Monday, January 25, 2010

Some Iceland Notes

This post will just be a list of small things that come to mind as I write about our trip.

Water: Absolutely pure and absolutely delicious. And the cold water is VERY cold and the hot water is VERY, VERY hot.

Laundry: We bring quick dry clothes when we travel and wash them in the sink. Usually they dry overnight but on a trip like this we had some heavier clothing. No problem. All hotel rooms had some sort of radiator (cold nights) and we just hung our clothes near, or on them, to dry.

Driving: In Iceland they drive on the same side of the road as we do so driving was not a problem. The drivers are very courteous. Most of the Ring Road is well paved. But some of it is not and it gets very dusty. And there are many roads our rental car (a Honda Accord) is not even allowed on.

Gas Stations: Plenty. All had clean bathrooms and all had areas to buy food and to sit and eat.

Weather: We were told we were lucky with all the sunshine we had. It is normally rainier in the south than we experienced. That said, we often saw storms in the distance. If one came our way, it got very cold and chilly. We always hiked with warmer clothes and our rain gear in my backpack. We had to pull them out more than once.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Airport Full Body Scanners

Had friends over last night to take a look at our Iceland video. One of the discussions around the table was about the full body scanners being installed at more airports.

According to one of my guests, the person viewing the scan isn't anywhere near the security lines. They are off in a room somewhere, so they don't even see the actual person going through the scanner. If that is true, helps me feel better as it seems to make the scan a bit more impersonal.

Would love to find out if this is accurate. Anyone have any information they care to share?

Sara Lopez Guest Post

Imagine...getting paid to travel all over the United States and to visit great places and cool events.

I was fortunate enough to be contacted by Sara Lopez, to do a guest post in my travel blog.

Don't know who Sara Lopez is? Then keep reading. She's got one of the best jobs in the world.


“You know, you really do have the best job in the world.”

“I know, I cannot explain how lucky I am.”

It wasn’t always this way though. I was 22, doing business development in San Francisco for a large consulting firm, and my employer still hadn’t let me talk to an actual client. I wasn’t trusted, I was unappreciated and the worst part was– I knew it.

Every day I would work, trying to find a way to prove myself, but no matter how many fiery hoops I jumped through, no one seemed to notice. I had been called into the HR office and told that I laughed too loud, that it was a distraction for my co-workers.


I remember the straw that broke the camel’s back. I composed a report with stats and an analysis on how important and vital it would be to utilize social media in our marketing efforts. This wasn’t necessarily part of my job role and I ended up getting highly reprimanded for it.

After four months they laid me off because “it just isn’t the right fit.” I could not have agreed more!

There I was, jobless and seriously questioning the skills that I had spent so much time, effort and money to acquire in college. Was it the way I conducted business? Was it my “too-loud-for-office” laugh? Was it my tattoos? Or was it just me?

After my lease was up, I packed my things in my car and started my drive back to Ohio to lick my wounds and reassess my future.

When I was a senior in college I interned at a marketing firm. It was a great community, great experience and taught me invaluable business etiquette. I received an email from the CEO minutes after I updated my Facebook status that Ohio was going to see my return.

“Lopez– we have the perfect job for you! 8th Continent Soymilk is our client and they are looking for a hip outgoing person to promote their product online!”

“8th Continent Soymilk? I love that stuff! What do I need to do???”

I spent the next week creating a video that I could honestly say was the true me. No surprises this time, the company was going to get exactly what they saw. And what they saw was a 23 year old chica with tattoos, a red faux-hawk and a too-loud-for-office laugh.

In one part of the footage I did a music video-esque type of montage where I danced on desks and sang along to the Rock n’ Roll group: J Roddy Walston & the Business.

There were other people that sent in videos applying for the same position… but for some reason, they liked little old me!

My social media obsession turned into a job instead of a nuisance. My outgoing personality and non-stop optimism became my trademark, and the people at 8th Continent Soymilk loved it!

Shortly after hiring me, I was allowed to create ideas, events and campaigns to promote 8th Continent as the coolest soymilk out there.

On July 10, 2009 (which also was my birthday), Mark Pannell (another social media addict) and myself threw an event called Tattooleetup in Toledo, Ohio.

Tattooleetup was an event that combined several of my passions: art, tattoos, Twitter, Tweetups and 8th Continent Soymilk! The entire thing was broadcasted live and we ended up having over 3,000 people tune in!

After the Tattooleetup I was able to continue my amazing job with the 8th Continent Soymilk Taste of Life Tour. The objective was for me to go on a three month roadtrip and blog and vlog about all of the coolest quirkiest places and events that I stopped at throughout the US. I got to go to events like Burning Man and Austin City Limits Music Festival. Not only that, but I got to promote my favorite beverage along the way. It was perfect, besides my close encounter with a rattlesnake in the desserts of Utah, but that’s another story.

On the last stop of my 8th Continent Soymilk Taste of Life Tour I heard that I was going to co-host an XM-Sirius radio show with the Broadminded Chicks and I was going out to New York to be interview by Jeff Rivera from the Huffington Post.

That’s when I realized what had happened.

The same things that I was ashamed of are the same things I am praised for now. I didn’t need to “quiet down” or “put on my corporate thinking hat”… all I needed to do was be myself and find a company that could appreciate me for who I was and what I could offer.

Lopez’s Online Profiles:



Huffington Post story and video interview

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Where to stay in Baltimore, MD

Want to stay at a hotel in downtown Baltimore? Be sure to ask for a room on a lower floor.

My son is a fireman in Baltimore, stationed downtown by the harbor. Due to cutbacks, they no long have a ladder truck. If there is a high rise fire in downtown Baltimore, ladder trucks have to come in from outlying firehouses.

My son told me that they used to be able to reach the 6th floor when fighting fires. No longer. Play it safe and stay on floors 1-3.