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5 Reasons to Buy a Home This Fall

Real estate markets ebb and flow just like the seasons. The spring market starts hopping when the sun comes out, flowers bloom and winter is over. Conversely, fall signals the beginning of a slower market, which could be good for buyers.

If you’re in the market for a home, here are some reasons why fall can be a great time to buy.

Leftover spring inventory may result in deals

Home sellers tend to go on the market for the first time in the spring. They often list their homes too high out of the gate, which could mean that a series of price reductions follow during the spring and the summer months.

These sellers have fewer chances to capture buyers after Labor Day. By October, buyers are likely to find desperate sellers and prices that may, in fact, be below a home’s true market value.

Fewer buyers are competing

Families who want to be in a new home by the beginning of the school season are no longer shopping at this point. These families have exited the market, which means less competition. That translates into more opportunities for buyers.

Taking out an entire segment of the housing market provides millennial, single, and baby boomer buyers some breathing room. You’ll likely notice fewer buyers at open houses, which could signal a great opportunity to make an offer.

Motivated sellers want to close by the end of the year

While a home is where an owner lives and makes memories, it is also an investment – and one with tax consequences. A home seller may want to take advantage of a gain or loss during this tax year.

Buyers might find homeowners looking to make deals so they can close before December 31st and get that tax benefit. Ask why the seller is selling, and look for listings that offer incentives to close before the end of the year.

Homes for sale near the holidays signal a motivated seller

As the holidays approach, the last thing a homeowner wants is for their sale to be dragging on and interrupting their parties and events.

If a home has not sold by November, and it’s still sitting on the market, that homeowner is likely motivated to be done with the disruptions caused by their home being listed for sale.

Many homes don’t show as well once the landscaping fades

The best time to do a property inspection is in the rain and snow, because the home will be truly exposed for buyers. The same holds true for fall, when flowers die, trees start to shed their leaves, and beautiful landscapes are no longer so lovely.

Scratching the surface of the pretty spring home season and fall reveals home flaws, making it a great time to see each home’s true colors. It’s better to see the home’s flaws before making the offer, instead of being surprised months after you close.


Originally published October 19, 2015.

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NASCAR’s Alabama 500 playoff race at Talladega: What you need to know

Race: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Alabama 500 Distance: 188 laps, or 500 miles. Where: Talladega Superspeedway, a 2.67-mile, asphalt tri-oval in Lincoln, Ala. When: 2 p.m. Sunday. TV: NBCSN. … Click to Continue »

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Close More Deals by Using These 5 Traditional Sales Techniques

Marketing automation is a very powerful tool. It can generate leads for your business, it can warm the doorknob for your salespeople, and it can help you close more deals. But in the end, marketing automation is not a stand alone tool. In other words, you can’t just set it and forget it. You have to help things along.  With that in mind, here are 5 traditional sales techniques to keep in mind when your marketing automation campaign starts delivering the leads you’re looking for.



Don’t start by talking about your company, your product, or your services

I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s one of the most powerful techniques you can use. After all, what is it that most people are interested in? Are they most interested in you? Absolutely not. They’re most interested in themselves. So, with that in mind, you should talk about their company and their needs, not about your company or your needs.

Ultimately, your goal is to discover your prospect’s pain point so that you can show that your product or service is a good solution for them. Which leads us to our next tip.


Don’t assume that the prospect knows what the actual problem is

In many cases, your prospect will talk about the symptom they have rather than the real problem. Here’s a case in point. A friend of mine who is a consultant was pulled in to solve a productivity problem at a manufacturing plant. “Our assembly line needs to run faster in order to get more product out the door, but we can’t afford to upgrade the machinery, so we’re stuck in a bind,” they said.

But it turned out the problem wasn’t with the machinery, it was with a fax machine which was located 200 yards from the guy who processed the orders. Walking the 200 yards every hour to get the orders slowed production down significantly.

$50 and a new fax machine later, the company increased efficiencies by 5% which contributed $7.5 million to their bottom line.

Which brings us back to the main point – don’t assume that what the prospect thinks is the problem is the actual problem.


Practice the 70/30 rule

Many people who are in sales have that job because they’re very friendly. Friendly often translates into being talkative, but talking too much can be a hindrance if you’re a sales person. When you talk too much, you can come across as someone who is nervous or insecure about what it is you’re selling.

