#SparkMe // Where to Stay in Budva, Montenegro

Spark-Me-HotelsFrom 28th to 29th of May, #SparkMe digital community will be taking over the breathtakingly beautiful coast of Montenegro in Bečići // Budva. Read my previous post on WHY YOU NEED TO ATTEND spark.me. I am excited that this year I am one of their official bloggers. Join me on my journey up the coast, as I will be live blogging about what will SPARK me into action from smart women like Veronica Belmont, Danica Kombol and many more. As people will be gathering from near and far, here are all the hotel information that you will need to plan your travel to Budva, Montenegro.

Hotels

Hotel Mediteran – Spark.Me HQhotel-mediteranDistance to event: 0 min walk
Bečići, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Hotel Splendid Conference and Spa Resort – 5-Star Resort + Real Posh Favorite
Refined accommodations in a high-end lodging featuring 3 restaurants, 3 bars, a spa & a casino.splendid-spa-resortDistance to event: 7 min walk
Bečići, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Hotel Sentido Tara
Polished hotel with an outdoor pool, a spa & an international restaurant, plus 3 bars.sentido-tara-hotelDistance to event: 1 min walk
Bečići, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Hotel Montenegro
Casual beach resort offering rooms with balconies, & 6 restaurants, plus a spa, 2 saunas & pools.
Distance to event: 2 min walk
Boreti, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Hotel Anitahotel-anita
Distance to event: 5 min walk
Bečići, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Iberostar Bellevue
Modest rooms in a beachside property with free breakfast, plus relaxed dining, pools & a spa.iberostar-bellevueDistance to event: 6 min walk
Bečići, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Hotel Slovenska Plažahotel-slovenska-plazaDistance to event: 23 min walk
Budva, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Hotel Bracera
Distance to event: 27 min walk
Budva, Montenegro
BOOK HERE.

Batman V Superman? Let the Kids Decide!

In two weeks, the battle is on when Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice comes to theaters on March 25, 2016! The Children’s Place is partnering up with Batman & Superman to treat one lucky winner to a heroic family trip to Los Angeles with VIP Warner Bros. Studio tour passes. Click here to enter! The-Childrens-Place-Batman-V-Supermanbatman-v-superman-kidsNot only can you enter to win, but you can also find apparel for your kids to support their favorite superhero. GRAND PRIZE INCLUDES:
· 4 roundtrip airfare tickets to Los Angeles & complimentary ground transportation to/from LAX
· Hotel accommodations for 3 nights
· 4 VIP Warner Bros. Studio tour passes
· $200 gift card to The Children’s Place


This video also features another contest, but it gives back to the community. If you donate, you could win a prize package that includes a trip to the Los Angeles premiere of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a ride in the Batmobile with Ben Affleck, a ride in a helicopter with Henry Cavill and an opportunity to “photo bomb” the Red Carpet at the premiere.

Now, your kids may not necessarily care about the moral differences between Batman and Superman. Let’s be honest, some of them will not be seeing this movie in the theater (rated PG-13), BUT they undoubtedly have participated in conversations like this one. “Who do you think would win in a fight between Batman and Superman?” or “Which superhero is cooler?” I have to admit that I am #TeamSuperman because well Henry Cavill…oh, and Batman is Ben Affleck. Also maybe it’s because of my love for Kryptonians by watching Supergirl on CBS.

Post below which one you // they are cheering for! 🙂

How to Celebrate International Women’s Day

celebrate-womens-dayInternational Women’s Day isn’t just about giving a flower or chocolate to a woman you appreciate. Today (March 8) is a symbol of the struggles that women around the world have undergone to gain equality and a reminder of how far we need to go. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to help celebrate this important day. For more information on what International Women’s Day is, click here.

Donate to a local women’s shelter. This can be anything from money to clothing or food to your time. Helping out a local women’s shelter or an organization fighting human trafficking, like The Family Place or New Friends New Life, helps to remind you about the difficulties women continue to face, as well as doing your part to help alleviate some of this suffering.

Help out a close female friend or family member. This can be anything from taking care of your friend’s children for the evening free of charge to doing all the housework for her. Consider making a pledge to continue helping her out throughout the year.

