Monday, January 30, 2012

Weekend Notes... And, Giveaway Winners Announced

{dustjacket via jamie beck}
Well, hello, Monday... Is it just me, or did the weekend fly by?

I'm actually glad it's the beginning of the week though because Ella Modern is announcing Friday's giveaway winners!

Drum roll please... Sarah F. and Trisha S. will each be receiving a copy of Pam Powell's cookbook, 'Salad Days'! Congrats you two! And, thanks to everyone that participated. That was fun, we'll surely have to do another giveaway soon!

In the meantime, I think I have to share both recipes on upcoming posts. The split of votes was exactly 50/50. I guess that means both salads sounded delish. Stay tuned!

Hope you all had a great weekend. Here are a few highlights from mine:

Birthday celebrations and beer tastings happened here.

The husband and I indulged in a few gourmet chocolates from this delicious shop.

I'm so, so, so in the mood for Spring because of these pretty flowers!

{this is glamorous}
And, the weekend came to and end with a TV filled evening and gourmet meal courtesy of Wolfgang Puck.

Happy Monday!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Today, Let's Meet The Salad Girl... And, Win A Cookbook

As you all know, I'm a complete "health nut"! And, the newest trend I'm completely into is "buying local". This whole movement is based on people coming together to support their local farmers, sustain hometown economies and most importantly, maintain good health by eating fresh, non-processed, whole foods.

During my visit to Minneapolis last week, I was thrilled to be introduced to Pam Powell. She's a local artist, and chef, who has turned her love for healthy salads into a thriving business. Her wonderful, artful, fruit and vegetable creations have made her more well-known as, "The Salad Girl".

Pam was gracious enough to give me a sample of each of her seven organic, gluten-free salad dressings. They are currently sold at fine markets in Minneapolis, including Whole Foods. And, they will be distributed Nationally in the coming months.

The best thing about each dressing is the recipe included on the label. I tend to love any sort of Waldorf salad, so immediately the Crisp Apple Maple flavor was my "go-to". I followed the recipe, but arranged the salad in a canning jar, so I could take it with me on-the-go. I saw this idea on Pinterest and had to give it a try. Just make sure you give the jar a good shake before enjoying.

{Crisp Apple Maple Party Salad}
Pam even has a cookbook. I'm the newest owner and have already tried three delicious recipes! One of my most recent favorites isn't even based on greens, but on quinoa. It's loaded with protein, veggies, and heart-healthy olive oil. Take a peek for yourself!

{Quinoa Salad with Stone Ground Mustard Vinaigrette}
So, for all you fellow "health nuts", Ella Modern has two cookbooks to give away! I couldn't be more excited!

To Enter:

Send an email to and tell me which of Pam's recipes to try next:

Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad with Fresh Rosemary and Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette


Asian Slaw with Honey-Ginger Vinaigrette

Winners will be announced on Monday, January 30... Best of luck!

*Entries must be received by 11:59PM MST on January 29, 2012. Only one entry per person.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Saving Face

In the dead of winter, it takes a little more effort to hydrate parched skin, especially on your face!

I've certainly had to amp up my beauty regime this year because my skin is naturally on the dry side. If your current lotions just aren't doing the trick, I highly recommend these soothing solutions!

1. Bobbi Brown Cleansing Oil, $39.00. Oil breaks down oil, making this cleanser highly effective in removing all traces of make-up and sunscreen without dehydrating the skin. I love that I can wash my face in one easy step!

2. Chanel Hydromax + Active Serum, $82.00. An ultra-hydrating serum that bring immediate moisture and relief to very dry skin. This serum has done wonders for my skin. It's silky smooth and only a small amount is needed to be extremely effective.

3. Clinique All About Eyes, $29.00. A moisture-rich cream that diminishes the look of under eye circles, shadows and fine-lines. I just started using eye cream and this one is fantastic!

4. La Mer, $140.00. A legendary and luxurious face cream that instantly soothes skin. It's worth every penny!

5. Dr. Perricone MD Omega 3 Dietary Supplement, $38.00. A supplement that helps to regulate weight and perfect skin. This superstar of supplements is derived from wild sockeye salmon—the purest and most powerful resource of Omega 3 and DMAE.