A general rule of thumb is to do about 30% of the talking while your prospect does about 70%. That ratio allows you to listen for their pain points and then to respond to what it is that they need (not what you need).


Use your 30% wisely

If you’re going to practice the 70/30 rule, you’re going to have to use your 30% wisely. After all, you won’t have much time to speak if your prospect is doing most of the talking.

What should you do with your 30% of the time? Don’t do a sales pitch. Instead, ask questions. In other words, do what your doctor does when you go in for an exam – he or she will ask a series of questions that helps them zero-in on what your actual health problem is. When you ask questions of your prospect, you’re zeroing-in on what their problem is, which will ultimately lead you to a solution (that you happen to be selling at a very reasonable price, by the way).


Recognize that person-to-person marketing is your most powerful tool

In the end, people buy from people they like. No amount of slick brochures or fancy internet videos will sell your product or service if people don’t feel warm and comfortable around you.

How can you make people feel warm and comfortable? As mentioned already, talk about them. Take an interest in their desires and needs. Find commonalities with them. And be genuine – most people can sniff out when someone is turning on the charm just to close a deal, so be sure to take a genuine interest in your prospect.


A final tip

Here’s a bonus tip for you – be polite to other salespeople. When they email you or call you, they’re just trying to make a living and feed their family, so be respectful to them. After all, what goes around comes around – if you’re nice to other people, then other people will be nice to you.

traditional sales techniques

The post Close More Deals by Using These 5 Traditional Sales Techniques appeared first on GetResponse Blog – Online Marketing Tips.

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This Mid-Century Home Originally Designed for a WWII Pilot Just Hit the Market

Available for the first time on the open market, and with only two owners since its construction in 1964, the DeLeeuw Residence is a beautiful mid-century example of Leroy Young and John Remington’s architectural work.

The duo designed commercial and residential buildings in and around Los Angeles in the late-1950s and 1960s, and were commissioned by Carl M. DeLeeuw, a World War II veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, to design his family’s residence in Palos Verdes Estates.

The 2,696-square-foot, post-and-beam structure features a dramatic pitched roof and floor-to-ceiling windows that highlight sweeping views from the Hollywood sign to the ocean.

Photos by Peter McMenamin

Highlights of the property include four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and expansive living areas that are framed by walls of glass. Many of the original features of the home remain intact, including a double-sided fireplace, living room built-ins, original bathrooms and closet doors, and exterior windows and glass sliders.

Courtesy of Lewy Kallas

Celebrating and preserving the original architectural elements, the current owners made very few changes, all of which were tasteful and strategic. They updated the kitchen with warm walnut cabinetry, modern Fisher & Paykel appliances, and Caesarstone quartz countertops. They also integrated functional upgrades, including a newer heating system and energy-efficient window glazing.

Courtesy of Lewy Kallas

The lower-living level, which includes a second fireplace, opens to the tastefully-landscaped backyard for indoor/outdoor livability. Drought-tolerant landscaping accents the backyard. The rear elevation features impressive spans of glass, original to the home.

Courtesy of Lewy Kallas

This article was written by Byron Loker and originally appeared on Dwell.  Check out more of their content on


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11 Ways to Increase Your Email Open Rate

For subscribers to click through your email, they first need to open your email. I’ll be the first to admit that my inbox currently has over 1,700 unopened emails. Some of those are automated emails from services I signed up for and some of them are emails from well-meaning people who didn’t catch my interest. Whatever the case, each one represents someone who tried and failed to get in contact with me.

Now, maybe you’re not like me. Maybe you open all of your emails regardless of if you’re interested, simply so you can lower that “unread emails” number.

Surely, some of your email subscribers do this. But what I want to discuss is how to get people to open your email because they’re interested in what you have to say, not because they are checking something off their list.

Here’s 11 ways to catch your reader’s interest before they open your email.


1. Spend more time on the subject line.

You’ve probably heard this one before. But it’s still the single most important part of any email that you write.

The second thing that your subscribers are going to look at is the subject line (right after the “from” name). The subject line is the heart of determining if someone is going to open your email.

