Saturday, November 26, 2011

Q & A With My Father, Rene Prats

So I know most of you have followed my blog and enjoyed my posts, but I have a pretty impressive dad too. I figured today would be a nice way to get to know the President and CEO of Sir Pizza S. Florida LLC, Rene Prats.

Oh and if you're ever in south Florida be sure to give Sir Pizza a try.

What got you started in the restaurant business?

A: I needed a job at the age of fourteen to help support my family. I started as a busboy and it worked because you got tipped out nightly with cash.

What are you currently doing?

A: I'm currently the President and CEO of Sir Pizza S. Florida. We are growing a brand that's had its home in south Florida since 1968. It is truly a landmark that we are trying to expose to a wider audience in south Florida.

How many Sir Pizza restaurants do you plan on building?

A: Our hope is to reach 20 by the end of 2012 and 30 by the end of 2014.

I know that you've come to an agreement with the Miami Marlins. Can you tell us more about it?

A: Yes, it's a 10-year deal and we will have four concessions inside the brand new ballpark. Two on the main level, one on the club level and one on the vista level. We are now the official pizza of the Miami Marlins.

You've also struck up another deal with the University of Miami, correct?

A: Yes, we've signed a five-year agreement with the University of Miami to become the official pizza of all UM athletics.

What other ties do you have in the community?

A: We do the Winner's Circle program in Dade and Broward counties, which rewards students 18 and under that have a grade point average of a C or better. We believe that academics are very important to a person's growth along with athletics. We are also the official pizza of high school football in Dade and Broward counties. We also have a program called the Sir Pizza Cares program, which we help raise funds for various organizations in south Florida. We believe in being a good corporate citizen when it comes to our community and giving back as much as we can.

You owned over 30 Papa John's franchises in Dade and Palm Beach counties, did you not?

A: Yes, I did.

Then why Sir Pizza?

A: I sold Papa Johns and was fortunate enough to find a better pizza, in my opinion.

Wow, well, it is true that you've owned over 300 restaurants in your lifetime?

A: Yes, I've been blessed to have owned a lot of different kinds of restaurants in my lifetime and work with a lot of good people. I've owned hamburger, cheesesteak, bbq, Mexican, Cuban and Italian restaurants.

Well, that's quite a variety. I'm guessing that cheesesteak place was before I was born or I must have been an infant. Hah.

A: Yes, you were just a baby.

Who is your favorite child? (You know I had to ask--please remember who's blog this is)

A: I have four wonderful children and I love them all the same. With all their different personalities. I love them all. But you were the closest when you were a little girl. ;)

Hmph. I guess I'll take it.

Well, since they'll kill me for not mentioning them, what are your other kids up to?

A: My oldest Tiffany is 26 and is the women's golf coach at the University of Maryland and is the amateur golfer of the decade in Central Florida. She's also a graduate of the University of Miami. Your brother Kyle, as you well know, is on scholarship as an outfielder at Virginia Tech University and a graduate of Christopher Columbus High School. And your little brother Christopher, age 4, can hit a baseball as if he were 10. Quite the comedian too.

I know, he went around saying he was Justin Beiber, Spider Man then a jockey on Thanksgiving. You sure the kid's not gunna be a writer? Lol.

A: As for you my little girl, you are so talented and beautiful and so persistent as a writer and interviewer. I'm very proud of you and the work ethic that you have established. God bless all four of you always. Love Dad.

Apparently I have mad skills people. Thanks Dad. Love you too.

Now, cake or cookies?

A: Cuban cake. I love the frosting.

Till next time.

Elizabeth signing off.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Twitter, what's with the hype?

So, this post is actually an assignment. Thing is, I’ve never been one to follow the rules, at least not entirely. I’m supposed to talk about Twitter, more so about how it works, what one can do with it and the technical aspects. Thing is, I’d rather talk about my own experience with Twitter. For those few out there who are still reluctant to give it a shot, let me give you my reason for trying Twitter out. Don’t worry, I was once one of those reluctant few. I mean what exactly could 140 character IMs do for one in the real world? Apparently, quite a lot.

