Fit and Focused

Who knew launching A List Media would require me to stay in shape? I’m not just talking about being in top form so I can run all over town, I’m talking about my mental health. Recently, in an effort to stay fit and focused I’ve started training for a half marathon.

If you know me, you know I am NOT a runner. I believe everyone should make their health a top priority but I also have a fondness for my curvy bod and don’t wish to change my look that drastically. However, this year I wanted to make some sort of fitness goal.

I did some research and found that the same people who manage the Las Vegas Rock & Roll Marathon are hosting a San Diego marathon in June. That’s where I went to school and that’s where my sister is, so naturally, I’m there.

I started training with just a little here and there until I found this training “coach” on Nike.com. It makes the process so much easier. All you need to do is enter your goal and they program a regiment for you. I’m now into the third week of training. By Sunday I will have gone 17 miles in one week. To you this may not mean much, but for me it’s kind of a big deal. I do a lot of walk/running and as long as I make the 13.1 miles on race day, that’s all that matters.

Lucky for me I have some great support. Jaalay, as always is rooting me on, as is my sister Kate. She’s going to do the half marathon with me and it’s her first time too! I also want to thank my awesome friends Richelle Rice (also doing the run), Kathy Topp and Chelsea Muller. They inspired me through their success in the half marathon here in Las Vegas in December. However, I could still use some inspiration from my A-Listers. I’m looking for your advice on everything from stretching to tips that will keep me from getting bored while running. Feel free to add your comments or hit me up at twitter.com/alistmedialv !

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A List Media Minute: Internet Video by the Numbers

What’s up A Listers, welcome to the A List Media Minute.

Today we are talking about the importance of online video in modern marketing campaigns. I’ve enlisted the help of Matt McColl from Five Stars Creative to show you the benefits of online video and why hiring a professional to handle your needs is worth the investment.

I hope you like the A List Media Minute. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

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The Latest on the A List

You know it’s not good when your mom mentions, “I haven’t seen a blog in awhile.” Well A Listers, and mom, there’s a very good reason for that!

Things have been crazy busy on the A List, so let me bring you up to date.

We have entered a partnership to promote Rebuilding Together Southern Nevada, a soon-to-be household name for their efforts to bring about positive change in the wake of the housing crisis.

Once known as Christmas In April, Rebuilding Together is focused on repairing and renovating homes for those in need.

Mark your calendars for April 24, when their annual Rebuilding Day brings together more than one thousand volunteers for a massive repair effort that will improve the quality of life for elderly and disabled residents around the valley. I can’t wait to be a part of this event.

Also on the calendar for next month is the debut of the A List Media Web Site. I have been working with a handful of creative talents to design a site that will showcase everything my company has to offer. I can’t wait to show it off.

That’s the latest from the A List. There are some other items on the docket that I will be rolling out in the next couple of weeks, so if you want to stay up to date, just subscribe to the A List blog and have them delivered directly to your inbox.

I love technology. Stay yummy Las Vegas!

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Let’s Talk about Twitter

What’s the big deal about Twitter, isn’t it just a waste of time? Isn’t it like Facebook but more annoying? Why does anyone need to know what I am doing at all times of the day? Can you really see any ROI with Twitter?
Those are just a few of the questions I get about Twitter. It’s revolutionized communication for so many people, while others don’t want to have anything to do with it.

I thought it might be smart to answer some of those questions in the A-List blog, so the next time someone asks me a question I can say, “There’s a blog for that!”

Isn’t Twitter just a waste of time?

I guess that depends on what you consider a waste of time. Twitter, in my opinion, is the perfect tool for keeping up with the news of the world.

I follow local, national and trade media outlets on Twitter. It’s become vital for me when trying to stay on top of breaking news. It’s also critical when trying to stay on top of news and trends in the world of PR and marketing. Twitter also gives you the chance to join the conversation if you so choose.

Why does anyone need to know what I am doing at all times of the day?

Hey, if someone is following you on Twitter then they want to know what you’re doing. So why not give them what they want? Twitter is a great way to connect with like-minded people or to engage in debate with those of other viewpoints. If you have a question or are looking for an opinion, throw it out to the Twitterverse and you just never know what you may get back

However, it’s important to be cautious when putting out personal details about your life. Just because you can share your every thought and feeling with the world doesn’t mean you should.