6. Kiehl's Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50, $34.00. Always wear sunscreen, even in the winter! This formulation is my favorite because it's not greasy. And, it prevents up to 90% of skin aging.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hello, Paperista... Inspired Wedding Stationary

I've always loved paper! I know that sounds funny, but I love everything about it!

I'm the first to over-wrap a gift in a bright patterned print with a large bow. And, I've been known to send a note, "just because", if I've found a cute card. For me, the way something is packaged is a reflection of what's inside. And, it's always kinda fun to open something pretty!

When it came time to plan my wedding, I spent countless hours examining the invitation suites available. Half the fun was seeing all the different designs, and the best part, was finding just the perfect one!

The invitation we chose was the Haddington from smock paper. The slate gray letterpress on the bamboo paper was stunning. And, it was perfectly complimented by a gorgeous contrasting envelope liner. The addresses were hand-written in calligraphy, an elegant and personal touch to the entire invitation!

When it came time to coordinate the remaining wedding day stationary, I worked with Paperista, a stylish paper boutique in Edina, Minnesota. The shop was amazing, the team was fantastic and I couldn't have been a happier bride with how everything turned out! In fact, the stationary collection created to match our invitation is currently receiving accolades in the Twin Cities area! It will be featured this Spring at Paperista, appropriately named after me, for all you "brides to be"!

Here, I have the inside scoop on some other stylish, new, Spring 2012 Paperista designs!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Make It:: Gold Clay Bowls

{wit + delight}

{wit + delight}

I fell in love with these delicate, gold-dipped bowls, when I spotted them on Camille Styles and wit + delight. I couldn't resist giving them a try!

The result... Gorgeous homemade faux-porcelain dishes pretty enough to be found in an antique shop. I'm going to make a few more for Valentine's Day gifts!

Make It: Gold Clay Bowl Supplies
1 Block Natural/White Air Dry Clay
Rolling Pin
X-Acto Knife
White Acrylic Paint
Gold Acrylic Paint
Clear Gloss Finishing Spray (optional)

1. Remove desired amount of clay, roll into a ball, and flatten with rolling pin to about 1/2 inch thickness.

2. Use another bowl as a mold for your clay. I chose to cut the edges of my clay for a more abstract design.

3. Allow clay to dry in the dish overnight.

4. Once dry, remove clay from the dish. Sand the edges with sand paper, if needed. Paint the entire clay dish (inside and outside) with white paint. Allow the white paint to dry.

5. Then, paint your fun designs in gold! Allow gold paint to dry before spraying clear gloss finishing spray. And that's it!

This gold dish will hold my business cards perfectly!

{Martha Stewart Weddings}

Monday, January 16, 2012

Weekend Recap

The weekends always fly by, but the past few days were so much fun, I just had to share.

Friday was 'good old-fashioned game night' with some close friends. I made Magnolia Bakery's famous Vanilla, Vanilla cupcakes for dessert. Find the recipe HERE!

Sunday, we hit the slopes in Banff at Lake Louise! It was unbelievably gorgeous! I still haven't decided if the Canadian Rockies are prettier in the summer or winter?

A perfect apres-ski meal of White Chicken Chili and red wine!

And, award season has begun! My favorite gown of the evening was Angelina Jolie in Versace. Elegant and simply stunning!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Wedding Planning Bliss

Calling all bride's to-be! There is a stunning new online magazine to check-out called Reverie Magazine. The creative twists are European and oh, so romantic. I just finished planning my own wedding and still couldn't put it down! Find it HERE. Happy weekend reading, lovelies!

Friday, January 13, 2012

DIY:: Strawberry Brown Sugar Body Scrub

We've reached the breaking point: January's blustery weather has started to play havoc on our skin! Recently, my hands have been so dry, they're almost painful.

So, to fight back against old man winter, I've created my very own exfoliating body scrub, complete with all-natural ingredients. You'll be amazed at how easy and inexpensive this is to make. In fact, you probably already have the supplies at home.

Strawberry Brown Sugar Body Scrub
1 cup brown sugar
Olive oil or almond oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4-5 strawberries, crushed (if frozen, thaw)

Put the brown sugar into a mixing bowl and add enough oil to make the sugar moist, but not wet. Add honey, lemon juice and crushed strawberries. Mix well to fully incorporate ingredients.

