Category Archives: Social Media

The Summer Of Sara…Part One

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Last year, after a VERY long school year, I declared my break The Summer of Sara. While this sounds egotistical on its face, it’s a take off on a Seinfeld episode, The Summer of George. However, as the saying goes, you plan, G-d laughs. The summer started out pretty good: I took a staycation with my best friend in July. Upon returning from this trip, Toby told me he had been laid off. The Summer Of Sara turned into the Summer of Shopping at Aldi and Clipping Extra Coupons. Toby and I got to spend time together, but it wasn’t exactly relaxing and rejuvenating. He ended up with the perfect job as Manager of PR, Social Media and Community Events at Truly Nolen. He TRULY couldn’t be happier. (See what I did there? ūüėČ )

Gabby, our niece, was born in July. I returned to work the following school year in a new position, as technology special teacher. Toby started his new job. Riley was a younger in a new multiage class. Bailey entered middle school as a 6th grader (why won’t they stop growing up?!?!?!) Life plodded along and was good.

The school year ended and summer began. This year, I wasn’t jinxing anything. I had some plans in the works, but was cautiously optimistic. What ensued was the most AMAZING summer ever, but what made it amazing were the connections that were created or strengthened.

Let’s start with June. Summer began with dental surgery. I’ll spare you the gory details but I HATE the dentist and this wasn’t exactly a promising start to my summer. Surprisingly, the surgery and recovery was much easier than I expected. I had a MUCH better dentist than I shared in the link, lol. Things were looking up.

 

Our first trip was to Orlando, where Toby had to work the Mascot Games. Perfect! Time together, time on my own, all in time for our anniversary.

Before we got to the games, we had to stop at Truly Nolen to pick up the tickets.

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On the way there, traffic was a bit backed up. Turns out, the Presidential Motorcade was on its way to meet with the families of the Pulse tragedy. We didn’t get stuck in traffic and got to see the motorcade! #ThanksObama

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This is most likely the closest I will ever to be to a sitting President #LameClaimToFame

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For dinner that evening, we dined with the people the Mascot Games benefits. They were inspiring! New Hope for Kids, the charity the Mascot Games benefits, is similar to the Make a Wish Foundation.

Friday, I had the day to myself. One perk of being a teacher is free admission into Sea World. I love roller coasters and Mako was open! Score! Off to Sea World I went. There was a line to get back to Mako, but no worries, I had all day. Two hours later, the ride was still broken…

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Being that it was starting to rain, I headed out of the park. Remember that dental surgery I mentioned? Well, that came with instructions for no exercise for a week. I found out why when I ran to the car to beat the rain. While my mouth was throbbing, I did mostly beat the rain and was still thrilled that I COULD run most of the way.

Making lemonade from lemons, I headed over to The Pointe Orlando for some shopping.

 

To celebrate our 15th anniversary, we went to dinner at Artist Point, reliving some of our Disney honeymoon.

From there we headed over to Winter Summerland Mini Golf. This is the BEST mini golf ANYWHERE. If you haven’t gone, GO!

Next stop, Disney Springs, formerly known as Downtown Disney. We had a beverage at The Boathouse. We have eaten there before and I HIGHLY recommend the filet sliders. And if you have a little extra cash you don’t know what to do with, you can drive a boat in the lake that’s also a car!!! #BucketList

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On Saturday, Toby had to work, so my sister Dori came in with Gabby to take advantage of the hotel pool. This girlie loves the water just like her cousins. From there, we hit the mall and shopped til we dropped!

Saturday night we went to see Central Intelligence at AMC Disney Springs Fork and Screen. I thought the movie was great, but the The Rock could pretty much read the phone book and I’d watch it, lol.

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After the movie, we went to Howl at the Moon to see our friend Ken play and met up with our friends Scott and Ellen. Us old folk actually went out for dessert after that too and we were out until after 1:00 AM!!!! That’s quite a feat these days, lol.

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Sunday was Father’s Day and we headed back home to Frick and Frack.

And so began the REAL Summer of Sara. Stay tuned, more to come…

Hidden Jewel in Florida

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Last week, I was fortunate to participate in the #LBTSHotelTour (Lauderdale By The Sea Hotel Tour), sponsored by Mugsy PR. While I have lived in Florida most of my life, I had no clue these gorgeous hotels existed! While at first glance, many aren’t much to look at from the outside, but they are all fully renovated inside. The rooms are comfortable and modern and each hotel has its own special charm.

We started the evening at the Driftwood Beach Club. We were greeted with snacks and champagne sponsored by Sea Watch. Our tour guide for the evening, Christine Ferris of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Food Tours and Pompano Beach Food Tours explained our evening was going to work. We were walking or riding on the Sun Trolley to 10 different hotels, each one a Silver Starfish Preferred Hotel.

