101 Carlsbad Memories

Life is short, life is sweet. Remember the little things.

As we prepare for our move to the east coast, the following moments, memories, and events are listed (mainly for our benefit) in no particular order – but should all be preserved and celebrated as some of the best times of our lives together. Thanks 6337 Paseo Aspada for the memories…

  1. Visiting the ‘tot lot’ a few times during the long escrow period during the winter of 2011-2012
  2. Peacocks in the back yard that started out as a novelty, but ended up as a nuisance
  3. The Rancho Carrillo community pool
  4. Bringing Phoebe home from the hospital
  5. Walking to “school” (Kindercare)
  6. Trick-or-treating
  7. Dancing, lots of dancing
  8. Bad DJs and cliche songs from the weddings / events at Carrillo Ranch
  9. Flippin Pizza (and dance parties)
  10. Playing ball, remote controlled cars, and riding bikes in the cul-de-sac
  11. Two-year-old Will chasing two pre-teen neighbor girls on their bikes yelling, “girls, wait for meeee!”
  12. Long walks with Lilly on the trails around the neighborhood
  13. Shorter walks with a less-than-trained Scout
  14. Hosting Christmas dinners with extended family
  15. Will’s 3rd birthday party at the community clubhouse
  16. Jumping around
  17. Living room dance parties
  18. Trips around the block in the “blue car” (Mustang)
  19. The HGTV backyard remodel
  20. Reading books in the bean bag chair
  21. Miguel’s, Casa de Bandini, Garcia’s, Norte
  22. Breakfast burritos from Roberto’s
  23. Will sleeping on his floor after a failed conversion to a toddler bed
  24. La Costa Coffee Roasting
  25. Trader Joe’s oatmeal, a million trips to Sprouts
  26. Impulse purchases from Costco
  27. Beach days – South Ponto, Carlsbad Village
  28. Night swims
  29. Santa photos at the Carlsbad Outlets & Forum
  30. Phoebe’s First Steps
  31. Phoebe’s Second Birthday party
  32. In-N-Out for easy dinner
  33. Cardiff Crack on the grill
  34. Growing our own tomatoes
  35. Favorite teachers from Kindercare: Ms. Danielle, Ms. Lauren, Ms. April, Ms. Shauna
  36. Date nights down to San Diego and La Jolla
  37. Playing with Will’s train table
  38. Pool time with Joe / Beth and family followed by grilling and dinner
  39. Cruisin’ Grand
  40. Vista Farmer’s Market: strawberries, apples from Smits Orchard, local honey
  41. Driving the 101 for fun
  42. Taking the long way home (101) so the kids could sleep
  43. Sleeping in on Saturdays (just kidding, that never happened)
  44. Day trips to Disneyland & Legoland
  45. Del Mar Horse Races (& more dancing)
  46. Annual passes SD Zoo Safari Park & SD Zoo
  47. Inflatable backyard pool redefining Sunday Funday (pre-drought)
  48. Catching bugs, lizards, and snails
  49. Keeping bugs, lizards, and snails out of the house
  50. Carlsbad Half Marathon
  51. Beach runs
  52. Yard work
  53. Kids Club at 24 Hour Fitness
  54. Driveway movie night
  55. Rich and Diane visiting
  56. Babicka and Dedicek driving from Texas
  57. Visits from Paul, Johnny, Kara & Mike, Ben & Dana
  58. Running the air conditioner in November and February (but not in June)
  59. Strolling Carlsbad Village
  60. Carlsbad Flower Fields
  61. The Great Mouse-capade (“you played field hockey, didn’t you?”)
  62. Spinning vinyl records in the garage
  63. Working on Mom’s ’67 Mustang
  64. Taco Tuesdays
  65. Playing acoustic gigs at the Belching Beaver
  66. Getting a pint (or two) at Pizza Port
  67. Soapy Joe’s Car Wash
  68. Will’s first movie in the theater (Monster’s U) – Edwards Cinemas San Marcos
  69. Will’s second movie in the theater (Big Hero 6) – Edwards Cinemas San Marcos
  70. Games, movies, and Netflix on the iPad
  71. Saturday morning jam sessions
  72. Football Sundays
  73. Karate class in Carlsbad Village
  74. Don’s Country Kitchen
  75. Reading the newspaper on Saturday mornings (sometimes)
  76. CBS Sunday Morning
  77. Binge watching Breaking Bad
  78. Finishing Mad Men (started watching when we lived on Dumas)
  79. Bath time conversations
  80. Finding Nemo, Toy Story (1 and 2), Frozen
  81. Octonauts, Wild Kratts, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Sesame Street
  82. James Taylor at the Hollywood Bowl (Babi and Dedi stayed with the kids)
  83. Making movies with the GoPro
  84. Babysitters: Staci, Hannah, Danielle, Paige
  85. Alga Norte park and swimming pool
  86. Stagecoach Park
  87. Mariah’s Westwind for breakfast
  88. Eggs, tortilla, cheese, salsa, repeat
  89. Breakfast for dinner
  90. French toast for the kids
  91. Good times with the Szepes
  92. La Costa Pre-New Year’s Stay-cation
  93. Picnics in the yard
  94. Just another day at the kitchen table
  95. Sleeping with the windows open year round
  96. Great neighbors: Ginger & Mike, MS & Maria, Jose, Mike & Wa, Kevin & Martha, Mike & Tina, Jeannette and her dog Chloe, Travis & Indira, those people who we could never remember their names
  97. Toni & Wayne Kanakaris (who treat us like family)
  98. Playing with Myah, Sean, and the other neighborhood kids
  99. Sean’s dad Mike reminding us how short and precious life is
  100. Every day that we were healthy and happy
  101. Remembering that “Life is rad in Carlsbad”


Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. — John F. Kennedy

It seems fitting that I should find a quote from John F. Kennedy to help explain the change happening in our lives. We’re headed to JFK’s part of the world, after all.

After nearly 17 years in San Diego (8 of those with Danielle), we’ve decided to pack up and move east. We make this announcement with a mix of emotions: excitement, exhilaration, trepidation, sadness, and hope (among others, of course).

Some will ask why we’d ever want to leave sunny San Diego. We’ve worked hard to build our careers here, have a strong network of friends, and now have years of fantastic family memories. Every weekend is like its own little “staycation” with day trips to the beach and all the attractions that this town has to offer.

But a few things are missing. Growing up, both Danielle and I had the privilege of living close to our grandparents. I remember seeing my grandparents at nearly every school function – band concerts, football games, track meets – you name it. They were always present.

More importantly, nearly all special holidays were spent with family. Of course the big ones – Christmas, Easter, New Years – but for me, even a routine Sunday would typically involve time with our grandparents. Church, Sunday dinner, and watching the Cowboys play (and usually lose).

By contrast, in San Diego we’ve spent a lot of those special days on our own. We’re grateful for all the friends who have invited us to be with them and their families for those special times. We’ve spent countless holidays with the Johnson/Mestre/Renovales clan over the years – and we will always remember and appreciate feeling like a part of their extended family. We have fond memories of holidays and events with the Caffos (our next door neighbors in Point Loma). More recently, we’ve become very close with Toni & Wayne – our neighbors in Carlsbad who treat Will and Phoebe like their own grandchildren. And reaching way back – I remember “The Orphans” Thanksgiving Day dinner with Colin Farnell at Hennessey’s in PB, which morphed into a full-blown Thanksgiving once we were both married and had children.

