Category Archives: Uncategorized

Top Spots to Visit in 2017

Don’t look now, but it’s time to start planning your summer vacation! Whether you have a month to explore or just a few days off, planning any vacation takes time. Here are a few suggestions for places that make great vacation destinations in 2017.

Banff, Canada
From hot springs to gondola rides, Banff has something for everyone. Spend a few days outside admiring the beauty and spend a few more just relaxing at a spa.

Atacama Desert, Chile
Dunes, starry nights, and salty lakes are just the right combination to take in some of the best Chile has to offer. If you like being outside and have an adventurous spirit, this is the perfect place for you.

Agra, India
Bustling streets, bright colors, and busy markets are full of culture in Agra. Aside from the Taj Mahal, this city has many museums to explore. It is also easily accessible today, thanks to a new expressway train.

Dubrovnik, Croatia
Historic buildings in this coastal town make you feel like you’re in another time. Croatia is a hidden gem that boasts of private beaches, boats, and local restaurants. 

Ketchum, Idaho
This hidden ski town is a great spot to get cozy, if you want more cold weather and need to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

While the list could go on and on, traveling is a great way to expand your knowledge and learn about new cultures. Vacations don’t just have to be a time of relaxation – they can also be a time of learning and experiencing new things!

Productivity: One Step At A Time

We live in a busy world, where productivity can be hard to come by. Simply walk into any coffee shop, and you’ll notice the hustle and bustle from the person catching up with a friend while also checking email from the person finishing up a proposal during another phone call. The art of multitasking seems to be prevailing now more than ever. But did you know that only two percent of us are actually capable of successful multitasking?

The real question lays in how we are supposed to be productive when multiple projects come our way. Here are some simple ways that can help you can focus on one item at a time while still being productive:

  1. Put down the iPhone, tablet, laptop, etc. I know it can be difficult, but simply turning off these electronics can eliminate distractions and allow for more productivity.
  2. Set a routine. How many times do you set aside time to do something and find yourself on social media or another website instead? Creating a schedule for your to-do list will set an expectation for the day and will lessen the temptation of other distractions. (Pro Tip: Outline goals for the day, too, and you’ll have a roadmap for even greater success.)
  3. Eat a well-rounded breakfast. We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so this should be no surprise. Study after study says that productivity increases when you eat a healthy, protein-filled breakfast.
  4. Meditate, meditate, meditate. Meditation for 20 minutes every day is proven to help relieve stress. When multitasking seems to be too overwhelming, set aside time to relax and breathe.
  5. Organize your life. From file folders to planners to a tidy desk, organization is key to avoiding distractions and maximizing productivity.

Still having trouble multitasking? Read here for more ways on staying focused and for a calmer lifestyle.

-Penny Kokkinides

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Improving email etiquette in the workplace

If you’re like me, there is never a dull moment in your work email inbox.  From notifying your colleague who sits just down the hall about lunch plans or connecting with other professionals across the globe, email seems to be the main source of communication in the workplace – and one of the main time sucks.

With the loss of the spoken word and the increase in technology, it has come to my attention that we may need a quick refresher on email etiquette. Below are some helpful tips to increase your email’s readability and overall communication professionalism:

  1. Put yourself in the mindset of the recipient. Before you press the send button, be sure to re-read the email for relevant context and any errors. If you are ever uncertain about your message, ask for another set of eyes for review before pressing send.
  2. Take caution of the reply-all. We’ve all been in an email chain that is not relevant to us.  Take note of who is receiving the email and also be aware of who is “CC’ed” on the email as well.
  3. Summarize forwarded messages. Reading a forwarded message can often feel like you are in unknown territory and can be difficult to put the pieces together. By summarizing the forwarded email, your recipient will be able to gather more information and better understand the matter at hand.
  4. Be courteous.The content in emails can sometimes get lost in translation and the tone of a message can sound different when reading it. Manners still go a long way.

Still want more steps to freshen up your email etiquette? Read here on how to “wow” your colleagues and get the attention of your peers.

  • Penny Kokkinides

2016: Year of the Podcasts

It may have taken a while, but podcasts are finally taking off.

