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RiverPlace Hotel

You’ll feel worlds away from the city on the porch of this modern lodge on the Willamette River, but the fact is downtown is only a mile away. A recent renovation left this 84-room property with a decidedly Portland identity: Now, yoga mats and Pendleton pillow shams are standard room accoutrements, and there’s a fleet of bicycles for guest use. Right outside your door you’ll find Tom McCall Waterfront Park, a giant, green lawn adjacent to a riverfront hike-and-bike trail, and the Hawthorne Bridge, the gateway to some of Stumptown’s coolest up-and-coming neighborhoods. At the end of the day, the hotel’s fire pit–equipped patio makes for a prime place to unwind. 

AIRPORT Portland International (PDX)

RATE From $365

 

While You’re There 

Sip Some Suds at Hair of the Dog. Located just across the Hawthorne Bridge, this brewery specializes in bottle-conditioned and barrel-aged beers.

Take a Ride on the Portland Aerial Tram, which offers outstanding views of the city skyline and Mt. Hood. 

Treat Yourself to a brioche donut at Blue Star. The shop is convincing disciples of famed purveyor Voodoo that in this town, you can never have too much fried dough. 

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Jim Koch, founder and brewer of Samuel Adams  

What’s one piece of advice that’s stuck with you? “Not long after I started the company, I was talking with my uncle about buying a computer, and he asked me why I needed one. I said something to the effect of ‘to keep track of business and bills.’ Then he asked me if I had made any sales. At this point, all the distributors in Boston had turned me down. When I told him I hadn’t sold anything, he said, ‘I’ve seen a lot of businesses go broke, and they all had plenty of computers. Sounds like you better put some cold beer in your briefcase and go out and make some sales.’ And that’s what I did. For the first six months, not only did we not have a computer, we didn’t have an office or a phone, either. We focused on the essentials: making great beer and working our tails off to sell it. Thirty years later, our strategy is the same.”

Koch spearheads the company’s Brewing the American Dream program, which assists small businesses in the food and beverage industry through mentoring and financial assistance. Samuel Adams is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary.  

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Chris Pratt, if you were a guardian of the galaxy in real life, what would you protect most fervently? Well, I am, and the thing I protect most fervently is my family.

If you could have the answer to any question, what would you ask? Is this thing on?

If you could give your 10-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be? Time heals all wounds.

If you know one thing about romance, what is it? Flowers are nice on days that aren’t Valentine’s Day.

If a picture paints a thousand words, what are you doing in that picture? Do I get a thousand words to describe the picture?  

If you’ve learned anything from being a father, what is it? Getting up early in the morning doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

If you had to choose between living your life as Guardians of the Galaxy’s Peter Quill or Star-Lord, which would it be and why? Well, Peter Quill is Star-Lord. Trick question! I would take them both!

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The Hamptons

“I wanted to create a summer keg cocktail—one that we mix ahead of time and serve using a tap—using the flavors of an Arnold Palmer. It looks super boozy, but it’s actually light and refreshing. The Punt e Mes, an Italian sweet vermouth, allows for a nice complexity, and the mezcal rinse adds a hint of smoke. At home you can make a pitcher of this: Just multiply all the ingredients by 10, throw it over ice, and serve it at a summer party like you would iced tea.”

Who Chris Neustadt, bartender

Where Jimmy, at The James Chicago

 

Ingredients:

1 cup water 

1 cup sugar 

peels & juice of 1½ lemons

 

Directions:

1. Make the lemon cordial: Bring water and sugar to a boil. Stir, then remove from heat. Add lemon peels. When cool, add juice. Refrigerate overnight, then discard lemon peels.

 

Ingredients:

1 ounce lemon cordial

ounces Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka

½ ounce Punt e Mes 

¼ ounce El Buho mezcal

 

Directions:

2. Combine lemon cordial, vodka, and Punt e Mes in a mixing glass. Add ice, and shake. Rinse a rocks glass with mezcal. Add an ice sphere, and pour cocktail over it. Garnish with a lemon peel.

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Zenefits From payroll and 401(k) to PTO, it’s all here.

Here’s how Parker Conrad, co-founder and CEO of Zenefits, describes the online HR management system: “There were about 30 employees at my last company. We never had an HR person, so my co-founder and I were the ones setting up new hires. We were constantly updatingall these different systems, so I said to myself, ‘What if they were all integrated?’ That’s what Zenefits does. By connecting systems like payroll, commuter benefits, compliance, 401(k), vacation tracking, and health insurance, we give employers and employees a single site to manage everything, and we do it all for free. We make commissions from benefit providers, so we don’t have to charge for our service. And because we work with everyone, we’re not pushing any particular vendor on you. As a business you say, ‘I want to hire this person,’ and we take it from there, creating everything from offer letters to confidentiality agreements. Your employees fill everything out online. Businesses spend a lot of time focusing on paperwork instead of people. Our goal is to free them from that. When we got our first round of financing, most of our customers were tech companies. Now we have manufacturing companies, school systems, architecture firms, even a circus.” 

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39% of hiring managers say Tuesday is the most productive workday.

Does your task list runneth over? Tackle it on Tuesday. Nearly two-fifths of managers polled by staffing firm Accountemps deemed it the day to get things done. But beware of hump day, which grabbed just 14 percent of the vote. To avoid a midweek nosedive in efficiency, take a look at the big picture when planning your workweek, and truly recharge over the weekend, advises time management coach Jan Yager. “Too many of us fall into the trap of doing chores and running errands instead of spending quality time with loved ones,” she says. The laundry can wait—until Tuesday. 

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The Big Reveal In a world of viral successes, how do you unearth hidden gems?

By Adam Hunter

Anyone can find out who’s popular on the Web—but how do you find Laney Boggs? If you have to ask, “Who?” then you must not remember the hit teen comedy She’s All That, a 1999 Pygmalion adaptation sadly overlooked by the Oscars. A well-liked high school jock, played by an at-his-peak Freddie Prinze Jr., transforms invisible art geek Laney Boggs (Rachel Leigh Cook) into a dazzling beauty, mostly by suggesting she remove her glasses and trade her paint-spattered overalls for a form-fitting red dress. Maybe it’s because I was a bit of a dork in high school, but I identified with Laney’s obvious desire to escape obscurity and be embraced by the in-crowd.

The movie came to mind when I heard about Forgotify, a new website that plays songs that have not had a single listen on the wildly popular music-streaming service Spotify. Creators Lane Jordan, Nate Gagnon, and J Hausmann came up with the idea when they learned that 20 percent of the tracks on Spotify—which adds up to more than 4 million songs—had gone unstreamed. Imagine that: 4 million-plus Laney Boggses out there, sacrificing clean overalls for the sake of their art, only to be ignored in favor of the Justin Biebers and Miley Cyruses and Katy Perrys. Can Forgotify be their Freddie Prinze Jr.?

If the viral successes of “dorks” like Star Wars Kid and Rebecca Black are any indication, it’s not always the real-world superstars who get invited to sit at the cool kids’ table online. But in a world where Google algorithms heavily weigh popularity to decide the most relevant search results, and your Facebook newsfeed is mostly recycled clickbait published by best-of aggregators like Buzzfeed and Reddit, the average Internet user can have trouble finding content that hasn’t already been touted, promoted, and shared to death. And given that today’s social media landscape means there are more content sharers and producers than ever, that’s a problem. There may be a Rachel Leigh Cook hiding among unwatched Netflix movies or YouTube videos, unfollowed Twitter accounts, unread Laney, er, blogs. To everyone who matters, right now they’re vapor, they’re spam, a waste of perfectly good Internet space. But to paraphrase Freddie Prinze Jr. in She’s All That: Give them the right look, the right friends, and bam! In six weeks they’re the prom queen—of the Web.

The Thrill of Discovery

In a sense, we’re all Freddie Prinze Jr. Who doesn’t want to find a hidden gem and make it shine? That desire, as it turns out, was the prime motivation behind Forgotify. “The discovery aspect is what most interested us—the thought of finding a diamond in the rough,” Lane Jordan says. “People want to discover things. Just the notion that ‘I know something you don’t know’ is appealing.”

Forgotify is not the first attempt to provide an online tool for digging through the also-rans. In 2010, Brooklyn writer and artist Colin Fitzpatrick created a Tumblr account, Zero Views, which posted YouTube videos that, when he happened upon them, held the “0 views” distinction. Ironically, Zero Views went viral after being written up by CNN and The Huffington Post and gained thousands of views for the videos Fitzpatrick linked to. In an interview for NPR’s On the Media podcast, he said the site showed “how people commonly try to reach out and share their lives and just fail.” But when exposed to the right audience, these Laney Boggses blossomed. “These kids who had made a music video about their library card … a lot of effort had gone into this, and nobody was watching it. And as soon as I posted it, everybody was reblogging it, and it got tons of notes and likes,” Fitzpatrick said.

The Zero Views method for finding these videos, however, only highlights the problem Web searchers still encounter. On YouTube, there’s no easy way to find videos that have been online for a while but haven’t been watched. Fitzpatrick’s “complicated algorithm” involved typing a dull word or phrase—like “chillin’” or “so tired”—into YouTube’s search box, then sorting by upload date. 

Forgotify proves that such a discovery engine isn’t that difficult to build. “We put this together really fast—from concept to completion in about a month,” Jordan says. J Hausmann, a Web developer, helped him formulate his original idea and solved the technical issues. Gagnon, a copywriter, came up with the name. “We launched on a Wednesday, and after it got picked up by Reddit it kinda blew up,” Jordan says. “Thursday it was on Time.com, and on Friday it was picked up by the BBC.” The initial spike in traffic caused site outages shortly after Forgotify’s late-January launch, but when I tried it the service worked perfectly. I discovered “Jamie,” a song by Canadian ’80s rock band M.T.L. that sounds as if it could be from the She’s All That soundtrack. After listening, I checked out M.T.L.’s album on iTunes. How’d listeners rate it? “We have not received enough ratings to display an average for this album.”

Worth the Bet?

Forgotify is not currently configured to make any money off the service it provides, and it’s too soon to say whether it will uncover a future No. 1 hit. Can it be more than a neat gimmick? “Nothing has climbed up the charts yet that I know of,” Jordan says. “But the potential is certainly there.”

Curated content companies like Birchbox have proved that introducing consumers to even a small sample from an obscure or new brand can lead them to make big purchases. In 2013, Buzzfeed reported that Stila Cosmetics, which pulled out of retail outlets years ago amid flagging sales, sent a sample eye shadow palette to 7 percent of Birchbox’s subscribers and saw 11.2 percent of that group purchase the full-size product—more than 10 times the average conversion rate for the beauty industry. Just as Birchbox takes a cut of sales in return for playing matchmaker, a service like Forgotify could strike deals to receive a small percentage anytime one of its users purchases a song. Alternatively, by getting users to rate or comment on previously unheard, unseen, unwatched content, Forgotify and its ilk can gather reams of useful data on consumer likes and dislikes—and that’s worth dollars to marketers.

Click with the Right Clique

So how about it, entrepreneurs? In what corner of this digital high school we call the Internet will your service help locate a worthy obscurity? While Jordan believes the Forgotify concept is best suited to professionally produced music,  he sees potential for other online media too. “The obscure is what’s cool these days,” he says. “The Internet gives everyone a chance to connect with their own cliques.”

How about joining the AV club with Neverflix, which turns movie buffs and couch potatoes on to rarely- or never-before-streamed movies and series. Using Netflix’s freely available API, the site would randomly screen videos unknown to even the most frequent binge-watcher—such as High Risk, a CBS reality show developed during the writers’ strike of 1988, currently queued by six out of 33 million subscribers. 

Wanna hacky-sack with the hipsters? Give them Invisigram, and highlight those sepia-toned snapshots that have gone unhearted and unhashtagged. You might help connect aspiring Annie Leibovitzes with a legion of online admirers or unearth the next Grumpy Cat. Using Zero Views’ method for finding unnoticed content, I searched #filecabinets on Instagram and discovered a post with only 7 fans—a breathtaking shot of the World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet, an outdoor sculpture in Burlington, Vermont, that I never knew existed.

More of a class clown? Why not collect quips of 140 or fewer characters that haven’t yet earned a retweet with your new site, UnTweeted. Bookworm? Develop Wikineedy, which pulls up rarely accessed Wikipedia entries. 

Not everyone who’s undiscovered deserves to be seen. But if you turn a crowd’s eyes away from the blinding stars and point them toward those treasures in overalls and glasses, you just might help a weary Internet user encounter that special someone he or she has always hoped to find.

Haven’t seen She’s All That? Spoiler alert: Laney Boggs doesn’t end up being prom queen. But Freddie Prinze Jr. falls in love with her anyway.

 

Adam Hunter is a New York City–based editor and writer. Follow him on Twitter @adamhuntr.

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28% of us are afraid of green juice.

Despite the dread, even more of those polled in a January survey commissioned by Jamba Juice think the color is a hallmark of the healthiest fresh-squeezed refreshments. It’s ironic, perhaps. But surprising? Not so much. “We are used to seeing green on a plate; green in a glass pushes most people out of their comfort zone,” says nutritional expert and dietitian Kate Geagan. If you like liquefied produce but have a strong distaste for vegetal flavors, fear not. “You can mask the bitterness of greens by blending in a little fruit, which is harder to do when you’re eating a salad,” Geagan says. We’ll drink to that.

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Blackberry Ginger Sorbet

“I studied architecture for seven years, and at times I found the industry to be elitist. I wanted to make design more accessible, and I thought, What better way to do that than ice cream sandwiches? We launched our first food truck in 2009, naming our sandwiches after famous architects. Now we have trucks in New York City, Los Angeles, Austin, and, most recently, Dallas. In May, we published a cookbook that also includes design facts. The blackberry ginger sorbet has a rich flavor because of the depth of the fruit, and the ginger gives it an unexpected twist. Pairing it with a double-chocolate cookie makes it taste like a chocolate-covered blackberry. We call it the Non-Dairy Frank Behry.”

Who Natasha Case, co-founder

Where Coolhaus

 

Ingredients:

1 cup water 

1¼ cups sugar 

 

Directions:

1. Make simple syrup: Bring water and sugar to a boil, stir until dissolved, then refrigerate.

 

Ingredients:

2 cups simple syrup

squeeze of fresh lemon juice

pinch of kosher salt

 

Directions:

2. Make sorbet base: Combine above ingredients with 1/2 cup water. Stir well.

 

Ingredients:

3 cups blackberries

¼ cup peeled, chopped ginger

 

Directions:

3. Make sorbet: Puree blackberries and ginger. Blend in 2 cups sorbet base. Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions, then freeze for at least 2 hours.

 

Double Chocolate Cookies

Makes 20 to 24 cookies

Ingredients:

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter

2 cups packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract

1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

2 cups sifted pastry flour

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (we like Guittard or Ghirardelli)

 

Directions:

1. Mix wets: Place butter in a saucepan and set over low heat, until just half is melted. Cool for 5 minutes.

2. Pour cooled butter into a large bowl. Add sugar and whisk. Whisk in egg and yolk, one at a time, then whisk in vanilla. Set aside

3. Mix dries: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda.

4. Add dries, one third at a time, to wets, mixing with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to combine. Fold in chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

5. Wrap bowl with plastic wrap and chill for at least 20 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with racks in lower and upper thirds of oven. Line two half-sheet baking pans with parchment paper.

7. Form dough into balls about the size of whole walnuts and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

8. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until edges are light brown and centers are still wet—don’t overbake.

9. Immediately transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Let cool for 1 hour before serving.

 

Reprinted with permission from the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt from The Coolhaus Ice Cream Book by Natasha Case & Freya Estreller with Kathleen Squires. Copyright 2014.

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The largest volcano on Earth spans 120,000 square miles.

Though it nearly matches New Mexico in area, the geologic giant known as Tamu Plateau can be easy to overlook. That’s because it’s inactive—and located underwater, 1,000 miles eastof Japan. Evidence suggests that its most recent spurt of activity took place about 145 million years ago and consisted of massive eruptions, says Dr. William Sager, a professor at the University of Houston who published a 2013 article about the vast volcano in Nature Geoscience journal. Sager says Tamu Plateau formed relatively swiftly: “We’re thinking 1 to 2 million years as opposed to tens of millions—that’s short to a geologist.” Speedy: It’s in the eye of the beholder.

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Liza Landsman, Chief Marketing Officer at E*TRADE  

What does it take to be a great marketer? “You need to have a really crisp sense of your business objectives. It sounds obvious, but it’s not. The question I always ask myself and my team is ‘In service of what?’ What is it that we want a consumer to do, think, believe differently, or believe more fully after they’ve been exposed to our message? If we can’t express that as a business objective, then we probably haven’t done a good job. You also need to find the right balance between the data and your gut. I happen to be a very quantitative marketer, but I try to balance that with being able to anticipate the unexpressed consumer need. Research gets you to the front door, but it’s your gut that’s going to decide whether there’s a tiger or a lady behind it.”

The marketing guru oversaw the implementation of E*Trade’s new “Type E” advertising campaign, which features Kevin Spacey in a much-anticipated follow-up to the popular talking baby spots.

 

 

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Garden Panzanella

“The Square is a comfortable gathering place in the North Beach neighborhood. As with our other two restaurants, Sons & Daughters and Sweet Woodruff, we source as much produce as we can from our 83-acre farm in the Santa Cruz mountains. Traditionally, panzanella—a bread-and-tomato salad popular in Tuscany—is served with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, but to set ours apart we created an herb vinaigrette with marigold greens from the farm. They have a refreshing, passion-fruity flavor that really makes the salad come alive.”

Who Duncan Holmes, executive chef

Where The Square

 

Ingredients:

1 leek

olive oil

salt

1 loaf day-old bread, torn into pieces 

3 heirloom tomatoes, chopped

½ cup halved cherry tomatoes 

2 Japanese cucumbers, sliced

1½ ounce shaved pecorino romano

 

Directions:

1. Season the white part of the leek with olive oil and salt. Grill over medium heat until blackened, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat, discard outer layers, cut into slices, and toss with remaining ingredients.

 

Ingredients:

½ cup finely diced shallots

red wine vinegar

1 bunch each dill, mint, and marigold greens 

2 cups olive oil

 

Directions:

2. Cover shallots with red wine vinegar. Let sit for 30 minutes.
3. Destem herbs. Blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds, then shock in ice water. Using a blender, combine with 1 cup red wine vinegar, then mix in oil.
4. Dress panzanella with vinaigrette.

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Ruby Red, White & Blue

“Sometimes in our business, we overcomplicate things. A lot of cocktails nowadays require obscure spirits or aperitifs, but not this one. I initially set out to combine Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka with ginger beer, but after seeing tons of our blueberry champagne cocktails being served on the patio during a busy weekend brunch, I decided to go a sweeter, fruitier route. The result is a light and refreshing summer drink that’s easy and good, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Who Frank Miller, director of food and beverage

Where Southpaw Social Club

 

Ingredients:

lemon wedge

sugar

fresh blueberries

2 ounces Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka 

club soda

 

Directions:

Use the lemon wedge to moisten the rim of a tumbler glass, then dip in sugar. Fill with ice. In a mixing glass, muddle 5 blueberries, top with vodka, and shake. Strain into the tumbler glass, then top with club soda. Stir, then garnish with additional blueberries.

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Astronaut ice cream went to space 1 time.

