For Cupcakes and Butterflies

Melting Snow Man Cookies

This weekend I was invited to a cookie exchange event. It was with a group of new co-workers and I wanted to make sure I made a good impression. Plus, who doesn’t love a good chance to make something creative and fun!?

I decided to make Melting Snowman Cookies, inspired by Better Homes and Gardens email on cookie exchanges. How timely.

Their cookies were a little more than I had time for so I improvised with a time-saving version of the same cookies.

Here is what I came up with:

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They turned out pretty nice!

Instead of creating dough by hand, I bought sugar cookie mix and instead of searching around for candy coating I used white frosting that I heated up over a double broiler and spread on after the cookies had dried. For eyes I used a dab of black frosting and the noses are orange sprinkles. The hats are mini peanut butter cups that I cut in half.

Of course, I made way too many and had a lot of left over cookies available for decorating. One I kept and haven’t eaten because he is just too cute is this little guy:

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Right as I was finishing up, my brother and his girlfriend arrived and decided they wanted to get in on the decorating as well. Between them and my boyfriend, this is what they came up with. Can you tell what they were going for?

COOKIE #1:
1

COOKIE #2:

2

COOKIE #3:

3

COOKIE #4

4

COOKIE #5

5

COOKIE #6

6

Submit your final guesses!

 

Answers:

COOKIE #1: Abominable Snow Man from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

COOKIE #2: Full-sized Snow Man

COOKIE #3: Blue polka dot dinosaur

COOKIE #4: Purple ninja and a red ninja

COOKIE #5: Jack, from Jack in the Box

COOKIE #6: The Twilight cast. At top, Charlie, Bottom row left to right: Jacob, Bella, and Edward.

 

Despite the actual appearance of the cookies, they all tasted delicious and we all had a great time making them. I am looking forward to our future cooking and baking adventures. 🙂

 

Happy Holidays!

 

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Scoring a Job in the Digital Age

Featured post by guest blogger Brooke Bonime

 “Twenty-five percent of our new hires come from social media. Seventy-five percent typically come from word of mouth.”
Ben Kirshner, Founder and CEO of media marketing company in New York, Elite SEM

In 1991, the way in which humans connected changed when the World Wide Web became publicly available. In the first stage there was the distribution of information, then there was the era of connection and communication (with the rise of social media), now people are looking for ways to take their online experience and merge it with their real-life experience.

Every industry has been affected by the advancement of the internet, connections, and the way people gather information. The news has evolved into digital format, movies are streamed instead of rented, emails and Facebook messages are ways to communicate instead of letters or even the telephone.

None of this is news. People have adapted, embraced and driven these changes. However, there is one change that has taken the world a little bit longer to accept. The Internet has irrevocably altered the way we hunt for talent and search for jobs. While looking through the classifieds may have ended long ago, the digital application submitted to a nameless, numberless person has created new challenges for the modern-day unemployed.

In addition, hunting for talent for your own company is no longer solely through word of mouth or applications, but now, the talent is found through search engines, online assessments and social media networks. With more people on the Web than ever and a competitive job market, standing out is key in this digital era. Individual seeking jobs have a surplus of tools to help him or her perfect skills and seek advice. But with an overabundance of information on the Internet, it can be hard to be selective in what information you wish to adopt or ignore.

Here are a few tips for using the Internet to your advantage and landing the job of your choice:

1. Research. It is typical for the first question an interviewer will ask to be, “What does our company do?” While it may seem like an obvious one, it is surprising how many applicants fail to correctly answer this question. Do your research well before your interview; know the company inside and out. Take your time researching every aspect of the company whether that is their social media channels or understanding the company’s industry. Remember, you can never do enough research and you can never know too much information about the company. The more you know, the more you will impress the interviewer. Practice on a friend to make sure you have the interview down pat.

2. Connect Before the Interview. Before the interview, it is important to occasionally check out the company’s social media outlets. Be sure to like some of their posts, leave a few comments, re-tweet or pin what you find interesting. Though you may think that no one will notice your engagement, you may be surprised. The reality is that many recruiters prefer finding talent on social media through Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn rather than job sites.

Another tip: if the company sponsors or organizes events, make it a point to attend them. This will allow you to meet some of the representatives from the company and it may help you get that “in” that you need. If possible, connect with the representative on LinkedIn afterwards.

3. Build Your Social Media Presence. Are you active in the social media world? Do you blog, Yelp, Tweet, Pin, have a lot of friends on Facebook, post photos to Instagram and have a lot of followers on all of these outlets? If so, keep it up and continue growing your social sphere. If you are not as active, get to it! Social media is becoming a critical component recruiters use to analyze how passionate you are about digital media. If you are unfamiliar with any social media channels, you may be surprised by the amount of information, tools and tips you can find by using a search engine. It is a great place to start. If you are familiar and want to further enhance your knowledge of social media, check out sites like Mashable, Real Time Media, or Social Media Examiner to read articles on how to build your social media presence.

4. Be Prepared. If you can, find out how the interview will be structured. If you know ahead of time who your interviewers will be, do some research and find out as much as possible about them.

