Archive for the ‘Travel’ tag

A Day in the Life: Karina Munoz, MKTG NY

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For the past 3.5 years, Karina Munoz has been living in NYC as a Diageo Account Director at MKTG NY. A Sydney native, Karina misses such after work perks like being able to jump into the sea (jealous!), but does not miss most things closing at 6pm. Clearly, convenience is king for Karina and since Manhattan has become her home for the moment, she’s not sure she’ll be able to revert back to her Sydney ways.

A Diageo veteran, Karina has been working for the brand over the past eight years both here and in Australia. Currently she oversees a number of the Diageo brands – Smirnoff, Bulleit, George Dickel, North American Whiskies, Naked Turtle (the list goes on!). As a Diageo global veteran, Karina feels gratitude for the high volume of travel she’s clocked in and has completed more Diageo Marketing Code courses than she can keep track of!

As common with many ex-pats, when the quintessentially American holiday Thanksgiving looms, Karina has found herself doing a “Friendsgiving” with her Aussie mates. However, this year she was adopted by her boyfriend’s family and had her first official American Thanksgiving. In true tradition, Karina brought the pie- a festive rite of passage!

MKTG: What time do you wake up on a typical work day and do you have a routine?
KM: It depends. I set my alarm for 6.30am with high hopes of working out. Generally, 7.30am though.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
KM: Press snooze.

Your day cannot be properly started without ______…
KM: Coffee and HuffPost.

How do you commute to work and do you enjoy your commute? Details please!
KM: I love my commute. I walk to work and stop for (more) coffee along the way and listen to music. My favorite mornings are when it’s sunny and crisp.

Does your day have a soundtrack? If so, what’s on your playlist that is a daily obsession or gives you that stroke of genius?
KM: It might sound trite, but I start my day listening to classical music. I find it helps to get the brain ticking.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which ones?
KM: Not really. I was obsessed with Serial and listened to all 12 episodes of the first season in one day. I haven’t found anything I’ve liked as much since.

Name your top five apps and why.
KM: 1) WhatsApp – being an expat.
2) Seamless – like most people who live in New York, I don’t use my kitchen much.
3) SoulCycle – I look at all the classes I might go to if something social doesn’t get in the way.
4) Hotels.com and Kayak (equally) – always planning the next weekend getaway.
5) NYTimes Crossword – you can use it without wifi so it’s good for train commutes.

What are some restaurants or spots near your office that make your day- from a lunch place that knows your ‘usual’ to a beautiful park- what locales do you live by?
KM: Belle Reve is always a winner. Sweetgreen when I feel like a walk.

What after-work activity makes your week complete?
KM: I like to make sure my team has had a good week. That always makes the week worthwhile. That, and a dirty martini.

–Contributed by Karina Munoz, MKTG NY and MKTG Global Communications Team
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Written by Andrea D'Alessandro
Andrea D'Alessandro

November 28th, 2016 at 3:04 pm

MKTG Rewards Winner Andrew Leubner: Hiking & Dining Around Lake Tahoe

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The MKTG Rewards program is designed for MKTG employees to recognize and nominate fellow team members each quarter for their outstanding work at MKTG. At the end of the year, quarterly nominees become eligible to win an all-expenses paid international or domestic experience. 2015’s winners were announced in June, and lucky recipients have spent this summer taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Andrew Leubner is a Regional Director based in Scottsdale, AZ, and was the lucky winner of a domestic trip. Andrew and his wife decided to spend their 5th wedding anniversary making the most of Lake Tahoe’s beautiful vistas hiking- and dining their way throughout this unique terrain. Read on for Andrew’s recap….

Looking for a change of pace from our usual major city destinations, my wife and I thought it would be nice to relax and celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary in the mountains, so we decided on Lake Tahoe. Our goal was to explore as much ground as possible and experience Tahoe from a local’s perspective.

