Monday, December 26, 2011

Tools of the Trade: 12 Great Gifts to Give Your Website

Hi neighbors -

Hope everyone's been having a great holiday! It's definitely been a busy season. On top of all the great holiday events around town and family activities we're trying to wrap up the site development and launch our blog redesign and officially launch our website I was perusing and came across this useful infographic. It illustrates 12 improvements site designers should consider when optimizing their site. hasn't launched yet but these strategies and tips are definitely things I'll be keeping in mind.

Anyone else building a site and planning on optimizing in 2012? Did you find these improvement tips useful? We'd love to hear about it - let us know.

Till next time...

Mintleaf Web Design Studio

Monday, December 12, 2011

'Tis the Season to Lend a Hand

Hi neighbor -

Does this holiday season seem busier to you for some reason? I seem to have more to do every season but in my busy preparations I try to reflect on the year that is about to end and all the opportunities which make me grateful. In this time of reflection I also try to find ways that I can give more back to my community and maybe help those that may need a helping hand.

The list below are some programs that are happening this holiday season where you can help those in need. There's also a list of some local soup kitchens and food banks that are always looking for donations or volunteers. If you want to learn more you can click on any of the links. And I know there are a lot more to add to this list so if you know of one and don't see it on our list please let us know so we can add. You can reach out on Facebook or Tweet us.

Happy season of giving! And till next time...

1. 2011 Riverside County Food Drive: Take a Bite Out of Hunger – Drop off food donations now through the end of December.

2. Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County (CAPSBC) Food Bank/Holiday Food basket - They also accept grocery store gift cards!

3. KTLA Season of Sharing - Benefits three food banks including Second Harvest Food Bank Inland Empire. Drop off locations at Jerome’s Furniture in Corona and Murietta and Stater Bros in Grand Terrace.

4. 2011 Care to Share Holiday Program – There are lots of ways to help. You can make a monetary donation, purchase a gift for a child, purchase a gift card and send to St. Martha Catholic Church in Murrieta or sponsor a food box from the Western Eagle Foundation.

8. Western Eagle Foundation (Temecula)

9. Hope Foods Inc. (San Jacinto) - Companies donate over produced products, near expiration date products, discontinued products or they just desire to donate. Supermarket chains donate their surplus and damaged items. Local farmers donate produce before their surplus spoil.

10. FIND Food Bank – (Eastern Riverside County/Southern San Bernardino County) - For the past 27 years FIND has provided much needed food assistance, nutritional education and basic essential items to those in need in Eastern Riverside and Southern San Bernardino.

11. Senior Citizens Service Center (Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Wildomar and surrounding areas)

12. GAP Food Bank – (Rancho Cucamonga)

13. Big Bear Foursquare - Distributes food every Tuesday from noon to 3 p.m.

14. Second Harvest Food Bank – Serving Riverside and San Bernardino counties

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday Shows, Pageants and of course..."The Nutcracker"

Images courtesy of

Hi neighbor -

Have you been feeling the holiday spirit? It's almost unavoidable now that we're in our second week of December and especially with all the Christmas tree lightings, parades and other festivities that are happening. On top of the lightings and the parades the IE is bustling with holiday shows, pageants and theater productions - like everyone's Christmas favorite "The Nutcracker." We've compiled a list and want to share it with you. We hope you and your family make some time to check them out during this busy season.

If we've missed any, please give us a shout so we can share with all our neighbors. You know where... :) Facebook and Twitter.

Till next time...


1. Mannheim Steamroller Holiday Concert (San Bernardino) – 12/7, Wednesday

2. "The Nutcracker" performed by California Riverside Ballet (Riverside) - 12/9-11, Fri-Sun. - New York City Ballet principals Janie Taylor and Sebastien Marcovici will perform as Sugar Plum and Cavalier.

3. Mariachi Christmas (San Bernardino) – 12/10, Saturday

4. “The Nutcracker” by BRAVA (Riverside) – 12/17-18, Saturday-Sunday (Landis Performing Arts Center)

5. "The Nutcracker" performed by the Inland Pacific Ballet at Claremont's Bridges Auditorium and Rancho Cucamonga's Lewis Family Playhouse. Celebrating their 18th season! - Now through 12/18

6. Moreno Valley Wind Symphony Seasons Greetings! (Moreno Valley) – 12/8, Thursday

7. “A Christmas Carol” (Rancho Cucamonga) – 12/9-10, Fri-Sat

8. La Sierra University Big Band Concert (Riverside) – 12/10, Saturday – Oh and it's FREE!

9. “A Christmas Carol" (Temecula) – 12/7-10, Wed-Sat

10. “It’s a Wonderful Life — The Radio Drama” (Upland) – now through 12/16 at The Grove. You can get 50% off tickets at

11. “A Christmas Show of a Lifetime” (Corona)– 12/16-18, Fri-Sun

12. Bob and Bing's Holiday Road Show (Rancho Cucamonga) - 12/18, Sunday, at the Lewis Family Playhouse

13. “A 1950’s Christmas at the Mansion” (Big Bear) – 12/18, Sunday

14. “Home for the Holidays” with Broadway stars Dale Kristien and Bill Hutton (Upland) – 12/18, Sunday. You can get 50% off tickets at

15. “Holiday Follies 2011” (Fontana) – now through 12/30 – Fontana residents get 25% off the ticket price!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

2011 Inland Empire Holiday Gift Guide

Picnik collage

Hi neighbor -

The holiday spirit is going strong which also means most people are starting to cross folks off their shopping list. We've compiled our shopping list along with some suggested unique local spots to pick up those hard to find gifts. If you have any folks on your shopping list who fit our categories we hope you'll go off the beaten path and try out our sugestions.

Take a look and let us know, or even better, if you have another suggested local spot we'd love to hear - we'll add them to our list and share with everyone. Keep in mind this is just the beginning of our list. As we lead up to Christmas we're going to continue to add categories and local spots. So if you think of something don't be shy - share with us! You can leave us a comment or give us a shout on Facebook or Twitter.

And let the shopping begin!

1. "Can't go anywhere without their camera"
- Expert photog gifts from the Claremont Photography and Video
- A nifty print from the store at the California Museum of Photography

2. "The cheesiest friend"
- Temecula Cheese Shop - 42072 5th St Temecula
- Cheese Cave (Claremont)
- Gerrard's Market (Redlands)
- Olive Ave. Market (Redlands)

3. "Wine afficionado"
- The Wine Tailor (Rancho Cucamonga)
- Wine Merchants (Claremont)
- San Dimas Wine Shop & Tasting Room (San Dimas)
- Joseph Filippi Winery & Vineyards (Rancho Cucamonga) - 10% discount on mixed cases of 12 bottles or more!
- Chris Kern's Forgotten Grapes (Riverside)

4. "One throw pillow is never enough"
- Distinctive Home PS (Palm Springs)
- Gardener's Cottage (Riverside)

5. "Natural medicine shaman"
- Yeh Center of Nature Medicine (Upland) - I've never been but from the services and products they're offering make me curious.

