SPPR Retreat: 8 Years in Los Alamos

While everyone is holding on to the last few weeks of summer, we’re usually counting down to our annual SPPR Retreat. Each year they become even more special thanks to our fearless founder, Dyan, and SPPR’s 8th Road Trip Retreat was definitely full of unforgettable memories!

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We headed north of Los Angeles and explored the charming area of Los Alamos, one of the coolest small towns deemed newsworthy by publications such as Infatuation and Travel + Leisure.. Nestled on the north end of the Santa Ynez Valley, the town highlights an amazing culinary + wine scene stretching down their main road Bell Street (which is 7 blocks long – in case you were wondering.)

Our trip started off with a curated SPPR Road Trip playlist while we made our way to Longevity Coffee for our caffeine fix and then Ostrichland for a pit stop. Feeding an ostrich is hilarious, and also slightly scary, but we highly recommend popping by if you want to have some fun and snap some amazing photos!

We may have missed the exit at first… but finally made it to the city of Los Alamos and indulged in lunch at Plenty on Bell. Team recommendations include: the BLT sandwich, sweet potato cakes, and the plenty burger.

After fueling up on all the good things, we walked down the street to Casa Dumetz Wines for an afternoon of wine tasting. Their location was gorgeous and we had an amazing experience tasting their three different lines from Casa Dumetz, Clementine Carter and The Feminist Party. A few of us also took bottles home – they were that good.

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After an afternoon of good food + wine, we checked into the stunning property of the Skyview Motel using our vintage-style motel room keys and settled in. This 1959 motel reopened last April after two years of renovations and now features an amazing pool, calming landscape and dreamy midcentury touches. We can also vouch that the beds were some of the comfiest that we’ve ever slept on!

After a quick disco nap, we headed to Skyview’s restaurant, Norman for happy hour and a quick game of “Never Have I Ever…” SPPR team recommendations include: chips + gauc, the french onion dip, the marinated olives + almonds and the Brut Blanca Cava.

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After getting our pre-dinner drinks on, we headed down to neighborhood favorite Pico at the Los Alamos General Store. Pico was founded in 2016 by a winemaker as a destination for eclectic California cuisine and they create innovative food from local ingredients carefully sourced from farmers who are committed to sustainable, organic and humane practices. Being the foodies that we are, we snacked on the charcuterie board and cocktails before our main courses of heirloom tomato risotto, double cut mangalitza pork chops, and the seared ribeye. Dessert consisted of warm cookies + ice cream.

After a few rounds of “What Do You Meme” we retired for the night and woke up to fresh coffee with a view courtesy of Skyview. After taking in the view, we packed up our things and reluctantly turned in our motel keys to head down for brunch at Bob’s Well Bread. If you head to Los Alamos, you must go here – everything is absolutely delicious. We ordered a variety of sandwiches, a few cobb salads and even took home a few loaves of bread for the road.

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Los Alamos was truly magical and we hope you use our itinerary to create a dream trip of your own! Company retreats are super important to help bring teams closer together and breathe life into your work. Have you ever been on a company retreat? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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SPPR’s Favorite Podcasts

At Soda Pop PR, we travel frequently for work and are a part of the daily #LATraffic commute, so podcasts are essential. From Oprah’s uplifting Super Soul Conversations to digging deep into crime with Dirty John, we all have a few favorites to keep us informed and inspired. Keep reading for a list of all the podcasts you need to subscribe to ASAP courtesy of the SPPR girl gang.

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Dyan | SPPR Owner + Founder 

My podcast library is a listening mixed bag of business/motivational, wellness, parenting and of course a handful of celebrity/reality TV when I need to zone out (shout out to: Almost Famous & Armchair Expert) My current favorites in weekly rotation are…

Business:
The Gary Vee Audio Experience: I’m a big fan of Gary’s style and share the same philosophies on putting culture first and not over complicating marketing. He’s blunt, wickedly smart and passionate which are attributes I look for in a mentor or coach.

The Modern Manager: Mamie finds the most insightful guests and asks really good questions. After listening to a handful of her shows, I reached out and she’s now my business coach. If you’re a manager on any level, add this show to your library!

Wellness:
Goop: I didn’t get on the Goop train until they launched the podcast. What I like most is that because of the brand’s clout, they land the best of the best in wellness, functional medicine, business, etc. Yes, it’s “Goopy” but in the best way.

Super Soul ConversationsIf Oprah has a podcast and you’re not listening, are you really doing this whole podcast thing right? Her series with Eckhart Tolle breaking down his book “A New Earth” is a GAMECHANGER if you’re dealing with childhood trauma or holding onto the past.

