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THE MAGAZINE FOR LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS & SMALL-BUSINESS OWNERS MAKING A DIFFERENCE

POWERED BY STANCE / ISSUE 1

SPRING / SUMMER 2015

PLUS COMMUNITY FEATURES West Career Tech Academy, Project 150, Farmers Market & more

BEHIND THE BRAND The Downtown Showroon, Presidential Clean

ON THE SPOT WITH Tami Belt, Adam Helmsing, & Tim Maina

Vital Germaine

INSPIRING & ACHIEVING

GREATNESS

With key components to initiate action, achieve results, and sustain performance levels. TO BE FEATURED EMAIL EDITOR@ELEVATINGVEGAS.COM

ELEVATINGVEGAS.COM | EV SPRING / SUMMER 2015

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E V E R Y DAY,

CLE AR .

GHOST


Natural skincare.

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CONTENTS 2

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SOCIAL MEDIA

How can small businesses can leverage the power of social medial to get huge results .

ACHIEVING GREATNESS

There is no quick fix, singular formula, pill, or solution to inspiring or achieving greatness.

WHAT IS PODPORA?

A magical place where entrepreneurs & busines owners can open up & share without the fear of being judged

Health in the Workplace

Are you too busy building your business, that you’re neglecting your health? See what Erica has to say.

West Career Tech AcademY

This High School takes a totally different approach to how they offer education and prepare their students for the future.

Truly Natural?

Do labels mean anything anymore? Can we trust what the ads tell us? And what are we really putting into our bodies?

BEST OF VEGAS

Our staff had some fun picking out our 5 most favorite places and things to do around Las Vegas.

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PUBLISHER/FOUNDER Tim Maina @BrandWithTim EDITOR Adam Helmsing @ahelmsing MULTIMEDIA Jay Maina LOGISTICS Naomi Maina SALES & MARKETING STANCE CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Tami Belt. Monika Mileva. Christina Aldan Nick Brannigan. Vital Germaine. Erica Zaldivar Benjamin Weiser. Jason Peasley SPECIAL THANKS TO Apartment Therapy. Writers Access. Team Heidel Realty. Shani Rose. Daniel Park. Courtney Scott

BEHIND THE SCENES

FOR ADVERTISING, CONTACT Adam Helmsing at 702-509-9542 Ext 103 or ahelmsing@stancebranding.com PHOTOGRAPHER Tyler O’neill | tkophoto.com Elevating Vegas Magazine is a quarterly publication by STANCE, a Las Vegas branding agency. Reproduction of any portion of Elevating Vegas Magazine is prohibited without prior written authorization from the publisher. For editorial consideration or Letters to the Editor, email editor@elevatingvegas.com. Letters to the Editor will be subject to editing by Elevating Vegas Magazine. Elevating Vegas Magazine is not responsible for the views of contributing journalists. All editorial correspondence should be addressed to Elevating Vegas Magazine, Attn: Adam Helmsing, 3275 W Ali Baba Lane Suite 518, Las Vegas NV 89118 or call 702.509.9542 Ext 103. Elevating Vegas Magazine assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions appearing herein. All Rights Reserved. Elevating Vegas Magazine Copyright 2015. Elevating Vegas Magazine is relieved of any legal liability as it does not make any medical representation, expressed or implied, in respect of the accuracy of the material this magazine and cannot accept any legal responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions that may be made. TO BE FEATURED EMAIL EDITOR@ELEVATINGVEGAS.COM


THIS MAGAZINE I S P OW E R D BY

ST NCE E L E VAT I N G M E A N I N G FUL BRANDS @ S TA N C E B R A N D I N G


BUILDING SOMET FROM NOTHIN AN AMA EXPERI Dear Reader, Elevating Vegas is a diverted idea from the global popularity of Las Vegas. While The Strip has made Vegas possible, it is the growing local population that we wish to address in this, our first edition. I do not think this is a city of excess. This is a city that offers excess, but surrounding the lone glitz and glamour of a single pocket of concrete paradise exists a world that doesn’t receive enough attention. Small Business Owners & Entrepreneurs.

EDITORIAL

Unheralded business owners will everyday rise in the same fashion to go about their work. Underappreciated teachers and students will engage in learning, while arguments rage about education standards. An underbelly of survival, in heart breaking fashion, exists just steps away from us as we traverse our streets.

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These are the issues we wish to address. In a declaration of publication we wish to acknowledge all that is listed. We do not ignore, we do not fault. We wish to exist to give a voice to those who desire a say. The smallest of us, to the wisest of us, can create a better Vegas. Perhaps by reading this you will see that you are not alone. This magazine has proven to be the most ambitious undertaking I’ve ever had the privilege of being apart of. I’ve both enjoyed and struggled with it. No new idea is ever easy, especially in the beginning. It required time, dedication, and frantic worry. But, it also requires belief. I had to believe that I was embarking on a mission that could be complete. It has taken numerous hours from many on our staff to make initial concepts come to life in the form of publication. I thank them all, and I thank you, the reader.

Adam Helmsing EDITOR IN CHIEF

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THING NG IS AZING IENCE

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CCORDING TO BLOOMBERG, 8 OUT OF 10 ENTREPRENEURS WHO START BUSINESSES FAIL WITHIN THE FIRST 18 MONTHS. 80% IS CRAZY, RIGHT?

That means, if your business is past that mark, those stats don’t apply to you- congratulations! While that’s true, both you and I know that building something from nothing is no joke. The stress that comes with it starts from day one and never seems to end. But that doesn’t faze us, does it? As a small-business owner, I have had my fair share of failures, disappointments and setbacks yet somehow, I keep moving foward. Beyond purpose, passion, and drive running a business needs a commitment- one you cannot break. If you can relate to this, this magazine is for you. As small-business owners, we should consistently get the word out and create more awareness around our brands. One effective way to achieve this is through a magazine, and yes people still read them. That should mean a lot coming from a guy that runs a digital agency. But facts are facts. Another fact is, majority of the existing local publications have neglected the people that need them most- us! This realization fueld my entire team at STANCE to put 110% into making this magazine a reality. Months later, we have our first issue- amazing! As you will soon find out as you read through this issue, this magazine is by small-business owners, for small-business owners. With both print and digital publications available, Elevating Vegas aims to be the preeminent platform for small-business owners and entrepreneurs in Las Vegas that are making a difference in our community- and beyond. I hope that you will enjoy the content that we have worked so hard to put together. Big thanks to everyone that helped make this a reality. I hope you will benift from this magazine, now and in the future!

Always Elevating,

Tim Maina PUBLISHER

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BUSINESS

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““If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.” —Malcolm X

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MARKETING

SMALL BUSINESSES CAN BE

BIG WINNERS WITH

SOCIAL MEDIA BY CHRISTINA ALDAN

Savvy business owners use Graphic Designers to help craft their brand image. They use creative Web Designers to build their website, then hire a Public Relations Specialists to help spread the word. 10

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hat many business owners forget about or fail to invest any significant energy into is crafting a marketing strategy that is effective and sustainable. Businesses today should be implementing some kind of closed-loop marketing strategy. Closed-loop marketing is simply implementing systems to gather data related to marketing conversion goals. Once this valuable data is gathered and analyzed it helps shape the decisions businesses make with their marketing dollars. At my company, LG Designs, we bring all of the pieces of the puzzle together and help create advertising campaigns that integrate all aspects of your business, using traditional and digital media. We spread your message and get measurable, tangible results. TO BE FEATURED EMAIL EDITOR@ELEVATINGVEGAS.COM


A simple step missed by many is basic market research. Identify your target market, and understand what problem you are solving for them. Then determine what percentage of the target market you hope to capture by researching studies and available data.

Social media is unique in that it is the only platform that integrates all other aspects of marketing, from market research and customer service to direct marketing campaigns and e-commerce. Simply put, social media is where word-of-mouth advertising is happening today.

A survey of 200 clients can deliver you important information on what clients want and what motivates them to purchase your product or service.

The good news is that businesses can ensure they are part of the conversation by implementing a thoughtful and consistent social media strategy. All it takes is a little bit of time, creativity and embracing the business cliche’ “location, location, location.”

This leads to the most misunderstood, underused and important part of branding, marketing and advertising available to everyone today - social media.

Go where the people are. Be social.

Today it is unthinkable for almost any type of business to operate without some kind of a website. Yet many business owners who understand the importance of having a business card, telephone, email, and website continue to overlook the most compelling means of branding, marketing and word-ofmouth advertising in the history of commerce: social media. Social media offers all business owners the benefits of: 1) Adapting their brand messaging in real time.

CHRISTINA ALDAN Founder, LGDesigns @luckygirliegirl

Christina Aldan builds connections through the community through social media, graphic design, social networks and technological education. She uses these tools to help individuals and businesses cultivate value in everyday media. Learn more at: LGDsgns.com or by calling 702.900.3419.

2) Marketing directly and indirectly to their target market. 3) Placing their business where conversations are happening each moment of each day.

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COVER STORY

THREE SIMPLE STEPS TO INSPIRING AND ACHIEVING

GREATNESS BY VITAL GERMAINE

There is no quick fix, singular formula, pill, or solution to inspiring or achieving greatness.

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ortunately, through years of experience and extensive research, ENGAGE has created relevant and meaningful guidelines, approaches, attitudes and mindsets that can enthuse, activate and enable extraordinary results on a personal and/or professional level. Regarding workplace greatness, it is dependent on leadership and the company culture within which it exists. ENGAGE’s ultimate objective is to inspire greatness and help our clients achieve it. It’s what gives our

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company meaning; it’s what fuels our passion. We are happy to share our expertise built on years of experience and intensive research. We have broken down the process into three simple to follow steps listed below. In addition, we provide the key components to initiate action, achieve results, and sustain performance levels. We call them: FUEL - AMMUNITION – TOOLS (F.A.T) Establishing the “why” behind any pursuit or goal, and understanding the purpose and meaning is paramount.

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Establishing the “why” behind any pursuit or goal, and understanding the purpose and meaning is paramount.