So now it’s our turn to spend time with our family. This move will make a routine Sunday into a family event. We’ll be close to Danielle’s parents and sister (and her family). We’ll spend time in the places where she grew up. Our kids will learn to swim at the beach where she learned to swim (although Will has already done quite well in the Rancho Carrillo pool). We’ll reconnect with her childhood friends and know the feeling of being in a tight-knit community. We’ll be in a small town – something that Danielle and I know well from our childhood, and enjoyed as youngsters. Finally, we’ll be in a better position to visit Texas and spend more time with my parents and our friends and family there.

While we’re sad to leave all the incredible memories and close friends here in San Diego, we’re looking forward to a new adventure, exploring a new region, and spending time with family. And of course, Southern California will always be a part of who we are, how we found each other and started this great life together.

A few of the FAQs that we expect from those who know us best:

Are you crazy?
Yes, yes we are.

Do you know that they have real winters in Boston?
Yes. At least some of us are aware of this. Others, not so much. We’ll all have to adjust. L.L. Bean is just a click away these days.

Where are you headed?
Scituate, Massachusetts. A quaint seaside fishing town of just under 20,000 residents about 45 minutes south of Boston and 45 minutes from Cape Cod. Scituate is the New England town you see in the movies. A town full of history, full of stories, and less than 30 minutes from Plymouth Rock – where the Mayflower landed and the Pilgrims settled.

Scituate is the kind of place where they hold events for the entire town – Fourth of July Parades, Heritage Days, and a St. Patrick’s Day parade for the most Irish town in America. It’s also a place where (sadly) good Mexican food will be in short supply.

Why Scituate?
As most of you know, my parents still live in the house where I was raised near Dallas (very similar to Danielle’s situation in Scituate). Of course the topic of Texas vs Massachusetts was a big part of our discussion around leaving San Diego — and was one of the reasons why we’ve waited until now to make that decision. By leaving San Diego, we were in essence making a choice – a choice of one location over another, but also spending lots more time with one set of grandparents and still having to travel to see the other side of the family. While that part of the decision wasn’t easy, moving to either location will free up opportunities to see both sides of the family – and will hopefully lead to more holidays and vacations with everyone, including in-laws, together.

What about your house?
That one was easy. With the limited inventory in Carlsbad, specifically Rancho Carrillo – we put the house on the market and it sold within a matter of days. So fast that we actually had to work a rent-back into the agreement so we could stay through the month of July.

When are you leaving?
July 27 for the kids and Danielle; Aug 2 for John.

Are you ever coming back?
Only time will tell. I’m hopeful that we can be in a position financially to own a second home here someday. And there’s a chance that we may retire here when it’s all said and done. In the meantime, I’m certain we’ll work San Diego into the family vacation rotation on a regular basis. We’ll also keep our condo in Mission Valley that is currently rented, so we’ll have to come back and check on that as well.

San Diego will always hold a special place in my heart. I still remember the feeling I got when I first drove over the last set of mountains on Interstate 8 and saw the city limits sign (that was December of 1998) to take my first set of orders in the Navy. Those first few years are a blur now, but I also remember the feeling of coming back from deployment and reaching “One SD” – that’s the buoy that marks the entrance to the San Diego harbor. Sailing back into the Big Bay on a Navy warship was always a fun experience. My first apartment at La Mirage, a two year tour of duty in Coronado, my first house purchase in La Mesa, Vegas quick strikes, Skip’s Garage at Thruster’s, Pickford’s Party at the Mammoth Lodge and at RT’s Longboard (which then morphed into the machine known as Rock Out Karaoke), a two year shore duty in Point Loma, living three blocks from the beach in PB (where I proposed to Danielle), our first date at Cass Street Bar and Grill, our house on Dumas Street in Point Loma where we brought Will home from the hospital, our first home purchase together in Carlsbad where Phoebe joined our family, beach days, pool nights, cruising the historic 101 – these and so many others were all great experiences over the years.

A lot has changed since I first arrived in 1998, but my love for this town and its people will remain. Thanks for the support, thanks for the memories, and you stay classy, San Diego.

