6 Top Tips for Visiting Virginia Beach on a Budget


It’s not surprising that Virginia Beach is such a famous destination when you consider it holds the Guinness World Record for the longest pleasure beach in the world. And you don’t have to be a millionaire to enjoy its attractions as there are plenty of budget-friendly options.

The region is peppered with parks, so it’s possible to spend a lot of time just exploring nature. You can also attend one of the many festivals happening throughout the year or just meet friendly locals at the daily farmers market.

Have Fun at the Beaches

With such a long stretch of beach, you can choose to sunbathe with all the cool kids or find a secluded space to relax on your own. If you’re a feeling adventurous, you can book surf, kayak, and stand-up paddle lessons, which will definitely keep your blood flowing. Just remember to use plenty of sunscreen!

Peruse the Farmers Market

One of the best ways to explore a new city is to visit the farmers market, taste all the delicious local produce, and get to know the friendly vendors. Not only will you find the freshest fruits and vegetables, you’ll also contribute to the local business. Try to attend one of the monthly events or take your kids to an educational program on such topics as “making butter” or “grinding corn.”

Find the Perfect Accommodation

When it comes to finding a place to sleep, you’ll be spoiled for choice, as there are options for all budgets and tastes. You can take a natural approach and stay at one of the many campsites along the coast, or you can relax at the resorts and hotels dotted all over the region.

Shake Your Body at an Oceanfront Festival

Virginia Beach hosts several festivals and events every year, so try to plan your visit and attend one of them. You could listen to the steel band competition at the PANorama Caribbean Music Fest, dance salsa and merengue at the Latin Festival, or gorge on lasagna, pizzas, and gelato during the Festa Italiana.

Embrace Nature in Parks and Sanctuaries

Did you know there are over 18,000 acres of parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the area? Outdoor activities are often completely free and are a great way to immerse yourself in the surrounding nature and learn about native flora and fauna. If you head to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, you might be able to spot loggerhead turtles, bald eagles, and wild horses.

Be Thrilled at the Amusement Park

Your trip won’t be complete without a visit to the Virginia Beach Amusement Park. It’s an ideal place to take your family, as there are rides for everyone from little ones to daring adults. Make sure you check the day passes and group discounts.

It’s nice to know that Virginia Beach welcomes all types of visitors, so if you were afraid you wouldn’t be able to explore the area on a budget, this list, fortunately, proves you wrong. Grab your sun hat, beach towel, and mosquito repellent and make the most of it!

3 Places the Kids Will Love Exploring in Indianapolis


Indianapolis has many interactive, engaging, educational, and fun attractions for kids. While these attractions are great for kids, you won’t feel as if you sacrificed your ability to have fun so that your children could have a good time.

Like Disney World, Indianapolis has so many attractions for young children that you could make it a vacation ritual and always have a unique experience. Don’t miss these three places your kids will love exploring in Indianapolis.

1. Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Most kids find museums fascinating. What kid wouldn’t love to brag about going to the largest children’s museum in the world? If you have smaller children and you want to limit your excursions to places near where you and your family are staying, then include this museum on your itinerary.

This five-story wonder offers enough activities for dinosaur-obsessed kids. Your children will find plenty to stoke their imagination here. Outdoor exhibits include a dinosaur as tall as one of the buildings. There are countless activities, exhibits, and programs to choose based on your children’s ages and interests.

2. Rhythm! Discovery Center

The Rhythm! Discovery Center is located downtown where you are sure to find hotel accommodations to suit your family’s unique needs. Rhythm will feed your children’s innate fascination with drums. This is a drum and percussion museum where your children can have fun while they learn. Rhythm’s combination of education and interactive displays make learning fun for the entire family.

Enjoy performances from both local and national groups. Book a tour, host a birthday party, or rent a venue. You have an array of options that will allow your family to groove to the rhythm of your own vacation beat.