Mentor another woman. In order to achieve equality in the work force, women have to help other women. Take the time on International Women’s Day, or during any day, to mentor a female coworker from your job or similar industry. Take her out to lunch, talk to her about her career goals and offer her your wisdom. Mentoring is a great way to empower young women and a chance for older women to pass on their skills and life experience.

Teach your children about amazing women. Spending quality time with your children is the best possible way to celebrate International Women’s Day. Watch a film about Amelia Earhart or Margaret Thatcher, read a book by Jane Austen or Charlotte Brontë, or perform science experiments together and talk about the accomplishments of scientists like Marie Curie and Rosalind Franklin.

Tell a woman what she means to you. This could be your boss or a family member. Communicate why she is important and all that she contributes well. For instance, if it’s your boss, tell her why she’s a great boss and how much you’ve enjoyed working for her. A lot of the things that women do, especially women who are in charge, are scrutinized for every single thing they have done wrong or ignored entirely. Let’s empower and lift up those above us.

Thank the women in your life. Don’t just tell them why they are important, thank them for being there for you and for doing what they do. This could be as simple as thanking your mother for helping to raise you (You turned out well, right? 😉 ), or thanking a female friend for helping you out during tough times in your life.strong-women

Recipe: Egg and Lemon Soup from Albania

With the colder, rainy weather lately, I have been enjoying chili and soups more. I thought that I would share this tasty egg and lemon soup (supa od jaja i limona), which I recently ate at Restaurant Shqiponja in Shkodër, Albania. This soup is popular in Albania, and it is delicious to enjoy when you are wanting to stay warm at your grandmother’s house or trying to get well with a winter cold. You could modify the recipe by adding chopped chicken to the soup. This soup is comfort food that is amazing on a cold winter day because it adds warmth and a bit of sunshine to your day! 🙂

Egg and Lemon Soup // Supa od jaja i limona

egg-lemon-soup800ml chicken broth // 800ml pileći bujon
4 eggs // 4 jaja
2 freshly squeezed lemons // sok od 2 limuna
3T butter // 40g maslac
3T flour // 30g brašno
salt and white pepper // so i bijeli biber
parsley // peršun

Melt butter in a pot and then add flour to make a roux. Add chicken broth and simmer for 10 minutes. In the meantime, beat eggs in a large bowl and add all of lemon juice and season with salt and white pepper. Take the broth off the heat, and while constantly stirring, add the broth mixture into the bowl with lemon and eggs. Then sieve the soup and leave on low heat for one minute while stirring constantly. Garnish and serve with parsley leaves.
supa-jaja-limuna

Priprema

U loncu rastopiti maslac, zatim dodavati brašno dok smjesa ne zgusne. Lagano dosipati pileći bujon i kuvati 10 minuta. U drugoj posudi umutiti jaja sa solju i bijeli biber i dodati limunov sok. Bujon skloniti sa vatre i uz stalno miješanje uliti ga u posudu sa jajima. Supu zatim procijediti i kuvati na tihoj vatri jedan minut uz stalno miješanje. Servirati u dubokom tanjiru i dekorisati grančicom peršuna.

Why I Want to Attend Spark.me // Zašto bi trebalo da učestvujete

Why-I-Want-To-Attend-Spark-MeHosted by Domain.ME since 2013, Spark.Me brings stories on the front lines of technology, innovative business models, engaging branding strategies and world-changing initiatives.This two-day interactive conference is designed to inspire you, ignite your creativity and allow your to find your SPARK that will propel you toward the future in business and technology. Here are my top 10 reasons that you want to attend Spark.Me on May 28-29, 2016.

10. Refresh & Recharge // Osvežite se
Take a weekend off your busy work schedule to recharge. Through the provocative sessions, you will uncover some ways to refresh, re-energize and return to work reinvigorated.refresh-and-recharge-budva

9. Biggest Business & Digital Innovation Conference in Montenegro // Najveća konferencija biznisa i digitalne inovacije u Crnoj Gori
Learn the latest techniques, tools and strategies in business and digital innovation to be able to address your company’s challenge in a new improved way. Because Spark.Me is one of the biggest professional conferences in the Balkans, it is truly the best way to access innovative and disruptive content with lots of like-minded people.