Keep an eye out for additions to our list. Till next time...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

So many holiday parades, so little time...

2010 Pomona Christmas Parade
*2010 Pomona Christmas help us get into the holiday spirit*

Hi neighbor -

Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday have gone by and you can't avoid the holiday spirit in the air. We have so many local holiday parades filled with Christmas lights, snow, Santa, some freebies and even tamales! A lot of the parades fall on Saturday, 12/3, but maybe if you plan it right you and your family can try to catch more than one. =D Regardless of where you are in the IE, be reassured that you'll get a chance to catch a Christmas parade somewhere.

We hope you enjoy our list below and if we've missed any parades in your neck of the woods please give us a shout in our comments, on our Facebook or tweet us. We'd love to hear.


1. (Claremont) - Festivities start on 12/2, Friday and continue through Saturday.

2. Santa’s Electric Light Parade (Temecula) – 12/3, Saturday at 7 p.m.

3. 35th Annual Christmas Parade and Craft Faire (Upland) – 12/3, Saturday, from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

4. Twelve Days of Christmas Parade and Christmas in the Park (Hemet) – 12/3, Saturday, from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

5. 20th Annual Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade (Palm Springs) – 12/3, Saturday at 5:45 p.m.

6. Redlands Christmas Parade (Redlands)– 12/3, Saturday at 6 p.m.

7. 34th Annual Christmas Parade (San Bernardino)– 12/3, Saturday, 11 a.m.

8. 20th Annual Indio International Tamale Festival Parade (Indio) – 12/3, Saturday, 10 a.m.

9. "Lights on the Lake" Holiday Boat Parade (Perris) – 12/10, Saturday, 5-9 p.m.

10. Fontana Christmas Parade (Fontana) – 12/10, Saturday, at 10 a.m. and don't miss Fontana's Ski Lodge at Veterans Park from 11-5 p.m.

11. Miracle on Second St. Christmas Parade (Pomona) - 12/10, Saturday, 10-2 p.m.

We found so many more parades and festivities we knew we had to add to our list and share with everyone. Check 'em out!

1. 7th Annual Parade of Lights and Winter Festival (Norco) – 12/3, Saturday, starting at 5 p.m.

2. Winter Wonderland Parade (Ontario)– 12/4, Sunday, starting 1 p.m.

3. "Through the Eyes of Child" Holiday Parade (Coachella) – 12/9, Friday, starting at 6 p.m.

4. Fontana Christmas Parade (Fontana) – 12/10, Saturday, 11-5 p.m.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Small Business Saturday

Hi neighbors -

Are you ready for the upcoming Thanksgiving festivities? I can't wait to get some good eats and fun times in with the family. I can already smell the pumpkin pie wafting through the air. But another thing I enjoy about Thanksgiving are all the great sales - Black Friday, Cyber Monday and most importantly Small Business Saturday.

A great promotion for Small Business Saturday is the 3/50 Project. We're all about supporting our local business community here at and this promotion is right up our alley. It's popular tagline is "Pick 3. Spend 50. Save your local economy," which encourages locals to pick three independently owned businesses and spend $50 each month because for every $100 spent locally $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. This type of effort empowers our local community especially during these rough economic times. The website provides more information and resources to help encourage local spending. If you haven't checked it out before I highly recommend it and share with your neighbor.

I'll definitely be participating in Small Business Saturday in our local community so expect some FB updates and tweets. How about you? Will you be hitting the local independent stores for your holiday shopping? You can check the 3/50 Project site to see if your favorite local store is listed. Happy shopping!

Till next time, have a fun and safe Thanksgiving holiday!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Local Tree Lighting Spots

Image c/o

Hi neighbors!

Did you get the chance to check out the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting at Victoria Gardens (Rancho Cucamonga) yesterday? It's not even Thanksgiving yet but it seems like retail stores are starting the holiday promotions  right after Halloween.  No complaints here. I loooove the holidays - all those warm and fuzzy feelings highlighted by presents. Yes, please!   Just to get us into the spirit here is a list of some local tree lighting events.

If you and your family catch any of the events please let us know. You can give us a shout on Facebook or Twitter. You could even tag us in your photo. We would love that! If there's a local tree lighting event that's a part of your family tradition, please let us know.

Till next time...

1. RIVERSIDE MISSION INN FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS (Riverside) 11/25 - Great tradition :)

2. BENEDICT CASTLE LIGHTING (Riverside) 11/27 - Castle and lights?! I'm there!

3. PROMENADE TEMECULA TREE LIGHTING (Temecula) 11/12 - Already past but professionally designed trees will be on display and available to win through an opportunity drawing on Wednesday, December 14, 2011.

4. DOS LAGOS TREE LIGHTING/SANTA ARRIVAL 11/19 (Corona) - Oooo Live Reindeer - neat!


6. VICTORIA GARDENS SANTA'S ARRIVAL & TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY 11/18 (Rancho Cucamonga) - Bring the kids and meet Santa!

7. BANNING PHINEAS FESTIVAL 12/3 (Banning) - Lots to do including a chili cook off!

8. And if you love visiting decked out homes here's a useful tool to track them down. I hear there's a street in Chino between Lemon Place and Fillmore Street (near the intersection of Walnut and San Antonio) that is amazing! Enjoy!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Inland Empire Remembers Our Veterans

Hi neighbors -

Veteran's Day is this weekend and I felt like paying tribute to the men and women who give so much of themselves for our country by dedicating this blog post to them. I try to stay away from political and controversial topics but providing support for our Veterans is something very personal to me. So, I've listed some upcoming local events where you can pay your tribute and have some fun!

We'll try to add to the list as the week goes along but if you see something please give us a shout! You know where - FB and TWITTER :)








Here are some other ways you can pay tribute to Veterans.