In 1968, long before it became a staple of museum gift shops, a vanilla version of the freeze-dried treat accompanied the Apollo 7 crew into orbit. Those bite-size cubes served a practical purpose: “It was a high-calorie food,” says John Knight, a former volunteer curator for the historical archives of Whirlpool Corporation. (The appliance company developed the technology used to preserve the ice cream.) Logistically, the lightweight yet energy-dense dessert was ideal for space travel. But its chalky texture left much to be desired, which is why its maiden voyage was also its last. Thanks to onboard freezers, any ice cream consumed in space since then has been enjoyed in its earthly form. 

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Ritz-Carlton, Aruba

Set on a coveted stretch of sand, this debonair resort, open since November, ups the ante on Aruban refinement. All 320 guest rooms face the sea and are outfitted with private balconies, so you can revel in ocean views before exploring the four restaurants, two pools, 24-hour casino, and 15,000-square-foot spa, the island’s largest. Thanks to servers who scoot around on Segways, service is top-notch, even when you’re lying on the beach. Opt for an Aperol-tinged Oranjestad Swizzle, and rest assured your glass won’t stay empty for long.

Airport Queen Beatrix International (AUA) Rate From $649

 

While You’re There 

Indulge in the spa’s Aruba Honey Harvest body treatment, a nearly two-hour experience that incorporates local honey into a rejuvenating exfoliation, body wrap, and massage.
Learn how to prepare dishes like ceviche, guacamole, and risotto during a chef-led cooking demonstration, offered five days a week at the on-site Divi Bar & Lounge. 

 

 

 

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Pop-Up Culture Temporary shops can have lasting effects, on more than just business owners.

By Stacy Cowley

When Tom Daguanno and Max Schmidt launched their custom menswear business last year, they expected it to remain a virtual one. Customers would visit the website—1701Bespoke.com—to book an appointment for a fitting at their home or office, and Daguanno and Schmidt would use the measurements to create a wardrobe of suits and fine garments for them. It was a truly minimalist venture: No inventory, no office space.

Until a client suggested that Detroit, where 1701 Bespoke is based, could really use a high-end menswear store. What if he helped the two find a vacant storefront where they could open up temporarily to test the market?

“He knew someone at a local real estate firm that had this amazing empty space right in the heart of downtown,” Schmidt recalls. “We opened on October 21, and within 24 hours we were booked solid for two weeks.”

The shop they had planned to run for six days instead lasted three months, and it changed the company’s trajectory. Daguanno and Schmidt began hunting for a permanent brick-and-mortar location—and in the process became part of a growing wave of business owners using short-lived “pop-up” ventures to test out new concepts. 

Such stores were once primarily a seasonal phenomenon. Christmas decoration shops and Halloween-costume merchants would rent space and vacate it after the holiday. Those kinds of operations still proliferate, but entrepreneurs in a wide variety of other industries are realizing how valuable limited-run shops can be. 

So are big brands. Walmart used a pair of pop-up stores to test potential locations in California, and makeup seller Sephora created temporary shops in New York City and Los Angeles to promote a new color line. Some retailers get especially creative: Shipping containers, Airstream trailers, and igloo-shaped tents have all been used to house transient endeavors.  

“It’s definitely a growing trend,” says Megan Donadio, a retail strategist with Kurt Salmon, a consulting firm that specializes in consumer products. “It’s a low-overhead way for retailers to test a new product or geographic market, and it often generates marketing buzz.” Temporary ventures can also turn vacant real estate into something profitable that brings new traffic to areas in need of an economic boost. 

One of the biggest experiments with the “test new concepts and see what sticks” approach is happening in West Dallas, an economically struggling area that investors and city officials have long targeted for revitalization. Nearly a decade ago, Phil Romano,
the founder of Macaroni Grill, began buying up real estate there with the help of two business partners. In late 2012, he launched phase one of his plan for spurring development: a 15-acre restaurant park called Trinity Groves that is centered on what Romano calls a “restaurant concept incubator.”

For aspiring restaurateurs, Trinity Groves offers a unique opportunity: It funds ventures it deems to have the potential to expand nationally. In return, it owns a 50-percent stake in the business. 

LUCK (an acronym of “Local Urban Craft Kitchen”) is one of 10 restaurants Trinity Groves picked for its initial wave of openings. Run by a trio of first-time business owners, it pairs regional American comfort food with a rotating selection of craft beers, all sourced from breweries within 75 miles of the restaurant. 

“One of the reasons we named the restaurant LUCK is we fell into this out of dumb luck,” says chef and co-owner Daniel Pittman. He and his partners had long talked about opening their own place, but the financial and logistical obstacles seemed insurmountable. When one of them heard a radio story about Trinity Groves, the group scrambled to apply. One year later, in November 2013, LUCK poured its first pint. 

Trinity Groves gives its tenants a $500,000 build-out budget and handles all of the back-end processes like obtaining building permits, recruiting workers, and managing the accounting and payroll. It sounds like a dream setup for fledgling entrepreneurs, but there’s a Darwinian catch: “If you don’t do $1.5 million a year in sales, you’re out of there,” Romano says. “We have a profit matrix. If they take a swing and miss, we’ll put somebody else in there who should get a chance.”

So far, Trinity Groves is succeeding at its two major goals: Its restaurants are making money, and they’re sparking interest in a part of the city that has long been overlooked. On a typical Friday night, the eateries—ranging from Chino Chinatown, a Latin-Asian concept by Uno Immanivong, a past contestant on ABC’s The Taste, to Kitchen LTO, a “permanent” pop-up that features a new chef every four months—draw as many as 10,000 customers to the complex. 

Jeff Herrington, communications director for the West Dallas Chamber of Commerce, says the crowds at Trinity Groves are catalyzing a fresh wave of residential and commercial development interest. They’re also generating employment opportunities: “This is an area that needs jobs, and Trinity Groves creates them,” he says. “It hasn’t just been, ‘Here, come be a server at minimum wage.’ They’ve involved people in the neighborhood in midlevel management jobs.” 

Herrington’s is just one of many organizations nationwide that are paying greater attention to the role pop-ups can play in strengthening neighborhoods. The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator, a collaboration between the city government and local partners, offers fledgling designers a yearlong residency with mentors and the chance to sell their collections at pop-up events. In New York City’s Lower East Side, the Storefront Transformer project, established by a group of real estate– and design-minded citizens, provides artists and entrepreneurs with a six-by-six cube filled with supplies needed to transform empty and underused spaces into temporary businesses. And in Oakland, California, Popuphood, which matches new merchants with vacant storefronts, has become an important part of the city’s economic development strategy. 

Out of a storefront in downtown Detroit, the nonprofit D:Hive runs a year-round business incubator featuring a rotating cast of establishments. Each gets two months of free rent, marketing support, and a $1,000 build-out budget. 

“People have this romantic idea of what it’s like to have a store, but they don’t have the experience of running it 24/7,” says April Boyle, D:Hive’s director of small business initiatives. “Pop-up is the trend of the moment, but it’s really as old as retail itself when you think about things like mall kiosks and art fairs. It’s a lower-overhead way of testing your idea, building your brand, and getting real-time customer feedback while actually making money.”

Revolve Detroit, another development program, commissions artists to transform vacant spaces. It then finds innovative retailers for the redesigned spaces and stages events meant to bring crowds to districts that have the infrastructure and density to support new businesses long-term.  

It can be a tricky transition. Detroit Fiber Works opened this past fall as one of a dozen businesses selected for Revolve’s revitalization project on Livernois Avenue, once one of America’s premier luxury-shopping districts. Devastated by the 1967 riots that tore Detroit apart, Livernois had became a stretch of boarded-up storefronts broken up by the occasional hair salon. 

Artists Mandisa Smith and Najma Wilson initially envisioned their store as a cooperative: a place where local designers, painters, jewelry makers, and other artisans could sell their wares. 

That approach didn’t work. “We couldn’t find enough artists that were interested in paying a fee and working in the gallery,” Smith says. 

So, like many pop-up operators, they tossed out their original plan and made a new one, turning Detroit Fiber Works into a boutique and gallery stocked with handmade products, supplemented by a schedule of fiber-arts classes and special events that bring in guest speakers and artists. In December, when the Revolve installation ended, Smith and Wilson negotiated a three-year lease and turned their temporary store into a permanent one.

A brutal winter made their first few months tough, but there have also been serendipitous surprises. The artist chosen by Revolve had created an eclectic space nothing like the minimalist, all-white shop Wilson and Smith had imagined. It turned out to be a stroke of genius: The setting has become an attraction of its own. Whimsical painted squiggles and embellish-ments adorn the walls, while lacquered-down brown paper bags cover the floor—a twist on the idea of fiber arts. A giant chandelier filled with charms, tassels, vintage knickknacks, and glass globes is the centerpiece. “People come in, and they’re just mesmerized by the chandelier,” Smith says. “We’ll never get rid of it.”

As the snow thawed, foot traffic picked up again, and Detroit Fiber Works acquired one of the best boosts a new store can get: neighbors. The street’s recent arrivals include an organic pastry shop, a children’s apparel retailer, and an eco-friendly housewares store. 

While Smith and her partner focus on reviving their block, Pittman and his team at LUCK in Dallas are already thinking about how to scale up the business they began as an experiment into a brand that can spread across America. “Our concept lends itself to anywhere there’s craft beer,” he says. “Opening more is definitely something we’re interested in.”

The notion of establishing structured programs to foster retail experiments is also poised to go national. Trinity Groves’ restaurant incubator is unique for now, but it might not stay that way much longer: “We’re giving talented young people the opportunity to own their own businesses, and we’re creating jobs,” Phil Romano says. “We have people from all over the country coming to look at this, saying, ‘We want to understand how you’re doing it.’” 

Stacy Cowley is a journalist based in Brooklyn, New York. Follow her on Twitter @StacyCowley.


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20% of people name their cars.

If you cruise around town in a ride dubbed something like Stella or Big Red, you’re not alone; a survey by marketing firm DMEautomotive found that one-fifth of drivers play the name game with their wheels. According to Adam Waytz, a Northwestern University psychologist who studies why we anthropomorphize objects, we tend to think our autos resemble us—just look at the smile on that grille!—so naming them is only natural. It also helps us make better sense of how they work. “We see cars as humanlike because that provides an understandable framework,” Waytz says. So next time you get a flat, forgo angry epithets, and call your car by its “real” name. It’ll be humanizing—for both of you. 

 

 

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Allison Janney, if a picture paints a thousand words, what are you doing in that picture? I’m laughing.

In Tammy, you’re sandwiched between Susan Sarandon and Melissa McCarthy, playing Sarandon’s daughter and McCarthy’s mother. If you had to name that sandwich, what would it be called? The McJandon.

If there is one advantage to being 6 feet tall, what is it? I can see above the maddening crowd.

If you had to choose only one book for your library, what would it be? A dictionary/thesaurus. I always feel my vocabulary could use improvement.

If you could have created any one great work of art, what would it be? Joni Mitchell’s Blue. She has one of the most soulful voices; I wish I could sing like her.

If you had coined one phrase of wisdom, what would it be? This too shall pass.

 

 

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Lollipuff An online auction site that snuffs out knockoffs.

Here’s how Fei Deyle, founder and CEO of Lollipuff, describes the scam-free source for pre-owned couture: “A few years ago, I started a blog about my obsession with Herve Leger dresses. United by a mutual interest in fashion, my readers and I eventually began selling our gently used designer items to each other. That’s when I got the idea for Lollipuff. It’s a marketplace for secondhand women’s luxury apparel and accessories that uses an in-depth screening process to ensure authenticity. We require a minimum of eight highly specific photos per item, which help us identify, for example, if the serial number on a Chanel handbag is in the correct font and what the hardware should look like for that year. Sellers publish listings for free and receive payments through PayPal, with Lollipuff taking 7 percent. Buyers can purchase items immediately at a set price or place a onetime bid that only the seller can see. Our collection includes Céline, Herve Leger, Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin, Alexander McQueen, Jimmy Choo, Chanel, and others, sometimes at more than 90 percent off retail value.”


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Men are contacted 31% more when they use “whom” in online dating profiles.

When Wired staff analyzed data from Match.com and OkCupid to find out which words correlate with top response rates between men and women, they found that dudes who dig a particular pronoun are most popular with the ladies. One possible explanation: “Grammar is often seen as an indication of your socioeconomic background, which can say a great deal about where you’re headed in life,” says Dr. Helen Fisher, the chief scientific advisor for Match.com. Wired’s findings also show that the “hottest” profile pics feature toothy smiles as opposed to tight-lipped ones. So if you’re soul mate–searching, better brush up on syntax and your pearly whites.

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The speed of Heinz ketchup is .028 miles per hour.

If it comes out of the iconic glass bottle at any other rate, the company won’t sell it. But lucky for you—and your fries—science can help speed things up. “Ketchup is a Bingham plastic, meaning it behaves like a solid under low stress and a liquid under high stress,” says Michael Graham, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and editor of the Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics. The trick is to shake the bottle and then smack it—the glass will exert force on the re- liquefied ketchup and help to “push” it out. Heinz won’t reveal its speed-calibrating methods. For now at least, they remain saucy secrets. 

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We switch between tech devices 21 times an hour.

That’s according to a study by OMD UK, a London-based media agency, that asked 200 people to record how many times they toggled between mobile phones, laptops, and the like. It doesn’t surprise Dr. Larry Rosen, a professorof psychology at California State University–Dominguez Hills, whose research has found that students focus on schoolwork for about three minutes before giving in to digital distractions. “If you’ve got a limited time to study,” hesays, “you’re staying up later, and you’re probably not as functional because you’re stressed.” Multitasking clearly takes a toll on nonstudents, too. We’re all subject to the many distractions of—wait, what were we saying?

 

 

 

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Rancho Valencia

This sumptuous spa resort, 25 miles north of San Diego, has long been a haven for honeymooners and wellness buffs. Now there’s extra enticement to enter into its pampered seclusion: A recent $30 million renovation breathed new life into all 49 guest casitas and added a gleaming, open-air yoga pavilion and a destination restaurant, Veladora, that epitomizes modern California cuisine. A revamped fitness program brings in top instructors to lead classes on everything from Power Sculpt to Pilates—a great excuse for a post-workout steam, scrub, and massage at the adobe-swathed spa. At the end of the day, there’s no reason to leave your fireplace-equipped patio. But if you must venture out, there’s only one way to do it: behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 convertible, available to guests via the resort’s complimentary test-drive program. 

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While You’re There 

Eat local at the Rancho Santa Fe Farmers Market. The crepes and croissants from Francophile purveyor Oh La Vache make for a fine start to the day. Open Sundays

Play ball on one of the resort’s 18 newly resurfaced tennis courts, ranked No. 1 in Southern California for the past six years by Tennis magazine.

Tailgate at the San Diego Polo Club, where matches happen Sundays at 1 and 3 p.m. Seersucker suits and wide-brimmed hats are encouraged.


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PopExpert

Consult with wellness pros from the comfort of home.

Here’s how Ingrid Sanders, founder and CEO of PopExpert, describes the online self-improvement source: “Oftentimes, we are so consumed by achieving success in our careers that we forget to invest time in other areas that add value to our lives. I started thinking about the abundance of health and wellness professionals in the world and how to make them more accessible. The answer was PopExpert, which connects people with specialists in a variety of fields through live video chats. Users can choose from three categories: Life, Work, and Play. Life covers topics like meditation, relationships, and nutrition, while Work includes career mentoring and productivity. Things like music, language, and style are housed under Play. You can learn more about the experts in their profiles, which also show their availability and rates, and, in just two clicks, you can schedule a time to talk. Sessions typically last 50 minutes and cost anywhere from $30 to a few hundred dollars. There are 3,000 experts on the site, including celebrity chef Mikaela Reuben, renowned birthing coach Latham Thomas, and many more.”


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El Grito

“I thought it would be fun to create a margarita that gets spicier as you drink it, so I made ice cubes infused with Sriracha. For the cocktail itself, I use añejo rather than blanco tequila. Corralejo makes its añejo with a bow toward bourbon—it rests in charred oak casks for a year—so the flavors of wood and smoke are really integrated into the spirit. Most margaritas have salt on the rim; instead, we put it in the drink. Just like in food, it wakes up and rounds out all the flavors. I’ve always said that the culture in Tulsa outweighs its population. We’re just one example of the bars here that are doing cool things with cocktails.”

Who Aaron Post, owner

Where Valkyrie

 

Ingredients:

1 ounce Sriracha 

3 cups water

2 ounces Corralejo añejo tequila

1¼ ounces Cointreau

1 ounce fresh lime juice

1 pinch kosher salt

4 Sriracha ice cubes


Directions:

1. Stir together, and freeze in an ice cube tray. 

2. Shake ingredients with ice, and serve in a Collins glass over Sriracha ice cubes. Garnish with a lightly massaged rosemary sprig.

 

 

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Mind Over Chatter
Conversationalist Judy Apps simplifies small talk.

Spirit: Is talking different than conversing?

Judy: Most people prefer talking to listening, but conversation involves both. It goes two ways, like a game of tennis, and both people get something out of it, whether it’s pleasure, information, or a connection.

S: How can you get over a fear of making small talk?

J: Taking a big breath gives you confidence as well as some air to talk with. In fact, any sort of movement helps. Look outside at something. Wiggle your toes. It gets you out of your head and keeps you from being so self-conscious.

S: How should you frame questions?

J: The general advice is that you should only ask open questions, ones that can’t be answered without a full sentence. But some people are quite daunted by them, so a comment often works well because it gets the other person to open their mouth and make a noise, which for some is a start.

S: What makes people bad at conversation?

J: They think it’s only about having something to say. Books talk about finding the right topic and being entertaining, but you’ll get more out of it if you’re relaxed and curious. There are a million opportunities for small talk, and we shouldn’t treat each one as if it’s a matter of life and death.

S: Is it something you can practice?

J: Once you’ve convinced yourself to be lighthearted about it, practice all the time. When you’re shopping, don’t just silently hand over your change; make a comment about something in the shop. And it’s OK if not every encounter is successful. Not everyone is going to want to talk that day, and that’s fine.”

 

Judy Apps is a communication coach and the author of The Art of Conversation.

 

 

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Joe De Sena, founder of Spartan Race  

How do you overcome obstacles? “Whether you’re running 100 miles or running a business—and I would argue that running a business is a lot harder than running 100 miles—it’s all about being in the right frame of mind. Often, it’s not a matter of if things are going to get ugly; it’s a matter of when. The way I get through those pain points is bytreating every situation as a learning opportunity and reminding myself that it could always be worse. If you keep things in perspective and leave your ego out of it, then it just becomes a matter of putting one foot in front of the other.”

The endurance-racing veteran recently released his first book, Spartan Up! A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life

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Hummingbirds consume 2 times their weight daily.  

Hovering over flowers at 3,000 wing-beats per minute takes a lot of energy, even when you weigh less than an ounce—which is why, despite the aggressive eating, these teensy fliers maintain a steady mass. “A hummingbird’s diet is mostly sugar-loaded nectar, which its body quickly converts to energy,” says Ross Hawkins, founder and executive director of the Sedona, Arizona–based Hummingbird Society. The mini creatures consume anaverage of 6 calories daily; to put it in perspective, if a 170-pound man had the same metabolism, he’d need to chow down on 2,900 Oreos a day to stay the same size. How’s that for eating like a bird?

