Mia Taylor

Celebrity & Brand Social Media Manager

Interview with A Soon-To-Be Social Media Manager

10/06/2017

I had the pleasure of speaking with a friend’s younger sister about what it means to be in the Social Media space, how I ended up here, and what she can expect upon graduating and looking for her first job.

Since I get asked so frequently about how I got here, what tips and advice I have to offer, and what it looks like to be a Social Media Manager, I thought I’d share her piece here. Enjoy!

“Author name removed
Visual Arts Business Procedures
Professional Interview
28 Sep 2017

General

On September 26 th at 5:30 p.m., I interviewed Mia Taylor, who was recommended to me by
my brother. He gave me her information and from there I emailed her about my interest in
knowing more about her career. We then set up a phone interview as she lives in Seattle.
According to Mia, usually her job would be titled Social Media
Strategist or Digital Marketing Manager. However, currently all of her clients are celebrities so
she’s been using Celebrity Social Media Manager as her job title. I chose to interview Mia
because the social media industry is something I’m definitely considering pursuing a career in.
My goal for this interview was to learn about what social media has to offer in terms of career
opportunities rather than just using it for personal entertainment.

The Interview

As a freshman at Manhattanville College in New York, Mia was recruited for their
Psychology department. Although she loved psychology, she left after a year when she realized
that it wasn’t what she wanted to do long-term. She then did Semester at Sea where she started
blogging and reviewing food. She would send her blog posts in email newsletters and that’s
when she learned that she enjoyed sharing information with people. After Semester at Sea, she
transferred to Pepperdine University in California, where she got a degree in communications
with a concentration in journalism. She was specifically interested in online journalism, but
because they didn’t have courses on social media and how it connects with journalism, Mia
worked closely with one of her professors to add it into the curriculum for one of their classes.
Later on, she eventually graduated from Pepperdine University. While Mia was in school, she
was also working at an agency called Wingman Media, that included services like marketing and
advertising for businesses in the southern California region. At the time, social media marketing
wasn’t really established yet; it was called earned media. Her position at Wingman Media was
what got her on the path from earned media to social media as it started emerging through
Twitter. While already having around 3,000 Twitter followers in 2009, Mia said that her active use of
Twitter (25-50 tweets a day) and all the networking she did were what led to the start of her
social media career. Something she wishes someone had told her before pursuing her career, was
that from the very beginning, you have to establish defined boundaries for yourself, know when
it’s time to disconnect, and have time away from social media. Mia’s been working in social
media since 2009 and celebrity social media since 2010. A typical day in her job starts at 8:00
a.m. where she starts off in her home office and works off and on throughout the whole day.
Typically, she’ll have one conference-call every day and she’ll post 3-5 posts across all of her
clients’ social media accounts. On average, she probably posts about 20 social posts a day, not
including engaging with previously posted content. She tracks social statistics for the pages she
manages to see which posts are performing well and which aren’t. Communication by email is
constant throughout the day regarding subjects such as press tours, book releases, season
premieres, and red-carpet events. For times when she has non-celebrity clients, things like what
sale the store has going on and how to promote it is covered. Mia also uses an application called
Slack which allows her to communicate with her clients and their teams. I then asked her what

she considers has been the lowest point in her career so far. She said that moving away from
California, her birthplace and home until the age of 27, was hard because it meant she would
have less face-time with her clients and some of them would want to work with someone local.
Now all of her clients are in Los Angeles and she flies there once a month or once every month
and a half. As for the highest point in her career, she mentioned how she’s been able to choose
clients who she has respect for and who return that respect for her and her work. A high point
for her has also been doing good work that people are willing to refer to other clients. As for the
work experience and educational requirements for Mia’s position, you should start out on an
intern level and find a mentor that can help teach you about the process of how they do things
like creating an editorial calendar, making social posts, and scheduling clients ahead of time. It’s
important to have skills in organization and creative thinking. A background in writing is also
very important because you have to spend a lot of time adapting your voice to fit the voice of the
brand or the person that you’re representing on social media. I also asked Mia what she liked and
disliked most about her job. She likes that there’s flexibility that allows her to create her own
schedule and lifestyle, and that she can work remotely. As for the things that she finds most
challenging about her job, she said that working with multiple clients can be overwhelming at
times and that while her schedule is more flexible, she also has to be available at all times to
ensure that she doesn’t miss anything. Social media changes quickly and the biggest part of
social media is being in the moment and ready to talk about things that are constantly happening.
It also means working on weekends and holidays. Then I asked her to give me one piece of
advice in order to pursue a social media career and she told me to read, study, and follow a
mentor and their process. I then asked Mia how she got her first big job, which was at Wingman
Media. She told me that she had a friend who worked there and that they needed a new writer.