The more significant, expansive, and encompassing your “why” is, and the greater its positive and relevant impact is on others, the easier it becomes to realize. We are always more driven by a cause that is greater than ourselves. ENGAGE’s purpose is to inspire creative ingenuity, happier teams and strong leadership that in turn stimulate relevant paradigm shifts, leading to the achievement of greatness. Be aware that the journey must be travelled one focused, patient, and persistent step at a time with ongoing evaluation, adjustments and commitment. Important questions to ASK YOURSELF are … What does your leadership and company culture inspire? Do your employees embody and personify the goal of becoming great? What example is leadership and company culture providing? If your example inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams.

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LEADERSHIP

B

CONT’D FROM PG 15

efore the journey to achieving greatness even begins, it is necessary to determine the destination and know what tools, ammunition, and fuel to package in order to get there.

Here are the 3 simple steps.

1. Inspire others through your leadership by example, your passion, your empathy, your love, your encouragement, and your enthusiasm. 2. Challenge and empower others to shine, own, express, and communicate their ideas. 3. Expand horizons, broaden perspectives, unleash creativity, and energize beliefs by unlocking the doors to possibility. These are the fundamentals we practice at ENGAGE to inspire and achieve greatness:

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“When we are happy we tend to be better: we are better leaders, better employees, better lovers, better friends, better parents, better focused … better everything.”

FUEL Determination (drive, resilience, persistence) Courage (inner strength) Happiness (joy, love, humor and gratitude) Belief (conviction, confidence) Passion (desire, determination, feelings) Patience (endurance) Respect (appreciation, acknowledgment, recognition) AMMUNITION Meaning (significance) Sense of Purpose (the why, the motivation, objective) Social Relevance (who benefits) TOOLS Creativity Ingenuity (envisioning, trying new possibilities) Awareness (self awareness and of our environment/ people) Childlike Approach (the love of exploration and discovery) Adaptable Perspective (willing to change) Positive Outlook (yes or why not) Willingness to fail (without risk there is little reward) Connectedness (no ego, authentic, empathic) The ultimate and defining factor to achieving greatness is ATTITUDE. It does affect behavior. Without a positive attitude, all three steps, fuel, ammunition and tools become diluted and non-effective. Our attitude is dependent on our mindset, and when we are HAPPY, greatness comes more easily because our attitude is positive – yes, miserable people have achieved greatness in history! But, when we are happy we tend to be better: we are better leaders, better employees, better lovers, better friends, better parents, better focused … better everything. Happy, collaborative, revitalized, focused, motivated and ENGAGED teams win championships!

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LEADERSHIP

Following these steps will turn into success as companies whose leadership was rated high in ethics, employee motivation, and employee communication enjoyed 20 percent higher profits! In contrast, the lost productivity of actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. economy $370 BILLION annually. Motivated teams will provide a 26 percent higher return on assets. Companies with a highly engaged workforce improved operating income by 19.2 percent. A 1 percent increase in employee commitment can lead to a monthly increase of 9 percent in sales.

CONT’D FROM PG 17

About ENGAGE At ENGAGE we agree with Jimmy Johnson. Being extraordinary or achieving greatness is as simple as doing that little extra. Simple does not mean easy. Team building fosters a feeling of a shared goal and camaraderie in the workplace that boosts individual performance as it improves overall performance. Start inspiring your team to greatness today and enjoy the ROI tomorrow and beyond.

Achieving team or company greatness ultimately comes down to ONE basic thing! Is your company and leadership willing to do what it takes? Are the team players inspired to do what it takes? “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra,” - Jimmy Johnson.

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Vital Germaine is a team development consultant, entrepreneur, memorable speaker, top-selling author of FLYING WITHOUT A NET, and former Cirque du Soleil performer/team captain.

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SUPPORT

PODPORA CREATES A MAGICAL PLACE WHERE ENTREPRENEURS & BUSINES OWNERS CAN OPEN UP & SHARE WITHOUT THE FEAR OF BEING JUDGED BY MONIKA MILEVA

M

any entrepreneurs often feel displaced as they have no one to share their journey with.

With the emergence of the internet and advanced technologies small business owners and solo entrepreneurs have become more and more isolated and alone, sitting anonymously behind computer screens day after day with no support network where they can share their frustrations, ask questions in complete confidence, share their successes and be surrounded by peers. This is where Podpora comes in. We are a new concept and offer that sense of belonging; a place where you’re surrounded by people walking the same road as you, having the same dreams. Wouldn’t it be great if I had a support group to turn to if I had any problems in the business or wanted to brainstorm an idea or just wanted to vent out some frustrations and celebrate my successes? May King (Co-Founder) and I met at a networking event in 2010 and we realized we shared the same values. We approach networking events in the same way: by getting to know other business owners before we did business with them. When May King started a business in 2010, she didn’t know anybody in Brisbane. She created a Facebook Group that helped other business owners build relationships. Her group is a great place for business owners to get help with questions, referrals and general support, but as humans we need the face to face interaction. To me she was the perfect business partner so I approached her with the idea and she fell in love with it.

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of us including, May King and I, have We are a new Most tried to talk to our family and friends about business, and have discovered that it’s concept and offer our futile as they don’t get us. that sense of We, as entrepreneurs, are a special breed. belonging We think differently. We have great visions

and are willing to go through fire and ice to reach them. We know no boundaries. We know no limits. We know no fears. But, even as entrepreneurs we still need support and guidance. We still need a sounding board to help our visions become real. We cannot do this alone. As business owners ourselves, we saw a gap in the market. Entrepreneurs gather at networking groups, referral meetings, Chambers of Commerce, etc.; but there is no place where they can come together in complete confidence to share their pains and successes with others without fear of being judged.

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SUPPORT

CONT’D FROM PG 21

Successful business owners have never created a profitable business on their own. They are always surrounded by their peers who can look at their business objectively. True entrepreneurs always have a mentor to guide them. Being in a room with business owners discussing and sharing their pains and gains is like having your own group of mentors. With Podpora, our aim is to create a global community where everyone feels safe. We brainstorm your problems and frustrations. We help, understand, and encourage you in times of turmoil in your business, we celebrate your successes. We are your confidante. Visit www.podporanetwork.com to learn more about Podpora.

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DIGITAL MARKETING

BENJAMIN WEISER OFFERS SOME SEO ADVICE BY BENJAMIN WEISER

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ow can I get started online to promote my business from scratch? Ben – “The first step is defining who your target audience is. Once you understand who you are marketing to, then it’s a matter of finding the best way to reach these people. If you’re promoting T-Shirts that display viral content, a medium like Facebook, or paid advertising is typically a good choice. Whereas if you’re touching on subjects that will be relevant for years to come Search Engine Optimization is a solid long term strategy for driving traffic.

wall and just hoping that something sticks. Is it important for my business to have positive reviews on the internet? Ben – “Positive reviews can make or break or a business online. Just ask any business owner who has a single star rating on Yelp. The public’s perception of your business doesn’t end on your doorstep, yet it begins there. Treat your customers well and give them the best service you possibly can to mitigate or minimize the risk.

Bad reviews can poison a business’s efforts, and outAfter determining who your audience is and through side of what occurs on your website you have little conwhat mediums you are most likely to reach them, the trol over what your customers post on web properties next step is to determine what problems does your tar- such as RipOffReport or BBB. get customer have that your business solves? Often times these sites can even rank alongside your A good website, or Facebook page should communi- business’s website in the search for your brand name. cate what problems are being solved, and why your How can you drown out the negative voices? It’s simproduct or service is the best solution for their prob- ple. Get more positive reviews. lem. Ask your customers nicely to share their experiences It’s better to start small and methodically. You should with your business online, but make sure you are abidalways be testing and tweaking the traffic on your web- ing by the terms of service for each of these review sites site. Have a plan. The big mistake a lot of companies to ensure the praise is honest and not incentivized.” make is throwing a lot of marketing resources at the

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Ask your customers nicely to share their experiences with your business online, but make sure you are abiding by the terms of service

If I am not in the top page of Google, what are other ways to reach my customers? Ben - “Some business lend themselves better to more traditional direct marketing efforts such as word of mouth, billboards, print ads, and TV commercials. Outside of the search engines, paid advertising is the easiest and quickest way to the word out there. However, be warned you can lose a lot of money and fast with a poorly optimized ad campaign. It takes a lot of time, money, and testing to get it just right and return and ROI unless you are selling a very high priced product and can easily recover costs. Other avenues include social media promotion, content marketing, and e-mail marketing as well.” What is the importance of Google Plus to your current strategy? Ben – “Google Plus is a failed social network that would have ceased to exist a long time ago had it not been a Google product. It might seem like an odd statement considering there are millions of regular users, but the percentage of registered users (i.e. people with Gmail, and YouTube accounts as well) compared to those who are active on the network is extremely low. Only a few select communities are active on Google Plus. The main value that Google Plus offers is the very fact that it is a Google property, and Google tends to favor the platforms it produces.

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CONT’D FROM PG 25

It is extremely important for Search Engine Optimization, and it helps Google confirm your business is a legitimate entity through the confirming your contact information on your Business Page.

Facebook typically isn’t a place where people go to make purchases.

