Category Archives: Blogs

Business Blogs Help Us to Expand Our Big Picture Overview

496631023_5d8e50a068_zAbout creativity--From Fast Company– “Can Creativity Really be Taught?“:

But what’s all this hoopla about creativity about? Can it really be learned? Gerard Puccio, chairman of the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College seems to think so. “You are seeing more attention to creativity at universities,” according to Puccio. “The marketplace is demanding it.”

A partner at the publishing company FourSight, Puccio has created a four-prong method used by businesses and in classrooms to help promote and demystify the creative process. According to FourSight, individuals each tend to gravitate toward one of four of these steps as their primary mode of thinking. Understanding which one of these four steps you most gravitate toward, according to them, can help you and your team strike a better balance:

1. FIRST, CLARIFY.

This involves identifying the problem or challenge at hand. Knowing what question to ask is key so that you know what problem you’re addressing. “If you don’t have the right frame for the situation, it’s difficult to come up with a breakthrough,” says Puccio

2. BEFORE YOU CREATE, IDEATE.

“Ideating” is just a bit of puffery for what’s essentially brainstorming or throwing ideas out there.

3. BEGIN TO DEVELOP.

When you enter the stage of developing, you’re building out potential solutions. Part of this process may very well involve failing and having to start from square one. Be prepared.

4. IMPLEMENT IT.

Convincing others that your idea is worth its salt is where implementing comes into play.

While creativity itself can’t be taught, proponents of creative studies programs believe they can offer techniques that get you thinking in new and exciting ways.

About branding–From Entrepreneur-”The Pitfalls of Personal Branding” by Steve Tobak:

One of the key tenets of personal branding is to build an identity that stands out and gets noticed. At least, that’s the theory. The problem is that the pursuit of attention can be a slippery slope that ends with your virtual persona doing serious damage to your real reputation.

Here are a few things to keep in mind so you don’t end up making the biggest mistake of your life without even realizing it:

The internet is forever. I just don’t know how else to say this in a way that really gets through to people. If you wouldn’t want it to show up anytime someone Googles your name between now and the end of time, don’t say it, do it, or post it.

Not all PR is good PR. Not only is the age-old rule “any PR is good PR” not true, it’s even less true today than it’s ever been. Don’t believe me? Some day I’ll have to tell you how I once got Bill Gates really POed and nearly destroyed a key relationship with Microsoft.

Keep your dysfunctions where they belong … buried in your subconscious. We all have issues, but some people insist on taking them out and displaying them to everyone wherever they go. Don’t be your own worst enemy.

Promote your genuine talents, not your delusions of grandeur. One of the Vanderpump Rules people gets up on tables and sings every chance she gets. The only problem is she has a terrible voice, at least in my opinion. It’s great to have aspirations, but there are smarter ways to explore your potential than doing it in front of a million viewers.

Try not to be ludicrous. You can proclaim yourself a social media guru (like you’re the only one), the CEO of a one-person company, or an entrepreneur because you once sold a comic book on eBay. It’s annoying, but not career-threatening.

About working from home–From the home page of Workshifting:

  • Work is no longer tied to an office or a cubicle. We are more connected than ever. It’s just as common to work from coffee shops, hotels, airports and home, as it is to work from the office. We are here to provide you with the tools, tricks and tips to effectively work from anywhere.
    Over 80% of employees say they maintain a better work-life balance by telecommuting. We know we do!
    By encouraging workshifting, employers can lower real estate, turnover and absenteeism costs, while increasing employee productivity. Employers can reduce their carbon footprint and fuel usage, saving employees thousands of dollars every year in commuting costs while attracting the best and the brightest, regardless of where they live.

