Playground Chatter with Anthony Bollotta, Owner of Bollotta Entertainment

Welcome to Playground Chatter! Our new blog series, where we get to profile and chat with some of the best executives in town! Sure, we could ask about all their fancy business stuff but since we are fun monsters, we want to know how they spend their spare time on the playground of life!

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Your Name:    Anthony Bollotta

Your nickname?   Admittedly some friends call me Princess, which I suppose is only slightly more impressive than Tony Bologny, the nickname I grew up with; which BTW, was sung and included the tag… Fat Macaroni.

What is your grown up job? I’m the proprietor of Bollotta Entertainment, but I’m still not sure what I’ll be doing WHEN I grow up.

How can we find you?
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/anthony.bollotta.1
Twitter:  @AllottaB
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/abollotta/
© 2014 Daniel Scherl

Tell us where you spent your childhood years. Is there one year you remember most? I was raised in North Miami Beach, Florida, in a quiet middle class neighborhood. We were the only Italians on a street comprised of Jewish families, so I’ve suffered an identity crises my entire life. I still want to be Bar Mitzvah’d! I recall my happiest days being those BEFORE I entered grade school. I didn’t know I was fat then.

Favorite part of the playground to hang out in? The living room with the TV and my board games.

Lunch pail, brown bag or did you buy lunch?  50/50. I usually bought lunch, and boy I can still taste that salisbury stake. Our grade school offered a little incentive… if there was a red line drawn in with a marker, on the bottom of your lunch tray, you would get free dessert. I considered that much more fun than the PBJ or bologna (no relation to the NN) my mother would pack. Especially if it didn’t include (as it often did NOT) that tasty Little Debbie treat, I loved so!

What would be your ideal recess today? Anything not related to my hairline!!!!

Does your company encourage recess for their employees? No, my boss is a tyrant! Although he does advocate for life balance.

If I deemed you Playground Monitor for the next 15 minutes, how would you rally your employees? What activity would everyone participate in?  We’d play Jacks. Why? It’s fun, and requires no physical strength whatsoever!!!!

What rules did you learn on the playground that you still utilize today? Fairness. Team play. Being last comes with absolutely no perks, so try not to be last.

When does time disappear for you? Talk about your hobbies. Other than answering emails? Playing Words with Friends or Scramble with Friends, listening to a Broadway score or sleeping. Time seems to slip by fastest when I’m engaged in the latter.

What is one area of your life where you need more recess? I need recess from my brain, which goes nonstop! It’s exhausting!!!

What is your authentic intention (that thing that you really, really want to do or accomplish?) What are you doing to get there? I guess to make people laugh. It’s my love and I continue to find ways to do it, albeit on or off stage! Are YOU laughing yet?

What can you do to design your life to better incorporate more recess? (Pinky Swear).  I could stop working earlier in the evening, and stop taking responsibilities on that which should belong to others.

Playground Chatter: Sharon Mintz, Organic Elements

Welcome to our first, Playground Chatter! Our new blog series, where we get to profile and chat with some of the best executives in town! Sure, we could ask about all their fancy business stuff but since we are fun monsters, we want to know how they spend their spare time!

Meet our first Playground Monitor: Sharon Mintz, Owner of Organic Elements

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Your nickname?    SmintzySharon Mintz

What is your grown up job?  I don’t know, I’ll decide when I grow up. Oh, you mean wedding florist :).

How can we find you?
Facebook:      organicelementsflorals
Twitter:          @organicelements
Instagram:      organicelements
Pinterest:         sdorganicelements
Website:           http://www.organicelements.com

 

1) Tell us where you spent your childhood years. Is there one year you remember most?
I grew up in Los Angeles in the 80-90’s so the usual, Beverly Center, Century City, 3rd Street…

2) Favorite part of the playground to hang out in? Swings

3) Lunch pail, brown bag or did you buy lunch?
Tupperware (due to my mother’s hobbies) lunchbox.

4) What would be your ideal recess today?
Snorkeling on the beach with breaks of cold drinks and absolute silence to listen to only the waves.

5) Does your company encourage recess for their employees?
Yes, paid for field trips included.

6) If I deemed you Playground Monitor for the next 15 minutes, how would you rally your employees? What activity would everyone participate in?
Team cheer, all hands in and a quick baton race.