3. The Indianapolis Zoo

If your kids never tire of animals, include a visit to the Indianapolis Zoo during your vacation. Like many of the other attractions in Indianapolis, the zoo offers your children the opportunity to learn while having the time of their lives. The Indianapolis Zoo protects species that are at risk of extinction and teaches conservation awareness. The zoo exhibits mimic the animals’ natural experiences and habitats. For instance, the Desert Dome houses creatures like snakes, iguanas, and boa constrictors.

At the zoo, you’ll find a variety of animal keeper chats and presentations, such as the baboon chat, during which your children will learn more about how the species behave and socialize. The zoo also has age-appropriate programs that will make sure both your toddlers and your teenagers are equally engaged.

These Indianapolis attractions offer programs and activities perfect for any time of year. Kids will even have the opportunity to stay connected to these programs beyond their visit, helping them feel like ambassadors to the ecosystem and carry a self-imposed responsibility to conserve the planet and its species. Indianapolis is history-rich, fun, and filled with programs that are very important to the planet. Ultimately, these attractions will have a lasting impact on kids.

5 Must Taste Restaurants in Long Beach


After a day full of sunshine and ocean air in Long Beach, California, where do you go to relax and have a bite to eat? There are plenty of fine restaurants throughout this seaside town, but with so many options, it’s tough to decide. Here are five places you must try during your stay.

The Sky Room

Located in the Downtown area, this restaurant sits up 15 floors overlooking the city and shoreline. Surrounded by quality Long Beach hotels, you won’t have to go far to find this romantic spot. The Sky Room boasts a wine list with over 1,800 choices available and a martini bar with house-infused spirits. Share a charcuterie board and artisan cheeses with someone special while taking in the view. End your meal on a sweet note with their chocolate therapy dessert featuring hand-crafted dark chocolate ganache, Maracaibo Grand Cru truffle, and chocolate mousse, paired with a vintage port.

Sushi Kinoya

Offering fresh fish and delicious rolls, Sushi Kinoya will leave your mouth watering. Try the crazy spicy tuna roll for an extra kick, or the Las Vegas roll for deep-fried goodness. To continue your Japanese experience, you can take a post-dinner stroll through the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden just down the street.

Beer Belly

Beer Belly is the perfect place to satisfy your guiltiest cravings, and it’s open late for after-hours snacks. Named the Best New Craft Beer Bar in LA, this place always has the newest beers from breweries all over the U.S. If the distinct brews weren’t enough to draw you in, the chef has a way with comfort food. Try the death by duck appetizer, featuring fries tossed in duck fat with duck skin crackling topped with duck confit. Finish off with a deep-fried Pop-Tart topped with ice-cream and Nutella.


For a chance to try dishes that bring together two of the most mouth-watering types of fare, check out Seoulmate and its Korean-Mexican cuisine. Kimchi in a burrito? Yes, they did. Their spicy chicken burrito wraps chicken thighs, cilantro-lime rice, house sauce, sriracha, and kimchi all together in a flour tortilla. Find them on 7th Street near the Recreation 9 Park Golf Course.

Ballast Point Tasting Room

Looking out at the ocean from Alamitos Bay, Ballast Point has breathtaking views. The Tasting Room located there features beers from Ballast Point brewery and a menu full of goodies that will complement your brew of choice. The menu changes with the season so they can always offer fresh dishes like Alaskan Wild King Salmon and Lobster Roll. Find a beer you like? Purchase a growler to take home and enjoy even after your visit. If you’re interested in brewing your own beer, grab a starter kit from their Home Brew Mart.

Long Beach, California, is home to beautiful ocean views, famous historical sites, and stunning beaches. While you enjoy your visit, also be sure to treat yourself to dinner and drinks at any of these eclectic restaurants.

