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.

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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 Holiday Gift Guide 2018

The holiday season is officially here which means if you’re like us, you’re unpacking the string lights, queuing up The Holiday and trying to find that perfect gift for the pickiest person on your list. To help with that last one, we’ve rounded up a couple of our go-to gifts from the team’s favorite brands. (P.S. It’s totally cool with us if you end up ordering something for yourself, too!) Happy shopping!

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  1. Tillamook White Chocolate Peppermint Bark Ice Cream
  2. Poketo Minimalist Folio
  3. Sweet Honey Farmacy Immune Boost
  4. Wildsam Field Guides
  5. Heart Coffee
  6. Union Wine Company Underwood Rosé Bubbles
  7. Seek & Swoon Throw
  8. Schoolhouse Stendig Calendar
  9. Smith Teamaker Holiday Tea Trio
  10. Katie Dean Two Gem Ring
  11. Milk Jar Cookies
  12. Things Will Work Out Pin
  13. Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate Bars
  14. Cherry Bombe: The Cookbook
  15. 2019 Large 12-Month Annual Planner: This Will Be My Year
  16. Aesop Primrose Facial Hydrating Cream
  17. Calidad Beer

5 Questions with SPPR Featuring Sam Hampar

This week we’re excited to welcome our newest team member, Samantha Hampar! Sam joins Soda Pop PR with influencer and digital marketing experience and a love for all things food & beverage.  Read on to learn what brought Sam back to LA from Austin, where she would go with unlimited funds, and her perfect food day if distance (and calories!) weren’t an issue.

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1. You recently moved back from Texas, what did you miss most about Southern California?

As an LA native, you really do take the weather for granted. I moved to Austin in an October and it didn’t drop below 100 degrees with 80% humidity until November. (This is partly where I get my love of sundresses.) Besides the weather, I missed my family most. When I ended up staying in LA for college (USC, fight on!) I promised myself that I’d move to Austin for 2-3 years at some point in my life to experience a new city and get out of my comfort zone. While it was hard to say goodbye to Austin’s quirky culture, outdoorsiness, breakfast tacos (someone say queso?), and extensive music scene, Dorothy has a point… “there’s no place like home.”

2. Describe your perfect food day from start to finish. (distance is not an issue)

I’d like to include calories as not an issue in addition to distance because I could live off of dessert and tacos alone…

Breakfast: Considering I have a Pinterest board exclusively dedicated to donuts, I’d start my day off at Sidecar with either an old fashioned or butter & salt donut. (If calories don’t count, why not do both?)

Second Breakfast: Breakfast tacos and queso are still on my mind, so I would fly to Austin for Veracruz’s migas tacos with a side of queso & chips.

Lunch: If I’m already in Austin, I might as well go to Elizabeth Street Cafe for Vietnamese food. I’ll have a Fried Egg, Crispy Pork Belly, Avocado & Mint Banh Mi, please.

Afternoon snack: Homemade Biscuits and seasonally made jam at Confituras Little Kitchen. With the best biscuits, jam, and unlimited coffee, I frequented this place way too often.

Dinner: Being that I’m Armenian, I couldn’t get away without saying Carousel in Glendale. I’ve been without great Mediterranean food too long while in Texas.

Dessert: I’ll let my stomach settle on the drive up to Santa Barbara for the original McConnell’s ice cream location.

3. If you had unlimited funds and two-weeks off, where would you go?

Italy and Greece have always been on my bucket list, but I’ve most recently been excited about the idea of road tripping across the US. The Southern Pacific route, following US-80, seems to have a taste of everything in terms of culture and physical landscapes, so I’d likely start here before taking on the great American road trip that hits 48 states. With unlimited funds, I’d stock my car with the greatest snacks, hit up the nicest hotels and glamping sites, and adopt a furry friend to keep me company.

4. What excites you most about public relations?

I love that what constitutes “public relations” is constantly changing. For example, while this is technically my first PR position, I’ve worked in influencer and digital marketing for 5 years, which is now more commonly coming under the umbrella of public relations. Secondly, it requires a lot of creativity to help your clients stand out from the rest, and when successful, it feels great knowing you attributed to a brand’s growth. In addition to being excited about PR, I’m specifically passionate about food and beverage, so being able to integrate the two together is a dream.