 

 

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Trout Cakes

“The Grey Plume’s menu is seasonal and driven by local farmer supply. We get our groceries from growers in Nebraska and Iowa, and we make everything from scratch—from pickling veggies to churning our own butter. This is Nebraska’s version of a crab cake. The trout comes from a sustainable aquaculture farm in the Ogallala Aquifer, two hours west of Omaha. The recipe is simple and easy to replicate using other ingredients, so you can try it with seafood that’s specific to your region. Pair it with spinach salad and bacon vinaigrette or put it atop a simple Caesar salad. It normally pops up on our bar menu, so it would be a fun snack for a cocktail party.”

Who Clayton Chapman, chef/owner

Where The Grey Plume

 

Ingredients:

2 6-ounce steelhead trout fillets 

4 tablespoons crème fraîche

1 egg 

1 egg yolk

zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons minced chives

1 teaspoon minced flat-leaf parsley

4 tablespoons bread crumbs  

¼ cup all-purpose flour 

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup bread crumbs 

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

 

Directions:

1. Dice fillets into 1/4-inch pieces. Add remaining ingredients plus salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, and form into 2 to 4 patties. 

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dredge patties in flour, then in beaten eggs. Coat in bread crumbs. Pour oil in a hot sauté pan. Sear trout cakes until golden brown. Flip, and repeat. Place on a baking sheet, and bake 8 to 12 minutes. 

 

 

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Gabrielle Union, if you could give men one piece of wisdom about women, what would it be? You don’t have all the answers.

If you could rid yourself of one deeply personal fear, what would it be? Bees. Only because I look so stupid when I’m running away from them. 

If a picture paints a thousand words, what are you doing in that picture? Laughing. At the person running away from bees. 

If you could give your 10-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be? Orthodontia is your friend. 

If you were doing a photo shoot right now, what would make you smile biggest and brightest? A cheeseburger. Or maybe some chicken and waffles from Roscoe’s. 

If you had a personal motto, what would it be? Bad things happen to people every day. Your pain is not unique. It’s all how you choose to deal with it. 

If you were actually Kristen in Think Like A Man Too, what’s the first thing you would do to build amazing relationships? Stop talking so much.

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Reach of Confidence A slew of new companies are banking on an age-old concept: trust.

By Melinda Mahaffey Icden

On a trip to Amsterdam two years ago, my husband and I decided to skip the traditional hotel stay and give Airbnb, the popular accommodation booking site, a try. Two sets of friends had recently used the service, which matches travelers with individuals looking to temporarily rent out their living spaces, and had nothing but rave reviews for the San Francisco–based “community marketplace” that’s fostered 11 million bookings since its founding in 2008. 

But despite the fresh strawberries laid out in the sunny kitchen and a specially made guidebook listing the owner’s favorite local spots, I never really warmed to the idea of staying in a stranger’s apartment. I touched as little as possible, I used as little as possible, and I nervously encouraged my husband to do the same. 

So I was blindsided when, upon our return home, we received an irate email from the owner, who accused us of scratching her floors. She was mad about the alleged damage to the expensive bamboo, certainly, but what she was really angry about was something far less quantifiable: She felt deceived because we had left without saying a word about it.

The situation we found ourselves in ultimately boiled down to an issue of trust. She felt betrayed that we would attempt to shirk our responsibilities; I was hurt that she was accusing us of something that, to the best of my knowledge, we hadn’t done. It seemed we both felt that the other person had violated the Golden Rule of the arrangement: Treat the other person (and their stuff) the way you would like to be treated.

But let’s stop for a moment at seemed and felt. Trust is not quantifiable; rather, it’s a judgment, a perception, a feeling. Despite the innate fuzziness, it’s also an essential human trait, one that’s been around since the dawn of civilization. “The reason we trust is because we can accomplish more by working together than we could on our own,” says Dr. David DeSteno, a psychology professor at Northeastern University and author of The Truth About Trust. “By the division of labor, human society has flourished.”

We need trust to prosper, even if it can feel risky at times, so it should come as no surprise that a host of startups are banking on just that. These new companies are off to a good start—but how will an age-old concept hold up in a postmodern future ruled by the Internet?

MONETIZING TRUST

When people use the term “sharing economy,” also called the collaborative or gig economy, they’re referring to a revolutionary batch of businesses that allow you, the user, limited use of a stranger’s possessions—things like homes, cars, and power tools—while that individual makes some extra cash off something he or she already owns.

Airbnb, for example, offers ac-commodations for rent, from extra apartment bedrooms to castles and backyard tents. Car services like Uber and Lyft provide rides, while Spinlister facilitates the shared use of bikes, skis, and snowboards. On NeighborGoods, you can borrow a ladder, hammer, or drill, and DogVacay supplies a home away from home for your pooch.

The sharing economy also encompasses more amorphous concepts like time and expertise, allowing people to put their “extra” hours and skills to income-generating use. On TaskRabbit, you can hire able hands to build your IKEA furniture; your Homejoy housekeeper will tidy up your pad; and Postmates links you up with a courier who will purchase food or merchandise and have it to you in less than an hour. The common thread between all of these ventures? They each facilitate, via the Internet, the exchange of goods or services from one individual to another. 

“These are really old market behaviors that are being reinvented through technology,” says sharing-economy expert Rachel Botsman, co-author of What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption. “We used to trade in villages. Now we live in a global village, and we can use this in ways and on a scale we’ve never experienced before.”

Indeed, the scale is large: Although these companies are often termed startups, some are not all that new—or financially precarious. RelayRides partnered with General Motors in 2012 and has raised $19 million from backers such as Google Ventures (which was also behind a significant portion of the funding that pushed Uber past a $3 billion valuation last year), and Lyft, already worth $700 million, recently garnered another $250 million. As this issue was going to press, Airbnb was reportedly in talks to raise more than $400 million from Silicon Valley venture capital firms, which would value the company at $10 billion, making it worth more on paper than entrenched brands like Hyatt and Wyndham despite not owning any actual lodging properties. 

Beyond those outsized valuations, the sharing economy has earned a nice chunk of change for the little guy, too. In January 2013, Forbes estimated that the industry would collectively generate more than $3.5 billion that year alone for its participants—people like you and me. And this way of doing business shows no sign of slowing down: There’s news of money raised or initiatives launched seemingly every day. “The collaborative economy is representative of a deep socioeconomic shift,” Botsman says. “It’s what I call distributed power, and that’s only going to move forward.”

Evaluating Trust

Trust is not the only issue facing the industry—various states are currently navigating the legality of apartment and ride sharing, for example, and the regulations and taxes that come with it—but it’s arguably the linchpin to its continuing ascension.  

For the millions of successful transactions that have already taken place, you usually only hear stories about the traffic accidents and trashed apartments, which have a greater effect on public perception than tales of success. Think about hitchhiking. Once upon a time, it was associated with the freedom of the open road, but it fell out of favor after the general public began to perceive it as scary. Today, critics point to the legitimate dangers and insurance issues of car-sharing, but it raises a question: Why do we so willingly get into cabs? Isn’t that driver also a stranger you know absolutely nothing about? We do it because we assume—we trust—that the driver and company have been properly vetted by the appropriate authorities and are following all rules and regulations.

But in the early days of any Internet endeavor, a lot of those built-in security systems don’t exist, especially when it comes to peer-to-peer transactions. When you buy something on eBay, for example, you don’t have an opportunity to judge body language, and a rating system is only a small—and potentially flawed—window into the seller’s past behavior. With the sharing economy, that risk only gets heightened because the consequences of a failed transaction can be much more serious. When you buy online, you’re risking a thing; if that pillow looks cheaper in person than it did in the photo, annoying as it may be, you’re only out a bit of money. More importantly, you’ll always have a buffer because no matter how acrimonious the situation may get, you’re never going to physically meet the seller. When you share online, however, you’re potentially risking yourself; if the car doesn’t arrive or that apartment doesn’t exist, you could be left out in the cold—literally.

Reinforcing Trust

Thinking about the risks that come with trust can send you careening down the rabbit hole. The power players in the sharing economy know that, and they’re proactively working to create policies to protect their users. 

“This is a brand-new experience for a lot of people, and trust is central because we’re at the forefront of creating online-to-offline interactions,” says Phil Cardenas, a former U.S. Army intelligence officer who now heads Airbnb’s 80-person Trust and Safety team. “It’s the lens through which we think about all of our projects.”

The company already has a no-fee, $1 million guarantee against property damage for its hosts in a number of countries, and it recently began offering safety devices like first-aid kits and smoke detectors to U.S. hosts. In 2013, Airbnb rolled out its Verified ID program to make sure that users’ virtual profiles line up with their real-world identities. “When you check into a hotel for the first time, you give a credit card and a copy of your ID,” Cardenas says. “We’re trying to create a sharing-economy version of that kind of verification.” 

This sort of program isn’t limited to one company: A number of enterprises, including Traity, Virtrue, and Fidbacks, have popped up to provide solutions for establishing and verifying user identities.“I truly believe the value of being anonymous in these kinds of Web marketplaces is ending,” Botsman says. “You will come to value your identity and want to build that profile because otherwise you won’t be able to enter into these new venues. Your reputation will become a commodity.”

The current verification options may not yet be perfect—DeSteno’s research has found that an individual’s trustworthiness is situational and based on his or her assessment of short-term versus long-term risk, making the past a poor indication of future behavior—but they’re a start at creating new protocols for how we as consumers, and, more importantly, as people, comport ourselves online. 

Will verification push us toward an online Age of Aquarius where we all become better people? It’s easy to be your worst self when you’re not publicly accountable for your words or deeds, but to thrive in an economy built on trust, we all need to be on our best behavior. Research suggests that people are more likely to trust someone like themselves, a tendency that’s on the rise. Future verification systems might help remind us that the people behind the screens are individuals just like us, not just avatars or funny usernames. And then, when we actually come together, face to face, because we’re sharing a car or a living space or a bicycle, we’ll remember how much we have in common—perhaps discovering, as we navigate an ever-changing digital age, that we’ve actually been brought closer together.

Melinda Mahaffey Icden is Spirit’s contributing senior editor.

 

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Melissa Cookston, restaurateur and World Barbecue Champion   

What’s your secret sauce? “A good sauce has a lot of different ingredients, as does a successful business. For starters, never sacrifice quality to turn a dollar. At my restaurant, we don’t ever take shortcuts. Another ingredient of success is culture. I’m from Mississippi, the Hospitality State, and I treat every guest as if she were sitting down at my own dining room table. Lastly, don’t ever forget where you came from, no matter how successful you become. I firmly believe in paying it forward. I get a lot of questions from people who want to start a barbecue business or enter a competition. I’m not necessarily going to send them my sauce recipe, but I’ll always tell them, ‘This is what’s worked for me. It may not work for you, but I’ll be glad to share what I know.”

The co-owner of Memphis Barbecue Co. and vice president of the National Barbecue Association recently released her first book, Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room

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3,800 pounds of fresh mint are used at the Kentucky Derby.  

Aromatic abundance is essential to the 120,000 juleps served over the course of Derby weekend, and all that spearmint is grown less than 10 miles from Churchill Downs, giving spectators a true taste of Kentucky. “Most of the mint you see in bars is Israeli mint; depending on what time of year it was harvested, it can be overly oily,” says Fred Minnick, a contributing bourbon expert at the Kentucky Derby Museum and the author of Whiskey Women. “Kentucky mint is extremely vibrant, and its oils are less intrusive.” A homegrown ingredient for a signature thirst-slaker? How refreshing.

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You can grow 11 miles of hair in a year. 

If you took every strand on your head—all 100,000 to 150,000 of them—and laid them end to end, after a year of growth you’d have anywhere from 7 to 11 miles of hair on your, er, hands. While each strand’s average output is roughly a centimeter per month, its lifespan is only about four years, which explains why most manes don’t fall longer than mid-back. But you can maximize growing potential. “Eating a healthy diet that’s rich in protein and iron is a good way of maintaining hair health,” says Dr. Paradi Mirmirani, a dermatologist in Vallejo, California, who specializes in hair disorders. In that case, we’re throwing another steak on the grill.

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The Lodge on the Cove

As the saying goes, “Everything old is new again.” That’s never been truer than at this boutique hotel, a Classical Revival–style mansion from 1900 that opened this past fall after a six-month renovation. Located a few blocks west of The University of Texas at Austin, the property—which landed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975—was built by Dr. Goodall Wooten, the son of one of UT’s original regents. Legend has it that his wife, after whom the hotel was named, chose to add the stately exterior columns in 1910 instead of taking a trip around the world. Today, the handsome hideaway boasts 47 rooms, 10 of which are tucked inside the original home. (You’ll find the other 37 in a sleek, art-filled annex.) From the carefully executed old-timey cocktails—think “prescriptions” and “cures”—at Goodall’s Kitchen & Bar to the decidedly modern pool area, we think you’ll agree that this freshly polished grand dame is indeed ready for her reemergence.

AIRPORT Portland International Jetport (PWM) RATE From $169

 

While You’re There 

Take a ride on the Rugosa, a 1960s wooden lobster boat, to try your hand at harvesting Maine’s most famous export. The 90-minute jaunt doubles as a scenic tour.  

Eat oysters and locally sourced organic fare like gorgonzola-and-spinach egg rolls at long-running hot spot Bandaloop.

Trace history at First Families Kennebunkport Museum, which details the lives of Kennebunkport locals ranging from sea captains to summer residents George H.W. and Barbara Bush. 

 

 

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Automobile

“At Dead Rabbit, which is named after a legendary Irish gang that existed in Lower Manhattan in the 1850s, we celebrate ingredients that were prevalent at the time. One of those is absinthe. This drink is a riff on Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon, and the recipe you see here is our reincarnation of the one that appears in Daly’s Bartenders’ Encyclopedia, written in 1903. Parfait amour is basically a more complex orange curaçao. The sweetness of that and the celery cordial combine with the anise flavor of the absinthe, and it’s all balanced out by champagne. Even though I’m partial to Irish whiskey, it’s one of my favorite drinks on the menu.”

Who Jack McGarry, head bartender 

Where Dead Rabbit

 

Ingredients:

¼ cup superfine sugar

¼ cup celery juice

¼ cup water

½ ounce celery cordial 

ounce Pernod absinthe ½ ounce Marie Brizard parfait amour

dashes Bittermens Orchard Street celery shrub

ounces Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut champagne

 

Directions:

1. Make celery cordial: Combine ingredients. Heat until sugar is dissolved, then cool.

2. Combine first four ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice, then stir. Top with champagne. Strain into a sling glass. 

3. Release the oils of a lemon peel over the drink. Garnish with a lemon peel.

 

 

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Fried Broccoli

“Rather than jamming as many tables as we can into Pinewood Social, we provide things to do. There’s a coffee shop and six bowling lanes, and this summer we’re adding a pool, an Airstream turned tiki bar, and bocce ball. When we were creating the menu, Randall Pruden, one of the sous chefs, asked if I had ever had fried broccoli. ‘Not battered, just fried, so it’s caramely and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside,’ he said. He added sea salt and lemon juice, and it was just awesome. We wanted to have a vegan appetizer, so we came up with the dipping sauce. People are always impressed by how simple—but how good—it is.” 

Who Josh Habiger, culinary director 

Where Pinewood Social 

 

Ingredients:

canola oil 

2 heads broccoli, cut into florets

zest of 2 lemons 

sea salt 

½ cup raw almonds

¼ cup golden raisins

tablespoons red wine vinegar

1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard

shallot, chopped

clove garlic, chopped

½ cup olive oil

½ cup water

juice of 1 lemon half 

 

Directions:

1. Fill saucepan with 2 inches canola oil. Heat to 375 degrees.

2. Fry broccoli until edges appear crispy, about 30 seconds. Remove, and set on a paper towel. Top with lemon zest and sea salt.

3. Using a food processor, puree ingredients until smooth. 

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Sarah McLachlan, if we listen to your new album, what can we expect? Oh, you know, love, lust, betrayal, loss, mourning, resurrection. Typical stuff!

If you had a personal motto, what would it be? Be mindful and proceed with kindness, and don’t burn bridges, for someday you will surely have to walk back over them.

If you could rid yourself of one deeply personal fear, what would it be? Any fears I have seem to be legitimate, as recognizing fear has saved me from harm on more than one occasion. So I would rather hold on to them.

If you’ve learned one parenting tip with your two young daughters, what would it be? Take a breath, count to 10, and don’t engage in the argument. 

If you could give your 10-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be? Know your worth and stand up for yourself and others. Also, it will get better.

 

 

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Candy Crush has been downloaded more than 500 times.  

The addictive app—where colorful treats are pulverized with finger-swipes—scored the most mobile downloads in 2013, an achievement that Marcos Sanchez, VP of global corporate communications at mobile analytics company App Annie, attributes to the game’s recipe of risk and reward. The intuitive gameplay pulls people in, “but it’s difficult enough that players feel a sense of achievement when they finish a level,” Sanchez says. Candy Crush is free, but gamers hungry for goodies like extra lives and power-ups shell out about $650,000 daily, making it thetop grossing app of 2013, too. Talk about sweet success.

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Laughing Matters

Psychologist Peter McGraw explores the intersection of science and humor.

What’s the value of humor? “Most obviously, it’s something that makes us and others feel good,” McGraw says. “But a shared sense of humor can also be an indicator of a successful relationship. If you and I laugh at the same things, it says we see the world in a similar way, and we’re likely to get along in other, non-humorous situations.”

What makes things funny? “It starts with the realization that a negative or threatening situation is actually acceptable or safe. In scenarios like this, which are wrong yet OK, we laugh to indicate to others that the violation is benign—so laughter serves a social purpose.”  

Do you have to be born with comedic talent? “Everybody’s funny in their own way, but some people do seem to have an advantage at being broadly funny. They tend to think it’s innate, but it can’t be, in the same way that any other complex skill isn’t. Your ability to play the piano or hit a tennis ball is improved through practice, coaching, and experimentation. That’s why the best comedians are older—they’ve taken years to hone their craft.” 

How can you tell a better joke? “Test it out in advance. Great comics make a joke seem spontaneous, but they know it’s going to land because they’ve told it before. If you tell a joke and it doesn’t go so well, don’t be afraid to apologize. My standard apology is, ‘This is what happens when someone who studies what makes things funny tries to be funny.’ I know that if my first joke doesn’t get a laugh, my apology will. I’ve had to say it enough times that I know it works.”

 

Peter McGraw is co-author of The Humor Code and runs the Humor Research Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder. 

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The sound level in the world’s quietest room is -13 decibels. 

A pin-drop is nothing. Idle for a while in the anechoic (non-echoing) chamber at Minneapolis’ Orfield Laboratories, Inc., and you might pick up on the sound of your own heart beating. As strangely cool as that is, not everyone can tolerate the average half-hour needed for their ears to acclimate to the eerie sensation of negative sound levels. “People normally walk into our minus-decibel chamber [from] a 60- or 70-decibel world,” says Steven Orfield, the research firm’s founder. The unsettling lack of auditory cues sends some folks packing in minutes. Good thing the room’s usual occupants are inanimate—the space is used for acoustic tests on items like washing machines and cellphone displays. Sounds fascinating, but we’ll seek our peace and quiet someplace louder.