The great thing about Twitter is that you decide whom you want to follow and you can decide who’s following you. If you don’t like what someone is putting out there, cut him or her off, no harm, no foul.

What about that ROI?
Maybe Twitter isn’t the best social media outlet for your business model. But you should take time to explore what outlets do make sense for your business goals.

Having an open dialogue with your customers, potential customers and employees is more important now than ever before. We are in a digital information age. People spend more time on Facebook and Twitter. Last year a study found that about third of U.S. Internet users’ online time is spent communicating, don’t you want them communicating with you?

So many media are vying for our attention. You need to get on board, if you don’t someone else will.  Then they will have a captive and loyal audience and you will not. In this tough time we all want to see a direct return on our investment, but stop worrying so much about the return and focus on the investment.

Here are my tips for Twitter, whether it’s in you’re professional life or personal.

1. Keep it honest, no one likes a phony.
2. Do not tweet solely for self or business promotion. It’s annoying. Let your personality come through.
3. Communication works both ways. Respond to folks when they give you an @reply. Even if they say something negative, they are presenting an opportunity for you to engage them and maybe just change their mind or give you or your brand a second chance.
4.  Connect. Take this as an opportunity to connect with others in your field, keep an eye on trends and test the waters.
5. Have fun!

If you or your business would like more insight on social media, feel free to contact me directly. If I don’t have the answers, I bet I will know of someone who does.

Meantime, I would love to hear your feedback and comments.

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Q & A: News 3’s Kim Wagner sits down with the A List

Kim Wagner of News 3's Wake Up with the Wagners

We are going to do a little something new with the A List blog. Every month or so I will be doing a Q and A with a journalist or editor. We are starting this month with Kim Wagner from News 3’s Wake Up with the Wagners.

Take a take a look and let me know what you think.

When Kim Wagner was a child her parents could have predicted their daughter’s career path. The family nicknamed her Shana

Shana Alexander

Is that Kim Wagner? No, it's Shana Alexander

Alexander, a trailblazing 1970s female news reporter.

It wasn’t long before Kim was blazing trails of her own.

She began her career in storytelling by reporting back to her parents what her siblings were up to, not in a tattletale sense, but more in a matter of fact way.

In high school Kim would read the morning announcements. When it came time for college she chose the University of Florida one of the best Broadcast Journalism schools in the country.

After college Kim worked her way from small Florida markets to Reno, where she met future husband Dana Wagner. The couple eventually became engaged but was forced to deal with separation anxiety when Kim took a job in Sacramento.

A chance meeting with KVBC’s News Director at a friend’s wedding set into motion a chain of events that would lead to the couples move to Las Vegas. Years later she and Dana would be anchoring the city’s No. 1 morning newscast together.

I met Kim when I joined KVBC in 2002 and we have been friends for years. Recently I caught up with her for a little Q&A about life on the A-List.

A List: Describe your ascent at KVBC from the time you started in 2001.

Kim Wagner: It seemed like I was on weekends for seven years in some form or fashion. I got hired initially as a reporter and then very soon after the weekend morning anchor left, I took over and I was on weekend mornings for years and then 4 years I ago I did weekend evenings and then from there I went to mornings.

A List: Sometimes younger journalists can be impatient when they feel they’ve been stuck in one place or one position for a long time. What advice do you have for them?

KW: My advice to young journalists would be to go where your passion is. If you can have both, being passionate about where you live and what you do for a living, that is the best thing. If you are just chasing the career then go where it takes you.

My first job was in Marianna Florida. I was so passionate about the business that I was setting up my own live shots, shooting all my own video, covering multiple counties and living out in the sticks. When I say out in the sticks, I lived by myself in an isolated area and the station was an hour to the south of me so I did a lot of alone time. But I was so dedicated and wanting to be in the business that I was willing to do that.

I’m not sure that there’s a cookie cutter path. When I was living in Sacramento I was unhappy personally though happy professionally because I was away from my husband. Here I have the best of both worlds.

KVBC has been very good to me. I have been able to make a nice living here.  I haven’t had to leave to go chase the dollar signs. I’m married and if you put some time into a place you become committed to the community and the station becomes committed to you. They let me work part-time when I first had Kate (Kim and Dana’s four year old daughter), which is great because at a lot of places that probably wouldn’t be an option.