Parenting:
Unruffled: Janet’s advice and philosophy on respectful parenting has helped me navigate the wild road of parenthood. Her shows are usually under 20 mins which makes them easy to listen to when balancing work and mom life.

Mom BrainHosts by Hilaria Baldwin & Daphne Oz are fun to listen to and a little all over the place (hence “Mom Brain”) which totally works. They share advice from experts, trusted mom friends and get REAL!



Kelly | Account Director 

Lately I have been really liking the Do It Scared Podcast – Ruth, the host, is so inspiring and asks pointed questions and provides practical, realistic tips for making the most of everyday and improving yourself and your work

The Daily – I am consistently impressed by the quality of storytelling and insights by the New York Times and their ability to explain complex topics so simply – it’s a great way to start the day!

The Food Matters Podcast – Amazing interviews with experts in the health and wellness industry – listening to this podcast is self care!



Camy | Account Executive

Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations – Often times the key to having a good day is starting it off right! I have a 45-50 minute commute to the office and instead of racking my brain with to-do list items on my drive in, I like to practice being present and tune into Oprah’s podcast. Oprah’s interviews with thought-leaders, best-selling authors, spiritual luminaries and health and wellness experts always leave me feeling inspired and ready to tackle the day with a clear mind and positive outlook. The lessons I take away from this podcast translate not only to work but in my personal life as well.

My Favorite Murder combines two interests of mine: true crime and comedy. While these two genres could be seen as offensive when combined together, the comedy more runs parallel to the murder stories versus being about the actual murders. Hosted by two comedians, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, My Favorite Murder is a top 10 regular on iTunes’ comedy podcast chart and has an enthusiastic fanbase who attend their sold-out shows worldwide. These two ladies created a platform for themselves doing what they love and use their influence to not only empower women to think more strategically about physical safety but also to shine a light on mental health and ending the stigma associated with it.


Ashley | Senior Account Executive

Bon Appetit Foodcast – It’s a staple among the food-related podcasts and while there are elitist undertones that sometimes give the show a bad rep, I enjoy how @rapoport and the BA staff dive into the minutiae of developing their recipes. The recent episode where @moroccochris dissected his process of creating BA’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie inspired me to elevate my approach to baking. The content of the show toes the line of approachable and progressive, and I always find I learn something new about cooking, the food space, or find a new tastemaker I should follow by way of the guests on the show.


Samantha | Account Coordinator 

Dirty John – For anyone interested in true crime, this is your next podcast! Each episode sucks you in more, with plot twists and an ending that will leave you satisfied. It’s a great podcast to discuss with friends, as everyone will have strong opinions.


Jennie | Administrative Contractor 

The Daily from the New York Times – As a former journalist, contextualized news stories that feature more in-depth reporting are my jam. I want to understand what’s happening in the world, why, why now, and how to fit that information along with a larger (or more granular) picture. This 30-minute or less daily podcast is a great example of in-depth journalism that’s still digestible to the average person.


Sami Davis | Creative Coordinator 

The Modern Creative Podcast is a major favorite of mine. Christine and Dianuh, share every single dirty detail about starting and running a creative business. They dish out some real talk, like their business faux-pas, and also interview other small business owners about unexpected topics – think “art theft + how to differentiate your work.”

I also am a big fan of Girl Boss Radio. Sophia and her team acquire some amazing women guest speakers from a range of industries including, finance, tech, gaming, digital media and more. I love the diversity of stories and feel like I always learn something new when I tune in.

2019 Summer Tech Backgrounds

We’re counting down the days until Summer arrives (June 21!) with our new tech backgrounds inspired by nostalgic eats and afternoons at the beach. We hope you love them as much as we do!

Keep scrolling for waves, bathing suits, pretzels and more. To download, click the links below each photo and then save to either your desktop or phone!

 

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5 Questions: SPPR Moms

In honor of Mother’s Day, we wanted to take a moment this week to celebrate our amazing SPPR Mamas. Being a working Mom means juggling morning meetings with midnight feedings and our Founder + Owner Dyan Dolfi-Offutt and Administrative Contractor, Jennie Palluzzi do it with grace and style. Today they get real about navigating the transition back from maternity leave and how to take care of yourself as well as your little one.

Dyan Dolfi-Offutt: SPPR Founder + Owner

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Dyan & 13-month-old Ryder

How has becoming a Mom affected how you work?

