Friday, March 31, 2006

Malibu Sushi

Last night did indeed turn out to be a good story... After first going to Howdy's in Malibu and finding it closed, I was forced to eat at someplace else... someplace new.

And, if you've ever ended up trying to randomly find a place to eat in Malibu, you know that it can be tricky. Malibu is actually not as big as I pictured it before moving to California. The population there is something like 13,000 and most of the residents only live there part time (think big vacation homes). As you can imagine, the first challenge is just finding a place, any place. There's not a ton going on in Malibu.

Then the next challenge usually begins with the question, "Am I dressed appropriately?" You can easily go into a tiny place in Malibu and just after you valet park your car (against your will usually), you find out that the place only accepts reservations and / or clearly has a certain dress code.

The good news is - I found a great new place to eat sushi in Malibu. Its a tiny little place called Thai Dishes and Sushi (Thai Dishes itself is a small LA chain, but they don't usually serve sushi). It was a tiny place that has clearly been other types of fare over the years. They had a fire that was burning atop sand in a fireplace... little orchids... the whole thing was very comfy and casual. The one humorous part to me was the waiter. He was SO nice and SO attentive. At one point, he even unwrapped our disposable chopsticks and allowed us to each take them out of the package ourselves.

The place was great and I plan to go back soon. My one question is-- if they're going for that upscale feeling, why not invest in some real chopsticks? I mean, it sort of feels like someone at McDonald's unwrapping your Big Mac for you.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

Tounge Tied...

It's amazing how fast a week can fly by. I've been working like crazy on my latest site (

It's almost totally done... thank goodness. If I have to work on this site for another full week, I might just flip out. I have uploaded and updated more keywords in the last week than I could have imaged... more than 4,000!

Today, on a walk home from the Post Office, I stopped into a local candy store. It was by far the most BIZARRE candy store experience ever. This place (See's Candies) is long and skinny like a hallway that happens to have an old fashioned candy counter on one side of the hallway. When I walked in, I was a little disoriented. The first thing that caught me by suprise were the two uniformed security officers. Security in a chocolate store?? Then, it was hard to get around the security guards and the other customers to talk to the first actual employee. He was outside of the counter and was handing out samples of carmel and chocolate something. Once I made my way up to the actual chocolate, I was greeted by two ladies who will place the chocolates you select into a tiny paper bag. It's wild to me that it takes 5 full employees to put two pieces of chocolate rocky road into a tiny bag. In the meantime, the air in the place was just odd. Everyone was abnormally quiet and abnormally uncomfortable. I'm not sure if I'll go back... no matter how great the chocolate was.

On a side note, I think I'm going to hang up the internet connection and drive up to Malibu for a little relaxation. I woke up and started working at 5:30 yesterday and kept on working until 8:30 last night. That whole experience drained me a little for today. Well, that and arguing on the phone with the lovely keepers of my keywords... and my new health insurance company. Did you know that if you request a dentist for a new health plan - and that dentist is no longer accepting new patients - that the health care company will try to penalize you for switching dentists to one that will actually clean your teeth?? Well, that also happened to me today... the insurance company wanted me to wait until sometime in May as a penalty for switching. So once again, I had to break out my arguing skills and discuss my concerns with the customer service folks. It's amazing to me how much you have to argue just to get what you pay for in the first place.

Hmm. Okay, well I'm off to have an evening that I'm certain will make for an intersting story... stay tuned.

Friday, March 24, 2006

A brief sigh of relief

Whew - after a straining week, I think that I may actually be able to take an emotional breather today.

I've been working like crazy on my latest dating site and have been running up against hurdles. Mainly this is due to my inexperience and finally I'm feeling that little bit of freedom that comes with learning.

I have successfully uploaded over 2,500 keywords for my dating site's campaign and very soon, I plan to switch on my advertisements.

Whew - what a relief! :-)

I'm starting to see that the toughest thing about working for yourself is that you have to be your own main source of encouragement, socializing, networking, etc. I think that the mental barriers may be more tough than anything else.