Tips and Tricks From Some of My Favorite Food Bloggers

3871464899_7670cd7985_zFood blogs are my favorite place to read about how cooking can be made easier. I grew up in a large extended family so have always cooked for an army. But now that I live alone, I have had to learn how to cook on another level. I like this new way better as I don’t have a refrigerator full of half-eaten food. Some tips and tricks for today:

1.  From Chocolate and Zucchini (10 years old): “How to Organize Your Multimedia Recipes” :

Digital: 

  • There’s a slew of free apps that offer variations on the theme of one-stop organization, the best of which have app components so you can use them on laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Pepperplateand Tastebook are both food-centric; as Mar says, “you can download recipes from various food websites and also enter recipes manually.”
  • Evernote doesn’t have a food focus, but Pegeen loves it because, like the others, it’s free and multi-platform — plus she can use it to store scanned handwritten recipes along with her typed online recipes. For those she hasn’t scanned, she still makes a quick Evernote entry with a note on where to find it: “That way, the recipe title shows up alphabetically, and tells me to go look in the paper file.”
  • Multiple members are fans of Eat Your Books, which helps you search through recipes in your own collection — especially helpful if you have a sizable stockpile of cookbooks.

Paper: 

  • LE BEC FIN prints everything out, stores each recipe in clear plastic sleeves, and files them away. In addition to protecting recipes from sauce spatters, the sleeves protect scraps of paper until you have time to type them up. Diana B does something similar, increasing the font size beforehand so her recipes are easier to read when she’s “dancing around the kitchen.”
  • Savorthis uses a similar system, using a huge binder as a recipe catch-all: “While I love what digital can do for so many things in life, I am still much more fond of this food-splattered binder. And when in a real pinch, I don’t often have trouble finding the recipe online.”
  • Whenever Pegeen cooks from an online recipe, she prints it out and “tapes the printed sheets in a row along the front of the kitchen cabinets so I can read continuously without the recipe taking up room on the counter.”

2.  From A Couple  Cooks: “Get Your Snack On”: Some great healthy snack recipes–

Spiced Roasted Chickpeas
by: a Couple Cooks
Makes: About 4 cups
What You Need
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
What To Do
  1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. Rinse and drain the chickpeas. Place them on a towel and pat gently to dry. Remove any loose skins. (If desired, you can remove skins from most of the chickpeas, but we tried both ways and didn’t find a large difference in the final product.)
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together chickpeas with 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1½ teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika, and ¾ teaspoon kosher salt.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour on chickpeas and spread them out so that they are in a single layer. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until crispy and dry, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool. Store in a sealable container in a dry cupboard; keeps for about 1 week.
Notes
Adapted from My Recipes
Another recipe for healthy snack:
Honey Sesame Almonds
by: a Couple Cooks
Makes: 2 cups
What You Need
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cups roasted almonds (unsalted)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Scant ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
What To Do
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Place 2 tablespoons honey in a small, microwave-safe bowl or pitcher and microwave for 15 seconds.
  3. In a bowl, mix the honey with the remainder of the ingredients.
  4. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the mixture on the baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Allow to cool fully, then break apart almonds gently.

3.  From Inspired Taste: “Classic Banana Bread Recipe”:

Classic Banana Bread Recipe
Prep time
15 minutes
Cook time
1 hour
Total time
1 hour 15 minutes
For the best, most flavorful bread, the bananas need to be ripe — overripe, brown and speckled is even better. Nuts are completely optional for this. We love the bread both ways, but do enjoy the extra crunch from a handful of walnuts or pecans.A note on pan size: We use a 8 1/2- by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan; if you only have a 9- by 5-inch pan, start checking for doneness 5 to 10 minutes earlier.

Yield: 1 loaf, 8 slices
You Will Need
  • 1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour (we use Gold Medal)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 medium bananas (heavily speckled or even black bananas are best)
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams or 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped, optional
Directions
  1. Center a rack in the oven and heat to 350º F. Butter and flour an 8 1/2- x 4 1/2- x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Place the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked on top of the other.
  2. Make Batter: Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together, set aside.
  3. In the bottom of a medium bowl, mash bananas into a chunky paste. Whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla into the bananas until blended.

Photo credit.

Al-Anon Blogs Teach Us How to Love Ourselves While Living With Addicts

684051821_7984be5598_zEach of us has to find the necessary tools for dealing with those we love who choose not to find recovery. It is a choice and one that only about 5% of those of us in addiction choose. How do we continue to grow in our own recovery when the old games of manipulation by us and others can no longer be used. These bloggers offer some clues:

1.  From An Addict in Our Son’s Bedroom (5 years old this month): “Detaching FROM Love“:

“Tough love is one of those generic terms that gets thrown around very loosely. First, I HATE the term, I have written about it before. But as soon as you hear tough love everyone has an opinion but one thing it seems everyone agrees within the definition is “throw’em out”.