In so many ways but the biggest shifts have been 1) quality vs. the quantity of hours: as a working Mom, I must be very intentional and focused with my hours in the office. I’ve learned the times of day that are the most productive and give myself grace if I need to take a break to reset 2) my newly complicated relationship with inefficiency: I’m more of a stickler for setting a desired outcome and hard stop for meetings now. Over the last 6 months, I’ve put processes in place to be more intentional with my time. and 3) embracing delegation-  my team has stepped up and grown tremendously over the last year. It took me years to get here but delegation is vital to keep things moving.

Lastly, having Ryder put my career into perspective. SPPR was my first baby and at times, I had an unhealthy attachment to my work. I do my best to approach setbacks and change with patience now. It’s so refreshing!

True Life: How hard was it going back to work? Do you have any advice to give other Mom’s transitioning back into their careers?

I’m leaning into the “truth” of the prompt because my guess is more working mother’s experience the extreme stress of going back to work but want to downplay for various reasons. Babies are still very dependent on their mothers at 3 months and most aren’t sleeping through the night. Getting up for night feedings and then functioning during the day was brutal. And it physically hurt leaving him all day at first because we had spent every waking minute together. Also, socially I was out of practice talking or thinking of anything that wasn’t baby so interacting with my team and clients was challenging. I suffered from a tremendous amount of insecurity for months post-maternity leave.

The good news is you slowly start to get your groove back each day. My advice for the transition is to lower your expectations, take it day by day, and give yourself space to work out the complicated emotions that come with adding the pace of work back into your new normal. I promise it gets easier and the rewards of having a work family and home family makes the chaos of it all worth it.

What are your top 3 brands that have carried you throughout motherhood so far?

Burt’s Bee’s – these One-Piece Bodysuits were my go-to for over six months. We had super cute/trendy clothes too but when you’re sleep deprived and getting spit up on regularly, these are a lifesaver. Fawn Design Diaper Bag – I get asked about my diaper bag often from moms and non-moms – it’s stylish and functional. I’ve even gifted the mini option to family members. Get Moore Sleep – I found Maggie on Instagram while researching sleep training. Her tips and guides taught me so much about sleep cycles, wake windows, nap transitions, etc.  Guiding Ryder to be an independent sleeper was hard work, but it paid off big. My husband and I got our evenings back and Ryder was happier because he was on a consistent nap and nighttime schedule.

Myth Buster: What is the weirdest parenting trick you’ve tried and did it work?

Being silly. Ryder loves when I do funny voices while changing this diaper or when he’s having a tantrum. The other day, he was NOT having it when I tried to change his  diaper. I pulled a very bad impression of Luminar from Beauty and the Beast out of thin air. At first he looked at me like I was crazy but then started to laugh. Then I laughed which made him laugh louder. The end game was a clean bottom and fresh diaper. Mom magic!

What’s your favorite memory that you’ve shared with your little one so far?

Everyday there is a new memory you want to savor and take a mental picture of (or 50 pictures and videos a day with your iPhone #guilty). Growing up, music was very important to me and I love sharing my love of music with Ryder. If you watched the Billboard Music Awards and you were a teen of the 90s like me, Paula Abdul’s performance was EVERYTHING. The next day, I played her biggest hit Straight Up for Ryder and embarrassingly tried to mimic her dance routine. Ryder was absolutely memorized. He scooted and grooved alongside me and every time I did a hair flip (mandatory diva dance move!) he hysterically laughed. The kind of laugh that could bring world peace it was so pure and joyous. My goal is to continue to provide and foster an environment for him to play, laugh, learn and be super goofy.

Jennie Palluzzi- Administrative Contractor

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Jennie & 19-month-old Evie

How has becoming a Mom affect how you work?

How hasn’t it? Hah! I have always been a go-getter who can’t sit still; I’ve managed a food blog since 2009, so I always had “work” after work. Becoming a mom meant I had to equal parts rally and step back – I had to work on self care (sleeping/eating/exercising enough) but also had to push through the exhaustion for the first year to find a way to coexist with the fact that this little person needs my attention and could at any moment need me fully. You can’t hit the snooze button on a one and a half year old.

My ability to “push through” is balanced with the fact that at 3 am Evie might wake me up. So I try to stop working by 9 pm and give myself an hour to unwind before bed. I try to be in bed by 10:30. I’ve also gotten better at really working when I’m “on the clock” and walking away even when there’s more to be done – because there’s always more to be done. I don’t save lives in my work, so I recognize that I need to take my work seriously, but not let every “fire drill” rule my life.

True Life: How hard was it going back to work? Do you have any advice to give other Mom’s transitioning back into their careers?