Till next time...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Local Halloween Day Happenings

Hi neighbors -

Halloween is just around the corner. My costume is prepared, candy bowl is ready and jack-o-lantern is frightening little kids as we speak. But for those that aren't staying home for the trick or treating crowd here is a list of local Halloween events you can check out. If you end up going out to any of the events we'd love to hear about it. Give us a shout on our FB or tweet us.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

1. The Sycamore Inn presents Halloween Murder Mystery Dinner (Rancho Cucamonga)

2. Nightmare at the Fairplex (Pomona)

3. Field of Screams (Lake Elsinore)

4. Scandia's 18th Annual Haunted House (Ontario)

5. Human Roast House (Riverside)

6. Big Horse Corn Maze (Temecula)

7. Live Oak Pumpkin Patch (Yucaipa)

8. Scary-A-Faire Celebration (Upland)

9. Halloween Trick or Treating & Haunted Yards (Riverside)

10. Coffin Creek (Corona)


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Our first IEShineOn "Local Stars"

Hi neighbors -

My site is once again delayed from my previous ideal launch date, which is frustrating. And in these moments of frustration and doubt I have to remind myself of why I'm creating this site and its original inspiration. A big reason why I decided to create a destination site for the Inland Empire is that this area is my roots. I was raised here and my parents still reside and do business here.

They have owned their business for over 27 years and it's these type of long time  family run businesses that exist in the IE that give our community character. So for our next blog series I would like to focus on local businesses that have been family run or owned for over 20 years and we're going to call these folks our "Local Stars." These are the places that make this area unique, and like I've been saying, one of a kind.

I'm not going to reveal the location of my parents' business but let's just say they have been standing over this grill and greeting generations of customers off Rte. 66 for over 27 years. They have seen young families grow up and bring their kids to the same place of business where they ate as a child. It is their continued drive and their support of all my dreams that I dedicate my first Local Stars blog post to them.

Here's a picture of the proud couple on their first days of starting out their new life and business.  The picture is from a distance but you can tell they're smiling and feel the optimism through the photo. I hope through whatever Life throws at me that I tackle it head on with as much gusto!

Local Stars 1

I feel I have a legitimate stake in the continued growth of this community and it's my responsibility to do what I can to give back to the area that gave me the foundation to go for my dreams. If you can understand how I feel and would like to nominate a business to be spotlighted in our "Local Stars" blog series we'd love to hear from you. Give us a shout on FB or tweet us!

Till next time...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hap-Hap-Happy Hour - 10 Local Watering Holes

Packing House Wine Merchants

Hi neighbors -

Do you ever just feel the need to kick back with a cold brew or a nice glass of something room temperatured or chilled after work? We've been tightening our belts lately so we're always excited about affordable happy hour specials so we hope we found us some good options. Let us know what you think by giving us a shout on FB or tweet us. If we missed one of your favs please don't hesitate to let us know :)

1. CAFE SEVILLA (Riverside) - Daily HH 4:30-6:30 p.m. Tapas starting at $4 or get a $20 pitcher of sangria, mojito, margarita. Whoa - $20 pitcher of margarita? May not make it to work the next day...

2. JOE’S BAR & GRILL (Riverside) - Joe's is a local hang out where you can play pool, watch the game, karaoke and imbibe daily drinks specials starting at $3 draft beers and $3.75 well drinks. Did w mention 95 cent taco Tuesday?!

3. GYU-KAKU (Rancho Cucamonga) - HH specials all day on Mondays, Tue-Thu 12-6:30 p.m. and 8:30-last call, Fri-Sat 12-6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.-last call. All appetizers are up to 50% off and bbq items start at $2.95. Sushi rolls at $4.95...whoa.

4. THE SALTED PIG (Riverside) - $3 well drinks and half off snacks at this downtown gastropub. Filthy Fries...try it...enough said ;)

5. ESPIAUS'S RESTAURANTE Y CANTINA (Claremont) - 99 cent Taco Tuesday with ALL NIGHT HAPPY HOUR? Happy Hour also Mon-Thu 3-6 p.m.

6. COPLEY'S ON PALM CANYON (Palm Springs) - Discover a little bit of old Hollywood at Cary Grant's former estate now turned award winning restaurant. Sun-Thu 5:30-7 pm with $5 well drinks.

7. THE LOUNGE CORONA (Corona) - They have HH and a great list of all day specials. Check 'em out! 4-7 p.m. $2.50 domestic beers!

8. THE PRESS (Claremont) - HH daily 3-6 p.m. except Thursday 3 p.m. - 12 a.m. If you've never been, this is a great locals hangout - always packed to the rim full of people.

9. OMAKASE (Rancho Cucamonga & Fontana) - HH Mon-Fri 3-6 pm, Sat 8-close (drinks only). Whoa...$1 Budlight, $11 pitchers, $4 sake bombs, 50% off some apps and $1 off some sushi rolls.

10. MI RANCHITO - HH Mon-Fri 2-6pm They also have a lot of affordable daily specials. Here are a couple examples: Tuesday - 99 cent Taco Tuesday and $1.95 draft beers. Also $2 Bloody Mary's and mimosas on Sunday along with half off apps. Oh, and $1.99 margaritas all day on Monday.

That's our list, friends. And not to put a damper on the party but always remember to drive responsibly. If you need one, please call a local cab company like AA Inland Empire Taxicab 1-888-333-TAXI, k?

Till next time...

p.s. It was National Boss's Day yesterday. Cheers to the bosses who make work tolerable. =D

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tools of the Trade: The 8 Habits of Highly Productive People

Hi friends -

So, I'm on this big kick about productivity lately, especially when it comes to tools of my trade. Time is of the essence and I'm on the look out for anything that increases my productivity and keeps my brain sharp. I stumbled upon this blog post from Celestine Chua called The Personal Excellence Blog. She's a productivity guru and her blog is super insightful. I've made a summary of the eight habits she describes in her article, but I highly recommend that you read the post to get the full effect.

The 8 Habits of Highly Productive People
1. Focus on the high value tasks
2. Allocate breaks strategically
3. Remove productivity pitstops (i.e. distractions)
4. Tap into your inspiration
5. Unplug! (Create barriers to entry)
6. Optimize time pockets
7. Set timelines
8. Automate everything possible

Do you follow any of these habits or have any additional recommendations? We'd love to hear! Give us give us a shout on FB or tweet us!

Till next time....

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

7 Local Spots for Halloween Costume Shopping

Hi neighbors -

Does everyone have their Halloween costume ready? I'm headed out this weekend to put the finishing touches on mine. I've decided to be Sue Sylvester from the show "Glee." I'm a fan of her can-do attitude (can-do or "I will crush you" attitude more like haha). What are you going to be? Are you still looking to put something together?

Check out our list of local costume shops and antique stores below. Maybe you'll find the last embellishment to top off the costume or find inspiration for the perfect costume this year. We'd love to see what you get. Snap a pix and post on our wall or give us a shout on FB or tweet us and let us know if you head to any of the shops below.