Sadly, most of us don’t spend nearly enough time on the subject line.

To improve the quality of your subject lines, create a list of 20 different options. Read through them and pick your top 10. Read through them again and pick your top 5. Read through them one more time and pick your top 3. Then, show the top 3 to a few other people and get their opinion before choosing a winner.

For your reference, here are some amazing subject lines that you should totally steal:

  • [Exclusive Content] Here are all your eBooks!
  • David, did you know that…?
  • We have finally done it, David!
  • [Free Tools] Download the tools we promised you.

Your subject line needs to trigger one of two things in the receiver.

  • Curiosity. Ex: David, did you know that…?


  • Self-interest. Ex: [Free Tools] Download the tools we promised you.

Spend some time thinking through your subject line and you’ll get a better open-rate.


2. Create a compelling pre-header.

Sadly, the preheader of an email is often neglected. But the reality is that before opening an email and after reading your subject line, there’s a good chance that people are going to read your preheader.

It’s the final barrier between an email sent and an email opened.

Think of your preheader the way you think about the tagline title of a book. The title (subject line) intrigues you, but it’s the tagline (pre-header) that gets even more specific and compelling.

Here’s some book titles that would make great subject line/pre-header combos:

  • Contagious: Why Things Catch On.
  • Grit: The Power Of Passion And Perseverance.

Write a pre-header that goes into more detail than your subject line, drawing subscribers to open your email. It’s not just where they look, it’s why they click.

Note: Keep in mind that if you have an image at the top of your email, the alt text is what will show first. Luckily, you can just strategically craft alt text for the top image that makes for an awesome and compelling pre-header.


3. Create a swipe file.

This is the best piece of advice you’ll get out of this article.

And it’s dead simple.


Create an email folder to collect all the emails you receive that had exceptional subject lines and preheaders. This is called a swipe file. It’s a personal library of amazing emails so that when you’re crafting your own, you have an idea bank to reference.

Remember, the best copywriters steal from other great writers. You should steal too.


4. Segment your list.

You’ve probably heard of list segmentation.

Segmentation is putting your list of email subscribers into categories based upon their behaviors. If, for example, a pool of people on your email list haven’t opened the past 10 emails, you might put them into a segmentation meant to save them from inactivity. If another pool of people are opening and clicking through nearly every email, they might go into a segmentation meant to upsell.

In other words, the emails that people on your list receive are behaviorally specific to each person.

Depending upon the tool you’re using for email marketing, segmenting your list will or will not be an option.

But if you’re serious about increasing your open rate, it’s a necessary step.


5. Don’t get caught in spam.

Obviously, it’s practically impossible for people to open your email if it’s going into spam.

Spam filters are intended to help people avoid inboxes filled with shoddy emails. But sometimes, email campaigns with the best intentions get caught.

What gives?

I’ll tell you what. Here’s a list of the things you need to do to avoid that garbage chute.

  • Don’t use any cute tricks, trying to cover up the unsubscribe button or putting “Re:” or “Fwd:” in the subject line. These mischievous actions are practically guaranteed to land you in the spam folder.
  • Always include appropriate alt text on your images.
  • Include an address and from name in your email.

And here’s the big one:

  • Test everything.

Want to know if your email is going to go to spam? Simply send a test email to yourself and a few friends and ask them where it went. If it does go to spam, adjust what you think might have caused it and try again. There’s nothing better than knowing for sure.


6. Choose the best email marketing tool.

There are pros and cons to every email marketing tool. Some get caught in spam easier than others. Some allow for segmentation and a/b testing. Others don’t.

All of these factors play into the potential open rate you can achieve. Using an email marketing tool that fits your brand personality and has the features you need is vital to increasing your open rate.

Getresponse has an email marketing tool that is absolutely phenomenal. For a more extensive list of your options, check out this in-depth piece by Robert Mening where he reviews the pros and cons of a plethora of email marketing services (he even reviews Getresponse).

Ultimately, choose the tool that works for you.


7. Resend campaigns to inactive subscribers.

By way of a reminder to subscribers who didn’t open your email, resend the campaign the following day.

We all lead busy lives and sometimes increasing the open rate of an email is simply a matter of reminding people that they received it in the first place.

