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The best SD Instagram accounts to follow + hashtag vocab

August 9, 2016

“Nowadays, social media is the easiest place to go to find something.” -David Nail

Instagram isn’t just the place to post the perfect selfie: it’s an excellent tool for finding out what’s going on in your community! Check out these awesome Instagram accounts based in San Diego and enjoy the travel tips, restaurant recommendations, and (of course) the beautiful San Diego sunset photos that every SD IG account must have.

The best SD Instagram accounts to follow



Why we love this IG account:

Sandiego_ca does an excellent job of showing photos from San Diego’s many beautiful regions. Sunset and beach photos are of course included, but they’re alongside photos of beautiful natural scenery, baseball games, local events, and local culture (such as the craft beer trend in SD). When you browse this account, you get an excellent feel for the lifestyle and culture of sunny San Diego.




But, of course, you get a few of these gorgeous shots as well!


Why we love this IG account:

Professional photographer and surfer Ronald Hons captures beautiful images of what makes San Diego special: the Pacific Ocean and Southern California’s surfer culture. His photos inside waves will take your breath away!





Why we love this IG account:

Want to know what’s happening in San Diego? Visitsandiego‘s IG account is where you need to go! Find out about upcoming events, the most beautiful locations to visit, and the coolest things to do (and, of course, enjoy a sunset photo or two!).




Why we love this account:

San Diego’s Little Italy has been voted the best Little Italy in the U.S., and it’s no wonder why: this beautiful neighborhood’s restaurants, incredible architecture, and plethora of events and festivals will make you never want to leave!



Did we mention there are puppies? There is even a “Dogs of Little Italy” calendar published each year!


Check out the Little Italy Farmer’s Market, held each Saturday!


Why we love this IG account:

There are plenty of food accounts based in San Diego, but this relatively new account does an excellent job of showcasing food items we don’t normally see in SD. This account is a great resource when you’re trying to plan your next meal in San Diego!


Plus, of course, it has plenty of taco photos.

Popular Hashtag Vocabulary

The following hashtags are some of the most popular in the Instagram community. Do you know what they mean?


IGERS means “Instagram users.” It’s often combined with the location of the users, such as #igersd or #igerscalifornia. Should we begin an #igersCISL hashtag?


Adding the word “insta” to other words is common in the world of hashtags. The #instagood can be applied to practically anything that is positive, so it’s no wonder that it’s so popular!


The same applies for #instamood: whether we are in a good mood, a bad mood, or any other mood in between, we can use this hashtag. What’s your #instamood today?


If it’s not cool, it’s probably not on Instagram! Therefore, this hashtag is incredibly popular. What’s #instacool to you in San Diego?


Are you a part of the #IGERS community? Find us on Instagram and join ours! #CISLSanDiego #CISLSanFrancisco

California Life Dining Featured Learning Materials Suggested student activities Vocabulary Word of the Day

Must-try SD foods + Food-related idioms

June 7, 2016

American is not just burgers: every CISL student knows this (although every CISL student knows where to get the best burger, too)! But aside from burgers, what should you eat when you’re studying English at CISL in San Diego? We have a list of student favorites. How many of these have you tried? And how many of the corresponding idioms do you know?


Fish tacos

“Fish what?” The first time most people hear about fish tacos, they sound confused. But one bite, and you’ll know why this is a staple of San Diegan cuisine. The soft tacos are wrapped around grilled or fried fish and then topped with cabbage, onions, tomatoes/salsa, spicy sauce, and “white sauce.” Garnish with some lime or lemon and enjoy. And trust us: you WILL enjoy! Click here for our lesson on fish tacos.

Related idiom: “Let’s blow this taco stand”

Meaning: Let’s leave.


Breakfast burritos

Eggs, sausage or bacon, cheese, and potatoes come together to make the most delicious breakfast. In fact, it’s so good that Californians often have “breakfast for dinner.” Click here to learn more about the burrito culture in SD and SF.

Related idiom: “Breakfast of champions”

Meaning: An ironic expression, and a way of joking when eating something unhealthy (especially when the unhealthy food is eaten early in the day). The expression is from an advertisement for Wheaties, a healthy cereal that features famous athletes.