7) What rules did you learn on the playground that you still utilize today?
Fair is fair, be kind to everyone-you never know who will grow larger than you later in life, you have to join in the activity to have fun with the group… but you can still make up your own games and lead the charge.

8) When does time disappear for you?
Talk about your hobbies. Currently my time disappears making sure my children have plenty of time for recess themselves, my time will come again soon enough.

9) What is one area of your life where you need more recess?
Sleep. I work in my dreams. Though I love what I do, I need to dream further away.

10) What is your authentic intention (that thing that you really, really want to do or accomplish?) What are you doing to get there?
I have a first child, it’s about 10 now and it’s name is Organic Elements. I work, everyday to make sure it is happy and healthy, surrounded both those that make it so. Everyday I focus on how it can be smarter, stronger and more beautiful to all it touches.

11) What can you do to design your life to better incorporate more recess? (Pinky Swear).
Declare some days off (even a few per year), and mean it!

Top 15 Places to Go in 2015: Cuba, Helsinki, Cape Town – Condé Nast Traveler

I’ve been spinning my globe trying to figure out where my travels will take me this year. So far Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Italy seem to be topping the list. We are Condé Nast Traveler evangelists, so when they give us their top 15 places to go in 2015, we pay attention!

Top 15 Places to Go in 2015: Cuba, Helsinki, Cape Town – Condé Nast Traveler.

What do you think of their list? Any places you would add? Our travel concierge are currently helping clients to get to far reaching places around the world. Where’s your next great adventure going to take you?

See you at an airport near you!

 

Day #17: Living the Good Life – 30 Day Challenge (A New Hike)

As part of this 30-day challenge, I wanted to concentrate on not only trying new things, but also to stop wondering about places that I’ve always driven past but never had previously explored. Today, my Dad, Simon (the golden retriever) and I took a hike at Canyon Hills Open Space. If you are a Scripps Ranch kid, you’ve driven past it a million times. It sits on the corner of Mercy Road and the I-15. You can see the long trail carved into the side of the mountain from the freeway. I’ve always wondered what the view must look like from the top of the hill, so today we found out.

Hike is probably a more adventurous word to describe our experience than is really necessary. It’s more of a meandering walk that starts out completely up hill. The fire road is closed to traffic but offers a wide path for walkers, bike riders and the brave runner. At the top of the summit, you find a handful of picnic tables (who knew!) and a view to the ocean, the border and beyond. We commented what a perfect spot this would be to watch the air show.

Simon loved exploring new territory, with all the new smells. The walk took us about 40 minutes and according to my app was about 1.8 miles.

Now we can say, we know what the view from the top looks like! It was worth the walk straight up hill!

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Day #16: Living the Good Life – 30 Day Challenge (Indian Head Massage)

Most of my experiences thus far have involved some level of physical activity, so I welcomed the opportunity to try a new spa experience today. I have long been intrigued by an Indian Head Massage, a type of massage that focuses only on your head and scalp. It took me a while to find a spa in San Diego that listed this service but today I prevailed.

Located in Escondido is Bellissima Day Spa, which is short on modernism but long on size. The spa is over 11,000 sq ft. and offers 11 treatments rooms for their spa services. I’ve never seen a spa so huge. My appointment was for an Ayurvedic Scalp Treatment, and I couldn’t wait.

Ayurvedic Scalp Treatment (50 minutes)
Warm oil is applied to the third eye (center of the forehead) which profoundly relaxes and balances the central nervous system, creating a calming and soothing effect and nourishing the hair and scalp. Then stimulation of the scalp by a brushing method and scalp massage is performed, improving circulation and encouraging hair growth. An herbal mask is then applied, followed by a hot towel wrap to help the oils and nutrients of the herbs penetrate, nourishing the hair follicles, controlling dryness. A face, neck, chest, shoulders, and foot massage is included in this treatment for total pampering.

Although the staff is very friendly, I found the spa to be very dated. I could imagine the grandmother’s coming in to have their hair set and styled once a week. I was whisked into the lounge to change into my robe upon arrival. The furnishings within the lounge were old and reminded me of time spent in Sochi earlier this year. Upstairs, I met Gina, the therapist who would be conducting my massage.