To use: Simply put a quarter sized amount of the scrub in your hand and gently scrub fingers, palms and backs of hands. Rinse with warm water and follow with a hand moisturizer.

The result: Good-bye dry skin... Hello smooth, silky softness! Store scrub in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Spin Class:: Endurance Ride + Adeline, Adeline

New year, new spinning playlist, yay!

This month, I'm working to improve my endurance. I have to be honest, I was a little lazy, or a lot lazy, over the holidays. But, now it's time to get back on track!

I created this session last weekend and love it! There are more steep climbs, longer runs and fewer sprints. One must improve strength to improve speed. Happy spinning!

"Without You", Usher (3:29)
"Give Me Everything", Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo (4:16)
"We Stand Together", Nickelback (3:10)
"She's Dope", Down With Webster (4:10)
"If This Was A Movie", Taylor Swift (3:54)
"Something More", Sugarland (3:36)
"Not Over You", Gavin Degraw (3:38)
"Love You Like A Lovesong", Selena Gomez (3:08)
"Warrant", Foster the People (5:22)
"Fidelity", Regina Spektor (3:46)
"On the Floor", Jennifer Lopez (3:50)
"How Far We've Come", Matchbox 20 (3:29)

"Without You", Usher (3:29): Warm-up, 60% resistance, slowly increase cadence as song progresses.

"Give Me Everything", Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo (4:16): Standing jog, 70% resistance. Keep your cadence smooth and quick. Don't bounce.

"We Stand Together", Nickelback (3:10): Seated climb, 85% resistance. Very hard, legs moving slow.

"She's Dope", Down With Webster (4:10): Standing jog, 70% resistance. Keep your cadence smooth and quick. Don't bounce.

"If This Was A Movie", Taylor Swift (3:54): Back off resistance, recover. Drink water. Let your heart rate come down.

"Something More", Sugarland (3:36): 60% resistance, cadence should be slightly faster than what's comfortable. Halfway through the song, increase resistance to 70% and begin the standing jog.

"Not Over You", Gavin Degraw (3:38): Seated climb, 90% resistance. Steep hill, your legs are moving very slow. Your legs should feel heavy by the end of the song.

"Love You Like A Lovesong", Selena Gomez (3:08): Standing jog, 70% resistance. You are recovering from the last climb on another hill. Go as slow as you want, but keep the resistance high. A working recovery will increase your endurance.

"Warrant", Foster the People (5:22): FOCUS on the BEAT of this song. After the 30 second introduction, find a resistance that pushes you to hit the beat with each pedal stroke. You want your cadence to be quick enough to hit the beat, but want the resistance to be hard enough where you're almost not going to make it. If you have to back off resistance to keep the beat, do so, but make sure you're pushing yourself. Be exhausted after this song! It's five minutes long and will push your muscles.

"Fidelity", Regina Spektor (3:46): Back off resistance, recover. Drink water.

"On the Floor", Jennifer Lopez (3:50): Standing climb, 80% resistance. If you can incorporate a standing push-up as you spin, go for it. If it interrupts your cadence, don't do it.

"How Far We've Come", Matchbox 20 (3:29): 60% resistance, run it. Maintain a speed at 90% of your maximum (not a sprint). Keep this same speed for the entire song. You will be exhausted at the end, but it will improve your strength.

And, you're done... Awesome job!

So, I love bicycles... And, when I'm not spinning, or on my road bike outdoors, I like to ride leisurely.

One of my favorite bicycle shops in NYC is Adeline, Adeline in Tribeca.

And, the bike I'm dying for right now is the Pashley Britannia in Bright Red... I love the basket!

Because even in a sundress, you can ride a bicycle. My favorite :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Spotted Pig's Famous Deviled Eggs

I find it interesting how trends are cyclical. Fast forward time, alter minor subtleties, and suddenly something of the past is popular again. This is always true in fashion. And now, I notice it more and more, in how, and what, we eat.

My grandma used to make deviled eggs in the Springtime when I was little. That was how many years ago? Yikes! Then, the only ingredients she used were: hard boiled eggs, mayonnaise, dry mustard, salt and pepper.

Now, twenty years later, "gourmet" deviled eggs are found on some of the trendiest menus in the biggest cities. My favorite rendition is from The Spotted Pig in New York City! Chef April Bloomfield has perfected this comfort food. In fact, Food & Wine magazine says her menu, "infuses modest British dishes with spirit and sophistication." Hence, deliciousness.

