National Fondue Day!!!

For all those fondue lovers out there, listen up!  Sunday April 11th, is the National Fondue Day!! Talk about the most genius day ever!!!

It has always cracked me up with how there seems to be a club, a group, association, or a national day set aside, for anything and everything under the sun.  Lucy from Charlie Brown coined it best when sitting at her psychiatrist booth with Charlie,  “Let’s figure out what you are feeling, so that we can label it.” Isn’t that how we tend to be here in America?

I must concede, however, and admit that this day is one that is truly genius!  Nothing is better than fresh strawberries and chocolate fondue, right?  So in honor of this day, I would like to post two of my favorite fondue recipes.  For those cooking challenged, I’d like to also point out that these are simple and delicious! So, be daring and spontaneous and bake up a fondue storm . . .

Chocolate Caramel Fondue

2 cups baking chocolate (I use a bag of milk chocolate chips)

1/3 cup evaporated milk

2/3 cup caramel sauce

*place all ingredients in ceramic fondue pot, or bowl.  Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave another 30 seconds, stir, continue until chocolate is smooth and completely melted. Pour into fondue pot with fire lite underneath.  Makes 2 cups.

Spinach Artichoke Cheese Fondue

8 ounces cheese, cut into cubes

1 Tablespoon flour

1 (8oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1/3 cup chopped spinach

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

* melt cheese and flour 30 seconds.  Stir. Continue heating until cheese completely melted.  Stir in remaining ingredients and mix well.  Pour into lite fondue pot and enjoy.

Fondue is fabulous!  And we all know we could use a sweet excuse like this to relax, laugh, and enjoy our weekend!  Bon Apetit!

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Leaders set the pace!

Life is good.  It’s been a tough year and a touch winter, but the spring and summer is here!!

In the world of sales, or small businesses we are constantly surrounded by a myriad of people.  Many lately, have nothing but negatively to spew on everyone they come in contact with.  Yes, its been a tough year and a tough winter, but let’s put it into perspective.

I have been listening to the Success Magazine Symposium speakers from last years event.  What some amazing leaders!  I was especially intrigued by some of the stories John Addison told.  He talks about leaders -vs- “ExcuseAholics.”  We need to lead those around us through these tough times.  Things will get better!  He relays a story from a biography about Andrew Jackson.

When Andrew Jackson was President, there was the 1837 Banking Crisis that hit America.  The Louisiana Purchase just went through and there were a lot of people out west speculating in land.  Many deals and flips were taking place.  Well, this caused the banks to go broke.  One newspapers headline was, “The End of Banking in America…”

Well, a lot of great things have happened since then.  Let’s start dreaming, innovating and looking to what we can do and those lives we can change and be the leader in your world and with everyone you come in contact with on a daily basis.  Like The Beautiful Mind say, “Feed your Dreams and Starve your Nightmares!” Learn to Dream again and laugh and inspire.  These are my goals for 2010, what are yours?

So, this video is a toast to a happy, healthier, inspired you!  Enjoy!

American Idol in Denver

So, I’ve never been a huge idol fan, but I must say that the

captured by local realtor Joan Cox

Denver auditions were pretty fun to watch!  And Denver was well represented!  What a city we are lucky enough to live in!  There were many highlights… I particularly loved Shauna Moroney’s recap account of the show the best! (check out her entire article here.) 

As usual there were the typical less talented that the show featured, but they did hand out to 26 lucky contestants a ticket to hollywood.  Stay tuned to see if any of our Coloradoan’s make it to the top 10!

A New Year…A New You!

With all the talk of the new year and making new year’s resolutions,   my thoughts have been swimming through all the typicals: you know them.  Lose weight, Get in Shape, Eliminate your debt, yadda…yadda…yadda.   The web has endless possibilities to consider, to name a few . . . take Goals Guy’s Top Ten: 

1. Lose Weight and Get in Better Physical Shape  ~  2. Stick to a Budget  ~  3. Debt Reduction  ~   4. Enjoy More Quality Time with Family & Friends  ~   5. Find My Soul Mate  ~   6. Quit Smoking  ~   7. Find a Better Job  ~   8. Learn Something New  ~   9. Volunteer and Help Others  ~   10. Get Organized

Nothing new here to consider.  I need something a little more real.  With all my passion and excitement in the world of social media, I then discovered another Top ten List.   Aliza Sherman’s “10 Golden Rules of Social Media,”  now this was getting much warmer!   These tips are awesome!  Here they are in a nutshell. . .  