A List: Las Vegas is always at the center of some larger national news story. What have been your favorites?

KW: There have been so many big events that have happened on our watch. The biggest event that touched me personally that had the biggest national impact was when I had to knock on the door of William McCool’s parents Audrey and Barent. It was when the Columbia crashed in 2003.

People think how can you just knock on someone’s door and ask then about the son they lost, and I understand that may seem callous but for these parents they were so proud of their son they wanted to share that with people.

I think since it is such a distressing moment you just have to knock on the door and say, “I’m giving you a chance to talk about your loved one. I understand if you want to slam the door in my face but I just want to let you know that we just want you to be able to share that with the community.”

A List: Knocking on doors isn’t as easy as it sounds. A lot of times reporters have trouble being that aggressive.

KW: Sometimes people come in and sit at their desk and make phone call after phone call and then they go up to the executive producer and say this isn’t coming to fruition. If you can, my best advice would be to always go to the story. And then you might end up getting something amazing that otherwise you wouldn’t even know about.

If you are not willing to go knock on a door when you have no idea who is on the other end, then you are probably not right for this business. If you are meek or wishy-washy you are just going to get gobbled up.

A List: When it comes to image, how do you manage in a business that is often, and some might say unfairly, focused on looks?

KW: I have tried Botox twice because I have what they call the “elevens.” I feel like I have these deep lines between my eyes because I am a squinter and I am 36 years old. But you know what? It is just not for me. For the little amount that I was going to do it’s so expensive and let’s face it, for my job, I have to have expression. I am just going to have to grow old gracefully, as much as Botox did take those lines away it was not worth the price for me.

I’m glad I don’t look 23, I am so much happier now in my 30’s. And I am embracing everything about this phase in my life and if that happens to be the “Elevens”, then so be it.

When I get e-mails about my eye-make-up or my hair or my outfit, it hurts my feelings because I am human but now I forget it pretty much after I respond to the person and apologize for whatever I’ve done. I tend to respond because I think of it as a way to win people over and if you are not going to win people over, then at least you can show them that you received it and maybe you can make them feel better that they hurt someone’s feelings that day, I don’t know.

Suddenly Kim and I are interrupted by a man who tells Kim he “woke up with her this morning.” I know that she gets this a lot. Kim is warm and the man walks away after giving Kim a story idea.

A List:
Does that ever get old?

KW:
When someone comes up and says, “I woke up with you this morning.” I love that. I don’t think that is ever going to get old. I mean, that is our bread and butter. You want people to watch. I love what I do but you hope that other people like it because we all know that ratings fuel everybody’s paycheck and ratings aren’t everything but they are a lot. The thing that is tricky is that you can only be yourself you just hope that people end up liking it. I run into people all day long and I am gracious every time because I get it.

I think some people in the business are bothered by the interruption but I’m not because I just think, “what a small price to pay to get to do a job I love with a man I love in a city I love where our daughter was born.”

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Love On The A-List

Everyone’s favorite Hallmark holiday is just around the corner and A-List Media clients have a lot to offer this month. Here’s a sampling:

Amy’s Rules of Romance
The February issue of 944 is out NOW and it features relationship expert Amy Rubin sharing the Rules for Dating in Las Vegas. Amy takes a modern look at dating in Sin City, what to strive for and what to avoid. Pick up a copy today. Amy Rubin is the host of Amy’s Heart After Dark click here for more info.

Helping Hearts on Valentines Day
Want to look your best for your valentine without breaking the bank at an overpriced Strip salon? Global House of Hair, headed by the dynamic husband-and-wife team of Jill and Michael St. Onge, is creating a buzz in Summerlin. Not only do they have style in spades, they also have some big hearts. This Valentine’s Day GHH is offering haircuts for just $25, regularly their cuts start at $55. All proceeds from the $25 haircuts will go to the American Heart Association.  How cool is that? Global House of Hair is located at 11700 W. Charleston Blvd. To make an appointment call (702) 476-5300.