At the Driftwood, you can enjoy a pool with the only diving board in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, beautiful rooms, shuffleboard, and the surf and sun of the beach.

 

Our next stop was High Noon Beach Resort. Our stop started with the owners telling us about the origins of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. This hotel has been here before there was a bridge at Commercial Blvd. and the owners were the first to drive over the bridge when it was built! The rooms have balconies in front where you can relax and enjoy the amazing view of the beach.

Next up, Tides Inn. When you enter the courtyard, you are greeted by Escalero Roja, The Red Staircase. This interesting piece of artwork is a sight to see. And you can enjoy it while you are on the ellipticals in the courtyard. Given all the good food around, these will come in handy! And working out with a view of the ocean can’t be beat! I wish I had a bit more time to work off the delicious chocolate covered strawberries from Jan’s Homemade Candies.

 

Have a fur baby you don’t want to leave behind? The Beachside Village Resort is the hotel for you! It’s the only hotel in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea where you can vacation with your pets. Are you a Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins or Celtics fan? The owners, originally from New England, host viewing parties for the games, as well as bus trips to the games when their teams are in town. Hotel guests are treated to a delicious BVR punch poolside, as well as first come, first serve cabanas.

 

Our next stop we were transported to the Southwest at the Blue Seas Courtyard. This hotel is appointed with eclectic Mexican and Southwestern artwork. The rooms are kitchy and interesting. The pool has a beautiful Mexican tile Art Gallery. I am partial to all the froggy artwork, as my children were both Froggy Friends when they were in school.

 

Ocean Reverie is known for his winding, mid-century staircase that lets guests make a grand entrance into the pool area. Old school art deco décor meets modern convenience with flat panel tvs and wireless internet in all the one bedroom apartments. Great place for a quick getaway or a longer stay with full kitchens.

 

Known for their orange pool furniture, the Sea Cliff Motel was a treat. Also a motel with one bedroom apartments, every room has a view of the pool or the ocean. Need to have a working vacation? Wifi is available throughout the property. Working isn’t so bad doing it poolside. And be sure to check out their herb garden!

 

This hotel is the one I‚Äôm hoping to stay at next summer. A bunch of friends from high school and I get together once a year for our own reunion. This year, the plan is a beach vacation. Sunny Shores’ four bedroom apartment will be perfect for this! The apartment sleeps 10 and has a huge private balcony. With another room or two, we will all be able to stay close to each other and save some money by utilizing the full kitchen to prepare meals.

 

The Sea Spray and Santa Barbara are sister hotels that share a pool. Once again, one bedroom apartments make for a comfortable stay. The Sea Spray is owned by Canadians Serge and Josie. Josie has vacationed here since she was three years old! Santa Barbara guests get to take home a stuffed teddy bear with a tag asking for a Trip Advisor review. What a great souvenir of your vacation!

 

Our final hotel stop was the Windjammer Resort. They are known for their webcam, so if you need a beach fix, check it out. When you arrive at the hotel, you are greeted by a beautiful mural painted by an employee of the hotel. The rooms are comfortable and stocked with a goodie basket for you to enjoy. There are two pools to relax by, as well as the beautiful beach.

 

We boarded the Sun Trolley one last time and headed to Coast Boutique. This shop has a little bit of everything, art work, jewelry, soaps and lotions, sculptures, photographs all by local artists. On Wednesdays, they host a wine and cheese event with live music and a featured artist. For our event, Aruba’s Beach Café provided margaritas and sandwiches.

 

On our tour, we had our very own paparazzi with A Wedding For You photographing us. Christopher’s Garden of Love Florist provided gorgeous arrangements for the participating hotels.

Florida has so many wonderful beaches and hidden jewels. Those of us in South Florida are lucky to have this in our backyard. So if you’re looking for a staycation or a getaway from the cold, you can’t go wrong with Lauderdale-by-the-Sea!

Common Sense, or Lack Thereof…..

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Today’s posting is a case study in two events showing a complete and utter lack of common sense. ¬†There are times when it just takes a little thought to change the outcome of a situation. ¬†In my opinion, here are two such cases.

Case One

On Thursday, a certain bagel joint tweeted out that they were opening at 6:00 AM ¬†the next morning, with “more details to come”. ¬†This tweet was sent around 3:30 PM the afternoon before. ¬†This had me scratching my head, wondering what they were waiting for. ¬†I mean, that’s 15 hours before the opening, which is VERY early in the morning. ¬†Well, no other details came. ¬†And two of my friends showed up at 8:00 AM, two hours after they were supposed to be opened. ¬†They were treated rudely by employees. ¬†The store didn’t accept gift cards. ¬†The store also didn’t have anywhere near a full menu or some of their signature items ready to go. ¬†This is all rather unforgivable. ¬†But what I find really interesting is how all this could have been avoided.

