Monthly Archives: January 2019

Pam Williams: Ecole Chocolat

Chocolate and helping people to realize their dreams are Pam Williams’ passions. She has been involved in the chocolate industry since 1981 when she created her first chocolate endeavor, au Chocolat. Since then she has made the study and teaching of the chocolate arts her life’s work. “Not everyone is so lucky to have chocolate as a career and business. I’m always the most popular person in the room once people hear what I do.” says Pam. Pam founded Ecole Chocolat Professional School of Chocolate Arts in 2003. The school continues to deliver high quality educational programs to students all over the world, literally, with EC graduates coming from over 90 countries at last count. Based on Pam’s experience, the Ecole Chocolat portfolio of programs offer what she considers to be the foundation for any successful chocolatier or chocolate maker or expert chocolate connoisseur —a complete understanding of the chocolate making process and mastery of the skills required, matched with a “plan of action” that fulfills both career or personal goals. Students develop knowledge and skills in such topics as

Pam Abraham: How to Invest in the Age of Trump

After the Great Recession and market decline of the last decade, the past seven years have provided a steadily rising stock market with very little volatility. Despite the 2016 election of the most unconventional President of modern times, investors have been happy as they watched their investments grow.   Economists and business leaders say that President Trump’s economic and regulatory policies have contributed to a much healthier economy and rising stock market.  It seems that despite the constant Trump tweets, his put-America-first nationalism, the tilt toward tariffs, fights with the press, the Mueller investigation, and other assorted acts of political un-correctness, there’s been no real harm. Until recently.  Added to the market’s worry list is the loss of another “adult in the room” (General Mattis), the possible firing of the Federal Reserve chairman and a government shut-down.  So after years of a steadily rising stock market, we’ve seen an October swoon turn into one of the biggest down quarters for the S&P 500 in the last 89 years. As of this writing (late December), the index is down 11.5% year-to-date and a

Aibo: Fetch Robot, Good Robot

Irresistibly cute, Aibo is more life-like than ever before and is sure to capture the hearts of its owners. Nearly two decades ago, there was a particular four-legged prototype. It had a particular effect that took our hearts at the dawn of the millennium. Then the prototype became a beloved robotic dog by Sony.  After a leave of absence, it found its way back home.  But, before there was an artificially intelligent dog, there was Sony. Then there was a team. Then finally, there was Aibo. A New Era In 1995, a group of Sony executives sat at a conference table waiting for the speech from the newly appointed president of the company, Toshitada Doi. As soon as he arrived, Doi announced the company’s new motto, “Digital Dream Kids,” and the era of Sony’s exploration began. The “digital dream kids” prototype for Aibo was announced in 1998, and the first consumer model was finally introduced in 1999. Subsequently, a new model was released every year after that until 2006. Due to financial issues and economic downturns, production halted in 2006. They

EZ ICE, Inc.: A Cup Winning Company

“The puck passes over to the right side. Gastel takes it and sweeps in over the blue line. He cuts in front of the net, dekes the goalie who drops to the ice, Gastel shoots it high over his shoulder, it hits the crossbar with a clang. Where is it? Where is it? The red light is on! It’s in the net! Gastel Scooorres! He Scooorres! The Stanley Cup finally belongs to Dylan Gastel!” How many times have you played that scene out in your dreams? Scoring the winning goal in dramatic fashion to win the Cup? For me, in my youth, it was only about a thousand times – a week. Or, how about landing that ‘Triple Salchow’ to take home the Olympic Gold medal in figure skating? I also dreamed often of that. Well, not exactly of winning the gold. To tell you the truth, I dreamed instead of Dorothy Hamill. I wanted to marry her, badly, and I still resent Dino Martin (and his cursed faux celebrity) for wooing her first. I wish I weren’t so serious.

Dosey Doe: The Best Music Venue

There it was, of all places, in the back country of Kentucky, a big beautiful barn with hand-hewn old growth oak and birch beams. After searching all over Texas, Stephen Said, coffee lover and entrepreneur, bought the 165-year-old historical barn, disassembled it, and shipped it to The Woodlands, Texas. This was just the beginning of what would become the infamous Dosey Doe Big Barn that offers patrons Southern-style dining and a live music venue. In an interview with Woodlands Online’s “Faces of the Woodlands,” Said explained, “I was not too excited about how coffee shops were pretty sterile in their looks, all steel and Teflon. I just felt like Texans wanted something that felt like Texas. So ‘coffee,’ ‘Texas’ – I came up with the idea of having it in an actual barn as the dining hall. A Texas native, Said is the son of a U.S. naturalized Lebanese businessman and Dallas homemaker. His family heritage comprised of Christian faith and successful business ventures in Lebanon and Iraq. But when King Faisal and son were overthrown by a faction of