I’ve noticed there seem to be two kinds of Ad/PR majors. Those that have just joined the ranks, have finally made it into the program and thought this might be a cool major. Boy are you in for a surprise. The latter are the veterans, the one who have Intern Pursuit and interviews wired and have already figured out the value of Twitter. Don’t worry this article will catch you up to speed.

Now, you might be wondering what made me give Twitter a chance?

Curiosity. Let’s face it. We keep hearing about Twitter being some marvelous social media tool. Would you be reading this if you didn’t wonder what all the hype was about?

I didn’t think so.

Open those eyes. At the risk of sounding cliché, sometimes you just have to open your eyes. Twitter allows users into a new world that their predecessors could never have accessed. What is this world you ask?

Whatever you want it to be.

Dare to dream. You want to be a big ad exec one day? Well, follow Disney’s Creative Director on Twitter, then stalk his blog, then find his LinkedIn. No this isn’t a tool for stalkers but instead a tool to network and learn and keep up-to-date with industries that are ever changing, whether it be advertising, film, trout migrations, or my personal favorite, the publishing industry.

Network baby. OK, so perhaps not everyone uses Twitter to stalk the person with his or her dream job. In fact, most consider it a valuable networking tool. Think about it, Twitter grants access to the Creative Director at Disney or that editor at HarperCollins. Be active, comment and read what these professionals post. As a follower you could be privileged to information others normally wouldn’t have. Say that Creative Director was in quite a good mood and he knew plenty of students followed him. So instead of posting the new internship position available on the company website he gives a shout-out to his followers. BAM—you may have gotten an internship opportunity all from spending some time online. Fun ain’t it?

Don’t believe me? Here’s someone it worked for. Nicole Zoltack answered a Twitter call by a publisher looking for linked short stories. According to Zoltack, “It’s how I got contracted for my ‘What You See Is What You Get’ series”.

“It’s definitely a community,” said Larissa Hardesty, an avid writer and Twitter user. “I love it.”

Twitter is versatile. You can use it to network, to imagine what that dream you’ve been chasing after your whole life looks like or maybe just to open your eyes to something you never thought existed.

All I’m saying is--believe the hype.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pursuit of an Internship

Intern Pursuit was a blast. It happened this past Halloween, but sadly school work and editing my latest manuscript has kept me a tad occupied.

This year Intern Pursuit was split into two parts. The morning portion catered to the journalism majors while the afternoon focused on Advertising/Public Relations majors. Seeing as how I love to write and magazines have always fascinated me I decided to try out the morning portion even though I'm an Ad/PR major. During this morning portion we actually sat down and interviewed with up to three potential magazines or newspapers, which was unusual since I was used to the Ad/PR portion where we basically run from table to table in a speed-date-gone-wrong fashion. Quite fun, I might add.

It's a great way to get that first internship or even one of the more intensive ones. The best thing about Intern Pursuit is the fact that there are companies that don't need you to have a lot of experience, which really offers some newbies a chance to get their feet wet. Not only that but the event also has more advanced internship positions for those who have a good idea as to what they wish to do with their lives.

I interviewed with Bonnier Corporation, The Orlando Weekly, and Orlando Home & Leisure. I have to say everyone was very courteous and quite nice, but I absolutely LOVED Orlando Home & Leisure. I think there's just something about two older gentleman who look kinda like rockstars. I felt wiser just sitting in their presence. (I really hope they don't read this). Needless to say, I got the internship with them! I swear as a writer if you can find someone who can banter with you like the best of them, you should do everything in your power to learn from said someone.

Till next time Lovlies,


Monday, November 7, 2011

The Manners & Woes Involved in Social Media

My teacher has shown me an interesting article titled, “10 things your grandmother can teach you about social media”. The points are quite valid. Twitter is really just an extension of real-life social situations. Manners are important anywhere you go. Some people think that just because you are online your actions don’t count, but in this day and age what you say online is forever and it could impact you much more than some slip of the tongue at dinner that was never recorded.

