Thursday, December 3, 2009

Go forth and be productive!

Its been almost two months since I posted to my blog. Time flies when you are a contract PM/Producer. Multi-tasking between two agencies has its perks and quirks! The perks, my bank account is growing again, meeting more amazing people, honing my PM skills. Quirks - traveling through life with two computers, four email address, feeding parking meters, having a Timbuktu traveling office and honing my chameleon tendencies.

The last two months has been an exercise in precise organization. I have lots of balls in the air. I keep thinking there must be some system that can help me stay organized and keep my multiple agencies, multiple clients, multiple projects organized. But no, I keep coming back to my notebook. I like to refer to it as my brain. I carry a spiral notebook and pencil with me everywhere I go. I write EVERYTHING down: my to do lists (with drawn little boxes so I can get the endorphin rush from checking them off), conversation notes, meeting minutes, questions, hour tracking, addresses, budgets, phone numbers, etc. Everything that comes into my brain goes into my book. I truly believe if I had only one tool to put in my PM tool kit it would be that book.

Let me leave you with a quote from Emerson that I think should become the PM/Producer mantra.

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Now I say, go forth and be productive!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cupcakes for sale!

This is the display of the cupcakes I made for my pal Shyama Helin's art show. You too can have delicious chocolate or carrot cake cupcakes for your next event in Portland.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Quick and Easy Bean Soup

On the menu this week!

I have a very fond memory of the first time I had this delicious soup. I was on a business trip to the mountains of Southern California with my pal Wanda. We were able to fly in the evening before to squeeze a quick visit with my mom. She picked us up from the airport and when we got to her house she whipped up this delicious soup. The melty parm and the crusty bread dipped into the soup, oh so good!

3/4 lb mild Italian sausage
1 small onion (chopped)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 14 oz can black beans (strained)
1 15 oz can butter beans (strained)
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 can low sodium beef broth
1 small can tomato sauce
1 small can water
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano

Saute first three ingredients until sausage is browned and done. Drain grease. In soup pot mix all ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with hot crusty bread and sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Setting Expectations

Setting expectations is the best way to get what you want. Ok its not a surefire solution, but it sure does help. You know how sometimes you get your hopes up for something. Then that something isn’t really all it was cracked up to be. Next time you find yourself doing that, make sure to set some expectations around what you are hoping for. And then, you may have to readjust your expectations a few times in order to avoid the disappointment and get what you want.

Expectation setting is a really good daily practice. I try to spend a few minutes each day doing that. I have found that days when I don’t are the ones that tend to be the most disappointing. OK, enough said about that. Flip it. Focus on what you want to get out of the day. Done and done.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Seven Habits - Practice makes perfect

The theories behind Steven Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People are fairly basic.

We all follow some of these some of the time. What if you practiced all of these all of the time? And I mean practice. People say it takes a month to form a pattern and three months to make it a habit. I'm challenging myself for the next month to keep these principles close at hand and to practice each and every one of them. Hopefully starting a pattern which will then turn into a habit. You should try it too. You'll be amazed at how much more effective you will be. Put these habits in your wallet, next to your computer, somewhere that you'll see them regularly. Then practice.

If you've not read or listened to this book, I highly recommend it. Here is a link to Powell's where you can find it.

Good luck!

Monday, September 14, 2009


Goals are an interesting thing. There are short-term and long-term goals. Goals you know you will reach and goals you may never reach. One of my new goals is to spend time articulating them. You will find that you hold yourself more accountable when you do that.

I'm very lucky to have started attending a weekly breakfast club with some lovely, smart ladies that have similar long-term goals in mind. The whole point of getting together is to talk about what we want to accomplish and what we have accomplished. Its so empowering. Jodi, Heather, Martha, Jen, there's nothing we can't do if we set our minds to it!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pause for thought - common sense

Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I can't think of a better way to bring people together than with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. This recipe is my Grandma's, she always made the flat, yet super chewy type of cookies. I hope you enjoy baking them as much as I do. Here's the recipe:

1 cup butter
1 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp water
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix butter, brown sugar and sugar together. Add vanilla, water and eggs, mix thoroughly. Slowly add baking soda, flour and salt. Fold in chocolate chips. Bake at 375 degrees for 9 to 11 minutes.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Pause for thought - Establish trust.

It is difficult and rarely appropriate to try to persuade another person to do what we want; instead we must understand what the other person wants, and then try to help them achieve it, which often includes helping them see the way to do it.

We must work with people collaboratively, to enable them to see what they want, then help them to see the ways to achieve it.

The act of doing this establishes trust.

I got this from a great article on empathy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Evolving Conversations

I met a fantastic group of people last night. The gang of smart, creative people are putting together a "Convergence" at the end of October. Its a gathering of conversations that are intended to help with the evolution of communication. Check out their website for a more detailed description.

This is of great interest to me as the whole premise of Peach Cheesecake is to bring people together with food. And the backbone of that togetherness is communication. The whole point to help people communicate better and work together better. I'm hoping through this gathering I'll learn some new ways to communicate and in the mix, perhaps teach others a little about communication as well.