Focus on Your Health
The look of love is a lot brighter at iFocus Vision Center, where Dr. Vivienne Velasco is hosting a health and wellness event Saturday, Feb. 20. Along with free vision screenings, attendees will experience live cooking demos from Oiga,Mire,Vea Columbian Restaurant. Dr. Joan Leaks of Southwest Wellness Center will be there providing nutrition and diet information and handouts. Enjoy free facials and samples of Juice Plus. There is a little something for everyone.
iFocus Vision Center is located at 9484 W. Flamingo Rd. Suite 280, Las Vegas, NV 89114.

Rocket to Bliss
World-renowned yoga instructor Larry Schultz will be presenting his Rocket Yoga series on February 5 & 6 at Yoga Sanctuary’s West side studio. His inventive, inspiring routine ranks him among the most highly regarded yoga teachers in the country. His famous Rocket Series is a fun, upbeat Ashtanga yoga approach that encourages people to keep their energy high while connecting to their inner power.  For more info click here.

Next week, the A-List blog takes a closer look at local media. Don’t miss our interview with KVBC’s Kim Wagner, host of southern Nevada’s No. 1 morning show, Wake Up with the Wagners.

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Comfort Food with a Touch of Sophistication, indeed!

The one thing that never changes about Las Vegas is that it’s always changing.

That sentence might sound weird, but it’s true. I’ll never run out of new places to experience in this city, and one of my favorite things to do is enjoy new tastes.

Awhile back a friend recommended I check out Elements Kitchen and Martini Bar at Tropicana and Rainbow. It opened ten months ago and their owners have an interesting story that immediately caught my attention.

Elements Bar

Elements Kitchen and Martini Bar

The restaurant belongs to Catherine and Jose Luis Pawelek. Though this is their first in southern Nevada, they are no strangers to the business. They have owned restaurants around Florida and they even owned and managed a B&B in New Hampshire for a stretch. 

My husband and I went for dinner and found this was not only a unique experience, but one that’s affordable and stylish. That’s hard to get these days.

Their table breads are made fresh daily. We had one with Rosemary along with some French bread served with butter and flavorful chutney made by Catherine.

For starters my husband and I both had the soup of the day; chicken with basmati rice, vegetables and a hint of curry. Chef Jose Luis Pawelek makes the stock fresh and you can tell because the simple flavors really shine through.

For dinner, my husband had the lollipop lamb chops served on a bed of lentils. These weren’t huge but considering they came from the “small plates” menu, I was impressed with the size.

I had a house salad with grilled shrimp and balsamic dressing. No, these weren’t the most complex items on the menu but you could tell there were a lot of layers to the flavor, which made the light meal quite pleasant.

Elements' Chocolate Martini, very tasty

I had a few glasses of their house Cabernet well worth the $6 a glass. Jason tried out a few of their sweet martinis from a list of 200. I tasted each and they were delicious. He highly recommends the Peppermint Patty. All martinis are just $7 to $9.

Everything was great and then suddenly Catherine, the owner-pastry chef, brought out a mini crème brulee topped with mascarpone and her very own biscotti. That was such a sweet touch and I noticed that everyone around us was also getting such generous treatment. 

Small plates range from $6 to $9 and entrees range from $17 to $24.

Here’s the best part: Elements Kitchen and Martini Bar hosts a Happy Hour Monday through Saturday from 5 to 6:30 pm. All drinks and appetizers are $2 off.  For those not interested in martinis or wine, they also have a great beer selection both in bottles and on tap. International beers include: Guinness, Peroni, Stella Artois, Fosters and Kronenburg 1664, and domestics: Tenaya Creek, Sam Adams Boston Lager, Blue Moon, Pyramid Hefeweizen and many more all from $4 to 4.50.

I don’t rate restaurants on a star or numbers level. They either get a Yummy* or they don’t. This one is a definite Yummy.

You can check out Elements Kitchen and bar here or follow them on twitter.

Elements is located at 4950 S. Rainbow Blvd. #100, Las Vegas NV 89118.

*Last year, I was caught on camera proclaiming a dish “Yummy!” during a taping of Top Chef Las Vegas at the Springs Preserve. Now, after hearing friends and family do their best (and worst) impersonations I have decided to embrace this as my favorite way to describe the foods I love. Either it’s Yummy or it’s not!

Disclaimer: Elements is NOT an A List Media client.

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