Mexican Restaurants in Burlington, NC

Welcome to Elon University. Shortly after your arrival on campus, you will realize there are limited food options within walking distance of campus. In a week you will have tried all the restaurants in Elon and you may find yourself saying, “Yo quiero…Mexican food.” Fortunately for you, Burlington has many options for authentic Mexican food along with popular chain Mexican restaurants. After five years at Elon, I have had the opportunity to try these Mexican restaurants once or …ehh I can’t keep count… and know some of the tastiest and cheapest options. Below are reviews based on my own personal experiences and preferences.
La Cocina
309 Huffman Mill Rd.
La Cocina is located in the Holly Hill Mall off of Huffman Mill in Burlington, a short three miles from Elon University’s campus. The restaurant has a friendly and comfortable environment conducive to college students, large groups, and families. Before you even open your menu, warm tortilla chips and homemade salsa is placed on the table. If you are looking for a frugal meal, try the Grilled Chicken Soft Taco located under the ‘A La Carte’ section. This large taco filled with chicken, cheese, and lettuce along with unlimited chips and salsa is sure to fill you up for only $4 with tax. There are also daily drink specials including $1.99 margaritas on Monday and Tuesday and $0.99 draft beers on Wednesday and Thursdays. They also have special offers and coupons.
Food Recommendations: Cheese Dip (queso), Pollo Chipotle, Burrito Mexicano

La Fiesta
1824 S Church St
La Fiesta is located on South Church Street, about four miles from campus. The restaurant is located in a commercial house that has a small, comfy feel for diners. The bar is located in a separate room from the restaurant, but the smell and sound of sizzling fajitas fills the whole house. La Fiesta serves unlimited homemade chips and salsa and has daily food and drink specials. La Fiesta has been voted best Mexican restaurant every year since 1999 by readers of the Burlington Times News. A popular menu item is Arroz Con Pollo which is a combination of rice, queso, and grilled chicken. Birthdays are fun to celebrate at La Fiesta, complete with waiters placing a sombrero on the head of the birthday boy/girl, singing, and a shot of tequila for those of age.
Food Recommendations: Fiesta Burrito, Fajitas Nacho, Chimichangas
Cancun
3153 Garden Rd
Cancun Restaurant is located on Garden Road, in the Walmart shopping plaza, three miles from campus. It is a newer Mexican restaurant in town, opening in August 2011. The space that Cancun is located used to be home to the popular restaurant that is now La Cocina. Cancun has yet to live up to the popularity of the predecessor, despite the same features of a Mexican restaurant. Cancun serves chips and salsa and has daily specials featured on their Facebook page.
Food Recommendations: Steak and Cheese Quesadilla, Enchiladas
El Palmar
3409 S Church St
El Palmar is the newest Mexican restaurant addition in Burlington, a quick two miles from Elon. They pride themselves on serving authentic Mexican dishes made fresh throughout the day. Lunch specials are offered Monday through Friday until 3pm and Tuesdays are designated Taco Tuesdays, serving $0.99 tacos all day. More specials can be found on their website, including a coupon for a free menu item.
Food Recommendations: Arroz Con Pollo, Chicken Tacos
Fast/Casual options:
Qdoba
3128 Waltham Blvd.
The popular ‘fast food’ restaurant, Qdoba is located in Alamance Crossing. You can sign up for a rewards card that earns members a free entree after the purchase of ten entrees. Qdoba also has a texting program that sends weekly deals to your phone such as $1 tacos (number is located within restaurant).
Moe’s Southwest Grill 
1449 University Dr.
Moe’s is located within the Target shopping plaza and is home to the college student’s favorite deal, Moe’s Monday. Every Monday, any burrito, chips & salsa, and a drink is for only $5.55. There are also other daily $5.55 deals throughout the week and specials provided through foursquare. (This month is $2 off a Joey burrito on Wednesdays when you check in!)
Panchero’s Mexican Grill 
210 Huffman Mill Rd.
Panchero’s is located across the street from the Holly Hill Mall. The burritos are the most popular menu item and everyone loves the free chips and salsa with any entree purchase. * Panchero’s has recently changed ownership and is now going to be called Pico’s Mexican Grill.
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Social Media: How has the role of the professional communicator changed?

How to not sell something to my generation.

The role of the professional communicator has changed since the days of Mad Men in the 1960s. With about 80% of Americans who have access to the Internet, people have the resources to know as much if not more than the salesperson trying to sell us something. The consumer can figure out competitive prices and does not need a salesperson to try to deceit them with giving ‘deals.’ Our generation wants companies to be transparent with its products and sincere, helpful, and knowledgeable with what they are trying to sell. Back in the day before the Internet, people had to rely on the messages of the salesperson because they did not have the resources to know any better.