She eventually got a job at a social media marketing agency for celebrities because someone was
following her on Twitter and thought she’d be interested. It was about knowing the right people
and being really verbal about the things she was looking for in work. I also asked her how she
promotes her business and finds new clients, and if your location matters. She said for someone
like me who lives in Charleston, it would probably be easier to get a job at a company that needs
someone to do the social media marketing and from there you could eventually open your own
business. Starting your career by working for a company would teach you a lot of things and
you’d have the reputation of working with them behind you. In regard to money, I asked Mia
how she decides what she’s going to charge a client. If you’re in Los Angeles, for example, you
would charge higher due to cost of living but you would also be doing a lot more work. There’s
websites like PayScale that tell you what people are making in your area. As a beginner, you
don’t want to charge so much that clients are disappointed when you aren’t providing what they
feel the value is. On the other hand, you don’t want to charge too little that they think that they
can walk all over you and take advantage of you. What makes Mia stand out from her
competition is her experience. She uses a portfolio to show how diverse she can be. When asked
how she saw the role of social media in relationship to being a successful creative, she told me
that because social media is always changing, you as a creative professional have to keep up with
it. It keeps you on your toes and makes you think outside the box. Lastly, I asked her what the
general salary range is for people with jobs like hers. Although freelance is different, a new-to-social
media “associate” working on a team generally makes 70,000/80,000 a year. It depends on where you live.
The cost of living is lower in certain areas and higher in others.

My Response

After doing this project and talking to Mia, I learned that social media definitely requires a lot
of skills. Networking is crucial if you want to succeed in a social media career and a background
in writing is also recommended. Honestly, I don’t think anything surprised me because I knew
social media was a hard job. You have to be willing to really put in effort in order to be
successful in the industry because there’s so much competition. I think a pro is being able to
create my own schedule because that can teach me how to become more organized. On the other
hand, organization is also a con because it’s something I’ve always had trouble with. I think I
have so much more to learn before I can even consider taking a position in social media.”

Instant Gratification

10/01/2017

I felt compelled to write about this…and I’m not sure why, since I don’t spend much time on my blog these days, and I seldom write about personal matters, but I think this is good.

In an age of instant gratification, and creating extremely busy lives for ourselves, I decided I would start taking 8 solid minutes in the morning to make a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal. Butter, a dollop of fruit preserves, and a dash of Maldon sea salt flakes. Why?

Things are always better when they take time. And…well, quite frankly, I was going from waking up to working almost instantaneously and that wasn’t working for me.

So, I started boiling water, stirring oats, and waiting… and I realized something. In those moments of waiting (and I do mean waiting…no aimless scrolling while I waited), I watched the water boil; even though I have an electric kettle that can easily boil the 3-quarter cup of water I needed – and reflected on the previous day and brainstormed my day ahead. It was almost a form of meditation. I took in the beauty of the “old” style of making oatmeal (“stir frequently”), was grateful that in that moment, I had one goal. Nourish myself, both physically and mentally.  Now, I’m not saying I never ate breakfast before, but when I did, it was usually spooning  yogurt as quickly as I could, or warming up some quiche frozen from the morning before. I rarely waited for the proverbial “pot” to boil. I’d feed the dog, kiss my husband goodbye, and I’d visualize all that was on my to-do list for the day as I got dressed and started my day. And now? Now I see why people make coffee and sit down with a newspaper (or at least they used to!). Maybe before meditating became trendy, that was how people enjoyed the moment.

