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Monthly Archives: May 2019

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

As you know, Mother’s Day arrives May 12!  Are you prepared?  Can I offer some help? I have multiple mothers to shop for (my mother, my mother-in-law, my sister, my best friend, a couple of expectant mom friends…and myself). Each of these women are completely different in their styles and preferences, not to mention the difference in their ages, so I have perused a multitude (so it seems) of websites and recommended best buy lists, in search of items that fit each mother’s unique personality and expresses my appreciation, love and admiration of them. Here are my top picks for Mother’s Day 2019: The gift of understanding, acknowledgment and a judgment free zone I think the absolute perfect gift is the one that costs nothing. It’s when you let the mother or mothers in your life know that you are aware of and appreciate the exceptional and sometimes superhuman effort they put into trying to be everything to everyone. A homemaker, a business woman, a teacher, a lover, a nurse, a therapist, a ball juggler, a ringmaster (because the circus is always

Stephen Wiltshire: Remarkable Artist

Just a brief observation and entire cityscapes are drawn as finely detailed masterpieces — from memory. An Exceptional Talent Imagine flying over the world’s most memorable metropolitan cities, glimpsing the panorama below, imprinting the vision in your memory, and coming back to the studio to recreate in painstaking nuance, every detail, completely from memory. This is the innate talent of British artist, Stephen Wiltshire, now 45. Like the character Dustin Hoffman played in Barry Levinson’s 1988 film, Rainman, British artist Stephen Wiltshire possesses some extraordinary and inexplicable abilities. His remarkable artistic talent is linked to an equally remarkable and photographic memory.   Researchers postulate that unique wiring between the two hemispheres of the brain allow certain people to access reserves of creativity, unavailable to most of us. Wiltshire is one of those people.  His motto is: “Do the best you can and never stop.” The Early Years As a child, Wiltshire exhibited exceptional artistic abilities, even though he didn’t speak until the age of five, when he uttered his first word, “paper.” In school, he was fascinated with sketching images of wildlife,

The Top 10 Must-Dos in Croatia

Traveling to Croatia checks off so many of our European must-haves: sparkling coastlines, historic walled cities, and delicious food. But in case you need more reasons to travel to this Eastern European getaway, we present our top ten must-dos in Croatia (including more food). Walk Through Dubrovnik Rise and shine to a view of the old town’s red tiled roofs, baroque buildings, and narrow, steep limestone streets. It’s a vision that will be familiar if you watch Game of Thrones. Like us, author George Bernard Shaw was enchanted by Dubrovnik, describing it as “the pearl of the Adriatic.” Once a powerful seafaring republic, Dubrovnik has survived the tides of time and remained one of the most beautiful cities on earth. UNESCO thinks so too: the Old City is listed as a World Heritage Site. Sample Local Culinary Creations Global connoisseurs probably already have Croatia on their menu. The entire region is known for its fantastic food and wine, and the best way to sample it is in a charming family-owned restaurant. When you’re planning a custom trip to Croatia, the Ker

Eat Your Way through Bangkok

Adventurous foodies unite, and allow me to introduce you to the best dining destination in the world: Bangkok. If you first read my overview of the capital, you’ll know that the city doesn’t sleep. In fact, I’m pretty convinced it also never stops eating. The food options are endless, and we only had two full days to taste the city. This is torturous to foodies, but we accepted the challenge with rigor. Here are our eating recommendations, beginning with the most worthwhile contributor to the scene, quintessential to your Bangkok experience: street food. STREET FOOD If you’ve caught wind of the “street food is being banned” buzz this past spring, fear not: The Tourism Authority of Thailand quickly released a clarifying statement, assuring us that street food will prevail. With that, street food is just about everywhere in Bangkok, at every hour. The one exception is Monday, during the day, as official street cleaning takes place and street stalls resultantly take a quick hiatus. Plan accordingly to avoid disappointment. And hanger. The (unofficial) street food mecca of Bangkok is the

Ivana Taylor: The DIY Queen of Marketing

This determined self-starter rocked the small business world with money-saving DIY marketing strategies. “The number one mistake small business owners make is that they think they have to sell everything to everybody. You’ve got to know who the right people are and you’ve got to stop talking about your product, selling is out, contribution is in.” Just when you thought Gary Vaynerchuck was the only online digital marketing sensation ever to set foot on the face of this earth, meet Ivana Taylor. Who is Ivana Taylor? According to Fast Company’s 2010 Influencers Project, Taylor ranked number twenty-one out of over thirty thousand internet professionals. But what is it that makes Taylor such an accomplished online persona in the digital marketing industry? Among her long list of accomplishments, Taylor is an author, publisher, content contributor, book editor, marketing consultant, and overall digital marketing.  Taylor also instructs marketing classes at Cleveland State University and Akron University in her home state of Ohio. Taylor is the publisher of DIYMarketers.com, an online digital marketing publication that specializes in helping small business owners with the