 

 

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Hotel Ella

As the saying goes, “Everything old is new again.” That’s never been truer than at this boutique hotel, a Classical Revival–style mansion from 1900 that opened this past fall after a six-month renovation. Located a few blocks west of The University of Texas at Austin, the property—which landed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975—was built by Dr. Goodall Wooten, the son of one of UT’s original regents. Legend has it that his wife, after whom the hotel was named, chose to add the stately exterior columns in 1910 instead of taking a trip around the world. Today, the handsome hideaway boasts 47 rooms, 10 of which are tucked inside the original home. (You’ll find the other 37 in a sleek, art-filled annex.) From the carefully executed old-timey cocktails—think “prescriptions” and “cures”—at Goodall’s Kitchen & Bar to the decidedly modern pool area, we think you’ll agree that this freshly polished grand dame is indeed ready for her reemergence.

Airport Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) Rate From $339 

 

While You’re There 

Stroll the Bremond Block Historic District to admire its 11 Victorian-era homes on a free weekend walking tour courtesy of the city’s CVB.

Eye the 17,000-piece collection of European, American, and Latin American works at The Blanton Museum of Art, located on UT’s campus. 

Sip craft cocktails at Freedmen’s, an upscale barbecue joint housed in an 1869 building constructed by George Franklin, a former slave. 

 

 

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Russell Simmons, author and hip-hop/fashion mogul  

How do you maintain a sense of calm under pressure?
“Early in my career, I believed that the stress I was feeling—and the worrying and the insomnia—was part of being successful. Yet, the minute I started making a conscious effort to let go of those things, I became more productive. Relieving the anxiety in your life is essential to being a good businessperson. If that’s gone, the mind is calm, and from a calm mind comes creativity. Every morning when I wake up and every evening before I go to bed, I sit still for 20 minutes and let my thoughts settle. Those moments of stillness are where my greatest ideas come from—every creative thought, every innovative business plan. If you can eliminate the outside noise, you’ll find that the answers are inside you.”

The co-founder of Def Jam Recordings and founder of Phat Fashions recently released his fourth book, Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple.

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The Decoy

“It’s fun to introduce people to something cool and new, but we also like creating cocktails using flavors that are familiar. While these ingredients may not be typically found together, they’re all easily recognizable—and might remind you of a punch or lemonade that you had in your backyard as a kid. The name of the drink comes from its appearance. Deep Eddy Cranberry Vodka is dark red, and the hibiscus syrup deepens that. The cocktail’s color makes it look a little imposing, as if you’re getting a Negroni up, but it’s actually smooth and sweet. You don’t expect it to be fruity—it looks a lot different than it tastes.”

Who Lou Charbonneau, bar manager 

Where Sonsie

 

Ingredients:

2½ ounces Deep Eddy Cranberry Vodka

¾ ounce hibiscus  syrup

½ ounce lemon juice

3 dashes Angostura bitters

ginger beer

 

Directions:

Combine vodka, hibiscus syrup, lemon juice, and bitters in a mixing glass. Add ice, then shake. Add a splash of ginger beer. Strain into a martini glass.

 

 

 

 

 

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It used to take 27 hours to make a peep.  

In 1953, Bethlehem, Pennsyl-vania–based confectioner Just Born Inc. was planning to buy another candy maker, Rodda, which was famous for its jelly beans. On a factory tour, Just Born’s owners found out that Rodda also produced bird-shaped marshmallow treats called Peeps. “They looked at each other and said, ‘This is a gold mine,’” says Matt Pye, Just Born’s VP of Corporate Affairs. At the time, the chicks were hand-sqeezed through pastry tubes and needed hours to firm up. From mixing to final packaging, the whole operation took more than a day. But within a year of the acquisition, Just Born had automated the process,  paring it down to six minutes. The factory now produces 5 million chicks a day. It might be the only time it’s OK to count them before they hatch.


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Shakespeare invented more than 1,600 English words. 

Feeling at a loss for words? Then take a page out of the Bard’s book. “English simply couldn’t accommodate all of the things Shakespeare needed to say,” explains Felicia Londré, a theater professor at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. “So he borrowed words, changed words, and gave new meaning to words,” in addition to conjuring up his own. While you have Will to thank for terms like bandit, laughable, and zany, not all of his contributions have survived. Among the many casualties: John-a-dreams (an idle muser) and disliken (to disguise). A lost lexical legacy? We’re speechless. 

 

 

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Hey Little Spender 

Father-daughter duo Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze share tips for raising money-wise kids.

 

Spirit: Why teach children money management? 

Dave: Parents should adopt the idea that teaching a kid about money is a life skill. We teach them to brush their teeth and drive a car, so we should teach them about personal finance. Your economic strata, the neighborhood you live in, and your race don’t enter into it; it’s something anyone can do. 

 

S: Where to start?

D: The first step is to get your own act together because your kids are observing you. It’s going to be very difficult to motivate them to do things you’re not willing or able to do yourself. You don’t have to be perfect, though. I don’t have to have gotten a 4.0 to require my children to study, but I do have to make the effort.

RACHEL: The idea is that more is caught than taught, and your kids are watching.

 

S: If parents shouldn’t try to turn a spender into a saver or vice versa, what should they do?

R: Since people are generally wired one way or the other, you’re trying to find a balance between the two. If you live your whole life as a saver, it’s going to be pretty boring, but if you’re a spender, you’ll have no money left. Your goal is to teach your kids to find the balance between enjoying money when they make it and being responsible and saving up for things like retirement.

 

S: What’s one tip parents can implement today?

R: We recommend using a commission system: kids work for their money, and then you divide it up into three envelopes: “give,” “save,” and “spend.” But don’t make the mistake of holding on to those earnings yourself—then you get 16-year-olds who don’t know how to write a check or swipe a debit card. And when they’re 18 and they go out into the world, they have no foundation for managing their own finances. I encourage parents to let kids experience money on their own—but with Mom and Dad’s guidance.   

 

Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze are the authors of Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money.

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Golden Idea
Bitcoin’s getting a lot of buzz. But how does it really work?

By Jill Coody Smits

 

By now you’ve probably heard of Bitcoin. But what is it: an innovative, universal form of money that will alter the way we live, or an unstable, unchecked hoax? How on Earth does it work, and why should you care? While not simple, the answers (at least to some of those questions) do exist.

In the simplest terms, Bitcoin is a global, Internet-based currency that is available to everyone. Bitcoin with a capital “B” refers to an overarching payment system, while bitcoin with a lowercase “b” refers to a monetary unit. It is the most prominent of many cryptocurrencies—digital systems of money that use encryption to secure transactions. It’s also important to note that Bitcoin is in its infancy, and while it may not be ready for prime time, many believe it will eventually change the way we all pay for goods and services.

 

The Virtual Buck Starts Here

In 2009, working under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, a still-unknown person, or people, released a software system that allowed individuals to securely and directly pay one another with a digital currency. It’s worth reiterating the “securely and directly” part because in computer science, there had been a long-standing problem called “double spending” that made it impossible to know whether someone duplicated and double spent electronic cash unless a third party (e.g., a bank) verified it. 

Bitcoin solved that problem by using an “open source distributed system,” which means you can, in theory, recoup bitcoins loaned to a co-worker during lunch without waiting for the bank to confirm she’s good for it. That’s because the system simply won’t allow her to spend a bitcoin she doesn’t have. 

As bitcoins are spent, transac-tions are grouped into blocks and entered into a sort of giant, virtual bank ledger called the “blockchain.” Those blockchain transactions are verified by a huge network of people called “miners.” 

In order for a miner to verify a block of transactions, he or she must first gain access to it. Each block is locked behind an extremely complex password, and miners use high-powered computers to run the complex calculations that lead to correct passwords.

When a block is unlocked, a new bitcoin is released into circulation. So miners act as both bookkeepers and currency producers, and they’re compensated in bitcoins (about 25 for every block they unlock). 

There is a finite supply of bitcoins—21 million—and the complex passwords miners are required to break in order to hatch new ones are designed to be increasingly complicated. Nakamoto created it that way, so that the supply increases gradually. (Nakamoto also designed the system to produce a maximum of 25 bitcoins every 10 minutes, another control measure.)

 

Bitcoin and You

Now that you (kind of) understand the Bitcoin system, perhaps you want to use it. First, you have to buy bitcoins, much like you’d need to buy pesos if you went to Mexico. In this case, rather than hitting the airport exchange booth, you’ll need to purchase a bitcoin wallet—computer software that allows you to store, spend, and receive bitcoins on your mobile device or computer—from a site like Blockchain.info. Then you’ll need to fill it with bitcoins purchased from a site like Coinbase.com. Or, if you’re in Austin, Texas, where America’s first bitcoin ATM is located, you could exchange your cash for bitcoins much like you would withdraw funds with your debit card. 

However you acquire your bitcoins, once you’re flush, you may want to spend them. Via an encrypted code, you can transfer funds from your wallet to someone else’s. It’s akin to sending someone an email, only the message is in bitcoins. 

Keep in mind, though, that only a small number of merchants currently accept bitcoins. Even in Austin, if someone stocked their wallet at that ATM, they’d be hard-pressed to spend it locally. (They could, however, shop on Overstock.com, which began accepting bitcoins in January.)

 

A Bitcoiner’s Point of View

Paul Snow is president of the Austin-based Texas Bitcoin Association. In 2011, he impulsively bought some bitcoins for around 77 cents each and all but forgot about them until 2013, when he watched the price skyrocket from $34 to $1,200 over the course of the year. In November, the 54-year-old quit his job as a software developer to focus his attention on Bitcoin.

Snow says he was drawn to Bitcoin in part because “economically, we want a system that keeps score fairly, transparently, and in strict accordance with rules that are applied equally to all involved.”

While acknowledging some shortcomings, like an insufficient infrastructure, he expects that Bitcoin will have the corner on the virtual currency market—at least in the short term. “Bitcoin is going to be a hugely disruptive technology, and there are people who will make a phenomenal amount of money from being in on it early on.”

 

Security, Controversies, and Regulation, Oh My!

While there are plenty of winning Bitcoin stories like Snow’s, many experts believe it should be approached with caution. 

Mark Williams, a risk management expert and finance lecturer at Boston University, says questions about Bitcoin’s security, as well as its tarnished reputation, volatility, and troubled infrastructure, are all reasons to be skeptical of it. Pointing to the drawn-out collapse of Mt. Gox (in late February, the company, once the largest bitcoin exchange, shut down, resulting in the loss of a speculated $400 million worth of bitcoins), Williams says Bitcoin “rests on a false belief that self-regulation, untraceable currency, and transactions outside of well-tested and established banking channels can be done safely with little risk to customers.” 

Jerry Brito, a researcher at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, agrees that Bitcoin might be a risky investment, but says the high-profile incidents are simply growing pains of a young industry. “A lot of these first-generation companies started by hobbyists are failing and being replaced by very serious companies backed by prominent venture capitalists.”

Despite interest from investors, some experts view Bitcoin as a scam or pyramid scheme, in part because only a handful of people own half of all bitcoins in circulation. In response, Brito says, “Whatever you think of their motives, whether it was for profit or ideological, they solved the double spending problem. They deserve to profit, as they’ve accomplished a technological feat.”

Finally, there’s the fact that Bitcoin is a decentralized currency with no connection to a government. Williams has fundamental issues with this point, and in his testimony at the New York State Department of Financial Services’ hearings on the regulation of virtual currencies held in January, he emphasized how the dollar took centuries to earn respect and still relies on a sound central bank, regulation, and enforcement, while Bitcoin has none of that. “Economies are driven not by math models and equations, but by people,” he says. “Bitcoin still has a long way to go before it should be relied upon as a mainstream means of transaction or even for investment speculation.”

It does appear that regulation is inevitable, and there are moves to clarify how both state and federal rules apply to virtual currency. In that vein, Benjamin Lawsky, the superintendent of New York’s Department of Financial Services, recently announced plans to “adopt enhanced consumer disclosure rules, capital requirements, and a framework for permissible investments with consumer money.”

 

Don’t Blink

As Williams says, “In Bitcoin world, a week is equivalent to a decade in real life.” To illustrate that point, consider what occurred over several weeks in early 2014. There was the perplexing disappearance of Mt. Gox; Charlie Shrem, founder and CEO of early Bitcoin player BitInstant, was arrested for laundering money for users of an Internet black market called Silk Road; Russia followed in China’s footsteps by declaring Bitcoin illegal; and the price of 1 bitcoin dropped from around $1,000 to about $550. 

The instability, coupled with its unheard-of price spike (the price of 1 bitcoin this time last year was roughly $34), has convinced Williams that Bitcoin is in a soon-to-burst bubble. 

But Brito says the volatility will subside as more people engage with it. “It’s volatile because it’s a small economy; one trade or a news story can send the market moving.” He says it’s important to remember that Bitcoin is a platform, and soon “someone will build a killer application” for it and the technology “will be wide-spread,” in part because it’s cheaper and faster than debit and credit cards.

Imagine the money to be saved if merchants didn’t have to pay transaction fees, for example, or if you could circumvent a bank when sending money to your Dutch uncle. As for other potential uses, some believe there are many, though it’s too soon to know exactly what will pan out.

Maybe Ben Bernanke sums it up best. In a November letter to Congress, he wrote, “while these types of innovations may pose risks related to law enforcement and supervisory matters, there are also areas in which they may hold long-term promise, particularly if the innovations promote a faster, more secure and more efficient payment system.” That we can buy into.

 

Jill Coody Smits is an Austin, Texas–based journalist. Find her online at blueseedcommunications.com.

 

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Tracy Morgan, if you were an animal, what would you be?

A lion. He’s the king of the jungle, man. 

In Rio 2, your character’s motto is “Drool is cool.” If you had a personal motto, what would it be? Cool is cool. 

If you had a time machine, where would you go and why? I’d go all the way back to the beginning of time just to see how it all went down. 

If you could give your 10-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be? Keep doing what you’re doing. 

If you could have created any work of art by another artist, what would it be? Everything Michael Jackson ever did. He was just awesome.  

If you ruled the world, what’s the first thing you would change? I would get rid of hate. 

If you had a superpower, what would it be? I’d be invisible so I wouldn’t have to explain anything to anybody. 

If this were the last day of your life, what would you be doing? Chilling with my kids, surrounded by love. 

If we take our kids to see Rio 2, what can we expect? A lot of love. A lot of laughs. It’s a great movie, and I thank God that I’m a part of it. 

 

 

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Salt and Pepper Ribs

“I grew up in Memphis, and we cooked a lot on wood. I like to incorporate my history into the restaurant—we’ve got a wood-burning grill where we burn whatever local wood we can get at the time. These ribs have a light, smoky flavor, and the basic salt-and-pepper blend gives them a little kick—but nothing too spicy. Saba is made from a wine byproduct and adds a hint of earthiness. It’s the only crazy ingredient in this recipe; most everything else you’re already going to have lying around the house. I made this for a 60-person cocktail dinner, and doing all of the ribs was a cinch.”

Who Cullen Campbell, chef/owner 

Where Crudo

 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons cracked black pepper

1 tablespoon chili powder

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 three-pound pork rib racks

2 ounces each parsley, rosemary, and basil

6 ounces saba

 

Directions:

1. Mix dry ingredients together, and coat rib racks. Place in a baking pan, cover with foil, and cook in a 250-degree oven for 2 hours. Remove, then grill over low to medium heat for 1 hour. 

2. Roughly chop herbs, mix together, and set aside.

3. Place ribs on a serving platter. Brush with saba, then garnish with chopped herbs.

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42% of husbands have lied to their wives about dinging the car. 

Not only have they concealed the minor mishaps—they’ve pinned the blame elsewhere. Wives aren’t angels in the driver’s seat, either: In a survey by Insure.com, 27 percent said they’d fabricated the same falsehood. Moreover, 24 percent of folks are hiding accidents from their mates. But the truth can have a pesky way of surfacing. “Some people will find out that a spouse has done something wrong when they see their car insurance rates have gone up,” says Amy Danise, an Insure.com spokesperson. Other times, sidestepping consequences is a snap: “It’s really easy to blame someone else for a ding,” Danise acknowledges. Apparently honesty isn’t always seen as the best (insurance) policy.

 

 

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Ties That Bind Psychologist David DeSteno untangles matters of trust, from some common misconceptions to questionable cues

What are some of the myths surrounding trust?

Oftentimes, we assume someone is trustworthy or not based on his or her reputation. If that were such a great predictor then we wouldn’t be surprised so often. Science tells us that everyone has his price—whether he knows it or not. We each have two types of mechanisms: those that favor short-term gain and those that favor long-term gain. If you’re thinking short-term, you’ll take whatever you can get and run. However, long-term gain requires you to be more community-oriented to get what you want in the end. Whether you are trustworthy or not in any given moment is determined by which of these two urges is motivating you. 

What traits should you look for when determining if someone is trustworthy?

We tend to think about trust in terms of integrity, but there’s another component that’s equally as important: competence. When you’re deciding whom to trust in a certain situation, consider what might be required of that person. For example, I trust my best friend, but I wouldn’t want him operating on me because he’s not a surgeon. Ask yourself not only if the person is honest and fair, but also if he can competently do what you need him to do. My friend may have every intention to help me, but without the competence to do so, the end result will still be failure. 

Can I trust my boss?

People in positions of power—socioeconomically or otherwise—are more likely to be untrustworthy because they can be. Trust involves making yourself vulnerable to others. The more power you have, the less you rely on others and the less vulnerable you are.

Is it possible to base trust on body language?

Yes, it is possible, but in the past we’ve been looking for a single telltale marker, like shifty eyes or a fake smile, neither of which is telling on its own. Recent studies suggest that only when four particular cues are used in sequence do they predict when a person is going to be untrustworthy. Those are crossing one’s arms, leaning back (or orienting yourself away from someone), touching your face, and fidgeting with your hands. When used together, they say, “I’m probably going to cheat you.”

 

David DeSteno is the author of The Truth About Trust: How It Determines Success in Life, Love, Learning, and More

 

 

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You have 250 milliseconds to catch a fall. 

That’s the minimum time the brain needs to register that your body’s off-kilter and to do what it takes to avoid a tumble. “Anything less than 250 milliseconds—you’re probably not going to catch yourself,” says Daniel Ferris, a University of Michigan professor of kinesiology. In a recent study on balance, Ferris’ team homed in on the left sensorimotor cortex, an area of the brain thought to be responsible for coordinating motion. When you realize you’re falling, this region responds first, sending out the neural signals that set your body in motion to (ideally) restore stability—all within a quarter-second. Now that’s what we call quick thinking.

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35% of parents don’t understand what their adult child does for a living. 

Mom and Dad no doubt remember your childhood ambitions—but chances are they’re fuzzy on the details of your grown-up gig. A recent LinkedIn survey found that more than one-third of parents worldwide are in the dark about their kid’s daily responsibilities. (Americans are slightly ahead of the curve; only 29 percent find their child’s work mystifying.) Blame it on ambiguous job titles like UI designer, social media manager, and data scientist. “These jobs may not have existed when some of the parents were in the workforce,” says Catherine Fisher, director of corporate communications at LinkedIn. Still, 94 percent of folks are proud of their child’s professional accomplishments. Whatever they are.

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Togarashi Cheesecake

“I grew up in Brooklyn and we always went to Junior’s for cheesecake. It’s one of my favorite things to eat, but there’s a lot of mediocre cheesecake being served across the country. We wanted to come up with a version that was inventive and more elegant. At MilkWood, we’re always messing around with spice—I’m a chili-head, so the spicier the better. For this cheesecake, we used a Japanese chili spice blend called togarashi to offset the tartness of the goat cheese in the recipe. Togarashi is not melt-your-face-off spicy, but it’s just spicy enough to tickle the back of your throat. In Japanese food, it’s like adding salt and pepper.” 