My goal: make more “oatmeal” in life. Create moments for myself where I’m not rushing to cross things off my to-do list and doing things as quickly as I can, but rather, focussing on what I can learn about myself and the situation by being in it. I’m not saying you have to start making oatmeal, but try to remember that good things take time. Instant gratification is expected, but often creates frustration when things don’t happen as quickly as they could, or don’t happen the way they “should.” Make “oatmeal.”  Take time for yourself each day – morning, noon, or night.

You won’t regret it.

Editorial Calendar Google Doc Template

01/14/2017

Creating an editorial calendar for your social content strategy is extremely important. Not only does it help you stay organized, but it paints a more clear picture of the strategy as a whole. You can very clearly see what is upcoming, sort by date, see images in-line, sort by approval status, and so much more.

I’ve been asked to share my template for my Google Doc Editorial Calendar, and since I’m such a nice person (wink wink), I thought I’d embed it on my blog, here, to share with anyone who would like it.

If you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. It’s pretty simple. There are directions for adding photos into the cells, and very clear column titles that you can completely customize based on your client and the needs for their content.

To find the template on GoogleDocs, click here.

Daily Twitter Chat Schedule

01/11/2017

There are a lot of ways to grow and engage your twitter followers, and one of these ways is to jump in and participate in some really engaging “chatrooms,” if you will, that are meant to twitter chat schedulelink like minds and start a conversation. Since we’re not in the 90′s, “chatrooms” now exist outside of AIM or IRC, and in the form of public conversations grouped together by the use of hashtags.

Below you’ll find a twitter chat schedule you can use to find tweetchats you might find interesting. This twitter chat schedule is comprised of the conversations I find to be useful or interesting. New chats are added frequently,  so be sure to check back for more!

Twitter Chat Schedule: (PST)

Monday:

5pm – #JournChat – For the journalists in the twitterverse.

8pm – #Pubmedia – Chat for the public service media producers we know and love.

 

Tuesday:

9:30 am GMT – #TTOT – Travel talk on twitter, simply put!

10am – #AppChat – App leaders can use this time to communicate with users as well as discuss the “App” movement.

12pm – #ExcelHelp – Need help with excel? You’ve come to the right place.

7 pm - #SMManners –  A great chat about the delicate matters of manners in Social Media in the form of discussions and Q&A.

8pm – #Pr20Chat - Weekly discussion about public relations, social media and how technology is making big changes.

9:30 pm - #TTOT – Travel talk on twitter, simply put!

 

Wednesday:

10am  - #SMChat – All things social media! A fun and engaging tweet chat.

12pm – #JRCchat – All things journalism and digital media. The perfect place for journalists and editors.

12 pm – #OpenDiv – Diversity is among us, but especially when it comes to technology. Come chat!

2 pm – #EmailChat – Users submit both questions and answers related to blogging, online editing and email marketing.

6pm – #BlogChat – Join this chat if you’re a blogger and want to discuss blogging strategies and best practices.

6pm - #WineChat – Because what else do you really want to be talking about on a Monday night besides wine? Nothing.

8pm – #AndroidChat – If you have questions about the Android OS or just want to chat about how much you love it, this is the place!

 

Thursday:

9 am - #SMMeasure – How do you measure the ROI of social media marketing? Join this tweet chat to get in on the conversation.

10am - #SEOChat – Search engine optimization isn’t going anywhere. Here’s the place to ask questions and get tips from the pros!

10am - #HBRChat – Tweetchat hosted by Harvard Business Review discussing how current issues affect business leaders.

9pm – #Latism – An organization of latinos in the social media space.

9pm – #LBSChat – A chat about location-based social media and tech. Think foursquare, Gawalla and Google Latitude.

 

Friday:

2pm - WPChat – A chat between those using and developing for WordPress. Because WordPress rocks!

7pm – #Pinchat – Everything you ever wanted to know about Pinterest.

 

Know of one that isn’t listed here? Leave it for me in the comments and I’ll be sure to add it!

Creating a Great Social Post

04/17/2014

Creating a great post for your social accounts is more than just coming up with a one-liner and hitting “tweet” or “post.” Creating a great social post is all about crafting a mini-article you think will intrigued your audience and, more importantly, that will bring value to your audience. With that said, I’ve put together a step-by-step for creating a great social post.