Obviously, you have to walk a fine line with this.

Resend too many campaigns and you risk increasing your unsubscribe count. Never resend and you’re missing out on a portion of your audience that simply keeps forgetting to open your email.

Generally speaking, follow these rules:

  • Only resend email campaigns a full day after the original was delivered. No sooner. No later.
  • Only resend each campaign a max of one time.
  • Consider only re-sending campaigns that you consider vital for your audience to see — meaning you don’t resend just your everyday newsletter.
  • When you do resend, change the subject line to something more compelling. Something like, “You just missed this…” or “I really don’t want you to miss out on this.”

Resend your campaigns, but don’t overdo it.


8. Find the ideal frequency.

Email your list too much and your open-rate will plummet. Email them too little and they’ll forget you exist.

Unfortunately, finding the perfect email frequency is easier said than done.


Because that “perfect” frequency varies from list to list. It varies based on what your subscribers expect from you, how they think about you, and the quality of your emails.

This goes without saying, but make sure to find the correlation between open rate and email frequency. This will help inform you of the appropriate frequency for your list.

Additionally, here are a few ways to use the appropriate frequency based on your list segmentations:

  • Decrease email frequency for people who rarely open your emails.
  • Increase email frequency for people who open most of your emails.
  • Create a survey and ask your list how often they wish to receive your emails. Then place each subscriber in an appropriate segmentation.

Find the sweet spot for your list and your open-rate will automatically increase.


9. Find the best time of day.

Much of email marketing comes down to timing.

The best time of day to email, depending on your audience, is mostly the same across the board.

If you have an audiences of Nurses who work night shifts, then the optimal email time might change. But according to GetResponse, generally, the best time to email your list is on the weekend at around 6 a.m.


email open rate by day email open rate by hour


This makes sense because most people are less busy on the weekends and pay more attention to their email. Send when people are most likely to open your emails or you’re doing yourself and your subscribers a disservice.


10. Optimize for mobile.

Most email marketing services and templates come with built in responsivity.

But if yours doesn’t, you’re making a huge mistake. 66% of all emails are opened on smartphones or tablets, meaning that if your email campaigns aren’t mobile responsive, your poor list of subscribers is receiving stuff that looks like this.


email open rate on mobile


Nothing turns off subscribers like lazy email campaigns. And sadly, that’s exactly how an email like the above example feels.

A few points to keep in mind:

  • Use small file sizes. Everything runs slower on mobile and a slow load time is sure to get an immediate bounce.
  • Resize images to make sure everything fits in the mobile screen.
  • Make CTA’s a little bigger than they used to be. Small CTA’s are harder to click on phones.
  • Make sure to use mobile responsive email templates.

Mobile responsive emails are a must for anyone who’s serious about their email campaigns.


11. Use a real person’s name in the “from” field.

I thought I’d finish with an easy one.

Instead of using your business name in the “from” field, use the name of an actual person. Maybe it’s you. Maybe it’s your customer support person. Whatever the case, use a real person’s name.

67% of subscribers open an email simply because of who the email is from.

Using a real person’s name creates the sense that you’re not a robot, but you’re a human being with wants, desires, and personality. Often times, it’s that personality that people connect with. And once they do, they’ll keep opening your emails simply because they like you.

Tell them who you are in the “from” field and they’re more likely to open your emails.


Test Everything…

I could give you hundreds of tips and best practices that promise to increase your email open rate. And while many of them are good, you know your list better than anyone.

The best thing you can do is test everything. Play around with different subject lines and pre-headers and see what gets the best results.

At the end of the day, people aren’t opening an email. They’re opening a conversation. A conversation that starts with you and ends with them.

And no one knows better how to start that conversation than you.

So get started.

increase email open rate

The post 11 Ways to Increase Your Email Open Rate appeared first on GetResponse Blog – Online Marketing Tips.

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Poll: How Would You Improve Your Home With $17,850?

Ceiling fan or chandelier? New front door or smart alarm system? New kitchen appliances or new cabinets? Home improvements mean flexing your decision-making skills.

And those decisions add up. The typical U.S. homeowner can spend up to $3,021 per year on home improvement projects, such as landscaping, cleaning and maintenance, according to a Zillow analysis of the costs associated with homeownership.

