Making the trek to the west side.

Well, it’s true. And if you didn’t see it coming, you’ve probably been under a rock or not paying attention to my Facebook/Twitter/Instagram. I have been visiting Sonoma, California for the past 2+ years with my job for A. Bright Idea. It’s been such a blessing to grow with the company and work on new projects and see the progress we’ve made at our office in California. Well, we’re at the point where we’re growing and need additional help and people on the ground every day to work with clients and continue to grow. My work is putting a lot of faith in me but it is so cool that I am getting this opportunity! As I begin to reflect, I started writing down things I will miss about Bel Air. However, to fight off the depressing list of things I will miss, I also wrote things I am excited for and looking forward to!

Things I will miss.

Seeing 24 years of memories on the walls of a house every day.

401 Trout Dale Court.

Family.

Friends.

Sitting on the counter drinking wine while mom cooks dinner chatting and/or venting about our days.

Happy hours/weekends with my bff Jill Dombroskie.

4 minute commute to A. Bright Idea Archer Street.

Baltimore.

Home Ravens games.

Eastern Standard Time.

Jackson.

Having my lunch made by my tireless dad.

Work mentors in my office.

The Ma & Pa Trail.

Spontaneous East Coast trips to visit new places and friends.

Monthly dinners with Katy Burns.

Monthly dinners with my Baltimore Metro area Pendulum crew.

Nightly dinner with my parents.

Italian Sensations.

Working next to Katie Mercado.

Free rent.

Free food.

Free many things.

Snow in my yard.

East Coast beaches just a few hours away.

 

Things I am excited for.

Wine Country.

A. Bright Idea Sonoma.

Growth.

New role.

Living on my own.

My own place.

Decorating.

San Francisco.

Adventures.

Figuring it out on my own.

New everything.

Paying rent or mortgage.

ROAD TRIP!

Seeing the grand canyon.

Tuesday Farmers Markets.

Wine Tasting and learning on the reg.

New friends.

Lake Tahoe trips.

Pressure.

Unknown.

Amazing places to eat.

Trips to the East Coast.

Holidays with family.

Visitors.

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My wine type.

So I like wine. So what? We know… 

When searching for viable partnerships and ways to enhance the website I manage, SomethingAboutSonoma.com, I came across a wine quiz to figure out my wine-type. Naturally, I indulged. 

Not much to my surprise I am categorized as an “Embracing Adventurer.”

I’d say that doesn’t just describe my wine palate, wouldn’t you? I embrace things, and I’m an adventurer. And most of the description included could be applied to other areas of my life.  

This is what it said…

“You know what you like, and it’s anything coming in a wine bottle (or barrel, pouch, or even a box): from a delicate white to a rich-and-smooth red, you’re ready to uncork the bottle that your friends are shying away from – the more unconventional, the better. Your palate thrives on experiencing something it’s never had before, and it loves detecing the nuances that come in, say, a rare Bordeaux blend. In your “love” list are most likely the Bordeaux varieties (Cab, Cab Franc, Merlot), as well as Rhone blends (heavy on the Syrah), and any white that over-delivers prime flavor to your palate. If you haven’t ventured into the world of Spain and Portugal, we highly recommend you do: from Albarino to Rueda, to Tempranillo and the unpronounceable Portugese grapes, they’re well worth diving into.”

Right on My Vinotype. Right on. 

Image

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BJ and Beth Sneak Peek

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Sonoma in May

in photos…

Playing with my GoPro fish eye.

 

Sights around Sonoma.

 

Sonoma Farmers Market and Crumb’s Bake Shop.

 

Atop Mount Veeder at Audelssa with Ryan

 

Jack London State Park and Sebastiani Winery.

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Sonoma International Film Fest

I saw an infographic recently that talked about creativity. It described how only 52% of American’s say they are creative. I am one of those 52%. I’m lucky enough to have a job that allows me to be creative, come up with ideas (lots of Bright Idea’s… haha) and share them. Most recently, I got to apply everything I have learned over the years into a single task. This included ‘covering’ and marketing the 15th Annual Sonoma International Film Festival. It was the perfect project.

In college at Elon, at internships and at my current job I learned about digital media convergence, journalism, advertising, marketing, videography, photography, editing, writing, social media and more. This project involved nothing less than all of those items. Thanks to The Pendulum, The Aegis, the Elon School of Communications and of course A. Bright Idea– I was prepared for the undertaking. We were tasked with advertising and marketing the event for the months leading up to it. This involved writing articles, creating and including ads, and heavy social media to encourage not only ticket sales, but ‘buzz’ about the event. We compared social media strategies with others who would be covering the event, comparing places we’d be, #hashtags to use and more.  It also involved creating a :15 short video about our company SomethingAboutSonoma.com to play as a trailer before films. Watch our spot here.