Who Edward Lee, owner/chef

Where MilkWood

 

Ingredients:

14 ounces fresh goat cheese

6 ounces cream cheese

½ cup buttermilk

½ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon togarashi 

4 eggs

1 graham cracker crust

1 tablespoon sorghum syrup

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 

2. Whisk together goat cheese, cream cheese, buttermilk, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon togarashi. Beat in eggs one at a time until smooth. 

3. Pour filling into graham cracker crust. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon togarashi. 

4. Bake in a warm water bath for 80 minutes. 

5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Just before serving, drizzle each slice with sorghum syrup.

 

 

 

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Nizuc Resort and Spa

Located on the site of a former Mexican presidential retreat, the 29-acre luxury resort—which officially debuted in September 2013—nestles along a secluded stretch of coastline just 20 minutes south of Cancún. But why go into town? Nizuc’s six restaurants serve up an international sampler platter, from contemporary Mexican fare to Asian fusion, while the beachfront Bar A-Kan, one of three resort lounges, offers one of the region’s largest tequila and mezcal collections. Adventurous travelers will enjoy guided sunrise paddleboarding, snorkeling above the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, or kayaking through the mangroves that front part of the property, while kids can frolic on the private family beach or indulge their artistic sides with cooking classes and crafts. Just want to relax? With 274 suites spread through three separate residential areas, there’s space for everyone—plus an adults-only beach and a 30,000-square-foot spa.

AIRPORT Cancún International (CUN) RATE From $380 

 

While You’re There 

Dive in to explore the Cancún Underwater Museum, featuring artist Jason deCaires Taylor’s 400-plus coral-encrusted statues. You can snorkel, but you’ll get more up close and personal with a scuba tank. 

Explore the Yucatán Peninsula’s history on a day tour to Chichén Itzá or Tulum, the sites of Mexico’s most famous—and, arguably, most spectacular—Mayan ruins. 

Shoot for par at the Jack Nicklaus–designed Riviera Cancun Golf Club. Opened in 2008, the 18-hole course is the area’s newest spot of greens. 


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Growing a culture of generosity can pay dividends down the line.

By Jill Coody Smits

 

In business, the long view—the one where you keep your eyes on the future and on the world beyond your office door—isn’t always an easy gaze to hold. What with profits to make and salaries to pay, keeping your eyes anywhere but on your wallet and the challenge at hand can feel impossibly idealistic.

But there’s a growing business case to be made for the long view, whether you’re opening a new store, writing a strategic plan, or networking at happy hour. It requires that you renounce short-term thinking, fly your generosity flag, and eschew the “whatever it takes” mentality found in boardrooms big and small. It’s a kinder, gentler way of doing business, and it may be the surest route to the top.

 

The Tao of Burger Joints

For years, Patrick Terry daydreamed about opening a burger stand, a vision that is still laced with idealism. He says, “I like the idea of a burger, fries, and a milkshake; I like the exchange of that, and think it’s really pleasant.” 

After reading the decidedly unpleasant book Fast Food Nation, Terry and his wife, Kathy, decided to make his dream a reality, but to do it atypically. In 2005, the first P. Terry’s Burger Stand opened on a busy corner in Austin, Texas, with a mission to reinvent the fast-food industry depicted in Eric Schlosser’s 2001 best seller. 

From quality ingredients and fair wages to good customer service and earth-friendly practices, Terry says, “The mantra has always been ‘do the right thing.’ We mumble that to ourselves when making decisions.” Moreover, Terry says his strategy from the outset was “to build something of substance, something that would be around for a long time.”

Nine years later, P. Terry’s is working on its ninth stand. They pay their 300-plus employees well above minimum wage, offer Spanish-speaking employees English lessons, give interest-free emergency loans to help people get into an apartment or a car, and always promote from within. Employee bonuses totaled up to more than $65,000 in December 2013.

In addition to taking good care of employees, P. Terry’s uses all-natural beef and healthy ingredients, recycles all paper and cardboard from the back of the house, and has donated more than $332,000 to local causes. Terry says the stands themselves are designed to be places that make the street nicer for years to come.

All of that investment—in structures, healthy products, employees, and sustainability—is costly. Especially when you consider that their burger goes for $2. Still, Terry says the effort is both essential and worthwhile. There’s gravy, too, in the form of happy customers. 

 

Make Way for the Commons

As Terry suggests, success doesn’t have to come at the expense of the greater good. In fact, it’s a karmic philosophy that’s seeping into the psyche of future leaders via a surprising source—business school. 

Leo Burke, director of the Global Commons Initiative at Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, says all businesspeople should be mindful of the outside world, because “business exists for the good of society, not the other way around.” (Take THAT, Wolf of Wall Street.)

A former Motorola executive, Burke launched the GCI in 2012 with the goal of educating students about the commons “so that they can make better business decisions that contribute to the greater good.” The “commons” in Burke’s initiative are an ancient concept he explains as the “tangible and intangible resources that sustain and enhance life that must be collectively governed by users for the good of current beneficiaries and future generations.”

It sounds like heady stuff, but the commons are just the shared things that make life good for all of us and should be there for us way down the road. There are natural-resource commons like mountains, cultural commons like customs, and even digital commons like the Internet. No one owns them, but we all use and benefit from them, and we are all responsible for them. 

It’s a compelling idea, but why should the commons be integrated into a business school curriculum? Burke makes it sound like a no-brainer. “It’s critical for future leaders to understand that, in addition to the private sector and public sector, there are resources we hold in common, and they need to be protected.”

According to Burke, the market is not yet beginning to demand that perspective, at least not in a mainstream way. However, “people are beginning to understand that if we don’t protect the common good, there won’t be healthy markets.” 

So, what is a well-intentioned company to do? “A very narrowly defined view of business is you grab the input resources at their cheapest and maximize profits by unloading at any cost,” says Burke. A better way, he insists, is to take a hard look at your business and ask whether anyone or anything is being exploited along the way. Do you ship using eco-friendly materials? Are you paying a fair wage? Do you give back to your community in some meaningful way?

Of course, it’s not always simple to factor in the greater good, particularly after a troubling quarterly meeting. But, Burke says even small positive steps are valuable.

 

Good Guys (and Gals) Finish First

Terry understands the complex decision-making that often goes into doing the right thing. He says there are times when monthly budgets and good intentions collide, “then you step back and tell yourself that you do this 12 months a year, so don’t put this one under the microscope and reevaluate what you think is right.” 

Recycling at P. Terry’s is one example of a complicated and evolving solution. The stores started with recyclable food packaging, then added a dumpster to each location so all materials from the back of the house get recycled. While trash from the front of the house represents a small percentage of the store’s waste, space and logistics issues make recycling it an unresolved but nagging concern. Terry says, “We have an ongoing conversation with ourselves on how to improve, and I’m confident there’ll be a time when we will recycle more.”

These efforts matter, Burke says, and from bond ratings that factor in sustainability practices to customers with high expectations, they will likely have more and more impact on success. It’s a natural progression. Many companies, like Patagonia, are already holding themselves to a higher standard, and they make a profit. Terry says the connection between the “do good” mantra and the success of their burger stands is undeniable. “I get too many customer comments to think otherwise.”

 

Give a Little, Gain a Lot

Even on an individual scale, there is evidence that generous people are more successful than selfish ones. 

In his book, Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, Wharton professor Adam Grant contends that most people fall into one of three categories: givers, takers, or matchers. Givers give with no expectation of return, takers are only in it for themselves, and matchers give based on an assumption of reciprocity. 

Motivation, skills, and opportunity being equal, guess who tends to be the most successful? 

While all types can and do succeed, Grant found that givers tend to be especially successful more often, in part because they create a large network of people who happily reciprocate their “no strings attached” generosity. In addition, once you’re known as the helpful guy, people begin “rooting rather than gunning for you,” and new doors begin to open. 

There’s a fine line between “supreme giver” and “doormat,” however, and a pile of givers can be found at the bottom of the ladder. Grant says the key to supremacy is giving in a way that doesn’t compromise your goals and success.

Successful givers tend to be generous with givers and matchers, but cautious of takers. Failed givers respond to everyone, which can result in a “jack of all trades, master of none” problem. A more effective way, Grant says, is to focus giving in a few areas you enjoy and are uniquely qualified for, which makes the giving feel “energizing and efficient rather than distracting and exhausting.”

Do so and—voilà. You’ve just carved out your niche, which means folks won’t come knocking every time they need a random favor. 

Most of us are matchers, however, and Grant says we tit-for-tat masses make a few mistakes. The first is giving off a transactional vibe. (Conversely, givers make favors “feel like an investment in a meaningful relationship.”) The second is that matchers only help people who can pay it back—a shortsighted view of networking.

As for takers, well, they win some and lose some, but they’re bad for business. “When you get groups of employees willing to give, you have more innovation from shared knowledge,” Grant says. 

Leaders can encourage a giving culture by engaging in giving behaviors themselves. Things like putting organizational interests first (i.e., the corporate jet is not a personal chauffeur), sharing knowledge, and providing feedback have a way of trickling down. 

Operating with the greater good in mind may not always be easy, but research suggests it can be a winning business strategy. So do successful business owners. “Once the philosophy gets implemented, it takes on a life of its own,” Terry says. “You connect with a high caliber of people, and it’s all just working in tandem.”

Who knows, if you do it right, you may just give your way into giving a Giving Pledge. 

 

Jill Coody Smits is an Austin, Texas–based journalist. Find her online at blueseedcommunications.com.

 

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Puncher’s Chance

“A lot of my inspiration for cocktails comes from food. I had a dish some months back at a Burmese restaurant that used coconut and black sesame seeds, and I knew I had to make a cocktail geared toward that combination. So when we held an event this past October called the Mission Margarita Brawl, where 10 bars in the neighborhood had to make their take on a margarita, I thought to myself, What if I got black sesame seeds, ground them up, and added some salt to make the salt rim? This punch-style cocktail works well because, on the front, you’ve got the smokiness from the mezcal, and on the finish, the driving acidity with the coconut. We won the brawl.”

Who Dominic Alling, bar director
Where Beretta
 

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

2 ounces loose black tea

3 vanilla pods

1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

black sesame salt

2 ounces mezcal

¾ ounce lime juice

 

Directions:

1. Make puncher’s mix: Combine sugar with 2 cups of water. Boil for 10 minutes. Add loose tea and vanilla pods, and let steep for 7 minutes. Strain. Add coconut flakes, then let sit for 30 minutes, stirring periodically. Strain and cool.

2. Rim a Nick & Nora glass with black sesame salt, and fill with ice. Combine mezcal, lime juice, and 1/2 ounce puncher’s mix in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake, then strain into glass.

 

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Cesar Millan, celebrity dog behaviorist and best-selling author 

What is the key to a functional workplace? “This is one particular area where we can learn a lot from animals. In a pack of dogs, there are essentially three groups: those in the front, those in the middle, and those in the back. While each plays a significant role, no group is superior. The dogs in the front, typically referred to as alphas, give direction and offer protection; these are your leaders. The dogs in the middle of the pack keep order and ensure that things run smoothly. Those in the back are the cautious ones, responsible for alerting the others to potential threats. When building a team, adopt a pack mentality. Recognize that it’s just as important
to find people who are happy being in the back as it is to identify strong leaders. And maintain a balance of these respective personalities to promote cohesion.”

Cesar Millan’s new series, Cesar 911, premieres on Nat Geo Wild on March 7.

 

 

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Tony Goldwyn, if you were involved in a scandal, what would it be? Hmm. An affair with the First Lady? 

If you were actually the POTUS, what’s the first thing you would do? Go sit quietly alone in the Oval Office. It would be my last quiet moment for the next four years!

If you could give your 10-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be? Listen to your gut. Don’t look to others for your identity.

If you had to choose only one book for your library, what would it be? The Complete Works of Shakespeare

If you could rid yourself of one deeply personal fear, what would it be? None. It’s through facing our fears that we grow and thrive. 

If you could have created any one work of great art—a song, a painting, a movie, etc.—by another artist, what would it be? The Graduate. 

If you had a superpower, what would it be? Flight. 

If this were the last day of your life, what would you be doing? Holding my wife and two daughters. 

If you had coined a single phrase of wisdom, what would it be? “Do.” 

 

 

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Meyer Lemon Jam

Last summer we got in a bunch of Meyer lemons for a private event. When the party was canceled, we ended up with about 50 pounds of lemons. So we said, ‘Let’s jam them!’ And we’re happy we did. Now that it’s winter and it’s really cold outside, we’ve got plenty of fresh jam, which makes us think of sunshine. Meyer lemon jam is close in flavor to an orange marmalade—you get that same bitterness and sweetness, but with a bright lemon accent. It goes really well with cheeses, especially soft and blue cheeses. I eat cheese, jam, and bread any time of day, all year long.”

Who Cassy Vires, executive chef and owner
Where Table

 

Ingredients:

2½ pounds Meyer lemons

6 cups water

6 cups sugar 

 

Directions:

1. Chop lemons, removing and reserving seeds and pith. 

2. Tie seeds and pith in cheesecloth, and place in a large pot along with chopped lemons. Add water, and boil for 20 minutes. 

3. Remove cheesecloth bag. Add sugar, and bring to a boil for 20 more minutes, or until set.  

4. Remove from stove, then can or refrigerate in glass jars.

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Hans Woolley, President of Evite

How do you keep your company relevant in a rapidly evolving digital world? “One way to stay current is by partnering with folks who are current, which, for us, means they have a prominent voice in the blogosphere or the Internet ecosystem at large. A big part of what Evite does is offer great design, and we’re always looking for people who can help us do that even better. Because of the Internet, there’s no longer a monolithic model for getting information. Instead, you find the people and brands that stand for something you believe in and go directly to that source. As a brand, we do the same thing: find a voice we think will resonate with our audience and go directly to them. In doing so, we’re staying true to our brand promise of bringing people together, yet finding new and better ways to deliver on that promise.”

Hans Woolley recently oversaw the launch of Evite Ink, a service for e-cards and custom printable invitations, and Evite Gatherings, a resource for party planning, recipes, DIY projects, décor tips, and more.

 

 

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The first television ad cost $9.

The 10-second spot was nothing like its flashy modern-day descendants. Sponsored by watch and clock company Bulova, the promo, which kicked off a baseball game broadcast on July 1, 1941, only featured a simple voice-over and still image—but you can’t say it wasn’t a bargain. The sum Bulova forked over—$143 in 2013 dollars—was small change compared to the reported $4 million–per-half-minute rate that sponsors will pay for airtime during this month’s Super Bowl. (Not to mention the average $350,000-plus it costs to produce a spot.) The Biow Company ad agency billed Bulova just $5 for airtime and $4 in supplemental charges for the groundbreaking spot. It was a small price to pay for immortality.

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Michelle Dockery, if you ruled the world, what’s the first thing you would change? I would put someone else in charge.

 

If you had to choose any actor, living or dead, to play you in a film, who would it be? Katharine Hepburn. 

If you could go back in time and star in any movie ever made, which film would it be? Brief Encounter. 

If you could have created any one work of great art—a song, a painting, a movie, etc.—by another artist, what would it be? “A Case of You,” by Joni Mitchell.

If you had a time machine, where would you go and why? 1960s New York, because I am reading Just Kids by Patti Smith.

If you could take back one sentence you’ve spoken, what would it be? “I can’t do it!”

If you were born 100 years ago, what would you be doing? I would probably be a lady’s maid. 

If your life were a novel, how would it end? Exit stage left, pursued by a bear.

If we were to see your new film Non-Stop, what could we expect? A little turbulence, to say the least!

 

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Coraje

“We have around 3,000 different spirits at Canon. No base spirit is overlooked, although we do tend to focus on the brown ones. The Coraje is a dark drink, with the rum being lengthened by the aperitif and accented with coffee notes. It was inspired by a traditional rum-and-coffee drink from Spain called the Carajillo. Bonal works exactly as sweet vermouth does in a cocktail. In fact, if you don’t have any, you can sub in sweet vermouth if you dial back slightly on the coffee liqueur. Bitters make a drink more interesting. Technically, you can’t make a cocktail—as defined by the inclusion of spirit, sugar, water, and bitters—without them.”

Who Jamie Boudreau, proprietor 

Where Canon

 

Ingredients:

1½ ounces Appleton Estate V/X rum

¾ ounce Bonal

½ ounce Kahlúa Midnight

2 dashes orange bitters

2 dashes Angostura bitters

 

Directions:

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice, then stir. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

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10% of women want to be proposed to with a serenade.

Nowadays, a perfect proposal requires a bit more drama than your classic candlelit dinner. According to a recent survey by U.K.-based Beaverbrooks the Jewellers, one in 10 women would swoon if her beau broke into song to ask for her hand. Can’t carry a tune? Seven percent of the ladies polled said they’d like the question to be popped in poetry. “Intimate” isn’t necessarily equivalent to “special” when it comes to getting engaged, though; one in 20 women wants a flash-mob proposal. No matter how you ask, the best way to get a yes! is clear: “Make your proposal a reflection of your unique love story,” says Sarah Pease, owner of New York City–based Brilliant Event Planning. Who could say no to that?

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Speed Trap Psychologist Stephanie Brown talks life in the fast lane, the havoc it wreaks, and how to fight back. 

 

Why do you say that many of us are addicted to fast-paced living?

These days we are all tethered to our phones, our tablets, and our computers. Thanks to these devices, we have more information at our fingertips, and we have it faster than ever before. The constant notifications and incessant pinging conditions us to look forward to the next email, the next text, fueling an agitated inner state. Physiologically, it’s very similar to an alcoholic looking for the next drink or a drug addict seeking the next fix. But technology isn’t the only contributor; the link between speed and success is continually reinforced by American culture. 

How can you tell if you’re addicted?

You add activities without taking any away. You work longer hours but don’t finish tasks. You act first and think later. The first and last thing you do every day is reach for your phone. Most people will laugh when they read this and say, Doesn’t everyone? For many of us the answer is yes. 

What do we sacrifice when we prioritize constant connection?

Our relationships suffer the most. Fast-paced living gives us the illusion of connection, but it’s all button-pushing. A relationship is not information input; it takes time, attention, and reciprocal interaction.

What are some strategies for slowing down?

Start small. Refrain from looking at your phone on your commute to and from work. Declare a block of time every day technology-free. If you can implement these simple changes on a consistent basis and surround yourself with people who will hold you accountable, you’ll eventually learn to pause and reflect naturally, thus regaining control over your life. 

 

Stephanie Brown is the author of Speed: Facing Our Addiction to Fast and Faster—and Overcoming Our Fear of Slowing Down

 

 

 

 

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The Langham

Just five months old, this urban retreat overlooking the Chicago River is a veritable playground for adults. The latest from the Hong Kong–based hotel family of the same name, The Langham occupies
12 floors of the iconic former IBM Building. Each of its 316 rooms is outfitted with midcentury-modern furnishings and fine art from the likes of celebrated painter Donald Sultan. With top-notch entertainment options and 24-hour dining, there’s no need to leave your room. But if you do, head to the second floor and pull up a seat at Travelle for mouthwatering Mediterranean-inspired eats. Those who book a Langham Club–level room gain access to an exclusive
lounge featuring light bites, business facilities, and unbeatable skyline views. And while you’re getting the star treatment, do yourself a favor and visit the dreamy Chuan Spa, a Langham signature.