Look for more posts on how Peach Cheesecake and The New Communicators go together.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Promotions, smomotions

Peach Cheesecake and I have been featured in an HP article written by my brilliant friend Amy Veltman: Look Good in a Professional Portrait. Amy approached me because it was a good way to get a little PR for Peach Cheesecake. Any PR is good PR right? We had fun doing this piece. Needless to say, I felt awkward, but Amy did a good job easing the tension. And I think we got a good shot out of it. You can check out the article here: Look Good in a Professional Portrait

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


In today's business climate, in my opinion, the most important characteristic to have is kindness. If you act with kindness the rest will follow. Don't get me wrong, being kind does not mean getting run over. You can still stand up for yourself, and if you do it kindly it will serve everyone.

When working with your team and you establish kindness as part of your core approach it will trickle down to the rest of your team. They will mirror you and it will open up the atmosphere to allow amazing work to happen.

In my life I approach each day with joy and kindness. I read a great book, The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life.

I highly recommend you read this book if you find yourself needing to work in a team environment.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pause for thought

When others ruffle our feathers, we always have a choice. We can meet them on the dueling field, where one will clearly win and the other will lose, or we can meet them halfway. Even armed with only words, we can seek to hurt or we can seek a solution.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Yesterday I made a batch of carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. The first time I made these my 17-year-0ld son looked at the batter and said, "what in the heck is that?" Once they were baked and frosted he changed his tune. They are now his very favorite. I was turned onto this recipe by my good friend Heather. She found them from The Barefoot Contessa. Here's the recipe, enjoy!

2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 extra-large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 cups grated carrots (less than 1 pound)
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
For the frosting:
3/4 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 lb unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 lb confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350ยบ. Beat the sugar, oil, and vanilla together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs, 1 at a time. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Add the grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts to the remaining flour, mix well, and add to the batter. Mix until just combined.

Line muffin pans with paper liners. Scoop the batter into 22 muffin cups until each is 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and cook for a further 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

For the frosting, cream the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar and beat until smooth.

When the cupcakes are cool, frost them generously and serve.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Keeping it light: Using humor and a positive attitude in your daily work

Lighten up!
We don’t have time for humor, yeah right. Have fun.
•Write “Lighten Up” on your calendar for the next 30 days.
•Write things down that you see that are funny, you may never know when you may want to pull them out of your quiver.

Find your style
•Humor is not just telling jokes; it’s an attitude, a flair, a style.
•What makes you funny?
•Find a style that fits you.
•Find material that fits your style.
•Ask friends and family what you do that makes you funny.

Start a humor file
•The hardest time to find something funny is when you need it.
•Create an actual file folder with print outs of jokes or funny stories.
•Laughter depends on surprise
•Don’t tell people a joke is coming, tell it like it actually happened.
•Just tell it.
•It has to have a ring of truth.

Telling people personal stories is a great way to make people laugh
•Think of five things that have happened to you and write them down, add them to your humor file.
•Write it down as you’d like to tell it, then edit.
•Brevity is the sole of humor.
•Embellish it.
•Practice it.
•Never let the truth get in the way of a good funny story.

Select good targets
•The safest target is you! If you can poke fun at yourself, people see you don’t take yourself too seriously.
•Other targets
•Superiority targets – people like to laugh at the boss.
•Inferiority targets – friendly rivalries are fun.
•Conflict targets – people that make your lives uncomfortable at times: spouses, neighbors, co-workers, in-laws, etc.
•It’s all about the right ammunition, aimed at the right time, aimed at the right person.
•Use common sense.
•If profanity is required, don’t use it.

Be different
•Predictability is boring.
•Organization is the death of fun. Yikes does that make each of us not fun?

Be positive
•A positive attitude and good humor go hand in hand.
•Optimism and pessimism are contagious.
•Set a good example. Be positive even when you don’t feel like it. Fake it if you have to.
•Be cheerful
•Have fun

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pause for Thought

"We should not only use all the brains we have, but all that we can borrow"
–Woodrow Wilson

Monday, August 3, 2009

Welcome to Peach Cheesecake

In my life I have truly found my joy in the kitchen. It’s the gift my Mom has given me. I believe that is where she manifests herself in my life. I’ve always loved to cook, but since we lost her to breast cancer a few years ago there now seems to be a greater purpose for me while I’m doing it. I can remember how Mom was in the kitchen, so happy, humming and buzzing around. She got great pleasure seeing her friends and family enjoy one of her well-cooked meals, appetizers and oh yes, her famous Peach Cheesecake. Her love for cooking has found its way to me and now I bring people together with food through Peach Cheesecake.

Bringing together two of our most elemental needs—food and communication—Peach Cheesecake believes that a good experience with both can only make us happier, better and more productive people–a delicious twist on organizational development.

I hope to in this blog bring tips and tricks for better communication, project management, team building and of course some yummy recipes.