1. Respect the Spirit of the ‘Net   2. Listen   3. Add Value   4. Respond   5. Do Good Things    6. Share the Wealth   7. Give Kudos   8. Don’t Spam   9. Be Real   10. Collaborate

So, here are my suggestions and my own personal “Top Ten” things to accomplish in 2010:

 1.  To Live Every Day with Passion!  

2.  To have special days with my family.  What this means is Monday – is family night, Tuesday – is game night, Wednesday – is learn to cook night, Thursday – is sports night, Friday – is movie night. 

3.  Discipline!! To Time-block better. Meaning work while I’m at work and turn off my computer and phone when I am at home.  I don’t know if any of you feel the same, but it seems harder and harder in life to set limits and disconnect from technology and work when you should and be home when you should.

4.  To learn or grow one talent.  For me this means to take on a sport, rock climbing, that I have always enjoyed and turn it into a strong passion.  To learn all I can about the sport and practice it until I become an expert.  Every adult needs one thing that is theirs.  We are too inundated with life sometimes that these escapes are critical to our survival.  Women are especially guilty on not doing this; we tend to nurture everyone else and everything in our lives except ourselves.

5. To Vacation or camp in 3 new places.  My girls love nothing better than to go on an adventure in the pop-up camper and spend the weekend motorcycing by day and roasting marshmallows by night.  The simple moments seem to always be the most memorable.

6.  To buy my first Real Estate Investment Property.  I have always wanted to be a true real estate investor.  This is a scary, yet exciting thing to undertake.  I need to finally stop “hoping” for that goal, but to put my dreams into action and start the real journey to actually invest.

7. To Pay off One Big Debt. You always here the cliche goal of “I want to get out of debt”, but my thoughts are be specific.  Take it one thing at a time and slowly this general statement will be come a reality.  Six more months and my Beemer will finally be paid off!! 

8. To Write One Page a week.  I have a dream of writing my first book.  I love teaching and consulting others in social media and would love to be able to write about those experiences.  To be able to share my knowledge with others is one of the most fulfilling parts of my life.  But when I think about writing a book, I easily get overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin.  So, once again, I need to keep it simple and take it one day at a time.

9.   Work out differently.  Working out and staying in shape can become so mundane.  That is why we fall of the wagon so quickly and easily.  Take on a new class at the gym that you have never tried before, like Zamba (is that what its called.)  Or start the cycle class once a week and meet new people.

10. Reconnect with Spiritual things.  Life is so fast-paced and overwhelming at times.  We live in information overload society.  How do we keep up.  I need to establish some habits of prayer and meditation that help me reconnect with God and my purpose in life.  This makes everything else make sense.

These are my goals and dreams for 2010.  I hope they inspire you to seriously think about yours and write them down.  Post them where you can read them everyday, and before you know it your dreams will quickly become a reality.

One of my favorite quote so elegantly sums it up… “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined” (Thoreau)

 

Thanksgiving Traditions?? . . .

         

Thanksgiving is Here!   Another year is nearly gone already.  I haven’t been as diligent as I should in keeping up my blogging activity.  So this week as I wrap up the month, I began to ponder a bit about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday next week.  For many the holiday this year may be stressful, or melancholy, for others full of tradition, family and lots of Turkey!  For me. . . not quite sure yet.  But one thing I am sure of, is that no matter how hard life may seem at times, I know that I have an amazing life and a lot to be thankful for!

The Denver post had a great blog posting regarding this upcoming day…  I can’t think of our family traditions?  It seems to be more of just a classic day that is our tradition, I guess.  It goes something like this…..  I try to sleep in until atleast eight a.m., if I am lucky. Then, the cooking begins, as well as the constant snacking and nibbling all morning too.  Of course, we watch the ‘Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.”   Making pies with my sweet Grandma, setting the table with turkey place settings, and a house full of family.  Then the actual feast commences, with all the immediate family and cousins and friends.  Everyone takes a turn to share what they are thankful for.  Now too full to even walk, I roll onto the couch and resign to watching football with my brothers, fall asleep, wake up to family cards, then do absolutely nothing the rest of the day.  So is this whole day considered a tradition?  Does anyone of this sound familiar?

So the Denver Post forum regarding Thanksgiving traditions really struck a cord this year.   Some of the traditions shared were pretty funny, and some gave me some great ideas to try to inaugurate into my family traditions for the holiday. 

