many other countries.

friends at smmw13 collageMonday night, there was a harbor cruise on a yacht. Before the boat set sail, I went to dinner with a big group at Dick’s Last Resort, and it set the mood for a great time on the boat. I’ve never gone on a cruise before, so it was pretty impressive (to me) to be on a boat with over 1000 people. The bottom floor had dancing and a live band, the middle floor had karaoke, and the top floor was the boat deck with a gorgeous view of the bay. I spent most of my time on the top deck, but did get up on the karaoke stage to sing my go-to karaoke song: “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips. If it’s not exhilarating to have a group of your peers cheering and singing along with you, I don’t know what is.

I made so many new friends, and I feel sad I didn’t get a picture of all of them. In this photo are some of the people I met at this conference: Amanda (@myofficebooks) from Australia, Kristin (@kristin_bush) from Orange County, Kris (@helloitsbutters) from Iowa, and EJ (@EJSchiller) from Chicago.

I can’t wait until registration for Social Media Marketing World 2014 opens up, because I’m going to be there!


Wordless Wednesday: Instagram Roadtrip






Wordless Wednesday – Sprinkles 24-Hour Cupcake ATM

sprinkles cupcake atm beverly hills

(PS Just so you know, the cupcake was for Rosie. I just went to the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM just to say that I’d been there. Not going to sabotage myself like that yet. I’m down 40 lbs.)

Wordless Wednesday: Just Beachy

Manhattan Beach sunset
Sunset over Manhattan Beach, California 3/9/11

RIP Jack LaLanne

young Jack LaLanne

“I can’t die. It would ruin my image.”

“I do it as a therapy. I do it as something to keep me alive. We all need a little discipline. Exercise is my discipline. “

“How do you build up your bank account? By putting something in it everyday.Your health account is no different. What I do today, I am wearing tomorrow. If I put inferior foods in my body today, I’m going to be inferior tomorrow, it’s that simple.”

“Maybe you don’t believe in Jesus. But was Jesus a showman? Why did he go around making the blind see and the lame walk and those kinds of things? He did it to call attention to his philosophy.”

Jack LaLanne, the American fitness icon, passed away Sunday, January 23rd at age 96. He died of respiratory failure as a result of pneumonia complications. With so many years of health and vigor, some wondered if he would live forever. And as we see with Jack LaLanne’s passing, all good things must come to an end.

Francois Henri “Jack” LaLanne was born September 26, 1914 in San Franciscio. He was the son of French immigrants, and grew up addicted to sugar and junk food. He experienced bouts of rage, suicidal feelings, and at one time tried to burn his house down.  When he was 15, he heard health food pioneer Paul Bragg give a talk on health and nutrition. Inspired by Bragg’s teachings, Jack started focusing on his exercise and eating habits and studied human anatomy. He concentrated on bodybuilding and weightlifting.

Nicknamed the “Godfather of Fitness,” LaLanne was a bodybuilder, exercise and nutritional expert, TV personality, and even earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2002.  Quoting his obituary in the LA Times,

“Though LaLanne was for many years dismissed as merely a “muscle man” — a notion fueled to some extent by his amazing feats of strength — he was the spiritual father of the health movement that blossomed into a national craze of weight rooms, exercise classes and fancy sports clubs. LaLanne opened what is commonly believed to be the nation’s first health club, in Oakland in 1936. In the 1950s, he launched an early-morning televised exercise program keyed to housewives. He designed many now-familiar exercise machines, including leg extension machines and cable-pulley weights. And he proposed the then-radical idea that women, the elderly and even the disabled should work out to retain strength. Full of exuberance and good cheer, LaLanne saw himself as a combination cheerleader, rescuer and savior. And if his enthusiasm had a religious fervor to it, well, so be it.”

Jack LaLanne stretching

“Have you seen some of the crap they’re selling as exercise equipment now?” Jack wondered. “How about that Suzanne Somers? She should have been thrown in jail for selling the piece-of-crap Thigh Master. It just develops a little muscle on the inner thigh. What good is that? And have you seen Tony Little, the guy who screams on TV? He’s like an imbecile. He says you need this little thing to hold you while you do a sit-up. Why does the government let him get away with it?”