On a side note, my college reunion is coming up soon - can you believe it? I hope that I'm able to go and visit RPI. Here are a couple of the interesting classes that I took while I was there:
Advanced Manufacturing Lab (AML) - You work with a big team to design and manufacture products for paid sponsors. My team built 600 kaleidoscopes for our sponsors, Pratt & Whitney, BASF plastics, and Energizer. Before buiding the kaleidoscopes, we learned how to use all sorts of equipment, including: a CNC mill, a water jet machine, a coordinate measuring machine, an injection molding maching, a blow molding machine, a vacuum former, a thermal press, robots, a conveyor system, rapid prototyping, and all other sorts of dangerous industrial tools. Ha!
Laboratory Introduction to Embedded Control (LITEC) - You build a car that drives along a white strip of tape on the ground, by itself.
Introduction to Engineering Design (IED) - You work with a team to invent some new thing. My team made a home auto pollution tester.
Good ol' RPI. :-)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Search engine wars

On another freaking cool note, my personal site is making headway on Google.

Check out these recent searches:

Somehow Yahoo! has totally lost me - oh well, I'll take two out of three! :-)

Away from here.

Essentially, I suppose instant messaging can be seen as an escape from work or every day life. A little like blogging. :-)

I find the away messages people post on their favorite messenger to be humorous... it's like a life line back while they're out facing the real world.

This is the away message that prompted my post today. It's from an RPI graduate named Adam Garrison. I can relate to his message and cringed when I clicked on the link. It's amazing the things we block out over time. :-)
I'm so glad I'm not in engineering anymore

Anyhow, here are a few more funny away messages that are up today:

It's cold...gotta get my boozecoat on.

Angie Dawn is the coolest.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Single Sexy

On a side note, check out my new dating site:!


Today, lunch was a little different than usual. I had made an appointment at a new art gallery in Beverly Hills. The artist is a recent graduate of the Pepperdine MBA program too... he makes amazing limited edition art work using state of the art technology.

Parvez uses photographs, his computer, and other objects to create images that are then printed using paint onto different types of materials - from traditional canvas to glass to even a working laptop computer.

The thing that's so great is that his target market is young professionals who love art and would like something more than just a poster, but can't quite afford a $10,000 piece just yet. His paintings are very reasonably priced and he models their style after the latest designs at Pottery Barn, and Crate & Barrell, so they will match your existing decor.

We picked up a small version of this fun piece called "Ku de ta" for just about $180. Isn't it great?? I definitely recommend Parvez Michel! :-)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

I <3 Chocolate

Although I haven't directly mentioned it in my blog, if you know anything about me, you know that I am a food connoisseur. I am constantly on the look out for my next big taste adventure.

Recently, on a visit to Utah, I had something that was extra tasty - Cummings' Chocolate Covered Raspberries! These little guys are quite the delicacy in Salt Lake, as the store runs out of their high dollar berries constantly.

After truly enjoying half a box of them, I decided I could make my own. Cummings' #1 fan however disagreed with me-- until today. :-)

I successfully re-produced the chocolate covered berries today in my Santa Monica, California kitchen and I must say that I did prove my one critic wrong. The berries were WONDERFUL and I highly recommend making them in your kitchen. They're super easy! Here's my recipe:

Angie's Chocolate Covered Raspberries

6 oz. of FRESH, washed, and dried raspberries
6 oz. Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Premium Baking Chips (you can find these in the cake mix isle at your grocery store)

A muffin tin
Foil muffin tin cups
1 big pot
1 small skillet

Bring a pot of water to boil on the store. While the water is heating, wash and dry your raspberries. Then, line your muffin tin with the foil muffin cups and place 4-5 raspberries in the bottom of each cup. When the water begins to boil, turn the heat to low and place the small skillet on top of the pot. This will create a double boiler, so that you don't overheat the chocolate. Place the chocolate chips in the skillet - preferably all in one spot together. Stir constantly until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Just as this happens, remove the skillet from the top of the pot and pour the chocolate into the muffin tins over the raspberries. Pour as much chocolate as you'd prefer and then afterward, take a minute or so to lightly tap the muffin tin against your kitchen counter. This will allow the bubbles of air to float up and the chocolate to drizzle down over the berries. Then, place the berries in the 'fridge for approximately 20 minutes before eating. Also, note that the berries should be eaten within 24 or so hours to ensure freshness.

Yumm.... good eating!

