Jun 242012

I recently stumbled across a blog written by Sam Parker. In it, he gave some terrific tips for speaking “no ego:”

  • Be humble. Understand you are a (small) part of the world. Service and patience should be your
top priorities.
  • Be teachable. Focus on what you can learn, rather than showing what you know. Remember that almost everything you know began with the work of someone else.
  • Listen more. Make every effort to truly understand what others are saying (beyond just words). It makes for better connections. Allow a small gap of silence before responding. Ask questions (and listen, again).
  • Appreciate people. Enjoy others’ contributions. Don’t squelch ideas or defend territory. Encourage people more.
  • Relax. Let go of the need to be right or win every time.



Jun 222012

Wednesday was the summer solstice. It was the longest day of the year and the official beginning of summer. Let’s celebrate with a truly classic summertime drink. A first cousin to the Sea Breeze and Cape Codder, the Madras is cool and refreshing. Here’s what you’ll need.

One ounce of orange juice

Four ounces of cranberry juice

One and a half ounces of vodka


Mix the orange and cranberry juices with vodka in a highball glass with ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.



Jun 192012

My new Facebook friend Corey McIntosh has been mad about design since he was child. His firm McIntosh Interiors was founded in 1998 and specializes in residential and light commercial design. Here’s what has caught Corey’s eye this month:

“I’ve always loved Dex Studios (http://www.dexindustries.com) for all things concrete. I can always count on Dex for great looking countertops, vessel sinks, pedestal sinks, troughs–even furniture. But Dex Studios has recently outdone themselves with the introduction of a new collection of wall tile called, “Dimensions.” Dimensions are ten multi-dimensional wall tiles, made of concrete. Aren’t they cool?”

Visit Corey at http://www.McIntoshInteriors.com.


Jun 152012

The Aztecs made a fermented beverage from the agave plan that they called Octli, but it wasn’t until the sixteenth century that tequila was officially established. Today, there are more than one hundred distilleries making over nine hundred brands of tequila.

Some tequilas are better than others. Choose a high quality one; it’s worth it (especially the next morning). I like Patron.

A great tequila is good straight up or mixed. One of my favorite mixed drinks using tequila is a Silver Dog. Why not try one this weekend?

You’ll need one and half ounces of silver tequila and three ounces of grapefruit juice (fresh squeezed is best, of course). Mix in a highball glass with ice and garish with wedge. I like a salted rim.





Jun 102012

Chadwick and I worked together at Fleishman-Hillard when I was in public relations some moons ago. He now owns a brand communications consulting firm, working with some of America’s top chefs, journalists, and food influencers. Chadwick is my go-to person when it comes to food and wine. Here’s what’s on Chadwick’s mind these days:

“The near-summer weather is perfect right now for al fresco dining. Here’s an entertaining trick for casual dinner parties that’s sure to impress, yet literally takes minutes:  grilling avocados. The best part… the avocados don’t have to be soft and ripe! Simply cut the avocados in half, length-wise. Remove the pits. Lightly toss in golden olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill on medium-high heat, skin-side down for 4-5 minutes, or until the avocados start to bubble along the edge of the skins. They should be slightly brown and soft. Place them on a platter, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt for crunch. Spoon your favorite salsa on top. Serve immediately. I like to serve with “Food Should Taste Good Multi-Grain Chips” – their nutty taste works well with the smoky avocado flavor.”

You can visit Chadwick at https://www.facebook.com/chadwickboyd and @chadwickboyd on Twitter.



Jun 082012

About five times a year, I’m in Athens, Georgia teaching, and when I am there one of my favorite places to eat is the East-West Bistro. Not only is the food great, they have one of the best martinis in town. This week, another drink caught my eye—The Dixon. I’m going to try it this weekend. Do you want to join me?

Where a Mimosa is made with champagne and fresh-squeezed orange juice, The Dixon is made with champagne, fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, and a sprig of rosemary. Doesn’t that sound refreshing?

Perhaps we’ve found the perfect cocktail for an elegant brunch.





Jun 052012

Besides being one of my best friends, Roy Otwell is the founder and co-proprietor of the ultra-hip home store Switch Modern (switchmodern.com). He’s a dedicated student of popular culture, cool trends, and good style.

I always turn to Roy for fashion advice. Roy likes to say, “Fashion is about trends but style involves authenticity and a point of view.”  Here’s what’s on Roy’s mind this month:

“New Yorkers seem to love rainy days. Look on the street, and you’ll see hoards of men and women sloshing by in Wellies, Tretorns, and other rain boots in a rainbow of colors—even camo.  Interestingly, you won’t see many traditional trench coats. Instead, men are favoring casual, lightweight, often-hooded, mid-length raincoats. Some have slits in the back and uneven hems, others are oilcloth, and some are PVC. The new look seems right for these more casual times.”


Jun 012012

Growing up one of my favorite restaurants was Trader Vic, a Tiki-inspired restaurant known for some pretty wild cocktails. Its owner was Victor Bergeron, and one of “Vic’s” favorite cocktails was the Fog Cutter. Vic Bergeron once said, “Fog Cutter, hell. After two of these, you won’t even see the stuff.

The Fog Cutter is made with Orgeat syrup, a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar, and rose water. It has a pronounced almond taste and is used to flavor many cocktails including the Mai Tai. You can find it at some specialty stores and liquor stores, or there are several recipes online.

In addition to a third ounce of Orgeat syrup, you’ll need:

One and a fourth ounces of light rum

A half ounce of gin

A half ounce of brandy

One and a half ounces of lemon juice

One ounce of orange juice

One teaspoon of sweet sherry

Combine all ingredients except the sherry in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake, and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with sweet sherry.

Don’t forget, Vic promises after two of these you won’t be able to see the fog.

A special shout-out of Brian D. Murphy’s See, Mix, Drink: A Refreshingly Simple Guide to Crafting the World’s Most Popular Cocktails.


May 282012

Cheri Britton is one of my bestest friends, and she’s also one of the most talented and funny motivational speakers, authors, and coaches I know. Cheri inspires people and organizations to break out of the old mindsets that hold them back by showing them how to lower the bar to raise their game, find the funny in the frustrating, and kick their  “big ol’ butts” to the curb.  Here’s what is on Cheri’s mind this month:

“Who and what is making you crazy?  Is your co-worker not pulling their weight? Is your partner’s mess making you want to bolt for the door? Does your friend’s whining have you reaching for some wine of your own? Well guess what? If you can spot it, then you got it. Chances are you are doing some of the same behaviors that are driving you bat-shit nutty? So, find some compassion and start working on yourself.”

Find out more about Cheri at http://www.CheriBritton.com.


May 252012

Let’s celebrate this Memorial Day Weekend with an Americano. An Americano is made from one of my favorite aperitifs Campari. A bitters characterized by its dark red color, Campari is an infusion of herbs and fruit in alcohol and water.

Campari was created in 1860 by Gaspare Campari in Novara, Italy. In 1904, Campari’s first production plant was opened in Sesto San Giovanni, near Milan. Under the direction of Davide Campari, Gaspare’s son, the company began to export the beverage, first to Nice in the heart of the French Riviera, then overseas. The Campari brand is now distributed in over one hundred and ninety countries.

Here’s what you’ll need to make an Americano:

One ounce of Campari

One ounce of sweet vermouth

Three ounces of club soda

Fill a highball glass with ice, add Campari, sweet vermouth, and club soda, and stir.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!