San Diego Housing Market Update: It’s Been a Good Year

The numbers are up! Here’s the latest news on the San Diego Real Estate market, brought to you by the San Diego Association of Realtors, hosted by George Chamberlin, Executive Editor of The Daily Transcript and Donna Sanfilippo, President of SDAR.

Key highlights include a 20%+ increase year over year in single family attached (condos / townhomes) and a 16%+ increase in single family detached homes.

If you’re still on the fence about buying, think about getting in before mortgage rates start to rise and prices go up even further.  Give me a ring if you need help searching for a home in San Diego.  Just renewed the license this past summer (8 years as a Realtor!) and I’m looking forward to 8 more.San Diego Gaslamp Sign

A New Chapter

After nearly five and a half years at the University of San Diego, I’ve decided to leave for a new job with Vistage International.  This move for me is bittersweet, since I have enjoyed my time at USD and I’ve built so many great friendships.  My new role will be as a marketing manager for a program called Vistage Inside, and I’m really excited about the new challenges I’ll face there.

My work with the MS in Global Leadership program has touched the lives of more than 350 graduate students in 24 cohorts  (myself included, as I graduated from the program in 2008).  I’ve become friends with many of these alums, and continue to enjoy hearing how they’ve made an impact in the world.

Our word-of-mouth marketing has remained a strong part of the recruiting strategy, and stands as a testament to the quality of the program and the level of satisfaction of our students.  We’ve made great strides using social media to communicate with alumni, students and prospective students.  More than two years ago we established a student-written blog and created more ways for them to tell the world about their experiences in a graduate business program that strayed from the traditional MBA.

I’m leaving behind a business school that has built a lot of momentum in the past few years.  The part-time MBA program was recently ranked #14 in the US by Bloomberg BusinessWeek and many of the same A+ faculty from that survey teach in the MSGL program as well.  As the USD school of business administration continues to gain attention on the national stage, so does the MS in Global Leadership.

My time with USD included two trips to China (Beijing and Shanghai), two trips to Buenos Aires, and numerous recruiting trips around the US.

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My time at USD will always hold a special place in my heart, since it was during these five years that I met my wife, got married, and welcomed our first child into the world.  I’m thankful for the time I’ve been able to spend with my son during his first (almost) two years, and the work-life balance I’ve enjoyed has been a situation most could only hope for.

Moves like this don’t happen without a lot of help.  And help shouldn’t go unrecognized.  So many people have been a part of my professional network for the past few years – offering advice, making introductions, writing recommendations, and providing encouragement.  Bob Schoultz, Dean Dave Pyke, and Stephanie Kiesel were instrumental in my professional development over the past several years.  Their support of my learning and development in the marketing community has been incredible.  Special thanks to Bob for giving me the opportunity to work at USD in 2006 and for his support, guidance, leadership, and friendship for the past 5+ years.  Thanks to the rest of the MSGL team – Stephanie, Sam, & Suzy for always having my back.

There are so many others I could (and should) thank here – but my word count tells me I’m already beyond 500.  If we got together for coffee, had lunch, exchanged emails, talked on the phone, met at a conference, grabbed a beer, tweeted, LinkedIn, Facebooked, or traded business cards – you deserve thanks.  It’s highly likely that your influence helped me reach this point in my career and I’m happy to have you as a part of my network.  If I can ever return the favor…

Most of all, thanks to my incredible wife Danielle for all your love and support.  I love you.

Stay tuned as I embark on my next adventure.  I’m anxious to get started, but first – let’s enjoy a great holiday season!

7 Facts About Content Sharing on the Web

It’s no secret that the American Marketing Association hosts great events to educate, support, and connect marketing professionals.  I’m continually blown away by the quality of the content I get at each of the events, and this past week was no exception.  [Disclaimer: I’ve been an AMA member since 2008 and currently serve as VP of Membership for 2011-2012]

Thursday’s event featured Kristin Kovner, Senior Director of Marketing, AOL Advertising.  Kristin’s presentation, “Is Content the Fuel of the Web?” included recent findings from a case study done by AOL and Nielsen on internet users’ habits and attitudes on the major social networks.  In a nutshell, she broke down what types of content people share, with whom they share it, and on which social networks this is all taking place.