Research: Get ideas from the web that relate to your brand/topic of choice.  Create your own caption using keywords that are relevant to you/your brand and find or create a strong image/graphic to go with your post.  Try to create content that is unique to your page, and work on developing a voice that can remain consistent among your Page’s posts.

Emailing: Some of us manage pages for other people/companies/brands, etc. This means we’re often emailing posts or uploading posts to an Editorial Calendar for approval by the client.  Sometimes posts are fine as is, and you get quick approval from the client, other times, you go back and forth talking about images or giving feedback on verbiage. If you’re posting for yourself though, this step isn’t necessary. Unless, of course, talking to yourself is part of your “process.” I don’t judge. ;)

Graphics: Spend some time finding an image (or several if you’re doing a photogrid or side-by-side graphic) and then I import it into Photoshop or Keynote (which is quick and easy for adding borders or text) in order to put the images together into a graphic. Screenshot that baby and you’re done with this step. If you’re pulling an image from the web, make sure you have the rights to use it. Otherwise, use an image you own or invest in quality stock images. Graphics are important for the post, so make sure it’s intriguing, high quality, and fits your caption. Be flexible and tailor your caption to fit the image, it’ll make a big difference in the reception of your post.

Posting: Format the post specifically for each platform. For Facebook, your posts can be slightly longer and be sure that if you’re @tagging pages or people, you’re facebook_twitter_logo_combo1tagging the proper pages, with the highest number of followers, and that are Verified, if applicable.

Then, replicate the same process on Twitter for the same post.  Most of the time, you’ll have to reformat the post for Twitter as you’re only given 140 characters. This means you’ll create an entirely new post, or make it into 2 or even 3 shorter posts. When you have a strong image, make sure  to leave enough characters (23 character per photo) for an image to be uploaded into your post.

Proof read: Before publishing your artfully crafted post, give it a once-over. There’s nothing worse than publishing a typo-d post and having to repost it. Or worse, leaving it up for the world to see.

Hit post! After posting, give yourself a moment to make sure the post is Live and looks good.
Have questions/Feedback? Tweet me: @miataylor

How I got into Celebrity Social Media Marketing

03/14/2014

Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 12.21.14 PMOk, it’s been a while since my last blog post, but when you’re managing everyone else’s social profiles all hours of the day, 7 days a week, it’s hard to want to buck up and do your own sometimes. BUT, so many people have requested this blog post, that I thought I’d sit down and do it already. Currently, I’m hovering somewhere between Seattle and Los Angeles at about 30K feet and I’ve given myself some time to finish this post. Why, and HOW did I get into Social Media Marketing for Celebrities.

A long time ago on a social network far far from here, I had a blog on LiveJournal. And while I’m sure far fewer people were reading my blog posts than I’d like to have admit at the time, it didn’t stop me from writing both creative and personal pieces. I key-worded my posts, added photos and did everything I could to get people to my blog. This was way before Twitter though, so things were a bit different.

Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 12.19.48 PMLet’s jump to 2006. I set off on a Semester at Sea, sailing from port to port for 103 days. We covered 12 countries in that time and I spent a lot of my down time writing, disconnected from the world, the internet, and my family. I’d connect to the unreliable on-ship WiFi for just long enough to publish my pre-written blog post and send a few emails to family and friends back home. I still didn’t have Twitter to promote my blog posts, so I did a lot of sharing through Facebook and email.

Come 2007 though, I returned home, unpacked and headed out for a movie with my mom when an electrical issue sparked a house fire that caused 90% loss of our belongings. I started to write more about that, the experiences I was having, and what I was learning from losing everything. I decided to start over. I decided I no longer wanted to be a Psychology major, and that New York just wasn’t the city for me.

In 2008, I started by buying my domain, tweeting often, creating a website for my travel/food/social media posts. That lead to my ventures into “Earned Media,” SEO, and “Online Reputation Management” for Wingman Media, an LA-based marketing agency.  After about a year hiatus from traditional “education”, I Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 12.25.47 PMtransferred to Pepperdine University to Major in Communications with an emphasis in Journalism. I kept my freelance clients and brought on new clients. I worked 30 hrs a week and maintained 15-18 Units. Don’t ask me how I managed a social life, because I have NO idea, but I did!