5. How do you seek out inspiration when you’re in a rut?

I’m a visual person, so I’m constantly looking to Instagram, Pinterest, and Designspiration for inspiration when in a rut. I also love walking while listening to music– it’s meditative for me. I used to walk 2.5 miles to and from work everyday while in Austin because it helped clear my mind. People think I’m crazy, but one day I walked from Union Station DTLA to Brentwood to enjoy the different cultures and unique neighborhood vibes along the way. It was people watching at its finest.

5 Questions with SPPR Featuring Joshua Zad

This week, we’re excited to welcome our new client Joshua Zad to the blog. Josh is the brilliant founder of Alfred Coffee & Kitchen (@alfred) and Alfred Tea Room (@alfredtea) as well as the mastermind behind the ubiquitous #butfirstcoffee. We’re thrilled to be working with Josh on a new lifestyle beer brand called Calidad which officially launches on November 1st. Read on to learn a little bit about Josh’s inspiration for Calidad, his thoughts on shaking up the beer industry and his favorite spots in LA.

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1. With a real estate background and success with Alfred, what inspired you to make beer?

In short, I wanted to affect change in the beverage world on a much broader scale. At Alfred, we have the unique ability to control customers’ experiences 100% — from the music, to the store layout and design, to how customers are greeted at the register; and of course, the quality and appearance of the coffee/tea drinks. But alas, there is a cap on how many people we can both serve and reach in the course of one day. I had been tossing around the idea of getting into alcoholic beverages for a while, and after taking a deeper look into the beer category, I noticed a huge opportunity. The opportunity to take a fresh and exciting approach to beer – specifically when it comes to catering to the non-specialized, novice beer drinkers. Craft beers and hop-heavy IPA’s have had their time, but the majority of beer drinkers shy away from them. So, I created Calidad — a lifestyle beer brand that capitalizes on the surging growth of the Mexican beer category and consumers’ desire to reconnect emotionally with basic, everyday beverages. The beer category has been stagnant for a while, it’s time for a shake up!

2. What is your goal for Calidad?

My goal with Calidad is to take a sizable chunk out of the Mexican import market. And to show people that you can enjoy an easy, drinkable cerveza that tastes just as good (if not better) than the long-standing, incumbent brands you have come to know, while also providing a level of transparency in the process and sourcing of the ingredients in that beer. I think the ultimate success would be eventually diversifying Calidad, which is produced in California, by launching new beer SKUs, other Mexican spirits like tequila and mezcal, and expanding into the broader Mexican foods space – all through a California lens and most importantly, never losing the emphasis on one obsession: Quality.

3. What does it take to be successful in the industry?

In the beer industry, where people have SO many solid options and new breweries are popping up daily, a strong following can make or break your brand. Loyalty is paramount. For this reason, we are dedicated to sampling product in-store and at festivals, connecting with both Calidad lovers and newcomers alike, and building our following one sip and one conversation at a time. We are taking a brand-first approach to this company, which is not so common in the beer industry — to grow a loyal customer base of Calidad lovers from the onset.

4. As an LA native, what’s your favorite restaurant in town and what do you normally order?

Easy. Ding’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich at Honor Bar in Beverly Hills. Second to that would be a chicken parm from either Dan Tana’s or Craig’s. I am a huge fried boneless chicken guy.

5. Where’s your favorite place to grab a holiday cocktail when it finally gets chilly in LA?

Roger Room hands down. My go to holiday-rainy-and-cold-outside drink is the “Japanese Maple” – Suntory whiskey, maple syrup, lemon juice, egg white and house made bitters.

SPPR Retreat: 7 Years of The Suite Life

We love summer for a lot of reasons but our yearly company retreat tops the list! This year, Soda Pop PR invited the team to #RetreatYourself with a luxurious and relaxing stay at The Nomad in DTLA.

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The team holed up in one of the Nomad’s gorgeous corner suites to bond, share wins and challenges and talk about company growth as we head into another exciting year. As usual there was a great deal of inspiring conversation, laughter and fantastic food.

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Soda Pop PR retreats always include an epic swag bag. This year, our resident artist Sami Davis designed custom goodies to pair with Realm’s pitch perfect Strong Female Lead tees.

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After a day living the suite life, we checked into our rooms and swooned over the hotel’s attention to detail. A love of great design is something we share as a team and the Nomad is next level home inspiration!

