What To Look Forward to at L.A. Times’ The Taste

Paul Sanguinetti, Jaymee Mandeville, Marcos Tello, Brian Summers at last year’s Cocktail Confidential Competition

Today’s the day. That is, the last day to get your tickets to this weekend’s events at L.A. Times’ The Taste before they go up in price! Also, there are some events (tomorrow night’s limited-capacity opening night, Flavors of L.A. and the weekend pass) that are sold out, so don’t snooze on it; get your tickets now while you can.

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American Express Supports Small Business Via Foursquare With $10 Statement Credit

Foursquare Check-in at The Oaks Gourmet

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have already seen my tweets on the matter. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of American Express programs designed to increase their customers’ loyalty – and last summer, they aimed at the social media savvy by partnering up with American Express.

Last Thanksgiving, the Saturday after Black Friday (after Thanksgiving Day), was a day they declared Small Business Saturday. If you spent $25 at a small business, you got $25 statement credit. Fortunately, the program was such a success they decided to extend a $10 statement credit deal to American Express members that are also on Foursquare. Yay!

All you do is sync your Foursquare account with your American Express card, and then start shopping. When you’re searching for venues at which to check in, small businesses participating in this Amex deal will show the orange “Special” tag in its listing, so you know what to look for. Just pay with your American Express and the $10 credit appears on your statement “within 3-5 business days,” according to Foursquare. I’m currently awaiting mine.

I’m not exactly sure when this deal ends, but it was touted as “limited time only,” with my reading word around the web that it could end very soon! Maybe even today? So I’d definitely sync up my card right now and get shopping! The great thing is that small businesses encompass tons of food, retail and services you never even thought of. Just check what Foursquare check-in Amex specials are nearby wherever you are, right now.

The fine print: “Purchase must be made within 24 hours of your check-in.”
The drawback in fine print: “Limit one $10 credit across all participating merchants.” What a waste of so many small business options to choose from, right? I guess at least they’re getting the neighborhood attention they deserve by showing that “Special” tag in their listing.

Happy shopping! And Happy New Year!

Now – ?

Sync Foursquare with Amex

Check in on Foursquare when you shop/eat at small business, load “special” onto card. Pay with AMEX and receive $10 statement credit in 3-5 days.

Small Businesses Everywhere
Los Angeles, CA

Bowling Special & Peer Squared Program At Lucky Strike

Photo credit to Tia_Cow on Flickr

Having grown up in the former bowling capital of the world, I’ve had my fair share of childhood birthday parties held at bowling alleys. Though I never learned to curve the ball down the lane, bowling is a special pastime that holds a kind of nostalgia. There’s nothing like a little Hollywood glitz to go with your 10-frame game, and Lucky Strike would be exactly the place to get that.

Now for a limited time, you can claim 1 free game and 1 free shoe rental per person with the magic phrase, “Swayze sent me for the special.”  And as part of their latest social media push, they’re also launching a birthday party list point system via Peer Squared, which earns you points as you add people to your guest list. So if you plan on having a bowling birthday party – or even if you don’t – you can earn points on the Peer Squared site to be redeemed for schwag or even charitable donations. If you sign up for your own account, use my special promo code “ESTARLA1” and automatically get 2,000 points credited to your profile – birthday party or not. You actually get points even for just visiting the site and inviting friends via Twitter and Facebook – so the system rewards you for your loyalty, or OCD, whichever you prefer.

If nothing else, claim your free game and shoe rental at Lucky Strike Hollywood. I’d encourage weeknight visits if you’re local to avoid the weekend crowds – it’ll make your visit that much more enjoyable. They have a full bar available with a menu of bar bites (you get a ton of fries in that fry basket).

Code: “Swazye sent me for the special” for free game, free shoe rental
(Games cost $7.95 ea. thereafter)

Code: “ESTARLA1” on Peer Squared for 2,000 points

Lucky Strike Hollywood
6801 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA‎ 90028

Socialized Networking

It was just another Saturday afternoon as I drove along Sunset Boulevard. In fact, I was heading back from the East Side performing my usual geekery at my weekend daytime coffee spot (not my weekday nighttime one) when I saw this from the seat of my MINI. Don’t worry – the traffic signal was red, then.

And the billboard tripped me out. It actually said “Social Networking.” And to illustrate the point of the the concept (with nothing particular to say about it, per se – just the mention seemed to suffice) there were a few, varied tequila drinks next to the bottle of Patron. Patron be the common thread that binds all us geeks together! Or is it?

I’m going to get metaphorical here. Patron isn’t my favorite (4 Copas and Tezón are) nor is it even made with the best ingredients but it is certainly the most well-known. It’s assumed to be the highest quality because people generally don’t bother to do their research and Patron is where they default*. Patron, though, is most likely the only tequila brand that could afford the Sunset Boulevard space. It was indication that “Social Networking” wasn’t just geekery anymore. The concept had gone mainstream.

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