On Thursday we made the quick drive from Reno Airport to Lake Tahoe. As we descended the peak of Mt. Rose, we drove into a snow flurry that followed us all the way down to Incline Village. We found our resort, toasted with a glass of champagne and got settled at The Hyatt Regency. It was the quintessential “luxury mountain lodge” experience. Excited to get as much hiking done as possible, we found a couple of short, close hikes to start with. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Diamond Peak and Stateline Lookout’s very different trails.

After a long day of hiking, we were ready for some good food. We discovered a favorite local spot, T’s Rotisserie, which we ended up revisiting throughout the trip. They serve up deliciously massive burritos stuffed with rotisserie chicken, tri-tip, rice, beans and everything in between. Sitting at the counter and watching the staff work their magic in close quarters only adds to the fun, laid-back vibe.

The next day we got up early and had breakfast at the lodge’s restaurant (which boasts amazing views of Mt. Rose). To our relief, the freak cold snap that followed us from Reno the day before was gone now and the weather was perfect. We decided on a scenic coastal hike to Secret Cove and then Chimney Beach. This was a definite highlight of the trip. There was so much to take in, from the crystal clear water that went on for miles, to the massive pines towering over us. There were blue jays, squirrels and chipmunks at every turn. It was like stepping into a fairytale….a fairytale that ended with a lot of naked strangers! It turns out that Secret Cove is a nude beach- and a very popular one at that! Suffice to say, our shore side lunch ended quickly.

While on the hike, we fashioned a pair of hiking sticks, smoothing them out on a granite boulder and left a pair at the trailhead for any future hikers that might have needed some extra stability. Once we made our way back, we drove to Crystal Bay on the California side of Lake Tahoe and stopped at Mellow Fellow Pub for some local-made elk sausage and pulled pork nachos. For dinner that night we chose a local tapas-style restaurant called Bite. We were quite impressed with the spinach and brown rice arancini and Indian spiced chickpea butter lettuce wraps.

On Saturday we drove to South Lake Tahoe, which is about 30 minutes from the North side, with stunning lake views along the way. We found ourselves in a bustling ski resort town with lots of touristy shops and a big gondola transporting visitors to the top of the mountain. Once we were full from a burger lunch we made the drive back to the much less touristy North side and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and walking around the resort’s beaches and parks. One of our favorite things about the Hyatt were the nightly massive fire pits throughout the grounds. We met so many interesting, friendly guests over campfire s’mores and nightcaps under the stars.

The following morning, we were eager to get out on the lake and quickly headed to Sand Harbor beach. We rented a tandem kayak and got paddling. This was for sure our favorite activity of the week, with breathtaking views from the middle of the lake. We kayaked away from home base for a good 90 minutes until the wind picked up and made it comically difficult for us to navigate. It doesn’t matter if you’re married five or 50 years- co-piloting a tandem kayak does not come any easier, or so I’m told!

Later that day we scoped out a local brewery called Alibi Ale Works. Any dog-friendly brewery is going to be at the top of our list, and after giving Abby (their resident pit bull) some well-deserved belly rubs, we were able to sample an assortment of their expansive beer selection in 4oz. offerings. Our favorite brew was the “Evil Jungle” Saison, followed by the “Dog Day IPA,” which donates a percentage of sales to their local Humane Society.

On the final day we said our goodbyes to the staff and the grounds, then made our way up the mountain for one last hike around Spooner Lake before driving back to Reno. It was such a great trip, we spent much of the last day discussing our plans to return. To MKTG and everyone who participated in the rewards voting- I cannot adequately express my gratitude for the opportunity to discover such an amazing new place. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for this unforgettable experience.

 

–Contributed by Andrew Leubner, Regional Director, Scottsdale, AZ

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The OtterBox OtterTour is on the road again!

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Otter-Tour-2015-Map_11_Harrington (1)

From the OtterBox Blog:

It’s summer concert season, and OtterBox is taking protection on the road with the 2015 OtterTour – a cross-country trek to festivals all over the U.S.