For instance, one of my friends stood outside the store for an hour wearing a shirt from the restaurant. ¬†It doesn’t take a genius to figure out she was there to come to their store, especially since the location is the ONLY thing that would have been open and they would have been hard to miss. ¬†Why not go up to them, let them know they are running late to open and won’t have much and apologize. ¬†They might have been a bit annoyed, but not as annoyed as someone who waited an hour to be told the same thing.

To make matters worse, there was a significant lack of response from the twitter account of the company. ¬†They tweeted out, three hours later, “We apologize for the late opening today. ¬†The (blank) location is being taken over by Corporate to ensure customer satisfaction”. ¬†How does this help the people who were treated so poorly? ¬†The next tweet was this, “We will have a full menu and will accept gift cards. ¬†Hours are 8 am to 8pm 7 days a week”. ¬†To me, both these tweets are a slap in the face to the people who were given wrong information by the same tweeter. ¬†They never acknowledged the issue to them. ¬†I’m told both people were contacted by DM, but how does that help the brand? ¬†It doesn’t. ¬†They still sit with egg on their face.

Personally, I would have tweeted out a profuse apology and invited both of them back for VIP treatment at the restaurant. ¬†As it stands now, despite loving the product and living close by, I’d be surprised if either one of them return. ¬†I also love the product but will not go back to that location ever, even though it’s 5 minutes from my house. ¬†I too have had rude treatment from an incompetent staff. ¬†Whether corporate takes it over or not, the brand is tarnished in my opinion.

Case Two

There was an article in the paper about a Charter school in Miami hosting after hours parties.  Parents were complaining about faint cigarette smells in the school.  Random beer bottles were found on campus.  Administration (of course) denied any wrongdoing.  Then, the smoking gun appears.

The address of the school is clearly printed on the bottom of this flyer. ¬†The school again denied it. ¬†Said the party was happening, but it was up the street at a dance hall. ¬†That part was true – after they were caught. ¬†The dance hall wasn’t booked until AFTER the story broke. ¬†The school tried to say the printer changed the address. ¬†I grew up in a print shop. ¬†These days, you show up with something to be printed and the printer wouldn’t have the opportunity to change it. ¬†Excuse, after excuse, after excuse. ¬†And they could give them because of a lack of common sense.

If I was a reporter and I had information that an illicit party was going to go on IN AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, why would you break the story the day before?  Why not show up to the party, interview people, take pictures and THEN break the story.  Hard to deny that it happened when their was hard evidence that it did.  Again, shaking my head at what seems so obvious to me, not-so-much to others.

I’m sure there are many other cases of lack of common sense out there. ¬†I do wonder why this is. ¬†Maybe it has something to do with students no longer being taught to think for themselves, but to regurgitate information for an all encompassing test. ¬†Whatever the cause, I hope we find it soon and reverse it.

Runnin’ on Dunkin’…..

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While summer is winding down, I was able to squeeze in one more daytime event.¬† I was lucky enough to attend a sampling at the newly remodeled Dunkin Donuts in Miami (11506 Quail Roost Dr, Miami, FL).¬† Since I live in Coral Springs, you know how much I loooooove Dunkin’ Donuts.¬† So I treked down to Miami, in the rain, and was very happy I did!

The theme of the event was how Dunkin’ can help busy Moms on the go with breakfast, lunch and pm snacks.¬† Dunkin’ has a variety of food to choose from, ranging from delicious and high calorie treats to their delicious DDSmart Menu.¬† Their Smart Menu is fantastic if you want to have something low in fat without sacrificing taste.¬† We tried the egg white flatbreads, which are a favorite of mine.¬† Their iced coffee, if you get it with skim milk and a low calorie sweetener is also very low in calories.

If you’re looking to splurge a bit on your diet, Dunkin’ also has some delicious items for you.¬† We sampled some new menu items, such as Southern Style Sweet Tea and the Chicken Biscuit.¬† These were both very good, although I found the tea a bit sweet, even for me.¬† To solve that, I ordered it half sweet, half unsweet and found it was perfect! And as an added bonus, any size Southern Style Sweet Tea is just $0.99 for the month of August.

Looking for a refreshing beverage on a hot day?¬† Try the new blueberry or cherry coolattas.¬† In connection with the Captain America movie, part of our great swag was a Captain America cup.¬† It’s divided into three sections, perfect for the blueberry, cherry and vanilla bean coolattas.¬† My son tried it at an event a few days earlier and thought it was fantastic!

Not a fan of coolattas?¬† Then maybe the Carmel Mocha Iced Coffee is up your alley.¬† This is probably one of my favorite drinks they’ve come out with so far.