When you’re on Facebook you want to have fun and socialize with your friends online. It’s important to unEvery business should have a Goo- derstand this when reaching your gle Plus presence with accurate audience on Facebook. information. The more interaction you have on your page, and the The best way to get seen by your more quality content related to audience on Facebook is to use exyour industry that you post the bet- tremely targeted ads to convince ter. them to opt-in for some kind of However I’m a big advocate of go- promotion that doesn’t require any ing where your customers are, and purchase. For example, you can ofnot forcing them to come to you. If fer a buy one get one free for users your customers are most happy on that give you their email address. Facebook then you should interact Now you’ve incentivized them to with them there. If your customers spend money at a later time, and are happy using Google Plus, inter- you also have the ability to contact act with them there as well. Don’t them with more promotions later force your customers any particular down the road. I can’t stress this platform simply because of per- enough… don’t ask people to buy ceived SEO benefit.” directly on Facebook!” If I have a Facebook page why Can you define SEO in layman’s can’t my audience see me, what terms? do I do about it? Ben – “SEO or Search Engine Optimization is somewhat of a dated Ben – “Facebook’s complex algo- concept, however in recent years as rithms place content in front of Google’s algorithms have advanced their users that they feel their users the meaning behind SEO has had are most likely to interact with. In a lot of growing up to do. The purorder to cut down on the copious pose of SEO is to optimize your site amounts of promotional material for users first, and the search engine users were viewing in their Face- second. book feed, posts by Business Pages typically don’t have the same reach SEO has gotten a bad reputation in they did a few years ago. the past for individuals who used dirty tricks to manipulate Google,

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without providing any real benefit to the user of the website. Driving traffic to your website is pointless if it doesn’t convert. So good “SEO” can actually be bad for your business, if you’re just throwing in keywords here and there without regard for the end user. As a matter of fact by optimizing the site for your users, you will have a direct impact on your search engine rankings. These include things that effectively communicating what your company does using the phrases that your prospective customers are typing in the search engine high up in the visual hierarchy of the page. This also includes getting your business listed on as many reputable sites as possible to increase exposure to your website. There is also a technical aspect of SEO some of which transcends the user. This includes special markup in the code that is only read by Search Engines, as well as directives to Google’s search crawler on how to interact with your site.” What is responsive website? Ben – “A responsive website is a website that is device agnostic. This means that regardless of whether you are using a desktop computer, or a mobile phone the entirety of the content on your website will remain easy to use and accessible to your users. Typically this means eschewing the time-honored web design tradition of designing a site based on a fixed pixel width layout that looks the same everywhere. On a responsive website that content will actually stack into columns as the screen size gets smaller, and the images as well as the text will adjust according to the screen size. Non responsive websites will require you to pinch and zoom in order to view the content and force you to move horizontally on the web page to consume the content. These are very unnatural actions to have to perform and make it difficult for people to use your site. Before responsive web design came into prominence many web designers created “mobile friendly”

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CONT’D FROM PG 27

versions of the site. These often times offered a stripped down version of the desktop site. This meant mobile users didn’t have access to the full website, and therefore still offered a poor user experience.” How can a responsive website help my business online? Ben – “Through providing a consistent and user-centered experience regardless of the device that your visitors are accessing your site from you will ultimately make more money, and have happier customers.” How can a responsive website help my SEO? Ben – “When users are accessing Google from their mobile phones, Google tends to display mobile friendly sites higher up in the search results than sites that aren’t mobile friendly. This means that offering a poor mobile experience to your visitors can not only hurt your conversion rate, but it can also negatively impact your search traffic.” Email marketing, why is this important? Ben – “A potential customer might visit your website once and never return. They might hear about your product and service, and then forget who you are when they realize that a product of service like yours might actually be useful to them. When you collect emails and promote your business directly in your inbox you have the opportunity to sell to them your target audience anytime you press the “send” button, rather than hoping that they one day visit your website again. Not to mention, email also provides a safe venue for customers to provide feedback to help you improve and better your business.” Ben has been building websites using WordPress since 2009, and made his first website in 1999. After finding success in the SEO industry as an affiliate marketer, he began to take interest in web development and design. Ben currently maintains a blog at benweiser.com

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by optimizing the site for your users, you will have a direct impact on your search engine rankings. TO BE FEATURED EMAIL EDITOR@ELEVATINGVEGAS.COM


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IMPROVING

HEALTH

IN THE WORKPLACE BY ERICA NICOLE ZALDIVAR

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Erica Zaldivar has a B.A. in Psychology from University of Nevada Las Vegas. Currently she studies Wellness and Family Counseling for her graduate studies through University of Phoenix.

An advocate of emotional and physical health, Zaldivar has founded Inspired to Shine to help people in the business world avoid “burnout.� Fueling herself daily on green juice and gratitude, when Erica is not creating something healthy in the kitchen, she can be found outdoors with friends, family, her beloved dog, Yogi, and her cat, Luna. Erica recently took some time to address simple things we can start doing now to improve our daily health, while in the workplace.

Move Your Body

Remaining sedentary in any one particular position or activity is easy to do while at work. Remember to give yourself breaks, ideally once every 30 minutes to an hour. By taking a break, you give your mind a rest from what it was intently focused on and your body an opportunity to move. If you were on your computer, taking a break allows your eyes to relax and refocus. Continual strain on your eyes can have harmful effects down the road. Prevention is key.

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HEALTH

How? No matter where you are, get up and challenge yourself to walk around for 5 to 10 minutes. Preferably outside if the weather is nice. This will allow you to get some fresh air and vitamin D. If you can’t walk outside, take a stroll around your workplace. When you get back to your desk or office take a few moments and roll your wrists, ankles, and neck around a few times. Try and remember the use it or lose it rule. Keeping circulation moving to these body parts is a major preventative factor.

Drink Up

Our bodies are made of mostly water. What this means for us is that if we are not maintaining essential hydration, our bodies will not be able to function the way we want them to. Our water intake determines how we look and feel. Don’t fall victim to dehydration because you’re so focused on work. Your health is more important. Try to eliminate that extra cup of coffee or soda and replace it for a glass of water. How? Keep a glass of water or a bottle of water full on your desk or workstation. Challenge yourself to drink a glass every hour or two. If your work requires you to drive a lot and be mobile, take it with you and do your best to fill it often.

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Check In With Yourself

Your health and well-being are the most important variables in your life. When your health suffers, your work suffers. Your health allows you to accomplish all of the amazing things that you do every day. Invest in the time to check in and see what’s really going on. Honor what your mind and body need. How? Think of speaking to yourself like you would a dear friend and ask: How are you feeling? Notice: What’s your posture like? When was the last time you ate? If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stuck on a current project, maybe you need a break from it to take a few deep breaths. If you’ve been in appointments all day and are starving, listen to your body and eat before anything else. Are you feeling discouraged? Take some time to write down all the things you’ve done well in the week that you’re proud of. A simple check-in can help shift your mood and focus. Incorporate these tips throughout your work day as often as you can. I hope this has inspired you to remember that you are important and that your health matters! By focusing on your health, you can increase what you are capable of physically and mentally, while in the workplace, and in your personal life. Inspired to Shine Promotes Emotional and Physical Self Care Through Wellness Counseling. Visit www.inspiredtoshine.com to learn more. TO BE FEATURED EMAIL EDITOR@ELEVATINGVEGAS.COM

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BEHIND THE BRAND

THE DOWNTOWN SHOWROOM Q&A

ARLEAN GALL FOUNDED THE DOWNTOWN SHOWROOM IN 2004 IN THE HEART OF NEW YORK CITY’S FASHION DISTRICT. ORIGINALLY FROM BARBADOS, GALL OWNED A SPECIALTY RETAIL STORE UNTIL SHE FOUND HER CALLING IN THE WHOLESALE FASHION INDUSTRY.


Ever on the run, Gall was able to join STANCE during a visit to Las Vegas while she promoted her brands at MAGICLV, a premier contemporary fashion event that exhibited men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, held at The Sands Showroom last February. Q: Can you tell me where this journey began for you? A: Well, as a young girl I always had a passion for clothes. I always had a passion to be different. It was comfortable to me. What is uncomfortable for most people to walk in and be different in is comfortable for me. That was always my passion. I guess that was always the artist in me. There are a lot of revolutionary people like myself out there who don’t want to be conformed to what others are saying you’re supposed to look like.

you can’t stay consistent with the same look. you have to move forward and try keep it fresh

Q: What inspired you? A: I would say my mother. She loved clothing, she loved style. In everything she did she had style in. I took a little bit of that from her as far as the clothing aspect of it. I just love the concept of being here to be different.

as I can keep them amazing. As long as I can keep them excited. In this business you have to get excited. If there is no excitement you go into your store and it’s gloom there.

Q: What do you look for in a designer?

Q: How do you create your identity with The Downtown Showroom?

A: What I do look for in a designer is one that is not afraid to pull out the design concepts that they have within them because it’s a gift. Some designers might get caught up in trying to make cookie cutters or trying to be like another person. I look for people who don’t want to align themselves with an artist but who want to be true to themselves. Q: Can you give me an example of what style you look for? A: It’s more artsy. Take for instance what I’m wearing you say “ok this is kind of a space kind of jacket.” The actual jacket here is not the jacket you are going to normally see as you walk into a major store. These styles are not “you can only wear it this year,” they are there forever. Q: How do you build lasting relationships with your consumers?

A: It’s very important that in any form of business that you brand yourself to the market target that you are looking to attract. By branding the showroom we look for certain brands that we would identify as the particular segment of market that we are looking to attract. Those are creative designers, designers that are not afraid to step out of the norm and be themselves. Q: How do you keep pace with an ever evolving market? A: You have to continue to try and move forward. You can’t stay consistent with the same look. You have to move forward and try to keep it fresh, and keep it amazing. You can’t keep it amazing if you stay within the same product look. The designer has to be able to evolve because if they are not evolving you are not evolving. You have to keep on searching the market. You have to step out of your norm and see what the world is doing.

A: As long as I keep them happy that’s the key. As long 35


BEHIND THE BRAND

You have to step out of your norm and see what the world is doing Q: How do you continue to grow? A: Right now there is a shoe collection that we recently saw and oh, I’m so excited about it. There’s a passion that is burning inside of me right now for that shoe collection. And I know I’m going to do very well with that shoe collection because the line is creative. The designers are awesome. They’re innovative, there is just something awesome about them in their work. That’s going outside of my comfort zone, because we don’t carry shoes. Q: How do you present yourself? A: I am who I am. It’s natural, even before I was in the business. It’s very important to have strong presentation. You want to project who you are. You can not be a shoe maker and not have on a nice pair of shoes. Taking pride in continually challenging herself to evolve over the years Gall has earned a reputation of working with unique designers. Her travels take her across the world to search for them. Before visiting Las Vegas she was in Germany searching for the next stylish brand to continue giving buyers the best of “East meets West.”

