HaPpY BiRtHdAy to all the Halloween folks who celebrate today!

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This post is in celebration of my College roommate’s Halloween Birthday!

Good news – I didn’t forget this year!  I know, some of you are thinking, “HOW do you forget someone’s birthday if it falls on Halloween?” Not sure, but it’s happened.

four-leaf-cloverMaura — You were always a jokester in College. I can see you dressing up and stopping by my place, honking the horn, and saying, “Let’s get this party started! It’s MY birthday!”

Look, you are even in GREEN for the “Luck of the Irish!”

Happy Birthday to YOU…  and everyone else whose birthday is today!

Time for a road trip to ND – GO IRISH!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Chicago Cubs reach World Series. Have not won since 1908 (108 years ago) – GO CUBS!

cubs-lionsHELLO Chicago — Are we excited! For those of you who do not know much about baseball, the Cubs are a Chicago baseball team. We have not won the World Series since 1908, which was 108 years ago. That’s a long time! So, you can imagine the excitement in Chicago right now.

In fact, The Art Institute of Chicago on Michigan Avenue decorated the two lions that are in front of the museum with Cubs baseball caps. This is a tradition in Chicago, when one of our teams (Cubs, Chicago Bears, White Sox or Blackhawks) goes to the finals, the lions are decorated with the team helmut. You can see how the lion looks with the Cub’s helmet.

I’ve heard that tickets for the World Series games are out of control. For example, standing room tickets are approximately $860 per ticket and stadium tickets are up to $6,000. Forbes.com’s article (October 23, 2016), “Chicago Cubs Ticket Prices At Wrigley More Than Double Previous World Series Record,” has more details on pricing, if you are interested in going. You’ll have to fork out a lot of money that’s for sure.

Well, after patiently waiting 108 years Cubs fans probably have a piggy bank full of $$ just waiting for this occasion.

Tune in Tuesday night (October 25, 2016, 8 pm EST) to see the Chicago Cubs play the Cleveland Indians. Now, the Cleveland Indians have not won the World Series since 1948 (68 years ago), so you can better understand the importance and excitement in this game. History will be made in the next two weeks.

Go Cubs!

Actor Tom Hanks / Director Ron Howard in Florence, Italy promoting Dan Brown’s “Inferno”

florence-the-duomoHave you heard the news?  Florence, Italy is coming to the big screen this month. Dan Brown’s book, “Inferno has been turned into a movie. My mother was born and raised in Florence, so I was pleasantly surprised when I turned on the Today Show (October 20, 2016) and was just in time to see this clip, “‘Inferno’: Tom Hanks, Ron Howard talk movie, take questions from fans.” It was really wonderful to hear their stories about making the movie AND see the view of Florence behind them. If you love Florence like I do, I am sure you will swell up with pride too.

infernoIf you’d like to learn more about Florence, you can visit The Florentine website, which is an English news magazine with stories about what is going on in Florence. In honor of Florence and wanting to share a little bit of the Inferno movie with visitors, The Florentine magazine created, “Inferno Florence Guide,” which is an app that brings tourists to the specific places Dan Brown used in his book. Clever marketing idea!

If you haven’t read the book, you still have a few days before the movie hits the theaters. There are a few interviews with Dan Brown and in one of them he mentions that he got his interest in religion and codes from his parents. Start reading, and be sure to see “this” movie on the BIG screen, so you can “feel” like you are in Florence and part of the Inferno adventure.

Craving a Cronut®, visit London

tower-bridge-londonBack in 2013, Pastry Chef Dominique Ansel introduced the first “Cronut®” in New York. Now 2016, he’s opening his first European Bakery in London. You’ll enjoy this YouTube video from the “Financial Times: The Cronut® Lands in London,” where Pastry Chef Ansel shares his story.

The Cronut® is the mixture of a croissant and a doughnut. He created the Cronut® when he didn’t have a doughnut recipe; however, he knew a lot about making croissants. So, he put his pastry skills to the test and with a “little bit of this” and a “little bit of that,” the Cronut® was created.

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Cronut photo from     Dominique Ansel’s website

I’ve never had a Cronut®. From the photo you can see that it looks like a tall croissant in the shape of a doughnut, very decadent for sure. Apparently, due to temperature changes between NY and London, when Pastry Chef Ansel arrived in London, he had to fine tune his Cronut® recipe before the grand opening. THAT must have been stressful!

Now is the perfect time to visit London, the US dollar is strong from what I hear, and you can see from Eater.com’s article, “Dominque Ansel London Opens to a Line of 200 Cronut® Lovers,” by Whitney Filloon that the Cronut® is a hit over there. When you come back from London, tell us what you thought! Are you now a Cronut® fan? Was it worth the trip? You can always go to New York first… London second.