When I made a decision at the end of my maternity leave to not go back to my job, I was worried about what was ahead and if I could craft a job that really worked for me. I started slow; at 3 months, I worked part time with a client I had worked with in the past who told me to call her when I was ready to get back at it. Then, I signed my first retainer client at 5 months when another friend-turned-client saw my value. Slowly I built a client list, and after 17 months, I’m at a full-time capacity and Evie has transitioned into full-time daycare.

As for advice, it’s never one-size-fits-all. I thought I wanted to be a stay-at-home parent, as I’d been a nanny/babysitter since I was 11; turns out, it wasn’t for me. Let yourself breathe, let yourself change your mind, and try to put yourself first. If you’re not taking care of you, you can’t take care of anyone else. Talk to other moms you know, your partner if you have one, and other moms in your industry, and try to check in with yourself about your career. Don’t judge yourself by others; what works for one doesn’t always work for another.

What are your top 3 brands that have carried you throughout motherhood so far?

Primary Clothing – their stuff is so cute and non-gendered and I love it all. I definitely love buying clothes for Evie more than I ever enjoyed buying them for myself! Burts Bees Baby – their baby products are great for Evie’s sensitive skin, from their sheets to their diaper rash cream and shampoo/soap combo. Third, all of Evie’s favorite toys are from Melissa & Doug – they are mostly primary colors, gender neutral, and encourage lots of imaginative play. Evie’s current favorite thing is to pretend to clean, so we got her a broom/cleaning kit from M&D – now if she’d just learn to vacuum!

Myth Buster: What is the weirdest parenting trick you’ve tried and did it work?

I don’t even know how this happened, but it works for us: whenever I want to take something from Evie (turn off the TV, a book she’s likely to rip, a breakable coaster she’s gotten her hands on) I just say, “OK it’s time for XYZ to leave! Say bye XYZ!” and it usually works. Yesterday I told her that her learning tower (basically a baby step stool) had to go down for a nap, and she said “Bye tower!” whereas if I just took it from her she’d have a major meltdown. It’s working for now, so I don’t question it!

What’s your favorite memory that you’ve shared with your little one so far?

My current favorite memory (ask me again tomorrow) is this little moment we shared when she had just turned 19 months. She had lost a puzzle piece, and we couldn’t find it. I asked her to go into her room to see if it was in there, and she went and looked for a couple of minutes. Finally, she came back empty handed but with a HUGE smile on her face. She handed me an imaginary puzzle piece and said, “Here go!” I just thought, wow, your brain is learning at such a break-neck speed. What a cool moment. You’ve literally imagined the problem away. Kids are freaking incredible.

5 Questions with SPPR Featuring Karlee Sisler Flores

If you’re in the mood for drool-worthy baked goods and perfect lighting look no further than the Instagram feed of Karlee Sisler Flores or @oliveandartisan. Karlee is a seasoned food blogger and host of cake decorating workshops as well as the winner of Saveur’s 2018 Blog Awards Reader’s Choice for best photography. We’re excited to welcome this inspiring lady and friend of SPPR to the blog to talk foodie inspiration and how to get that perfect shot!

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1. What inspired you to start Olive & Artisan and are there any recipes/posts that stand out as favorites?

I was never a blog reader, so I have no clue what actually gave me this idea to buy a website other than being in a career I didn’t like and working hours that prevented me from growing my side hustle of selling custom baked goods from my home. Deciding to start the blog was a way to reconnect with myself and my passions again. And, more importantly, a way to create for myself and not a deadline. I’ve never looked back.

Some of my favorite posts are recipes that I spent serious time obsessing over. When I was developing the Perfect Brioche Dough, it was a blast figuring out all the different methods and techniques. I’m also very proud of my Concha recipe because they have excited so many people to make them and try something new.

2. What does a typical day look like for you?

I wake up around 7:15 AM and check my Instagram. Before I can be productive, I make my bed, take a quick shower, pick up the house, and slowly drink the darkest cup of black coffee before taking a look at my to-do list I made the night before. By 10:00 AM I am in the kitchen testing or shooting a recipe. The light is at its best between 11:00AM and 2:00PM so I try to get the majority of my shooting done in that time frame. I like to set my phone in another room and shut my laptop, so e-mails and Instagram won’t distract me. 2:00 PM is kitchen-clean-up then straight to desk-time so I can write, edit, e-mail, compare myself to other influencers, catch up on IG, support my other blogger friends, talk to my followers on stories, fix website issues, get anxious, schedule calls, plan workshops, keep the books, and brainstorm. I wrap up around up the day around 7:30 PM: sweep up any leftover e-mails, make sure my blog post is scheduled for the next day, stay active on Instagram, and make a to-do list for the next day.