I kept up with my personal social profiles, blogged a lot about the things I was passionate about, and went to a LOT of events of all kinds. I handed out my cards, connected with people afterwards, and grew my client-base. I did that for 2 more years, all while attempting to graduate in a timely manner. Taking a year off after a semester abroad meant that I had to make up for “lost” time. In reality, it taught me a lot, and I wouldn’t take it back. It wasn’t until 2010 though that I took a full-time employed position. I had loved the flexibility I was able to have to continue my travels and studies while managing my own clients, but I got an offer I couldn’t refuse.

I was on Twitter when an acquaintance I’d met at an event for Yelp contacted me saying the start-up she was working at was looking for Social Media Managers to manage celebrity profiles, and that I was a perfect fit. I scheduled a meeting with the team members at TheAudience at the William Morris Endeavor offices in Beverly Hills, and landed the job. I was then part of  a nine-person team running anywhere from 5-15 celebrities pages at a time. It was a fun, challenging rush and I loved the group I was working with. As the company grew from nine to 50, roles shifted, teams were split up and divided by genre of client, and after a year I wasn’t feeling like it was the permanent job I had wanted it to be. I LOVED the people, but wasn’t able to find a niche I was REALLY passionate about. A few months after leaving the company, I was approached by my former boss and was asked if I’d have the bandwidth to take on some of the clients they weren’t able to manage themselves either because of conflicts of interest or other reasons. I couldn’t pass up that opportunity either, so I added their clients to my then current client roster. 4 years later and I’m doing Celebrity Social Media Marketing.

Some may say I hit a lucky streak and was in the right place at the right time, but I like to think that making smart choices and putting myself in front of the right people was the real reason I got the opportunities that I did. In any case, I love what I do, and although it can be demanding and stressful at times (especially during Awards season or Fashion Week) it gives me the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world that I’d like to be.

Nowadays, I’m in between Los Angeles and Seattle every month or so, traveling and exploring for the best food spots to share with my Twitter friends and loving life. Oh and I manage to take a lot of photos in between exploring Seattle and being in LA.

Top Tips For Twitter

09/30/2013

It’s about time I published another blog post, between clients and summer travels, I’ve slacked off completely on blog posts. When thinking about a topic to share, I decided that while some of my readers are well-versed in the area of Twitter and Social Media, many aren’t, but want to know some of the Do’s and Don’ts of the social network. Here are my top tips for twitter:

1.  Your niche. Whatever it is that you’re interested in, or whatever you’re looking to promote on Twitter, become part of that niche. Find Hashtags surrounding that niche and follow others talking about similar things. Engage with others interested in the same things you are.

Ex: Mine are Social Media Marketing, Travel, Wine/ Food.
Social Media: I Tweet, RT, and reply to tweets on this subject and people will either reply with their 2 cents or RT.
Travel: I don’t travel as widely around the world now as I used to, so I mainly follow other travelers, share photos/experiences, and use it as a means to engage with other travelers.
Food/Wine: I am a big foodie, and most of my followers know that. I often post photos of food on Instagram and will post it to twitter as well.

2. Personality. Show it. It’s ok to be yourself, let your guard down, and engage with people on twitter. In fact, it’s encouraged, however, you’ve got to have some kind of filter. We don’t want to hear about your every move throughout the day. Be informative.

3. Automating! People, the WORST thing you can do for your social presence, other than ignore it completely, is to automate direct messages and automatically post your Facebook posts on twitter. Because Twitter only allows for 140 characters, posts from Facebook are truncated on Twitter, making it look unprofessional and lazy.

I wish I could remember who said it, but I read someone say once “I feel like I’ve just lost the lottery when I follow someone and get an auto DM right afterwards.” Some of us use our DM to communicate and touch base with followers, so getting auto-DMs about a new book release is just spam that we have to take the time to delete. If you’re going to promote something, doing it in real time is far more effective and makes you look less like a bot.

4. Consistency: This is key. Posting 9 tweets back-to-back within 10 minutes and then going on hiatus for 2 weeks isn’t as respected within the “twitterverse” as being consistently vocal is. That said, it’s difficult to manage your own social accounts (that’s why celebs hire someone like me! Ain’t no one got time fo ‘dat!)