Free E-books -> Use OverDrive App

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Do you love reading? Do you want to save money? Well, then you should go to your local library, sign up for a library card and download the OverDrive App. I’m not a techie, but even I was able to download the app and with a few pointers from the librarian within minutes I was good to go and had downloaded some audio books.

Why do I mention this? Recently, I was at a coffee shop talking to a friend about the latest books we have been reading. I told her I was listening to a historical mystery on audio by Jason Goodwin called, “The Snake Stone.” She liked the story line of an eunuch detective set in Istanbul at the end of the Ottoman empire. I was happy to hear she wanted to get the book and read it; however, I was surprised when she said she would buy it on Amazon. NOW, great if Amazon makes money, but I told her unless she really wanted to “keep” the book, she could save herself money by downloading the e-book for FREE from the library. That was news to her, she didn’t know about the OverDrive App.

The OverDrive App is easy to use. Once you download it on your smartphone or tablet, you choose the library you belong to, which connects you to your library account and then you start searching for e-books, audio books, and videos, which you than view offline. THIS HAS BEEN GREAT. If you have a long commute to work and are stuck in traffic, it sure is wonderful to have an audio book to listen too.

One note, the OverDrive App does not send you a warning message that your e-book is about to expire. Instead your e-books are just returned. While that is good, it doesn’t allow you to “renew” the e-book, UNLESS you renew three days before the e-book is due to expire. Still, this is a minor disturbance for a free ebook. My next goal is to learn how to download the audio books to my iPod, so walking is more interesting… If you are an expert on this, let me know.

HAPPY READING!

Need motivation? Then it’s time for Sun Tzu’s, “The Art of War”

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Statue of Sun Tzu in Yurihama, Tottori, in Japan

I’m not sure how I heard about Sun Tzu’s, “The Art of War,” but it piqued my interest as a book I needed to read.

Sun Tzu was a Chinese military general known to be a great war leader and strategist. His goal was always to try and win a battle without fighting and if he did have to fight, to win the easiest battles first. If you read his book, you’ll find that his war strategies apply to business as well.

When I was in Singapore, I was determined to visit a bookstore and find Sun Tzu’s book. I also wanted to explore “other” interesting books that I might not find back home. The bookstore, of course, had a variety of books from Asian authors (Chinese, Japanese, Korean), a great Supply Chain section and a big area for best selling American novels as well.

image1Being the popular book that it is, the bookstore was out of Sun Tzu’s, “The Art of War;” however, they had a business version called, “Sun Tzu for Success: How to Use The Art of War to Master Challenges and Accomplish the Important Goals in Your life,” by Gerald Michaelson with Steven Michaelson.

As I started flipping through the pages, I was hooked. Michaelson takes Sun Tzu’s strategies and relates them to management/business situations. In Section One of Michelson’s book he talks about the importance of understanding “who you are.” He says that Sun Tzu’s philosophy was about knowing yourself, because if you do not know yourself, you are your worst enemy.

Sun Tzu/Michaelson’s goal is to prove to us that no matter how challenged life can be, we are in charge of our destiny, our dreams and our goals. For any hurdle in life, we need to find that inner passion and strength to “stay strong” and want to push through “rejections/failures” in our studies, jobs, owning a business, and more. It takes hard work to win!

I leave you with another bit of inspiration…

Midas Kwant (a 19 year old from the Netherlands), gave an inspiring TedxMaastricht talk on “Finding your Passion.” He talks about being really unhappy in grade school and how his life changed with the determination of his parents and a “little bit of luck.”

Here is to staying positive in life. By reading, learning, meeting new people and sharing inspiring stories, we help each other.

REMEMBER:  When we least expect it, miracles and creative ideas come to us that change the course of our lives. One small act of kindness toward someone can change the course of THEIR day, and the smile they give us warms our hearts and changes OUR day too!

So, I challenge you to go out and do one kind deed today!   Good luck, be creative!

Ok, Star Wars Fans – A Stormtrooper Toaster has arrived!

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Aren’t there those days that you are plugging along, trying to be productive… WHEN an email comes in and you are about to “delete it,” but the header (stormtrooper) catches your attention.

Your memories are brought back to May 25, 1977 when the very first “Star Wars” movie came out and you are “forced” to open the email. What you find doesn’t disappoint!  You see a stormtrooper toaster and a darth vader waffle iron.

You smile and think…  Life can’t get any better. I’m all for starting the morning out FEELING like the “FORCE IS WITH ME!”

Breakfast will never be the same!  Click here  to see the toaster on Amazon.

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU today!