We tried it, many times in fact. Nearly every time it was done in anger. Which is the worst time to make a decision and set a plan. Throw the little bastard out, “I don’t care if he is cold and is hungry. I just can’t take it any more. If he doesn’t like it then he’ll stop using,” said by a father. I’ll steal a question from Dr. Phil, “How’s that working for you?”

Detach FROM love, if I try not to care then I won’t hurt. Out of sight, out of thought.

Sometimes it is easy to forget, there is a person inside there. Addiction destroys the body and convolutes the mind but there is a person in there with all the needs of any human being. There are basic life survival needs and the same emotional needs as the rest of us. Most of all I believe the need to be loved never goes away. What hope is there for an addict if love is absent, withheld or conditional?

Taking care of yourself is imperative. You must do what it takes to stay healthy in yourself. If that means detaching and your child cannot live in your home that is right. Detach from the drugs and things that go along with addiction, do not detach from your child. Detach WITH love toward that human being that is such a huge part of your life.

If you have read this blog for any time at all you have been exposed to my many analogies. I use them because I am a simple guy and by breaking something down for myself it’s easier for me to understand. Many times I have used the word “path” to describe the life my son was living. “I was on a path and he was on a path and no longer could I walk his path.” There is nothing more true than that statement.

I now picture it like this: The snow is three feet deep. My son is struggling and trudging through. Laboring every step. I am not there to lift his legs or hold him up. I am beside him on my path however I am guiding a huge snow blower in front of me. It is helping to clear my path. My son is only ten feet away but he cannot come to my path if he continues his path. Every day I tell him how welcome he is to join me on my path, I tell him I would love to help ease his struggle. Every step my hand is out with encouragement but I cannot put him on my path. He must grasp my hand AND do the work it takes to make it to my path. We are separated but we still love.”

2.  From Through an Al-Anon Filter: “You Can’t Walk in Sand Without Leaving Footprints“:

“I have two sisters, both older than I. One, M, is two years my senior, the other, G, is four years older. M and I get along well. Although she’s never had experience with program or 12-Step of any kind, with her life experience, she’s evolved into someone who can question her own responses, ponder her own behavior, and be firmly on the side of improved communication.

G reminds me very much of myself before Al-Anon. I offended very easily, I was rigid in my thinking, and I was determined to “win” any conflicts or hassles in which I became involved. My way was not only the correct way, it was the one and only way. I will occasionally cast my mind back to the younger me, and feel empathy for those who had to deal with that prickly, mutinous, sullen and immature woman.

One of Al-Anon’s greatest lessons is that I cannot change another person. No amount of heckling, badgering, whining, manipulating, wheedling or pressure is going to affect a permanent change in the thinking or behavior of any other human on this planet.

I can only change myself.  My only sphere of true influence lies within my own skull. The mind of any other person is only available to me as that person chooses to share themselves. I have no way of knowing whether or not that sharing is conscious, true or honest.

I’ve always loved the music of Tom Petty, and in the chorus of “The Waiting” he sings:

“…The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you get one more yard
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part…”

I cannot have a relationship all my own way, no more than I could walk in sand without leaving my footprints. With my oldest sister, all I can do is do my best. When I feel the need to set a boundary, I make the effort to be as kind as is humanly possible in the way I state my need for respect. After that, I have to wait. I wait for her response, or lack of same. I let her, and her response go, as far as I’m able at that point.

These days, I’m fairly skilled at letting go of what I cannot control. If it’s beyond me, I can see that with clarity, so I try not to let it eat at me. When I’m trying to let go, and can’t manage it, I ask my Higher Power for help. My prayers for assistance seem to have simplified down to one sentence:

“Please help me with this.”

I no longer specify how I  want to be helped, or when, or where. I just ask for the help, and then let that go, too. I’ve grown old enough now to have a wonderfully clarified sense of just how little I know about life and its mysteries. Suffice it that I’ve experienced them, I don’t have a burning need to explain them anymore, not to myself, nor to anyone else.

All I have to offer is my love, my humour, and occasionally, the little bits of wisdom I’ve gained from this marvellous program. That and my gratitude; it overflows this earthly container on an hourly basis. “

Photo credit.