1. Koyal Wholesale - largest Halloween costume shop in the Inland Empire! Locations all around the IE.

2. Wizard's Party House (Moreno Valley) - over 20,000 sq ft. of party supplies

3. Halloween Hub (Riverside)

4. Geraldine's Costume & Props (Cathedral City)

5. Hobo Vintage (Redlands) - Voted 2011 Best Vintage Store by IE Hotlist & 2010's Best Thrift Store by the IEWeekly

6. Treasures and Junk Antique Mart (Ontario) - 17,000-square foot antique mall featuring 80 individual spaces with multiple dealers

7. Pomona's Antique Row - check out the directory of for a list of spots (then stop by Joey's BBQ...mmmm...bbq...)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tools of the Trade: On-the-go Tools

Hi again neighbors -

In a previous article I briefly talked about apps I use as an entrepreneur but didn't really go into that much detail about the hardware. One significant tool that unquestionably increases my productivity is my Verizon Motorola Droid X2.

I joke that my smart phone is my BFF but I told myself when I was thinking about purchasing a smart phone that I would only make the investment if it increased my productivity by 10%. I made the leap a couple years ago and totally worth it! My IT friend loves everything Google and I've been drinking the Kool-Aid ever since. Sure I miss out on some apps like Instagram for the iPhone but my phone syncs with all the Google applications I already use without skipping a beat: Gmail, Calendar, Documents, Picasa, and Reader, all while helping me with a load of other functions that keep me moving forward. Check out the list below for just a few reasons why I think my smart phone rocks!

- I can tweet and Twitpic while roaming around the IE.
- I jot down my brainstorming ideas with Evernote. Evernote is an app on your phone and all notes are uploaded to the web where I can access at a later time.
- Also, this may sound nerdy, but I also use the Google record app to record random ideas. I then review the saved recording to determine my next action items.
- I can also access Basecamp Mobile, the project management software that syncs with my online account.
- The Hootsuite app lets me make on the fly updates to any scheduled posts.
- Google's Blogger app allows me to start drafting my blog posts so that I can finish them up later.
- mobile app allows me to add business books to my library so that I can listen to books while on the go. Very useful especially when you don't have a lot of time to read.

Do you have a gadget you can't live without? Share it with us on FB or tweet us.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

More Awesome Autumn IE Happenings

Hi neighbors -

Can you believe it's Fall and it's already October? Whew...this year seems to be zipping by so quickly. Let's soak it all in while the weather's cooling down and hit up some more fun Autumn happenings in our area. Did you check out our previous list of fun Fall events? Hopefully, we found a few more good ones you can enjoy...

1. RIVERSIDE CITRUS CLASSIC BIKE RIDE on 10/9 - Cycle for a good cause!

2. LAKE ARROWHEAD BREWFEST lakeside on October 8 at the Arrowhead Lake Association's Tavern Bay Beach Club from 1-5 p.m. - Local brews will definitely be there

3. CLASSIC FILM SERIES @ VICTORIA GARDENS Every Thursday at Chaffey Town Square (Rancho Cucamonga)

4. THE PUMPKIN PATCH at Live Oak Canyon - 25 acre pumpkin patch with kids activities, corn maze, gift tent, events…whew…that’s a lot for a pumpkin patch!

5.IE FOOD TRUCK FEST AND BREW FEST (Ontario) on 10/8 - Food trucks, local breweries, live music and giveaways!

6. 6TH ANNUAL JOSHUA TREE ROOTS MUSIC FESTIVAL 10/8-10/9. Check out the line up!


8. SPOTLIGHT 29 CASINO FREE FRIDAY CONCERTS (Coachella) from 10/7-12/9 - Lookin' forward to the Journey tribute band on 11/4. Oh yeah!

9. UNDERLAND - contemporary dance performance choreographed by New York-based choreographer Stephen Petronio at UCR University Theatre on 11/16

Are we missing any events you feel should definitely be on our list? Holler, shout, protest or politely suggest something on our FB wall or tweet us.

Till next time...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

IE Halloween Haunts and Frightening Finds

Hi neighbors -

Are you getting ready for that spooky time of year? There's a lot of great lists online of local Halloween events that you can attend with your friends and family. Here are a few we found that we wanted to share with everyone.

If we've missed anything and you feel should be added to our list please give us a shout on FB and Twitter.


1. NIGHTMARE AT SCAREVIEW FARMS at the Pomona Fairplex - $15

2. HAUNTED STADIUM in Lake Elsinore - $15

3. HUMAN ROAST HOUSE in Downtown Riverside - $10.

4. CASTLE DARK at Castle Park in Riverside - $22.99

5. CHAMBERS OF MAUSOLIUM at Crossroads Riverview Park in Corona - $13

6. COFFIN CREEK also at Crossroads Riverview Park in Corona - tickets starting at $13

7. JEKYLL & HYDE THE MUSICAL playing at the Sturges Center for the Fine Arts (San Bernardino) from Oct 14-16th

8. RIVERSIDE ZOMBIE CRAWL in Downtown Riverside on 10/22 2-7:30 p.m. – Get zombified!

9. THE ZOMBIE BAND playing at The Press (Claremont) on 10/29

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cookie Fix

Hi neighbors!

If you haven't heard it's Homemade Cookie Day today! Nothing beats the smell of warm fresh cookies wafting from the oven. Thinking about it makes me drool. haha But unfortunately I won't have the time to make these delicious treats so I'll just have to get the next best thing from some of these great IE bakeries. ;P Check out our list and let us what you think or if we're missing one of your favorite spots.

1. SOME CRUST BAKERY – Claremont – Been coming here for over 25 years. Never disappointed once!
2. CRUMBLES COOKIES – Riverside – #4 2011 IE Hotlist’s Best Bakery
3. SHERMAN’S DELI AND BAKERY – Palm Springs – Lookin' for some kosher options - check it!
4.DOLCE – Montclair
5. DOLCISSIMO – Chino Hills
6. JJ Sweet Bakery – Chino - Fan of Chinese egg custard pastries? Check it out!
7. LE CROISSANT BAKERY – Murrieta – #2 2011 IE Hotlist’s Best Bakery – Cafe is great too.

Missing anything? Let us know by giving us a shout on our FB and Twitter.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gallery of Introductions: Tara McPherson

In a late night working session I looked to my left wall of art for inspiration. This time I was featuring the collection of Tara McPherson postcards and stickers I had taped to my wall. Just added the cloth and the book of her illustrations (which I got signed at Comic-Con by the lovely artist herself) and voila! Another blog series is born.

