LBI “I Do” Wedding Road Show

Welcome to LBI!

My husband and I were invited to attend the LBI “I Do” Wedding Road Show on Sunday, April 18, 2010 by Erik Kent of NJWedding.com which was organized by the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce.  If you don’t already know, NJWedding.com is a Jersey girl’s go-to website for everything wedding related in New Jersey.

We met up with Erik at the chamber and met some of the event’s sponsors and chamber staff. The event was designed as a way to showcase Long Beach Island (LBI) and show why it’s one of the growing hot spots in New Jersey for weddings. Couples would have the opportunity to travel at their own pace in their cars to each venue, which would have a variety of exhibitors featuring their wedding services.  Couples could get a special book stamped by each vendor they visited, return it to the chamber office, in hopes of becoming the big winner to win an all expense paid wedding. Wow!

While we waited to start our tour, I began chatting with Annie Esposito, a Bridal Show Coordinator for WedAlert.com. WedAlert.com is a great website that is nationwide and with just a click of a mouse couples can search their Vendor Search Directory, Reception Site Locator, Wedding Song Directory and check out some great planning tools.

Throughout the day Frank Dicopoulos (Guiding Light) hosted for NJ Discover as they live-streamed the day’s events.

Ronald Faillace, President of Trolley Tours, Inc. greeted us as we boarded the trolley. The trolley would be taking the media/press and a few others around to each wedding venue for the day. It was such a fun way to tour the great island of LBI. The trolley’s are available to wedding parties in addition to a wedding motor coach (bus) also available to wedding parties or guests so that everyone can have a good time at the wedding and arrive to their destinations safely. The back of the trolley says “Just Married” so you can tell the world that it’s your big day. This is such a cute way to add some creativity to your wedding day.

The first stop on our trolley tour was to the Holiday Inn Manahawkin, where I was greeted by a mimosa. What a welcome! I walked into the room and immediately spotted Kevin Moninghoff from the Alliance for Wellness and was treated to an amazing massage. While I was being massaged, NJ Discover came over with Frank and interviewed Kevin on his holistic center and myself on the massage. I didn’t say much, I was way too relaxed. Kevin is not only open for business at his spa in Manahawkin but he travels and will be more than welcome to go to any location with his tables and give massages. Wouldn’t that be a nice way to relax before the big day? Getting a massage in your hotel room or bridal suite? Or even a nice treat for a bridal party? I’m sold. They also offer Site Corporate Massages and Pilates and Yoga classes.

Katie getting a massage by Kevin while Frank interviews from NJ Discover

The Stateroom was our next stop which offers a variety of ceremony sites including beach, bay front or a garden ceremony. What girl doesn’t love options?   The Stateroom is where I found the best cupcakes I have ever had. A Sweet Memory is a cookie & cupcakery owned by Annmarie Cooney which is out of this world! Not only are her cupcakes a feast for the eyes, but the margarita cupcake I tried was a feast for my tummy. It was the best cupcake I have EVER had! I also met Marie Addonizio of La Di Da which is a makeup and lash studio. I was so excited to hear they do threading. That is a service that is very hard to come by. Marie is an esthetician, makeup artist and massage therapist. Katie Reynolds Hood decorated the tables of this venue with beautiful tablescapes from the Reynolds Garden Shop. I grabbed a pretzel dipped in chocolate from the Philly Pretzel Factory located in Lakeside Village in Manahawkin, NJ. Shear Heaven Salon & Day Spa was there and offers some great packages in addition to their spa parties.

Yummy treats!

Next stop was the Surf City Yacht Club.  Moester’s Bakery had a large display of cakes available to sample. I opted to test the cannoli cake, which was delish. I chatted it up with the owners of Small Potatoes which is a catering company and after viewing their menu, I was drooling. They have plans to open a restaurant in the near future. Red Sails Salon was well represented at this event offering reasonably priced services for men, women and children.

The Sea Shell Resort & Beach Club is “the only premier ocean front wedding venue on Long Beach Island” and is a full service catering facility with the option of customizing anything to the extent of their ability. At the Sea Shell Resort couples can have a poolside cocktail hour and hang out in their tiki huts and enjoy a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean. We entered this venue and were greeted by Barbara Crowley the harpist from our wedding. We were so excited. We headed off to the bar and grabbed a glass of champagne and took a stroll outside, taking in the beautiful scenery.