Twitter and Facebook have allowed followers to create a connection with companies through two-way communication. Followers become more aware of the functions of the company and learn valued content about products, deals, etc. Many companies use Twitter and Facebook accounts to post the following:

  • post company news/updates
  • offer customer service
  • offer deals
  • job information

People are motivated to become followers for the following reasons:

  • to receive discounts and promotions 31%
  • to get a “freebie” 28%
  • to get updates on future products 38%
  • to get updates on upcoming sales 30%
  • to stay informed about the activities of the company 32%
  • for fun and entertainment 26%
  • to show support for the company to others 23%
  • to learn about the company’s products and services 25%
  • to get access to exclusive content 25%
  • someone recommended it to me 14%
  • for education about company topics 14%
  • to interact (e.g. provide feedback) 20%

How to be successful on Twitter: Tips/Lessons

  • Have fun with followers (don’t take yourself too seriously- accelerate positive comments and embrace (and address) negative ones
  • Use contests and offers to drive excitement about your brand
  • Join Twitter chats using hashtags—consider starting and hosting your own chats on a regular basis
  • SEO – Google and Bing recently announced their search algorithms take into account the clout or reach of the social media profile that posts links to your website.  By building up your Twitter account with thousands of followers your tweets will help improve your website’s ranking.
  • Drive traffic to your website, blogs, Facebook
  • deliver insider information, respond directly to Tweets, provide access to personalities behind your brand
  • channel highlight: personal connection with influential consumers
  • key to success: provide insider access to fuel content creation

http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/8600.aspx

http://mashable.com/2011/06/09/brands-twitter-success/

Shape Up NC: Social Media Campaign

Shape Up NC is a non-profit program that encourages residents of North Carolina to get more exercise and live a healthier lifestyle. The organization is receiving funding from the government with hopes of receiving industry support from corporate sponsors. The sponsors will be providing prizes that will be used for incentives for participants to meet their exercise goals. The participants register for teams and compete against other teams to together exercise effectively and earn the prizes.

Potential Tweets

Before coming up with potential tweets, it is important to establish a voice for Shape Up NC and create pillars. Pillars serve as topics for tweets and statuses that work to reach the objectives of the campaign. For this campaign it is important to create tweets based off of the following pillars:

  1. Health facts/statistics
  2. Health tips/advice

ex: how to eat healthy, exercises

  1. Motivation
  2. Participating corporations/prizes
  3. NC events/ community spotlights

By doing a wordle of the current Shape Up NC website and a similar organization (Be Active North Carolina) important words to use in conveying our message appeared.

The words that should be used in our campaign are the following: active, health, together, state, weight, healthier, lose, exercise, teams, physical, competition, healthy, and North Carolina

Potential Tweets

Health Facts

  1. Adults need at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, every week. #ShapeUpNC
  2. Just by walking 20-25 mins per week, you can extend your life by several years. Check out other health benefits of walking: http://visual.ly/health-benefits-walking
  3. Your entire body benefits from #exercise, especially your heart and your brain. #ShapeUpNC
  4. Did you know #exercise releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energizes your spirits and makes you feel good? #ShapeUpNC

Health Tips

  1. Stuck sitting at a desk all day? Find time to get up and #walk around for a total of ten minutes a day– your body and mind will thank you.
  2. By eating small portions throughout the day you force your body into hav
    ing to continuously metabolize food resulting in more #fatburning!
  3. Your body needs water to eliminate waste and perform bodily functions such as the breakdown of fat. Did you drink 6 to 8 glasses of water today?
  4. Check out these easy exercise tips to make #exercise a part of your ever day life: http://helpguide.org/life/exercise.htm #ShapeUpNC
  5. Looking for ways to sate a salt craving? Or satisfy a sweet tooth? Check out this list of 50 #healthy snacks. http://www.self.com/fooddiet/2010/06/50-healthiest-snacks

Motivation

  1. Unplug from technology this weekend. Get outside, enjoy the fresh #NorthCarolina air and get some #exercise. #ShapeUpNC
  2. Fitness is a state of mind. Who inspires you? #ShapeUpNC
  3. Hang in there #ShapeUpNC participants, and you’ll see solid results–along with great prizes from our corporate sponsors.
  4. Turn off the TV, get up off the couch, and get some #exercise. #ShapeUpNC
  5. How is everyone doing in keeping their 2012 New Year’s resolutions? Keep at it to achieve that #healthier lifestyle.
  6. Exercising with a friend is a good way to get encouragement to establish a #healthier lifestyle. Who do you like to exercise with?