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A Soda Pop PR retreat isn’t compete without a team dinner. Amid all of the busy days, it’s so important for us to slow down and connect on a personal level. The only thing better than taking the time to just hang out with the women we work with every day, is to hang out with them over cocktails and amazing food! After a rooftop cocktail and a quick game of “Never Have I Ever” on The Nomad rooftop, we headed to Dama, the Scopa team’s new concept which pays homage to a couple of our favorite things about Havana, Cuba.

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As we celebrate another year of Soda Pop PR, we’d like to take a moment to thank all of our clients, partners, friends and family for continuing to support us over the years. Dyan started Soda Pop PR 7 years ago with the goal of doing good work with good people and as a team we are so proud and grateful to uphold that legacy today.

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Cheers to year seven and many more,

Team Soda Pop PR

 

10 Tips to DIY Your Own Floral Arrangement

Nothing brightens up a space like flowers and a trip to the Los Angeles Flower Markets is one of our favorite ways to spend a morning. To celebrate the arrival of spring, we rolled up our sleeves for a team DIY designing our own arrangements. We’re excited to share our 10 favorite tips to help you design your own!

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1. Buying the Blooms – It can be overwhelming when you begin planning an arrangement. Choosing one or two colors to focus on is a great way to narrow down the options. Try selecting either a “warm” (reds/orange/yellow) palette or a “cool” (blue/green/purple) palette and anchor your design with 2-3 prominent blooms such as dahlias, peonies or protea.

2. Don’t Forget the Foliage- You may not have noticed but most arrangements are not just flowers, but also foliage. Add vines, leafy greens, berries, vines, and even fern cuttings to design around your focal florals. Foliage adds character, texture, and shape without distracting from your floral focal points.

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3. Stripping- Many people make the mistakes of putting flowers right in the vase without any maintenance. You need to strip your flowers or they will not last as long! Stripping is the process of removing any leaves on the stems of your florals that will be submerged in your water to prevent mold. You can leave some leaves at the base of your floral to add volume, or you can remove all.

4. Add Intrigue- Contrast is essential to creating an interesting arrangement. Make sure to cut your flowers and foliage at different heights to add dimension to the arrangement and think about playing with different shapes, such as the spiky look of a dahlia with a soft anemone. Seek beauty in the juxtaposition.

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5. Don’t Rush It- Take your time while putting your arrangement together, this is the fun part! If you’re not achieving the look you want, just start again. Put on some music and let nature’s blooms guide you.

6. Think Outside the Vase- You can use just about any container for florals so feel free to design your arrangement for a favorite mug, old pasta sauce jar or the pretty container of a used up candle. Just make sure the container is waterproof and thoroughly cleaned.

7. Water- The key ingredient for good floral maintenance is water. Make sure your florals are supplied with plenty of water, and that starts right when you get home. Cut the stems immediately and put them in water until you’re ready to arrange. Then trim again before adding to your vessel. It’s best to cut on a diagonal, which exposes more of the stem to water. After you arrange your blooms, make sure to give them as much water as the container will allow so they can drink up after being transferred numerous times.

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8. Fine-Tune Blossoms- While natural beauty is more appealing than anything, not every bloom is perfect. This is where pruning comes in. If there are any buds that distract from the overall arrangement, don’t be afraid to remove them. Eliminate petals that are broken or browning and trim any leaves competing for water.

9. Keep ‘Em Cool-| Always place finished arrangements in a cool space. Check the water frequently– you would be surprised how much flowers can drink!

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10. Upgrade your Tools- You can absolutely make a beautiful arrangement with just a vase and a pair of scissors but if you’re going to be working with florals regularly we recommend a few purchases to make the process easier:

  • Pruning Shears- to strip florals with thorns and cut thicker stems
  • Floral Wire & Floral Tape- to help secure any florals. You can use wire to help wrap and arrange smaller stems as well as create structured pieces, like boutonnieres. Floral tape is self-sealing tape and can be used to wrap stems or create bouquets.
  • Clear Floral Tape– to make a grid for spaced out arrangements
  • Oasis Floral Foam– if you’re creating arrangements for an event, this floral foam is your friend! Just dunk in water and it will absorb. Stick fresh florals in and the foam will keep them hydrated and in place throughout any event. It also comes in a variety of sizes allowing you to create floral wreaths, hearts, and 3D shapes.

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