Airport Chicago Midway International (MDW) 

Rate From $395 

 

While You’re There 

Tuck into a hearty 
deep-dish pizza, one of Chicago’s beloved culinary delights, at Lou Malnati’s River North location, just a 10-minute stroll from the hotel. 

Tap your feet to the smooth sounds at Andy’s Jazz Club, where the music starts at 5 p.m. every night of the week. 

Make the rounds but don’t fall down at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park. It stays open through March 9.  

 

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The shortest Academy Awards ceremony took about 15 minutes.

That speedy awards presentation, held in 1929, was also the first. Why so swift? “It was very much an experiment,” says Tariq Khan, FoxNews.com’s Oscar expert. The winners had been announced three months earlier, “so it was a chance to just gather and see friends and colleagues and celebrate [their] work.” The fancy festivities included entertainment and a banquet, but when it was time for the honors, names were read with little fanfare and sans skits. Since coming to TV in 1953, the Oscars have gotten longer—last year’s ran 3.5 hours—but at least they’ve increased in entertainment value (Ellen DeGeneres hosts on March 2). We’d like to thank the Academy for that.

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Follow Your Fun Looking for the next big business idea? Look no further than your own amusement.

By Adam Hunter

 

They work in a fantasyland. An endless carnival, with popcorn lunches and slushies for dessert. They spend hours playing make-believe in cardboard boxes and gather their friends for games all day and night. They are the fun followers, the kids of Neverland, where trivial pursuits and childhood treats never get old—and they happen to be making some grown-up money.

If you’re struggling to figure out the next killer app or world-changing invention, maybe it’s because you’re thinking like an adult. Learn from these four young entrepreneurs, and you may find inspiration from a far less complicated time: your youth.

 

Kernel of an Idea 

Darien, Connecticut, circa 1988. Two 7-year-old girls in pajamas and pigtails push a chair against the kitchen counter, climb up, and swing open the cabinets until they find the treat they’ve been seeking—a microwavable bag of butter-flavored Jiffy Pop.

“My friend used to even lick the dud kernels at the bottom of the bowl,” Kristy Lewis, now 33, says.

In college, however, Lewis realized that her favorite snack hadn’t changed since she was a kid, even though attitudes about food had. Why didn’t anyone make organic microwave popcorn, in say, a compostable bag, free of potentially harmful chemicals? In the fall of 2010, three months of maternity leave from her job as an executive assistant gave Lewis the time to test out her idea. 

Her son Quinn was born—and soon Quinn Popcorn was, too.

Between feedings and diaper changes, Lewis experimented in her kitchen with different flavorings, like sage, rosemary, and maple syrup; researched suppliers; and contacted manufacturers to commission a bag made from chemical-free paper. Her husband, Coulter, an engineer, came up with the idea of placing the flavorings and oil in separate packets, in part to prevent them from seeping through the bag. The couple posted their product on Kickstarter with a goal of raising $10,000. They raised $3,000 overnight. Eventually, 755 backers pledged nearly $30,000. 

The month after returning to work, Lewis gave notice.

It was time to get her business baby on its feet, so she badgered the Whole Foods near her home in Arlington, Massachusetts, until they agreed to stock the product. “They ordered $30,000 worth in our second month, and we had to turn it down because we didn’t have enough inventory,” she says. Today, Quinn Popcorn is available in hundreds of stores nationwide and online through Amazon and Abe’s Market.

“Childhood is such a really fun time—at least mine was,” Lewis says. “I drew on those childhood sleepovers for inspiration.” She even made a butter and sea salt flavor at her pajama party friend’s request. “She’s obsessed with it.”

Lewis’ advice for following your fun? Talk to people in the industry. She and her husband reached out to Justin’s Nut Butter, Taza Chocolate, and Bear Naked, all organic food companies that had success selling to Whole Foods. “Now we get emails all the time from people asking how to pursue their ideas,” she says.

 

The Slushie Kings

Vancouver, British Columbia, circa 1993. Richmond High School quarterback Zack Silverman, parched from a long afternoon of football practice, has a craving that only a product from the local 7-Eleven can satisfy: a Slurpee.

“There was nothing more refreshing,” Silverman, now 35, recalls. “It was kind of like a tradition for me and my football buddies. I must have had thousands of slushies in my life.”

Years later, while billing long hours for a large corporate law firm in New York City, Silverman quickly bonded with fellow first-year attorney Alex Rein. Chained to their desks, the two began dreaming up business ideas to help them escape. Inspiration struck when Silverman mentioned his post-practice ritual. “You don’t see many lawyers bring a neon cup with a purple straw into the office,” Silverman says. “But people drink other frozen drinks. It seemed obvious: There should be a better, healthier slushie. No one else agreed with us. My wife certainly didn’t.”

In 2008, Rein was laid off from the firm, and he dedicated himself to building a slushie truck business. He and Silverman tried various recipes until they got the flavors and consistency just right.

Kelvin Natural Slush Co. officially launched in 2010, with Rein running the day-to-day operations. By the time Silverman quit the law firm two years later, the truck had won the 2010 New York’s Vendy Awards for Best Dessert, and long lines swamped their stall in Brooklyn. Now, Kelvin Slush machines can be found in 23 Whole Foods stores around the country, and the company supplies all of the frozen drinks at Madison Square Garden. His wife no longer thinks he’s so crazy.

Silverman’s advice to fellow fun followers? Go slow. “We started with a food truck before we invested tons of money. We could have tested it even cheaper,” he says. “Go someplace like your local flea market, and try to sell your product. If people don’t buy it, all you lost was a couple of weekends and the money you invested in your trial. Start small, and reevaluate until you find the right formula.”

 

Inside the Box

Stockholm, Sweden, the late ’70s. Little Måns Swanberg is mesmerized by the happy, colorful illustrations of his favorite books, Claymation cartoons, and his favorite toy, Lego blocks. But it’s a simple cardboard box that allows his imagination to run wild. Is it a rocket ship? A race car? He sits inside and wonders.

Swanberg, now a creative director in New York City, had a conversation two years ago that brought those fond memories rushing back. His friend suggested using cardboard to make a children’s toy. “I just thought it was a fantastic idea; cardboard is such an abundant material,” he says. The food trucks near his Brooklyn home  gave the idea a shape. “It’s a shop and a car, so two toys in one,” he says. “There are so many inspiring food trucks on the streets, with fantastic artwork. There’s just loads of headroom to play around with color and typography.”

Swanberg spent 18 months developing his “Famous OTO,” a food truck playset for kids. “Normally I just draw pictures, so I had to learn about engineering, manufacturing, distribution, corporate regulations, toy-safety regulations, and so on, all in a foreign language,” he says. After hearing the founder of Indiegogo speak at a conference, he put his project on that crowdfunding site and raised $15,000 in seed money. Swanberg’s creation quickly drew favorable press, and his first print run, an uncannily real-looking ice cream truck, sold out this past Christmas through his website, oto-toy.com. He has more trucks planned for 2014.

Swanberg’s wisdom for aspiring funtrepreneurs? Study your audience. “I don’t have kids yet, but I have nieces and lots of friends with kids. There were exhaustive test runs. I was impressed—these things really take a beating. We revised the construction, simplifying mostly, and worked out how to best make it come together and disassemble easily, many times over.”

 

Trivia Man

Westchester, New York, circa 1999. On TV, Alex Trebek reads the $500 Jeopardy answer aloud. “One of two DiMaggio brothers to play baseball at the same time as Joe.” From his living room couch, Ryan West shouts a correct response: “Who is Dom?!”

That useless knowledge came in handy a half dozen years later when the bar that West worked at while attending university needed a host for its Tuesday trivia night. Soon he was hosting trivia at four bars in the area.

After moving to New York City in 2008, West, now 29, got a call from a bar manager who’d attended one of those trivia nights. He wanted West to host a similar geekfest at his watering hole. There, West met Cullen Shaw, organizer of a citywide sports league. “We saw that every week there were regulars coming, and some grew rivalries, to the point where people made T-shirts with their team names,” West says. “We were like, ‘This is like a sports league.’ Why not create that sort of dynamic?”

The business model for their NYC Trivia League was simple: bars looking to goose sales on slow nights pay West and Shaw’s company to host the trivia matchups. But the partners aren’t looking to just pack out a bar for a single night. “We give people a reason to come back,” West says.

From that first bar, the NYC Trivia League has grown to fill 13 city bars with 45 registered teams. The league turned a profit quickly and West and Shaw plan to double their bar clients by the end of 2014.

West’s best advice for fun creators? Don’t worry about taking the direct route. “I was a business major my freshman year, but I didn’t enjoy the classes,” he says. So he switched to a double major in communications and classical theology. “My parents asked, ‘Well, how is learning about Greek history going to get you anywhere in life?’”

Note to would-be trivia champs everwhere: Whenever Ryan West hosts, study up on Aristotle.

 

 

Adam Hunter is a New York-based editor and freelance writer. Follow him on Twitter @adamhuntr.


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Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes

Why is giving back good for business? “Giving back feels good, and that alone is a reason to make it part of your life and part of your business—but it has a positive ROI as well. When you incorporate giving into your business model, your customers become your marketers. We’ve certainly seen that with TOMS. People don’t just wear the shoes or the sunglasses; they’re evangelists for our ‘One for One’ mission. It also translates to attracting equally passionate employees who have a desire to be part of something bigger than themselves. Any business can do this, and you don’t have to be offering a percentage of your profits. It can be as simple as encouraging your employees to be engaged with their local community a number of days out of the year and allowing them the time to do so.”

Blake Mycoskie is the author of Start Something That Matters. He recently launched TOMS Marketplace, an e-commerce platform featuring a curated selection of goods from other philanthropy-minded companies.

 

 

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Drink in Austin, TX: Lindsey’s Lament

“Lindsey is a friend of mine, and her favorite drinks are what she calls ‘brown, bitter, and stirred.’ I wanted to make her something she’d like, so I started with bourbon and Becherovka, which is an herbal bitters that has a lot of baking-spice notes to it. Then I remembered reading an article that suggested adding salt to make cinnamon pop. When I did that, the drink just came alive. All I needed was something to bridge those flavors, and I landed on maple syrup. The drink has all those sit-by-a-fire-on-a-cold-night components to it. We get so few truly cold nights in Austin that, when we do have one, it’s a real treat to drink a cocktail like this.”

Who Bill Norris, beverage director

Where Midnight Cowboy

 

Ingredients:

1¾ ounces Eagle Rare 

bourbon

1 ounce Becherovka liqueur

¼ ounce maple syrup

1 tiny pinch salt

 

Directions:

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass filled with cracked ice. Stir until cold, then strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass. Garnish with a wide orange peel, expressing oils over the drink.

 

 

 

 

 

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Both sides benefit from a top-flight mentor relationship.

By Jill Coody Smits

 

Say you’ve just graduated from school and don’t know where to start. Or perhaps, as a professional, you’ve been hanging onto the ladder’s middle rung so long your fingertips are primed for a climb up El Capitan. What you need is a sage consigliere, a guru for getting it done. Lucky for you, it’s National Mentoring Month.

“Mentors are essential because we’re all victims of living in our own heads, and it’s critical to have a third party give outside perspective  on things we struggle with,” says organizational psychologist and executive coach Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward. Without that honest and informed feedback, he says, it’s easy to “get wrapped up in your self-talk and for beliefs to get in the way.” 

As Shakespeare’s self-talking characters have taught us, it’s not always wise to soliloquize, and airing thoughts to a mentor can help us uncover strategies and ideas we may never have considered. And while Macbeth might have benefited from a fair and knowledgeable sounding board on a murderously different level, there’s something in it for both sides of a professional mentoring relationship.

 

Those Who Can, Do. And Teach.

When D’Wayne Edwards started out in footwear design more than 20 years ago, he had a lot of talent but little formal education. One of six kids growing up in a single-parent home in Inglewood, California, Edwards was fascinated with drawing sneakers. In high school, he won a Reebok design competition, fueling his dream to become a footwear designer. Design school was not in the budget upon graduation, but he balked at advice to forget footwear and focus on a career in the military or fast-food restaurant management.

Instead, he attended night school and lucked into a life-changing job as a temp at shoe company LA Gear.

Fully aware of his good fortune in landing the gig, Edwards made himself known as the kid who put shoe sketches in the suggestion box. Six months and 180 drawings later, company founder Robert Greenberg rewarded Edwards’ determination by hiring the 19-year-old and taking him under his wing. Today, Edwards credits his mentor with paving his way in the business. “He was running a major company and gave me a start. I asked a lot of questions, and he always had an open door.”

Edwards still feels Greenberg’s influence every day. There are the little things—like getting an idea recorded the moment he has it and reading industry news each morning. And the big ones—like valuing hard work. Edwards says Greenberg’s crazy work ethic “taught me that no matter how important you become, there’s another level of effort required to stay there.”

Eventually, Greenberg left LA Gear to start Skechers. Edwards followed him there and, by age 28, had launched his own brand. 

In 2000, Edwards was lured to Oregon by Nike, where, in 2007, he achieved high-top immortality when he became one of only six people ever to design an Air Jordan. 

In 2011, he gave it all up to open Portland-based Pensole Footwear Design Academy and become a full-time mentor. Edwards says, “I had reached the peak in my industry, and my calling was to provide the pathway I didn’t have and to open the door for the next generation of talent.”

That calling to help people achieve their dreams is another thing Edwards learned from Greenberg. “I want him to know the opportunity he gave me in 1989 is living on today through the students I’m reaching.”

That legacy of mentorship is definitely alive at Pensole. Edwards describes the four-week program as “a farm system” for the footwear design industry. So far, the system is more Boston Red Sox than Bad News Bears, sending up more than 60 former students to work professionally for brands like Nike, The North Face, Under Armour, and Adidas. Win-win-win.

 

Mentee, Know Thyself

As the more than 600 kids who apply for every 20 slots at Pensole can attest, securing a quality mentor is no easy feat. In fact, some experts say mentorship is on the decline. In their book Rebooting Work: Transform How You Work in the Age of Entrepreneurship, Maynard Webb and Carlye Adler suggest that ever-shrinking employee tenure, increasingly burdensome workloads, and a fiercely competitive job market are making traditional mentorships a scarce commodity.  

That doesn’t mean finding one is impossible, though, as long as you know where you want to go and have the gumption to find the person to help you get there. Depending on your circumstance, Woodward says, the right player might be within your own company if they can “help you understand the politics, history, culture, and traditions of the place.” While some of that can come from your boss, “it’s important to find someone who can give you off-the-record perspective,” he says. 

If that person runs with a pack above your pay grade and your company doesn’t have a formal mentoring program, Woodward recommends volunteering for cross-functional workgroups that allow you to interact with otherwise inaccessible colleagues.

But don’t fret if finding a mentor within your workplace is unrealistic. Woodward says a guru can be anyone who helps you assess whether your routine is on a roll or in a rut. Are you a female writer, a Hispanic engineer, a food-truck entrepreneur? Woodward suggests seeking out special-interest groups and joining local chapters of professional organizations. 

If these avenues are dead ends, there is always what might be called the “Hot Pursuit” strategy. That is, do some research on your industry, focus on key players, and doggedly pursue them—in a nice way. Sending a message via LinkedIn, for example, may, in a kinder, gentler form of cold call, yield a connection.

Wherever you look, Woodward says it’s key to find someone who will be “open, honest, and direct.” The flip side of seeking honesty is being tough enough to take the advice to heart. He says, “If you’re not willing to hear it, there is no value in the relationship.”

Or relationships. Woodward says that the mentor capable of counseling you in a nonprofit work environment won’t necessarily be the person to guide you through freelance nation. “I hear people talking about having a mentor, but it’s important to think about multiple mentors that fit with the circumstances in your life.”

 

There’s a Right Way and a Wrong Way

Imagine receiving an email with the subject line “INTERESTED IN YOUR EXPERTISE.” The sender addresses you as “Dear professional,” expresses a desire to secure you as a mentor, then proceeds to ask for more information about your work and how you might help them succeed.

While that all-caps flattery may lure you into opening the message, you’ll soon decide a mentee who doesn’t bother to learn your name isn’t likely to be worth your effort. 

Delete.

“You need to demonstrate your potential, make a good impression, and [show] that you’re worth getting behind,” Woodward says. “They have to look at you as someone who is going to listen, take feedback, and do something with it.” 

In choosing who to mentor, Edwards says he’s most interested in those who prove they are willing to work. He tells his students, “There will always be people who are more talented than me, but no one will outwork me.’” 

His best tip, though, is the most fundamental one. “Early on, I saw the value in asking and receiving. Some people don’t even ask.” 

 

What’s In It For Me?

Of course, you can’t have the Karate Kid without Mr. Miyagi, which means those with enviable skills must find worth in sharing their hard-earned wisdom. As it turns out, there are reasons aplenty. 

For those in senior positions, Woodward says, “It’s a good way to get perspective. It’s a way to be reminded of what it’s like to start out. It’s also a way to give back.”

But there’s more to it than fulfilling some karmic professional obligation; you may just learn something. Edwards says his students often remind him he doesn’t know everything. “This industry is young and current. When I’m mentoring, I’m learning from them as well, so I see it as a trade.”

Don’t take on a protégé just to say you have one, Edwards advises. “Not everyone is cut out to be a mentor. It’s something people like to say they are,” but it can be counterproductive if handled poorly.

 

******

So maybe it’s time to consider whether a mentor can help you launch or make it to the next rung. If you do find yourself in a symbiotic relationship with a knowledgeable colleague, remember to keep a good thing going.

As Edwards relates to each of his students, “I wouldn’t have achieved all of this without guidance, so I challenge them to mentor not one, but two, so it keeps multiplying. That’s what it’s about. If it stops with you, the chain ends.”

 

Jill Coody Smits is an Austin, Texas–based journalist. Find her online at blueseedcommunications.com.

 

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Choice Words Master negotiator Ron Shapiro offers a crash course in effective communication. 

What can you do to prepare for a pitch?

I use a simple, systematic approach that I call the three Ds: draft, devil’s advocate, and deliver. Start by writing out every point you want to make or feeling you want to express. Next, find a friend or associate who can objectively suggest revisions. Finally, practice—preferably with another person. By doing so, you’ll not only prepare yourself for questions that might arise, but you’ll increase your comfort level, allowing you to communicate with confidence.

Any tips on asking for a raise?

Craft a message that outlines your accomplishments, your compensation history, and, if known, comparable salaries. You should have a number in mind. Once you’re in your boss’s office, express appreciation for opportunities, yet be firm in discussing your contributions. Anticipate questions that might arise, and have answers ready. Speak with self-assurance, and remember that it’s what you say and how you say it that counts.

What about when proposing budget changes?

Be clear about the funds you seek and what they’ll be used for.  While communicating your request, show that you’ve done your research by noting precedents and comparable situations. Know that it’s OK to ask for a little more than you need, but stay within reason. If you’re denied, try not to take it personally. Remember, it’s the idea being rejected, not you.

What types of language should you avoid altogether?

In any scenario, keep from using words that attack or show anger. You should also steer clear of generalizations and overstatements—things like always, never, and all. And avoid unreasonable demands. Trust and credibility take time to build and can be easily lost if you fall into these communication traps.