Then came the actual event… and it was all a blur from there. Five days, many many hours, thousands of photographs, tons of video, lots of wine, incredible amounts of food, a handful of parties, great music, more dancing, in depth interviews and of course FILMS.

I got to listen to and interview the likes of Christopher Lloyd (you know, the doc from back to the future), John Waters (famous director– who’s actually from Baltimore!), James Suckling (major wine-guy), Robert Kamen (Winery owner and famous writer), Ben Flajnik (the Bachelor) and so many more. I had an absolute blast writing articles, shooting video, tweeting, Facebooking, taking picturs, conducting interviews, shmoozing, and all the likes of digital media convergence bundled into one nice little five-day package. Getting to meet all of the people who made the festival possible was awesome– and they were more than accomodating. The likes of Executive Director Kevin McNeely and his team including Pat, Brooke, Celeste, Donna, Peter, Kim, Ginny, Leslie and MC were incredible. I also made so many new friends of people I see all the time and recognize, but didn’t actually know.

You can of course see all my coverage on our website blog for  SomethingAboutSonoma.com, and also the videos on the Sonoma International Film Festival site here. Our recap video (which funny enough, includes my photo with John Waters as the thumbnail– I honestly didn’t choose it or mean for it to happen) is below!

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Baby Hayes: Sneak Peek

Yesterday I had the priviledge of photographing my neighbors baby’s baptism. It was a beautiful ceremony and baby Katherine had all of her relatives in attendance for the occasion. Here are just a few, sneak peek, photos from the day!

Beautiful baptism outfit in the Hayes family passed down for generations.

The Hayes and Lewis family.

Katherine Bliss Hayes.

The Hayes Family.

Jannine and her baby girl.

Daddy's finger.

Lace Hat.

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An analysis of Super Bowl commercials

Well I’ve never really posted my thoughts about Super Bowl commercials before, so I might as well start now. There were some great ones, some okay ones, some forgettable ones, and some memorable ones for how horrible they were. I’ll start with the top and work my way to the bottom, broken down into the Top 10, the Level 2 and the rest. Each of the three categories are only SEMI in order.

Top 10

M&M- Sexy and I know it. This ad was the first and one of the few funny ads of this years Super Bowl. Pairing the ever-catchy and overplayed song ‘I’m Sexy and I Know It’, M&M took a risky move and it scored big. This was my personal favorite and made everyone laugh. Here’s the key- everyone remembers it too.

Olympics 2012- Right before the game started there was a preview to this summers olympics. Showing very little, this ad was highly effective showcasing some of the top athletes and events to watch and made my insides want more. I. Love. The. Olympics.

Imported from Detroit- Two things, Clint Eastwood and America. “This country can’t be knocked out in one punch. Yeah, it’s halftime America.” I was wondering what he was going to say next and hung on to every word Clint spoke in this memorable ad for Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep. The only downfall but still good news for the brand- everyone was still talking about last years Eminem ad Chrysler ran that was the best commerical of the whole superbowl.

Honda- Everyone that has seen the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off loved this ad staring Matthew Broderick. Great spot that told people to get out and do something fun.

Bud Light- Here WeGo. I know Bud Light will always ‘bring it’ in their super bowl ads and this one featuring the rescue dog ‘WeGo’ didn’t dissapoint. He would fetch beer anytime you said Here We Go?! Great. Also a shoutout at the end to rescue dogs- nicely done Bud Light. The ‘Halftime’ commercial featuring LMFAO in the ‘Halftime bar’ was also funny!

Sketchers- Who knew sketchers would advertise in the big game? Not me. But they brought a memorable commercial featuring the dog wearing the sketchers, beating out the greyhound competiton, and pulling an ever famous Michael Jackson moonwalk across the finish line. Well done.

Chevy- Advertising the most dependable, long-lasting truck on the road during the Mayan Apocalypse, you can always count on Chevy for great branding. Yes they took a jab at Ford- which I never really like in advertising, but they still overpowered the message with the brand and showcasing the old trucks in the end. They also ran an ad featuring the new Sonic with the ‘We Are Young’ music and Chevy Runs Deep branding.

Budweisser- With two spots piggy backing off each other talking about prohibition, this is another company that has fantastic branding. They know their brand- the clydesdale horses with the dalmation dog and beer. The first ad showcased the end of Prohibition meaning people can legally drink beer again, with the second ad showcasing some huge milestones in history. Budweisser has stood the test of time and has been there for great occasions.

The Voice- Two words, one person: Betty. White. Enough said? This great ad for the show following the Super Bowl put a clever twist on how the four judges would attract the singers and fight for who would be on their ‘team’. Then in the end comes Betty White with her commedy and star power figure. Great job The Voice- you didn’t allow a Super Bowl to not have a commercial with Betty White.

NBC Sports Network- Did anyone see this commercial right after the game was over? It featured the ‘next generation of stories unfolding’ in terms of athletes. It was a well shot, feel-good spot with star kid athletes. The NBC Sports Network is fighting to make their way into the sports field with the other big players like ESPN.