8. Rub Elbows with Other Industry Professionals + More // Upoznajte se sa drugim profesionalcima industrije + više
This is the best part of the conference experience. You’ll be in touch with other professionals and experts to share your concerns, experiences and solutions.

7. Network, Connect and Reconnect with Colleagues // Poslovno umrežavanje sa kolegama
Life-long connections have evolved conferences like Spark.Me. Bring your business cards, your smile and an open-mind to Spark.Me, and you will not be disappointed in the people that you meet.

6. Learn from Each Other and Develop Professionally // Učite jedni od drugih i razvite profesionalno
We always have something new to learn from one another, and take the knowledge that you learned back to your company and to those who were not able to attend.

5. The Price is Right // Cena je prava
Spark.Me is very affordable! They offer a student rate and early-bird discounts (until March 11, 2016) between €60 – €120 for registration. As the conference gets closer, the price will get higher, so buy your tickets now.

4. Showcase Your Innovation through Startup Competition // Pokažite inovaciju kroz “Startup Competition”
Spark.me brings together successful startups in its Startup Competition. They focused on innovation, the power of ideas, the startup’s potential to grow and team diversity. Participating in the competition enables you to have access to advisors, mentors and a network of investors, industry experts and serial entrepreneurs. In order to participate, you need to apply by May 4, 2016 here.

3. Great, Dynamic Speakers // Sjajni i energični govornici
Last year, I had the honor to speak at Spark.Me, and I was blown away on the speaker lineup that Vanja and his team brought to Montenegro. The speakers and topics are as diverse as the Spark.Me attendees, which is why this conference stands above the rest in the region…and even in Europe. So far, the speakers for 2016 include Jon Bradford, Annie Machon, Everywhere Agency’s CEO Danica Kombol and my new friend Marvin Liao. Below is my talk with Real Geek Dad about Content Marketing vs. SEO called “Beauty and the Beast.”

2. Not Only Talks…A Lot of Fun // Proveselite se
During Spark.Me, you can have fun at their cocktail party, walking along the beautiful beach, eating along the breathtakingly beautiful Montenegrin coast with others from the conference or do other informal gatherings that will surely add fun during your Spark.Me weekend.

1. Experience the Breathtaking Beauty of Budva // Putujete u najlepšu Budvu
Speaking of Budva’s breathtaking beauty, Budva Old Town lies on a small peninsula and represents a treasure chest of culture heritage and a short walk from the conference. Crossed with narrow streets and squares, you can also visit many shops, cafés, restaurants and galleries in Old Town. The Budva coast is 21 km long with 17 beaches. It is among the most beautiful coasts in the world. Also, you can find a wide range of accommodation, from very affordable to exclusive and luxury.

budvabeach

Buy Your Ticket Now! Kupite kartu sada!

Beautiful Coffee Makers For Coffee Lovers

coffee-makers-for-coffee-loversI love when I get mentioned in a blog post. It truly is the sincerest form of flattery, and my friend over at Diskors Projekt discussed about “coffee makers for those who don’t really care about coffee.” As a coffee artisan, Matt prefers starting his day and ending his night with an Aeropressed cup of coffee. I will not disagree that I myself enjoy an cup of coffee prepared with a Chemex, Siphon, V60 or Aeropress, but I have to be honest, I don’t have the patience to make these types of coffees daily. 😉 Which brings me to my preference at-home brewing method: the coffee machine. Finding this coffee machine is a very personal decision and choosing the right model can be tricky. I prefer the speed and convenience of brewing a pot of coffee, but I will ALWAYS say “Yes!” to my friends like Matt and others who express all the deliciousness out of coffee beans by their hands. 😉 Whether it’s posh style you crave, having the most features, or simply value the brewing performance, here are our most beautiful coffee makers that perfectly fits your needs. Don’t only look at the beauty outside, enjoy the beauty inside every cup. 🙂

Beauty Queen
Bonavita Coffee MakerBV1900TSCurrently the most popular drip coffee maker by all the coffee snobs around the world, the $180 Bonavita has brewing performance to match even the most expensive machines yet costs two-thirds the price. The impressive appliance is also compact, it has few parts that you need to clean, and it’s a breeze to operate.

