Sunday, June 29, 2014

Life in Balance: Barre3 + San Diego County Fair

I work out. I do. If I'm being honest, I mainly do it so I can eat more. And I want to be strong in case I ever need to kick anyone's ass.

This past month I've been able to try a different rotation of workouts in addition to my typical kickboxing/yoga/body pump classes. First, I have tried reformer Pilates. When I walked into the room, the machines looked like torture devices. Those suckers are designed to sculpt you. I've only taken three classes so far, so if you see me, just know results may vary.

Then, the Yelp Community Manager, an awesome dude named Brad, organized a Yelp Elite Event at Lorna Jane. The store, brand and vision are all incredible. They gave attendees free workout tanks emblazoned with positive messages. After our yoga workout, we were treated to Tender Greens salads, charred bread and edamame hummus and grilled veggies. Super good!

Tender Greens has the best salads

And most recently, I was invited to attend a free Barre3 event held at Hotel La Jolla on the 11th floor with a gorgeous ocean view. 


Following their yoga class they gave us free smoothies and provided a make-your-own granola bar and refreshing fruit-infused water. 

My point with all of this is that working out can actually be fun. You just have to look out for the opportunities that align with how you like to be active. If you're anything like me, you're sitting down most of the day and doesn't it worry you that one day your legs literally may be fused into a sitting position? I think about this all the time. If I had delicious, but healthy drinks and salads always prepared for me to enjoy post-workout, I might even work out more.

Whenever I'm "good" I like to balance things out by being bad and eating something like this:
Or, this:
Beer-battered potatoes with CHEESE, but what makes them Australian?
What is it about fair food that's so dang good? The fat? 

I spent seven freaking hours at the fair this year, which means I was able to see and eat everything I wanted. I went on the lift to get a good aerial view. The only thing I kept thinking is, what if I lose my flip flop?

No flip flops were lost in the capturing of this photo.
The things my friend and I wanted to do: go on a ride, watch a milking demonstration and cheer on the turkey stampede, because when else in life would you have the chance to do these three things in one day?

I learned I am officially too old to ride fair rides. I went on the long row one that flips you upside down three times in a row and then you hang upside down and when I got off, I immediately began forming a headache. Later that night at home, I thought I was dying as the headache settled in full force. I actually thought I saw the light, but I think it was the aura from a migraine.

I also became paranoid thinking about my aligned spine (from yoga and all) and how I just jacked it all up for some ride that cost me six tickets. I had to get ice cream to recover.

You can also see by the above photo that I decided making large bubbles might be cool. I waited my turn in line with all the other kids.

I can't tell you about the turkey stampede. It's just something you have to experience yourself.

Despite all my eating, I do have a tracker on my phone that supposedly monitors all your steps, although I have my suspicions about its accuracy. However, it made me look like an absolute champ. 

It was just an all-around wonderful, San Diego day. Do I think a life in balance really means work out and then eat like crap? Some days I do. Life is too long to be doing or eating stuff you don't like all the time. 

Eat the fried potatoes, the salad will still be waiting for you tomorrow. Watch turkeys run around. Sniff someone's prize-winning flowers. Eat ice cream. Indulge in all the small things that make summer and life so great.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

#DateWiththeDans Marketing Winner!

First question I often get asked is, "What do you do?" After I tell them, there is an immediate follow-up:"What do you write about?" 

I go into explanation about my dual writing personality. On one side, I write commentary on nearly every subject imaginable including but not limited to movies, books, travel, food and fashion. On the other side, I write for businesses in both the content and social media marketing realms.

And then whenever I get a chance, I write creatively for what will one day, hopefully in the near future, be a book.

But back to marketing. I kind of fell into SEO/SEM/social media life when I first moved to San Diego and it's amazing how much I've learned and how much I enjoy it!

Recently, the San Diego Hubspot User Group or HUG for short hosted a contest to win a #DateWiththeDans. I was one of the three winners

Side note: I'm not competitive, but I do like to win. 

The Dans are Dan Tyre and Dan Zarrella of Hubspot who had excellent insight and funny stories to share about their time in the sales and marketing world. I mean, Dan Tyre is an OG. Seriously, he is -- he was the 6th employee at Hubspot. Dan Zarrella gets to have the word 'scientist' in this title, so that's pretty dang cool. In short, it was a prize well worth it.

Breakfast #DateWiththeDans. Me = bad hair
My "date" consisted of a breakfast meeting, a signed copy of Dan Zarrella's newest book, and just an overall good time. They then spoke later at a co-hosted SD Hug and SEM San Diego meetup group which drew in quite the crowd at Karl Strauss Brewery. There was free pizza and a free beer - hey, hey now!

A few things I ran by the Dans is the question of sales versus marketing and why it's such a battle between teams rather than a nice coming together of those involved. Fortunately, they validated what I had thought regarding the value of marketers. Dan Tyre said that marketers take potential clients through the sales funnel nearly three-quarters of the way! 