NC Events

  1. Looking for something to do this weekend? Check out one of #NorthCarolina’s state parks! http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/main.php
  2. Dancing is a fun and easy way to burn calories. Anyone attending the 17th Annual Bluegrass First Class? http://www.bluegrassfirstclass.com/ #NCevents
  3. Deadlines for @GYRIG 5K run/walk in #Raleigh are coming up! Who is registered? Details here http://www.getyourrearingear.com/events/list/2012/raleigh-nc-2012

Other

  1. Happy Valentine’s Day #NorthCarolina! Send your Valentine a #health e-card from @CDCgov http://www2c.cdc.gov/ecards/index.asp?category=216
  2. Yoga? Running? Walking the dog? No matter the method, send us a picture of you and your team exercising. We will RT our favorites! #ShapeUpNC

Jobs, Networking, & Office Space

Jobs have been on my mind a lot these past couple of weeks. Upon completion of our project with Tortuguias, reality hit hard that I was no longer on the beaches of Panama searching for sea turtles. Instead, I am starting my last semester of school, just four months away from entering the real world.

These next four months will be full of networking, informational interviews, cover letters, resumes, etc. Finding a job is a full time job. I met Friday with Ross Wade, the School of Communications career counselor, to talk about my plans for the future. As always, Ross gave great advice on how to be successful in the job search. My biggest takeaway from my session with Ross is to not be afraid of the process to finding a job. Ask for an informational interview. Reach out to alumni. Network through social media. BUT never ask for a job.

A past advisor and professor provided me with some advice recently:

“You have to ask yourself, ‘Do I want an office with a door or a cubicle?’ and that is how hard you have to work.”

I had an interview with a small agency a few weeks ago that was moving offices. When showing me around the new office, the CEO mentioned he HATES cubicles from experience and because of the movie Office Space. Having never seen the movie, I watched it this past weekend and now understand how miserable grey, cubicle walls would be. I appreciate the fact that this agency respects that people need privacy…and they do not require 37 pieces of flair.

So my answer to the question is yes, I want an office with a door…eventually. I know it is unlikely to get everything you dream of right out of school, but you better believe that I will work my ass off to earn that office with a door. And hopefully a window–closets won’t do!

New Year, New Experiences

2011 was a year full of growth, changes, and new experiences. The year started with a trip abroad to New Zealand. From hiking a glacier to canyoning down a waterfall, New Zealand proved to be an opportunity I will never forget. Senior spring flew by and before long my friends and I were in our cap and gowns under the oaks. With the end of senior year came a lot of uncertainty about the months ahead. Would I have a job? Would I have to move back in with my parents? Would my closest friends ever all be in the same place again? Some of the anxiety of the future subsided when I received my acceptance into the Interactive Media program and earned an internship position with Plaid Skirt Marketing.

The whirlwind of a year continued throughout the summer months. I started my internship after graduation and moved in with some new friends for a new experience in Raleigh. Not before long after getting settled in Raleigh, I flew to Chicago to join my family in attending my brother’s medical school graduation. This was the beginning of many airplane travels for the summer. I had the pleasure of being my sister’s maid of honor and between planning a shower, bachelorette party, and wedding I made many trips between North Carolina and Connecticut. The morning after my sister’s wedding, I was back on a plane to North Carolina and by that night had moved my stuff from Raleigh to Elon to start iMedia the next day.

‘Boot camp’ and fall semester was challenging. New apartment. New friends. New programs. New equipment. New professors. The novelty wore off fast and I was in the depth of the iMedia program. Before I knew it, the semester was over along with an exciting 2011. What a year!

Although it seems hard to believe that any year can stack up against 2011, 2012 has already shown some competition. This ‘Winter Term’ a team of seven iMedia students and I traveled to Panama to work with the NGO Tortuguias. Our goal of the trip was to provide our client with an interactive website containing video and photo elements. A more in depth explanation of our time there can be found on our group’s blog. Our final product can be viewed here.

As January comes to an end, I can’t believe that I am one month closer to getting my Masters and that familiar sense of uncertainty. Many more new experiences are in my future and I say, BRING IT ON!

Oh how time flies…

Oh how time flies. I cannot believe it is already the end of fall semester. I entered this program bracing for the inevitable stress, confusion and frustration, but ready for the challenge. Still stuck in the whirlwind of the last four months, it is hard to narrow down the most important things I learned over this semester. So, I have made a list to help compile my thoughts:

  1. Inspiration is everywhere. Do not be afraid to look at works of designers, architects, painters, sculptures, etc. for inspiration. Knowing artists from specific periods and the motivation behind their works will help build a foundation for your overall understanding of art and design.
  2. Helvetica is everywhere. Be unique and make a font other than Helvetica work in your design.
  3. Use pen and paper. Yes, this is a digital program and your laptop will become a permanent fixture to your body, but sketches are important. Brainstorm. Write down your ideas. Sketch anything that comes to mind. This process will help you develop a successful final design.
  4. Don’t forget to enjoy what you do. I entered this program because I had a passion for design. Through all the hustle and bustle, it is important to remember to breathe and realize you are doing something you love. Yes, professors assigned you the projects and gave you a grade (if Hs, Ps & Ls are even considered grades), but this stuff is fun. Who doesn’t love creating a graphic in Illustrator or Photoshop? How cool is it to watch that graphic animate across the screen? Don’t you love seeing your ideas come to life?