Controlling Beauty
Brazen Plus Customizable Temperature Control Brew SystemBrazenPlusLike Bonavita, the Brazen Plus Coffee Brew System features the unique ability to pre-soak a batch of coffee grounds before beginning the brew process. Its oversized shower head also ensures the grounds soak evenly, while its pulsing water flow allows for the perfect amount of saturation during each brew cycle. The impressive device also provides a means for quickly setting a start time and boasts an insulated carafe capable of keeping each pot of coffee warm for multiple hours. The $200 price tag might be a little high, but the Brazen Plus Coffee Brew System is a worthy companion for any coffee aficionado.

Dynamic Duo Beauty
OXO On 12-Cup Coffee Makeroxo-barista-brainOXO brings the precision brewing skills of a master barista to this intuitive coffee system. Providing handcrafted-quality coffee at the touch of a button, its intelligent microprocessor monitors time, temperature and volume from start to finish. For optimal versatility, the $300 machine has two carafes: a glass carafe to heat water for brewing coffee or tea—and an insulated carafe into which the coffee is brewed.

Efficiently Built Beauty
Technivorm Moccamaster
moccamasterThe $260 Technivorm Moccamaster isn’t cheap, but it’s also one of the best coffee makers money can buy. More a work of art than a kitchen appliance, this machine not only is constructed with eye-catching metal and modern European-style, it bubbles away joyfully while brewing. AND, it truly makes incredible pots of coffee, and it also keeps them hot for up to 6 hours because of an excellent thermal carafe.

Retro Beauty
KitchenAid Pour Over Coffee Brewerkitchenaid-pour-over-coffeeRecreate every step of the pour-over method at the touch of a button with an advanced electronic brewer that brews a flavorful and rich, full-bodied coffee. After heating water to the optimal brewing temperature (a precise 200°F), the $180 KitchenAid machine pre-wets the grounds to begin the flavor-extraction (blooming) process, then pours and pauses the flow of water over the coffee grounds with precise timing to maximize every nuance of flavor and aroma—just as a master barista would.

HONORABLE MENTION
Saeco GranBaristo Avanti

saeco-granbaristo-avantiOkay, I realize that this machine is not a “coffee maker.” Well, it does make coffee, but it’s average – this is truly an espresso machine. What makes it stand above the other espresso machines is its bluetooth technology to iOS and Android devices through a well-designed mobile app. Saeco GranBaristo Avanti uses its built-in ceramic burr grinder and brewing system to create exceptionally good espresso and coffee drinks at the push of a button. The GranBaristo Avanti is also attractively sleek and compact. The ability to customize coffee drinks and adjust the grind allows you to find a setting that works for you. The machine also comes with two bean hoppers (the place that holds the beans), allowing you to swap out different beans easily. Saeco even has a setting that grinds any leftover beans in the machine when you make the switch, so your old beans don’t contaminate the new ones. Saeco GranBaristo Avanti is one of the most advanced home coffee makers you can buy. It’s also one of the most expensive at $1,750.

Which of these coffee makers do you like? How do you prepare your cup of coffee during the day?

10 Personal Branding Essentials

personal-branding-essentialsSo you want to start a blog? Great! You’re not alone – tens of thousands of blogs are started each year, making it crucial that your blog stands out in the crowd. Branding is a huge part of distinguishing yourself from your others, attracting (and maintaining) loyal readers and important when you want to take your blog to next level. Check out our branding checklist for 10 essential tips on developing your personal brand online.

#1. Know your mission and define yourself.
A well-written mission statement is proof you have thoroughly thought about what you want to communicate when you blog done and defined your purpose or beliefs into two or three sentences. A reader who doesn’t know you should be able to read the mission statement and know exactly what to expect from you. Have a focused niche. This will help you in the future when brands come to you wanting to work with you. It will help you determine which ones fit your mission and your personal brand. That’s only possible if you know exactly what to expect from yourself. Make sure that this is effectively communicated in your “About” page, too.