Ask questions. Be sure to ask questions that are well thought out and precise, questions that they do not get asked during every interview. Writing questions down ahead of time will help.

If you are worried about what to wear to the interview, use social media to get an idea of the company’s dress code. Check out their Facebook page, blog or website for photos in the news. Now that you have an idea, dress it up a notch.

5. Arrive Early. It is better to be early than late, so if you have to leave an hour earlier than normal to ensure promptness, then do it. It is best to arrive at least fifteen minutes ahead of your scheduled start.

6. Don’t Pigeonhole Yourself. Companies want people with different interests and talents. If you like working in different areas, express that in your interview. If you have one specific talent but have other hobbies and interests, let that be known. You want to show your true self in the interview.

7. Keep the Details in Mind. These small reminders might seem silly but they can make all the difference.

1. Shut your phone off.
2. Do not chew gum.
3. Do not play with your hair.
4. Don’t say “yeah” or “like.”
5. Don’t interrupt or talk over the interviewer.
6. Maintain eye contact.
7. Sit up straight.
8. Remain engaged at all times.
9. If you need clarification, ask.
10. Be confident.

8. Follow Up and Maintain Contact. Now that the interview is over, you still have one more step to complete. Make sure to get everyone’s business card that you talked to and send a thank-you email that day. Then check in with interviewer and see how the selection process is going.

9. Take note. If you do not get the job, that is okay. Take it as a learning experience, improve your talking points and remain positive communication with the company. Do not burn your bridges because you never know when another position may open up and the company contacts you because they think you are a great fit. If you do get the job, congratulations! But remember, you can always improve. Talk to the interviewer and ask for suggestions as to how you could have been even more successful during the interview.

The Meaning of Words

A few of my favorite word puzzles to think about. These are the things that occur to me when in that place between logic and reason that often comes out resembling fantasy.

In Wicked, the musical, they use the word “Swankified.” I was thinking about this the other day while listening to the sound track.

Swanky:

Origin:
1835–45; swank + y

Related forms
swank·i·ly, adverb
swank·i·ness, noun

Synonyms
stylish, chic, smart, fashionable.

Somehow this word has lost some of its inherent chic-ness and is now somewhat tacky. Does that make the Ozdust Ballroom somewhat Tackified?

Another of my favorite conundrums, the word “Cleave.” This is one of those interesting words that mean itself and the opposite at the same time. There are others. This is one of my favorites because it is so visual.

verb
1. to split or divide by or as if by a cutting blow, especially along a natural line of division, as the grain of wood.

2. to adhere closely; stick; cling (usually followed by to ).

Finally, Hermaphrodite.

And now I have a new love

Seems that with all the wedding planning I have started to fall in love… with cakes. Unfortunately the bride doesn’t like cake.

However, I have found some of the most amazing pictures of cakes that I want to share with everyone because they make my heart soar.

And not just because some have birds on them…

From this Vera Wang inspiration…

To this beautiful cake…by the cake blog

The cake that inspired this post

This is the cake that started my heart beating. I think I can still fit it into the wedding.

Not my favorite but very cute still.

In my opinion, you can never have enough cake, beauty and love at a wedding… Love it all.

I want a cake like this for every occasion…

 

Sprinkles and Goblins

Nothing makes a dreary pre-fall day, less pre-fall than some sprinkles.

It hasn’t been too long since the kiddies gathered their new notebooks, sharpened their pencils and trotted off to school. I always thought that it was nice how the school year was sprinkled with little breaks and interesting holidays to keep you going through tests and frozen clocks.

I had a problem with doodling when I was still in school, also, I tended to eat my lunch before lunch and then would have nothing to eat at lunch and so would find myself whisping about through the hallways admiring this or studying that. Often, I had things to do, people to talk to, classes to drop in on, emails to send. I was busy. One day I taught myself the American Sign Language alphabet and then tried to learn to sign fast enough to communicate with others.

Butterflying a City

Tasha Lewis trails a stream of brilliant blue butterflies behind her. The magic reminds me of Magi from Fern Gully trailing flower buds and fairy dust every where she floated.

These blue butterflies are careful to alight to the metal surfaces they are magnetically attracted to without causing any harm and can easily alight at another location whenever desired. A lot of thought and planning went into the creation of these pop-up art displays throughout the United States but it doestn’t take a lot of thought to appreciate the beauty of these little pieces of nature decorating the urban landscapes. I used to remind myself to look for butterflies in the middle of winter. It meant something else then, but it also always meant to look for those pieces of blue skies in the midst of grey darkness. See the good in the bad. Be optimistic during times of trial. See the magic in every day life. Look for miracles.

For Tasha, looking wasn’t quite enough; she created.

Maybe it is time that I started creating my optimistic blue sky miracles too…

 

 

Photo Credits:
Inhabitant and Tasha Lewis

 

On this 9/11, we ask: What will YOUR legacy be?

Today, I wanted to do something in memory of 9/11. This is a wonderful post that I have gained permission to re-blog.
It was originally posted by Steve Gutzler and Leadership Quest and is a guest blog post by Lyn Boyer of Affective Leadership.

