Friday, June 26, 2009

Summer Heats up at Pinot Provence

Nothing inspires the summer spirit more than a BBQ on the patio amongst friends. A Pinot Provence, every Wednesday and Thursday night Chef Lulu brings her kitchen out to the authentic Provence inspired terrace and cooks a sumptuous Provencal feast for her guests while live Mediterranean music lingers in the background. Last night, the menu was launched and the mood was just short of perfection! In order to help you get your summer started right, I am including a recipe for the delicious Lillet cocktail that garnered the first toast of the eve.

You can now all raise your glasses to the Lillet Nouveau...

The Lillet Nouveau:

Lillet (1 shot)
Dash of Rosewater
Dash of Bitters
Lychee syrup (to taste)
Orange twist in a flute

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Remembering What Really Matters

On a rainy Thursday last week, I attended the UNICEF Annual Meeting and even after working with the organization for three years, the content was compelling. I already knew the heartbreaking statistic of 25,000 children dying a day die from preventable causes but sometimes a number is just a number and you can’t really get your head around it. That’s why a few of the stories of the day stood out:

- Cynthia McFadden told a story about a girl in a yellow dress standing day and night by her mother’s bed as she lay dying. She then played a segment from Nightline that aired in February in which she traveled with UNICEF ambassador Salma Hayek to Sierra Leone (yes the one where Salma Hayek breastfed a starving baby but more importantly, the segment that showed a seven-day old baby taking her last breath). Even so, the most poignant part of her speech came at the end when she said she would keep doing whatever she could to help children in honor of the girl in the yellow dress – it gave me chills.

- UNICEF Field Officer Silvia Gaya spoke about sanitation efforts in Chad but it was later when I got to speak to her one on one that I learned that she had been critically wounded in Chad while working there several years ago. Despite a more than three-year recovery, she longs to go back as she simply feels that it is her mission to be out there helping children.

- Finally, Pernille Ironside spoke about the atrocities in Darfur. Pernille was captivating – she seemed exhausted by what she has seen and done and yet so calm and matter of fact about her work. Over a slideshow of her own pictures in the background, Pernille talked about reuniting children with their families after they had been captured and made to be child soldiers and sex slaves. After she finished, the session was opened to questions but there were none as the audience seemed shell-shocked by what they had heard.

A day like that reminded me that no matter how rainy it is in NYC or how bad the economy is in the U.S., that nothing feels better than putting a smile on a child’s face because they have a full belly.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A year and a half after Oscar’s elementary school science fair project turned into philanthropic family business, the Youd family and their pit-lab rescue, Margo, celebrated the launch of Margo’s Bark Root Beer at Larchmont Larder. To help celebrate, Bark Avenue Foundation was on hand with some adorable furry friends looking for a new home giving party guests something to “aw” over. Larchmont Larder served delicious food including pulled pork sliders and barbeque chicken skewers marinated in Margo’s Bark, mini hot dogs and burgers, and lobster rolls. In my opinion, the main event of the night was the Margo’s Bark Root Beer floats served with house made ice cream from MILK. I knew from the first sip it was a match made in heaven. Just like Oscar says: “The best part of Margo’s Bark is that you can put a scoop of ice cream in it.” Touché my friend, touché.

In addition to friends, family, dog lovers and root beer aficionados, KCBS-TV and KTTV-TV were on hand to capture the event. Check out their stories below.

La Grande Orange featured in Serious Eats for their highly celebrated hamburger

It is now officially summertime and the hunt for the perfect burger has begun. In Santa Monica, La Grande Orange has one of the best burgers in town and Serious Eats was on hand to notice . Describing the grace and architecture of the LGO hamburger down to its perfect bun, meat texture and seasoning has me convinced that the perfect burger hunt starts and ends here. Just in time for Father's Day the quest for perfection is summarized in one simple bite! To learn more about La Grande Orange please click here: LGO Santa Monica.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Network

After 12 years working in the public relations industry, I finally got my act together last year and joined a professional organization, New York Women in Communications. I didn’t know much going in except that my former boss Joan Cear (managing director at G.S. Schwartz), a woman I respect and admire very much, was very involved and got a lot out of it so I figured if it worked for her, it might work for me. Joan suggested I start by joining a committee so I looked through the options and settled on Integrated Marking and Communications, which seemed most closely related to my experience. This was indeed the best way for someone like me, a mingling-averse homebody, to get involved in a professional organization – I quickly and painlessly got to know several women who could serve as “security blankets” for me at industry events. Rather than fighting my usual instincts to run and hide in a corner, I could now attend events that I was interested in and easily mingle with ladies I already knew.

As the year went on, I became more involved in the committee, regularly writing articles for the monthly newsletter and even getting the opportunity to interview one of the winners of the Matrix Awards (the Oscars of women working in communications fields) for the Matrix Journal (thanks Leslee Dart). In fact, the outgoing VP and Director recently asked me to take on the role of incoming Director, to which I readily agreed.

I also, at Joan’s urging, signed up to become a mentor and this past Monday met my mentee, who happens to be adorable. I never had a formal mentor/mentee relationship but like many of the successful women in the room at the orientation, I have worked with several women throughout the course of my career who supported my professional development and I wanted to pay it back. I look forward to seeing what will come of it.