It really is true what they say, “a simple thank you can go a long way”. Even in social media there have been moments where I’ve followed an assistant editor working at my dream job and he or she has had the decency to thank me for the follow and mention that they liked my blog or twitter handle. You’d be surprised just how touching a simple, human action can be.

Sure, the Internet is a wonderful invention as well as Facebook and Twitter. Just because we’re using a different medium to interact does not mean that the value of face-to-face or human interaction is lost. Social media has its positives, allowing people to connect with, say, a CEO of a corporation or NYT bestselling author who normally would be out of reach to them.

We just need to remember the rules our grandmother taught us; be courteous, be kind, and listen--don’t talk over someone, can easily be transferred and used in the realm of social media. Consider, the people that spam or annoy you. Constantly talking about either their breakfast that morning or like talking advertisements. The loss of that human quality is what we can’t afford to lose if we want to be successful in the social media realm. So if you’ve loved someone’s posts—go thank them.

Cheers ladies and gents,


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dressing like a Professional Intern

Ah, the lovely moment when you look into your closet and have no idea what to wear.

This Halloween my university hosted its biannual Intern Pursuit. It’s like speed dating, but instead of finding that perfect date, you’re looking for that perfect internship. Now, for some students this may have been their first event and they have no clue what to wear, or maybe you’ve been but you never want to be caught dead in what you wore last time. (You know, those hideous pants grandma bought you that you pulled from the far end of your closet. You could have kicked yourself for not bringing to college that adorable pencil skirt and blouse your mother bought you. “I’ll never wear it,” was your excuse.)

Don’t worry we’ve all been there. Although, my mother chased me around the room with the outfit.

Oh and WRITER's don't think that this won't relate to you, especially if you plan on attending an agent pitch session!

What NOT to Wear

  • Cleavage isn’t cute in an office setting. Do you really want to give a 50-year-old guy a sneak peek?

  • Tank tops are for hanging with friends. Avoid in the office.

  • Washed-out jeans are never okay. If you’re allowed to be semi-casual always pull for the dark jeans. They are great for dressing up an outfit.

  • Men, lose the sneakers. Dress shoes only, folks.

  • Men, for most places you don’t need the tie, but dress shirt is required.

  • Men, if they say you need a tie here’s a tip: Once someone ties that sucker—keep it tied—that way you can just loop it right on in the morning.

Tip: To an interview always OVER dress, even if they say that the office setting is casual.

Wardrobe Essentials

  • You’d be surprised by what jewelry can do. Not enough color to go with that dark blouse and grey pants? Toss on a funky necklace. Learn to Accessorize! Cute purse, necklace, belt, earrings, even a colorful scarf can make you happy you got dressed that morning.

  • Collared shirt. This goes for both men and women. Although, women, try to find one that complements your hourglass shape. (But don’t confuse complement with skin-tight.)

  • Women a knee-length pencil skirt is a must.

  • Men and women buy a blazer. Shell out the cash on a quality one and you won’t have to buy again for a very long time.

  • Women there are blazer-like jackets that give the impression of a blazer but are of thinner material. Check out Charlotte Russe and Dots.

  • Pretty doesn’t always mean functional. Go for the smaller heels. Your feet will thank you.

  • Every girl needs that signature black dress.

  • Dress pants, not the kind that hug your butt, let them be loose but still hold your shape.

Here’s a tip: Avoid always choosing black or gray. Sometimes a splash of color can make an outfit. Also if you’re getting all black and gray it will be hard to match items. (You’d be surprised how a few washes can make a difference between to black articles of clothing.)

There are some key staples to every outfit. I got a few of them here, from the lovely Classy Career Girl. If you’re still not sure. Check out “The Go-Getter Girl’s Guide”. The self-help book has a great section on what to wear if you’re a female. Really, it embodies the dress-for-success motto.

Disclaimer: I own none of these images. I just pulled the off the web for examples.