I've been collecting postcards, stickers, books, and other collateral of contemporary "urban" or "alternative" art for over 10 years. I'm no expert by any means but I'm going to take a page out of the famous art collecting couple the Vogels and share the collection I have with the public. I don't have an amazing collection but I still have something I can share and since I don't have a physical gallery our online world will have to do.

So ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to Tara McPherson.

gallery of intros_092611_1

gallery of intros_092611_2

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tools of the Trade: "The Start Up Daily"

Hi neighbor

Some of you might be aware from reading this blog, I am a web entrepreneur creating a destination site for the Inland Empire. But at the same time I'm a marketing executive for an entertainment company in Los Angeles. As some small business owners are aware, it is a constant struggle balancing both a career and launching a start up company during the off hours. I'm always on the look out for new ways to become more productive and efficient while making time to gain more knowledge about all aspects of my business.

Through the years I've come across lots of tools to help me stay productive and I want to share this with our community. I believe it's important to share our knowledge with one another so that we can all gain and therefore strengthen our community. Plus sharing is just good karma!

So I've decided to start another blog series in addition to "One of a kind IE" called "Tools of the Trade." I'll discuss different tools, applications, and resources I've used to help me start my company and launch my site (now set to launch in the Fall *sigh*). I've done similar things like this in the past but I couldn't really figure out what direction to take it. So here goes!

To kick off this series I want to introduce a helpful daily email I've been receiving called "The Start Up Daily." According to their website, the daily emails provide "the best tips, ideas, and advice from great books on entrepreneurship, business, marketing, management, etc." I'm lucky if I can finish a magazine from front to back let alone a book so I thought this was a brilliant idea!

Here are some of the benefits:
- Look and feel of the email is a simple graphic which makes it easier to take their bite size bits of knowledge and absorb.
- Copy is short and to the point - no fancy talk. It just provides the key lesson of a new book every day.
- Following the key lesson is a synopsis of the book and, of course, a few well placed links that will take you straight to Amazon where you can purchase said book.

If you're also a fan of "The Start Up Daily" or something similar I'd love to hear about it. Give us a shout on FB or Twitter with your thoughts, or leave a comment below.

Till next time...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Autumn Fairs, Festivals and Fun

Hi neighbors -

Fall is just around the corner and I'm looking forward to pulling out the cozy sweaters, filling up on some pumpkin spice lattes and checking out the upcoming Halloween, Thanksgiving and pre-holiday fun around the IE. We have lots of events to look forward to this Fall. Below are just a few and we'll continue to add to the list as the weather cools down. If you have a recommendation please let us know. Give us a shout on FB or Twitter.


10/8 10a-1p 2nd ANNUAL WALK-N-WAG-A-THON (Chino)


10/22 TOMATO BATTLE at the Pomona Fairplex. Use discount code IEDD for 30% off tickets.


10/23 IE DERBY DIVAS “DIE ’N FOR DERBY" (Torque Wenches vs. Sleazy Riders)

11/11-12 PILGRIM’S PLACE FESTIVAL (Claremont)


11/25-27 HOLIDAY ARTS & CRAFTS FAIRE (Lake Gregory)

And here's a picture of IE in the Fall to get us in the moood...Enjoy!
Fall in the IE

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fun Fair Day

Hi neighbors!

We recently had the good fortune of finding a cheap way of getting into the L.A. County Fair. We knew from the beginning that we would have a lot of pictures to share with you from our day but we did not anticipate this many. Just in a matter of hours we racked up over 300 pictures. There were just too many fun attractions we couldn't help but get a little shutter happy.

We hope you enjoy the loads of photos captured from that day starting with the Pomona Day at the Fair, the tons of rides, yummy food, petting zoo, wine tasting, Dude Ranch, exhibits, shows and parades...whew..the list goes on. We want to share these fun memories with you and hope you get the chance to create your own. You can enter our L.A. County Fair ticket giveaway on our Facebook page. Just like our page and tell us something you and your family like to do together in the IE. And if you already are our FB friend then go ahead and just leave us the same post. Can't wait to hear from you!

All right already, enough with the yapping let's get to the fun stuff!






* By the way, we won the pig pillow at a fair game ~ yay!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

LA County Fair Ticket Giveaway

We really appreciated the response from our last ticket giveaway so we were encouraged to share more goodies with our friends and neighbors. And after our recent adventure at the L.A. County Fair this weekend we were convinced. So, for our next giveaway we're sending two people to the LA County Fair - on us!

Entering is simple. Like us on Facebook and leave a wall post telling us where you like to go with your family in the IE. Do you have a favorite park, Friday night dinner spot, or maybe a local antique shop you've been going to for years?  We wanna hear them all. Also if you are already a FB friend you can enter to win by leaving us a wall post.

Enter from 9/12 to end of day 9/15. We will announce the winner on Friday morning at 10 a.m. PT. Here are the official rules for more details.

Check out some of our photos from our trip to the Fair this past week. It's just a taste of the loads of pictures that we're going to share with you this week. The picture of the canned goods are the ones we purchased for our fair entrance. We read on the Fair's website that if guests bring five Ralphs private label canned products on Fridays then we receive a free Fair admission good that day only. Doing good and ticket to fun?! Sign us up!


*If you don't enter for the food and fun enter for these cute guys!
Oinking around...


Friday, September 9, 2011

One of a Kind IE: World's Largest Photograph

Hi neighbors!

So I may be cheating a little bit on this blog post but bear with me. Last Saturday I attended the Riverside Food Truck Fest (check out the pix!) and I got the chance to check out some of the spots from my Riverside itinerary. One new spot I've never been to is the California Museum of Photography and the UCR Sweeney Art Gallery.

The Sweeney Art Gallery's current exhibit is "The Great Picture." This mammoth 32 x 111 feet photograph taken by the largest camera made its way into photo history by placing in the Guinness World Records. This photograph has only been shown for a short period in Pasadena and again in China. However, right here in our area, it is the first time that the process for creating this photo is being displayed along with it. It's an interesting exhibit not only because of its size but the documentation of this entire process.

The development of "The Great Picture" was conducted in an old jet hangar on the old El Toro Air Base in Irvine. This no longer functioning air base spans numerous acres and is being turned into the center point for the Orange County Great Park. One of the functions of this Great Park is to be a cultural focal point for the people of Orange County. "The Great Picture" is the first cultural endeavor made by the upcoming park. My description does not do the exhibit justice and you can find out more here. Or even better - take a trip down there! The exhibit ends October 8th.

So did I cheat? It's not specifically something from the IE but this very unique exhibit is here in our IE for us to share. I'll stretch that into the "One of a kind IE" list. :)

Here's some pix from the day. Let us know what you think or if you've seen the exhibit we'd love to hear about your experience. Give us a shout on Twitter or Facebook ~ we'd love to hear from you!