 

Ronald M. Shapiro is the author of Perfecting Your Pitch: How to Succeed in Business and in Life by Finding Words That Work.

 

 

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28% of IT professionals keep their job a secret. 

 

And no, “IT” is not a new code name for the NSA. According
to a survey by TEKsystems, an IT staffing and services company, more than one-fourth of tech workers hide their day job to avoid endless
service requests from friends
and family. Otherwise “some-
one finds out they work
in IT, and the questions range from ‘How can I get my wireless router to work?’ to ‘What software should I be using?’” says Jason Hayman, a TEKsystems research manager.
The poll also revealed that
57 percent of senior-level
employees are expected to be available 24/7—further
fueling the desire to separate
their home lives from work. Despite such nuisances, more than 80 percent wouldn’t change careers. Now that’s what we call tech support.

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Sleep in Rosemary Beach, FL: The Pearl

Situated a block from the Gulf of Mexico, in the Northwest Florida community of Rosemary Beach, this 5-month-old hotel exudes a modern beach-house vibe. Each of the 55 rooms comes with a private balcony, an Apple TV, and an iPad equipped with the Intelity ICE app, which you can use to make a restaurant reservation, order room service, or request housekeeping. Four spa treatment rooms front the hotel’s heated pool. On a breezy deck above it are four couch-equipped cabanas plus a bar, Sol Luna, where you can slice into a wood-fired pizza or sip on a Death in the Afternoon—a cocktail rumored to have been created by Hemingway himself. Sick of sitting around? Pick up a match at the esteemed Rosemary Beach Fitness Center & Racquet Club; guests get free access.

Airport Northwest Florida Beaches International (ECP) Rate From $279  

 

While You’re There 

Soothe your skin at Pish Posh Patchouli’s, which stocks lines like Lollia, Malin+Goetz, and Antica Farmacista. 

Rent wheels from Bamboo Bicycle Company. The shop offers bikes, tandems, and trikes—all ideal for cruising Highway 30A’s scenic pedestrian pathways. 

Open a book at The Hidden Lantern, a shop whose titles run 10,000 deep. If you’re a methodical planner, send the store the name of your beach read, and a reserved copy will be waiting for you when you arrive. 

 

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Women keep the same makeup routine for 11 years.  

Been swearing by Rum Raisin lipstick forever? You’re not alone. A survey by
CouponCodes4u.com found that on average a woman keeps her beauty regimen for more than a decade, with 56 percent saying they’d only ditch an adored product if it was discontinued. A signature style isn’t a bad thing, says
makeup artist Amy Nadine, who works
with stars like Susan Sarandon. “If [a woman] has found a look that works, but her hair and clothes evolve with the trends, it’s fine.” But if Clinton was president when you last updated your look, why not try something new? The trick is starting small. Rather
than going for a total makeover, “pick one feature at a time,” Nadine says. Change—it can be a beautiful thing.

 

 

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There are now more than 7, 100,000,000 mobile devices on Earth. 

In other words, humans are outnumbered by pinging smartphones and glowing tablets, at least according to a report from computer networking company Cisco. In 2013, mobile Web traffic from phones alone accounted for more than 17 percent of all Internet usage, and Cisco is predicting
quite the boom in years to come. “By 2017, there will be more than 10 billion mobile-connected devices.
That’s an average of 1.4 devices for every man, woman, and child on the planet,” says vice president Doug Webster. Oh, and forget 4G— network speeds are expected to be up to seven times faster within four years. Unrivaled speed and ballooning numbers? The rise of the machines is upon us! This sounds like a job for Schwarzenegger.

 

 

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Eat in Aspen, CO: Fried Buffalo Mozzarella

“At the restaurant, which opened last summer, we embrace Italian dishes that are familiar and authentic. I’m Sicilian, so that kind of cooking is very close to my heart. Growing up, my family shared many memories around the dinner table, and I hope to recreate that kind of interaction for our guests. My style is ‘less is more.’ I keep it simple, try to stay seasonal, and concentrate on getting high-quality ingredients and using proper techniques. This is a good example of that. I get beautiful mozzarella, bread and fry it, make a simple caponata, and serve it with a nice tomato sauce. It’s a great way to start a meal at your home, and it’s a real crowd-pleaser. Who doesn’t like fried mozzarella?”

Who David Viviano, executive chef
Where Trecento Quindici Decano, at The St. Regis Aspen Resort

 

Ingredients:

1 4-ounce buffalo mozzarella ball

1 cup flour

2 eggs, whisked

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 ounce olive oil

½ cup marinara sauce

½ cup roasted, julienned red and green peppers 

 

Directions:

1. Dry mozzarella, and slice in half. Place flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs in three separate shallow dishes. Dredge each cheese half in flour, eggs, then breadcrumbs, and set aside.

2. Warm oil over medium heat. Panfry mozzarella until soft and golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Serve with marinara sauce and roasted peppers.   

 

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Matt LeBlanc, if your life were a novel, what would its title be? 

You’re Never Gonna Believe This.

If Friends hadn’t happened, you would be… Poor.

If you joined the circus, what would you be doing? Cotton candy guy. I love cotton candy. 

If you could have personally witnessed one historical event, what would it be? Moses parting the Red Sea. That must have been awesome. 

If, in your dreams, you could have created any one work of great art—a song, a painting, a movie, etc.—by another artist, what would it be? “Freebird,” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. That’s right, no vowels. 

If a picture paints a thousand words, what are you doing in that picture? Ahhhh … painting?

If you had to choose only one book for your library, what would it be? Cycle World magazine. Does that count?

If you were born 100 years ago, what would you be doing? Trying to figure out how to get more than one horsepower out of this old nag. 

If you could take back one sentence you’ve ever spoken, what would it be? None. I have no regrets. Actually, too many to list. 

If we were to check in on Joey today, what would he be doing? He’d be canceled. Bummer. 

 

What About You?  If you could be any fictional character, who would you be and why?
Submit your answer at spiritmag.com/if. Our favorite responses will be published in an upcoming issue of Spirit.

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Carrie Underwood, if the hills are alive with the sound of music, what song are they singing?
“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” by Wham!

If you were to cook us dinner, what would you prepare? 

I would start with a salad. I am, after all, a salad queen. Then I would cook up a vegan lasagna. It’s so yummy! Don’t think I didn’t see you make an “ick” face at the mention of the word vegan.

If you had to choose only one book to enjoy for the rest of your life, which would it be, and why?

I would choose my Bible. That’s a book that you can read a hundred times and still learn something new and truthful each time.

If you could take back one sentence you’ve ever spoken, what would it be?

“Sure, I’ll have just one more.” No good can come from “just one more.”

If you could choose one superpower, what would it be?

I wish I could move at super speeds when I wanted to get stuff done. Cleaning my house would be done in a jiffy!

If you could have coined a single phrase of wisdom, what would it be?

It’s a quote from Marilyn Monroe: “We are all of us stars, and we deserve to twinkle.”

 

What About You? If you received a surprise package in the mail, what would you like to be in it?
Submit your answer at spiritmag.com/if. Our favorite responses will be published in an upcoming issue of Spirit.

 

 

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There have been 3,313 sightings of Bigfoot since 1921. 

And now we’ve mapped the mythical beast’s footsteps. Using data from reports collected in North America over the past 92 years by the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, Joshua Stevens, a Ph.D. candidate at Penn State, plotted the whereabouts of the hairy, ape-like biped, who has made “appearances” in every state but Hawaii. “Most real animals occupy a known habitable zone,” Stevens says. “Sasquatch isn’t so picky, it seems.” The most likely place to stumble upon the legendary creature—if it does indeed exist—is in Washington, where there have been 414 sightings, followed by California (246), and Florida (220). Bigfoot loves warm and cool climates? We can’t really blame the guy.

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The first text message was sent 21 years ago.

And what did that fateful text, sent on December 3, 1992, say? A simple, seasonally appropriate “Merry Christmas.” Neil Papworth, a Newbury, England–based software developer, dispatched that maiden message to a client at a holiday party across town. It wasn’t a typical mobile-to-mobile moment, though: Papworth typed his greeting at a PC, and the phone on the receiving end wasn’t even sophisticated enough to send a response. At the time, the event’s historic weight didn’t fully register with Papworth. “I was just proud to be part of the team that spent a year working hard to develop the system,” he says. “It wasn’t until after the 10th anniversary that it dawned on me how significant that day was.” That’s right, a textbook case of delayed gratification.

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Mind Control Science writer Dan Hurley talks untapped intelligence and how to harness it

Can you really make yourself smarter?

For hundreds of years, psychologists insisted it was impossible to increase fluid intelligence, or your capacity to learn new concepts. But recent scientific discoveries suggest quite the opposite. Before this new research came to light, the only answer for improving our ability was “work harder,” but, as it turns out, there are specific steps we each can take to train our brains.

What are some ways to improve intelligence?

One effective method is to play computerized games—sometimes called N-back games—that engage your working memory, forcing you to think on your feet. For example, if I were to read you four numbers and then ask you to repeat them backwards, you would be using your working memory. Lumosity is one of the most popular sources for such games, but you can also download other apps for your phone or computer by doing a Google search for “N-back games.”

Any other ways to boost brain function?

Physical exercise has been proven to enhance cognitive ability. There’s some debate over which is better: cardiovascular training or strength training. I say try both. The important thing is to constantly push your limits and challenge yourself in new ways. If you’re a runner, add weights to your workout regimen. Another thing that seems to be good for our brains is learning to play a new musical instrument.

Anything else?

It’s been suggested that mindful meditation improves brain function because, in doing it, you have to stay focused. With any of these methods, though, the most important thing to remember is that you have to stick with them to reap real benefits. It’s natural to want to give up, but pushing yourself to keep going is part of the brain-boosting process.

 

 

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It takes about 8 months to get to Mars.

There are many hazards for humans making the trek to Mars—bone loss from lack of gravity and excess radiation, among them—but one seemingly innocuous threat should not be overlooked: boredom. The journey takes an approximate 243 days to complete—and that’s just one way. Despite traveling at speeds upwards of 58,000 miles per hour, it makes sense how one could begin to feel adrift. According to the Society for Human Performance in Extreme Environments, which examines how people cope under high-risk circumstances, prolonged periods without stimulation cause the mind to wander, which, over time, can affect normal brain function. Surely, NASA sanctions Sudoku in space. 

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Sleep in Nashville, TN: Omni Nashville Hotel

Opened just two months ago, this high-rise is downtown’s new crown jewel. Its neighbors include Music City Center, the city’s convention hotspot; Bridgestone Arena, home of the Nashville Predators hockey team; and the newly expanded Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The 21-story tower is expected to achieve LEED Silver certification and is a quick stroll from the live-music bars on Broadway. Don’t feel like venturing out? Head to Barlines, the Omni’s own honky-tonk, where you can see a show and sample more than 25 varieties of Tennessee whiskey. And if you need some reviving in the morning, hit up the biscuit bar at Kitchen Notes restaurant: It’s stocked with gravy, country ham, and local jam, honey, and butter.

Airport Nashville International (BNA) Rate From $269 

 

 

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Eat in Boston: Chickpea Bites

“These are part of a section of the menu we call ‘snacks’— something to have a few bites of while we’re preparing your starters and main course. It’s a wicked-easy recipe: Chickpea flour is used to make batter, which you season with Parmesan, lemon juice, and cayenne—mainstream ingredients that go really well together. The key is to get a really nice fry on them, so they’re crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. When I was growing up, my mother and grandmother were always standing over the stove pan-frying something, so to me it’s second nature. The fun part about this recipe is that you can cut the batter into whatever size and shape pieces you want.”

Who Louis DiBiccari, chef/owner
Where Tavern Road

 

Ingredients:

2 quarts vegetable stock

2 cups whole milk

cups sifted chickpea flour

2 cups grated Parmesan 

½ cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

 

Directions:

1. Bring stock to boil. Whisk in milk and flour. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients, and add salt to taste.  

2. Spread out in a baking pan, and cool overnight. Cut into squares, then fry on all sides in a shallow pan of vegetable oil.

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Drink in Detroit: Masala Milk Punch

“Last year—the first year Sugar House was open—we got a lot of requests for hot cocktails, so we started riffing on the traditional ones. My wife and I love Indian food, and there’s this restaurant we go to when we’re in Chicago called Clay Oven that has the best masala chai tea. Last time we went, I thought, I’d love to use this in a cocktail. So when we got home, I made a warm version of it. The masala spice mixture is heavy on ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper. That, combined with the heartiness of the milk, is just killer. And I love how the spiciness of the rye, the sweetness of the rum, and the fruitiness of the cognac go together. At the bar, we jokingly call it the trifecta of booze.”  

Who Dave Kwiatkowski, owner/head bartender

Where Sugar House

 

Ingredients:

9 black tea bags 

2 ounces ground masala spice blend

2 ounces freshly grated ginger

 

Directions:

1. Make masala tea syrup: Simmer ingredients in 4 cups water for 20 minutes. Strain into a liquid measuring cup, then add an equal amount of sugar to create a 1:1 syrup. Stir until dissolved.

¾ ounce Rittenhouse rye

¾ ounce Chalfonte VSOP cognac

¾ ounce Brugal Añejo rum

2 ounces whole milk 

2. Fill a 9-ounce mug with boiling water. In a separate glass, combine 1/2 ounce masala tea syrup with ingredients above. When mug is hot, discard water, pour contents of glass into mug, and top with boiling water. Garnish with freshly grated cinnamon and nutmeg.

 

 

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Want to increase your output? Hop off the hamster wheel.

By Jill Coody Smits

 

Productivity. it’s the rate at which something is produced, the number of widgets you crank out for the factory, how much time it takes to git ’er done. In the very
big picture, it’s essential to the nation’s economic
growth. In the much smaller one, it’s also essential to whether you get a festive little bonus sometime this month. Unfortunately, most people don’t just wake up, say, “Today, I will be prolific!” and then seize the day as their very best self. Productivity—whether on the scale of Picasso and his 100,000-plus works of art, or simply the lucky guy who goes to sleep feeling satisfied with his day—requires effort, planning, and willpower. It also helps if your employer does its part by providing you with the basics necessary to achieve maximum output. For example, your boss’s ongoing choice to provide employees with beepers in a smartphone world could be a hindrance. Ditto his refusal to hire enough staff, provide adequate training, or pay the electric bill. But the good news is that many factors are at least partially within your control. Things like managing
time wisely, working smart, and showing up ready to perform. Easy peasy, right? It can be, if you know some proven strategies. 

 

Productivity, Personified

It’s a little after 11 p.m. in Austin,
Texas, and Monica Maldonado 
Williams has just sat down at 
her home computer to work on her 
“side project,” GivingCity, a magazine about and for the philanthropic 
community. But this is just the beginning of the end of her day.

Upon waking at 6:30 this morning,
Williams made a mental to-do list, powered through the morning rush to get her two young children off to school, then recorded a rambling conversation with herself on the drive to her full-time job as marketing and communications director for the Austin Lyric Opera. While there, she raised funds, mastered the Web, sold tickets to Verdi’s Don Carlo, participated in meetings, and attracted media attention. She also had lunch.

Around 5:30, she left the office, picked up a latte on the way home, drove to youth choir practice, ate the
slow-cooker meal she started this morning, and read to her children. At some point between waking up nearly 17 hours ago and sitting now 
at her computer, eating a single 
Ghirardelli chocolate, she also 
managed to squeeze in a 30-minute run and spend a few minutes engaged in semi-meaningful conversation with her husband. 

Now, before you go thinking this is a script for one of those 1980s “My gender is just as good as your gender, and I’m smokin’ hot” advertisements, you should know that it’s been pretty well established that no one can have it all. No, this is simply a description of one day in a very real person’s very productive life—and there are lessons in it for all of us.

 

Time—It Just 
Keeps on Ticking

While the philosophizing physicist in you may subscribe to the notion that time is an illusion, the manager who conducts your annual review probably does not. 

As a result, you must acknowledge that time actually does exist (at least in the professional world) and come to grips with the fact that it is not renewable. Nor does it give a darn whether you are on Facebook, in a meeting, or writing a report—which can be a problem in terms 
of productivity. 

“Time passes whether or not you make a conscious decision about how to use it,” says Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. “Since there’s no chance to pause, not choosing is still a choice.”

Once you’ve come to terms with the fact that the Rolling Stones were wrong and time is not, in fact, on your side, the next step is attempting to put it in its place. For Williams, as with many productive people, that means starting the day with a list. “At first I wake up in a mild panic. Like, ‘Oh! My daughter needs two apples for ‘Red Week,’ and I have to get that email out, and I need to prepare for that meeting, and, and ... ’ Then I tell myself I’m freaking out and map out what’s going to happen at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and noon and when I’m home.” 

Vanderkam says that kind of specific, concise, achievable list is a smart strategy. “If you have an extremely short list of tasks and assign a time to them, they are more likely to get done. If you don’t make a decision about what you want to do, life comes at you.” 

And life, at times, is the contrary yin to productivity’s yang. Last-minute meetings, personal crises, a working lunch that runneth over: How do you keep from getting completely derailed? Vanderkam says it comes back to a well-thought-out agenda. “It’s a good idea to leave some slack in your day. If every minute isn’t spoken for, you have the ability to not only deal with crises but seize opportunities as well.” 

 

Step Away 
From the Computer

It may sound obvious, but there’s a big difference between being productive and sitting chained to your desk, lethargically futzing on the computer in a guilt-driven, ineffective effort to crank out a sales analysis. While you may feel compelled to go through the motions of being busy, research shows that stepping away for a few minutes when you’re mentally drained will ultimately make you more efficient.

Vanderkam says, “Part of using your time well is managing your energy and being strategic about taking breaks so you can feel productive enough to get things done.”

Killjoy alert: A “strategic break” is not a free pass to spend hours at a time on fantasy football or Angry Birds, or to binge-watch all six seasons of Lost. But little doses of those things might be considered “dawdling purposefully” if they lift your mood, reduce stress, and boost your will to reformat that spreadsheet. 

Williams’ daily download on her morning commute, grabbing an afternoon coffee, and snacking on a piece of chocolate—all of these things help her stay more productive in the long run. That’s in part because mind-wandering time can be good for creativity and problem-solving, but also because rewards are terrific behavior reinforcers (i.e., we are suckers for treats).

“Sometimes you have to figure out little motivators for yourself and visualize the long-term reward,” Williams says. To that end, when she needs to stay up late working on GivingCity, she gives herself time to eat from her secret stash of chocolate and “poke around [the Internet] looking at gowns for the opera. Then I’m sitting there already, just a click away from my work.” 

 

Move It, Or …
Just Move It, Okay?!

Newsflash No. 1: In case you haven’t heard, exercise is good for you. 

Newsflash No. 2: So is eating well and getting a good night’s sleep. 

Newsflash No. 3: Obesity and other chronic health problems cost the U.S. more than $150 billion in lost workplace productivity every year. 

Newsflash No. 4: You can work exercise into your day. Really.

Wellness and productivity are interconnected on so many levels it’s hard to know where to start. According to Tim Church, a professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, “There’s no doubt that wellness affects productivity. When you’re physically active, you sleep better, have more energy, are in a better mood, are less likely to be sick, and are more likely to be at work.”

Exercise is also really good for clearing your head and keeping you sharp. Did you know that some scholars believe Einstein conceived of relativity while riding his bike? All of that physiological goodness can work for the rest of us, too. Williams says, “Often when I run or exercise, I have epiphanies. It’s the time when all the stuff in my brain shifts down.”