Join us as we travel the country to make the case to protect your smartphone. You will be able to check out the OtterTour truck for opportunities to play games, win cases and learn about the wide variety of premium protective solutions available for the latest smartphones and tablets.

Follow us on Twitter at @OtterBox for VIP ticket giveaways, behind the scenes content and chances to win prizes for the duration of the OtterTour. Tweet along with use using the hashtag #OtterTour – and if you see the Otter Tour Truck on the road, tweet us a photo for your chance to win!

Check out our tour dates and locations HERE. See you on the road!

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Happiness abounds on the #OtterTour!

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Follow the tour by searching for #OtterTour

 

 

 

 

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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

September 4th, 2015 at 12:20 pm

The Most Epic Vacation Ever Taken

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NZ 4

When deciding where in the world (literally) I wanted to go for my MKTG Rewards trip, I came up with a few ideals:

Must be one of the furthest countries possible

With a captivating history and super cool culture

That offers tons of adventuresome activity yet an abundance of untouched nature and breathtaking scenery

Where we can discover awesome food, drink some of the world’s best wine, meet the nicest people and have the opportunity to go to a legendary concert

And a beach…there’s gotta be a beach.

Surely these ridiculously high expectations could only be met in a fantasy country?! Or perhaps, a country that produced one of the most successful fantasy film series of all time…

Cue New Zealand.

After sharing my ambition with Marlena Edwards, she said, “Girl, if you’re going all the way to New Zealand you HAVE to go to Fiji!!”

Done. Beach

NZ 2

My boyfriend, Dave, and I started our journey in a very fitting way – we sat back, relaxed and watched The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made on our Air New Zealand flight to Queenstown. Most MKTGers have had their fair share of airplane safety but this one is worth watching, despite the fact that at the end of the video you won’t take off for vacation.

After 22 long hours of travel we landed on the south island and made our way to an Airbnb apartment on the edge of a cliff, overlooking snowcapped mountains and turquoise-blue water. Our first activity included a visit to a cozy vineyard, a four-course lunch and A LOT of wine – perfect way to recover from jetlag. We explored Queenstown and hit the famed Fergburger, which nearly put us into food comas before jumping in our car for a road-trip.

Driving along the coast of New Zealand was one of my favorite parts of the trip. The country’s vistas were spectacular (it was hard not to drive off the road while being distracted by the beauty!) We made it to our kayak tour of Milford Sound, which is a fiord in the south island. Officially, a fiord is a long, narrow inlet with steep cliffs created by glacial erosion. Unofficially, it’s really cold(!) and one of the most remarkable sights I’ve ever experienced. With waterfalls, mountains and adorable little penguins, Dave and I were in awe as we kayaked through the area. After an overnight cruise, we hiked our way north and made the trek back towards Queenstown.

How did we top such an awesome adventure to end the Queenstown segment of the trip? Jump off a bridge, of course! Before we could change our minds, Dave and I found ourselves clipped into individual bungees on the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge. 43 meters and a 4-second free-fall later (it felt like an eternity), we could say that we lived through the scariest adrenaline rush ever! The video still makes my stomach flip:

 

Auckland, on the north island, is the metropolitan area of New Zealand so after getting a taste of kiwi city life, we boarded a ferry and headed to the most popular holiday destination of locals, Waiheke Island. Here we zip-lined our way around the beautiful, warm environment and spent the remainder of the day exploring vineyards, known for their Bordeaux wine-type grapes.

The Coromandel Peninsula was the next stop on our itinerary. Dave and I took a boat to a bus to a beach where we discovered the Coromandel’s hot springs. Just a few feet from the chilly ocean water, we dug a large hole in the sand and relaxed in the thermal water. We continued on to Cathedral Cove for a hike down to a beach with phenomenal rock formations.