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QUALITY BRAND IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT WWW.STANCEBRANDING.COM


BEHIND THE BRAND

PRESIDENTIAL

CLEAN Company Name: Presidential Clean; LLC Owner’s Name: William Butler/Jason Peasley Establishment Date: January 2013 Location: Henderson, NV Contact: Jason Peasley – 702.600.3915

What motivated you to start this business? With the economy in the toilet – we decided that there was a need, a need for economic growth, JOBS and a lot of them. Given the opportunity we feel most people would grab the chance to better themselves and their families. So, Presidential Clean was created by the needs of our community. What are some of challenges you encountered? Paying for quality produces quality…We are like name brand jeans, they fit the best. As most of you realize, large business tend to set rates that seem like a great deal to most people; however, in order to keep that price low, cutting corners and “sweeping under the rug” is the only way to make a profit. For smaller businesses, we take our time to produce quality work at a fair price. The challenge assumes the role of seemingly higher rates, meaning less business for the little guys.


What do you wish you had known before you started? In Las Vegas… well, it is pretty simple, here it seems to be a large area, with so many people coming and going that no one really knows one another. However, it may surprise some to know, this community is close knit, everyone that knows someone has known that person down the ages. People use and recommend who they know for business. The odds of creating that trust with a new company are slim unless you have an in. What type of education helped you manage this company? A combination of brains, partnership, and experience… business and life experience within this partnership are well over 30 plus years in the industry. Do you have any partners? Yes, William Butler (me) and Jason Peasley are the founders of Presidential Clean. How many employees do you have? Enough to get the job done correctly, the first time! Maybe the question should be how many do the projects require? Describe a typical day in your business. In a nutshell! Client service, client satisfaction…

“Combination of brains, partnership, and experience

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What are you best known for and why? A “clean” life… Most cleaning companies cling to on the motto, “We clean Top to Bottom.” Well, Presidential Clean takes it another step further… “We not only clean top to bottom we also go … underneath, and behind.” Because the magic of clean doesn’t reveal itself by what our eyes can see – but what our trained eyes show us. What sets your business aside from others in the field? Doing our part in society, merging people with opportunity, patriotism, community and service these are the utmost of importance for us. We are determined to grow our business by way of giving people a chance to better their lives with a cleaning career. What about your business makes you the most proud? Doing our part in society, merging people with opportunity – we put displaced people to work, so they have the chance to better themselves. As well, our company donates to (and founder of) Stone to Bread a non-profit organization which assists the homeless veterans and citizens of our county.

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Complete the following sentences: “When a customer walks into our business they can expect….” Foremost, you don’t need to worry with extra mileage driving to find a cleaning company to fit your needs. Presidential will go that extra mile for you – with free in-your-house quotes and customization plan. Furthermore, we always go over the details clearly and precisely, ensuring there are no surprise expenses or ‘add-ons’ once you receive your invoice. “What really makes us unique is ... “ Community awareness and service – we have seen the need and have contributed a percentage of every clean to Stone to Bread a non-profit project for the homeless of Clark County. So, whenever you hire us to clean your project or home, you are helping the homeless veterans and citizens in your community.

My VOICE is your CHOICE! Want your brand to STAND OUT from the competition? Voiceovers will give you the EDGE to SHOWCASE your products and services by using QUALITY vocals! Cadence VO Services produces professional voiceovers for Advertising, Promotions, Videos, Voice mail, Narrations, and Audiobooks.

CALL KATHLEEN TAYLOR: 310-907- 6940. Listen to a Sample of our work: youtu.be/iAZ2NIszHok?hd=1 Website: www.cadencevoservices.com

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ON THE SPOT

TAMI

BELT FOUNDER, BLUE CUBE MARKETING SOLUTIONS @1BlueCube

TAMI BELT IS A SECOND-GENERATION LAS VEGAS NATIVE WHOSE FAMILY MOVED TO THE VALLEY IN 1936. SHE WATCHED THIS TOWN GROW AND HAS GROWN TO LOVE THE COMMUNITY AND THE PEOPLE WHO HELPED BUILD IT.

H

er Grandfather, who owned an air conditioning and sheet metal company, was one of those people who helped build Vegas. Her father, a PGA teaching pro, taught the town to how to play golf at the local municipal golf course. Tami learned as much about conducting business as a kid on the links as she did in college. She graduated from UNLV in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in business and corporate communications with a minor in marketing, and embarked on a career in public relations and marketing. After 14 years in Corporate America, she became increasingly frustrated with the politics, bureaucracy, and micro management. In 2002, Tami launched Blue Cube Marketing Solutions to transform the way companies approach communication strategy and community engagement. She saw a better way to help clients share their stories and build relationships through community engagement and built her own sandbox. Today, Tami is an award winning public relations pro-

fessional who has built a network of relationships with colleagues who enjoy working with her as much as they respect her talent, work ethic, and integrity.

The business community has recognized Tami’s dedication and achievements with numerous awards, including: -2014 Distinguished Woman of Southern Nevada. -2012 Top 300 Small Businesses of the West Business Leader Media. -2009 Entrepreneur of the Year Southern Nevada Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners . In addition, Tami has been included in the following books: -Bull Market 2004: Companies That Can Help You Make Something Happen by Seth Godin. -What is Your Life’s Work: Answering the Big Question about What Really Matters by Bill Jensen. -The Simplicity Survival Handbook: 32 Ways To Do Less and Accomplish More by Bill Jensen. Visit her website www.1bluecube.com to learn more.


communicating without a plan is risky business


ON THE SPOT

H

e attended a small high school of only a few hundred before graduating and enrolling in a small community college due to poor grades.

Eventually he realized the importance of academics and rededicated himself to education. After raising his GPA dramatically he enrolled at University of Wisconsin Stevens Point in the Communication Department.

ADAM

HELMSING MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST, STANCE @ahelmsing

ADAM WAS BORN IN FORT HOOD TEXAS, BUT MOVED TO WISCONSIN WITH HIS FAMILY WHEN HE WAS ONLY 3-YEARS-OLD.

Boasting a journalism background that included time as an editor and freelance writer, Adam contemplated if he wanted to continue with journalism. He took a variety of classes that ranged from English literature to Religious studies. Eventually, with the guidance of Associate Professor of Media Studies, Steven Hill, he decided to stay the course. Adam graduated in May 2014 with a B.A. in Media Studies emphasis Journalism. Along with his girlfriend, Dawn, he moved out to Las Vegas after graduation. Having visited once before, the previous year, the couple fell in love with the culture, tempo, and weather. Seeing an opportunity to expand their experiences and careers they started applying a few months prior to moving. Currently Dawn works in The Clark County School District. After a brief freelance stint with Las Vegas Review Journal, Adam started working at STANCE last October. A strong supporter of education, many articles contributed to the magazine are focused on increasing learning for young adults not only inside the schools but outside of schools as well. Fun Fact: Adam is obsessed with The Walking Dead.


We’re gonna need a bigger boat.


ON THE SPOT

TIM MAINA FOUNDER, STANCE @StanceBranding

Originally from Kenya, Tim graduated from high school having just turned 17 and had his eyes abroad.

H

e moved out on his own after graduation and with the help of his mother found work at a video production company. There he became proficient in the Adobe Suite, focusing on design & video production. He also interned at In-depth Marketing Solutions, a Marketing Agency based in Nairobi, Kenya where he got his first taste of the real business world. During this time, he also attended a vocational training school to sharpen his knowledge of web design and began applying for colleges in the U.S. By January 2006, Tim was on my way to the US to pursue his B.S. in International Business. Later that summer, he moved to St. Cloud, MN to live with a childhood friend and continue his education.

Working 3-4 jobs at any given time, going to school full time, and launching two clothing lines out of his apartment, he was able to maintain a reasonable GPA, and incur no financial debt. His two clothing lines, Clad Nine Clothing & Nairobi Wear operated from his apartment and sold through a website he designed until orders became too much to handle. In response to the growing demands he had to outsource to manufacturers. Both brands won recognition while in operation. Including a first place finish at the 2011 Rip the Runway Fashion Show held in Dallas, TX. After graduating from St. Cloud St. University in May 2010 with a B.S. in International Business, Marketing Concentration, Tim packed up his car and drove to Los Angeles where he worked as a Products Acquisition Manager for a major online retailer. A little over a year later he discovered Las Vegas and fell in love with it. Since then, Tim has founded STANCE, a local branding agency that is focused on elevating meaningful brands. His goal is to grow the agency into the most impactful branding agency in Las Vegas while elevating this great community. You can reach him @BrandWithTim Fun Fact: His favorite TV series is Mad Men.


Never despise your humble beginnings.


COMMUNITY


“Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo


SOME REALITY

INSIGHT BY TEAM HEIDEL REALTY

Team Heidel Realty is a customer-service based brokerage. Our motto has always been “People First!” Our goal is to be Real Estate Advocates for our clients. We understand that buying or selling a home can be stressful, so we educate our clients in all aspects of the real estate transaction to make things a little less stressful. The Las Vegas real estate market is an interesting one. Short sale and bank-owned properties are not as common as they were a few years ago. Currently, most of the sales are traditional or equity sellers. In fact, only 9.3% of properties sold in February were short sales and another 9.7% were bank-owned homes. The median price of a single family home is at $205,000. Around this price point and below, we find that homes are usually selling fairly quickly and often have multiple offers. As the list price rises, properties tend to be on the market longer and there are not as many potential buyers to compete with. Additionally, new home builds are picking back up. From residential properties to commercial, we haven’t seen this kind of construction in some time. All over the valley, you can see new communities and stores popping up. As a small business ourselves, Team Heidel believes Las Vegas is a great place to start and a grow a company. Since establishing in 2003, our business has grown each year. We have thrived in this community and we have it’s residents to thank for it! If you are thinking buying or selling real estate, now is the time! Interest rates are still low and there are also several new home-buyer programs designed to help individuals and families buy a home. We would be happy to help you navigate the market!

