Category Archives: Life on the A-List

Snap shots on what is happening in the life of Alyssa Anderson owner of A List media and author of the A List Media blog.

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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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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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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The A List Wish List

Hey A Listers!

Tis’ the holiday season and who doesn’t love getting and giving gifts? Here’s some gift ideas from my personal A List, with a little something for everyone. I’ve included a few things that you may want to give yourself.

A is for A List, I mean Aardvark

I happen to like the letter A. I like it so much I developed the name of my company around the letter. Lucky for me, I’m Alyssa Anderson and not Denise Dickerson because D-List Media doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. If you know someone else that loves their initial, why not get them a monogrammed item. One that I LOVE comes from this collection of alphabet animal prints by J Hill Design. A cool piece of art is always in fashion.

Price: $50 for a framed print click here.

Come Rain or Shine

If there is one accessory that is a must have in Las Vegas, it’s sunglasses. Even during these winter months the sun’s rays are damaging to our cornea and the soft skin around our eyes. Designer sunglasses make a statement. This month iFocus Vision Center is making high-end sunglasses more accessible. Through the end of 2009, all designer sunglasses are 50 percent off. My favorites are these by Dior. With an additional 50 percent off they are a steal.

Price: 50 percent off $255

9484 W. Flamingo Rd. Suite 280, Las Vegas or visit www.ifocuslasvegas.com.

Seeing is Believing

Big business, small business and individuals know that online video marketing is essential to their success. Get with the program and pick up a Flip MINOHD camera. They make it so easy even your grandparents can do it. Start making videos about your business, products and services, you’ll be happy you did.

Price: $199 For more information check out flip.

Gimme a head with hair, Long beautiful hair

The Las Vegas winter does a number on your hair. But the folks at Global House of Hair recommend Force Vector by L’Oreal Series Expert shampoo and conditioner. Why do I love it? Because it protects hair from the damaging desert air and repairs any damage done. And guys if you don’t think this is a problem, just ask your lady.

Price: Starts at $18.50

Find it at Global House of Hair in Summerlin

11700 W. Charleston Las Vegas or check out www.globalhouseofhair.com

A Polaroid Camera in the Digital Age

Print photos on the go instantly from your digital camera or even from your phone with the PoGo Instant Mobile Printer, I like the red one. This affordable, pocket-sized photo printer lets you share your pics with friends now, rather than later.

Price: $49.99

Pick one up here.

Kick-start A New Years Resolution

Come January 1st we’ll all want to follow through on those New Years resolutions. A gift card to the Yoga Sanctuary can deliver mental and physical wellbeing something we all need in 2010. In January instructor Sasha Larkin is holding a workshop called “Resolve to Evolve” to help attendees flow into the New Year right.

Price: Gift cards can be purchased in any amount starting at $25

www.lasvegasyoga.com

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PR and media jobs are out there, I swear

I communicate with so many people everyday. I have my clients, colleagues in the PR world and members of the media. Let’s not forget my hubby, my friends, my sister (we talk every day) and of course Osi, my cat. Of course there’s the social media outlets. Friends and contacts but also people I have never met are following my escapades on Facebook, twitter and now this blog. It’s kind of funny when you think about it.

Many times while doing all this communication, it seems the conversation often comes back to jobs and the work place.

There are talented people looking for new jobs, mostly because of this “downturn” we are experiencing. They have lost colleagues to layoffs, lost raises and lost benefits. There has been belt tightening that no one thought possible and some people are just tired of being bummed. In addition, there are still good people getting laid off everyday or those who are still looking for the right opportunity after being laid off a little longer than anyone would have expected.

Still, good news is, there are jobs out there. I hear about them from time to time. I also come into contact with good people who ask me if I know of “anything out there”.

So from now on if I hear of a job opening in PR or media, I will post it on this blog. On the flip side, if you are someone who I should recommend for a job, let me know. I might be able to help.

I also worry that now that I have put this out there, I wont hear of any more openings. That is what all of you are here for. If you hear of anything or even better, if you are doing the hiring, let me know. This could totally work or not, still it is worth a try. I like putting good people with other good people.

So, speaking of jobs, there are two openings at Preferred Public Relations. Owner Michelle Tell told me they are looking for talented people, most likely either for publicist or Director of Public Relations positions.

Here is the info direct from Michelle.

