Monday, December 13, 2010

Southern Cal Family Fun Spots for the Holidays!

By: Kevin L. Nichols

As parents, we often fantasize during the holidays of creating innovative traditions that the newer nucleus of our family will enjoy and one day incorporate in their own lives. Family pot-lucks and visiting friends have been the norm for many years and feel very comfortable. Although the economy may weigh in on what a feasible way to celebrate the holidays these days actually is; it is hard to resist the nostalgia that this time of the year brings. As you reflect on the fun that you had as a kid at places like Disneyland ® and Knott’s Berry Farm ®, have you recently thought what it would be like to celebrate the holidays in Southern California at one of your favorite “family-fun” destinations without breaking your piggy bank? If not, here is some information about 4 major attractions: Disneyland ®, Knott’s Berry Farm ®, LEGOLAND ®, and Universal Studios ®, and what’s going on there during the holidays.

Travel Considerations

If you have not been to the Los Angeles area in a while, it is about a 5 ½ hour moderate drive from the Bay Area (which assumes, bathroom breaks, rest stops, and an occasional meal) or an hour flight. Air travel lately has been extremely affordable. TraveZoo.com TM has been advertising sales on Virgin Airlines ® (one of my personal favorites) for $39 & up each way per person, which is astounding. For those of you who refuse to go over your annual 12,000 mile allotment on your family vehicle, rental car rates can be found for $30 per day to about $75 per day plus gas depending on the vehicle, however, if you stay for the entire week, you might be able get a weekly rate. I recommend going to rental car company local editions for car rentals because the airports charge additional fees per day, taxes, and other surcharges. Hotel accommodations are fairly reasonable as well, but the prices also vary due to location. If you are on a budget, staying at the Disneyland ® Hotel TM may be out of your price range for the holidays, however, a Residence Inn TM or a hotel with suites can be found on the periphery for less than $100 per night online via Expedia.com TM or any other travel website. Thus, for a week long trip for a family of 4, you can probably get away with either $360 for air, or $350 for a full-sized car/small SUV plus gas, and about $450 on lodging, for a total of about $800. If you are resourceful, you can also save money on eating out every meal at a restaurant by bringing food with you and/or purchase it at a local grocery store (i.e. Whole Foods ®) in the area, and stay in a hotel with a kitchen. These are just some ideas of how you can make a trip happen, if you really want to.

DisneyLand ® and California Adventure Park TM

It really is “The Happiest Place on Earth.” TM With DisneyLand’s ® acquisition of Pixar ®, it has more characters and rides than ever. DisneyLand ® is ideal for families with younger children, however, the whole entire family can enjoy roller coasters, excellent shows, and share the magic that made our own childhoods so memorable. Some of my favorite attractions are the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage Submarine TM, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster Voyage TM, and the Matterhorn Bobsleds TM. California Adventure Park TM highlights various native landmarks and attractions based here such as Hollywood and the Golden Gate Bridge. The parades often feature some of Pixar’s ® signature characters from such movies as The Incredibles TM, Toy Story TM, and Cars TM.

This year, DisneyLand ® is offering a free 4th day when buying a 3 night, 4 day Vacation Package. The package also includes discounted park hopper tickets, however, you must stay at one of their resorts. In addition to its regular shows, such as Star Wars ®Jedi Training Academy TM there were will also be some new shows for the holiday season, such as “Worlds of Color” – a nighttime water spectacle where storytellers on a massive stage of water in California Adventure Park TM. Paradise Bay becomes a magical kaleidoscope of color, lights, and music. You won’t want to miss the “Tron: Legacy” dance party, the “Disney Channel Rocks” and the “Disney Dance Crew” shows as well. For more information, please visit www.disneyland.com and for discounted tickets, please visit your nearest Costco TM.

Knott’s Berry Farm ®

Knott’s is celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Charlie Brown TM and the Peanuts TM Gang this year. “Snoopy’s Starlight Spectacular” is a continuous light show filled with Peanuts TM three-dimensional figures, themed music, sound effects, voice-overs, and colorful projections of Peanuts TM characters.