For the first 15 minutes of the massage, warm oil was dripped onto my third eye. It also found it’s way to my first two eyes and ears. Occasionally, Gina would wipe the excess away, but after a while the dripping became less of a focus and the oil running onto my scalp became tedious. After the bottle of oil emptied, Gina spent the rest of the session brushing my hair and massaging my scalp. At this point, I became interested in the experience. I love the feeling of having my hair brushed so I was far more engaged once we had finished the turkey basting. Gina also massaged my hands, neck and feet while the oil saturated my hair.

The overall experience was mixed. I appreciated the hair brushing but found the oil dripping to be about 10 minutes too long. Following the massage, I made my way into the steam bath but could barely see the door because the steam was so intense. I only lasted a few minutes.

The photo below is a highlight – Gina turbaned my towel to intensify the oil penetration but I felt like a Smurf.

Day #15: Living the Good Life – 30 Day Challenge

I admit, I’m not a huge bird lover. The whole thought of them flying over head and swirling sort of creeps me out. I try to subtly always move out of the path of birds when they are flying. I do, however, appreciate a bird that can talk and sing, so that was my motivation for visiting Free Flight, an exotic bird sanctuary in Del Mar.  Part of my 30 day challenge is to push myself into doing things that will make me uncomfortable.

Tucked next to a veterinarian, near the Del Mar Fair Grounds, sits a little refuge for exotic birds. Upon entry, (a $5 donation is required), you meet Kiki, the house resident and welcome committee. You can even go in her cage and encourage her to speak. If you are lucky, she will squawk you a ‘hello!

As you wonder around the little sanctuary, you are met with endless noise and screeching from the winged residents on display. Frequently, one of them will break into a mimic and you will hear either a car horn, a door bell, a “how you doing?” or an opera! By far, the talking birds were the highlight of the experience.

Kudos to Free Flight for offering a refuge for these beautiful creatures. I highly recommend this experience if you have kids. It’s an easy way to spend an hour.

How great is this song? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFYzkBVM0vM&feature=youtu.be

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Day #11: Living the Good Life – 30 Day Challenge (Learning the Trade!)

For my 11th experience, I reached out to my event colleague, Sharon Mintz, Owner of Organic Elements – an award winning and regularly published – floral and design studio, and asked if I could shadow her team for a few hours. She was very gracious to have me pop over to her new studio and let me get my hands dirty! I’ve also been in awe of floral design and after seeing what amazing floral art Sharon and her team regularly produce and design, it was easy to know who I would want to train under!

As an event planner, my involvement with a floral team is to talk about a design and place an order. I really had very little knowledge about ordering, flower production, design and execution. On the day I shadowed the Organic Elements team, I was able to help prep a few upcoming projects.

My first assignment was to clean a dozen vases. Like many parts of the event industry, these are the tasks that are not overly fun but very necessary. The behind the scenes prep is what most people forget is necessary. Instead, they walk into a ballroom all set-up for the event and have little knowledge on what it takes to get it from a blank slate to a visual cacophony. It was very evident that the Organic Elements team is well prepared and organized. They have a very efficient system that enables them to work proactively versus re-actively. Kudos to Sharon for taking the panic out of event production!

My next task was to place gorgeous purple orchids in the clean vases. Kaitlyn, OE’s manager, was overly warm and generous in educating me about the process and why flowers need to be processed before they can be used in a design. She was also very complimentary of my ability to be a quick learner! Maybe a career in floral design awaits me in my next life!

My final task was to process a huge bunch of white roses. Thanks to Kaitlyn’s education, I now know that in order to get roses to open up, you must strip them of their leaves because the leaves hog the water as it moves up the stalk. Removing the leaves allows the roses to open and in this case, would make turning these beauties into petals to be tossed at the weekend wedding, a lot easier.

Here I was a novice being tossed into a team of professionals and they couldn’t have been more wonderful and supportive of my willingness to learn. What struck me, beyond their talent and beautiful designs, was the camaraderie amongst the staff. Sharon has designed a team that clearly works hard but plays hard together too. What a joy to be amongst professionals whom truly love what they are doing and they respect the team they are working with. I loved my time at Organic Elements and hope that my future blooms with another opportunity to work behind the scenes with floral designers.

Your take away from this experience should be to think about an industry you know little about but would love to learn and ask for an opportunity to shadow. Most companies always need an extra set of hands and they are very generous with their time!

Thanks Organic Elements team – experience #11 was amazing thanks to you!