5. Know yourself. Your twitter bio says a lot to people in a short time. Mashable recently posted an article on how your bio can affect being “followed” by other users, and while it’s not fool-proof, it’s great advice. The gist of it is to know that people make a decision to follow you within a few short seconds. Put your best foot forward.

Bonus: Here’s a glossary for all of Twitter’s jargon. It’s not one of my top tips for Twitter, but it’s extremely helpful!

Next blogpost, I’ll be sharing some of the links and resources I send to friends and family when they ask for help with learning about Social Media!

Social Media Events in and around Seattle, WA

03/29/2013

Hey Everyone! As some of you know, I’ve recently relocated from sunny, traffic-ridden Los Angeles, to Kirkland, WA and have been getting really excited about starting to create a new network of Social Media Marketers and generally anyone in the tech industry.

That said, I was looking around for social-related events in the great Seattle area and found that there lacked a comprehensive list. So I decided to start one myself, and work on updating it regularly.

Miataylor.com is currently under construction, as I’m in the process of a complete overhaul & much needed update, so please forgive any glitches you may come across.
Here is a working list of some of the events I’m finding:

Social Media:
April 1 – Online - Spice Up Your Social Media Campaign 
May 6th – Victoria, BC – Social Media Camp
June 6 – Seattle, WA - Wappow! Social Day

All Things Marketing:
April 15th – Bellevue, WA - LinkedIn Search Optimization
April 23rd – Seattle, WA – Niche Marketing, Why, How to, and Now What?
June 3rd – Seattle, WA – Emerging Media Conference
May 25th – Victoria, BC – Marketing Mastery Summit

Start-up Related:
April 2nd – Seattle, WA –  Seattle start-up Open Coffee

For Organizations:
April 16th – Victoria, BC  - Perfect Presence: Shape the Right Digital Space for your Organization

 

Here are some Meetup groups dedicated to holding Social Media meetups frequently:

Seattle Social Media Monthly Meetup

Sip & Socialize

Seattle Web Marketers

Seattle Entrepreneurs

Restaurants With Stories

01/31/2013

Restaurants with Stories: Southern California Edition

When it comes to good food, my standards are a bit unorthodox. I look for a story and a passion for food that has been built into the framework of the business. I have travelled a better portion of the Southern California region in search of restaurants whose beginnings are unique, and whose mission it is to step outside the box of culinary tradition and create food worth talking about. My goal has been to find those places and create relationships with the owners, learn about their unconventional menus and share their stories.

What sparked it all? A routine shopping trip to Whole Foods market several years ago now.  Strolling down the isle, I reached for a frozen pizza I had yet to try. Being that it was frozen, I wasn’t expecting anything extraordinary, but when I cooked it that night, I was surprised and delighted by all that my tastebuds were experiencing- a frozen, culinary masterpiece.

On the back of the box, I read into the history of the company and what makes their bakery unique. Doubling as a restaurant on the weekend and receiving all their ingredients from local farmers (within 40 miles of the bakery), Full of Life Flatbread became a new gastronomic obsession that made my mouth water and my stomach crave for more. Located just 2 hours North of my home, I ventured to the “bakery” before they were to open for dinner that Saturday night.

When I arrived, Clark Staub, a Los Angeles native in the music industry (formerly the VP of Marketing for Capitol Records) and now owner of Flatbread Full of Life restaurant in Los Alamos, Full of Life Flatbread Pizzadirected our attention to the fresh fava beans and pink lemons that had just arrived. Never before had I seen such a production, and from there, I decided there must be more places like Flatbread- and so my journey began.

Clark Staub welcomed me and guided me through their facility- all the while; new ingredients for tonight’s meal were arriving. I was lucky enough to taste their homemade pink lemon whipped cream and witness the making of the Fabergé Egg-inspired chocolate eggs filled with fresh berries and crème. The night was quickly approaching and I headed back to my hotel to jot down notes of amazement. As I did so, I Google-d keywords like “organic unique restaurants,” “great restaurants with great owners” and the like.