Knott’s is known for its “friendliness” towards smaller children, i.e. Family/milder rides, however, their water rides and high thrill roller coasters make it a full-fledged amusement park. Some of my favorite rides are the Sierra Sidewinder, La Revolucion, Timber Mountain Log Ride, and the Perilous Plunge. One thing to note, Knott’s Berry Farm ® is closed on Christmas Day. For more information, please visit www.knotts.com.

LEGOLAND ® San Diego

LEGOLAND ® is an amazingly unique destination in that many of the attractions at the park are created out of miniature LEGO’s ®. As seen in the accompanying photographs, thousands of hours and LEGO ® pieces have been used to create replicas of San Francisco, New York City, Mount Rushmore, and the Sydney Opera House for example. It also has water rides, roller coasters, and live shows such as “The Big Test” featuring the Fun Town Fire Department volunteers. LEGOLAND has a new water park, Sea Life Aquarium, and tons of rides, roller coasters, miniature golf, and fun for the entire family.

This holiday season, LEGOLAND ® will be featuring “Holly Jolly Holidays,” a holiday festival that includes a life sized LEGO® brick Santa and Reindeer, miniature Santas and reindeer delivering toys throughout Miniland USA, and the “Let it Snow” musical. Moreover, every night from December 26-31, 2010, they will be lighting up the sky with fireworks at the park’s closing. For more information, please visit www.legoland.com.

Universal Studios ® Hollywood

Many people think that Universal Studios ® is only the place where movies and sitcoms are made and that its main attraction is its world famous studio tour. Well there is more than meets the eye here with its roller coasters, such as The Simpson’s Ride TM, the Revenge of the Mummy TM ride, and the Jurassic Park TM ride. You will also get to experience the amazing King Kong 360° 3-D, which is touted as the world’s largest, most intense 3-D experience. The Studio Tour, still takes you to see Jaws, The Bates Motel, and the plane wreckage from the War of the Worlds, however, it also takes you to Wisteria Lane to visit ABC’s Desperate Housewives.

For the holidays, Universal will be celebrating “Grinchmas,” a festival full of holiday cheer, while Whoville comes to life. You can have your picture taken with the Grinch and Max, and even play in a real show. Lastly, there will be a celebrity reading of Dr. Suess’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas and a tree lighting ceremony. As an exclusive online promotion, if you buy your tickets online, you get 1 week free for the price of one day. For more information, please visit www.universalstudioshollywood.com.

Thus, if you are straddling the fence and do not have any solid plans for the holidays, I strongly recommend that you consider making a Southern California fun spot your holiday destination this year. You can create your own family traditions that you and your children will never forget. If money is tight, there are ways to be resourceful. You just have to have a plan and make it happen. Happy Holidays!

Copyright 2010 KLN Publishing, LLC All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

BANC's Understanding & Managing Internet Services

"Building Business Relationships, One Connection At A Time"
Bay Area Networking Consortium

Invites You To

Want to Know About LinkedIn, FaceBook, MySpace
Understanding & Managing Internet Services

Guest Speaker
Kevin L. Nichols
President & CEO of KLN Publishing

DATE: Thursday, November 11, 2010
TIME: 6:30 PM-8:30 PM
LOCATION: Monaghan's On The Hill

2820 Mountain Boulevard
Oakland, Ca 94602

Telephone: +1 510 482 2500

Non-Members $10
Members Free

For Each Attendee that brings 3 guests, admission is waived

(must all be accompanied in same group)

Bay Area Networking Consortium
BANC is a "boutique" networking organization, offering a structured program of an educational panel or presentation, Q&A and networking. We target serious business professional professionals, who understand the benefit of building their business-"one connection at a time." Additionally, we encourage giving back by mentorship and community service and donating goods ot local non-profits after each of our events.