“I am the Queen of Traditions except for Thanksgiving. We usually go for a hike on the Turkey Trot trail and saying something for which we are thankful at the dinner table. Otherwise, our holiday seems to fall a little flat. What Thanksgiving traditions do you have in your family? (posted by ‘crazy canuk.)  We do a turkey bowl every year (as in go bowling).  I have also been wanting to expand our traditions and found this great list on Ezinearticles . . .  (more….) 

I like the “Turkey Bowl” idea as well as idea #8 the best:  “Show your gratitude to an unsung hero. Get together with your family and decide on a person or a group in your community who could use an extra pat on the back, ie. firefighters, soldiers, police officers, volunteers. Put together a special plate of goodies and deliver it (or pack it up for shipping) as a family.”  I think I might just add some of these ideas to my own family traditions this year.     

Happy Thanksgiving to all and thank you for all you do!  And don’t forget to enjoy a little classic Charlie Brown!

Wow! Firestorm . . .

firestorm

I had no idea what a firestorm of controversy and comments I would get from my last post!!  Unfortunately for our industry, slanderous articles and opinion pieces by some of the largest news organizations across the nation continually allow articles like these for their front/top news.  We are constantly having to fight this everyday.  I strongly believe that the more knowledgeable we are and professional in knowing how to combat this exact kind of mentality, the better equipped we will be and in turn the better perceived we will be as well. 

The fact is that I was alarmed by the piece!  When I said “I found a great article,” I was stating that sarcastically.  Realtors are some of the hardest working, selfless people I know!  People absolutely need Real Estate Brokers to help them buy or sell their homes!  This is one of the most complex and emotionally vested transactions most people will ever make in their lives!!  Professional realtors are the people who make it all happen and for dreams to come through for the average American family!  Truly!! 

So, we are a profession that is so undervalued and stomped on.  But if we can have this knowledge, yet not feed into the energy of the negativity, but be consistent and steadfast in advocating professionalism, then maybe, just maybe we can slowly change this perception. I guess this is a great lesson for all of us.  Perception plays such a huge role in our world!  Be cautious and sincere in your quest to help others be better than they were yesterday!  I just recently finished a book that helps keep us moving forward in a positive, steadfast light.  It is called “The Angel Inside,” by Chris Widener, which retells some experiences through Michelangelo’s life.  I highly recommend it.  So keep this thought in mind as you go through your day,

“Every person has this tremendous capacity to be both king and warrior, a person of value and a person of accomplishment – of beauty and power.  There is an angel in all of us.  This day will forever change your life.”

Outsourcing Meat…Really?

Alright, I get it that many companies are needing to outsource, especially in this economy.  I’ll give you.  But Meat…..really?  This article is truly disturbing!  I already despise McDonald’s – primarily due to the nightmares of previous trips to the kid zones.  But this does it for me. 

I’m sure those of you who aren’t in the cattle business don’t understand the issues here. But to those of us whose living depends on the cattle market, selling cattle, raising the best beef possible… This is frustrating… This will keep us from ever stopping there again, even for a drink.  The original message is from the Texas Cattle Feeders Association American cattle producers are very passionate about this.
 
McDonald’s claims that there is not enough beef in the USA to support their restaurants… Well, we know that is not so. Our opinion is they are looking to save money at our expense.  The sad thing of it is that the people of the USA are the ones who made McDonald’s successful in the first place, but we are not good enough to provide beef.cows

We personally are no longer eating at McDonald’s, which I am sure does not make an impact, but if we pass this around maybe there will be an impact felt.  All Americans that sell cows at a livestock auction barn had to sign a paper stating that we NOT EVER feed our cows any part of another cow.  South Americans are not required to do this as of yet.

McDonald’s has announced that they are going to start importing much of their beef from South America.    The problem is that South Americans aren’t under the same regulations as American beef producers, and  the regulations they have are loosely controlled.  They can spray numerous pesticides on their pastures  that have been banned here at home because of residues found in the beef. They can also use
various hormones and growth regulators that we can’t. The American public needs to be aware of this problem and that they may be putting themselves at risk from now on by eating at good old McDonald’s..

American ranchers raise the highest quality beef in the world and this is what Americans deserve to eat.    Not beef from countries where quality is loosely controlled.  Therefore, I am proposing a boycott of McDonald’s until they see the light.  I’m sorry but everything is not always about the bottom line, and when it comes to jeopardizing my family’s health, that is where I draw the line.”
 David W. Forrest, Ph.D ., PAS, Dipl.
ACAP Department of Animal Science
Texas A&M University