Here are my top 7 takeaways from Kristin’s data-filled presentation:

  1. Email is not dead.  Despite what some people will tell you, email is still the most popular place that internet users share content.  66% of internet users share content by email, as compared with only 28% on our beloved social networks.
  2. Industry-specific conversations get the most love.  Research showed that 60% of social media posts (mainly Facebook and Twitter) that are industry specific include an explicit brand mention.  Tweets from industry-specific conversations contain a link to some type of content (usually product information) a remarkable 73% of the time (as compared with only 42% of the time for conversations not related to a specific industry).
  3. 99% of people sharing via social networks are sharing via multiple platforms.
  4. Social network sharers are 17% more likely to be femaleexcept on Google+ (which wasn’t included since this study was done in Q1 of 2011).
  5. People tend to share with their close networks of trusted friends – not publicly (despite Facebook’s continued efforts to make privacy settings so confusing you don’t know who you’re sharing with).  This one may be a little harder for power users on Twitter to understand, since they sometimes tend to broadcast everything to everyone.
  6. Only 4% of shared content links back to a company website.  This one is important.  Businesses have to realize that conversations about their brands are happening in places other than their site and most of it never sends consumers to a company URL.
  7. Marketers can capitalize on people’s sharing habits in two ways.  1). Produce branded, sharable content (think videos with your products in them that are easy for people to share – like the Coca-Cola happiness machine campaign); and 2).  Be present with display advertising when the conversations are taking place away from your website (think display ads on YouTube for viral videos not produced by your company/affiliates, but related to your product or industry).

All in all, it was a great presentation – a flurry of numbers, but great information for those of us looking to “engage” consumers where they interact most.  The full report (along with other great research presentations) can be found on the AOL Advertising site.

Does anything above surprise you about how content is shared on the web?

My Blog: A Year in Review

Last week marked my 1-year anniversary of starting my own personal blog.  Since I’ve actually stuck with it and kept somewhat of a regular schedule, I now have a lot to look back on.  Thanks to all of you who have read, commented, and linked to my blog this year.

My Family at Grand Canyon - Sometime in the 80s

When I started my new blog, I set out with only a couple of specific goals:

  1. Write about subjects that interest me, such as marketing, technology, social media, travel, music
  2. Write at least one post per month.

As for the first goal, this one was easy.  I find a lot of interesting things on the web and I like to stay current on the newest social media trends.  I didn’t write much about music (besides recapping the concerts I’ve attended), but maybe I’ll do more with that in the next 12 months.

With 34 posts under my belt, goal number two was easily met.

So what were my favorite posts?

Ty Webb Has Real Klout

My personal favorite (mainly because it includes a strong reference to the movie Caddyshack) was my short blog on Klout, the new service that measures online “influence.”

My most visited post was written about what we can learn from the Chilean miner rescue from a leadership standpoint.

I also enjoyed writing (and re-reading this week) all my posts about my family and travel.  Honorable mention goes to my posts on marketing and related events I’ve attended.

So where will the next year take me?  Who knows.  I just hope you’re able to come along for the ride.

San Diego Sunset – Labor Day Weekend 2011

After putting the kid to bed, I walked out to an amazing sunset over Point Loma.  I tweeted a modest photo and found that so many others I follow were enjoying the same beautiful sunset all around San Diego.  Most of these put my little snapshot to shame.  Here are a few of the best I found:

Courtesy of Peggy Gartin

From @downtownrob

This one taken at my alma mater and current employer, University of San Diego!

Courtesy of Christina Wellhouser

Taken by @ryankuder

Outside my front door

Makes mine seem kinda weak! Happy Labor Day everyone.