This was actually the first time I've attempted to make deviled eggs. They're so easy and extremely addictive! We're going to a dinner party this weekend and I'm going to make another batch to share with our friends!

Deviled Eggs A La Spotted Pig
12 large eggs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon malt vinegar
Maldon sea salt
Peperoncino red chili flakes, pulsed in a spice grinder into approximate 1/16th-inch pieces.
3 tablespoons thinly sliced chives

Place eggs in single layer in medium saucepan. Cover with 1 ½ quarts cold water. Place over high heat, bring to a boil, remove from the heat and let cook for 13 minutes. Drain eggs. Soak for 10 minutes in an ice bath, and peel under cool running water. With thin knife, carefully slice eggs in half.

Place egg yolks in bowl of food processor. Add olive oil, mayonnaise, mustard, and both vinegars and process until smooth puree forms, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Season to taste with salt.

Transfer mixture to pastry bag fitted with plain tip or to plastic zipper-lock bag with corner cut off. Select the 12 best egg white halves (reserve remaining egg whites for another use), and pipe filling mixture into them by starting outside the indentation, completely filling the indentation, and overflowing the other side of it, leaving a curled "tail" at the end.

Sprinkle eggs with Maldon salt, Peperoncino, and chives. Drizzle with olive oil, and serve.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Engagements:: Foodies in Love

Love must have been in the air over the holidays because so many friends got engaged! That's always exciting news... And even more fun, is looking at all the adorable engagement photos!

So, one of the cutest sessions I've seen recently happens to be a friend from high school and I must share. Obviously she and her fiance are foodies... Which makes me love it even more!

Ciao Bella!

{Amy Majors Photography}

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Death of Dumbells

I would say my "somewhat poor posture" dates back to the second grade. Not saying that a student in grade two thinks about posture, but that's when it started. I was platinum blonde and a head taller than everyone else by age seven, thanks to my Swedish roots.

Fast forward twenty years: I'm 5'10 and I love it! However, I honestly think that slouching for the past 'how long' has cursed me with not being able to stand up straight. I sure hope not.

So, hello 2012... This year, I promise to have (or at least work on) better posture!

I was reading an article, published by Equinox Fitness, that negated the benefits of using traditional weight training dumbells to improve strength. I couldn't agree more with this mentality: supporting your own body weight is what truely improves balance and fitness, which both lead to having a more poised figure. It looks like I'll be hitting the Ballet Barre classes a bit more often to make me stand tall!

{Getty Images}

{Getty Images}

In an age of technological innovation, fitness pros are going old school. It may seem counterintuitive, but numbered weight stacks, moveable seats and removable pins are increasingly taking a back seat to a decidedly low-tech sculpting apparatus: your body.

Selectorized machines (your classic circuit-training contraptions) were initially designed to idiot-proof exercises by preventing unwanted movements and forcing desired ones. The problem is that as they restrict our movements they hide our imbalances. This means that you can sometimes become stronger and more "fit" without ever addressing underlying physical compensations — which is a bit like building a perfect house on a flawed foundation. When we don’t address our limitations, we become vulnerable to overuse injuries and nagging aches and pains.

In contrast, the principal challenge — and benefit — of bodyweight exercises is that they can't be faked. Think about push-ups, pull-ups and planks: You either have the necessary skills to do them or you don’t. There is no quick-fix work-around like those found on machines, such as lightening the load, changing the hand grip or adjusting the seat.

Gray Cook, MSPT, OCS, CSCS, world-renowned physical therapist and author of Movement, calls these "self-limiting exercises." Whether it’s jumping rope, yoga or a single-leg squat, he says, "the limitations these exercises impose keep us honest and allow our weakest links to hold us back … as they should."

"Bodyweight training requires focus and concentration…But guess what? It’s the secret formula of the fit."

Bodyweight training also improves the body's proprioception, which is essentially your ability to move better and avoid injuries — or what Cook calls "movement competence." It betters your breathing, grip strength, total body strength, quickness, alignment, balance and control.

It's no fluke that gymnasts, dancers and martial artists tend to have the most breathtaking bodies. When you train like this, you force your body to work in a balanced way (simultaneously stretching and strengthening), so your muscles develop accordingly. Plus, strengthening your body as a unit, not independent parts, ensures a perfectly proportioned shape.