Though their roots go back to the 1980s, podcasts got their big debut via Apple in 2004. When Apple started supplying podcasts, many thought that they weren’t for them. Today, they offer something for everyone, with more than 100,000 podcasts being offered in the English language alone. Here are some recommendations for those looking to enter the podcast game:

  • Movie buffs and those simply bored with Hollywood’s recent movie remakes can get their kick by listening to The Blacklist Table Reads. It offers ear movies for some of the best unmade screenplays.
  • Millennial offers tips for managing your 20s and 30s. Everyday problems and doubts, as well as life-changing decisions can be made a bit easier by listening to this advice podcast that navigates the new society that surrounds us all. It can also be helpful for parents with adult children to get a better understanding of the struggles and challenges they face, or parents with younger children that way to get an understanding of what their children might face in the future.
  • To get a peak inside the heads of some of your idols and pop culture icons, The Nerdist is worth a listen. This unscripted ‘cast lets the guest take the lead and talk about their interests. Quentin Tarantino and Paul McCartney have made appearances.
  • If you’re feeling starved for information, IQ2 lets you listen to intelligent people debate a variety of different topics. In turn, it could leave a little smarter and with something more to offer at upcoming dinner parties.
  • Do you have a friend who always shares random facts? Are you the friend always sharing random facts and need more for your inventory? Stuff You Should Know could be your secret weapon. It offers little tidbits of information that are sure to impress.

If these aren’t for you, don’t lose faith! As mentioned above, there are thousands of podcasts on many topics that are being offered: comedy, romance, politics – whatever your interest.

Five Tips for LinkedIn Success

With over 400 million users, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. LinkedIn is primarily used by employers, employees and job-seekers as a business-networking social media platform. LinkedIn connects like-minded professionals all over the world, so whether you’re actively seeking a job or using the site to keep tabs on people in your industry, it’s important to keep your profile in tip-top shape.

Here are five tips for maintaining and enhancing your LinkedIn presence:

  1. Use a professional picture. Having a picture on your profile makes it 14 times more likely to be viewed. Your photograph should be professional, well-lit and you should be wearing what you would typically wear to work.
  2. Customize your URL. Customizing your public profile URL increases your chances of appearing in search results and makes it easy for people to find you.
  3. Write a meaningful summary. The summary section of your profile receives the most prominent spot on the page, and allows you to tell your story and provide context for how you plan to use the site.
  4. Post status updates.  Engage with your network in the form of status updates, which can be a comment or a question followed by a video, interesting article or website. It’s important to remember, though, LinkedIn is for professional use and the content you post should match that tone.
  5. Join relevant groups. LinkedIn Groups provide a way for professionals in the same industry to share content, answers questions and makes contacts. Once you join a group in your industry, start engaging with the group members by sharing relevant content and contributing to the discussion.

What is Cupping?

If, like me, you’ve been keeping a close eye on the Olympics, you might have noticed the dark round spots covering several Olympian’s backs and shoulders. While these marks may look like the sign of some serious skin disease, they’re actually just the result of cupping, a Chinese healing therapy. Michael Phelps has been the biggest name to utilize this practice, and he has everyone wondering: What is this new trend?

As it turns out, it isn’t new at all. Although it’s just now making its mainstream debut at the Olympics, cupping is an ancient Chinese therapy that dates back to around 2,000 years ago. During cupping therapy, a warm oxygen-free glass cup is placed on the patient’s back. The lack of oxygen draws the patient’s skin into the cup. The aim of this therapy is to release tension in sore muscles, and increase blood flow. Although the bruises may appear to tell a different story, cupping is said to be virtually pain-free.

Skeptics of the practice suggest that there are no real health benefits associated with cupping, but that hasn’t stopped household names like Michael Phelps, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston from partaking in the ancient therapy. Have you given it a try? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience!

Staying Hydrated This Summer

As the summer heat intensifies, it’s increasingly important to stay hydrated throughout the day. Whether you’re relaxing on the beach, tending to your summer garden or working away in an office, staying hydrated helps ensure your body can function properly.

Dehydration can cause weakness, fainting and if not dealt with properly, can have some serious health implications. If that’s not reason enough to get your daily dose of H2O, a recent article in NPR references a study published in the Annals of Family Medicine that suggests hydration may play a role in weight management.

Here are some tips and tricks to staying hydrated, and healthy, this summer:

1.       Although there’s no magic number, the Institute of Medicine recommends women drink 2.7 liters. For men, that number is roughly 3.7 liters of fluids a day.

2.       Getting into the habit of carrying a water bottle wherever you go will help you remember to drink water throughout the day. If constantly purchasing plastic water bottles sounds wasteful, consider a reusable, eco-friendly, water bottle.

3.       Set a timer to refill your water bottle. Using a timer as a reminder that your water bottle needs filled will help create a routine, and eventually you won’t need the timer anymore.