As I reach the end of my first decade in business, I have learned so much but know there is so much more knowledge out there to be had. As things change at a deliriously fast pace, I can now benefit from wise women who came before me, who have seen it change before and lived to tell the tale.

Hit of the Week: Margo's Bark in LABJ

On June 1, our client Margo’s Bark premiered in a feature article in the Los Angeles Business Journal—the first publication to break the story of the line of new, microbrewed root beer. The article describes how the bubbly soft drink was first created in a messy yet breakthrough science fair project. Margo’s Bark Soda Co. has quickly become a phenomenon.

Looking for a sweet and refereshing afternoon treat? Check out Margo’s Bark at:

Friday, June 5, 2009

Some call it Synergy

Being a good publicist is all about contacts, and it's not just media contacts that matter. We recently introduced two new vendors to our client, Tender Greens. Not only are the new contacts providing great products for the TG customers, they are providing fodder for even more creative pitches for us.
The first contact came through a friend of mine. His cousin had recently retired from practicing law and started up a microgreens farm in his back yard in San Diego. "Perfect for Tender Greens San Diego!" I squealed. Even better, the cousin, Paul Reeb, and his microgreens business Green Castle Micros are located in Point Loma, almost walking distance from the restaurant. Tender Greens is buying up all the microgreens Paul can grow and BONUS! he also grows more than 70 varieties of tomatoes (all in his back yard), and Tender Greens San Diego is buying up every last juicy one.
The second contact came through a referral from my husband's boss for Margo's Bark, a tasty root beer which donates all profits to dog shelters. We picked them up as a client and referred them to our restaurant clients. Tender Greens immediately took a liking to the product and picked up the root beer for all three locations. Not only are they selling bottles of the brew, they're making unbelievably delicious root beer floats, which are already a huge hit in San Diego.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Powerful blogging, mixing new media and PR for maximum results

I’ve been a PR practitioner for six years and during that time, things have changed dramatically. Gone are the days of massive media lists and cumbersome press mailings. Today, PR is more of a niche practice, one that requires professionals to be engaged with all facets of the media. While Oprah may be the Holy Grail for some, other companies consider extremely targeted media placements on a blog as their home run.

A couple of weeks ago, I started reading “The New Rules of Marketing & PR” by David Meerman Scott. This book covers a range of topics for reaching a client’s consumer base through various mediums but I’m going to focus on my personal favorite - blogs. When you effectively deliver a newsworthy message to a blogger, you are reaching an audience that specifically follows that authority for niche information. The blogger’s reach (audience) may not be equal to an outlet like the Los Angeles Times, but smart clients realize that when their information is posted on a blog covering only cocktails, for example, readers of that blog have turned to the site specifically to find out where they should get their drink on in the city. The audience may be smaller, but they are certainly a more targeted one.

At JS2, many of our clients are food and beverage related, and we have stayed ahead of the curve by recognizing that bloggers such as Caroline on Crack, LA Eater and The Digest Blog (from Los Angeles Magazine) are highly influential in determining where a consumer will go to enjoy a vegan meal, a happy hour special or an environmentally-sound dining option. And while every client wants a positive review in the food section of their major daily newspaper, information that connects directly with those seeking it is always a win.

Over the next few weeks, as I delve deeper in to Meerman Scott’s book, I will share thoughts on my research and readings of the new age of PR. I do believe that this book is a refreshing look at how the industry has changed and I highly recommend the read not only for those at PR or marketing agencies, but also to those that rely on PR and marketing to reach their consumers.

For those short on time (or attention span) here are a few of my personal favorite blogs covering new media PR…
PR 2.0
WebInkNow – David Meerman Scott’s blog

PS – I am NOT a “social media expert”; I AM a quick study, passionate about public relations and a social media enthusiast…

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ivan Kane's Cafe Wa s Featured on New York Times Boite

Over Memorial Day weekend, Ivan Kane’s Café Wa s was selected in the NY Times Boite column in the Style section as one of the hottest new night spots in Hollywood. Drawing attention to the hip ambiance and vibe that is Café Wa s proves once again that Mr. Kane truly and actively always has his finger on the pulse!
Hit of the Week: New York Times “Wheels Blog”

On May 18, our client Improv Aware Driver was one of the first four DMV approved online defensive driving courses to launch in New York state, allowing New Yorkers to qualify for a mandatory 10% three-year insurance discount and a four-point reduction on their driving record, without ever leaving the comforts of their home. With the intension of beating the competition, we reached out to a sampling of high-profile media outlets to arrange for our story to break the morning of the launch. With a few personalized pitches and some additional follow-up calls, we were thrilled to get a message from one of the New York Times Wheels bloggers late Friday afternoon. After providing some additional information, a couple of website URLs and scheduling a few interviews, our story on online defensive driving courses was posted on Monday morning featuring a quote from the company founder, Gary Alexander and a direct link to our client’s website! Though we were one of four approved online courses launching that day, Improv Aware Driver was the only course named and described in the New York Times article. If you live in New York State and are looking for an easy and convenient way to save on car insurance, check out