#2. Determine your readers.
Laying down the foundation for a strong personal brand starts with knowing who your ideal reader is. By the way, you should not assume that “everyone” is or will be reading your blog. If you set out to attract everyone, you end up appealing to no one. Know your niche. Know your passion. Identify how you will meet the needs of your readers or answer a question that they may be having. I have found asking questions via social media helps me create content. 🙂

#3. Recognize how you are different.
People are attracted to uniqueness. By embracing your differences, you are more appealing to others. Use these differences to get people to pay attention to you. Create a list of all the things that might make you unique. Also list your passions. Prioritize this list with things that separate you from others or things you care about more than anything in the world. Incorporate these into your content and your mission statement.

#4. Take some eye-catching images of yourself.
You are going to use a photo of yourself in various places on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc. You want that photo to be professional and attractive. You also want it to convey the mood expressed by your brand. If your brand is about fun, then look happy and fun in your photo. You can pay somebody to take very professional photos of you. It isn’t necessary, but you’ll get better results.

#5. Purchase your domain name.
You need to own the dot.com. If your name is available as a dot.com, buy it. It is easiest to remember. 😉 Nothing is worse when it comes to personal brand online than a domain name that is long and includes someone else’s brand attached to it. YouBlogName.WordPress.com is an example of what NOT to do. With self-hosted WordPress, you can buy your own domain and then connect it to your blog for free.

#6. Invest in a professional blog design.
One of the biggest mistakes I have seen bloggers do is trying to design their own blogs when they have no idea what they are doing. Treat your blog like a business if you want it to be a business, and that means investing in it at the beginning.

#7. Create your logo.
You need a professional logo for your brand. Don’t use your photo as the logo. I have been fortunate to have friends are creative in graphic design. Don’t be afraid to ask around. Also, make sure the logo would work equally in color and black-and-white. In other words, it should translate well into print.

#8. Develop social media profile.
Do all your social media profiles look consistent? Keeping a consistent profile helps others find you easily, and it helps cement a picture of you in the minds of others. Reserve your name on all social channels.

#9. Tell your story.
Readers respond very well to personal stories on blogs. Using relevant stories can help build credibility in your niche. Authenticity builds trust in readers. Don’t worry about how often that you are going to blog rather on the quality of your writing. I laugh when I look back on my early writings. I must have thought I was a scholar, but I have learned that when I share my heart, the readers connect with me. They comment. They share. Which in turn inspires me to continue to write more quality content.

#10. Monitor mentions of your name and reply quickly!
There are great monitoring tool like Mention, which tracks any time your name surfaces online, be it in a blog, a social media post, status update or otherwise. You can view the mention right from your Mention dashboard and engage with a reply. A good rule of thumb might be: Respond to mentions on social media and blog comments within 24 hours.

Hopefully these tips for building a personal brand strategy can help you in thinking about how you present yourself online. This infographic by Feldman Creative and Placester does a good job of showing the benefits of keeping your personal brand well-maintained.personal-brand-benefitsWhat tips have you picked up for managing a personal brand? Which of these tips might work for you? I’d love to learn from you in the comments!

10 Best Beaches in Southeast Europe

best-beaches-se-europeIt isn’t hard to find the best beaches in Southeast Europe when there are so many to choose from, but rather harder to choose which beaches to leave out! Here are our top picks for the best beaches in Southeast Europe, from islands in Croatia to the off-the-beaten path islands in Greece, here is where you will find them…

#1. Egremni Beach, Greeceegremni-beachEgremni Beach on Lefkada Island is not on the popular and well-known Greek islands, but this is a beach where you can actually relax and blend in to local life.

#2. Elafonisi Beach, Greeceelafonisi-beachElafonisi Beach in Crete is another such Greek beach worth mentioning.

#3. Jaz Beach, Montenegrojaz-beachIf you’re looking for a little adventure on a sandy beach, then Jaz Beach, outside of Budva, is perfect for you. It’s one of Montenegro’s gorgeous beaches on the Adriatic coast.

#4. Lubenice, Croatialubenice-beachCres Island is home to beaches and crystal-clear coves at Lubenice, accessible by a steep path through the underbrush, so make sure to wear some good hiking shoes. Your hike to this secluded beach will be easily forgotten once you reach the beach.