How did we top such thrills and gorgeous sights to end the Auckland segment of the trip? A Rolling Stones concert, of course! Dave and I were lucky enough to score tickets to The Stones’ last stop on their tour. It was an epic way to end our time spent in New Zealand.

Joanna Rewards

Thanks to Marlena’s advice, we were able to recover from the boats, hikes, bridges, drives and wine while laying on a white-sand beach at the Lomani Resort on the Mamanuca group of islands in Fiji. Snorkeling, paddle boarding and hammock-ing (with Pina Coladas) was how we spent these blissful days. The Fijian people are so welcoming and the serene atmosphere felt as if it were a dream.

So, how do we top the most epic vacation ever taken? Not sure it’s possible, but we are up for the challenge! Thank you, MKTG, for providing the best reward possible: an unforgettable experience.

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Escape to Hawaii!

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Hawaii Collage 2
Like everywhere else in the US, the Northeast has experienced a long, insufferable winter. I finally reached a point where I couldn’t stand the sight of snow anymore so I chose to cash in my MKTG RWRDS trip and go to Hawaii. I wasn’t sure what to expect besides leis, luaus & Hawaiian shirts, but if this mystical place could make Don Draper smile, then I knew it could bring me out of my winter funk.

My girlfriend Lillian and I started the trip with two nights on Waikiki Beach. We ate amazing Japanese food, relaxed on the beach and hiked to the top of Diamond Head State Monument for some incredible panoramic views. Once we had a chance to thaw out, we drove to the North Shore of Oahu. Along the way, we stopped at the Pearl Harbor Memorial and the world-famous Dole Plantation to ride the Pineapple Express (James Franco not included).

My favorite experience on the North Shore was walking through a Banyan tree forest to the secluded Kawela Bay. There we spent the day stand up paddling through crystal clear waters filled with sea turtles, drinking fresh coconuts and eating fresh pineapple from a nearby fruit stand. The area is famous for their shrimp trucks and we aggressively sampled the different versions of shrimp scampi (our favorite was Fumi’s). I also cliff jumped at Laie Point, which some people might recognize from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I’m glad to report that my jump was slightly more graceful than the one performed by Jason Segal’s character (also named Peter).

To end the trip, we visited the beautiful island of Kauai, full of jagged mountain ridges and exotic plant life. Jurassic Park was filmed there and at times it felt like a dinosaur was going to jump out and spray blinding venom in my eyes. Luckily that never happened and we had a wonderful time hiking along the Napali Coast, which provided breathtaking views of the island. We woke up early on our last morning to take a helicopter tour, a first for both of us. We flew around the whole island and saw things that never would have been possible from the ground, including canyons, waterfalls and a breaching humpback whale.

While the weather and activities were amazing, the thing I miss most is the food. I’ve done my best to find Hawaiian food here in NYC, but a day doesn’t go by that I don’t crave Açaí bowls, Ahi Poke, fresh pineapple and coconut ice cream. If it’s not already obvious, my trip was truly a once in a lifetime experience that I’ll never forget. I’d like to thank MKTG for providing the opportunity, my colleagues for selecting me and the entire House of Walker crew for their tireless support during my last year on the program.

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Written by Peter McCutcheon
Peter McCutcheon

April 3rd, 2014 at 10:39 am

Posted in Experience

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So many places to go;
so little lifetime

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221 100 places place

We’ve all been struck with a case of wanderlust, pondered where we’d  journey first if we struck it rich. For some it’s the allure of  relaxation and a cruise around the world, others dream of the rush of  a Mt. Everest climb. Still others crave an Anthony Bourdain style gastro-tour of Europe (Garcon, more vino, please). Whichever  way your hot air balloon blows, this book will take you there.

If the comfort of your backyard  is as far as you’re going to get, slap on the SPF 50 and take a journey through the pages of 1000 Places to see Before you Die (or until you’re cryogenically frozen).   Next on my list—Morocco!

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Written by Jennifer Stencil
Jennifer Stencil

May 20th, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Posted in Discovery,Experience

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