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www.teamheidel.com


FRESH FOOD

Las Vegas Farmers Market Thriving BY WILLIAM V OF WRITERS ACCESS CONTRIBUTIONS BY ADAM HELMSING

A

“LOCALS,” AS THEY CALL THEMSELVES, HAVE MADE A HOME IN THE DESERT ISLAND OF LAS VEGAS.

and more than 5,000 people visit the Las Vegas Farmers Market each week. The offerings include: • Fresh vegetables and fruits - asparagus, avocados, beets, blood oranges, bok choy, citrus, greens, nuts, pomelos, squash, and strawberries; everything is as fresh as possible, depending on the season You’ve got to make it, bake it, or grow it, according to founder Ginger • Handmade bread Johnson. “I’m from here. I like to eat • Cake well and food didn’t taste as good. It • Pastries tasted like the cardboard containers • Fresh cut flowers it came in. I didn’t really realize that • Pasta until I moved away.” • Salad mix • Arts and crafts The Las Vegas Farmers Market start- • Custom jewelry ed in 1999 with a modest five booths. Today, there are dozens of booths, The Las Vegas Farmers Market is open small group of entrepreneurs summoned their best collaborative efforts, put all their experiences together, and created an event that occurs each week in the Las Vegas Farmers Market. This is an oasis of fresh fruit and produce.

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from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays. All the purveyors of fresh fruits and vegetables at the market must bring the fresh fruits and vegetables on the same morning as they come to the Las Vegas Farmers Market. Compare this time to market with the normal distribution pattern. The normal food distribution pattern in the United States takes a few weeks for the food to arrive in the grocery stores. First, the farmers have to grow the produce or fruit, which must be picked. Then, it is transported under refrigerated conditions to the wholesale food dealers, who then sell it to the grocery chains, and only after this process are the fruits and vegetables

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available for sale on the retail grocery store shelves. What we are talking about in terms of actual transit time is the difference between about two weeks on average compared to the freshness of fruits and produce picked the day before that are available for sale in farmer’s markets

getting rich by doing this, but what they are doing is bringing great fruits and vegetables to share with all who live in Las Vegas. “We’re a regional program now,” Johnson said. “We have partners from California, Arizona, Utah, and, of course, Nevada.”

Jennifer Sizemore reports that the These people get up very early vendors at the Farmers Market acto make the trip to the wholesale cept the SNAP program electronic markets in Los Angeles and return benefits (EBT) cards. SNAP stands in time for the afternoon Farmers for the Supplemental Nutrition AsMarket in Las Vegas. Others like the sistance Program, formerly known owners of Van Dyke Farms grow all as food stamps. The U.S. governthe produce that they sell locally. ment funds this program with more None of these businesspeople are than $70 billion per year. A person

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IT IS FOR THE COMMUNITY. THEY CAN MEET AND ENGAGE WITH AGRICULTURE AND SMALL BUSINESSES

with an EBT card is able to use it like a debit card Most farmers, according to Johnson, were hit to pay for items that are authorized as foods un- hard by the real estate downturn. But they have continued and preserved to continue bring fresh der the SNAP program. foods to the community. Local farmer Joel Van Dyke of Van Dyke Farms is enthusiastic about the SNAP program being “It is for the community. They can meet and accepted as payment for fresh fruits and vege- engage with agriculture and small businesses,” tables. He says, “Our family has been promoting Johnson said. the eating of healthy foods, grown locally, for decades.” His wife, Priscilla, agrees, “All of our pro- Most of the produce featured at the farmers duce that we sell comes directly from our farm. It market is offered at a better price than the same produce is sold for in grocery stores. Aurora Buffis a labor of love and we love it!” ington, a registered dietitian and health educaThe entrepreneurs who participate in the Las tor, says, “Both regular people and the vendors Vegas Farmers Market are a hardy bunch. They benefit from this. Healthy choices using the EBT consist of both men and women who make the cards are the becoming the easy choices.” effort to either grow the foods themselves or go to Los Angeles and bring back fresh produce and On Wednesdays, it is held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. fruits so that the people in the Summerlin area at Bruce Trent Park, located at 1600 N. Rampart can experience the taste of the freshest produce Blvd. On Thursdays, it is held in Gardens Park at 10401 Gardens Park Drive. Every first and third available. Saturday, it is held at Floyd Lamb Park in Tule “It’s really challenging,” Johnson said. “The cli- Springs at 9100 Tule Spring Road. mate is not conducive, water is not conducive.”

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Authentic

LIEGE WAFFLES BRAND NEW STORE AT THE GRAND BAZAAR SHOPS

www. wafflebar.vegas


WEST CAREER

TECH ACADEMY BY ADAM HELMSING

NESTLED COMFORTABLY IN SUMMERLIN WEST CAREER AND TECHNICAL ACADEMY SERVES AS ONE OF SEVEN CAREER AND TECHNICAL ACADEMIES LOCATED IN LAS VEGAS.


U

nlike traditional high schools, these career and technical academies have a more specific curriculum for students to choose from.

“Every student has an area of study, West Career and Technical Academy Community Partnership Coordinator,Kristi Semmler said. “We have nine programs that students can take based on their interest. Some, like nursing, provide certification.” Each student has the option of career programs. These programs are tailored to specific fields of study. West Career and Technical Academy offers: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Biomedical Sciences Biotechnology Business Management Civil & Environmental Engineering Digital Media Environmental Sciences & Natural Resources IT Management Nursing Sports Medicine.

Each program area follows a unique four-year sequence of courses. Rigorous coursework, project-based learning, job shadowing, and internships will give students first-hand experience in their selected program areas and prepare them for the transition to post-secondary institutions. TO BE FEATURED EMAIL EDITOR@ELEVATINGVEGAS.COM

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EDUCATION

Like traditional high schools students are subjected to general education studies, but through a different schedule. Operating on an opposing dual schedule students have four 90 minute classes per day with four different classes the next day. This schedule allows for students to have more detailed classes, instead of sitting in a class that ends abruptly after 50 minutes.

The fall contest raises awareness about the importance of keeping our community graffiti free

Not at all an usual sight during these classes is the use media devices, such as cell phones. “It common to see kids walking around with earbuds in,” said Semmler. “We have a very good attendance record, and with our behavior conduct code, we really don’t have some of the problems that other schools might.” Serving as a very “techy” school, as Semmler states. West Tech has partnered with Google who has provided a personal cloud for all students. “It’s very convenient, we encourage students to interact online. Teachers might post work and ask the students to view it. It really helps to ensure that students can always interact and integrate with us,” said Semmler. Proving to be very successful, West CTA had a 98.32% graduation rate, 27.41% better than the District average of 70.91%, according to 2014 Clark County School District Graduation Rates by High School. “A common thread in magnets is offering programs that students have interest in, Moore said. “Instructors are sometimes out of industry, so students get hands on experience from real world experiences.” Serving as rigorously specific schooling, magnet career and tech schools are producing much better results than traditional schools in the Las Vegas Valley.

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“Students have to perform and we expect them to work hard, it wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t hold to a high standard because of the high amount of interest,” Legislative and Communication Manager at Magnet Schools of America, John Laughner said. As a whole Las Vegas’ career and technical academies have maintained a 96.67% graduation rate over the past two school years. As rated by Nevada School Performance Framework, every Career and Technical Academy in Las Vegas holds a Five star rating. Having maintained an impressive graduation rate, it is not unexpected that some graduates have taken their skills to prestigious colleges. According to West Tech’s 2014-2015 profile, their graduating class of 2014 had 17 Valedictorians and 3 Salutatorians. More than 90% of the 2014 class will be attending a four year post-secondary institution. These institutions include Brigham Young University, John Hopkins University, Stanford University, UCLA, USC, and Yale. The class of 2018 for Stanford acceptance rate was only 5.07%, the lowest admit rate in University history, according to The Stanford Daily. However magnet schools have garnered some criticism for taking funding

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EDUCATION

CONT’D FROM PAGE 59

away from underprivileged schools. But that is not the intent according to Laughner. “Magnet schools are part of the public school district, it comes from public money, and it is up to them to set aside money for schools.” Magnet schools are not only funded by public funds but also by funding from the federal government by the Carl Perkins Act, which aims to increase the focus on student academic achievement in technical education. In order to prepare students for the increasing difficulties of acceptance into such renowned colleges, students have, along with choices among nine disciplines, have a choice which diploma to pursue. A standard diploma requirements are as follows: 22 ½ units of credits for graduation. Fifteen credits are required, divided into four credits of English, 3 credits of math, 1 credit of world history, 1 credit of U.S. history, 1 credit of U.S. government, ½ credit of health, 2 credits physical education, 2 credits of science, and ½ credit of computers. The remaining 7 ½ credits are taken according to student interest. A advanced diploma requires the same coursework as necessary for standard diplomas but requires 1 additional credit in math, 1 additional credit in science, and 1 additional credit in social studies, art/humanities, or occupations. A minimum 3.25 non-weighted gpa is required as well. A Advanced Honors Diploma requires: A 3.85 weighted gpa must be maintained along with a 3.25 non-weighted gpa. Students are also required to complete specific Honors courses. These courses include 3 credits of Honors or AP English; 2 credits of Honors or AP mathematics; 2 credits of Honors or AP science; 2 credits of Honors or AP social studies; 1 credit of Honors or AP foreign language; and 2 credits of Honors or AP electives.

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“Magnet programs provide kids with high level skills at an early age,” Laughner said. “We provide rigorous courses designed by experts, this type of curriculum gives an upper hand, they are already taking courses that they will being going for in college.”

Along with the magnet school program, career and technical academies are growing to accommodate rising demand.

“Last year we had we 17,000 applicants but only 5,700 openings for programs around the district,” Moore said. “This year we are adding 11 new programs The inclusion for magnet schools are and we’ve had 18,000 applications but not only intensive for the student but 8,570 open seats.” also for the parent. The acceptance rate varies from school “We expect parents to be involved,” to school, program to program but conLaughner said. “Some schools (na- siderations consist of GPA, attendance, tionwide) require contracts per english grades, math grades, and conmonth for involvement for school duct. events. It is a key ingredient to the success of school.”

