5 Questions with Joanna Waterfall

This week, the Soda Pop PR team is headed to The Yellow Conference, a gathering for creative women to come together and get inspired to use their skills and passions to make a positive difference in the world. In honor of what is sure to be a major dose of girl power, we asked Yellow Conference creator and Waterfall Creative owner Joanna Waterfall to answer 5 questions about being genuine and chasing your dreams.

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  1. What was the inspiration behind launching Yellow Conference?

It was an idea that came to me in the shower – a place where our brains can finally slow down for a moment, allowing us to pay attention to our ideas. I had recently met some amazing women who were doing such great things in the world. I was thinking about how cool they were, and how it would be so awesome to get a group of women like this together to talk about and teach others how to use your gifts to spread good. I have a lot of ideas on a day to day basis (too many!!) but this was one I knew I had to follow through with. It was one of those things that made my heart beat fast, made me feel scared, yet totally excited at the same time. I knew it had to happen!

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2. Knowing what you know now, what pieces of advice would you give to someone launching a business?

I would tell them to think about why they love what they love first. What their strengths are and what their weaknesses are. What kind of help will they need to get to make their dreams a reality? What will they need to sacrifice and are they willing to do that? Doing what you love is the best thing ever- it’s an opportunity that we have in modern times with resources being so accessible to us. But it also takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice to do it right. Don’t get me wrong- it’s SO worth it! Anything worth having takes hard work, right? So if you are debating whether you should reach for your biggest dreams or not- I say go for it, IF you are willing to work your booty off, ask for lots of help, and not stop at failure. When you’re able to do these things- the world is your oyster! Make the world a better place by coming alive and doing what you love. Also, make sure you’re in it for the right reasons. It’s great to want to make money, but if that’s your main reason, you’re probably on the wrong track.

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3. We love that you’re all about being genuine, how do you work at this into your day-to-day?

I think a lot of us struggle with being ok with who we are deep down. So it causes us to act differently. We become people who we think the world wants us to be. Whether it’s the business world, the creative world, or even your friends. The world is full of people who are not true to themselves simply because they think they are not good enough. I struggle with this too. So for me, being genuine means being true to who I really am. To be ok with who I am and learn to see myself as enough on a daily basis. Whether I’m about to head into a meeting, hop on a phone call, or even write a blog post, I remind myself- you are enough. Just be yourself, if someone doesn’t like who you are or what you have to say, that’s ok.

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4. What does creativity mean to you? What do you do or where do you go to get inspired?

Great question! To me, creativity is being ok with doing things differently. With approaching work, life and business with a fresh mind, forgetting the things other people are doing or how “so-and-so” said it should be done. Creativity is being brave enough to do things the way you think are best- even if that way is different than anything you’ve ever seen or done before. To me, I love watching music videos and listening to music. I think I’m mostly inspired by people. I swear I was supposed to be a detective in another life! I love trying to figure out what makes people tick, why people are doing the things they are doing, and how people live their lives is fascinating to me. That being said- I go to people for inspiration. I people watch- which brings in my addiction to reality TV. My husband gives me a hard time about it- but I love The Bachelor and The Bachelorette- because I love digging into their minds and trying to figure out why these people are doing what they do! I know it sounds weird- but in some shape or form I’m inspired by people!

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5. What are three things you can’t live without?

Coffee, family (including my cats), and dry shampoo.

Follow along with all the Yellow Conference fun on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Find Joanna at Twitter and Instagram.

We’re hiring: Full-time Fall Intern (Paid)

We’re looking to bring on a rock star intern this fall. Candidates must be hard-working, upbeat and creative college students/recent grads with a passion for the food & beverage industry. If that sounds like you, read on.

Responsibilities include:

  • Assisting with general daily office and administrative duties
  • Creating media lists and event/campaign recaps
  • Researching, writing, editing and distributing press materials
  • Working as part of an account team to implement media plans
  • Tracking print, online, broadcast and social media for ideas and coverage
  • Preparing client bios, fact sheets, press clips and images

What we are looking for…

  • Organized, self-starter, takes initiative, is resourceful and likes a challenge
  • Strong interest in public relations
  • Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills
  • PC proficient, particularly in the Microsoft Suite, including Word, Excel,  PPT and Outlook
  • Internet research and social media savvy
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Experience in handling routine office tasks
  • Excellent people skills, attention to detail and amazing follow through
  • Preferably some experience working in the food and beverage industries
  • Someone who wants to learn a lot, have fun and grow with us!

Please send résumé, cover letter & a brief overview of why you want to join the SPPR team to sayhi@sodapop-pr.com.

This is a full-time (35-40 hours per week) paid internship. Candidate must be based in Los Angeles.

Childhood Summer Memories

From the music of an ice cream truck to the smell of sunscreen, there’s something nostalgic about summertime. This week we’re throwing it back to our favorite childhood memories from the time of year that was always the most fun to be a kid.

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“As a child, I loved spending the entire day outside with my neighborhood crew. We’re were a tight-knit group and spent what felt like every single second together in the summer. It was a simpler time, before computers/smart phones/Xbox, and we would put on our own street performances and invite the grown-ups to watch. We would charge $25 cents per show and advertise with chalk art. I have such fond memories of lip-syncing to The Pointer Sisters, Whitney Houston, and the Grease soundtrack, dancing to Michael Jackson, and just being silly.”