Our PR agency, Preferred Public Relations is growing and we are hiring. Must have a min. of 5-7 years professional PR experience. We are seeking those with a strategic thought process, who are business-minded with a creative streak. Must understand PR planning and be able to execute detailed PR plans. Must have prior corporate and/or PR agency experience. See http://www.preferredpublicrelations.com. or call 702-254-5704.

Good luck to those that apply, happy hunting.


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Are you nice, or is it just me?

So, yesterday I was talking to a Las Vegas journalist about local PR.

Somewhere along the way she asked a question that I had to think about, only because there are so many ways to look at it.

She said, “Have you noticed PR people are nicer lately?”

I needed clarity. I said, “Well what exactly do you mean?”

She went on to explain that she had this discussion with a few other other journalists and the general consensus was that Las Vegas PR people have taken a kinder tone in the past few months.

She pressed me, ” Do you know why this may be?”

“I have some ideas,” I said.

I always try to be cordial, available and agreeable when working with a journalist. However, if she and others have noticed a change, I have some ideas as to why that may be the case.

First off, it is simple math. These days there are fewer journalists and media outlets to pitch. I think we can all agree upon that one. As PR people we are thankful for the friends and contacts we have that are still employed and doing good work. We are happy there is someone out there to receive our pitch. We are even more excited when this is a person that we know and trust.

These days everyone is doing a lot more with a lot less, especially those in media. So, as PR people it is important to be accommodating because if I am not, some other publicist will be and that other publicist will get the story.

More importantly, as PR people, I think we feel, we are all in this together. We have lost friends and colleagues (PR professionals and journalists) due to cut backs. I think we all sympathize with one another. I have seen talented journalists and PR friends loose their jobs and it sucks.

Being nice is a good thing so maybe in the long run all this drama has made us (PR people) better at our jobs.

As always, would love to hear your thoughts.

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A-List Happenings

Hello A-Listers. I apologize for my recent lag in blogging. I could give you lots of excuses; we were on vacation, I was planning my husband’s annual birthday party to end all birthday parties or maybe it was because I got a really bad hair cut (sorry, I am still bitter.) Forget all that now because the A-List Media LV blog is back.

All Things Yoga

Say it with me now…Yo-ga-phor-ia. The word just sounds blissful, right? Saturday August 15, I will be exploring the spiritual and physical ecstasy of yoga during a three-hour workshop called Yogaphoria with instructor Sasha Larkin.  This is the second workshop I will have done with Sasha and let me tell you; she has such an incredible style and energy.

Sasha will “give you tools that will liberate you personally, expand you creatively, boost your energy flow, and balance your body energetically.”  Now how can that be a bad thing?

The Yogaphoria workshop takes place August 15 from 1 to 4 pm at Yoga Sanctuary’s west side studio on Sahara near Buffalo. Click here to check out the workshop flier.

Jerry F’n Misko is at it again

Stargazer by Jerry Misko

Stargazer by Jerry Misko

This Friday, August 14, is the opening of Jerry F’n Misko at the Henri & Odette Gallery in downtown Las Vegas.  The show features the works of local artist Jerry Misko.

Misko is a favorite of A-List Media’s for many reasons but most of all because Jerry created the A-List Media logo that you find on the A-List Media blog, business cards and eventually on our Web site.

Jerry creates abstract paintings of Las Vegas’ neon signs. In addition to the paintings Jerry has put together a book of his work. I haven’t seen this yet but I am sure it will be as vibrant as he is.

Check out Jerry’s show and support the local arts scene.  Jerry F’n Misko runs August 14 through September 18. Henri & Odette is located at 124 S. 6th Street Suite 130, Las Vegas, NV 89101.

Back to School

With back to school less than two weeks away, I thought now would be a good time to remind everyone that many kids will not be retuning to school this year for their own reasons. What most young people don’t realize is that dropping out of school ads up to be a million dollar decision in their lifetime. Dropouts are a drain to our public services, our prison systems and tax base.

Help keep Nevada’s kids in school by donating to the Nevada Public Education Foundation’s Ready for Life movement. The goal of Ready for Life is to get Nevada’s youth “ready for life” with a high school diploma so they may contribute to society in positive ways. Click here to learn more.

If you are not already, become an A-Lister and follow us at www.twitter.com/alistmedialv.

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