Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bloggers put the "Social" in Social Media

Every once in a full moon an opportunity presents itself that is life changing. Recently, I had the privilege to travel to Tecate, Mexico and spend a week at Rancho La Puerta with a group of inspiring and empowering women. They shared amazing stories of their successes, triumphs over adversity and just plain true grit.It is with great pride and admiration that I introduce to you, "The Bloggers of Rancho La Puerta"

Gina Andrews 
Gina is a passionate young mother focused on expanding the awareness and education about breast cancer to “young” woman. A breast cancer survivor AND thriver, Gina’s a real spitfire who created where she champions early detection and shares her story of diagnosis in her 20’s with other young women. 

Melanie Berezan
 The first thing that struck me about Melanie was her outer beauty. She's tall, incredibly fit with legs that went on for days. Imagine my surprise when she told me she gave birth to four children in as many years. Not only does this mom talk the talk, but she walks the walk. A rare combination, Melanie is a great role model moms everywhere.

Diane says she's a fool for good conversation, green gardening and travel. A modern day "mother nature" Diane springs to life, even just talking about her garden. I was touched by Diane's kindness as I watched her photograph a little boy in Mexico, how she interacted with him and his family. She brought out the best in him, she found and captured such beauty in poverty. It was at that moment, I knew what a gift she had.

Heather Dawson
A veteran news anchor/reporter Heather is the creator of  California Life, an entertaining, informative news magazine show. Her on air presence is captivating and I found her to be so IRL (in real life). Soft spoken and engaging it is no surprise that Heather and California Life have found success. She has a winning formula of  positive energy and a genuineness that is a rare find in the entertainment industry.

I don't know what I can tell you about Sarah Evans that you don't already know. This young lady is a PR Powerhouse. Her "Twitter Savvy" got her  featured in both Vanity Fair and Forbe's Magazine and as recent as today she's on CNN.  She truly is "transparent" and was happy to teach this old gal some new tricks. 

11 time Rancho La Puerta guest, Julie Gallaher was the catalyst  behind the Rancho La Puerta bloggers group. It was her idea and tenacity that sparked the magic! Julie is all about the good, as you'll find on her website, Things You Should Do, which celebrated it's one millionth visitor in January 2010. Something you might not know, is that she has a beautiful voice and received a standing ovation at the Ranch when she sang before a packed house. 

Gail is the founder of Inspire Me Today and inspire she does! Gail led our group in a brilliant mastermind session that carried over to the following day. She's motivating and encouraging, creating a bonding experience that none of us will soon forget. I think of her as the unofficial God Mother of our group,  the tie that binds. 

She's building an empire one dish at a time and she has her hand in many. She's a food writer,  cookbook author, television personality, food photographer and she's Steamy, Steamy Kitchen! Jaden has intense focus She's able to juggle and balance her career with motherhood seamlessly. And did I mention, she has great ideas!

Alice is charm and class, and is as lovely as the gardens she writes about.  She blogs about historic landscapes, Modernist gardens and undiscovered green spaces in the U.S., Canada, and abroad. She has a gentleness and a calm that easily coexist with the gardens she exposes. She is a lilly in the valley of garden bloggers!

Joan Krimstein
New to blogging, Joan speaks to the empty nester crowd with grown children and grand children. She's been around the world and then some. Affectionately known to our group as "Joanie from Chicago" she embodies the spirit that it's never to late to start something new and no matter how bad your hip hurts get up and dance. And, Joan is quite a dancer!

Stacey McKinley
In a league of her own, Stacey advises businesses with federal land use permits, emphasizing environmental and agricultural sustainability areas.  She divides her time between California and Washington, D.C. doing good things and making positive changes. Stacey is no wallflower. She participated in just about every class and activity at the Ranch. Her schedule exhausted me!

Andrea Metcalf
With more than 25 years under her belt as a personal trainer Andrea has an amazing fitness legacy helping hundreds of people get in shape. You can see her on the TODAY SHOW, GMA Health monthly, NBC Chicago weekly, BETTERTV weekly, a contributor to More Magazine or read her blog posts on  All that aside, Andrea is truly such a nice person, a great conversationalist. It's no wonder why she is in such high demand!