*"The Great Picture"
"The Great Picture"

*Far left is a remnant from the hundreds of quonset huts from the El Toro Air Base. Far right image is a close up of a part of "The Great Picture." You can slightly make out a cityscape. Neat!
"The Great Picture"

*Look at this amazing camera. If you look closely at the glass pane of the camera in the top right hand photo you'll see that it's taking a picture of the outside ~ it's just upside down. That Camera Obscura door led out to a large walk-in camera obscura - complete with pinhole and everything. Super neat!
California Museum of Photography

*Another great exhibit at the California Museum of Photography (right next door to the Sweeney Gallery). Some great portraits from yesteryear...
California Museum of Photography

*Some more shots from our fun - and very hot - day in Riverside
Downtown Riverside

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Riverside Food Truck Festival Day Itinerary

Hi neighbors!

Not sure if you've heard but we're gearing up for the Riverside Food Truck Festival and we want to share the experience with you by giving away 2 free VIP tickets. All you have to do is Like our FB page and leave a wall post telling us of a spot/destination/event/attraction in the IE that is "one of a kind" and unique.

So, I'm an over planner and since I plan on being out in Riverside I've decided to make a day of it and create an itinerary. Here are a few spots I plan on checking out that day. What about you? What's on your day's itinerary?

1. Put on stretchy pants and head to the Riverside Food Truck Festival
2. Head to the Sweeney Art Gallery and take a look at the world's largest photograph
3. Get more of my photography appreciation fill in by heading to the California Museum of Photography
4. If I can swing it I may stop by the Dinosaur Truck Stop (Attn: Pee Wee Herman fans, the "Big Adventure" was filmed here!)
5. And after all of the above I know I'll be hungry again (I get exhaustingly hungry every two hours - it's annoying haha) so I'll head to Cafe Sevilla for some tapas
6. Then call it a day by catching a couple flicks at the Van Buren Drive In

Well, till the day of the festival (9/3), here are some pictures of Riverside to help inspire us. I hope to return with more to show you and better shots.

Till next time...

Riverside collage

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Riverside Food Truck Festival VIP Ticket Giveaway

Hi neighbors -

Have you heard? We're giving away 2 VIP tickets to the 9/3 Riverside Food Truck Festival! It's easy to enter. Just follow these steps:
1. From 8/5-8/18 Like us on Facebook here
2. Leave a wall post and tell us what you think is a unique destination, event, attraction, restaurant - anything "one of a kind" to the IE.
3. Check the Facebook page on Friday, 8/19, when we announce our winner.

Here's what you get with the VIP tickets:
- Early entrance to the event (10 a.m.)
- Air conditioned VIP Tent
- Goodie bags
- Private Bathrooms
- Free Water and Soda
- Private Patio to Watch the Concert(s)

For official rules you can check it out here.

We hope to hear from you! Good luck :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

One of a Kind IE: Citrus-y Past / Ticket Giveaway

Hi neighbors!

Over 150 miles of traveling around the IE later and we have our new blog post! Wandering around the IE the agricultural history is visible all around the region.

For example did you know that the city of Pomona is named after the Roman goddess of fruit, Riverside is the birthplace of the California citrus industry and Upland was established as an irrigation colony by William and George Chaffey (you know...Chaffey College)? These are just a few tidbits of our rich citrus-y past. Some of the remnants and homages to our rich agricultural history are still around in the left over plots of citrus farms from yesteryear scattered around some of our neighborhoods and of course my favorite - the murals and city signage influenced by vintage citrus labels.

Our team went on a field trip using some spots I've been meaning to visit and a few friend's suggestions about where we could find some vintage citrus label signage and murals (Sorry, @HDBuzz, we couldn't get to the Barstow Main Street Murals - next time! Same to @SoapGourmet *sad face*). We visited a few sites and took some photos so that we could share with you something we feel is definitely "One of a kind IE."

Here are only a few photos we took on our excursion and you can check out more on our Facebook and Flickr.

IE Citrus-y Past

IE citrus-y past

IE citrus-y past

So in line with our "One of a kind IE" column we want to hear from our neighbors! We want to know what you think is one of a kind in the IE. What are some unique spots in our neighborhood that you love? We want to hear it so badly that we're giving away one pair of VIP tickets to the upcoming, September 3rd Riverside Food Truck Festival. Starting at 10:00 a.m. PT this Friday, August 5th, you can enter to win our ticket giveaway by liking our Facebook page (here) AND leaving a wall post telling us what you think is "One of a kind IE." On August 19th, one randomly selected lucky winner will get two VIP tickets. For official rules you can check it out here.

How about them apples? (hehe) So keep an eye out for the FB post on Friday morning then Like us, leave a wall post and good luck! Hope to hear from you...

(p.s. To our already existing FB followers, don't worry you can still participate. Just leave us a wall post about what you think is "One of a kind IE.")

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Itinerary Continued...

Hi neighbors and friends -

Can you believe it's almost the end of July?! I haven't been able to accomplish half of the things I wanted to this summer but I continue to add to the list of spots I want to check out. I may not be able to catch them all but I definitely think these should make it to the summer itinerary. What do you think? Do you have any upcoming events on your summer itinerary you'd like to share? I'd love to hear.

1. 8/19 Redlands Bowl Closing Symphony Concert with fireworks
2. Cooper Regional History Museum - In my search for more fruit label murals around the IE I stumbled upon the museum's main gallery exhibit: "California Citrus Story." Sounds interesting!
3. Art Walks - Here are just a few to choose from:
- Claremont Art Walk: First Friday of the month from 5:30-8:30 pm in the Claremont Village
- Riverside Art Walk: First Thursday of the month from 6-9pm in Downtown Riverside.
- Pomona Art Walk: Second and last Saturday from 6-9 pm.
4. "Robots + Us" exhibit at the Western Center Museum in Hemet.
5. Weekend excursion to Idyllwild - I might have to invite myself over to a friend's place up there and plan another weekend getaway. Lookin' forward to getting away from the city and escaping to the mountains!
6. "Blues for the Zoo" - Tweeted about it a little while back. It's a fundraiser concert at the Big Bear Lake Swim Beach Outdoor Amphitheater on August 6th benefiting the Moonridge Animal Park. Good cause, good music and great atmosphere :)
7. Sausage and Beer Festival - Happening at the Highland Springs Resort in Cherry Valley from August 20-21st from 11-5 pm. Sausage, beer and free admission?! Count me in!

And let's end our list with dessert...