Jack LaLanne in his 90sAs a woman who has struggled with health and weight issues since my childhood years, Jack LaLanne has been somewhat of an idol to me. I have several of his books, and tried to adhere to his fitness and nutrition advice. I’ve consumed countless glasses of freshly juiced fruits and vegetables …. thanks to my persistence after watching his juicer machine infomercials. My father-in-law tries to be helpful by encouraging me to give Jack LaLanne’s advice a try…little does he know how much it’s been a part of my life already. He preached the gospel of eating right and being active…joking,

“It is a religion for me. It is a way of life. A religion is a way of life, isn’t it? Billy Graham was for the hereafter. I’m for the here and now.”

To the man of eternal health and vigor – Rest in Peace.

CALoween 2009

There’s something really nice about celebrating Halloween in a place where it’s warm. All growing up, I remember Halloween night being bundled up in parkas or raincoats, covering up my costume….coming home with a bag of soggy candy. For the two years I lived in California, I decided that I preferred warm, sunny Halloweens. We went last year while living in Michigan, and had a great time trick-or-treating through La Verne. When Rosie had a day off school last Friday, I decided to get in a little family and friend time in California.I pulled Rosie out of school a little early on Wednesday. We drove up to SLC, parked our car, went through security, and made it to our gate just as the plane was boarding. We were assigned seats together, and the flight was just long enough to finish my Entertainment Weekly, drink my Coke Zero, and browse some of the Delta entrainment options. We arrived at LAX around 4:00 pm, and hoped to zoom up the 405 before traffic got too congested. Unfortunately, I went with a super-cheap car rental company, and it took almost 40 minutes for the shuttle to pick us up. At least we had a good view.I had a handful of problems with our rental car company. First, I’d rented an “intermediate” vehicle…and they wanted to give me a PT Cruiser (my least favorite car to rent, usually rated as an economy or compact) I knew I’d be doing a lot of driving over the weekend, and said I’d wait a few minutes to see if a car I liked better was turned in. A Toyota Matrix drove in, and I was happy with that car. About 35 minutes later, and after an argument over my method of payment (strange online reservation didn’t run my card correctly), I pulled out of the rental agency nearly 90 minutes after landing. By then, it was too trafficky to get on the freeway. We went to the Trader Joe’s on Sepulveda to pick up $14 of groceries to avoid eating out for most of the trip. Rosie got her California Rolls and mini merengue cookies, and I got my 4-cheese sourdough bread, Popchips, and Sweet Savory and Tart Trek Mix. We drove over to Dockweiller beach just as the sun was setting. We snapped a few pictures and ate some sushi at the beach.

When we got back in the car, the center console of the car had blown a fuse: no radio, clock, A/C power, etc. There was NO way I’d be able to handle a trip without a way to charge my phone on the road, let alone have no access to the radio. We went back into the rental car agency, explained the problems, and waited for them to figure out what to do with me. They said I could pay extra to get a nicer car…I said that was unacceptable. I talked to the manager, and he eventually let me WAIT for another Toyota Matrix to get vaccummed out and ready to rent. As soon as I got in the car and reached for the seatbelt, the plastic casing for the door frame snapped off! I went back to the rental agent, told him I was fine with the broken doorframe, but I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be charged for the damage. 3.5 hours after we landed at LAX, we were finally on the 405 up to Palmdale.

We stayed with my blogger friend Heather (aka Hizzeather). We’ve been friends online for a year, but only had met in person one other time at her wedding reception. It was so nice to finally have some quality bonding time with her. Between our blogs and Facebook, I feel like we know each other quite well…but it all comes together when you stay up till 2 am in your silly PJs, eating junk food, watching “The Office,” and gossiping about scandalous blogs.