REAL pancakes

Americans know how to do pancakes right. Fluffy, warm, covered in butter, topped with syrup . . . it’s a weekend tradition you will fall in love with! Try some of the seasonal recipes, like pancakes with raspberries, or pancakes with pumpkin and walnuts. Click here for more on American brunch.

Related idiom: “Flat as a pancake”

Meaning: very flat.

In N Out double double

In ‘N Out

The only fast food you’ll ever need is In ‘N Out: the classic burger joint that everyone loves. The In N’Out corporation is worth billions of dollars, but it’s still family owned and has slowly expanded over the last few decades. Why such slow expansion? Nothing at In ‘N Out is ever frozen, so transportation of ingredients from the processing area to the restaurants must be quick! The result is deliciously fresh, classic burgers with crispy lettuce, melted cheese, and ripe tomatoes. Make sure to order a milkshake as well! The menu has never changed, and neither has the public’s love for In ‘N Out. Click here to read more about this restaurant and learn some California slang.

Related Idiom: Flipping burgers

Meaning: To do work that does not pay well.



It’s all about Phil’s! San Diegans love Phil’s, which is a BBQ staple of the area. The ribs, the steaks, the fries . . . dish delish! Click here to read about Southern food and Southern slang.

Related idiom: To grill someone about something

Meaning: To ask someone difficult questions repeatedly; to interrogate with intensity.


Business English CISL San Diego CISL San Francisco Featured Learning Materials Word of the Day

Business English: Phrasal Verbs for Meetings

January 17, 2016

Phrasal verbs: they’re everywhere! These pesky verb + participle combinations find their way into everything . . . even business correspondence. Prepare yourself for the business world with these phrasal verbs that are commonly used before, during, and after meetings.


Business English Phrasal Verbs for Meetings

Note: some of these phrasal verbs have several meanings. This article focuses only on their use in relation to the business world: for more definitions, consult Cambridge Dictionary online. All definitions come from this source. If the phrasal verbs can be separated, then the example sentences demonstrate so.

Before the meeting

The following phrasal verbs can be used in office or business correspondence before the meeting.

set up

Definition:  to prepare or arrange for use (in this context, to schedule a meeting)

  • Example: I am trying to set up a meeting with the company’s CEO next week.
  • Example: I’ve asked my secretary to set a conference call up for this Thursday. 

put off

Definition: to decide to arrange or delay an event or activity until a later time or date

  • Example: We will have to put the meeting off until next week since our accountant is sick. 
  • Example: I can’t put this report off any longer. It’s due today. 

look up

Definition: to check a fact or get information about something

  • Example: Before we meet, I need to look up this month’s financial reports.
  • Example: I looked all the emails up, and I still can’t find the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting.

look forward to (+ing)

Definition: to feel pleased and excited about something that is going to happen; (formally) used at the end of a letter to say that you hope to hear from or see someone soon, or that you expect something from them (like an email reply)

  • Example: I look forward to discussing this further in our next meeting. 
  • Example: I’m not looking forward to this meeting. I think the boss is quite upset after seeing last month’s financial report.  
Interview Business English

“I look forward to meeting with you again next quarter.”


During the meeting:

While you are in the meeting, these phrasal verbs might be used.

write down

Definition: to record information on paper

  • Example: I’ve asked my assistant to write the meeting’s notes down while we discuss what’s on the agenda. 
  • Example: Did you write what the President said down? I don’t remember the exact numbers he quoted. 

jot down

Definition: similar to WRITE DOWN, but JOT DOWN means to write it quickly.

  • Example: I jotted down some of the figures she mentioned during her presentation. 
  • Example: I saw her jot some notes down while he was speaking: I wonder what she wrote.

pull up (information)

Definition: to get information, especially on a computer screen

  • Example: I’ve brought my computer to the meeting so I can pull any information up that you might need.
  • Example: They disagreed about the quarter’s earnings, so her assistant pulled the numbers up during the meeting.

run out of

Definition: to use all of something so that there is none left

  • Example: We are running out of time so let’s discuss the rest of the agenda items next week. 
  • Example: We cut the meeting short because we ran out of ideas and needed some more time to brainstorm. 
Business English Formal Requests

“I just wanted to follow up our meeting with a phone call.”