3. Your photography is gorgeous! What are your top two tips for taking better photos?

First of all, THANK YOU. I’m my biggest critic.

  1. If the light isn’t right, don’t push it. Either find another light source or wait for better lighting.
  2. Study study and STUDY composition. Look for it in your favorite photos, paintings, even while watching a movie. It’s everywhere and learning to see it in unique places will help out immensely.

4. Where do you go for foodie inspiration when you’re a in a baking rut?

Right now, I’m obsessed with vintage or nostalgic recipes. I typically suffer from wanting to do too much rather than falling in a rut. Currently I’m thumbing through the very first edition of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook that my husband found on eBay. I try to not be too influenced by what the food community is making around me, so I can stay grounded and bring a unique perspective that might be missing.

5. What do you look for in brands that you collaborate with?

Generally, the brands I work with tend to fit into one or more these categories:

  1. I regularly use their product and I’m a fan!
  2. They are doing good in the community or for the world at large.
  3. This brand respects my time as well as my audience.
  4. This brand has an upscale and high-quality product.

DIY Macramé Coaster Tutorial

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Once an iconic 70’s trend, modern macramé is making a comeback and taking over your Instagram feeds in the form of hippie chic plant hangars, wall hangings, chairs, lampshades, and more. Today, we’re going to teach you how to make a simple coaster with two easy knots: the larks head and the square knot. Once you master these two moves, you’ll be on your way to being a macramé master.

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For this little DIY you’ll just need 8 4mm cords cut to 4 feet each, a pair of scissors and a hanger. Let’s get started!

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STEP 1: Attach Cord to Hanger using a Larks Head Knot

The larks head knot is essential for starting off most macramé projects. You’ve probably used this knot many times in your life and just never knew it had a name! To start off, take one of your pre-cut cords and fold it in half. Place the center-folded section over and under the hangar, as shown above. Place your two “tails” through the center-folded section. Pull tight, congratulations you’ve completed your first larks head knot! Repeat this step with your remaining 7 cords until all 8 cords are attached to your hangar.

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STEP 2: Create a Square Knot

You’ll notice you have 16 “tails” to work with after attaching your 8 cords using a larks head. Separate these 16 tails into 4 groups of 4. With your first 4 strands, cross the left tail over the middle two tails, to make the figure “4.” Place your right tail over this figure 4, as shown above. Cross your right tail under the two middle tails and up through the left loop. Pull all four tails tight! Repeat these steps, switching the right and left tails to reverse the knot. Tada, you’ve just completed a square knot!

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STEP 3: Complete your first row of Square Knots

Repeat Step 2 with the remaining 12 tails to complete your first row of 4 square knots, as shown below.

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STEP 4: Create Alternating Square Knots

The good news is, you already know how to do this! When starting your second row of square knots, leave your 2 outmost left and right tails to the side, and only use your inner 12 tails to create 3 square knots. Below shows a completed second row of alternating square knots, creating a lace effect. When you create the following third row, you’ll use all 16 tails again to create 4 square knots, similar to your first row.

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STEP 5: Finish it off

Cut Excess cord on the side you have just finished, leaving about an inch. Next, cut the cord that’s looped around the hanger, leaving an inch on that side as well. Take a comb to the excess cord to unravel it a bit and turn it into fringe. You just made a coaster! Way to go. Get yourself a cold beverage and break that baby in.

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SPPR Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

While Cupid is prepping his arrows for next Thursday, we put together our Valentine’s Day Gift Guide to deliver 15 swoon-worthy gift ideas perfect for your best gal pals or guys (the meat bouquet is the real MVP!) Don’t forget, February 13th is also Galentine’s Day… What better excuse to host a happy hour?! XOXO, SPPR.

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  1.  Sugar Paper Biggest Heart Around Card
  2. Seattle Chocolate Love Truffle Box
  3. Tillamook Cape Meares Cheese Loaf
  4. Hoya Heart Plant from The Sill
  5. Boy Smells Candle Trio
  6. Oliver Bonas Love Potion Pink Bottle Stop
  7. Ban.do Wellness Planner
  8. Sugarfina Candy Bouquet
  9. Smith Teamaker Lover’s Leap Tea
  10. Olympia Provisions Salami Bouquet
  11. Paper Source Self Care Kit
  12. Giant Be Mine Bath Bomb with Ring
  13. Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask
  14. Underwood Mei Wine
  15. Bad Girls Throughout History Book