A Beer Snob’s Guide to Seattle


Seattle has more going for it than just beautiful mountains, stunning lakes, great coffee, and world famous Puget Sound. It’s also has a ton of wonderful craft breweries and is trying to give Portland, Maine, a run for the money to become the nation’s microbrew capital. Regardless of who is king of the hill, we know one thing, craft beers are awesome and Seattle’s cup runneth over. This is a beer snob’s guide to Seattle.

Micro Brew Basics

Microbreweries first started making the news back in the mid-1980s and the craft brew industry has been growing exponentially ever since. What many people don’t realize is that there are probably as many different types of beers as there are types of wines. Some people claim to not like beer when in actuality, they don’t like certain types of beers, like maybe lagers or pilsners. They might actually love a good amber or porter; they just don’t know because they haven’t tried them yet.

Where to Go

We like Capitol Hill and the Central District for the best craft beer. In the 1900s, Capitol Hill was Seattle’s auto row and people went there to purchase a new car or get service for their vehicle. Optimism Brewery renovated one of the long-vacant auto repair shops in the neighborhood and got the trend started. Their brewing equipment is in the middle of the space, so customers get an up-close look at what it takes to brew some of the best craft beer around.


Seattle International Beerfest is one of the more popular beer festivals in the area. It normally takes place right after the Fourth of July and brings in beer lovers from around the nation to indulge in beers from around the world. On the opposite end of the spectrum, is a newer festival called Brew Seattle. It’s a beer festival that focuses exclusively on Seattle-brewed beers. Of course, you can’t miss Seattle Beer Week, which takes place every year in May. With more than 200 events to choose from during the celebration, it’s a craft beer lover’s heaven.

Where to Stay

Seattle is a top destination for tourists from around the globe, so sometimes finding a good place to stay can be a bit of a challenge. We suggest looking to one of the nearby suburbs, like Bellevue or Renton, for more affordable options. Seattle has a great public transportation system so it’s easy to catch a bus or street car to just about anywhere in the area.

The Pacific Northwest has a reputation for producing some of the best craft beer in the country. In fact, more than 99 percent of all domestic hops are grown in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. In Seattle, craft breweries are on just about every corner, and to some people, beer is their religion. From IPAs to stouts, the Emerald City’s craft beer culture is alive and well. It has a little something for everybody, so call your friends and family, appoint a designated driver — or better yet take a taxi — and become a beer snob yourself.

U.S. Officials Say Trump Will Meet Putin Next Week in Germany


An official White House statement has confirm Trump’s meeting with Russia’s president Vladimir Putin in the upcoming week in Germany, which will be their first face-to-face meeting since U.S. intelligence has found Russian meddling on U.S. 2016 election.

In a press conference Gen. H.R. McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser, and Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic aide refused to answer on questions whether Trump will raise the issue on the discussion with Putin that Russian interference on last year U.S. election campaigns​ for president. McMaster also declined to answer what Trump hopes Putin would do on building trust between Moscow and Washington.

Pointing the issue McMaster said “There’s no specific agenda.” “We don’t have an agenda set up,” Cohn agreed, adding that the White House was “still finalizing schedules” for Trump’s travel next week.

The General said “Our relationship with Russia is not different from any other country in terms of us communicating to them what our concerns are, where we see problems in the relationship but also opportunities.”

In the meantime, McMaster said, Trump enlisted tasks to find paths to “confront Russia’s destabilizing behavior” including “political subversion here, in Europe and elsewhere.”

The meeting will held in the sideline on G20 summit Hamburg, Germany. The travel also includes plans to meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

McMaster said Trump is looking to “foster areas of cooperation,” adding that Russia and USA could work together to defeat ISIS, battle transnational terrorism, rein in North Korea and  end the Syrian civil war.

Future Jobs in Advertising Will Be Dominated by Media – Polish Up Your Media Resume!


Jobs in the advertising industry declined during the recession of 2008-2010, but now appear to be increasing again. Looking at the advertising jobs of the future, we believe media will dominate job growth. Available jobs will involve media planning, buying, and sales for both traditional and new media. Integrated communications will be key.