Bay Area Networking Consortium
11200 Golf Links Road, Suite E
Oakland, California 94605
(925) 285-0515

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

City of Oakland's Meet The Candidates Forum

Please join CHBA for a Meet the Candidates Forum on Wednesday October 27, 2010 from 5:30 - 7:30 at Wendel Rosen Black & Dean, 1111 Broadway - 19th Floor - Wendel Conference Room, Oakland, CA 94607. Join us and be enlightened and informed from confirmed candidates: Terrance Candell, Marcie Hodge, Larry Lionel Young, Jr., Desley Brooks, Clinton Killian, Melanie Shelby and Leah Wilson.
For more information please see the attached announcement or contact CHBA Special Asst Scott Jackson at jackson.scott2010@gmail.com
Thank you so much and I'll see you there.
Nedra Shawler
CHBA President

Who: African American Candidates running for Elected Office in Alameda County
What: An Up Close and Personal Meet and Greet / Candidate – Voter Exchange
When: October 27, 2010 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Where: Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean, 1111 Broadway, 19th Floor Conf. Room Oakland

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Oakalnd Art & Soul Festival Celebrates 10 years

By: Kevin L. Nichols

I thought that nothing would be able to replace the “Festival at the Lake” in Oakland, but the 10th Annual Art & Soul Festival certainly comes close. This was a star-studded display of Bay Area talent from various genres of entertainment, enormous options of culinary cuisine, and fun-filled activities for the entire family. The area surrounding City Hall was completely shut down and transformed to a marketplace full of vendors selling hats, clothes, accessories, beauty products, holistic services, and the like.

The restaurant alley consisted of food vendors selling barbeque ribs and chicken, jambalaya, fish, crab cakes, sweet potato pie, cobbler, etc. In addition to the food vendors, Lucky’s sponsored the “Foodstyle Pavilion,” where they had exciting Lucky Grill Master cook-offs with audience participants as judges which were hosted by KTVU’s own Laura McIntosh. With Lucky’s huge mobile kitchen and the chefs sharing samples of their wonderful concoctions, this was an area not to be missed.

As a former classmate and Oakland native, Shawn Granberry, referred to it, Art & Soul’s concert was uniquely a “Giving Back to Oakland” concert. There were 3 live stages on both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, they were called the Main Stage (World Class Rock presented by KFOG), the Plaza Stage (Oakland Jams presented by Khalil Shaheed, Oaktown Jazz Workshop hosted by Don Reed), and the Gospel Stage (Gospel Showcase presented by Edwin Hawkins & the Community of Unity). The Main Stage featured such artists as the Bittersweets and CAKE, while the Plaza featured the Oakland Jazz Workshop, Kev Choice, and MC Hammer, and the Gospel Stage featured Terrance Kelly & the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, the Greater Saint Paul Baptist Church, and the Bishop Walter L. Hawkins Love Center Choir.

On Sunday, the Plaza stage featured such acts as the Oakland Conservatory of Music and Pete Escovedo and Family – including Sheila E. The Oakland Blues and Heritage Stage featured such artist as Billy & the Thrillers, Filmore Slim, the Ballads, and Lenny Williams. The Main Stage showcased Club Nouveau, Toni!Tony! TonĂ©!, and En Vogue. All performances were heartfelt and electrifying. The crowds were enormous and the cheers were far reaching.

This was a great weekend for Oakland. Former and current residents, young and old, white, black, yellow, or brown, came out in droves to support this city and the surrounding community…peacefully. Art & Soul is a great way to reflect on the many accomplishments and contributions the Bay Area has made to our country and to the world. May it continue to shine and I recommend that you mark you calendar for next year to celebrate Oakland once again.

Kevin L. Nichols is an author, President and CEO of KLN Publishing. LLC located in San Francisco, California. For more information, please visit http://www.klnpublishing.com.