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PROJECT 150 BY ALANA M OF WRITERS ACCESS & ADAM HELMSING


W

hen Las Vegas’ Channel News 3 aired a segment profiling the startling plight of 150 local homeless high school students in November 2011, Patrick Spargur and Don Purdue kept watching. Instead of turning the channel, they listened and soon learned of an even harsher reality; more than 7,500 teenagers in the Las Vegas Valley struggled with issues that ranged from a lack of school supplies, to the lack of adequate food, clothing, and housing. Spargur and Purdue contacted Angela Urquiaga, a homeless advocate at Rancho High School, who was able to introduce the men to those most in need. “I would have students coming in between breaks asking for snacks, water, anything,” Urquiaga said. “Patrick came in during the holidays and saw it himself.” With Christmas a short time away, Spargur and Purdue decided to focus on sponsoring 17 families facing a bleak holiday season, amassing an impressive three truckloads worth of goods in an equally impressive amount of time. Bolstered by that initial groundswell of community support and faced with both the stark reality of the teens’ needs and the newfound certainty that they could, in fact, really make a difference, the two friends established a charitable trust, and in turn, Project 150. The Project 150 mission is “to offer support and services to homeless high school students in the Las Vegas area so they can stay in school through graduation and learn the life skills necessary to be successful,” but perhaps the impact Project 150 has had on the Las Vegas community is best illustrated through the people it has touched. One such success story involves a young woman who had been unceremoniously thrust from childhood into

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GIVING BACK

the role of head of her household at the tender age of 9. When she first came into contact with Project 150, she physically collapsed as she tearfully conveyed the hardships she and her family had been through, living on the streets, unsure of their next move and their next meal. Thanks to Spargur and his team, this young lady and her family have been relocated to a two-bedroom apartment complete with gently used furniture and other household items. She now has a home and, even more important, a chance. “Project 150 has helped thousands,” Urquiaga said. “The parents are grateful because they provide a meal, school suppliers, they even have a job fair. It’s awesome what they are doing.” What lies ahead for Project 150? In many ways, more of the same, albeit on perhaps a larger scale. According to the 2014 census, the homeless population in Southern Nevada continues to increase as the region struggles to recover economically, with some 36,700 locals reporting that they were homeless for at least a portion of the preceding year. Many of those were students, the very group that holds our country’s future in its hands and the very group Project 150 is working so hard to save.

Project 150 has helped thousands

When asked about the future, Spargur said, “I see a committed group of volunteers continuing to pay it forward in our community. I see our organization growing steadily and improving our effectiveness.” To be a part of the change, visit www.project150.org/ get-involved or call (702) 721-7150 and sign up to help move the Project 150 mission forward.

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LIFESTYLE


“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine

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If you just don’t have the budget for big plants, start small!


The Broke Person’s Guide to Decorating:

The Cheapest, Chicest & Most Effective Tricks COURTESY OF APARTMENT THERAPY MEDIA

Have hardly any money to spend on your home decor? Have NO money to spend on your decor?

I

t might seem impossible to design a home that won’t end up looking like your budget was zero, but it is possible to get creative and design a home that still looks great despite your small (or non-existent) budget. Here are some of our favorite tips. Focus on the layout, first Really work on designing your spaces to optimize each room’s flow and feeling. If your spaces are small, consider maneuvers that will make a room feel larger than it is. Find a focal point (like the great, big, artwork shown above) and arrange your seating around that. Consider the views into rooms and place furniture in a way that complements or contrasts architecture. Be your own great abstract artist A huge, boldly colored abstract painting is going to look

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impressive, even if you were the one wielding the paint brush! Grab inspiration from online, stretch your own canvas to save money and explore alternative-to-framing ideas to get art up on your walls without spending a ton of money. And although paint chip art might be a little off-trend, that stuff is still free to grab from hardware stores. Get creative with your plants If you just don’t have the budget for big plants, start small! Grow plants from seeds or find smaller plants you can nurture and transfer into bigger pots as they get bigger. Ask friends if you can propagate cuttings from their awesome succulents. Disguise the fact that you don’t have big plants by getting lots of small plants and hanging and displaying them at different heights.

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A.B.O.T.H. (Always Be On The Hunt) Scour Craigslist’s free section constantly, join a local free-cycling email group and take rides around neighborhoods in your city that always seem to have full curbs with free furniture potential. You just never know what kind of trash to someone else might become your new treasure. Hang it Wall hooks can be pretty cheap (often cheaper than shelves) and though they themselves are small, they have the ability to host larger elements that can become a part of your decor, namely fashion. Don’t be afraid to hang your functional clothing and accessories in ways that add to your decor (and save on storage). Drop cloths are pretty rad

Don’t be afraid to hang your functional clothing and accessories

From table cloths to curtains to decorative wall hangings to rugs, drop cloths can be grabbed up at a pretty low price and with a little artistic flair, be put to use in just about every room of the house. Be your own best stylist Found art and objects can look fabulous even if they’re free — it’s all in the art of how they’re arranged. So perfect the techniques behind your wall-mounted art collages and vignettes, even if they aren’t filled with the world’s priciest designs. (Image credits: Ashley Poskin; Emmadine; Bethany Nauert; Nellie Bellie; Kelly Brown)


BRAND NEW STORE AT THE GRAND BAZAAR SHOPS

www. vegas-shades.com


TRULY NATURAL? BY NICK BRANNIGAN


D

o you eat foods labeled “natural” because you believe these products are healthy? Do you know there is very little regulation over the use of this word on food products with this label? Did you know that so-called natural products can contain dozens of pesticides, genetically modified organisms and other toxic ingredients? Food companies know the term “natural” is a buzz word that resonates in the consciousness of individuals who want to eat healthy and most of these corporations have no shame in taking advantage of this information. Mainstream health outlets and publications often depend on the illusion of health to sell products. Certain publications series appear to offer you “healthier” solutions when, in fact, they are often giving you a somewhat less unhealthy alternative. When you see a billboard that reads “All-Natural”, and shows a picture of a burger, bun, cheese, and condiments, one, who may not know any better, might automatically assume that everything in the picture is natural and have no artificial ingredients. Are the terms “grass fed” and “free range” deceptive? The above terms could mean a better life than the average animal on a factory farm that is pumped full of poisons and lives a life of misery and suffering. But, in all likelihood, the conditions of grass fed, free range animals are still horrendous. “Grass fed” and “free range” are deceiving terms that put a false image in the mind of the consumers. Grass fed refers to animals that feed on grass for a portion of their existence, but can be corn finished to fatten them up near the end of their lives. And this, of course, falls within the USDA guidelines under grass fed labeling.

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OPINION

A better solution is to avoid the word natural and seek out products labeled organic.

Free range has been exposed as a near meaningless term with the USDA having no oversight to see that the animals actually spend time outdoors, only that they have outside “access.” An animal product labeled free range could actually come from an animal that never spent a moment of his or her life outdoors. Is this really a step in the right direction? I don’t believe deceiving people to believe they are eating healthier is a positive step. Have a good look at the ingredient list for the bun and condiments and you will find neotame, high fructose corn syrup, artificial butter flavor and polysorbate 80, just to name a few. Never heard of some of those ingredients? Then you probably shouldn’t be eating them! As long as these ingredients are what you are getting with your “natural” burger, companies deserves a middle finger and not the proverbial pat on the back. A better solution is to avoid the word natural and seek out products labeled organic. Certified organic products are strictly regulated and won’t contain synthetic herbicide or pesticides, artificial ingredients, growth hormones and antibiotics. That new smartphone or iPad you just spent hundreds of dollars on will be worthless in the a few years, but you will still have the same body. Take a step today to treat it like the advanced piece of technology that it actually is.

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@nickbrannigan is the host of Health Conspiracy Radio NaturalNews.com & editor for HealthConspiracy.com. He is a passionate advocate for Non-GMO, Organic, & Vegan foods.

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EAT ME W A F F L E B A R .V E G A S


TALENT

MEET DANIEL PARK Age: 33 Specialty: Guitar. Violin. Voice @DanielParkMusic

Based out of Las Vegas, Daniel Park has dynamically made a name for himself by his unique blend of performance with acoustic guitar, violin and vocals. His approach to live performance includes the use of live looping, which enables him to “record� his instruments live.


Q: Why Las Vegas? I got an email to play at one of the lounges at the Red Rock Casino. Even though I was living in Albuquerque at the time, I was traveling every week. It seemed like a great opportunity to move to a new city and try something different.

I had a friend that listened to Dave Matthews Band, so when I started playing guitar we jammed Dave a lot. I mean a lot. I can still play a lot of DMB songs. In college John Mayer was a big influence, along with a lot of rock bands: OneRepublic, Maroon 5, etc.

Q: What part did music play in your life growing up? I have been playing violin since I was 5 years old. It was a daily part of my schedule. I would practice an hour before school, and sometimes after school. I was involved in my middle and high school orchestras and even the citywide youth symphony for a few years. I even remember listening to classical music when riding in the car, so it was a huge part of my childhood.

Q: Can you identify musicians/writers you admire the most? Right now Ed Sheeran comes to mind. He has built a career playing songs that are well crafted, sung well, and has great melodies. I feel that a lot of the music on the radio sounds the same, but when his songs come on, it instantly stands out.

Q: Can you identify a time when you were able to say “this is what I want to do?” Yes! After graduating college and not having great luck playing in bands, I had my quarter life crisis. I was working as an engineer and not exactly loving it. I started playing a lot more solo shows and really had the idea that “maybe I can make this full time.” A year later I quit my job and have been playing full time since. Q: Can you describe early influences that would go on to shape your identity as a musician?

Q: How would describe your current style? I believe now that my sound has surpassed my previous style of the “guy with an acoustic guitar.” I am really trying to utilize my violin a lot more into the music along with incorporating new sounds with guitar pedals. Q: I noticed you do a fair amount of covers. How do you select which covers to do? It started with playing the covers that I personally liked. But over time I have always asked my crowds what they wanted to hear. So, I’ll really try to work on the songs that they want to hear.

I believe now that my sound has surpassed my previous style of the “guy with an acoustic guitar.”