Babette Pepaj 
Babette is a light, a shining star! Her smile lights up a room.  She has a terrific sense of humor and an amazing sense of self. Her wheels are always turning and her mind is on overdrive. No shortage of ideas, Babette is the brains and the braun behind the incredibly successful BakeSpace Community. A truly extraordinary woman.

 Jennifer Quinonez  www.californialifehd.comJennifer is an award winning, Emmy nominated journalist with more than 10 years experience who is currently a writer and producer for "California Life." Jennifer is so understated, that unless you read her bio you would never even realize her laundry list of television credits, accomplishments and accolades. Beth Rosen
If she didn't tell you, you'd have no idea that Beth Rosen has been creating media for over 20 years and is the mother of four children that include a set of twins. She looks like a kid herself. Don't let her youthful looks fool you. Beth Rosen is a dynamo. Ever evolving, Beth produces commercials, podcasts, and videos in the Chicago market and runs BKR Media.

Melissa Jun Rowley
Melissa is far from ordinary as is evident by her start in life, when she was found on the police station steps in Soul, Korea. She has had an illustrious career to date from covering the likes of the Oscars and Golden Globes to interviewing President Barack Obama. Today, Melissa's passion and focus are on social change and cause reporting. A force to be reckoned with Melissa has enough talent and drive to make a huge difference!

Jackie Silver 
Defying her genetics Jackie is Aging Backwards. She talks about it on TV, radio, in her book of the same name and in the columns she pens.  But, what I love most about Jackie is that she's young at heart. If you are lucky to meet her IRL you'll be her BFF for life, because Jackie knows no strangers. She's sweet, generous and has a heart of gold. She was also a great roommate at Rancho La Puerta, opting for ear plugs to drown out my snoring versus throwing me outside with the wildlife!


Sarah Evans said...

I love you, Sandy. It was a pleasure spending time with you. Your NY accent is missed here in Chicago. Can't wait to see you soon!

Bay Area Tendrils Garden Travel said...

Your humor is infectious but you're an angel in disguise.
And in this post you reveal a depth of character... sincere, generous, a woman of warmth.

We were fortunate to have you trailing us around with your video camera, observing and sharing your unique perspective on mid-life. xo Alice

juliemarg said...

Wow - what a lovely post - and what a great treat it was to spend time with you. You are a peach!

Gail Lynne Goodwin said...

Dear Sandi,

I loved hanging with you at Rancho La Puerta! Thank you for being such a great villa-mate. I'll share my casa with you anytime.

I greatly appreciate being included in your column, and in your life. You are such a find Sandi- and I intend to watch you grow through your MidLife show and long into old age some 50 years from now. That will be a fun show.... bungee jumping at 100...

Thanks for the smiles and hugs,


Bethkrosen said...

I love how Julie said your a peach...Even when I see your name I start to smile, I feel like you're a long lost friend that I found again and I can't wait to spend more time with you. You're so talented and such a spitfire, you inspire me so much and it was a honor to spend time with you...our walk after breakfast will stay in my heart...hope to see you soon

SteamyKitchen said...

Love you honey!!! Let me know when you're ready to be intro'd to the online entertainment agency I told you about! xoxo j

Sher said...

Sandi, thanks so much for introducing us to these wonderfully talented women. And by the way, you know I'm YOUR biggest fan so I'm positive they feel the same way about you.

It's Not later than You Think... said...

Hi....Thanks for such nice remarks about "Joanie from Chicago""" I think that will be one of my new blog names....It was so wonderful being with and all the other wonderful ladies....I learned so much and was so impressed....It was a wonderful week and miss you all. Joanie

Melanie said...

Sandi, thanks so much for the kind words. It was such a pleasure getting to know you!

And BTW, I'm with you...jumping out of a perfectly good airplane...? Nuh-uh!
So glad we hooked up and excited to follow you through your adventures!