In terms of job opportunities, there are three basic functions which media professionals perform to connect ad messages with target markets: media planning, buying, and sales. To prepare for an advertising job, job seekers should develop a good understanding of media planning, media buying, and media sales for both traditional and digital media. (The future is integrated marketing and media.)

1. Media Planning

Media planning is the process of developing an effective media strategy and action plan involving use of both traditional and digital media.

The planning process first begins with an analysis of the marketing situation. Then, second, based on marketing priorities, media objectives are formulated that detail exactly what the media plan is supposed to accomplish, for example, including the definition and prioritization of target audiences the media plan must reach.

Third,strategies are formulated which will most effectively accomplish the media objectives. Finally, based on the media strategies, a detailed tactical plan is developed.

The media strategy and action plan incorporate the right media classes, the right media vehicles, the right geographic markets, the right timing, the right budget, the right number of advertising exposures, in the right media contexts, and so on. In so doing, media planning contemplates how traditional, digital, alternative, and marketing services media can help best address marketing problems or capitalize on marketing opportunities.

The end result of the process is a media plan, often called the tactical plan. The media plan details the recommendations and detailed rationale for all media activities and spending. For example, the plan may propose the use of magazines as the important medium for some particular advertising. The recommendation would include how much money should be spent in magazines vs. other media, in which months or weeks ads should be scheduled, and, of course, which specific magazines are most cost effective and best meet the magazine selection criteria.

Of course, media plans must also include other proposed media/marketing activities such as geographic market areas which should receive supplemental media spending, how often the consumer should be reached with advertising, as well as how the advertising should be scheduled throughout the year or planning period.

A media planner is someone who develops or supervises the development of media plans through a rigorous media planning process. The media planner may occupy any level in the organization; responsibility, not title, defines the job.

Now, imagine that you are a media planner. You have $3 million to market your product to male beer drinkers. An analysis of media alternatives for reaching this audience suggests these three potential strategies.

1. If you bought one:30 spot in the Super Bowl for $3 million, you would reach almost 33% of male beer drinkers all at the same time.

2. If you bought fifteen:30 spots on male-oriented, primetime, network TV programs, you could reach 65% of male beer drinkers more than once with 35% of them reached at least twice.

3. If you spent half your budget for display ads on male-oriented websites and the other half in men’s magazines, you would reach 63% of males twice each, on average, but in different media contexts.

Question: Which option would you choose? Why?

2. Media Buying

Media buying is the second type of job available in advertising and the advertising media area. People who buy media are simply called media buyers. Media buyers may be generalists or may specialize in buying specific media: broadcast or print or digital.

After the media plan has been approved by the client, the media included in the plan must be purchased from the media sellers. Buying is the process of identifying the preferred media vehicles, then negotiating with selling media to reach a satisfactory price and other important terms and conditions. The transaction is called a media buy, and the person who negotiated the transaction with the seller is called a media buyer.

Typically included in the list of negotiable items are price, additional time or space units, positioning of the ad or commercial within the media vehicle, inclusion of higher quality and more effective media vehicles, and value added features such as billboards (broadcast), turnkey promotions, merchandising assistance, programs to involve sales force and customers, and so on.

You might be a buyer with a budget and instructions to buy a specific display ad on the home page of a major search engine, for example. You find that the budget is sufficient to buy an ad on the home page of either AOL or Yahoo but not both. You therefore ask each of the sellers to submit a proposal, and you negotiate with both of them until one offers you desirable inventory at an acceptable price. After negotiating with the sellers, you may then select the seller with the lowest price or the best additional enticements. When you have completed the transaction, you have done a media buy!

3. Media Sales

Media sales or selling is the third category of advertising media jobs. All media have sales people who work on the local level selling to local businesses or on the national level selling to national advertisers and advertising agencies. In addition, opportunities exist in media representative firms who often represent media companies in the key markets of the countryt. For example a television station in Hoboken may hire rep firms to do their selling in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Detroit — or where ever.