Italian Days & Nights

Today I had a totally new experience - an outdoor store called REI. REI has all sorts of gear. It's mostly for camping, but it's very upscale camping. :-) I got some new socks and lightweight clothes for a trip that I have coming up.

For those of you who haven't already heard, I'm going to Italy and Spain for 2 weeks in May! It will be a much needed vacation.

Here's my itinerary:
  • Day 1 - Flying, flying, flying.
  • Day 2 - Travel to Rome
  • Day 3 - Rome
  • Day 4 - Rome / Travel to Florence
  • Day 5 - Florence / Travel to Verona
  • Day 6 - Verona
  • Day 7 - Verona / Travel to Venice
  • Day 8 - Venice
  • Day 9 Venice / Travel to Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain
  • Day 10 - Tenerife
  • Day 11 - Tenerife
  • Day 12 - Terenife
  • Day 13 - Flying, flying, flying.

One very good day!

Yestreday shaped up quite nicely and really completed my week.

The first half of the day was spent preparing for a presentation that I gave at Pepperdine on the Non-Profit Entrepreneurship course that they have. Although I have felt more prepared for presentations before, I think it went pretty well. I spoke loud enough, stood up straight, and didn't forget anything. And, after it was over, I received about 5 questions and two of my professors complimented me.

Then, I drove home to complete the car sale. See, 24 hours after I got the AutoTrader situation ironed out, I started getting calls for the car. The very first call came on Friday afternoon and by Friday night, I was hosting a test drive. Not only did I show the car though, I negotiated a price on the spot and sold it! The buyer left a deposit and came back yesterday to sign all of the paperwork, pay, etc. The whole thing was a really great experience - I enjoyed doing the research, listing the car, and especially, the negotiation!

Something that made the car sale even more special for me and for the buyer was that the buyer happened to be an international person. When he was taking the test drive, I asked him about his visa / greencard process and could appreciate how difficult the whole thing can be (becuase of my international friends). He was such a nice guy that whenever I spoke to him, I would say, "thank you very much for calling!" or something to that affect. I could tell that it had a positive affect on him, because he would echo back, "thank you very much for taking my call!" :-) Anyhow, after the sale, he stopped before he left to say, "I just wanted to tell you how much it means to me that you were so respectful to me. Normally, when someone meets me, they start to treat me differently because they see that I'm from another part of the world." I of course explained my wonderful friends. :-)

Then, we started talking and he asked me about Pepperdine's MBA program. It turns out that he's an electrical engineer who's finding himself at a point in his career where in order to move up, he needs a business degree. This was the point I was at before getting my MBA, so I could relate. I gave him the low down on the program, from the cost to getting in -- to classes and locations. I even told him about the non-profit class that I had spoken about earlier in the day. He seemed really happy to receive the insight and we may be in touch in the future about Pepperdine.

Overall, it was a great day! It was so nice to help everyone out and to complete the auto sale. This morning, I was able to mark the car "SOLD" in AutoTrader! :-)

Friday, March 17, 2006

The world of auto sales...

This week, I have dipped my toes in to the pool of auto sales.

I'm selling a car on and it has really been challenging! I mean, the entire thing started off well. Their site says that it only takes "an average of 7 minutes" to post an ad. Then, the ad goes into their online system as well as AutoTrader Magazine. And, the entire thing only costs around $50. Sounds perfect, right?

Not so much. OF COURSE I'd have some big problem trying to post the car. Basically, this is what I did:
  • Took photos of the car
  • Gathered all of the important information like VIN #, mileage, engine type, transmission, etc.
  • Set up a temporary e-mail address to correspond to potential buyers
  • Got a temporary message taking phone number and set it up to e-mail me when people call about the car
  • Created an AutoTrader account and posted the ad

It SEEMED so simple! I received a confirmation e-mail from AutoTrader and everything was going great... until I didn't receive a single call about the car!

How could that be I wondered? So, I searched for the car online and the message I received was, "the seller has taken this car down." That was odd. I'm the seller and I did NOT take the car down. So, I tried to log back into my account... you know, the one that they sent a confirmation e-mail to and all. I couldn't. The error message I received said "this ad has been removed from the system." Ummm.............

So I e-mailed the help email listed on their web site. The response I received the next day said that I should call in, so I did. When I called in, the person I spoke with just couldn't figure out why my ad had been taken down. I mean, she could see it in the system - why wasn't it there? So, she had a manager call me.