Goss RV: Motorcoach Luxury Travel

RV…motorcoach… luxury travel.  What?! These words don’t go together in the same sentence… do they?  That’s what I said to myself, and to my family, when we talked about taking a weekend trip to the mountains. Wow, were we surprised. My wife and I have traveled to beautiful places across the world.  From islands to ski slopes, and from wine country to the glamorous Hôtel de Paris in Monte Carlo.  We truly enjoy travel, and we love to explore new places.  Regardless of the location, we’ll often rent a vehicle and start a separate journey on our vacation. So how does this travel story drift into a story about motorcoach travel?  Well, a friend told us about a motorcoach travel vacation from GossRV Luxury Travel.  Being adventurous travelers, we said “why not. It’s something new. Let’s see what this luxury motorcoach travel is all about.” We did a little research before we started our weekend trip and felt we had a pretty good idea of what to expect.  Holy smokes, were we wrong!  Our family wasn’t traveling in in bus, an rv,

Mitra Shahri Q&A

YOU’VE OBVIOUSLY EXPERIENCED A GREAT DEAL OF SUCCESS IN YOUR LIFE. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT, AND WHY? Changing the way law is practiced. I’ve made it more relaxed, less formal. I speak in plain language and my clients understand what I’m talking about. They accept my counsel and have more trust in me and the law. Also, I make them smile and even laugh as often as I can. They’re going through an oftentimes brutal process and I try to relieve their stress. I can be infectious that way. LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, LIFE IS NOT ALWAYS SMOOTH. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT A SETBACK OR TRAGEDY YOU’VE ENCOUNTERED, HOW YOU DEALT WITH IT, AND THE IMPACT IT HAS HAD ON YOU? At Wichita State University, I enrolled in a medical technology program. The head of the program, Linda, I’ll never forget her, told me the following: “I’ve never had a foreigner succeed in my program. You don’t even speak English and you’re stealing a seat from another student. You’ll never make it, unless you cheat.” I felt

Taylor Hagood: Key West Dreaming

When I received my Ph.D. in a year I shall not name, a friend of mine gave me a book written by Joy Williams entitled The Florida Keys: A History and Guide. I was about to move to Florida to start a job as a professor, and I had little concept of the Keys. The only thing I knew about the place was that there was a store in Key West named Fast Buck Freddie’s because my family then had a refrigerator magnet manufacturing business, and Fast Buck Freddie’s carried the products. Fast Buck Freddie’s: I love writing that. It seems to me that if South Florida should ever become a nation of its own it could be called Fast Buck Freddie’s. But back to Williams’s book, as I looked at the cover, with its blue sky and palm fronds with a beach peeking through, I had no idea how deeply my life would take root in Florida. I remember moving down, my father driving a U-Haul while I drove my red Nissan pickup truck (that as I now write has over

Bethany Hamilton: Discover Hope in the Hard Things

We all have a story. And we are currently living it out. Gradually twisting and turning with sweet victories and sometimes bitter defeats. A mixture of honey and salt, like lemons and lemonade. Large or small, we encounter challenges as we live out our stories. Maybe you know “salt” as trials, tribulations, tests, traumas, hurdles, bumps in the road, setbacks, or heartbreaks. But regardless of the name, these more difficult aspects of life are part of the human experience. Where we differ is in whether we let the hard things we encounter define us. Does this salt enhance the flavor of our life or is it overpowering and making it something we can’t quite stomach? My story shifted significantly when I was 13. Faced with a trauma that altered my body, I had to answer: how will this affect my story? Fortunately, back then I had a steadfast mindset that presented only one option: move forward in faith and trust that out of bad can come good. Without knowing it I maintained a perspective that was focused on achieving the

Venus ET Fleur: Eternity Roses

I love flowers. Who doesn’t? I especially love receiving them, but again, who doesn’t? Sending them is a whole other topic. That takes effort, at least more effort than answering the front door. So, let’s leave that aside for the moment. Even when we’re blessed to be receiving flowers, a big problem is they die. Once removed from their natural life source, all living organisms begin their death march, of course, including flowers. But in most cases, flowers die much too quickly. We barely have time to enjoy quality time with them, share some memories, say our goodbyes, make burial arrangements, etc. Too often, I’ve received flowers that have gone from fresh, vibrant and fragrant when I first open the box, to fading, to dead, in a matter of hours – a day or two at the most. Disappointment and frustration are not the emotions the gift-giver had intended to trigger, I’m certain. There’s another problem with flowers, this time on the purchasing side of the ledger – the good ones are expensive, especially given their relatively short lives. Who