For dinner, I made my way back to Flatbread and dined on some of the most delectable Pepperoni and Poblano Pepper Pizza (my favorite combination of ingredients to this day), Clam Stew, Duck Confit Salad followed by a variety of other fresh flatbread wood fired pizzas. All of which had been prepared that afternoon by ingredients from friendly farmers I met that afternoon. While the Poblano pizza was among my favorite items, I was particularly intrigued by a flatbread pizza topped with cooked Stinging Nettles.  Yes, poisonous, stinging nettles.  When cooked properly, nettles are devoid of their poison and are actually quite a tasty and unique addition to a pizza.

It is restaurants like Flatbread that intrigue me and create a whole new idea of eating out. Not only are their ingredients fresh and organic, the passion behind the preparation is evident in each bite of the meal. Setting a new standard of expectations for food, restaurants like Flatbread raise that the bar.

While it is far more common to find Los Angeles professionals-turned-passionate outside of the L.A. area pursuing a life of simplicity and passionate culinary expression, another great restaurant with a story lies right in the middle of our own City of Angels.

Philippe’s, a famous French-dipped sandwich deli just around the corner from Chinatown, also has a unique story. A story of the invention of a world-renowned staple in the lives of Los Angeles foodies.

Established in 1908 by Philippe Mathieu, a sandwich deli had it’s big break when a French roll dropped into a roasting pan filled with hot juice and because the Police officer that ordered the Phillipe's French Dipsandwich was in a rush, he decided he’d take the sandwich anyways. Amazed by the taste, the police officer returned with a group of friends to try this “French Dipped Sandwich.” Even today, the same deli offers a variety of “French dipped” sandwiches alongside unique dishes like Pickled Beets, Navy Bean soup and even offers wine and beer.

Philippe’s menu is not the only unique aspect of the restaurant though, their ordering process can catch new visitors off-guard but creates a distinctive culture. The long, deli-style counter is operated by “Carvers,” many of whom have worked there for more than a decade and have mastered the art of speedy service.

There is something to be said about an old-fashioned deli-style French Dipped sandwich that earns accolades from esteemed journalists of the New York Times, L.A. Herald Examiner and the Los Angeles Daily News. New York Times’ own MacDonald Harris in an article titled “Real Food in L.A.” wrote “…There is an air of camaraderie among the customers, a kind of unspoken friendliness and consideration that’s rare in a big city…” Whether it’s the type of customers it attracts or the mutual respect for good food among customers, Harris hit the nail on the head in his 1990 article about Real L.A. food.

Although their food brings customers from afar, the décor is a large part of the whole “Philipe-ian” experience and leaves a lasting impression. Philippe’s has had the same furniture and décor as the day it was opened, making sitting in Philippe’s a time- warp in the keenest sense. A red phone booth sits across the room while a baseball game blares on the oversized, outdated television and sawdust is swept beneath the shuffle of hungry passersby. The family-style seating is reminiscent of the early 20th century industrial cafeterias, yet lends itself to a uniquely inviting meal. There is a rarity among restaurants that share these inimitable qualities and Philippe’s is among the few great dining experiences.

While Philippe’s may be a trek to some on the West side of Los Angeles, west- siders have a unique and curious eatery of their own to indulge in. The Curious Palate, aptly named, boasts a slogan of “Eat Well, Have Fun, Get Curious” for reasons one can only understand by experience. Fortunately, my goal is to share those experiences.

As you enter into the modest, street-side eatery, it’s difficult not to take notice of the repurposed materials used for the Menu blackboards, counter tops and kitchen doors, giving The Curious Palate a rustic and antique feel. The original 1940’s ceiling beams and slate paint made from eggshells produces a sustainable restaurant that focuses on culinary preparation rather than high-end design.

The Curious Palate, formed by a Diplomat’s son- Mark Cannon and Agricultural Engineer and product developer- Elliot Rubin is just a hobby for them. Keeping their day-jobs intact, The CuriousThe Curious Palate Palate allows Elliot and Mark to find joy in creative meals without the pressure of living off of its revenue.

Revolutionizing the perception of healthy, delicious fare, The Curious Palate offers meals like the infamous Meatloaf Burger- a tender, juicy, all-organic burger served with a homemade caper sauce on a fresh brioche roll and a side of lemon infused green beans with pieces of potato and Asian pear. Although definitely not cheap, this may be the best item on their curiously diverse menu.