Barbara Crowley, harpist

Sea Shell Resort & Beach Club

Brant Beach Yacht Club was another stop in our travels.  They pride themselves on being “one of Long Beach Island’s most spectacular waterfront wedding reception venues” and they assure you that “your day will be everything you’ve ever dreamed”! After checking it out, I couldn’t agree more.  I grabbed a piece of salt water taffy from the Parties by Design NJ candy buffets. After all, salt water taffy is a Jersey shore staple. Tammy’s Cake Walk had some beautifully displayed cakes which showcased her beach themed designs. Perfect for a beach wedding! Roberto’s Dolce Vita a Northern Italian/Continental Cuisine restaurant has a menu that sounds divine and we were thrilled to receive a 15% off coupon, another place we will have to visit.  Bistro 14 in Bay Village was passing around a medley of samplings that were out of this world. I particularly loved their crab cakes and chocolate mousse. I can’t wait till they open for the season; we will have to check it out for the full experience.

Daddy O Boutique Hotel and Restaurant was our second to last stop on our tour. The establishment is very hip and chic with a South Beach vibe. My husband and I regularly visit LBI and enjoy the beach atmosphere and charm of the town, but Daddy O reminded me more of a lounge in NY, not very LBI. They were the only stop on our tour that didn’t offer beverages or snacks and there were only 2 vendors at this location. Quite honestly, I wasn’t that impressed. I didn’t feel especially welcome there and it didn’t have that warm, friendly feel of LBI that we all love. However, I did notice they had fried pickles on their menu and haven’t had them since I was vacationing in Florida as a child. I may need to go back to try them out.

Our final destination was Mallard Island Yacht Club which was the pièce de résistance of our whole trip. Unfortunately many of the vendors had already packed up by the time we got there, but it’s no wonder this is such a hot spot for weddings. Everywhere you look, you have an amazing view of the beach, the island or the Barnegat Bay. It’s truly unbelievable. Erik Kent from NJWedding.com recommended we take a look at the enormous bridal suite they have. I don’t need to explain how amazing it is. You can watch a video tour of the bridal suite here…  

This event was spectacular! I wish I had been to a bridal show like this when I was getting married. I was able to check out a variety of venues with exhibitors at each. It wasn’t crowded like most bridal shows tend to be. Lori Pepenella of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce along with Erik Kent of NJWedding.com did a phenomenal job orchestrating the event.  It was very well planned and thought out. My husband and I had a blast!

Participating Venues at the road show included: The Boathouse, Bonnet Island Estate, Brant Beach Yacht Club, Daddy O Restaurant & Boutique Hotel, Holiday Inn Manahawkin, Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts & Sciences, Mallard Island Yacht Club, Sea Oaks Country Club, The Sea Shell Resort & Beach Club, The Stateroom, Surf City Yacht Club and the Tuckerton Seaport.

Media Sponsors of the event included: New Jersey Bride, NJWedding.com, New Jersey Department of State, travel and Tourism, Brides.com Media, (201)BRIDE and WedAlert.com. Magic 100.1 was the Broadcast Sponsor.

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Busy Day Today

Had a very busy day today! For someone who is not employed, it’s amazing how busy I am. The exposure from PARADE magazine’s “What People Earn” project, along with my segment on “The Early Show” has kept me super busy. It seems as though I’ve become an “unemployed expert” which is a bit funny if you think about it, since I’m currently unemployed.

I woke up this morning to an email from someone who saw me on TV and wanted my advice on a few things. We corresponded throughout the day. I then spoke on the phone with a LinkedIn contact of mine who also saw me on TV and is aware about the PARADE project. He wanted to know more about what I’m doing with everything. We discussed social media in great detail and we discussed the possibility of me developing a social media strategy for a group he is working with, as well as social media as education for his group. Potential job? Quite possibly.

I then spent a good portion of my day connecting with people on LinkedIn. I reached out to some connections by email through LinkedIn, asking them if based on my experience they might be able to connect or “introduce” me to some of their LinkedIn connections. I also reviewed people that are part of various groups I belong to on LinkedIn to look for potential networking opportunities. I found a good amount and reached out to some myself and asked to be introduced to others. With that, I received a lot of positive responses. A woman with a very well read blog is interested in interviewing me and writing a blog about me, which is very cool. Another individual is interested in scheduling time to chat with me about what I’m looking to do and how he might be able to help me.

I spent a lot of today on LinkedIn, but I really feel strongly about it. It is a great tool to build your network and make connections. As I always say “It’s all in who you know.”

