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

Kindness

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. http://www.powells.com/biblio/17-9781585425884-1.

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.