Perfectionists, be warned: This type of workout doesn't allow for instant pseudo-mastery of an exercise. It forces you to focus on and address your shortcomings — a process which can be both daunting and humbling. It requires concentration and, at least at first, the guidance of a trainer or instructor. But guess what? It's the secret formula of the truly fit.

-Equinox Exercise Physiologist Geralyn Coopersmith

{Getty Images}

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

GIRL & THE GOAT... On A Budget

Being that the majority of my college friends live in Chicago, I feel I stay current on the trendiest restaurants via their Facebook posts. Hence, even though I'm not in the Windy City, I know that nabbing a table at GIRL & THE GOAT is the hottest reservation in town.



So, when I came across chef Stephanie Izard's recipe for 'The Never-Ending Chicago Winter Beef Stew', I had to try it!

And, the best part is, many of the ingredients are pantry staples, so this is a budget friendly dinner for 8! Or, for the hubby and myself, dinner tonight with lots of leftovers in the freezer (never a bad thing). I also like to think I'm sticking to my resolution of being fiscally responsible with this recipe, because this hearty one-pot meal is only $3.50 per serving.

I have to be honest though, I was a skeptic when I first read the through the ingredients. Continued to question as I was halfway through the recipe. And, up until the last hour of simmering, I felt I may have wasted my time on a sub-par dish.

And then, the "ah-hah" moment... The end result is delicious! An interesting blend of unexpected fruits and spices, you would never guess them to blend in such a flavorful way. Trust me, this stew is a unique, play on flavor, keeper!

3 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
3 lb. beef, cubed (chuck or short rib)
2 medium onions
1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and finely diced
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 pear, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 cup red wine
1 quart chicken broth
2 cups apple cider
1 16 oz. can diced tomatoes (San Marzano)
3/4 cup fish sauce
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp sambal paste
Freshly gound black pepper and salt

(I know, you're thinking I mis-typed the recipe... I didn't)

Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over high heat in a large soup pot. Season half of the beef with salt and pepper and add it to the pot. Brown the beef and remove. Repeat with the rest of the meat, removing and setting it aside.

Add another 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the soup pot and lower the heat to medium. Add the onion and garlic and sweat them by cooking until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the pineapple, apple, pear and wine and simmer to reduce the liquid by half.

Add back the beef along with the broth, cider, tomatoes, fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, mustard and sambal and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.

Cover and simmer until the beef cubes fall apart easily when poked with a fork, a little over 4 hours. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve alone with bread or over egg noodles.

Try it for yourself... If I can make a stew this good at home, the restaurant must be amazing! I'll be making a stop there next time I'm in Chi-town!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I'm Not A Book Worm

Ever since I graduated from college and entered the real world, I've struggled to pick-up a book simply to read for pleasure.

Don't get me wrong, I read a lot: the newspaper each morning, constant surfing of, and my favorite blogs. And I can't forget to mention, everything I read for work on a daily basis. After this continuous influx of information during the day, the very last thing I want to do when I get home at night is read anything!

While it's the truth, I know it's not good. Therefore, my goal for 2012 is to read at least one book each month. For some of you, I know this seems like a piece of cake... Hush, hush.

Take a peek at some of the books on my shelf for next few months...

Lacey Yeager is young, captivating, and ambitious enough to take the NYC art world by storm. Groomed at Sotheby's and hungry to keep climbing the social and career ladders put before her, Lacey charms men and women, old and young, rich and even richer with her magnetic charisma and liveliness. Her ascension to the highest tiers of the city parallel the soaring heights--and, at times, the dark lows--of the art world and the country from the late 1990s through today.

Those who center their business on improving people’s lives have a growth rate triple that of competitors and outperform the market by a huge margin. They dominate their categories, create new categories and maximize profit in the long term.

Pulling from a unique ten year growth study involving 50,000 brands, Jim Stengel shows how the world's 50 best businesses—as diverse as Method, Red Bull, Lindt, Petrobras, Samsung, Discovery Communications, Visa, Zappos, and Innocent—have a cause and effect relationship between financial performance and their ability to connect with fundamental human emotions, hopes, values and greater purposes.   In fact, over the 2000s an investment in these companies—“The Stengel 50”—would have been 400 percent more profitable than an investment in the S&P 500.  