-Dyan

Kelly

“The memories I cherish most from my childhood are the summer vacations I took with my family. Every year my parents would plan a big trip and they never failed to be an adventure. We went everywhere from the Western National Parks like Yosemite, Bryce, and Zion in an RV (pictured) to a houseboat in the Florida Keys. Sometimes we had our Griswold vacation moments… but they always ended in laughs and were some of the happiest moments.”

-Kelly

Becky

“My favorite summer activity as a kid was spending weekends on the lake in Austin. My family would load up the boat with cold drinks, snacks and floaties and hit the water for the entire day to beat the brutal Texas heat. Whether we were parked in a shady spot to swim or cliff jumping into the water for hours, we had no technology distractions and nowhere else we had to be. When we’d come home each night, we’d have worked up such an appetite that dinner tasted like the best meal of our lives’.”

-Becky

colleen dunn

“Most of my childhood summer memories revolve around ice cream. Everyone in my family has a bad sweet tooth so it’s always been a fixture on the schedule and the quickest way to get someone out of a bad mood. I have one really vivid memory of the first (and last time) I rode bumper cars when they had to stop the whole ride to take me out because I was crying. I didn’t stop crying until I had an ice cream cone in my hand.”

-Colleen

Allison

“Growing up in California, we surprisingly didn’t go to the beach very often, so when we did it was a real treat. I remember going to Alameda, CA on a bright and sunny day to have head shots taken for some modeling I was pursuing. I was about 10 yrs old and remember wanting to just get in the ocean or play around rather than having my picture taken. Although the different outfit changes and fun active shots were really exciting, the highlight of the day was splashing in the waves with my dad, not worrying about how wet our clothes got, how we should have already been home for dinner, or if the pictures actually turned out well!”

-Allison

SPPR Retreat: Celebrating 4 Years

Between new team members and new clients, it’s been an exciting year at Soda Pop PR! To celebrate our 4th anniversary, we headed down the coast for a team retreat in beautiful Laguna Beach.

With friendly staff and adorable beach-chic decor, The Laguna Beach House proved a perfect location for our weekend away (and a tough place to leave)!

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It’s not a SPPR retreat without an awesome swag bag! Everyone loved arriving to find goody-filled beach totes from Wylie West Creative in their rooms.

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After check-in, husband & wife photography team Joe + Kathrina were on hand to kick things off with a laughter-filled photo shoot followed by enchiladas and margaritas at Tortilla Republic.

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Inspiration and relaxation were on the agenda Friday as Beth Penn from Bneato Bar helped us declutter our work lives and K. Mala Studio led the team through a creative watercolor workshop. Of course there were plenty of beach breaks and sunny poolside chats.

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There’s no better way to end a wonderful weekend than with friends, family and a glass of champagne. The SPPR team and guests gathered in a beachfront bungalow at Pacific Edge Hotel for a sunset feast overlooking the ocean.

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As we reflect back on 4 years, we’d like to take a moment to thank our clients, friends and families for all their support. We wouldn’t be where we are without you!

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Cheers to 4 fantastic years and many more!

Team Soda Pop PR

5 Questions with SPPR Featuring Milk Jar Cookies Owner Courtney Cowan

We’re pretty serious about sweets at SPPR. Which is why we couldn’t be more excited to announce our newest client Milk Jar Cookies! The Wilshire Boulevard shop is known for fresh-out-of-the-oven homemade cookies and locally-sourced milk, ice cream and coffee.

To celebrate our newest excuse to have cookies around the office, we asked Milk Jar Cookies owner Courtney Cowan to share some of her baking secrets and business inspiration.

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1. You used to work in television, what inspired you to take the plunge and open Milk Jar Cookies?

I’ve always loved baking, and specifically baking cookies. In my teens, I came up with my own recipe for Chocolate Chip cookies, and as I perfected it over time, it became very popular with friends, family, and eventually co-workers. After several instances of people mistaking them for “bakery” cookies, I realized I might have created something special.

In 2005, I began experimenting with a variety of flavors and started an online business. I loved the fact that, with each of the deliveries I made, someone’s day got a little bit brighter, and the end goal quickly became to go brick & mortar. I wanted a shop where I could host these people and provide a place to enjoy a cookie and a glass of milk. Come 2012, I finally decided I was ready to go all-in and make it happen.

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2. Can you share a piece of advice that you are grateful to have received?

My parents always encouraged me to follow my heart and trust my gut. Both of those things have served me well.

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3. What are three things you can’t live without?

Coffee, lists, Oscar Biandi dry shampoo (and our dog, Ollie)

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4. Where are you eating in Los Angeles right now?

Stout, Yuko Kitchen, and my favorite go-to: El Coyote

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5. What’s your number one tip for perfect cookies?

Make sure your measurements are exact. Every gram counts!