Take this helpful quiz to sort out your top improvement priorities for every room in your home. Then make this your to-do list and budget starting point. (The costs below are estimated, but if you made them all, you’d spend about $17,850.)

Which quick $25 exterior pick-me-up would you choose?

A new welcome mat

Colorful annuals to plant by your front door
















How would you refresh your living room for $50?

Updated wall art

New throw pillows
















Which $75 kitchen update would you pick?

Replace kitchen cabinet hardware

Install a hanging pot rack
















Hanging pot rack photo from Zillow listing.

For $100, which improvement would make your bedroom dreamier?

Light-blocking curtains

A new bedside lamp















Which $150 bathroom makeover would you choose?

Replace the sink

Install new vanity lights















Pick the $200 bedroom update that would make you most excited for bedtime.

New bed linens

A new nightstand















If you had $250 to spend, would you get fancy or play it cool?

Fancy! Add a bedroom chandelier

Cool! Install a ceiling fan















Which $500 improvement would you pick for your home?

Replace the entry door

Install a home security system















Which update would have the biggest impact in your home for $1,500?

Refinish the hardwood floor

Retile the bathroom floor















With a $5,000 budget, how would you choose to treat yourself?

Build a shady pergola

Buy a hot tub












Hot tub photo from Zillow listing

Which $10,000 kitchen upgrade would pay off most for you?

Buy all new appliances

Replace the cabinets and countertops













New appliances photo from Zillow listing.

Get more home design inspiration on Zillow Digs.


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Buzzworthy space rocks: Asteroid hunters prep for near miss

A 65-foot-wide asteroid is set to zip past Earth on Thursday. It won’t hit us, but its proximity underscores the significance of the work Earth’s planetary defenders do every day to scan the skies for approaching space rocks.

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8 Questions You Should Be Asking About Your Email Subscribers

I stopped in a small, local antique shop the other day when the owner held out a spiral bound notebook and asked if I’d like to write down my name and email address so I could be notified of a coming sale. How many “forms” like this one had I filled out online in the past month, let alone year, to get news, secure a discount, or learn more about a product? Yet this simple gesture stopped me in my tracks because it was so rare — a face-to-face interaction between an email marketer and a subscriber.

Marketing automation software has changed the game and worked wonders on our ability to stay in touch with a global customer base on ways that are more timely, consistent, and engaging than ever before.

Yet it’s also made it easy for us to start thinking of our subscribers more as data merge fields than as real people.


Email marketing has changed the conversation

When we have a B2C encounter face-to-face, it’s simple to get a conversation going. Before I was handed that notebook, the owner had also asked me how I’d heard about the store, if I’d been there before, and what I was looking for. It was easy and pleasant to answer her questions as I browsed.

But email is different. While few people would straight up ignore questions being asked of them in person, try sending customers a survey with same inquiries and you might expect anywhere between a 5 – 15 percent response rate — not exactly a great representation of your group.

Furthermore, consciously or not, people have a tendency to lie on surveys. Reacting to false that feedback could send marketers down an entirely wrong path.


Data bridges the gap

But beyond speed and scope, email automation has another advantage over in-person interactions — data. Data tells the story that people can’t or won’t tell themselves. It tells us who our subscribers are, what they need, and how we can serve them. However before you can get those answers, you have to ask the right questions. Here are eight questions you should be asking about your email subscribers and answering with data.


1. What are their names?

It’s much easier to get someone to fill out a single email field than it is to ask for more information. Yet it’s worthwhile to test asking for at least a first name at sign-up. Personalized emails draw the eye and deliver six-times higher transaction rates.


2. Do they know what they signed up for?

It can be tempting to use a contest or other workaround to gather subscribers. But more than likely, you’ll see massive disengagement once you start to send emails. Worse yet, if your subscribers don’t understand what they signed up for, they may flag you as spam hurting your campaigns overall. No matter how you sign up subscribers, send an auto-responder immediately afterwards. This gives unwitting sign-ups the chance to opt out and begins to build a strong relationship with people who want to be there.