Well, the idiom must be correct—time flies when you are having fun. Not only have I had fun getting to know a little too much about all 40 people in the program, but I have enjoyed being challenged by new programs and pushed to perform my best. I can’t wait to see what the fly-in and spring semester has in store for me!

Thirty Conversations on Design

Thirty Conversations on Design, produced by Little & Company, highlights some of the world’s most creative professionals’ thoughts on design. The main questions that these designers sought to answer were, “What single example of design inspires you most?” and “What problem should design solve next?” The difference in answers among the videos proves that you can be inspired from anything — from a sculpture to a piece of technology and there will always be a new thought and a new spark of inspiration.

I was drawn to Deborah Adler’s video response because it was titled “The Heart” and I believe that a person’s heart plays the biggest part in finding inspiration. Adler frames her response more about the idea of thinking about the heart of design. She explains that the designer needs to have a ‘love affair’ with the audience. To understand and dig into the needs of the audience leads you to solve those needs. Without that understand the second part is impossible and the design does not solve anything.

Katie Kirk and Nathan Strandberg, a husband-wife team, used a very creative way to answer the questions on an iPhone. They find the iPhone as a piece of inspiration and joke about designers loving Apple. The two praise the sleek design of the phone and the intuitive interface. Not only is the design of the phone inspiration, but the information that is shared through the functions of the phone is inspiring.

Lighten Up, the response from Patrick Coyne, was one of my favorites. He seemed so light-hearted and appreciative of the creative world. He said inspiration is a cumulative effect from those around us. The creative profession keeps coming up with new ways of communicating. He tries not to take design of himself too seriously, but hopes that design can impact the future.

Rick Morris: Motion Graphic Designer

Blog post about documentary on Rick Morris.

Rick Morris, a motion graphic designer, started his career in illustration and transitioned to digital later in life. Through his quirky reel, I could see that Morris has done a lot of expressive works and is very talented in what he does. He gives good advice for making a reel. For students, he explains a reel is just a combination of what you have done. As a teacher himself, Morris thinks concept, theory and process are important in design, however the most important thing in school is to create things that you can compile into a reel. Morris provided tips for putting together a reel including:

  • have a clever intro
  • editing makes a lot of impact
  • show your range—3-D, graphic appeal, transitions, camera movement, color coordinate
  • think about music and editing simultaneously—let elements come together at the same time
  • have an outro with name and info at the end

This advice is very helpful for those looking to create a reel. Although, I doubt I would have enough motion material at the end of this year to have a reel, this is helpful information for the future.

Morris is definitely passionate about his career and the art he creates. He mentions that passion is what every designers needs. My favorite line from his documentary was that art come from inside of you—“it’s your heart, that connects to your brain, and connects to your hands.” From all of our guest speakers and artist interviews we have heard and watched this year, passion seems to be the most important aspect of our work. Passion serves as inspiration. Passion helps us create masterpieces. Passion is what makes us love what we do.

Interactive Version of Research Paper

A Comparison of Advertising on Traditional Television and Online Platforms

An interactive version of my research paper (Online Television: A Comparison of Advertising on Traditional Television and Online Platforms) created in Flash.

Journalism in the Age of Data

I have always been a visual learner. Show me rather than just telling me. This is probably the reason I am interested in interactive design instead of math and statistics. If I were given a spreadsheet of stats, I would not know where to start with interpreting it.

I recently watched this documentary, Journalism in the Age of Data, which is all about infographics and taking loads of data and interpreting it visually. Data visualization is the act of taking basic or mundane data and putting a different perspective on it. There is unlimited data out there, so there needs to be a way to take the data and communicate the information effectively.

The best advice from this documentary is ‘tell the story clearly.” This is mentioned multiple times from different people as the purpose and main goal of data visualization. Capture your audience by giving them small chunks of information. One man interviewed criticized today’s inforgraphics saying there is a huge difference between looking at data and looking at a lot of data. Too much data is incomprehensible.

The part I found most interesting in Journalism in the Age of Data, was the designers take on Flash. There are multiple ways to create interactive infographics including Flash, Javascript, and Microsoft Silverlight. Flash seems to currently be the most widely used program to create these visualizations. However, with Flash not available for mobile devices and as html5 improves, there may be less need for Flash. This idea that Flash is “dying” is a worry for some of our classmates. Personally, I enjoy Flash and am amazed by the functions it is able to do, but there has to be an easier way. I am excited to learn html5 for another method of creating animation.

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