On this 9/11, we ask: What will YOUR legacy be?.

As I thought about September 11th and what it means to each of us, I remembered the following story I read in Lyn Boyer’s book Connect: Affective Leadership for Effective Results. I asked her to include the inspiring story and comment on its significance. She gladly agreed to be a guest contributor for my blog this week. Read an excerpt of her book below:

On September 11, 2001, Ling Young stood in the Sky Lobby of the seventy-eighth floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center, anxiously waiting to take an elevator to the ground floor.

The North Tower was already in flames, and despite announcements to remain in the building, she and others began to evacuate. Then United Airways flight 175 crashed into her building, and Young was knocked to the floor and badly burned. Looking around her, she realized that many people were dead. She recounted that at one point an elevator door opened and flames shot into the lobby killing some of those standing in front of it. She and those around her were frightened and confused.

After several terrifying minutes, a young man carrying a woman on his back burst into the area and in a firm, authoritative voice instructed everyone to follow him. Young and the other survivors obediently followed him down about fifteen flights of stairs where he gently placed the injured woman he was carrying on the floor, handed Young a fire extinguisher, and instructed everyone to help the injured and continue walking down the steps to safety. Carrying a red bandana, he hurried back up the steps to find others who needed his help (Botelho & Hinojosa, 2005; Porteus, 2002).

By the time the young man returned to the seventy-eighth floor, he had placed the red bandana over his nose and mouth. There, he found other survivors including Judy Wein, who had sustained a broken arm, cracked ribs and a punctured lung. Again, he spoke calmly and with authority as he instructed the survivors to help those they could help and to descend the obscure flight of stairs that he showed them. He left the group, saying he wanted to help other people.

This mysterious young man was not identified until May of 2002 when Young, Wein and others told their stories to New York Times reporters. They explained how they thought of him every day. Wein said she checked pictures on the Internet trying to find the penetrating eyes and distinctive eyebrows of the young man who saved her life.

Allison Crowther, who read the Times article, desperately wanted to know what had happened to her twenty-four year old son on September 11. Having called his father shortly before nine o’clock that morning, he called her at twelve minutes after nine, just after the plane hit the South Tower. He told her where he was and that he was okay. His body, which was not identified until March of 2002, was found with a group of firefighters in a command center.

Like his father, her son always carried a bandana in his pants pocket. His father carried a blue one; he preferred red. Because of the bandana and his probable location in the building, Mrs. Crowther sent his picture to Young, who confirmed her son as the mysterious “man with the red bandana” (Botelho & Hinojosa, 2005).

The young man was Welles Crowther, who worked as an equities trader on the 104th floor at Sandler O’Neil and Partners. Crowther had trained as a firefighter and had mentioned to his father that he would like to make that his profession. After his death, his family found an application to join the fire department in his apartment.

Survivors reported that, with his steady voice and commanding presence, Crowther took control in a horrible situation. In addition to directing and leading survivors to safety, he instructed injured and frightened people to gather fire extinguishers and help other survivors.

For his actions, which saved the lives of at least eighteen and possibly dozens more, the New York City Fire Department posthumously named this courageous young man an honorary FDNY firefighter (Fire Department, 2010). His brief encounter with those desperate survivors forged an immediate and profound connection. This inspiring young man possessed unique qualities that allowed him to influence people to take action in extreme circumstances and in spite of paralyzing fear.

Other people have similar qualities, part of their day-to-day behaviors that enhance business, government, families and communities. These leaders make connections with others so that together they are able to change the future (Dunham, 2008).

From Connect: Affective Leadership for Effective Results by Lyn Boyer, 2011

As we remember those who died that terrible day and honor the heroes who risked their lives to save them, we ask ourselves:

  • What do or can I do to make a difference in the lives of others?
  • What skills do I have?
  • What resources can I draw upon?
  • What kinds of connections do I make?
  • What do I value? How do I live my values?
  • How can I have the greatest impact?
  • How do my actions change the future?

Jefferson Crowther, the father of “The Man in the Red Bandana, said that his son’s “experiences and the lives he saved were the legacy of his too-short life.” As I think about the need for contribution and for leadership in our world, I ask: What will YOUR legacy be?

What are your thoughts and reflections? How do you create meaning from this tragedy?

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Botelho, G., & Hinojosa, M. (2005). America remembers: The man in the red bandana. Retrieved June 23, 2010, from CNN.com: http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2002/america.remembers/stories/heroes/welles.html.

Dunham, B. (2008). Leading in a changing world. Coral Gables, FL: Newfi eld Network Alumni Series.

FireDepartment, N. Y. (2010). Welles Crowther “The man in the red bandanna” posthumously named honorary firefighter. Retrieved June 23, 2010, from New York City Fire Department: http://
http://www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/events/2006/121506a.shtml.

Porteus, L. (2002, Sept. 10). ‘Man in the red bandana’ died saving others. Retrieved June 23, 2010, from Fox News. com: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,62579,00.html.

 

 

Thank you Lyn and Steve for this meaningful post.