4.       Snack on fruits that are high in fluids. Fruits like watermelon, strawberries and grapefruits hydrate you better than others, and they’re perfect snacks to enjoy on a hot summer day.

Five Tips for Dealing with Stress at Work

We all have those days. The stressful ones where we’re sure our job is going to be the death of us (even if we spend most of the day comfortable lounging in a desk chair). So how do you push through it with your sanity intact? Try to remember these five tips:

1.       Don’t procrastinate. Easier said than done, right? Putting a project or assignment off until the last minute will cause you nothing but stress. Instead, try to prioritize everything you have going on, and make sure you always overestimate how much time you think it may take you to accomplish something.

2.       Take a deep breath. Or 10. This sounds simple, but focusing on deep breathing has a calming effect. Breathe in, and sigh all of the air out. Science has shown that a dramatic sigh can release tension, and the extra oxygen can help you focus.

3.       Make a list. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you feel you have a million things to do, and writing it out will help you prioritize. (And it’s always a great feeling when you get to check something off.)

4.       Take a break. When you’re stuck, step away for a second. Go for a quick walk. Eat an ice cream sandwich. Check your Instagram feed. As long as it’s only for a short period of time, focusing on something that isn’t your work can actually help you gain insight.

5.       Ask for help. It’s not a bad thing to admit you don’t know everything. In this Millennial’s world where we Google the answers to our every question, we tend to forget that sometimes the best help is in the office right next to us.

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Summer is Here

Warm weather. Long, sunny days. Perfectly temperate water. You know what this means: Summer is here, and it’s time to break out the swimsuit.

This year is different, though. With the movement to create acceptance for women to love their bodies, even if they don’t fit into the media prototype, it has opened many doors for what is trendy this season. It’s no longer all about bikinis.

Recently, high-waist garments have become an item of clothing that many women can’t imagine their closets without. Naturally, they are making their statement in swimwear. If you’re nervous about exposing too much, these suits give you the option to keep the “skin” minimal. It also takes away pressure from new moms who are still adjusting to their bodies.

Another alternative to the traditional bikini is the one-piece. That’s right, it’s back and with a vengeance. No longer only for aquatic athletes, older ladies and young girls, the one-pieces of this season are snatching hearts and dropping jaws. When garments with high waists started coming onto the scene, leotards and body suits started sneaking back into our closets with them. Even long sleeved one-pieces are becoming popular.

This summer’s swimwear trends offer relief to many that have anxiety about being in a swimsuit. These alternatives are still fashion forward, but finally offer something for everyone. It looks like this year’s “beach body,” is every body.

Food Trends of 2016

Keep your eyes peeled and stomachs full! Maybe it was the introduction of Instagram, but suddenly it seems everyone has become a foodie (or, at least, become addicted to taking beautiful pictures of artisan food). Luckily, however, now that folks are more open to expanding their palette, chefs are constantly exposing us to new and exciting food options.

Here are some of the trending foods of 2016. 

1.       Poké

It’s a traditional Hawaiian dish that is making its way into the stomach of many this year. Pronounced “poke-AY,” it is traditionally chunked raw fish marinated in soy and sesame. Often seen over bowls of rice, many restaurants are starting to offer it on anything. From poké tacos to poké sandwich wraps, it is carving out a spot in the culinary world.

 

2.      Seaweed

Say goodbye to your friend, kale, and make room for your new super friend, seaweed. Rich in fiber and vitamins, this new green is on its way to taking over the go-to-green scene. Not only is it super nutritious, it’s also plentiful and environmentally friendly! No rainforests in Brazil need to be destroyed for this crop, as its naturally-occurring all over the world.

 

3.       Jewish Cuisine

If you haven’t had the honor of an authentic Jewish meal, you are in luck! Lox, challah and latkes are taking the stage this year. As chefs dive more into their heritages for culinary inspiration, we get a see a lot of traditional food become more accessible and often even get an artisan twist! Move aside, late-night pizza. Hello, late-night latkes!

 

4.      Artisan Ice Cream

I couldn’t end this hunger-inducing post without desert! Artisan ice cream is making many turn their noses up to the classics. No one wants to be vanilla, so don’t let your ice cream be it! Check out some of the interesting flavors below:

 

·         Pistachio Honey Ricotta from High Road Craft Ice Cream and Sorbet

·         Carrot Habanero Pepper from Steve’s Ice Cream

·         Chorizo Caramel Swirl from Odd Fellows Ice Cream Co.