8. CUPCAKES!! - Go on a cupcake bender and hit up some local cupcake shops like Suite 106 Cupcakery and My Delight Cupcakery and Some Crust Bakery.

Whew...this seems like a long list! There's a lot to do in the IE and it's going to be hard to keep up but as long as it's a good time I know it'll be worth it! See you around the IE!

Monday, July 11, 2011

One of a Kind IE: Shields Date Farm

Hello neighbors and friends -

I can't believe it's taken me this long to update the blog. I was in the middle of updating and then my "9-5" started getting slammed then came 4th of July, followed by my birthday and then a week long vacation which was spent getting the rest of my life in order. Excuses, excuses, I know. I hope I haven't put off anyone by not updating sooner but here's the first posting for the "One of a Kind IE" column I mentioned in a previous post. Hoping it's the first of many (consistently posted) column posts.

Back in June (can't believe it's already mid-July), I went on a weekend fun run down to Palm Springs. On the way there I stopped by a destination that surely belongs in the "One of a Kind IE" category: Shields Date Farm. Here are a few fun facts about what makes this destination so unique.

Located in Indio, Shields Date Farm was started by Floyd and Bess Shields in 1924. Mr. Shields not only grew dates but was extremely passionate about educating folks about date culture. He developed a presentation which was modified into a 15-minute film called the "Romance and Sex Life of the Date." I got the chance to view the film in their small theater and I definitely
walked away informed. Not only about the innovations Mr. Shields made to the date business (e.g. he created two new date breeds "Blonde" and "Brunette") but also a little about the history of the Coachella Valley and the migration to the area due to the agricultural boom.

In addition to the theater, Shields Date Farm is a working date farm, cafe, and store filled with all types of date and non-date related goodies. I walked away with some large Medjool dates to snack on during my vacay as well as a date shake to-go. Both were delicious!

Here are a few snapshots from the excursion. If you've been to Shields Date Farm I'd love to hear what you think. And if you have a suggestion for another "One of a Kind IE" post please let me know.

Till next time...

Shields Date Farm
*Working date farm. Can you see the sacks of dates tied at the top of the trees?*

Shields Date Farm
*Shields Date Farm and Cafe*

Shields Date Farm Collage 2

Friday, June 17, 2011

Are you excited about the IE Food Truck Festival? I AM!

As some of you may know I am really excited about this summer. I'm looking forward to a lot of fun events (*ahem* like the launch of my site) and one of them is the IE Food Truck Fest happening this Saturday, 6/18. I was lucky enough to snag some time with the fantastic lady behind the event Ashley Eliot. You may know her from other gourmet food truck festivals like the ones from LA and OC. I had the pleasure of asking her a few questions about the event that's got the IE all abuzz.

IESHINEON: Thanks for taking the time to chat with me about the event. I'm really excited about it coming to the IE. What made you decide to put this event on in the IE and specifically in Ontario?

ASHLEY: The IE Weekly approached me about putting on a gourmet food truck festival in their area. So, I started looking into the [Ontario Citizens Business Bank] Arena and we started working it out from there. It's a beautiful venue and they're wonderful to work with.

IESO: Was it difficult to get the 50 food trucks on board with coming out to our neck of the woods?

ASHLEY: It was a little difficult at first because they were unfamiliar with the area. But they quickly realized it's an opportunity for them to get more exposure and meet their existing IE followers.

IESO: What type of support have you been getting from the community?

ASHLEY: It's been a great partnership with the Arena and we've been getting a lot of support from IE Weekly. We've also been getting a lot of attention from local media, support from food blogs and love from

IESO: In addition to the food trucks what other fun things can we look forward to this Saturday?

ASHLEY: Well, we've got lots of things like the kids area with educational lessons about planting herbs and other events like the skate demo provided by Active Ride Shop, Syndicate Roller Girls skate demo, live local music and DJs, and free samples of Popchips and Fuze. We'll also see local businesses getting in on the action like the wonderful cupcake shop from Ontario My Delight Bakery. They host lots of events with food trucks so they've been great!

Oh, and one more thing! We know it gets hot waiting in line so we're going to have a unique new treat. We're going to have "rolling bars." Basically they're golf carts with all types of beverages so you can wait more comfortably.

IESO: Well, that's just neat! I could not be more excited about this. Thanks for your time, Ashley!

So, I'll see you there this Saturday, folks! I'll be the one double fisting an ice cream sandwich in one hand and something else equally mouth watering in the other.

Till next time...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer Itinerary

Hi folks -

The official first day of summer is just around the corner and I'm super excited! I'm blasting off my summer itinerary with my upcoming trip to Palm Springs. It's more of a work trip - exploring, taking lots of photos, lots of people watching and try to cram in as many attractions as possible.

My Palm Springs itinerary started me thinking about the list of IE events and destinations I'm looking forward to checking out this summer. Some things are traditions and some are new adventures I want to take.

1. Palm Springs (soon to be checked off my list. yay!)
2. IE Food Truck Fest, 6/18 - definitely bringing the stretchy pants for this event
3. Farmers markets - although these are all year long, I'm still looking forward to the fresh summer fruit!
4. Claremont Summer Concerts Series - free concert, picnic dinner and blanket...sounds heavenly
5. Theater production of "Annie" at the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center - This will be my first time visitng the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center for a theater performance.
6. Take a hike around Mt. Baldy - I used to do this a lot in high school. Curious how I'm going to hold up :)
7. On July 4th, watch fireworks from my parents' home in Upland (aww traditions)

I'm going to stop at seven items for now and continue to add to this list in the upcoming weeks. I'm sure by the time July rolls around I'll have a laundry list of great stuff. If any readers have any recommendations I'd love to add them to the itinerary! You can comment on this blog post or reach me at my Twitter or Facebook page.

Let's end with a lovely image from the IE just for the heck of it :). Enjoy and till next time...

Chino Hills

Friday, June 3, 2011

One of a kind IE

I recently read the Fast Company article titled "2011 City of the Year." The winner was Houston and it was described as "'one of the world's next great cities.'" Some of the reasons they chose it was because it has a vibrant business community, supports cultural diversity and embodies a sense of opportunity. The article also discussed how Houston was trying to fight its "redneck" stereotype. All this reminded me of our beloved IE.