Another great but not-so-Southern-California destination that makes the oenophile in my squeel with joy is a not-so-foodie destination, but equally worthy of being mentioned as the story is one to surely melt your heart. Saarloos and Sons winery is situated in a tiny town just 40 minutes North of Santa Barbara, and while it’s not technically a “restaurant” per se, it definitely feeds my soul.

Upon entering the “tasting house” for our first tasting of Saarloos wine, we were welcomed with sarcastic humor and open arms – and a confident proclamation of our nerdiness. I admit, I am anerd, but a proud, wine-loving nerd to be sure.

In any case, I ventured around the quaint tasting house and struck up conversation with Harvard alum, former Caligraphy Club President, and Saarloos Son, Keith Saarloos.

Saarloos and Sons wine

It didn’t take long to realize that their business was more about the business of loving what they do than making as much money as physically possible. It gave life to the experience -and rather than being left to entertain ourselves amongst strangers, we were treated like an extension of the Saarloos family. With the strategic placement of family photos, the smell of delectable wine-inspired cupcakes and genuine love for the place, the “tasting house” as it’s called, became a place with a name, a family and a heartfelt selection of wines aptly named after family members and events that best represented the wines.

Whether it’s wine, food or experiences in general -when you combine passionate owners, sustainable décor, and organic ingredients, you’re surely in for a surprise. Philippe’s, Flatbread, Saarloos and Sons, and The Curious Palate surprise and delight customers because they share the things that make them unforgettable experiences. They make dining (and drinking) more than just the mere purchase and consumption of calories. And isn’t that what it should be about?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic Tips For New Bloggers

09/24/2012

Blogging. “Anyone can do it,” sure, but it takes time, dedication and consistency to become a truly great blogger. One that people come back to – one that people connect with and one basic tips for bloggerswho conveys their passion to their readers.

Occasionally, it’s about search engine optimization as well.  Much of your blog success comes from making sure you’re seen on the web where you should be. The following are several basic tips for new bloggers. They’re about productivity, SEO best practices, common-sense tips we often forget about.

Find a muse. Due your research and find someone related to your topic, read their story, their blog posts, study their products (whether it be DIY, painting, home decor, mommy-ing, you name it).

You can never have too many drafts. Writer’s block claims the productivity of far too many writers each year. So, if you get an idea, start a quick draft and come back to it when you’re not already working on a blog post. Starting a post and finishing it in the same sitting isn’t always best practice, allowing posts to sit also allows the content to marinade in your thoughts before you publish it.

Clear off your desk. Whether you’d like to think it or not, having a tidy workspace is like having a clear mind. Only then can you formulate ideas and thoughts.

Notepad. Notedpad. Notepad. By your bed, in your laptop bag, an app on your phone, your tablet, anywhere. You have to be ready for inspiration to hit you -when you least expect it. Because it will.  I like to use an app called Evernote – It syncs online with my computer and my phone – but I always fall back on my trusty pen and paper when I get an idea. There’s something motivating about jotting down your current thoughts and a few lines of abstract thoughts.

basic tips for new bloggers

SEO. Search Engine Optimization. Don’t get overwhelmed. SEO basics are to make sure that the title of your blog match the words in your content. So, if your title is “Basic Tips forNew Bloggers,” you might want to mention that same phrase a few times. See what I did there? ;)

Have someone eyeball your work. There’s nothing worse than delving into someone’s latest blog post only to find spelling errors and misplaced punctuation. It takes from the reader’s experience and disrupts the flow. That said, when I migrated from my templated WordPress theme to my current, custom-designed theme, much of the text was warped. I had to go through each post and correct the apostrophes.

Set a routine schedule. Consistency is key! We all fall victim to forgetting our blogs when life gets busy, but keeping a regular schedule is ideal. I try to jot down ideas once a week and write once a week (while maintaining my clients’ Social Media Marketing) so I still feel like I’m managing my own as well. If you’re feeling ambitious, set 2 or 3 days a week to research and write. The moment you lose motivation on a post – save the draft and move on. You can always come back!

Starting a new blog can be… intimidating to say the least. Hope these few basic tips for new bloggers has helped give you some guidance. And feel free to leave a comment or tweet me if you have any questions!

 

 

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