Copyright © 2010 The Globe Newspaper Group, LLC - All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wine + Croquet + Music 2010 - Sept. 25th - Atherton

Please consider attending Alpha Kappa Alpha's Wine + Croquet + Music fund raiser in support of their community programs and scholarships in the beautiful setting of Atherton's  Holbrook-Palmer Park on September 25th. The tickets are $60 and include live music, a fun croquet tournament, lunch, wine, a live and silent auction, dancing and table top games. Please click on the attached flyer for more details. (Note, that we requests that guest wear white.)  Please email Saidah Grayson for ticket information at saidah@gmail.com and tell her where you saw this information.

To get a better feel for the event, check out the blog entry from last year's event photographer: http://saraatkinsphotography.com/blog/2009/09/alpha_kappa_alpha_sorority_inc_rho_delta_omega_chapter.html

Many thanks!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bay Area Black Professionals takes social networking ‘offline’

By: Kevin L. Nichols 

Social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Meetup and Twitter are making it incredibly difficult to actually meet new professionals in person. With the exception of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook lend themselves toward people that you already know, like high school or colleague classmates, family members or co-workers. LinkedIn groups and Meetup groups allow you to network with people you do not already know; however, without an organized purpose, meeting them face to face in order to refer business to them, etc., is nearly useless … until now.

Aurice Guyton

Aurice Guyton, organizer of the East Bay Black Professionals Association (a Meetup group) and a valued member of the Bay Area Black Professionals group (a LinkedIn group — both groups consist of over 500 members), recently organized the first Summer Networking Mixer at Adagia Restaurant in Berkeley near UC Berkeley’s campus. With the assistance of the restaurant’s event manager, Aaronnette King, the event brought over 50 professionals together to network face to face.

The event consisted of happy hour — including food, appetizers and beverages and live music by a phenomenal band called DAP — and icebreaker games to help the professionals get acquainted more easily.
When asked how groups such as these are important to the Bay Area professional community, Guyton had this to say: “One common grievance among black business owners is the lack of support or patronage from the black community. We don’t support each other enough. I host networking events so black professionals can promote their business, with the hope that we will network and do business with each other. My goal is to keep black dollars in our community. It’s imperative to the future of black business that we support each other, which will promote growth and create business opportunities for our people.”

For more information, visit klnpublishingllc.blogspot.com for the LinkedIn Bay Area Black Professionals group and www.meetup.com/eastbayblackprof for the East Bay Black Professionals Association group.

Kevin L. Nichols is an author and the president/CEO of KLN Publishing, located in San Francisco. For more information, visit www.klnpublishing.com.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

BABJA's 7th Annual Young Journalists Scholarship Gala

Dear Friend:

The Bay Area Black Journalists Association (BABJA) would like to invite you to join us for the Seventh Annual Young Journalists Scholarship Gala on Saturday, October 2 at 6:30 pm. Scott’s Seafood Restaurant in Oakland’s Jack London Square.

During this yearly event we recognize young journalism students and salute veterans in the field. We will award two deserving students with the Chauncey Wendell Bailey, Jr. Scholarship and the Luci S. Williams Houston Memorial Scholarship. And, we will honor Bay Area media professional and former BABJA president, Bob Butler. Mr. Butler has been in broadcast journalism for more than 30 years and has won numerous national awards for his work on the Chauncey Bailey Project, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and the 1991 East Bay Hills fire. He has touched many lives with his dedication to journalism and mentoring young and aspiring journalists.

The goal of this fundraiser is to raise awareness and money to support a variety of programs for minority journalism students. To date, we have awarded more than $20,000 in scholarships to help aspiring journalists reach their dreams. Throughout the year, BABJA is involved in a variety of events to support student and professional journalists, including:

• Meet the Reporters at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
• Quarterly Panel Discussions featuring media and communication professionals
• Media Mixers to promote networking and partnership throughout the industry
• Sponsor students to the National Association of Black Journalists Convention

Help us further the educational goals of youth who aspire to be tomorrow’s journalists. Please review the various sponsorship levels listed below and let us know your interest level. If you have any questions, please contact me or Netta Conyers-Haynes at netconhay@yahoo.com or (925) 382-7808.


Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig
President, Bay Area Black Journalists Association
(415) 633-6327 or mfcnews@yahoo.com

Sunday, August 8, 2010

How to develop a strong network

By Kevin L. Nichols

Networking is a skill — better yet, an art form. Those that intuitively have a propensity to get along with others and develop strong bonds are more likely to be successful networkers. There are various intangible components that contribute to a networker’s success. It is important to identify some of these attributes and to strengthen what may not come naturally in order to develop the powerful network that you desire.

The first intangible is self-confidence. Marcus Garvey described it best when he said, “If you have no confidence in yourself, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence, you have won before you have started.” Since relationships are arguably now more of a commodity than the rise or fall of mutual funds or stock prices, confident people are more likely to network with people who they do not know. A confident person is not squeamish and is typically comfortable with striking up conversations, or introducing himself or herself to others in a crowd. This is essential for meeting new people and developing a viable network.

The second intangible is integrity. Integrity is an invaluable component because having it encourages your friends and colleagues to recommend/refer/introduce you to others whom you would like to get to know. (Sometimes you are not aware of why you need to know them, but your network does.) Essentially, having integrity is the best marketing tool because it creates opportunities for people to want to meet you and/or do business with you so that they, too, can benefit from being one of your acquaintances. How you carry yourself and how you handle your business is a direct correlation of how motivated and inspired other professionals will be to network with you.

The final component that will be discussed in this piece is nurturance. Frankly, many networkers underestimate the power of nurturance. Often, friends and colleagues are easily annoyed when someone only calls, emails, texts or sends a message via a social networking site when they “need” something. Your friends and colleagues do not want to feel taken advantage of or used. Thus, it is vital to create opportunities to reach out to your network on a periodic basis to make sure that you are connected in “peace time” just in case you need their backing to go to “war.” No matter how subtle, nurturing your network will allow you to lean on your network multiple times throughout a given time period because your network feels needed, not abused. Finessing this is similar to being in a committed relationship. If done correctly, you will develop a symbiotically respectful relationship with your network with the appropriate amount of giving and taking.

Like any relationship, developing a powerful network is not easy. It takes a lot of work and responsibility. But with confidence, integrity and nurturance, the building blocks are in place for a strong foundation. If you want to make something happen in your life, you need the courage to ask for what you want. Once you have asked, the decision that your network makes (whether or not to assist you) depends on what they know about you, your accomplishments and what type of person you are. How you have managed those relationships will determine whether or not you get the assistance that you desire.

The strength of your network rests in your hands. What will you do with it?

Kevin L. Nichols is an author and the President/CEO of KLN Publishing, located in San Francisco. For more information, visit www.klnpublishing.com.

Copyright © 2010 The Globe Newspaper Group, LLC - All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

BABP August Professional Networking Mixer

The highly anticipated
LinkedIn Bay Area Black Professionals
event is here.

Join us for our first after hours “Meet and Greet Professional Networking Mixer” at the beautiful
Adagia Restaurant in Berkeley. Our mixer will be
located on the patio area which will give us ample
space for mixing and mingling.

This event was planned to encourage LinkedIn BABP members to meet and network with each other face-to-face. So come out and meet your future clients, employees, employers or friends.

Make sure to bring lots of business cards.

Also, for our listening pleasure, a live jazz band will be performing on the patio.

Hope to see you there. Feel free to bring a guest.

Cost: This is a free event,
but an RSVP is required.

Date: Wednesday, August 18th

Time: 6-9pm

Location: Adagia Restaurant,
2700 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, California 94704. It is located at the corner of College Avenue and Bancroft Way across the street from UC Berkeley and Caffe Strada

About the venue:
Adagia Restaurant was originally the Westminster House, where the minister entertained visiting dignitaries and faculty. The building was beautifully restored and remodeled to accommodate Adagia Restaurant in 2003.