#5. Navagio Beach, Greecenavagio-beachAlso known as Shipwreck Beach, this is one of the most iconic beaches to visit in Greece, and the picture certainly shows you why! This exposed cove is surrounded by crystal blue waters and trails around to catch the best view.

#6. Rana e Hedhun Beach, Albaniarana-e-hedhun-beachIn northern Albania is the wonderful beach of Rana e Hedhun (Powdered Sand). It is a pristine beach where sand dunes climb nearly halfway up the face of the mountainside.

#7. Šunj Beach, Croatiasunj-beachŠunj Beach is 1km strip of sand sloping gently into warm, shallow waters. There are two restaurants, both of which rent deck chairs and beach umbrellas, and a choice of activities from beach volleyball to tennis.

#8. Sunny Beach, Bulgariasunny-beachSunny Beach stretches 8km along the Black Sea with fine golden sand. It is also home to some of the coast’s last remaining natural sand dunes and rare plant species. Sunny Beach is across the bay from the historic town of Nesebăr.

#9. Sveti Stefan Beach, Montenegrosveti-stefan-beachSveti Stefan is one of the most renowned beaches and certainly an icon for coastal Montenegro.

#10. Zlatni Rat, Croatiazlatni-rat-beachZlatni Rat (Golden Cape) is situated near the city of Bol on the southern coast of the island of Brac. It is a narrow white pebble beach with an amazing shape that shifts with the changes in tide, currents and wind. Zlatni Rat is bordered by pine trees, where you can find remnants of ancient Roman civilization, including a swimming pool.

Real Posh Society Presents: Top 10 Wellness Books

Wellness-BooksJanuary is the month that calls for a fresh start and just as many of you are probably doing this month, I’m working on goals and an overall reset. I think a little inspiration always helps in those areas, so with that in mind, we thought we would share some of our favorite books on the subjects of wellness, health and joyful life. Whether you’re in need of some new-year motivation or just looking for a good read to pack on your next vacation, here are ten books to get you started.

#1. Art of Eating Well: Hemsley and Hemsleyart-of-eating-wellWritten by two food-obsessed sisters, this book is all about eating real, unprocessed and nutritious food. This is anything but a diet book. (They use lots of butter and there’s an entire section devoted to desserts.) It’s focused on eating nourishing food that’s good for your body and downright delicious, too. Every recipe I’ve ever made from them has been nothing short of fantastic. It’s the best “healthy” cookbook you’ll ever read.

#2. The New Health Rules: Simple Changes to Achieve Whole-Body Wellness
Striking a balance between accessible, easy-to-execute and comprehensive in nature, “The New Health Rules” by Dr. Frank Lipman and Danielle Claro maps out longterm habits worth integrating into everyday life. This is no fad diet and these aren’t temporary tricks. The real challenge happens to be continued commitment to what clearly represents a beneficial and healthy habit. Lipman practices integrated medicine and this book targets the whole self—physical, emotional and mental—for improved day-to-day wellness and increased longevity.

#3. Everyday Super FoodEveryday-Super-FoodJamie Oliver’s Everyday Super Food champions a healthy, balanced diet, and is all about eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and foods from each of the food groups. The main reason for this is that each food group – fruit and vegetables; meat, fish, protein alternatives (such as milk and dairy products); bread, cereals and potatoes – contributes different good stuff to the body. The final food group includes foods that are high in fat and sugar (pastries and cakes, for example), but these shouldn’t be eaten too often.

#4. The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts

This book had such a positive effect on my marriage. The bottom line: each of us has a primary love language, a particular way that we like to give and receive love. (You can find out yours by filling out this questionnaire.) Once I understood mine (quality time) and my husband’s (words of affirmation), we started communicating differently and so much better. It’s truly enlightening. It not only changed my relationship with my husband, but the relationships I have with my family and closest friends, too.

#5. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
Usually when I hear people talk about Brene Brown, it’s on the subject of vulnerability. She gave a fantastic TED talk about it. And what I love about The Gifts of Imperfection is her focus on time. Are we ruled by our To Do List? Or are we guided by higher principles? That’s the essence and core of The Gifts of Imperfection. She places a high importance on becoming still; growing quiet; finding more fulfillment in being and doing less. Really, this book is a call to re-insert meaning into our lives: cultivating meaning in our personal and professional work; moving toward art or literature that inspires us; and cultivating real joy.