In the morning, Heather’s husband Cody made us some delicious pumpkin pancakes. The we played some games on the Wii, and I have to admit it was nice to play games other than Wii Sports 🙂 Heather and Cody were preparing for their ward Halloween party, so Rosie and I left Palmdale in the early afternoon. We didn’t have anything planned until the evening at our former ward’s Halloween party, so we had some time to kill. I got some advisement from Cybele at Candy Blog for the best places in the San Gabriel Valley to get Japanese candy. First we went to Pasadena, where we picked up a couple things at Japanese-style combini Famina!. We continued down Colorado to Federico’s Bakery. I was introduced to their marzipan princess cake by my dear Lizzie, and no trip to Pasadena is complete without this slice of heaven. Next, we drove into San Gabriel to Mitsuwa Marketplace. I was pleased to find their sizeable assortment of Japanese candy at a reasonable price. I picked up several hard-to-find flavors of Hi-Chew, Ramune and Mango KitKats, gummies, Pocky, and fizzy candies. I look forward to reviewing these on my other blog, Nicole Rates It. We spent a little too much time candy shopping, because by the time we reached the freeway it was well into Friday traffic. It took about 75 minutes to get from Pasadena to La Verne. By the end of the drive, we were a little stir crazy.
We immediately raided my mother-in-law’s costume stash, and headed to the ward halloween party. Baked potato bar, costume contest, indoor trick-or-treating to the decorated classrooms, and catching up with old friends and ward members.

Pretty kitty and sinister villain ( Me and my brother-in-law Nathan)
Nathan the Villain and Sophisticated Dayna won 2nd and 1st places in the costume contest

I was so tired by the time the party was over, I could barely make it back to my in-law’s couch to sleep (I was running on about 3 hours sleep). In the morning, I met up with Liz for breakfast at Coco’s (sadly, no pictures). I had pumpkin pancakes again….delicious! I then ran a few errands, and then took Rosie and Nevaeh to meet up for tea in San Dimas with our friend Kevin.

After tea, we went back and prepared for the Halloween festivities. Neither Rosie nor Nevaeh were satisfied wearing the same costume trick-or-treating that they wore to the ward party. They dug up some bobby-soxer costumes and modeled them for some pics.

When Taylor’s sister Janelle made it to LV, we drove over to Lissy and Tyler’s to get the twins ready for trick or treating. Eleanor made some adorable witch costumes, that could only possibly have been cuter if they’d kept the witch hats on.

Sarah, Rosie, Phoebe, Nevaeh – the 4 cousins

We went trick-or-treating in some of the finer spots in Pomona, including the liquor store and the dollar store. Fearing for our safety, we collected candy in a residential neighborhood till the twins were exhausted. Afterward, we went back to have some homemade apples cider and sort through the candy treasures.

The last spot for festivities was in Burbank. I met up for dessert with my fellow Keaneheads Elizabeth and Kathryn. I had an assortment of fresh sorbets (lime, tangerine, blackberry) and the others ate decadent chocolate souffle. Rosie said it was the best dessert she’d ever had (and it should have been good….the price wasn’t on the menu and it ended up being $10!) They couldn’t stay long because they were off to a big mid-Singles party. We said our goodbyes and I drove to our amazingly cheap $27 3-star Priceline hotel.
With the daylight savings change, my alarm went off earlier than I’d expected. I was wide awake, and figured I’d just check out and get to the airport. We had planned on the 7:15 flight back to SLC, but made it on the 6:05 am flight just as they were closing the doors. We arrived back in SLC just in time to zoom down to Spanish Fork for church.

The In-N-Out Layover

Next time you have a 2+ hour layover at LAX, and want some In-N-Out, this video will show you how to do it. Take the Sepulveda Parking Spot shuttle and you’ll be next door to the closest In-N-Out to LAX. From disembarking the plane, catching the shuttle, eating, security, and getting back to your gate…it’ll take you about 2 hours. Even though I can get In-N-Out all over Southern California, I so want to try this sometime!

Meeting Blogger Friends: Hizzeather

It’s always an exciting thing when you meet a new friend. It’s even cooler when you can meet that person on their wedding day. Yesterday I finally met Heather (Hizzeather) and her new husband Cody. I drove up to their beautifully decorated reception in Palmdale in record time, so I was able to enjoy all of the reception festivities.

Most of her decorations were hand-made, in green, black and white. It was beautiful, but very personal to her too. I loved the pink roses trailing down her cake.

My favorite part of the reception was watching them dance. You could just tell how in love they are. And halfway through their romantic first dance, they broke out into some funky moves, just like the Youtube Wedding Couple.
Going to a reception for a virtual stranger can be a bit daunting, so I asked Heather who I should go talk to so I didn’t feel like a lonely idiot. She suggested that I talk to Debbie, we hit it off and talked the rest of the reception.