What is important here is that media sales will likely be the largest employer of people in the advertising industry, and could be considered by those who have interest in advertising, professional selling and has accrued a little bit of experience in the agency business.

If you were the media seller for AOL in the example above, you might propose a media package consisting of X number of clicks to AOL for the one-time-only price of $5 million. But the Yahoo sales rep would be doing the same thing! Your job would be to come up with an offer better than Yahoo’s, including a final price and any other terms and conditions that would induce the media buyer to keep negotiating with you until you can reach a contract.


Tragedy, News and the Importance of Social Media


What do penicillin, soap, planes, telephones and social media have in common? They have either changed the way we live or the way we communicate.

Has social media really altered our lives and methods of communication? Yes and yes. In case you are still having doubts check out these calamities and tragedies where CNN and many major “traditional” media giants incorporated tweets, you tube videos and reports sent in by “contributors” from all over the world.

These social media tools affected the way breaking world news is being shared globally and here’s how:

Twitter: It is no surprise that Twitter is one of the best resources for finding breaking news and information. Maybe it is about the unrest in Libya, Egypt, Yemen or the very recent tragedies such as the Japanese 8.8 earthquake and the tsunami that followed. Users who are witnessing the event occurring right before their eyes update their twitter accounts via their mobile phones and it immediately goes online and is passed on by their followers. One other attraction of Twitter is the “trending” capability of this social network which allows users to search for topics they are interested in. Users use the # symbol, also called a hashtag, to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created as a way to categorize messages.

Facebook: In the same manner, Facebook allows users to update their status and share stories on their profile pages. This social media tool also allows for real-time ‘this just in’ news. Aside from status, videos and photos can also be shared and eventually be re-shared by their friends.

Google: The impact of the Social Media phenomenon is so large that Google has established a page known as the Google Crisis Response. Because people are flocking to social media as an alternative method to search for news about friends and loved ones during the occurrence of a natural calamity, the internet media giant saw the need for an alternative avenue to make critical information available and easily accessible during times of crisis by using technology for humanitarian reasons.

Until recently correspondents had to train for a very long time before they were provided the opportunity to be in front of the camera reporting the latest news. With social media everybody, even ordinary citizens who have a camera and an internet connection, can be a reporter for the day and send what they witnessed to news networks such as CNN for its Ireport segment. And during times when the network can’t get to the breaking news fast enough; the breaking news now gets to the networks — thanks in most part to social media.

So, if social media is still not a part of your life, very soon it will be. It is already a part of every major news networks “life” and ultimately, it will enter yours too.


Publicity and Media Tips for Small Business Owners


One of the most common complaints of small business owners is that they do not have the budget for advertising. While that is usually true, that does not mean you cannot get your message out there, and reach thousands of interested readers with the information you would like them to see.

The answer lies in publicity and media, and if it is done correctly, it is both free, and the perfect way to generate interest in your company, site or product.

The most common and well known way to generate media interest in your company, product, or service is to write a press release. You might not realise it, but most print and online news and media platforms are constantly on the lookout for free content, and most are willing to publish press releases about topics that relate to their niche. This is a free service, and since news outlets have high readership, including other news outlets and journalists, it is a great way to build buzz.

There are a few things that need to be borne in mind about press releases though. First, they are not advertisements. They have to be newsworthy in order to be treated as press releases, and they usually have to be written in a third party, objective style that presents the facts – not as sales copy!

A good idea is to take a look at other press releases on line or off, and make a note of the style that they are written in. That will give you a good idea of how to write a press release, but what about content? For that, you will have to find something newsworthy to write about. It could be the launch of your company, or a new product, or a successfully completed project. It could be a new appointment, or an upgrade to your services. Nearly every company, even small businesses, have at least a few newsworthy stories to share, and those are the ones you want to turn into press releases.