Love Dunkin?¬† Want to drink it at home?¬† Have one of those nifty K-Cup brewers that I’m longing for?¬† Then you’re in luck!¬† Dunkin’ now has K-Cups for your at home coffee-drinking pleasure.¬† It comes in regular, decaf, hazelnut, french vanilla and dark roast flavors.

In addition to some cool swag we were given (the coolest being my donut flash drive!), I won this shirt in a raffle and I’m sharing in the spoils.¬† There are several ways to enter.

Follow me on twitter @sleeeping and send me a tweet with the hashtag #RunninOnDunkin

Subscribe to receive my blog in your e-mail box using the subscribe button on the right.

Comment on this post and tell me why you run on Dunkin’

All entries need to be in by 3:00 PM (est), August 24, 2011.  Winner will be selected using random.org.

IKEA!!!!!!!!

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A few weeks ago, Toby got a call from our good friend Jewel (@TheTINYJewelBox) about an event she wanted him to participate in.¬† Jewel truly lives a fabulous life and I tell her all the time I want to be her when I grow up, so if Jewel is offering an invite, we’re going!¬† We didn’t have much information about the event, other than there would be challenges throughout Ikea (@IKEA_Sunrise), twitter was important and the prize was $5,000 in gift cards for the team to split among up.¬† They could have stopped and started with that information.¬† I love to shop, I love Ikea and I love free stuff.¬† Being that the there were 11 teams of 4, Toby was recruited to be on the team and I was to be an on-site cheerleader.

So Toby and I dropped off the minis and headed over to Ikea to play.  When we got there, we were directed to the dining room sales floor.  We were greeted with a buffet of meatballs, caviar, fruit and some Swedish sweets.  We spent some time eating and socializing with our social media friends.  Then it was time to begin!  All the team members of #IKEAJFabTeam Toby (@fsutoby), Jewel (@TheTINYJewelBox), Zippy (@zipporahs) and Shirley (@swaknin)  were given the famous blue bag and their first clue.  The air horn sounded and the teams were off!  They did activities such as eating 20 meatballs, making a bed, putting a slipcover on a chair, finding a stuffed broccoli (easy since we had about one for the Big Mini 2 days prior) and planking on a bunk bed.

Now while the team was racing around the store, up and down the stairs and figuring out the clues, the cheerleaders were parked in the dining area, enjoying some snacks and drinks and tweeting our hearts out.  We quickly figured out we had the better end of the deal.  We tweeted our thoughts.  We tweeted where the team was.  We tweeted what we were eating.  We retweeted the team members.  We tweeted out to celebrities in hopes they would retweet us.  We were sure we were losing followers.  We tweeted and tweeted and tweeted and tweeted and, well, you get the idea.

Finally, our team made it back to the tables to join us in our tweeting efforts.¬† Due to the fact that service was spotty and they were busy running around to complete the tasks, they didn’t get to do too much tweeting during the event.¬† They made up for lost time as soon as they hit the tables with us.¬† We all reached out to everyone we could think of and soon, people were tweeting out all kinds of things with the #IKEAJFabTeam hashtag.¬† Tweets such as “Katie Walters (@KatieWaltersBzn) RT @SweetiesReviews Downloading the #BlogHer11 app right now. Has anyone tried it yet? #ikeajfabteam #capturethecatalog // I think its fab!”¬† Nothing really to do with us, but still supporting the cause.

Time was up before we knew it and there was a break for the coordinators to tabulate the results.  Our friends Emily (@EmilyOnTheAve), Agustina (@agustinap), Michelle (@mimi2point0) and Tater (@MommaDADE) on the #IKEAVixens won an honorable mention for third place and the award for Team Spirit.

Then they announced the winner for most impressions for the night.  That was our own Zippy (@zipporahs) with 500,000 impressions!!!!  A-MAZ-ING!!!

Second place went to our friends on Staci (@STACISMAIL), Leah (@BeahBunnie), Dee Dee (@dee_deez) and Ellie (@EllieM72)  #IKEASistaSLED.

Finally, they announced the winner of the contest.¬† Now, once they told us that Zippy was the winner with the most impressions, we kinda figured we had it, but we didn’t want to count any chickens before they were hatched.¬† Then the announcement came – Team #IKEAJFabTeam won the $5,000 contest!!!!

We went nuts!!!!¬† What an incredible contest and night.¬† Ikea did a fabulous job of putting this event together and everyone walked away with something, as all the teams got to keep everything the collected along the way.¬† Thanks so much to Jewel for inviting us to participate in this fabulous event.¬† Thanks to all our fabulous teammates.¬† Thanks to Ikea for hosting this wonderful event.¬† And now…..time to shop!!!