Numbers don't lie. Sales can't even dispute that.

Have you been to this Karl Strauss location before?

Even better, they both agreed that a SEO person is not actually necessary in today's marketing world. Who IS important? WRITERS! 

Let me pause for a dance.

I half-jokingly asked Dan Tyre if he'd let me record a video of him on my phone and add that as a testimonial on my website. He said he would oblige. I have not cashed in. Yet.

San Diego has a tuned-in community of marketers who are eager to learn more and be ahead of what's to come in the age of online marketing. This Monday is Social Media Day where there will be a day long conference all about, you guessed it, social media marketing.

SEM San Diego has had powerhouses David Mihm and Wil Reynolds as recent speakers. And there are several other groups throughout the city that all have different benefits, so take a look around and see who you want to network with and how you can benefit.

Who knows maybe you, too, will win a breakfast date that involves the biggest pig in a blanket breakfast you've ever seen. 

Pig in a blanket at Great Maple

Friday, June 20, 2014

50/50 Challenge Update: Halfway Mark

Only 10 more days left in June and we're at the halfway mark for the 50/50 Challenge. I don't know how you're doing with your reading/watching goals, but I am right on track. Almost.
Movie-wise I feel like I'm coasting right along.

Taylor Kitsch is fun to look at and he stars in Movie #22

25. Jersey Boys
Let me say one thing about how I write movie reviews: I don't like being mean. If the movie is a snore or I think that the director or the actors mailed it in, then yeah, I'll say so. But I am not a critic.
I'm not going to analyze the cinematography and nitpick every last detail. I am going to tell you what the movie is about, whether I liked it, and why. That's it.
I always think no matter how awful the film, there are people who have put their efforts into producing something for the big screen. And whether it sucks or not, I have some kind of soft spot for the bravery that takes.
Book-wise I'm further behind than I thought. I felt I had read more than I had, so I need to pick up the pace.

18. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I liked this book just fine but didn't fall in love with it as many people in my book club did. I loved the 80's throwback and the thought of young love and those all-important, all-consuming conversations, but I just liked.
I will most likely see the movie (said to come out in 2015) but I won't have the fangirl eagerness that I did for "The Hunger Games" or even "Divergent." My YA excitement only stretches so far.
Currently, I'm reading This Is Where I Leave You that which I do LOVE. Sarcasm is so my speed. Plus, this movie coming out in August is starring one of my favorite actors - Jason Bateman.

What's a movie you haven't seen that people give you crap about for not seeing?

For me it's probably "The Princess Bride." I still have no interest in seeing it.

Monday, June 16, 2014


When life gets a bit overwhelming or my worries seem too big, I listen to the ocean and I remember how far I've come, the dreams I've made come true. I am brought back to the moment and I am grateful I am here.  

A seagull's perspective 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Centre: Masters of Color Event

Spending an afternoon surrounded by luxury, beautiful colors, interactive experiences, inventive cocktails and delicious bites is my idea of a good time. What's even better is when the event is FREE!

Wish I had a better manicure for this photo

The Centre in Escondido is quite the space. Its three levels houses a Lexus dealer, a clothing boutique (Lux Ave), art space (Stephen Fishwick's Fine Art Collection) and a Cohn restaurant (Vintana) just to name a few. 
fab palettes from SF art space

I was impressed with the flow of the event especially since there were so many people in attendance. Everywhere you turned there was someone to help guide you to the next exhibit, stamp your "passport" so you could enter the grand prize or just offer a 'thanks for coming' smile. 

Every person I encountered at the event from check-in to Lexus reps on the third floor were friendly and approachable. The event began on level one with an impressive lineup of Lexus vehicles and a beautiful setup (courtesy of Third Bloom) embracing the colors theme. 

My guy and I looking pretty comfortable next to this white-hot Lexus

The third floor was a great atmosphere with several stations of tasty bites and color-themed vodka cocktails. Flamenco dancers and a cooking demonstration were among the entertainment for guests. Due to the large space, the stations were set up so that no one line ever got too long. Fortunately, for me, I was able to try everything despite the man in front of me who took six skewers each for his plate! -- and let me say, it was delicious. 

Yes, I matched my cocktail to my dress. #noshame
If you missed out on this fantastic event, you'll get another chance as The Centre is hosting a Meet the Masters Summer Series to appease the art/fashion/wine lover in you!

RSVP for their next stylish event here!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

50/50 Challenge: Jane Green, Beach Read Queen

follow me on Instagram: @mscourtneybeth
Jane Green comes out with a book every year, or so it seems. Her writing follows a formula that is mostly chick-lit with a little extra wit added in to her writing. 

Her books are easy to gobble up and is perfect when you want something breezy to read on a summer day. Her recent Tempting Fate is a heartfelt story about a woman struggling with a mid-life crisis and the infidelity she experiences. 