Please visit
http://babp-prof-mixer.eventbrite.com to RSVP. Thanks.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Farewell Randell Bradley-Benson 6/11/69 - 7/3/10

Ran 009

By: Kevin L. Nichols

I tried to find the best way to honor one of my best friends and fraternity brother, Randell Bradley, and decided that doing what I do best would be the best way. I first met Randell during my initiation into the Gamma Alpha Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., while students at the University of California, Berkeley, back in the Spring of 1994. When I heard people say that he resembled “Caine” from the movie “Menace II Society”, I thought that we would have a tough time finding things in common. Then I discovered that we actually had a lot in common, one of our favorite movies was “The Five Heartbeats” on so many levels, we loved the English language, yet we constantly found ways to destroy it metaphorically, we loved business, we loved writing, and we loved our people. He also loved his friends. One of Randell’s friends died due to violence and he practically raised that young man’s son on his behalf.

Most people knew the goofy, silly side of Randell, and trust me, we were down right ignorant sometimes. He practically created a separate language that made Ebonics look like it could be on the SAT. Some of Randell’s coined phrases were: “corn, snacky, rateefy, moof-tagem, shalaze, and brim.” Nevertheless, he had a brilliant mind and created many of our chapter’s signature events that still exist to this day, such as the Diamond Ball, the Nupe Raffle, the James E. Dickey Scholarship Fund, and “Stamps for Change” where we sold envelopes and stamps for pre-written and addressed letters to the President opposing California’s passage of Proposition 209, which ended Affirmative Action. We also held the Judy Davis Bone Marrow Drive, named after my brother-in-law’s mother who died of cancer years ago to increase the number of African Americans in the national bone marrow donor database. Randell had the ideas and I knew how to execute them. We were a great team.

Ran 030

(L - Kevin L. Nichols, Dr. Derrick Bell, Randell Bradley, Dr. Grace Carroll - R)

In addition to his comical side, Randell handled his business and was well respected in our fraternity. He was our “rock” and kept all of us together during individual strife, trials, and tribulations. Randell was the epitome of brotherhood. He always had his brother’s back and was his brother’s keeper. Unlike some people, Randell encouraged his friends to see what he saw in them and inspired them to achieve. Randell always wanted me to run for mayor, which I kindly reminded him that I had no interest or desire of doing so, yet just knowing that he believed in me meant the world to me. During his last year in college, he was practically my roommates. We did road-trips together and whenever I visited to Los Angeles, he would either meet me at the airport or drop by my hotel for dinner.

We talked for hours each week, including up to his death. Although I knew that he had Sickle Cell Anemia and would occasionally get sick, I had no idea that he was receiving dialysis twice a week up to his death and died of having fluid on his heart. At first, I was very angry that my friend could be in such pain and that our conversations about providing for the love of his life Essence and their 2 year old daughter Samara were merely foreshadowing his own eminent demise, I cannot fault him for who he has always been. Randell has always been more worried about others than himself. I will address how I plan to deal with this phenomenon at some future point, however, I will sadly miss my friend. I know that he is with the Lord and in a better place.

Just so that he knows, I have two boys and always wanted a little girl. Looks like I have a 2 year old to look after and her name rhymes with my wife’s.

Randell, had I known you needed a kidney and I was a match, you would have had it without hesitation. I miss you my friend and when ever I get to the part in our Kappa Hymn, I will think of you, “We’ll long for thee and toil until…we reach that Golden Shore…”

Saturday, June 5, 2010

BABP's Inaugural Caramel Lattes

Please join the


Bay Area

Black Professionals Group

To its Inaugural

Caramel Lattes

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 @ 9am
440 Grand Ave
(between Bellevue Ave & Staten Ave)
Oakland, CA 94610

Visit http://babp-caramel-lattes.eventbrite.com to RSVP.