Grow is based on unprecedented empirical research, inspired (when Stengel was Global Marketing Officer of Procter & Gamble) by a study of companies growing faster than P&G.  After leaving P&G in 2008, Stengel designed a new study, in collaboration with global research firm Millward Brown Optimor.  This study tracked the connection over a ten year period between financial performance and customer engagement, loyalty and advocacy.

Then, in a further investigation of what goes on in the “black box” of the consumer’s mind, Stengel and his team tapped into neuroscience research to look at customer engagement and measure subconscious attitudes to determine whether the top businesses in the Stengel Study were more associated with higher ideals than were others.

Grow thus deftly blends timeless truths about human behavior and values into an action framework – how you discover, build, communicate, deliver and evaluate your ideal. Through colorful stories drawn from his fascinating personal experiences and “deep dives” that bring out the true reasons for such successes as the Pampers, HP, Discovery Channel, Jack Daniels and Zappos,  Grow unlocks the code for twenty-first century business success.

A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.
Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill prepared for the hard-drinking and fast-living life of Jazz Age Paris, which hardly values traditional notions of family and monogamy. Surrounded by beautiful women and competing egos, Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history, pouring all the richness and intensity of his life with Hadley and their circle of friends into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises. Hadley, meanwhile, strives to hold on to her sense of self as the demands of life with Ernest grow costly and her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Despite their extraordinary bond, they eventually find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for.

A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.

Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.

Although Jobs cooperated with this book, he asked for no control over what was written nor even the right to read it before it was published. He put nothing off-limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. And Jobs speaks candidly, sometimes brutally so, about the people he worked with and competed against. His friends, foes, and colleagues provide an unvarnished view of the passions, perfectionism, obsessions, artistry, devilry, and compulsion for control that shaped his approach to business and the innovative products that resulted.

Driven by demons, Jobs could drive those around him to fury and despair. But his personality and products were interrelated, just as Apple’s hardware and software tended to be, as if part of an integrated system. His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values.

A New York Times Top 10 Book for 2011

A Globe and Mail Best Books of the Year 2011 Title

Daniel Kahneman, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his seminal work in psychology that challenged the rational model of judgment and decision making, is one of our most important thinkers. His ideas have had a profound and widely regarded impact on many fields—including economics, medicine, and politics—but until now, he has never brought together his many years of research and thinking in one book.

In the highly anticipated Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. The impact of loss aversion and overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the challenges of properly framing risks at work and at home, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning the next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions.

Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives—and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Thinking, Fast and Slow will transform the way you think about thinking.

*Overview for all titles from Barnes and Noble.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Resolution Revolution

The first "real" day of the year has arrived and I'm pretty sure we all did the same thing this morning: Went to the gym, ordered a black coffee versus a fancy one at Starbucks and ate a Greek yogurt for breakfast. Sound familiar? Well, it should...

According to a reader poll conducted by In Style, 44% of women resolve to work-out and eat healthier come the new year. And, 22% strive to manage money more wisely and stick to a budget. In fact, these topics are at the top of women's minds so often, that 82% have made the same resolution more than once! Yep, I'm guilty.

CNN reports that, of the 100 million Americans that make resolutions, only 40% will stick with them past 6 months.

Still, all of this failed-resolution-jabber doesn't deter me from trying to improve some healthy habits for 2012. So, over the past couple weeks, I've been jotting down a few things I want to focus on this year.

These ideas are pretty simple because I think that's the best way to start developing better habits. While it takes 3 weeks to break a bad habit, developing a good one sometimes seems a little more difficult. Over the next few days, we'll dive deeper into our resolutions... And, decipher ways to make our goals stick!

I'd love to hear some of your resolutions for 2012! Please share and I'll add them to the list... New year, new you!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

Last night, we all said a fond good-bye to 2011 and a celebratory hello to 2012!

At mid-night, as my husband and I toasted to the many great things ahead, I think we also found ourselves a bit nostalgic about the amazing year we were leaving behind... I truly believe the best is yet to come, but am ever so grateful for how beautiful 2011 was for both of us!

Cheers to health, happiness and a love-filled life in 2012... Happy, Happy New Year!