Peter Ricchiuti: A Pearl of a Money Man

The Stand Up Economist  “I spend a lot of time with kids, so it’s great to be here with you adults today. At my age, ‘pulling an all-nighter’ means sleeping through the night without having to get up to pee.” “You’ve put me up in a wonderful hotel, just beautiful. The towels are so fluffy I could barely close my suitcase. Thank you, it’s really working out for me here.” “By the way, did you know that ‘La Quinta,’ in Spanish, means ‘Next to Denny’s?’ Most people don’t know that.” “The economy and stock market are very late in this cycle. As evidence, I’ve made so much money in the market I pay someone to walk around with my Fitbit.” “But things are getting concerning now. For instance, I was watching CNN, and Wolf Blitzer’s report on the economy was making even me nervous. And by the way, if my name were ‘Wolf,’ the last thing I’d do is grow a beard.” “My theory on the interest rate cycle of the past forty years is that rates have been a

Do You Dress Like A Boomer?

I was asked “Can you provide any advice on how Boomers can look more up-to-date?  I am working with Millennials and Gen Xers.  I want to fit in better and not appear old!”  That’s a great point and very timely! First, let me say that there is no way to turn back the hands of time.  Boomers will never be 30 again.  Honestly, that’s a blessing.  With all the wisdom gained from experience, you don’t want to go back and learn some of those hard lessons again.  However, even though you can’t be 30, there’s no reason you can’t look younger.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m advocating looking “age appropriately” younger. You know, giving off that young vibe without trying too hard to appear a youngster. While channel surfing the other day I came across some old footage from comedian Jeff Foxworthy.  I didn’t really know him but I had heard the catchphrase that made him famous.  He’s the guy who did the “you may be a redneck if…” bit.  I went online to check him out and he has

Virginia Philip: Master Sommelier

A Sensory Delight  Pour a glass of wine, white or red, and assess its color. If white, is the hue closer to that of pure water, or is it more golden honey? If red, does its shade lean more brown or ruby? Swirl your glass and hold it up to the light of your iPhone and look again. Can you see through the wine? Write down your opinions on the card under ‘Visual.’ Now, put your nose through the rim of your stemware. Come on, get down in there. What scents are prominent? Are they cinnamon, oak, coconut, pineapple, vanilla, spice, tobacco, mushroom, mocha, coffee, or some combination therein? Swirl your glass and try again. Whatever comes to mind, write it down on your card under ‘Nose.’ Now, take your first sip of the wine (pretend you’ve held out this long). What flavors do you taste? Are they tart and sour, or rich with fruit? Do you taste the earth? If so, is it mineral, rock, gravel, tar, or maybe forest? If you taste fruit, is it citrus, apple, apricot,

The Top 5 Myths Of Luxury Travel

Most believe luxury travel is simply Cristal Champagne, 1000 thread count Egyptian Cotton sheets and Gulfstream private jets. Luxury travel is exorbitant prices, contrived experiences, and only for the celebrities and billionaires of the world. Right?……well whilst this perfectly fits the definition of luxury travel for many people, it is also much more personal and varied than this. With almost 21 years of developing unforgettable Australian travel experiences, The Tailor has been a pioneer in the landscape of Australian luxury travel, and the travellers who walk this landscape are not to be stereotyped. MYTH 1 – LUXURY IS SIMPLY CRISP WHITE SHEETS IN AN UBER-LUX CITY HOTEL One of the biggest myths of luxury travel is how we actually define it. Luxury travel is no longer solely defined by expensive furnishings of a hotel room situated on the top floor of a city-based hotel. In reality, luxury travel is about enriching these refinements with meaningful experiences and personalised interactions. Increasingly we are seeing more and more luxury travellers who are as much, if not more motivated by the experiences of

Dr. Jaclyn Banker: The Dizzy Doctor

Ever feel like your head is in a dizzying whirl? It can be sudden and scary. “Oh my God, my room is spinning, what’s happening to me?” Perhaps you or someone you know experienced an episode of severe dizziness. Sensing a room that’s spinning can impair one’s ability to turn in bed, stand up from a lying or sitting position, bend forward, and even walk. Jaclyn Banker, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT ( Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists.), is a specialist in treating this condition. She helps resolve dizziness in her patients and instructs them on how they can manage it at home. Known as a “dizzy doctor,” she says, “Seeking a physical therapist trained to treat this problem can help you quickly alleviate dizziness and return to normal activities.” Physical therapists (PTs) are known in the healthcare world as experts in the field of movement dysfunction. They analyze different movement patterns of each individual and develop a plan to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. PTs can teach people