But don’t be disheartened if you can’t squeeze in hours and hours of marathon training every week. Church says research shows even doing small things, like walking to lunch rather than sitting at your desk skipping a meal, can make people more productive. Unless you have a really progressive boss who invested in standing desks last year, you probably sit … a lot. While most of our work demands it, Church says there is still a lot of benefit in simply “breaking up the bouts of prolonged sitting” by walking 50 feet every half hour or so. If we just muster what it takes to move, it’s a win-win for our employers and us. “At this point, we can confidently say that a physically active person is more likely to be a productive employee,” Church says.

 

It’s the Little Things

In addition to the big stuff, there are many small things you can do throughout the day to increase professional productivity. If, like Williams, (who, by the way, thinks of sleep “by the week and not by the night”) you keep occasional late nights, a catnap can help you control impulses and ignore distractions—two things that are really hard when you’re sleep-deprived. Just tell your boss you’re “going George Costanza.” Maybe it will turn into a thing.

Also, don’t forget that lunch is more than just good times down at the commissary—it’s actually energy you need to make smart decisions. 

Finally, be the master of your technology rather than vice versa. While it’s a good practice to stay on top of email, doing it while writing 
a press release, answering sales calls, or meeting with a client is stressful and distracts you from completing anything well and in 
a timely manner.

So, what does a productive day look like? For Williams, it’s one that “hits every base—finalizing a few things at the opera, meeting deadlines, and doing the things my family needs me to do.”

According to the U.S. Department 
of Labor’s American Time Use 
Survey, people with lives similar to Williams’ spend more than a third of each day eking out a living. When you consider those eight-plus hours, you might as well make the most of them; you might as well make the effort to hit every base.

 

Jill Coody Smits is an Austin, Texas–based journalist. Find her online at blueseedcommunications.com.

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Randi Zuckerberg, Author and Former Marketing Director of Facebook

What should you be mindful of when building a brand online? “A lot of companies are terrified of getting negative feedback on the Internet. It’s important to remember that even if their message is negative, these people are still taking time out of their day to engage with your product. Usually the offenders just want to be heard. Simply interact with those who leave such comments, and oftentimes you’ll find that you can convert them into loyal brand enthusiasts. If there’s one piece of advice that’s sustained me throughout my career it’s that you’re never as good as people say you are online, and you’re never as bad as people say you are online. If people are saying great things, stay humble and don’t get caught up in your own hype. If people are saying bad things, take a step back to gain perspective.”

 

Randi Zuckerberg is the founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media. She recently released her first two books, Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives and the children’s picture book Dot.

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Alexis Ohanian, Reddit co-founder and tech entrepreneur 

How do you stay creative? “I often think of a quote from entrepreneur Jim Rohn: ‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ Surround yourself with people who are doing interesting things, who are thinking interesting thoughts, who challenge you to be better, and who come from a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences. That, combined with appropriate moments of ‘me’ time, provides the perfect breeding ground for great ideas. And whatever you do, don’t get hung up on what competitors are doing. Be aware of what’s going on in the industry, but don’t let it dictate your own creative process.”

Alexis Ohanian recently released his first book, Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed

 

 

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Groom For Improvement

Looking to enhance your brand at work? Don’t be that guy.

By Jill Coody Smits

 

If you don’t think image is everything, ask Miley Cyrus. In August, the erstwhile teen idol and Disney money machine twerked her way to infamy at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. It’s a fine line between cheeky provocation and global embarrassment, and Cyrus’s calculated attempt to liter-ally shake off her PG persona and, well, thrust herself into the pantheon of outré stage performers alongside Britney Spears and Madonna backfired big-time. “Reminiscent of a bad acid trip” is how The Hollywood Reporter described the preposterous and lewd spectacle. Vogue tastemaker Anna Wintour pulled Cyrus off the cover of the fashion bible shortly after the debacle. And months later the Twitterverse is still trying to make sense of what was going on with…the tongue.

Cyrus is too much of a showbiz pit bull to be chastened by bad press, and in today’s pop marketplace even schadenfreude sell records. But her high-profile fizzle is a reminder that we’re all just a few missteps away from being knocked off our own professional pedestal. For better or worse, we each have a rep to protect, and our bosses, colleagues, and clients are a pretty tough crowd.

 

You, Too, Have a Personal Brand

So, you never judge a book by its cover? You’re way too comfortable in your own skin to worry about others’ opinions? Kudos for being a highly evolved human being. Just for grins, though, try conducting this small experiment. Take a quick glance sideways and ask yourself whether you’ve made any assumptions about the person sitting next to you. Be honest.

“Everyone has a personal brand. It’s not only how you view and describe yourself, it’s how others perceive you,” says Dan Schawbel, author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success

While the term “personal brand” is relatively new, we’ve long been forming opinions about those we interact with—and we are more than willing to do so with very little information. Decades worth of research has shown that we make lasting judgments about others based on everything from clothing choices and posture to facial expressions and Facebook profiles. 

“All of it matters,” Schawbel says, “dress, body language, what you have to say, your online presence—it all adds up to the package you’re communicating to others.” 

And while it may feel superficial (and irritating) to be concerned with whether your favorite “Growing Old Is Mandatory, But Growing Up is Optional” T-shirt is conveying the wrong idea to the office citizenry, the hard truth is that such choices can have a pretty dramatic impact on your career. To wit, York College of Pennsylvania’s 2013 Professionalism Study concluded that the vast majority of 401 human resource professionals believe unprofessional appearance can have a negative effect during the hiring stage and influence your colleagues’ perception of your competence. 

 

You Are Who You Display You Are

While it’s inevitable that your associates and superiors will form potentially consequential opinions about you based on seemingly shallow cues, you do have some control over your brand. But when considering whether your professional image is more “unpaid intern” than “future CEO,” be aware that expressing yourself through your appearance and environment is good for the soul.

“Expressing ourselves to others is important to our self-worth,” says psychologist Sam Gosling, a researcher at The University of Texas at Austin, and author of Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You. “People want to be known to others and, when they feel they are known, tend to be happier, healthier, and more productive.”

Still, it’s wise to try and understand exactly how you are expressing yourself to your colleagues, just in case you’re unwittingly doing yourself a disservice. Gosling says a person’s environment reveals their personality traits through three key channels: identity claims, feeling regulators, and behavioral residue. 

Identity claims are the things you deliberately show, do, and say—the characteristics you want to be known for. Does everyone in the office seek you out when hankering for delicious, freshly baked cookies? Is your Homeland recap the most anticipated email of the week? Or maybe your efforts to improve company-wide sustainability have earned you the nickname “The Green Machine.” Whatever “it” is, you put it out there intentionally, and you own it.

Feeling regulators are things like family snaps, vacation postcards, flowers from your significant other or even the smooth jazz station seeping out of your computer. These are things that, while meaningful to you, are not necessarily intended to communicate about your personality—but do nonetheless.

And then there is behavioral residue, or the inadvertent consequences of your actions that convey something about your personality. While you may not even realize it, your colleagues are forming impressions based on “traces” of your personality found in things like a long-dead ficus tree, disheveled desk, perpetually alphabetized files, or always-fresh lipstick.

Gosling says that some personality traces “show up very strongly in spaces,” such as a person’s bedroom or office. For example, in terms of the “Big Five” personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism), he says conscientiousness is easily and usually correctly associated with a tidy desk. That’s a good thing, because it’s in your favor to be known as the person who gets things done.

Openness is also revealed in office spaces, and Gosling says the colleague with the unusual desk, original art, and diverse collection of books is probably a person open to new experiences “who prefers complexity, is an abstract thinker and is less concrete and conventional.” All of which are good traits to have—if his job demands them.

However, we also publicly expose less appealing traces of our personalities through our personal spaces, and sometimes we misjudge what we see. For example, while we may rightly infer that a messy desk belongs to an unconscientious (but creative) person, we also sometimes mistakenly equate messy with being disagreeable.

These types of perceptions and misperceptions matter in the workplace, Gosling says, because a boss makes judgments and decisions based on what she thinks people are like. If she “thinks someone is irresponsible and closed-minded, she may offer them a different assignment. We care about personality, and it’s a predictor of how we think people behave.”

 

You.com = You

And what about our online spaces like Facebook and Twitter? Gosling says Facebook is actually a good place to learn about our peers, in part because the effort involved with creating a realistic alter ego makes it a challenge to give a false impression. In fact, he says, “the virtual world crystallizes things that would have been ephemeral” if left to be discerned from real world interactions. While a marketing colleague may have suspected you were hung-over last Friday, that forgotten late-night selfie confirmed his theory. 

And don’t think that a “Tweets are my own” claim does anything to distinguish the personal you from the professional one, because businesses often consider employees an extension of their brand. In September, for example, Business Insider Chief Technology Officer Pax Dickinson found himself out of a job after being called out for racist, sexist, and otherwise offensive tweets. 

Schawbel says, “The divide between work and professional life is more complicated now, and what you do outside of work affects how you’re perceived. Ten percent of Millennials miss a job opportunity because of what they do online.”

 

How to Project Your Very Best You 

As you might imagine, a company does not undertake a rebranding initiative lightly. Years of research and untold dollars go into the process. Multiple agencies are brought in to find out things like the scope and character of brand recognition. They may even be asked to acquire reactions to visual stimuli with the aim of drawing salient inferences created by words and images. And stuff like that. 

Sometimes, the result of all that concerted thought and effort is winning (e.g. Old Spice: No longer solely the fragrance choice of Papaws everywhere). Sometimes, it’s “meh” (e.g. Little Debbie: The new face of Swiss Rolls looks much like the old one). And other times it’s definitely losing (e.g. Gap: You know it’s a costly dud when the original logo returns within a fortnight).

While it’s far less strenuous to develop a winning personal brand, Schawbel does recommend engaging in a four-phase process that goes something like this: discover, create, communicate, and maintain.

First, he says, “Figure out what you want to be known for and who your audience is, and package that into a brand statement.” 

While determining your purpose in life is no small feat, once you’ve done so, it’s time to carve out your niche. “Think of yourself as a product or company and create personal branding materials like a resume, cover letter, references, social network, blog or business card” that provide your audience with a cohesive “you” experience.

Schawbel says it’s essential to “align your personal brand with the right career,” and that authenticity needs to come through as you communicate on blogs, write articles for niche outlets, etc. Eventually, you’ll enter the maintenance phase, which Schawbel describes as a “never-ending journey” of communicating on- and off-line, and being prepared to shift and change with the marketplace. 

 

Et Tu, Telecommuter

So you’re a telecommuter, or a freelancer. None of this applies to you, right? Wrong. We are our own worst critics, and research shows that if we don’t look and feel professional, we’re less likely to behave that way. Clothes, for example, carry a lot of symbolic weight, and pajamas don’t exactly scream “success story.” 

All of this is not to say that you should go changing to please someone else. But there’s no sense Miley Cyrusing yourself out of professional superstardom if you can help it. You’ve got the skills—just don’t forget that a highly interactive audience is watching, and they have expectations.

 

Jill Coody Smits is a Dallas-based journalist. Find her online at blueseedcommunications.com. 

 

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“The cocktail menu at Bohanan’s includes a short list of drinks the bar staff comes up with based on ingredients that suit the season. Last year we did cognac old fashioneds with pumpkin spice bitters, and they just flew off the shelf, so I started thinking about what else I could do with pumpkin spice bitters. I was playing around with different ingredients, trying to come up with some new fall drinks, when a guest jokingly said over the bar, ‘Why don’t you just make a cosmo?’ And I thought, Why not? Cosmos have cranberry, which is a great fall flavor. From there I made a cinnamon-infused simple syrup with demerara sugar—which is a richer, earthier brown sugar than the kind you use for baking. The drink still needed something sweet but lively to round it out, and orange juice just happened to fit perfectly. The name is a nod to Tito’s vodka, which is made in Austin. I can just imagine the people there sitting around on a fall day drinking this cocktail.”

Who Jake Corney, head bartender
Where Bohanan’s

 

Ingredients:

ounces Tito’s

Handmade Vodka

½ ounce fresh orange juice

¾ ounce cranberry juice

½ ounce cinnamon-infused demerara simple syrup*

3 dashes pumpkin spice bitters

 

Directions:

Shake ingredients with ice, then strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel. 

*Stir together 1 cup hot water with 1 cup demerara sugar. Add 2 cinnamon sticks, and infuse for a few hours.

 

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55% of us are looking to change careers. 

So, that adage about the grass always being greener on the other side? Turns out it’s more like half the time. According to a Harris Interactive survey, 55 percent of working adults are in search of a new profession. Last year, a similar study had the number at 60 percent. That still leaves lots of wanderlust—and a real challenge. “Changing jobs takes guts and a plan,” says Josh Shipp, author of Jump Ship: Ditch Your Dead-End Job and Turn Your Passion into a Profession. “Set specific parameters that you’ll need to meet before quitting your current job: Talk to at least three people in the position you want, save up, pursue additional training, etc.” In other words, choose wisely, grasshopper.   

 

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58% of kids say they will always want to read physical books.

Who says print is dead? Not today’s kiddos. According to Scholastic’s biennial Kids & Family Reading Report, the majority of youngsters ages 9–17 aren’t yet ready to ditch their paperbacks for tablets—and never will be. Although the numbers have fallen a bit since 2010, when 66 percent said they couldn’t do without tangible tomes, Scholastic’s chief academic officer, Francie Alexander, cautions parents not to read too much into the dip. “A loved one’s lap is more important than any laptop,” she says, “because, for most kids, that is where the emotional connection to print comes from.” Besides, how are you supposed to delay bedtime without a stack of books for backup.

 

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Housed in a former factory in Williamsburg, the world capital of hipsterdom, this 72-room aerie manages to be minimalist, cozy, and convenient. Rooms maintain a warehouse feel but offer modern niceties like radiant-heated floors, surround sound (simply attach your portable music device to a wall-mounted audio cord), and a minibar stocked with local spirits. Eighteen months after its opening, the hotel is still the talk of the borough. Adding to the allure is The Ides, a sixth-floor rooftop bar where you can soak up unobstructed city views; and Reynard, the in-house restaurant outfitted with a wood-fired oven. The latest buzz surrounds the new lobby boutique, which peddles the wares of fledgling Brooklyn designers. Porkpie hats are likely, but not guaranteed.  

Airport New York LaGuardia (LGA) Rate From $199 

 

Around the Corner

Sip cult coffee at Blue Bottle, whose cafés have earned acclaim in both New York and San Francisco. Order it siphoned: Your joe will be channeled through a mad scientist’s contraption that slow-drips each cup individually. 

Grab lunch from Bedford Cheese Shop, which has specialized in serious fromage and salumi since 2003. Sandwiches here are simple yet stunning. Get there before they sell out. 

Roll for gold at The Gutter, home to eight bowling lanes, 12 taps, reasonable prices, and none of the glittery trappings of those fancy alleys. 


 

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“We have a vegetable and herb garden out back. It keeps us all interested and energized and teaches respect for the food and how much work goes into it, which really reinforces what we do at Lemaire: We find the best ingredients we can, focus on the seasons, and avoid having one component overpower another in our dishes. Brussels sprouts have a flavor that’s uniquely their own, and it’s wonderful. I tend to start by blanching them, which leaves them al dente and preserves their color. From that point I can do anything—roast, grill, bake, or sauté them. Here, the sweetness of the Parmesan offsets some of their rich earthiness. When you add cream, you get this velvety, comfortable flavor that wraps them up like a warm blanket, and then you’ve got the toasted pumpkin seeds, which add this really nice, textural component. But it’s still a really simple recipe.”

Who Walter Bundy, executive chef
Where Lemaire

 

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream

½ cup fresh grated Parmesan 

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

8 ounces Brussels sprouts, quartered and bottoms removed 

kosher salt and white pepper 

1 ounce toasted pumpkin seeds

 

Directions:

1. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce cream by half, stirring constantly, then stir in Parmesan. Remove from heat, and set aside. 

2. In a large sauté pan, heat butter over medium heat. Add Brussels sprouts and cook until slightly roasted, 7 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper to taste, drizzle with Parmesan cream, then top with pumpkin seeds.

 

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Dress Code Fashion expert Lauren Rothman helps you greet the holiday season in high style.

 

Spirit: What are the go-to trends for women?

Rothman: Metallics like silver and bronze will be popular, as well as cobalt blue and emerald green. And, as always this time of year, you’re going to see red. In terms of specific styles, I’m loving pieces with embellishment, especially brocade work on pants and leather accents on blazers and dresses. The long-sleeved sheath dress will no doubt make an appearance, and peplum—a short section of flared fabric attached to the waistline of a blouse or dress—continues its reign.

S: And for men?

R: The medium-gray suit is a favorite. I prefer charcoal, but as long as you’re staying away from light grays you’ll be fine. A suit with a slight sheen to it is festive yet understated. If you want to subtly show personality, go for one with contrasting thread on the buttons.

S: What is the proper attire for a holiday party?

R: Your look should be reminiscent of what you’d wear on a nice date—not too casual and not overly dressy. But because it’s the holidays, you have license to glam things up a bit. Ladies can pair a silk top with a brocade pant or sport a pencil dress with a peplum waist. Guys should ditch their khakis in favor of darker slacks—think charcoal, navy, or black. 

S: How else can guys take their look up a notch?

R: Instead of a plain white shirt, try something with stripes in an unexpected color. And to really stand out, add a sport coat and accessories, like cuff links and a pocket square, but leave off the tie. 

S: When is the best time to shop?

R: The best holiday wear is out before Black Friday, so early to mid-November is prime time to hit the stores. If you wait until December, most things will be pretty picked over. 

 

 

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Sheryl Crow, if you had a favorite mistake, what would it be?

I think the question should be, “Who would it be?”

If every day is a winding road, what did you see today?

Lots of construction on my way to take my son to school and then three red-tailed hawks coming up my driveway. That must be a good sign. 

If you could cook one meal for us, what would it be?

Chicken and dumplings. 

If you could give your 10-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Never get a perm. 

If you had to choose a personal credo, what would it be?

Accept yourself for who you are. 

If, in your dreams, you could have created any one work of great art—a song, a painting, a movie—by another artist, what would it be?

I would have written the song “Yesterday.”

If a picture paints a thousand words, what are you doing in that picture?

Texting. 

If you could create for yourself a perfect day, what would you do?

Sleep until 9 a.m., have morning coffee, take my boys hiking, have a picnic, and then spend the rest of the day outside with them. 

If you could wish one thing for your future, what would it be?

Happiness.

 

What About You? If you could relive any one day of your life, which would it be and why?
Submit your answer at spiritmag.com/if. Our favorite responses will be published in an upcoming issue of Spirit.

 

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There is a mushroom that covers 5.8 square miles.

A fungus is among us, and it spans the length of 35 football fields. Still, you may have walked right by it. That’s because this imposing organism, which was discovered in 1998 in Oregon’s Malheur National Forest, is entirely underground. “It’s thousands of years old,” says Greg Filip, a pathologist with the USDA Forest Service, “and it expands every year.” The humongous fungus is classified as Armillaria ostoyae, or honey mushroom, yet it’s anything but sweet. In fact, it’s zapping nutrients from conifer root systems and killing off trees. “Even wildfires can’t penetrate deep enough to kill it,” Filip says. “Removing it would mean destroying the entire forest.” Supersized ’shrooms: Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.  

 

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