We might not be exactly where Houston is but we're taking the steps to get there. Here is a little of what I have in mind:
- We currently have a population of over 4 million people and it's the 14th largest metropolitan area in the US. In 2015 we will have almost 5 million.
- We have three international airports: Ontario, Palm Springs and San Bernardino.
- The IE has the potential to become the trade gateway of Southern California.
- There are 27 colleges and universities.
These are just a few things but there are a lot more where that came from!
(Sources: IE Wiki page, Inland Empire Outlook)

Despite the fact that we are currently going through an economic struggle the bullet points above inspired me to create a new column for the blog and a new features list for the site that's currently in the works (launch is looking like this summer, folks...eek!): "One of a kind IE." It's an opportunity to point out unique IE spots or events. Something that's entirely our own like Kickback Jack's with two locations only in the IE serving delicious breakfast for over 50 years (no paid endorsement here, just a die-hard fan).

The creative juices are flowing and I'm going to start this list! I've reached out to a few friends for suggestions and going through my own memory bank. If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them.

Till next time...

Monday, May 16, 2011

IE Car Appreciation

While we wait for our next Palm Springs post I want to share something I only discovered by visiting the IE and have come to learn to appreciate. It's the Cruise Nights here. I'm by no means a car fan. Personally, my car just takes me from point A to point B and I have to make sure I keep it maintained. That's pretty much it.

Well, I've gone to a few festivals now in the IE and have found that at many of them there are car shows, parades and exhibitions. I originally went to these events to just check out the people and see if anybody would be interested in a site like the one I'm developing. But over time I've come to appreciate the care, detail and passion some of these artists put into their automobile. SoCal has a passionate cruise night following with lots of meet ups like the ones here.

Not sure if you caught it on my FB or Twitter but I was recently at the Mario Andretti Racing Experience at the Fontana Auto Club Speedway. Friend and I had to wake up pretty early to get out there from LA but it was a lot of fun. I'm a huge daily deals advocate and I purchased an amazing deal for the racing experience. Here are some shots from that day.

As I continue to record my adventures out in the IE, there's a big chance that you'll see a lot more (hopefully better) shots of great vintage cars, cruise nights and SoCal car culture. Glad I can share this with you. Enjoy!

Fontana ACS
fontana acs_2

Here are a few more images I've captured on various IE outings. There were so many amazing car photos to choose from it was difficult to choose these. Just a couple warnings - my camera skills don't do these cars justice. Also, apologies for not quoting the car makes, models and owners. I'm definitely going to remember to include these details next time.

Rockabilly Show @ Claremont Colleges
*Rockabilly Show at the Claremont Colleges. I love the graphic on the wall*

2011 Rte 66 Rendezvous
*2011 Rte. 66 Rendezvous in San Bernardino.*

2011 Rte 66 Rendezvous
*More shots from the 2011 Rte. 66 Rendezvous in San Bernardino*

2010 Pomona Christmas Parade
*2010 Pomona Christmas Parade - Just an example of old school transportation. HAHA*

Friday, May 6, 2011

Destination: Palm Springs

So in the spirit of my new direction, I'm dedicating this blog post about my recent trip to Palm Springs. It's been over 15 years since I first went to Palm Springs and I was still in braces and at the mercy of my parents' travel itinerary. I remember the Aerial Tramway and that's about it. I saw a whole different side of Palm Springs when I was there this past February. So much has changed and I was really impressed with all the great attractions, shops, modern sculptures and overall fun factor.

Below is our blog's first attempt at a photo edit/collage (learned from our Blogging Your Way course). Just a mix of what we saw around town and a view from the Mission Hills Westin where we stayed.

PS collage 6

PS collage 11
** I like this frame treatment better but the caption font is still hard to read **

Some things I was really impressed with:
- all the great antique/vintage shops
- renovated hotels and casinos like Agua Caliente Hotel and Spa
- Most importantly, I was really impressed with all the locals and out of towners who were roaming around. There were lots of out of towners for the bike marathon and lots of locals grabbing a drink Sunday afternoon at the local cantina.

I was gravely mistaken in my initial thought that Palm Springs would be sleepy around February. After speaking with the expert at the Convention Center, I learned that February is actually one of the best months to go to Palm Springs because it's cold everywhere else but Palm Springs is nice, warm and sunny! Perfect for the quick winter getaway.

I specifically wanted to mention Palm Springs because I'll be heading out there again in June. I forgot my nice Nikon at home and only had my point-and-shoot (so frustrating argh!). So, I'll be heading out there again with some friends with a better lay of the land and a better camera. Can't wait to show you even more shots from the next experience (and next time we'll have our pix formatted nice and neatly).

Have a great day!

Friday, April 22, 2011

New Direction

So, after taking the Design*Sponge "Blogging Your Way" course, I've finally found the direction I need for this blog. The course encourages you to ask yourself what interests you're passionate about and then take those passions and craft them into aesthetically pleasing, informative and engaging blog posts.

I am passionate about my business, social media, art, design, cultural events, traveling, music events, outdoor activities, eating anything and everything, artisinal crafts and foods and, of course, the IE. How do I take my passions and the guidelines I learned from my course and translate them to a blog about building an online destination for the IE? Then what started as a small ray of an idea grew into a "whole spread the clouds apart" enlightenment (almost heard angels sing). It just clicked and the ideas just kept flowing after that.

My previous blog posts focused on how I was trying to build my business (social media tips and such) and that direction kept bumping me up against a wall. The wall was the fact that I wasn't confident enough to make recommendations and share how I was doing things. I'm learning as I go and flying by the seat of my pants here. That lack of confidence kept preventing me from blogging...I felt what I had to say wasn't as informative as some of the business blogs out in the blogosphere. But how do I take all my passions and build my online brand? *LIGHTNING*

I currently reside in Los Angeles because of my "9-5" digital brand marketing career. It's a career I've been building for almost ten years, plus it pays my bills and most importantly for the development of my business. So in order to attend cultural events, research and visit my family and friends I need to commute to the IE. I schedule weekend trips (because I can't do anything if it's not in my calendar). I try to catch as many things as possible - car shows, festivals, concerts, local school events, theater productions, art walks, etc. I force some friends to come along and I take field notes, tweet about it, take lots of pictures and observe EVERYTHING. *LIGHTNING TURN INTO CLOUDS ROLLING BACK*

I need to document my adventures in the IE! I like to have a good time and my passions reflect that. The boring, "try to be professional" blog I was shooting for just wasn't a good fit. This way I can write what I know - having a good time - while being reflective of my brand and lending a voice to the site I'm developing. With tips I learned from the Design*Sponge course I finally have something to say and the right way to say it.

Keep your fingers crossed and let's hope this new direction brings even more inspiration!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My promise

Dear Blog,

I promise to do better at maintaining you. I'm currently signing up for a class so I can learn how to better maintain you. I've also enlisted some help - another pair of eyes - that will help us look better, sound better and inform better. Good luck to us. Here we go!


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