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Q: Do you have a method to your writing? Favorite place, etc? I’ll come up with a good melody or lyrics to a new song in the most inconvenient places. While driving in the car, while in the bathroom, or in the middle of playing a show. I will write or record the idea to my iPhone, and then on a weekly basis I will work on a new song. I have hundreds of these little ideas in there, and it always seems like I can’t catch up. Q: What is live looping? And why do you use it? Live looping is the ability to record a track live at the show, and it will repeat this track over and over again so the musician can layer sounds in a song. For example a musician can use it to play the rhythm part with a guitar, loop it, and play a solo over himself. I started using this method because I play the guitar and violin, and it was the only way to play both instruments within the same song. Q: Can you describe your connection with fans? I have a great local following. I see familiar faces all the time and its been really great to have locals come to my shows. I’m trying really hard to build a fan base on my social networks. I am releasing new videos on YouTube every other week and I have started doing a monthly Live Stream show, so anyone on the internet can watch my live show. I use Instagram religiously and follow and like my fans posts all the time. Yay! Q: Favorite place to play and why? I’ll never forget playing a show at a Linnaeas Coffee Shop in San Luis Obispo, California. The crowd had great energy and it was just a magical place. I loved it.

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AVAILABLE ON GOOGLE PLAY STORE & ITUNES APP STORE


TALENT

Meet

Shani Rose

@ShaniRoseMusic

Graduated from USC’s Thornton School of Music with Masters in Music Education. Releasing a new album early 2015 with grammy winning producer Val Garay

Q

Can you tell me what “Soulful Crunch” is?

“Soulful Crunch” is a multi-dimensional description of both my musical sound (stylistically and vocally) as well as what I stand for in my music and in my goals of wanting to inspire others through it.

I have always been told that my voice is very uniquely soulful. I also was a jazz pianist for many years, which has given me a blues/jazz foundation as a songwriter. “Soulful Crunch” was born when I decided that it was important for me to find a phrase that would help communicate these elements of my identity.

In college I discovered that my true calling was songwriting, and I have been pursuing my career as a singer/songwriter and artist since then.

As I developed the phrase I realized that it aligned perfectly with the reasons that I do what I do. I make music to inspire others, to make them feel uplifted, and to help them 80

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get through whatever they need to get through in that moment of their lives. By giving a little “Soulful Crunch,” my hope is that I can positively affect someone’s world. Q: You’ve informed me that you will be playing at a wedding. Is there a special reason for weddings? No special reason. But, the couple picked folk songs to walk down the aisle to that I am a huge fan of and so we connected on that. It’s pretty neat to think that years down the road, every time the couple hears these songs they will think of the moment they got married. It makes me happy to know that I am contributing to that moment through performing live for them. Q: What part did music play in your life growing up? Music was a huge part of my childhood; I started playing piano at the age of 7, and before that, I have some faint memories of really enjoying my “Dance and Jingles” class. I was one of those kids who just practiced (I’m sure my parents were thrilled), and connected with music organically. No one in my immediate family is a musician, but my grandmother was a singer, and many members of my family are creatives. So maybe I learned how to dream from them. Q: When did you know this is what you wanted to do? Music had always been a part of what I did. I know that might sound funny, but it was just natural to include it in every stage of my life. When I got to high school I joined the jazz band because it was the only music class that incorporated piano. So, I learned to play jazz music, and fell in love with it. I kept working hard, and when it came time to apply to college I just naturally applied to music schools because I knew I wanted to be a musician. In college I discovered that my true calling was songwriting, and I have been pursuing my career as a singer/songwriter and artist since then. It brings me joy and fulfillment to do what I love every day, and to constantly be surrounded by music.

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I was one of those kids who just practiced (I’m sure my parents were thrilled), and connected with music organically.

Q: Can you describe early influences that would go on to shape your identity as a musician? The first CD mix I ever got was from my friend in 7th grade, and soon after I got Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why” as a gift. I took those two CDs with my cd player on a family trip that summer and listened to them nonstop. I soaked everything in (the CD mix introduced me to the Counting Crows, Train, The Calling, Jack Johnson, Jimmy Eat World, and Coldplay just to name a few). If I had to pinpoint a few, I think Norah Jones was a big influence on my early years of trying to make sense of pop music and songwriting. In high school I got into Jack Johnson and then John

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Mayer, both of whom influenced my lyr- I think a lot about concepts and songs ic writing and melodic approach. in my car when I’m driving, since I drive a lot. My favorite or ideal place to And finally, I was so heavily into jazz pi- write would be in a bright room with a ano in high school, that I would spend window to a beautiful view, or on the hours listening to the jazz greats like beach/in nature. In terms of writing, evDuke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and ery song is different. Some I’ll start with Glenn Miller. Those years really ended a line or two of lyrics, others I”ll start up influencing my sound. with a melody or a harmonic hook. And if I’m co-writing with someone else, it’s Q: Can you identify musicians/writers also different. you admire the most? There are many more, but here is the Q: Can you describe your connection condensed list: Sara Bareilles, Ingrid with fans? Michaelson, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, My fans inspire and affect me as much John Mayer, Ryan Tedder (lead singer as I hope I affect their lives. Something of OneRepublic), Dan Wilson, James that has enriched my life in particular Morrison, Sia, The Beatles, Trevor Hall, is performing weekly at Universal CityBrandi Carlile, and I’ll stop here... walk in Los Angeles and meeting many wonderful people who have stopped Q: How would describe your current to listen. There are many stories where style? fans I’ve met there have come back Pop/Rock with a “Soulful Crunch.” And months or years later, remembered some folk. me, and stopped to thank me because a particular song of mine helped them Q: Do you have a method to your writ- through a tough time in their lives. Or, ing? Favorite place, etc? they have sent messages online letting

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I think that the way I balance my unique sound with what is considered “mainstream” is by writing about what speaks to me and inspires me to be a better person.

me know how much my music speaks to them. One 8-year-old fan I met decided she wanted to play one of my songs on piano for her school talent show, so I taught her my song on Skype and flew out to Arizona to accompany her at the show. These incredible moments and stories fill me up, and inspire me to keep doing what I’m doing because I know I’m affecting someone out there. Q: What are you trying to convey with your music? A sentiment of genuineness and truth. That when someone listens to my music, they will feel like someone is by their side, helping them navigate the unknown in their life. And, in the process, they will feel uplifted, inspired, and connected.

latable. I think that the way I balance my unique sound with what is considered “mainstream” is by writing about what speaks to me and inspires me to be a better person. Or, just what I’m going through in my life that I want to talk about. Whatever that ends up being... is right. Trying too hard to be “mainstream” or “indie” makes music seem unauthentic, and the whole purpose of music for me is to say it how it is. And it’s so powerful when it’s real.

Q: Can you describe early influences that would go on to shape your identity as a musician? I had a friend that listened to Dave Matthews Band, so when I started playing guitar we jammed Dave a lot. I mean a lot. I can still play a lot of DMB songs. In college John Mayer was a big influence, Q: Can you describe how you balance along with a lot of rock bands: OneReyour unique sound with that of what public, Maroon 5, etc. is “mainstream?” I express what is real to me, and try to connect with listeners by making it re-

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MEET KAYLI BARKER Age 17

Occupation Race Car Driver @kbr34plus2

Kayli Barker is a severe contrast from indecision. At 17-years-old, questions about “ What do I want to do? Where do I want to go to school? Do I really need to do my homework?” should be creeping in, but not for Barker.


Ever dedicated since age 8, Barker has guided her life through unclouded desires.

“I don’t want to be the next anyone, but myself. I always tell people I’m the first Kayli Barker.”

Race.

Joining the next generation of female athletes to challenge the status quo of male dominance in sports, Barker by the age of 15 has already won a Super Stocks Whelen All-American Series, and two track championships at Las Vegas.

Win. Repeat.

Along the way the questions you might expect to be intruding upon her “She’s determined,” said Bullring-Manthoughts have been answered with ager of Competition, Tim Richter. “She ease. has sustained persistence. And, she has improved. You can see it on the track, What do you want to do? “I want to she is more aggressive where as before race.” she might have been more passive.”

Where do you want to go to school? Being successful at a young age comes “University of Nevada Las Vegas so that with its share of struggles as well. NevI can continue to race.” er one to question her commitment to racing, Barker adheres to a strict guide Do you really need to do your home- for success. Work. Work some more. work? “Yes. I need straight A’s so I’m al- Test the car, and be a straight A student. lowed to race.” “That car is a privilege, that car is not a Kayli Barker was born to race. Her entire right. She is completely capable of getlife has become a dedication to her ob- ting straight A’s if she applies herself,” session. said Vicki Barker, Kayli’s mom. Nevermind that racing has inherently been a male dominated sport. Ignore that Barker is only 17, and forget the Danica Patrick comparisons, Barker doesn’t want them.

As with every challenge Kayli Barker has not faltered to adhere to her mom’s wishes. “This is all I have ever known. This is normal to me. I grew up doing this. If I don’t get A’s, I don’t race.

I DON’T WANT TO BE THE NEXT ANYONE, BUT MYSELF. i ALWAYS TELL PEOPLE i’M THE FIRST KAYLI BARKER.” TO BE FEATURED EMAIL EDITOR@ELEVATINGVEGAS.COM

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And I want to race.” And that is just the normal challenge of teenagers. “I don’t know what else I would do,” said Kayli Barker, during an interview while watching the Daytona 500 in February.“I’m always watching racing, it doesn’t matter what it is.” The normalcy of her non traditional female teenage life can be traced back to her father, Ron Barker. Ron was racing Super Stocks when Kayli was born and his commitment to racing has remained as he serves as Kayli’s main mechanic, spotter, and, of course, supporting father. His dedication to his daughter’s success can be seen every night when he returns from work at 7:30 p.m. only to retire to the garage for the night where the continued tinkering in the pursuit of perfections fuels him until the necessity of sleep beckons. An everyday affair that he takes great pride in. “I will do whatever it takes to ensure she has a car on the track,” said Ron. “It’s tough, but as long as she wants to race, I will make sure it happens.” Much has been made about the origins of her career, and a storied career it already is with such accolades as: 2013 LVMS Bullring Super Stock Champion. 2012 Youngest female to win a NASCAR Whelen-All American Series race. 2011 Nevada State Bandolero Outlaw Champion. 2011 LVMS Bullring Bandolero Outlaw Champion. 2011 First female to win two track championships in Las Vegas history. However, Kayli Barker doesn’t spend much time pondering what she has accomplished. She is much more interested with what she will accomplish. As of April 30, through three races Kayli is currently no.10 in the NASCAR Super Late Models, The Bullrings premier division.