To keep up with Courtney, you can find Milk Jar Cookies on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

SPPR Picks for a Festive 4th of July

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We love 4th of July for its simplicity. Fire up the grill, mix up some drinks, throw on some red, white and blue and you’ve got all the ingredients for a perfect holiday weekend. Click through for our picks on what to make, what to wear, what to play and why “American cheese” isn’t going anywhere near our burgers this weekend.

Happy 4th,

Team SPPR

Top 5 Weekend Getaways

Summer may automatically kick vacation daydreams into high gear but sometimes a weekend away is all it takes for the Soda Pop PR team to reset and refresh. When a long holiday isn’t on the horizon, escape the concrete jungle with a quick trip to one of our favorite getaways.

1Zion National Park

Just a few hours from Vegas, adventurous hikes and unbelievable views await at Zion National Park. After all, you can only hike Runyon so many times.

Stay: The beautiful Cable Mountain Lodge is just steps from the park’s main entrance. Surrounded by mountains, the lodge provides grills for BBQ’ing as well as a pool and Jacuzzi to enjoy the views after a long day of hiking.

Play:  Majestic canyon walls and a shallow winding river will make hiking The Narrows a weekend highlight. Get there early to avoid the crowds and you’ll want to rent water shoes and a walking stick for this National Geographic rated stunner.

Sip: With the high temps and altitude, it is easy to get dehydrated in Zion so always have water on hand. When happy hour rolls around, the Zion Canyon Brew Pub offers inventive season brews and a convenient proximity to the Cable Mountain Lodge.

Eat: Enjoy organic, local food and gluten free options at Café Soleil. Added bonus: their delicious pizza and paninis are made with our favorite cheese: Tillamook cheddar!

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A drive up the coast from L.A. to Big Sur is the quintessential California road trip. We’ve all seen the gorgeous images on Instagram but the scenery of Big Sur cannot be done justice by photos or a secondhand account. Cell reception is spotty at best which makes it easy to disconnect, relax and begin that novel you’ve always talked about writing.

Stay:  The rustic yet modern boutique motor lodge Glen Oaks Big Sur is a great alternative to high-end properties, like Ventana Inn and Post Ranch Inn, or the various local camping sites. You’ll love all of the charming details such as fireplaces, heated bathroom floors, Pendleton blankets, and complimentary yoga cards and mats.

Play:  Big Sur is packed with hiking trails for all skill levels. A few favorites include: Andrew Molera State Park, McWay Falls (easy) and Ewoldsen Trail (moderate-difficult) at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

Sip: You can’t leave Big Sur without watching the sunset at Nepenthe with a glass of wine or a Nepenthe Bloody Mary, made with their house-made mix, in hand.

Eat:  Big Sur Bakery deserves a post of its own. If possible, go with a group so you can order half of the menu and not feel guilty. Don’t leave without trying their famous Breakfast Pizza or grabbing some addicting granola for the trip home.

3San Diego

San Diego may be known for beaches and beer but the laid back locale has a growing food and cocktail scene that refuses to be written off.

Stay: The pool parties are legend at the retro LaFayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows and its North Park location puts you walking distance from trendy stores, coffee shops, and microbreweries.

Play: Watch your favorite flicks poolside at The Pearl Hotel‘s free “Dive-in Theater.” Food and cocktails are available throughout the weekly showings with films ranging from Weekend at Bernies to Sex and the City.

Sip: For tropical drinks and Instagram-worthy design head to Fairweather, a vacation inspired bar that overlooks the ballpark.

Eat: Old books and clever signage line the walls of gastropub Craft & Commerce which offers bites like bone marrow or mini corn dogs along with off-the-menu mixologist masterpieces.

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We won’t blame you if you sneak in a couple Instagrams as you “unplug” and unwind with a wine weekend away from the city.

Stay: For storybook architecture that feels worlds away, stay in the Danish Village of Solvang. Wine Valley Inn and Hotel Corque are comfortable options with plenty of charm.

Play: If you occasionally dream about lavender fields, you’re not alone. The flower fields at Clairmont Farms usually hit full bloom in July and are open to the public from 10am to 4pm.

Sip: For a unique tasting experience, visit Saarloos & Sons’ tasting room in idyllic Los Olivos where you can pair your wine with a cupcake flights from Enjoy Cupcakes.

Eat: Treat yourself to cocktails and fresh fare at S.Y. Kitchen or go casual with beer, BBQ and bikers at Cold Spring Tavern which began as a stagecoach shop in 1886.

5Lake Arrowhead

Detox on crisp mountain air and lakeside views at peaceful Lake Arrowhead, a getaway that goes heavy on the rustic-charm.

Stay: Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa is located in the San Bernardino National Forest, thousands of feet above the city. You’ll come for the cozy rooms and stay for s’mores on the beach.

Play: Get up close and personal with California wildlife at Wild Haven Ranch, a grown-up zoo featuring snakes, hawks, raccoons and even bears.

Sip: If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that ice cream is always a good decision. Stop by Cedar Glen Malt Shop for one of their infamous malts, a perfect pairing to the shop’s Nomad burger: a bacon cheeseburger with peanut butter!

Eat: Authentic deli sandwiches and friendly service make the Hungry Bear Sandwich Shack the ideal stop to pack your basket for a lakeside picnic.