LEVEL 2

E-Trade- I’ve always been a fan of the e-trade baby commercials. That being said, I expected a little more out of them based on their past performance in Super Bowl ads. Yes the ad was funny, featuring the ‘speed dating’ baby reference at the end, but it didn’t quite make the Top 10.

Doritos- I’ll admit, I may be a little biased about the two doritos commercials we saw- because an Elon alumni was in the running and in the top 6 commercials and didn’t make the final. The ‘mans best friend’ featuring the great dane and the ‘grandma + baby slingshot’ ads were funny and memorable to most people. Doritos has done a great job presenting funny commericals during the superbowl.

TaxAct.com- The kid peeing in the pool. No, I’ve never heard of taxact.com before, but you caught my attention. Well played.

Acura- Leno vs. Seinfled to be #1 on the list. The car looked awesome and very stylish… for the 2 seconds we saw it. I had to look up on the internet what the commerical was for again. I knew it had Leno, Seinfeld, and a car. I think they should have branded it a little better/longer to make people remember the car- because it was sick.

Toyota Camry- ‘Events’ happening inside and with the vehicles. They did a great job showing a feel-good commercial that everyone has a story. I remembered it, and made me say ‘awww’ at the end. The other Toyota commercial with the ‘reinvented’ message and the DMV, the baby, the couch, etc. was a little odd.

VW- The VolksWagon Beetle commercial with the dog trying to lose weight was forgetful at first, for me, until they brought in the reference to last years Darth Vader commercial. My question is, why did they have to do that and not make a commercial just as memorable as last years? Still memorable.

Pepsi- With all the hype during this years season of The X Factor and the winner receiving a ‘HUGE’ commercial during the Super Bowl, who do you remember from this ad? Elton John? Flavor Flave? Melanie Amaro? The creepy cast of Alice in Wonderland? Melanie Amaro was the winner of the X Factor… and yes it did showcase her incredible voice, but the ‘Pepsi for all’ tagline didn’t stick all that well.

Coke- With maybe three commercials throughout the superbowl featuring the polar bears wearing the red and blue scarves and cheering for their team, I kind of expected a little more out of the advertising giant behind Coke. The first commercial featuring the polar bear crossing its fingers and toes and not able to sip its coke, the second with the bear slipping and slidding across the ice, taking out the other polar bears, and the last after halftime made me wonder which team was winning. Which bear did the red or blue scarf represent? One great thing about Coke, we know the brand, the historic bottles, the polar bears, and the ‘aaahhhhhh’ you hear after each sip.

Galaxy Note- The Darkness: I believe in a thing called love. I’m pretty sure everyone watching sang along with this commercial. No, I don’t believe the ad/brand is strong enough to switch me from my Apple Laptop, iPad, iPhone and iPod, but still a nicely done commerical from Galaxy.

Fiat Abarth- Do you remember the supermodel speaking the foreign language dripping whipped cream onto her chest? Yeah, that happened. On the other hand, the car looks awesome! It’s a memorable commercial for most guys. Memorable yes, family oriented no.

Ebay- Moms new jeans. The Mom was probably bringing out every biggest fear for their daughters. Bringing back a wardrobe that is obviously outdated and uncool. I recognize that girl from one of the ‘This is living’ commercials. Do you remember her? The commercial was alright, pretty forgettable.

Okios Yogurt- I’ve never heard of Okios yogurt, I don’t think I ever will again, but I remember Jessy from full house. His wife/the girl in the commercial head butts him out of his chair so that she can have her yogurt. It made me smirk, but I wasn’t laughing like I was in the M&M commercial.

Career Builder- The commercial with the monkeys ‘pranking’ the guy was a little funny, but forgettable.

The Rest

H&M- This was the soft-porn commercial featuring a basically naked David Beckham in underwear trunks. This commercial was for all of the girlfriends and wives who were forced to take part in the watching of the biggest football game of the season. I saw someone said on Twitter- “The David Beckham Ad is better for the Oscars than for the SuperBowl.” and I couldn’t agree more.

Go Daddy- Unimpressive. Both commercials were terrible. The body paint and the ‘is this heaven’ ads were forgettable. Go Daddy always seems to run ads during the super bowl but I have yet to see one that impresses me or makes me laugh.

Teleflora.com- This was the inappropriate, unimpressive, Valentine’s Day ad. Yes the woman was beautiful, but it was inappropriate.

In other notes, I saw on twitter that a Smyth ad featuring the Baltimore beer Natty Boh must have ran, but I unfortunately didn’t get to see the local commercial since I’m in California. I heard it was good though! I was also pleasantly surprised by the halftime show featuring Madonna, Nicki Minaj and Cee Lo. The graphics and lights and effects were fantastic and it surpassed a lot of the recent super bowl half time shows. Probably one of the best since the Aerosmith halftime show when the Ravens were in the big game!

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