Š Roger Seymour Photography


TALENT

CONT’D FROM PAGE 86

“It has been a disappointing year,” said Kayli. “It’s frustrating, we felt like the changes we made for this season would be much better. We’ve been struggling with a tight car, we fought a tight car all last season too. It’s something we shouldn’t still be dealing with.” While dealing with adversity, Kayli has garnered praise from many in the racing community. Former PR Representative at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, John Bisci, has been quoted that she has talent and is certainly on her way up. Former car builder, and mechanic to Kayli, Dana Stahl has stated “That girl has more talent than 75 percent of the top experienced drivers out there.” “She is respected,” said Richter. “On the track she has earned her position, she has earned respect.” With the support of those around her and the respect of those on the track, Kayli is forging ahead with her career, ever determined to improve. “It’s a learning experience,” said Barker about the current season. “You can’t let it distract you. It makes me try harder. It pushes me to be better.” When asked where she felt she could finish in the points this season, she said “I’d be happy with fifth or fourth.” Then it became third, eventually winning it didn’t seem out of question. But that is how Kayli approaches her racing career, although it might be more accurate to describe it as her racing life. “I set my schedule to racing,” said Barker. “The racetrack is my home.” It started with playing the covers that I personally liked. But over time I have always as

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YOUR CUSTOMERS SHOULD BE READING THIS, NOT YOU. ADVERTISE HERE 702 509 9542


VACATIONS from a

VACATION CITY BY ADAM HELMSING AND TRAVELOCITY SENIOR TRAVEL EDITOR, COURTNEY SCOTT

B

eing from a major travel destination presents a unique set of issues.

First, when family comes to visit, haven’t you already seen most of what Las Vegas has to offer? Gawking at the Bellagio Water Fountain may not get old easily, but it can certainly be fatiguing to push through the crowds on The Strip, as the formerly mentioned vacationers will want to do. Second, when you actually get to go on vacation, hasn’t the hustle and bustle of Vegas left you with a desire to visit a quiet, isolated, peaceful place? Or, maybe nostalgia and the kids win? Or maybe the crowds don’t bother you anymore? With the help of Travelocity Senior Travel Editor, Producer & Host of Travelocity’s Let’s Roam Show, Courtney Scott, Elevating Vegas has narrowed the extensive list of vacation destinations this summer down to three.


Orlando, Florida Perhaps you have grown weary of hearing about Orlando? I was too, until I actually went. I won’t waste time saying how it was “magical,” or “the best ever.” No, overall visiting Orlando is...challenging. The crowds you hope to leave behind in Vegas seem to follow you and actually expand. Yet for every challenge there is an equal enjoyment prompting you to let your inner child get giddy. What Courtney says: “Orlando is not just a great family destination. Friends, couples, people of all ages enjoy the theme parks in this sunny and affordable Florida escape.”

San Diego, California When I think of San Diego I can’t help but to think about the zoo. One of only four U.S. zoos to exhibit giant pandas, the San Diego zoo has 3,700 animals to meet and the Safari Park has 2,600 from 300 species, according to USA Today. However, there is so much more than just the zoo. What Courtney says: “2015 marks the 100th Anniversary of Balboa Park and the celebrations will be happening year-round. San Diego’s waterfront Embarcadero just underwent a 31 million makeover too! Beyond the city limits, San Diego is also home to some of the West Coast’s best beaches, including Coronado Beach and Swami’s surf beach.”

When to visit: Orlando will be busy, but you want to go when it is just slightly less busy, because it rarely is not busy. When to visit: San Diego travel is not as invasive If you are going to visit in summer, try for Las Vegas travelers as a Orlando to aim for late August. The crowds will vacation. Drive time is roughly five be thinning out right before school hours. A visit in early Summer, May is back in session, but the average through early June would be ideal. temperature will be a high of 92 and The weather will still be an enjoya low of 74, on average. Throughout able mid 60s through 70s in May, the summer it will be rainy. August is according to USN Travel. no exception, with an average precipitation of 6.8 inches, according to Travel rates: Orlandoinformer. But the rain comes Why fly when you can drive? and goes quickly and unexpectedly. Travel rates: Travel rates will be high through peak season. May through early August. However flying out of Las Vegas with Spirit Airlines will cost close to $60 less per person in late August as compared to early July.

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TRAVEL Fort Lauderdale, FL Fort Lauderdale gets overlooked when tourists visit Florida. With obvious tourist cities such as Orlando and Miami beckoning, it becomes easy to wonder, what does Fort Lauderdale offer? A lot more than you think. With a population under 200,000, the city bustle is not as taxing as Orlando or Miami. Therefore you can easily relax in peace enjoying the many beaches, golf courses, shopping, and overall atmosphere of cultural vibrancy. What Courtney says: “Known as the Venice of America, Fort Lauderdale is a laid-back alternative to the more bustling Miami scene, but with just as much to see and do. Tour the canals, do some fishing, or enjoy Fort Lauderdale’s flourishing foodie scene.” When to visit: Much like Orlando, Fort Lauderdale will be rainy during the summer. Yet the added benefit is the crowds will not be as severe as Orlando, and it will much less expensive. Overall the fact that it is raining will not disrupt your plans because you can easily retreat into your hotel for 20 minutes until it is over. Travel rates: Fort Lauderdale is a popular travel destination for both students on summer break and families. As schools will be releasing in late May it might be best to avoid those times. However a mid June or early August vacation will offer the best rates and offers the most likely time to avoid the crowds.

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1. Orlando, Florida 2. San Diego, California 3. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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Best of

Vegas LAS VEGAS HAS NO SHORTAGE OF ACTIVITY. OUR STREETS ARE EVER BUSY WITH THE COMINGS AND GOINGS OF LOCALS, EXPERIENCED TOURISTS, AND DISTANT VISITORS. THE HOT SPOT, OF COURSE, FOR VEGAS CONTINUES TO BE THE STRIP. AS A DAZZLING SPECTACLE OF MARKETING, ONE UPMANSHIP, IT SERVES AS A LITERAL BEACON DRAWING THE MASSES LIKE MOTHS TO AN OPEN FLAME. HOWEVER, LAS VEGAS IS A CULTURALLY DIVERSE CITY, RICH IN HISTORY AND BUDDING WITH LIFE REACHING FROM MOUNTAIN TO MOUNTAIN. THE STRIP MAY BE VIBRANT AND EVER BUSY, BUT ALONG WITH IT ARE MULTIPLE NOTEWORTHY VISITS THAT MAY GO UNNOTICED. THE MOB MUSEUM, FOR EXAMPLE, MT. CHARLESTON (40 MILES AWAY), AND SPRINGS PRESERVE ARE LOCATION THAT SOMETIMES GET OVERLOOKED. OVERALL, IT’S A CHALLENGE TO BE BORED IN VEGAS. AS A COHESIVE GROUP, STANCE BICKERED OUR WAY TO AN OVERALL TOP FIVE FAVORITE THINGS TO DO IN LAS VEGAS.

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EXPLORE

BELLAGIO FOUNTAINS Certainly not an original choice, but classical and ever beautiful, The Bellagio Fountains are a breathtaking sight. While The Strip continues to grow and more attractions are added to lure visitors away, a crowd forming around the fountains railings 20 minutes before a show is not uncommon. “I’ve loved the fountain since the first time I saw them on vacation a few years ago. You can google “what to do in Vegas” all you want before visiting and each site will say the same thing, but you don’t realize how amazing they actually are until you see them.” -Adam “I like the bellagio water show because it is entertaining and well coordinated. You haven’t truly seen Vegas until you watch the Bellagio water show.” -Jay

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THE STRATOSPHERE VALLEY OF FIRE In stark contrast to the creative engineering that is our first selection, Valley of Fire State Park is a reminder of the creative genius that is nature. The leveled rock formations of surprising color challenge the notion that a desert is a dry, dreary place starved of beauty. “The views are spectacular, makes me feel like I’m in a different world. At night, the sky is lit up from all the shining stars.” -Tim

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A bit removed from the more heavily trafficked area of The Strip does not stop The Stratosphere from making our list. Our collective like is not necessarily for the hotel aspect, but for the thrill rides. No one screams louder in Las Vegas then when they are hanging off the edge of building wondering how stable the structure holding them is. Thrill seekers will be happy, the rest of us will realize happiness once we reach ground level. “I like the stratosphere because of the great view of Las Vegas it provides. And, oh yeah, it revolves!” -Jay “Looking at Vegas from an elevated perspective is awesome! The sea of lights is breathtaking.” -Tim

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BLUE MAN GROUP HOOVER DAM Controversy aside, Hoover Dam is a modern marvel of human ability. It’s almost hard to describe what seeing Hoover Dam is like. Truly it makes you feel very small and insignificant when standing atop and looking down. Tours from hotels are common place. Seeing this functional piece of art by helicopter, bus, or personal vehicle will leave a lasting impact. “I like Hoover Dam because it’s a tourist attraction that brings people together, offers information about the water levels and has a lot of history on the ingenuity and vision possessed back in the day.” -Jay

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Currently playing at Monte Carlo, Blue Man Group has a unique ability to connect with any crowd in attendance. Their ability to entertain with quirky, good natured, fun is a rapidly disappearing showcase in Las Vegas. As a concert, their shows create a vibe that resonates through the body. As a comedy segment, you will laugh on multiple occasion through the show. As a dazzling spectacle, your eyes will be overwhelmed. “My personal favorite show in Las Vegas. I loved it. It was the complete show. I cheered, I laughed, I clapped. It was an awesome show that I will definitely do again.” -Adam

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Elevating Vegas Issue 1 (Spring/Summer 2015)