Connect with me on LinkedIn

“The Early Show” with Katie DeVito

A CBS producer contacted me this past Friday asking if I would be interested in going on “The Early Show” on CBS to speak about being unemployed and how I’ve been using social media to try and secure employment. Being that I’ve been involved in theatre all my life and even majored in Fine Arts, this was a no brainer. I gladly accepted and did a brief interview on the phone with a CBS producer.

My segment was scheduled to air Monday, April 12th at 8:18am with Lamar Graham, Executive Editor of PARADE magazine (as I’ve been working on the “What People Earn” project with him). Not only was I excited to be on TV, but was thrilled to meet Lamar, since PARADE had given me this fantastic opportunity. View previous posts to learn more about the project. The CBS producer told me a car would be picking me up at 6:15am, I would arrive at “The Early Show” studio at 7:30am with a scheduled air time of 8:18am. Perfect!

I called my career advisor Fred Ball to tell him the exciting news. He was thrilled for me and was more than happy to offer some on-air advice, as he has been on TV promoting his various books before. I’ve been an extra in films, commercials and done live theatre, but a live TV interview was new for me. I promised myself I would go to bed at 8pm Sunday night. Like that really happened. I couldn’t sleep to save my life.  I had every possible question in my head of what they could ask me. Not to mention, what if the car can’t find my house, what if there’s traffic. Reminding myself not to say “um”, “ya know” or long extended pauses if I have no answer.

Monday morning my alarm went off at 4:30am. I was ready to go and hopped out of bed. While the night before I was so anxious and my tummy was in knots, I woke up with a calm about me. I was ready! The car arrived early and was waiting for us, we hopped in the Cadillac Escalade (which was super comfy) and headed off. When we arrived at the studio, we got out of the car to be greeted by an “Early Show” staffer who showed us the way. He brought us into the green room where I met Lamar and the VP of Communications at PARADE Christie Emden. I was brought into hair and makeup and they touched my makeup up a little bit and gave me a nice blowout. The blowout relaxed me. Oh I forgot to mention the whole time I was in the green room, I kept staring at this man saying to myself “that’s the animal guy, what’s his name, he’s always on Rachael Ray”.

Lamar & I in the green room

The green room

On set. Almost show time.

Shortly thereafter we went on to the set. I was surprised how they really make use of all the space in the room. Each wall was set up for a different thing. One wall had a kitchen, another some chairs, another the animal guy (his name is Jarod Miller). We waited a few moments and then Lamar and I were ushered over to 3 chairs. Turns out Harry Smith was going to be interviewing us. Harry walked by and said hi to us, but was doing a segment outside first. He came back in, sat down and welcomed us. I told Harry that this was my first TV interview, to be a little easy on me. He assured me there was nothing to be nervous and I would be fine.

And 5,4, *,*,(finger point). We were on. Harry introduced Lamar and then myself and jumped right in asking me how long I’ve been unemployed. Watch the interview here. The interview was much easier than I anticipated. Once I sat on the couch I was fine. I felt comfortable with all my answers .

 Harry chatted briefly with us after we taped and I tried to convince him to get on Twitter.

(L-R) Lamar Graham, myself & Harry Smith

We went back to the green room for a sec and then were told our cars were there. We walked out, hopped in a car and were sent home. We arrived home around 10:30am. In and out. I’ve received such positive feedback from my segment. I had nothing to worry about. I actually had a blast doing it. With any luck I’ll get another opportunity. Who knows? Maybe professional speaking is in my future? News anchor?

The Early Show

As you know, I’ve been working with PARADE magazine on the “What People Earn” project. Please Become a Fan on the “What People Earn” Facebook Fanpage.

PARADE pitched their story about the project to CBS’s “The Early Show”. Since I had been chatting with PARADE about my job search, employment history, social media and the NJ Unemployed networking group I created, they thought I would be a great candidate to go on “The Early Show” and discuss how I’ve been using social media and networking in my job search, as well as my NJ Unemployed networking group. As I’ve mentioned, the NJ Unemployed group started as a way for individuals who are unemployed in NJ to come together, share experiences, stories and struggles. I plan to bring in employers looking to hire, as well as presenters to speak on resume writing and business etiquette to the group as well.

“The Early Show” producers agreed that social media is a great way to network and hopefully gain full-time employment. So on Monday, April 12, 2010 between 8:00am-9:00am EST, I will be discussing social media and unemployment, as well as the “What People Earn” project. I hope you will tune in. If you are one of the lucky ones who are employed, set your DVR!