#6. The Last Lecture
I listened to the audiobook of this one while driving home from college. I loved it so much that I immediately bought the hardback version and reread it. It’s written by Randy Paush, a professor at Carnegie Mellon, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away in 2008. This book is his “last lecture” and emphasizes the idea of living life to the fullest. This book will make you cry, but it will also leave you feeling totally inspired to seize every moment. It remains one of the best books I’ve ever read.

#7. The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)
The principles within The Miracle Morning are all things that we have heard of before. All ways that successful people have used to advance in their careers, their physical wellbeing, and their relationships. What makes The Miracle Morning so powerful is the way that Hal has put these principles together to give us the very best start to our day.

#8. Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward
This is one of the best books I’ve read for wise life guidance next to Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and is a must read for those who want to be leaders in their organizations or just want to live a better life.

#9. The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time
The Huffington Post chief marries the latest science with her moving personal journey to explain the transformative effect of sleep on every aspect of our lives, and how we can doze more and better.

#10. When Breath Becomes Air
36-year-old neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi wrote a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir about being faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis. Kalanithi died before he finished the book, leaving his wife Lucy to write a beautiful but painful epilogue. The book attempts to answer the question, “What makes a life worth living?”

If you have any recommendations, please share them in the comments. We would love to hear them!

Supplies for Baking

supplies-for-bakingThere are a seemingly, endless number of supplies that you can buy for baking, but which ones are worth investing in? Depending on how much baking you do – and the size of your recipes – there are certain items will absolutely last longer (and work more efficiently) if you go for quality materials. Below are our list of best supplies for baking, some of which have multiple uses in the kitchen.

Best Apron: Hedley & Bennett
Former line cook Ellen Bennett designs simple, sturdy aprons made from canvas, denim and linen for restaurants from Michael Voltaggio’s ink in Los Angeles to Michael Schwartz’s Michael’s Genuine in Miami.

Best Cutting Board: Tableboards by Spinella Bread/Pastry Board
This large surface is perfect for kneading bread dough, rolling out pizza or pie dough, working with pastry dough and many other tasks. Reversible with 1 1/2″ lip on both sides to hold board in place when kneading or working with dough. The handcrafted durability of this kneading board will be valued for generations.

Best Rolling Pin: Fletchers’ Mill French Rolling Pin
This tapered pin rolls dough more efficiently than handled pins, works well for rolling both pies and cookies and is one of the easiest to clean. It’s also posh looking and sturdy enough to last a lifetime.

Best Butter: Plugrá European-Style Butter
This slow-churned butter makes your pastries flakier and sauces unbelievably creamy. Plugrá Butter contains less water than average table butter. Lower moisture helps you create cakes that rise higher and cookies that crisp more evenly.

Best Kitchen Napkins: Williams-Sonoma All-Purpose Kitchen Towels

Made of top-quality ribbed cotton terry, our kitchen towels clean like a scrubber and absorb like a sponge. The towels are ideal for lint-free drying of glassware.

Best Cake Mix: Betty Crocker SuperMoist Golden Vanilla Cake Mix
Sometimes, we cannot all be Betty Crocker, so why next be able to grab the next best thing – her cake mix. 😉 This mix makes a cake with a delightful light and fluffy texture.

Best Cake Stand: Bed Bath & Beyond Everyday White® Large Footed Cake Server

Presentation is everything. In pristine white porcelain with wide rims, this cake stand makes every cake or cheese tray special. Always posh, it adds a classic element to your table, whether used on its own or mixed with your favorite dinnerware.

Best Pie Pan: Emile Henry Pie Dish
A good pie, which melts in the mouth, needs to be cooked evenly and gently, without drying out. The secret is the earthenware dish. It can go straight from the freezer to the oven, which is helpful because we often freeze my fruit pies before baking them.

Best Pie Carrier: Pyrex Portable Pie Carrier
The indentation in the bottom of this carrier keeps the (included) pie plate from slip-sliding away. And the five-inch-high domed lid allows full clearance for your loftiest creations.

What will you be baking this week? 🙂