The manager wasn't "sure" as to why the ad was removed, other than it was marked as FRAUDULENT. (Can you believe this??) When I asked her what I'd done wrong, she said again that she wasn't sure, but that she thought the e-mail address I had used had something to do with it: (How frustrating! There had been no mention of not using an e-mail address like this on their site and their system had allowed me to use it.) She said that this was a sign that I was trying to be dishonest. When I explained that my e-mail address is actually MASKED to the users and they never even see the e-mail address... and that it's just to help me, she said that they couldn't be sure what I was going to do, given my apparent attempt at fraud. I also explained that creating email addresses with the company's name in them allows me to track who is selling my e-mail address for spam. Her response was along the lines of: "Well, I'm not that up on those technology things."

So then, I asked her if she would just change my e-mail address to something else - anything else - and repost my ad. She of course said no. I would have to create a new account, etc. She wasn't even sure if there was anything else wrong with my ad other than the e-mail address, so I'd just have to give it a shot and see if the ad stays up.

My next question OF COURSE was, "why wasn't I contacted about this?" Her answer: We don't have to contact good customers. They call us. It's the bad (fraudulent) customers who never call in when their ad disappears. This is definitely an interesting customer service model.

On a side note, she was also freaked out that my cell phone number was different than the phone number listed on my ad... that phone number I mentioned that takes messages about the ad.

So anyway, I have re-submitted the advertisement and have come to the conclusion that AutoTrader may want to consider not being an online company. Either that, or they need to get with the program and dig themselves out of the dark ages.

WHEW! With that rant said, here's the ad. Feel free to e-mail me if you notice that it goes down again. :-)


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Another site!!!

Whew - in the past two days I've put together ANOTHER site. I think that I'm actually getting back into the swing of things.

Check it out at!

On other news, I had a great trip to Costco today. As crazy as it sounds, I love that place! I made it out with 36 bags of Knott's Berry Farm cookies (in 4 varieties), 70 frozen chocolate chip cookies, 12 bottles of AZO tea, huge packages of frozen food, a giant package of printer paper, 24 bags of pita chips, a giant bag of blueberries, and more! Thank goodness I happen to have 2 fridges *wink*... hopefully I don't get bored of eating the same thing OVER and over too soon... :-)

On related food news, I made up a new recipe last night: the strawberry martini! I may have to share the recipe soon...

:-) Angie

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Gift Giving

So with everything like it is, I've had to pear back some on my normal gift-giving routine. With that in mind though, I still like people to know that I'm thinking of them.

My 2 most recent gifts include

A book for Sean

A card for Grandma

Saturday, March 11, 2006

10 days!

Okay, so it's very apparent to me that I haven't written in my blog in close to ten days - wow, what a dissapointment. ;-)

Anyway - the past week has been a whirlwind of excitement... like every other week latey, I suppose.

My trip to Utah was very good... I made progress on my own endeavors and also, helped Morgan pick a dress for her wedding.

The one thing however that has been devouring my time is a new site that I've been working on. You should check it out - it's called I'm promoting SIRIUS Satellite Radio. It's where Howard Stern has dissappeared to... it offers commercial free programming, including music, talk radio, and more. And, they have a free 3 day online trial where you can try it! :-)

Anyway, I should run... I'm off to promote my new site. So far, things are looking great. Be sure to stop by and check it out!

Angie :)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Adventures in healthcare!

I've been signing up for new health insurance this week with Blue Cross. Filling out the application was super easy - just a few forms on a web site. Today however, I received a voice message that the primary care physician I chose was not available given the plan I had selected.


Don't you hate it when you don't have a recommendation from a friend? Anyway-- easy enough to fix, I thought. Logging back into the Blue Cross site, I assumed I would have pages of doctors to pick from. Unfortunately, I had one. One page of doctors. Not only was it only one page, they were broken up into essentially three small groups. First, there were two independant doctors. Then, there was one big group practice with a number of doctors - this could be good, right?