After the meeting:

Once the business meeting is finished, use this phrasal verb for communication with those who attended the meeting.

follow up

Definition: to take further action connected to something

  • Example: I followed the meeting up with an email. 
  • Example: We decided to follow this meeting up with another one in two weeks. 


Need some more information? Check out our article on Phrasal Verbs!

Click here to learn more about CISL’s Premier and Business English programs in San Diego and San Francisco.

Photos from Shutterstock. 

Business English Learning Materials Word of the Day

Business English: Expressions about working (and studying!) hard

December 6, 2015

We all work hard, but do you know how to express this in English? The following expressions are incredibly helpful for the ESL classroom and the English-speaking workplace. These are useful expressions to know if you are going to interview in English, but also great to use when talking about how much you study!


Do you give it 110% when you’re in class and studying at home? CISL teachers definitely give it 110% in the classroom!

Expressions for Working Hard

Giving it 110%

You give it more than the expected 100%!

  • Example: I got an excellent score on my CAE Speaking Exam! I’m so happy. I really gave it 110% in my CAE preparation class!

To give it your all/To give it all you’ve got

You don’t hold back: you give it everything you’ve got!

  • Example: If you really want to master phrasal verbs, you have to give it all you’ve got (and read our useful article on Learning Phrasal Verbs!)
San Francisco Running Runner Jogging Jogger

Going the extra mile . . . literally!

Going the extra mile

You will do more than the average person to get the job done. You go the extra mile to make things happen!

  • Example: To make sure that we passed the IELTS Speaking Module, my teacher went the extra mile and gave us many practice tests. It was awesome!

Going above and beyond

Similar to the expression above, you are willing to do what it takes, even if it means more sacrifice and hard work than normally expected!

  • Example: I was supposed to learn one new California slang word, but I went above and beyond and learned Five California Slang Words instead.

To be/to need an extra pair of hands

You are the additional help needed to get the job done. Or, do you need an extra pair of hands to get the job done? We could all use an assistant at some point!

  • Example: The beach cleanup crew needed an extra pair of hands, so I volunteered. It felt great! Now I volunteer all the time!
Volunteer Volunteers Volunteering

Anyone need an extra pair of hands?


Business English CISL Premier CISL San Diego CISL San Francisco Featured Learning Materials Lessons Word of the Day

Business English: Marketing Vocabulary and Expressions

November 15, 2015

From surgeons to CEOs, we have had the pleasure of teaching students from many professional backgrounds in our CISL Intensive, Business, and Premier classes! Today on the CISL Blog we are looking at Marketing Vocabulary, which is something our business, advertising, and sales students need. As you can see, however, you don’t necessarily need to be a part of these industries to use this vocabulary: these words are commonly used when discussing companies. How many of these important words do you know?


English Marketing Vocabulary 

“R & D”

This stands for “Research and Development,” which is the market research that a company does on a product (and the changes it makes to the product, based on this research) before it is introduced to the market.

Brand loyalty

Why do some people always buy one product? Some feel very strongly that Coke is better than Pepsi, or that, for example, Burger King is better than McDonald’s (to be honest, we Californians prefer In N Out!). Brand loyalty is a goal for many companies (and has been achieved by the ones previously mentioned). How many more companies with brand loyalty can you think of?

Brand-name recognition

How well can you identify a company? Do you know its name by seeing just the logo? Companies with brand-name recognition are easily identified, usually by just their logo or slogan.

Buying habits

What products do you buy, and from which stores do you buy them? These are your buying habits. Knowing them helps companies to better understand customers.


Are there stores or brands you prefer while shopping? Does advertising affect your choices?


This is the personal noun for the word COMPETITION. Who is your competition? Identify them, and you have found your competitor.

Consumer panel

A consumer panel is a group of customers recruited to give feedback regarding advertising, products, etc. Most often, the people on the panel are specifically chosen for their background or experience with a product or market, so the results are very specific.


A trademark is a symbol or slogan legally registered to a company.

A win-win strategy

A situation in which either outcome will be beneficial uses a win-win strategy.


For more on Business English and Premier classes at CISL, click here.