Tempting FateTempting Fate by Jane Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jane Green is the best guilty pleasure reading that doesn't make you feel guilty at all! Her writing is crisp, modern and right on track covering issues women of all all ages can relate to.

She injects honesty, humor and a happy ending into all of her books and Tempting Fate is no exception. I read it in about eight hours over the course of two days. It's pure entertainment and a perfect pool or beach read.

She covers the issue of infidelity in a real way, covering the emotions and viewpoints of all involved. She is a favorite author of mine because she doesn't stray from your simple formula for a quick, satisfying read.

She helped me reach Book #17 of my 2014 50/50 Challenge.


Since my last 50/50 update, I've seen five new movies and I'm seeing three more next week. By the end of June, I'll be well over my halfway mark. 

17. Words and Pictures (read full review here)
18. X-Men: Days of Future Past
19. Third Person (review to come at the end of the month)
20. Temptation
21. The Fault in Our Stars

The newest X-Men was good, but not as good as "X-Men: First Class." I watched "Temptation" on Netflix and the story was sad and frankly, kind of pathetic. Glad I didn't watch in while it was in theaters, but not that mad I watched it while writing during a Thursday afternoon.

"The Fault in Our Stars" or #TFIOS was everything I wanted it to be. The book, of course, is still superior. I cried harder reading the book than watching the movie, but the casting was excellent. Girl crush on Shailene Woodley and love the adorableness of Ansel Elgort. Take your girlfriend, your mom, your sister, pretty much anyone with estrogen. Also, take your tissues.

Until my next update, keep reading and watching!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Randomness + a Recipe

Most of my blog posts are focused with a theme so to speak. Whether it's the latest book I didn't like or the best thing about the vacation I was just on, I have some kind of central topic I am discussing.

This post is not like that.

It is random (or more random than the others) because writing is calming, soothing, therapeutic. It's my favorite thing to do before bed, when I first get up and all the time in between. 

There are times when I have these genius thoughts and I think, "I should write that down!" and then when I go to write it down it is not nearly as smart as it had seemed in my mind.

Last month was a gem compared to April. Susan Miller, astrologer extraordinaire, says it was due to the eclipse, and I think she was right! April was kind of a pisser. 

Why, you wonder? Let me just say for this first year as a full-time freelancer, it is like standing on the edge of a cliff. Maybe not a long ways down cliff, but at least if I fell, my leg would break or at least I'd sprain my ankle. On one side, there is solid ground and on the other side is something unknown. 

If I reach the other side, will I fly for a second? Fall with a thud? Or, somehow come away unscathed and feeling invincible. I'm sure you can guess which I'm aiming for here in my freelance/cliff dwelling metaphor.

Fortunately, May brought some relief and the chance to meet my new baby niece, still not yet two months old, and she brought such joy that I could hardly think of anything else. My family makes me feel like home no matter where we are. Spending time with them is one of my favorite things in life.

Now we're on to June, so quickly like I was pushed through April and May to avoid the chance of too much damage. I made it through the other side and here I am in a new month with a fresh outlook and reaching out for countless opportunities. 

And just like that, being invincible doesn't seem like quite a pipe dream.

Before I leave you from this random, rambling blog post, I shall leave you with a recipe. I do this because I always seem to make the same things: spaghetti, tacos, baked chicken, repeat and I guess you might, too. We could all use new recipes now and then.

Today, I made baked salmon with pesto served with roasted Brussels sprouts and corn on the cob. Simple and delicious, not to mention inexpensive due to all items being on sale.

If you want to follow this recipe, you have to follow it precisely or it will turn out like crap. Just kidding, if you don't follow the recipe exactly, it will taste much better.

Simple Summer Lunch for When You Only Have Six Bucks

This beautiful meal is on the oldest plate I have.
I made it from a paper plate in 1987 in school.
No, I'm not making it up. It says my name.

- one package of salmon (two pieces per package) on sale at Fresh and Easy
= one container of pesto
- one package of Brussels sprouts
- one package of corn on the cob

Line a baking sheet with tinfoil. I do this so that it is easier to wash it. I do not have a dishwasher and any little thing helps. Place salmon and cut up Brussels sprouts on the foil and drizzle with olive oil (the good kind, for the love!) and salt and pepper. Butter, salt and pepper your corn on the cob, wrap in separate foil, but put on the baking sheet as well. Cook everything at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. 

Take it out and look at it. If it looks like it could use a few more minutes, stick it back in. 

If you want to something extra delicious, mix your butter with cotija cheese and chili powder first and then lather up your corn cobs. Use the pesto as a side to the salmon or put it right on top when baking like I do.

It's cheap. It's delicious. And you don't feel like crap when you eat a few extra spoonfuls of Ben & Jerry's - Salted Caramel Core or Karamel Sutra Core, if you know what's good for you.