3. Where did they find me?

Speaking of getting subscribers onto your list, it’s critical that you understand the path your subscribers took to get to you — and not just the page of your site they signed up on. How did they get to that page? Was it an organic search, a referral link, social media? And what pages did they click on before signing up? Following your users’ paths will help you answer the next question …


4. What is their problem?

Most consumers don’t come to product site looking to make a purchase, they come looking for a solution. The distinction is important because the former assumes that consumers want what you’re selling while the latter defines that they still need to be convinced. Mapping your subscribers’ journey to your sign-up page as well as closely monitoring their engagement behaviors will help you understand what challenges they have so you can convince them your product or service is the solution.


5. Where are they reading your email?

By the end of next year, 81 percent of email users are expected to access their accounts on mobile. These numbers can vary based on who your audience is and when they are opening your emails so it’s important to check your data, optimize for all screens, and test for a variety of devices before sending.


6. When are they reading your email?

You can do a Google search turning up any number of data points about the best days and times to send email. But the truth is, the best time to send email is when your subscribers are reading it. If your subscribers tend to be in the same industry or geographic area, there may be times that are uniquely suited to their needs.

Teachers, for example, may check email very early in the morning before students arrive then not again until later in the day. Office workers may be bombarded with a full inbox on Mondays, and emails sent on that day can get lost. Testing is key. Think about your audience then test different days and times to see what works.


7. Can they see my email?

If you aren’t asking this question, you might be spending hours designing a beautiful HTML email that few people can see. Check your HTML emails for accessibility by adding alt text to your images and using both button and text links. Mix styles up on occasion — while most subscribers report that they prefer HTML emails, plain text actually gets higher open rates.

Lastly, clean your lists. If a group of subscribers on your list is repeatedly unresponsive, continuing to email them could cause some email providers to start marking your emails as spam for all subscribers. Regularly check who isn’t opening and segment that group off your main list into a special reengagement list.


8. What would they do if I …

This is the most important question you can ask about your email subscribers, and it’s the one that data answers best. Testing — different segments, content, subject lines, frequency, send date, and so on — is the key to any successful long-term email strategy. So don’t be afraid to ask those big what ifs, take a chance, then let the data tell the story.

8 Questions You Should Be Asking About Your Email Subscribers

The post 8 Questions You Should Be Asking About Your Email Subscribers appeared first on GetResponse Blog – Online Marketing Tips.

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5 Reasons We Love This Airstream

This Malibu, CA home combines luxury and solitude in one stunning package: a remodeled Airstream atop a hillside. Here are five reasons we’re booking our ticket ASAP.

Photo by Christian Escario.

Sunsets and starry nights – in seclusion

Perched on a bluff near the Pacific Coast Highway, this retreat is close to the city while feeling like a remote getaway. It’s so private that the owners won’t publicly reveal the address. Wherever it is, it’s high above the ocean, offering expansive views of the Pacific. 

Aluminum out, view in

The owner converted one side of the Airstream into a giant ocean vista using three frameless glass panels. A large, private deck is right outside the panels, acting as an outdoor living room. It’s the perfect spot to curl up with a cup of coffee as you take in the sunrise, or sip a glass of wine as the sun sets.

Photo courtesy of Tastemade.
Photo by Christian Escario.

Off-the-grid euphoria

This sanctuary might be located just outside the second largest city in the United States, but don’t let that fool you – it’s an off-the-grid escape. There’s no cell service or WiFi, making it possible to truly disconnect. 

Photo courtesy of Tastemade.

Nestled in nature

Killer hikes? Check. Brushing your teeth with an ocean breeze? Double check. There’s an open-air bathroom with two sinks and a shower – you know, so you can freshen up while breathing in that salty ocean air. 

Photo courtesy of Tastemade.

Superstar sighting

Don’t be afraid to make this “Blank Space” yours; Taylor Swift certainly wasn’t. The megastar used the Airstream as the setting for a Vogue cover shoot. Feel free to write your own “Love Story” high atop the California coastline knowing T-Swizzle rocked out in that very same spot.

Gallery above and top photo by Christian Escario.



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Martin Truex Jr.’s win at Charlotte impressed. You should’ve seen it from pit road.

Before fans hopped over the wall and ran down pit road, before there were champagne showers in Victory Lane, before the hugging and the high-fives and congratulatory text messages were … Click to Continue »

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