There are even free online press release portals that you can submit your news to yourself, which have a global following, and they are a great way to get started with your own publicity drive.

What about other ways of using the media for free publicity though?

Several people have used the concept of notoriety – by suing major corporations and pulling other stunts. Those methods may have worked for some people, but they are very risky.

A better idea would be to write an informative article on your industry or specialty, and submit it to trade publications in your area. If it is published, you will usually have your name, company information and contact details included with your article, and you could find yourself getting business that way.

Another idea would be to volunteer your time for charity events. Local news media usually cover charity events anyway, and having your name, and that of your company tied to an event like that can be great for your business.

Other publicity generating ideas could be as simple as running a competition, or as crazy as a world record attempt. As long as it is news worthy, and you make sure that people in the news and media industries know about it, it should get you the attention you want.

The main benefit of using publicity and media instead of traditional advertising is that it is a lot cheaper than paying for advertising. You can do most of the work yourself, or you can hire a freelancer to craft your press releases and other materials for you.

Publicity and media of this type also has a much larger audience, and if your press release is syndicated or referenced by other media sites, you may find that your website traffic spikes dramatically, and your sales follow suit.

Getting to know the editors of magazines and other print publications can be the trickiest part of the publicity and media process, but focusing on publications that are closely related to your field is usually the easiest way to get around this problem.

Deciding what’s newsworthy and what’s not can also be a learning curve, but if your press releases and articles are well written and topical, you should find that eventually, you are taken seriously, and your content is published. So why not start looking for newsworthy information about your business, and practice writing press releases, or think up new ways that you can get local media attention? It is a great way to get free advertising, and will certainly get your business on the map.


Entertainment News and the Critic


Entertainment news publications and online editions have sections written by critics. These could be movie reviews for a film that has released at a theater near you. It could also be the music reviews for an album that is slowly climbing up the charts. Critics have been panned by artists for centuries. Many artists relegate critics to the sidelines with the strong belief that they have taken up criticism only because they have not been able to create art themselves. But that opinion is not free from fallacy. Critics do their job and that job has a purpose.

The primary job of the critic is to inculcate good taste among audiences and viewers. Entertainment news portals are their media. Because a large chunk of the people read these entertainment news sites, the critics can reach out to more people with their views and opinion about things. The movie reviews that they write tell the audience what they can expect from the movie. They tell you if the movie ticket is worth your money or not. I’m not saying that you accept their opinion as gospel truth, but when learned critics say something, they must have some reason for doing so.

In the field of music, critics have a special to play as well. Music reviews inform and educate listeners about the trends of modern music. Being a connoisseur in music and performing arts, the critic manages to pack in his knowledge about music when he writes music reviews. The opinion of the critic is important for music reviews because the critic is well-aware of the different genres of music, be it Eastern, Western, jazz, blues or reggae. The critic pours out his knowledge on the entertainment news pages. Readers of these columns can only benefit from the learned wisdom of the critic.

Critics hold a lot of sway over the business aspect of the entertainment industry. Viewers go to the theaters mainly on what the opinion of the movie reviews is. They generally tend to head to the theaters with a pre-conceived idea formed by the reading of the critic’s opinion. The same happens in case of music reviews. Sales of albums feel the effect of a critic’s analysis, and if the critic happens to be someone of repute or from a respected publication, the impact is deeper. Music reviews are also important links in understanding the flow and direction modern music is taking.

Having said all these, I’m not saying that the critic is always right in his assessment. There are numerous examples of movies trashed by critics in the movie reviews but they have gone on to become blockbusters. Some, which the critics hailed as cinematic masterpieces, didn’t find an audience. The viewer or the listener, in case of music reviews, is the ultimate judge. Critics writing for entertainment news publications can only claim to be guides. They point out certain aspects and the viewer has to decide if he agrees with the sensibilities of the critic in those aspects.