#MetropolisxKlout scores big!

20140511-224759.jpgBC biggest shopping centre and Klout joined forces to host the first ever Metropolis x Klout Spring Social, an exclusive VIP event, which I was privileged to be invited to, for the top-500 retail and fashion social media influencers in the Lower Mainland, as determined by Klout.

In the Metrotown Grand Court, influencers and our guests were treated to an exclusive VIP experience that included samples from participating retailers including DAVIDsTEA, Purdy’s, L’Occitane, Skoah and more. The evening also featured food and a DJ spinning tunes to keep the VIPs entertained while they were also treated to a sneak preview of spring retail trends, Each influencer received a gift card to Metropolis at Metrotown and was entered for a chance to win over $3,000 in prizes, including a $500 shopping spree.

Of the 400 shop shopping centre’s desire to position itself in the forefront of the digital and social space, Metropolis Director of Marketing Judy Black says, “Our partnership with Klout is the first of its kind in Canada and it has not only allowed us to identify our most influential and valuable customers on social media, but also to reach out to them through Klout and reward them with an exclusive experience like the Metropolis x Klout Spring Social.” 

The event also featured a digital photo booth that encouraged guests to tag themselves on Facebook, and guests were encouraged to post about our Spring Social experience using the hashtag: #METROPOLISxKLOUT.

The top 500 retail and fashion influencers in the Lower Mainland were determined by Klout through its scoring system, which calculates social media influence through a variety of metrics from Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other social networking sites, and assigns each user a score between 1-100.


Taking the 2013 Cadillac ATS for a drive

Photo 2013-01-05 12 50 14  Thanks to Klout and Cadillac I recently had the opportunity to take the new Cadillac ATS for a weekend test drive.

This isn’t your Dad’s old Caddy, gone is the ‘sofa on wheels’ feel of the super-sized luxury car I remember renting when I worked at a rental car agency in the 90s. The 2013 Cadillac ATS is a sleek, sporty and luxurious car that surrounds the driver and passengers in style and comfort.

At first glance the car is surprisingly compact for a luxury car, the ATS is the smallest Cadillac in the line, it was barely 6 inches Photo 2013-01-06 18 02 02longer than the sup-compact parked beside.   While the mid-size car fits in most city spaces easily, the parking sensors and back-up camera make parking even easier.
Behind the wheel, the seats and console envelope the driver, making everything at your fingertips but it was also open and spacious enough for 4 adults to ride comfortably.  The only interior drawback I did find in my seating location, was a couple of tricky blind spots caused by the pillar between the front and back doors. The first thing one notices upon entering the car is the ‘Cadillac Cue’ display in the centre console.  Connecting the car to my iPhone via bluetooth was quick and easy so I could make calls hands-free or control music with voice commands. There was also a USB and memory card slot for music in the armrest storage.  Cue also allow for tuning of AM/FM and XM Satellite radio just with a simple vocal command.  Navigation was the only disappointment when trying to program OnStar turn-by-turn navigation with voice command only. There was Photo 2013-01-06 18 04 54too many steps for on-the-go voice programming, I’m sure calling a live OnStar agent would be an easier option but I didn’t really want to tie up an operator as an experiment.Cadillac ATS - panel

Taking off through the city, the car handled easily and was a comfortable experience when sitting and waiting in traffic congestion. The true test of the ATS is on the open highway, it handled great and super smooth at highway speeds, hugging corners and easily flying along the open road. It seems like a small feature but the ATS’ High-Intensity Discharge headlights really did a great job of lighting up the road ahead after dark.
It was a cold, windy day out but inside the car, the heated seats and responsive climate control kept the it comfortable and the aerodynamics and handling made easy work of the cross wind.

Through city or highway, I could see a long road-trip being a breeze in this car.  No wonder the 2013 ATS has received accolades from numerous auto publications including “Luxury Car of The Year” by Popular Mechanics magazine and ” Car of the Year” by Esquire



2 Days In Seattle

Thanks to Klout and Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau I’ve just returned from a great 2 Days In Seattle.  The two organizations teamed up to offer an awesome Klout Perk to the social media community in neighbouring cities to come and experience as much of Seattle as they could in two days. With so much to see and do around the West Coast metropolis, two days can be as action packed, fun-filled or leisurely as you desire.
The perk provided us with accommodation, some spending money and since Billy (@billyforce) drove they also provided the gas money.  No set itinerary or obligation to write about the weekend was put forward but Desa at Klout (@desafernadez) and Ann at the Visitors’ Bureau (@SeattleMaven) were very helpful in setting up the weekend and suggesting activities.