So, first I decided to look up a few of the doctors in the group practice. I mean, at least if MY doctor is unavailable when I'm sick, someone will be able to see me. So, I Googled the practice and low and behold, there were actually a few complaint letters with the practice's (and one of their doctors) name on them. Wow! Well, "maybe those complaint letters were one time things," I thought, so I kept scrolling through Google. Nope - I actually found an article written in a medical magazine listing the practice as well. The article was about keeping good staff in a medical office. It started off with an example of a top notch practice and how they work to keep their employee turnover rate at almost 0%. Then it said, "...and at the opposite side of the issue is XXX practice in Santa Monica, CA." One of the doctors at the practice actually gave a quote about how although they give employees a trial period, if the employee doesn't work out, they haven't been able to fire them, because they really need the help. And so, they take just about anyone. Well, with that I was officially convinced that this was not the doctors' office I should be going to.

I set out to find out a little bit more about the other TWO available doctors. I couldn't find much on the first doctor.
[As a side note, I'm looking for a doctor who will treat me as a respectful, intelligent, AND responsible HUMAN being. It must be a young looking girl thing, but I cannot tell you how many times a doctor has tried to convince me that my boyfriend is cheating on me or that a bladder infection is something much worse that must be related to some sort of non-existent promiscuous behavior. When I hurt my feet last year, the first doctor that saw me talked down to me, saying that my irresponsible behavior had let me down this path. The foot specialist I saw found that my legs are two different lengths and my feet are shaped oddly. If you can imagine being treated like a stepchild 90% of the time at the doctor, that's me. Most recently, I had a suprisingly positive experience at a doctor. The doctor actually LISTENED to me and he PRAISED me for being so responsible and for bringing in notes about my health history. This is the kind of doctor I'm looking for!]

So, back to my search--
I put in my final and last hope of a doctor into Google and suddenly, tons of articles popped up - 275 pages to be exact (keep in mind, this guy is just a primary care physician and a family doctor). Anyway, the first page that popped up said that one of his specialties is treating drug addicts. I thought, this could be good - with my ultra clean lifestyle, he will for sure treat me with the respect I'm looking for! So, I kept looking. I found out that he's Jewish, he plays guitar, he lived in NY before moving to Laguna Beach,CA, he's been in practice for 25 years, and he even gives a 20% discount to actors. Oh, and his office is 1 mile from my apartment. All very good. But, this still didn't answer the question of why in the world did he have almost 300 web sites with his name on them??

I'll tell you why! It turns out, he is Paris Hilton's personal doctor and his name and phone number were in her hacked Sidekick! The media apparently latched onto that page I mentioned above that said he helps drug addicts with their recovery and forgot about the whole "family care" gig that he's got going. It spread so fast that he was even quoted in Star magazine (this was one of the searches that came up - I do not read Star) as saying that he's gotten so much attention from the incident that he's going to have to change the phone number at his practice!

With all that said-- and considering my lonely 3 options, I picked him! He's going to be my doctor for these reasons: 1. In comparison to his other patients, he's definitely going to realize that I'm not some crazed 20-something and 2. I assume that someone as wealthy and as prim and not so proper as Paris is SURELY going to go to a reasonable doctor. So anyway, I did get my referral for a doctor after all - and it was from Miss Hilton herself! :-)

On to other news, my new shoe store is doing great! It's brand new and you should be sure to check it out. It has a huge selection, unusual sizes, low prices, and free shipping and returns!

Back on track... I think.

My blog is finally starting to get back on track! All of its contents (history and all) have been moved over and I have put up a notice on my old blog to redirect users to my new blog.

I heard this morning that my RSS feed isn't working properly yet, so I made a few adjustments... and hopefully, it will also be back up and running soon. :-)

Otherwise, things are going well. Last night, I had a meeting for The California Foundation about the business plan I'm helping them to write. The California Foundation is a new start-up non-profit whose purpose is to encourage education at all levels.

In other news, my little brothers are taking their driving tests for the second time today. I hope that they do well and I'm looking forward to hearing the results.

I'm also working on an online wine store that should be up soon! I've paired up with to offer the very best vino delivered to your front door. Expect to see cabernet sauvignon, syrah, champagne, and more from California, Spain, and Australia. There will even be gift baskets and wine clubs. The clubs generally send you two bottles of wine per month along with tasting notes, an electronic newsletter, and discounts on future purchases of club featured wines. Some even come with gourmet cheeses and chocolates. I am definitely looking forward to it!