Arriving in Seattle on a busy Friday rush hour, we easily found the Homewood Suites Seattle, located on Pike Street in the centre of downtown Seattle, adjacent to the Seattle Convention Center. The super friendly staff informed me I was “Guest of the Day” and greeted me with a goodie bag of treats and nibbles.  With lots of space and full kitchen, great free wifi, complimentary hot breakfast every morning and evening reception (Mondays to Thursdays), our large 1 bedroom suite would be a perfect home from home for two days or any length of time.

After unpacking, we realized we’d forgotten a couple of items, one being a swimsuit since I’d not realized the hotel has an outdoor pool, so we ventured out to the new City Target at Pike Plaza just a few blocks from the hotel at 2nd & Pike. All the bargains and selection you’d expect from a Target but a smaller scale. Armed with our purchases, I realized we were around the corner from one of my favourite restaurants, anywhere, Wild Ginger, a great Asian restaurant specializing in Malaysian Satay. After our fill of tasty soups, dumplings and satay skewers we ventured onward for a bit more shopping before heading back to the hotel. Since Homewood Suites is on the edge of Capital Hill we thought we’d wander up to find somewhere fun to wrap up our first night with some dancing and drinks. R Place ticked all of the boxes, a bar, lounge, grill and nightclub spread across 3 floors we danced, drank and people watched until bedtime.

Saturday, we had to be up early to get some breakfast before embarking on our Explore Seattle Tour with Evergreen Escapes, our driver/guide Joslyn picked us up at 7:45 for our 3.5 hour tour. The fun and knowledgeable Joslyn gave us a great overview of the Emerald City and took us to places that are not usually on the list of most tourists, especially those of us who usually just swing into Seattle for some shopping and show or game. It was a great way to get a sample of the unique neighbourhoods & people that make up Seattle.

After an amazing pizza lunch at, the Joslyn recommended, Serious Pie followed by a wander through the legendary Pike Place Market it was time for a relaxing soak in the hotel’s hot tub. Rejuvenated, we headed down to catch the Monorail over to Seattle Center and Pacific Science Center.  The current featured exhibit on until January 6, 2013 is Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs a great exhibit featuring antiquities from the Egyptian Museum including a great section on Howard Carter’s discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922.  Spend some time wander all the exhibits at Pacific Science Center, there’s fun and interesting activities for the whole family.

Needing sustenance after a long day of seeing Seattle we searched (with some help from Yelp) for some dinner, although Tango, across the street was recommended for mojitos and tapas, we opted for Ristorante Machiavelli. Also located close to the hotel, it’s a great little Italian bar and restaurant tucked into a corner on Melrose and Pine.  After a post-pasta dinner nap we went out to the very stylish Social, for more drinks and dancing. Sharing the space is Evo a tapas restaurant and bar which looked like a great place to start an evening before heading into Social to end it.

Sunday morning we were able to catch up on some sleep before going downstairs for breakfast then a quick and soothing hot tub.  Packing up, we left the car at the hotel for a bit while we went to grab a quick bite.  We’d passed Melrose Market the previous evening and thought it was worth a look again. A great little renovated space on Melrose Street filled with an array of food purveyors and shops. We sat in the open sunny windows, people watching and eating our sandwich and soup from Homegrown.  Full and satisfied we got on the road again wrapping up our 2 Days In Seattle following the theme of exploring new things by taking the alternate route home. Rather than taking I-5 and whizzing past the cities on the freeway we opted to take Route 99 and pass through the northern suburbs of Seattle, passing through the diverse neighbourhoods like Shoreline, Lynnwood and Everett before stopping at the bustling Seattle Premium Outlets for a bit of shopping before heading to the border and the end to our 2 Days In Seattle.