The Joy of Cooking

Anyone who knows me knows that cooking is one of my passions. I would not consider myself a gourmet cook; I just like to cook good food.

I started cooking in the kitchen with my mom at an early age. I can still remember the ABC Cookbook we used and how exciting it was to help create something for the family. Later, I was side by side with my grandmother and learning her special techniques for cooking our sacred family recipes, which are still made at every family gathering or holiday.

I firmly believe that these experiences early on in my life influenced my love of cooking. Not only were they significant because I was spending time with my family, but they helped create a foundation of skills so that I wasn’t intimidated or scared when I started cooking by myself.

For me, it is a stress reliever to get in the kitchen after work and try out a new recipe or even whip up some comfort food after a particularly bad day. Even more exciting for me is to be able to cook for others. Food brings people together and I love being able to provide that time for my friends and family. Case in point, where does everyone stand at a party? In the kitchen, near the food!

I know for some cooking is not an enjoyable experience, but a chore or worse –a frightening thought altogether. Fear not. We are lucky that we live in an age where there are lots of resources devoted to cooking and even more specifically tailored for your needs. New to cooking and don’t know where to start? There’s a book, blog and a TV show devoted to that. Having trouble thinking up quick weeknight meals? There is a celebrity chef and newsletter that focus on just that topic.

With the rise of internet sites, newsletters, blogs, retail stores, celebrity chefs and whole TV networks focusing on food and cooking, America is caught up in a culinary craze. As for me, I am looking forward to my meal tonight, grilled turkey burgers with spinach and feta cheese.  Yum!

1 lb. of ground turkey

1 10 oz. package of frozen spinach, thawed

1 envelope French onion soup mix (I used Lipton)

Pepper to taste

Feta cheese (or other favorite cheese)

Place spinach in a colander. Press excess water out with a paper towel. (If spinach is still frozen, run under warm water to break up then press out excess water with a paper towel.)

Place turkey and spinach in a large bowl. Add envelope of soup mix and pepper to taste. Mix together with hands until all ingredients are incorporated.

Shape turkey into four patties. Grill on medium heat until cooked through and juices run clear. During last 3-4 minutes, add feta cheese or your other favorite cheese, and let melt.



The Unconventional Victory

A true inspiration to me – not only as a goalie, but also as a person – is NHL Bruins goalie Tim Thomas. Bruins head coach Guy Boucher was recently quoted in a post game interview saying, “He’s making miracles.” At 5’ 11’’, Tim Thomas is one of the shortest starting goalies in the NHL and weighs in at 201 pounds. However, his shorter stature and style lead to his nick name “The Tank.”

Like most incredible hockey players, Tim Thomas is from the north. Flint, Michigan to be exact. He played four years in college then moved into the European League. He would bounce around there as well as the AHL from 1998 to 2006. The Bruins would finally sign him on at the age of 28 and he would become their starter in goal at 31 years old. Since then, among other notable milestones in his career, Thomas has won a Vezina Trophy in 2009 (best goalie in the NHL that season) and has played for Team USA in the most recent Olympics.

However, though he may not be the tallest and he may not be the youngest, the most inspirational thing about the Tank stems from when he was much younger. Thomas has always been said to have a “no-style…style” meaning he is very unconventional in his play compared to other NHL goalies. This comes from playing street hockey growing up. Thomas is very bold in his play and though he may not always have the “one shot stop” from positioning, he always seems to be able to scramble back and cover up the rebound. Check out this game 5 save. Right now siting with an advantage over Tampa in the final round before the Stanley Cup, Bruins fans don’t care how he stops it, just that he stops it.

So what is there to take away from this if you’re not a goalie? Tim Thomas gets on the ice and proves hundreds of goalie coaches wrong every day. Thomas shows us that unconventional does not always mean wrong. He shows us that in some cases different can mean better.


Good pens = WINNING

I have always been leery of individuals who are not particular about their choice of writing utensils. I find myself imagining most crappy pen users to be careless slob kabobs with messy handwriting skills and an outwardly messy appearance to match. These are the kind of people who don’t make their beds in the morning, wash their sheets once a year, and own dirty microwaves in which they microwave Styrofoam containers of crappy take-out leftovers. (This is my personal definition of a slob kabob and is in no way a reflection of Tribe’s company definition of one.)

It is my firm belief that there is a direct and scientific correlation between slob kabobs and crappy pens. Why? The answer is simple: crappy pens skip, leak, fade, stick and worst of all bleed through your writing surface, and just let you down in general. They are responsible for many great ideas being lost or forgotten and it is my expert opinion that loss, loser-dom and crappy pens go hand in hand.

If you are wise, you would strive in everything you do to stay away from these types of people. You don’t want to catch loser or heaven forbid, be in a situation where you have to borrow, use or touch their grimy, presumably capless, sticky-icky pen.

Here is what the staff at Tribe likes to scribe with:

Elizabeth – Her go-to pen for marking up creative is the classic Sharpie, Extra Fine Point.

For days when she’s writing notes in her notebook she pulls out a TUL.

Otherwise, she prefers to just type it, because like the rest of us, she can’t read her own handwriting either. Ha!

Lindsay – Prefers a pencil. But likes the Parker Jotter pen if she had to name one.

Miles – Likes the Pilot VBall – .5 Pure liquid ink

Wyatt and Alexis – Likes the uni-ball vision pen-fine,3,2

Tyler – Prefers any old Simple Bic. He’s a lefty, so fountain pens just schmear all over his hand and papers, which he strongly dislikes.

Grace, Caleb and I all love to write with Staedtler Pens.

Grace prefers the rainbow pack:

However, Caleb and I like classic black:

Good pens flow like water and goodwine. They are smooth, fluid and prove that there is still good in the world. Good pens make for good writing and good writing makes for great ideas. People who own good pens have great lives and are total winners which is clearly the case here at Tribe, Inc.

I believe the secret to winning at life is therefore relatively simple:
get yourself an awesome pen.


The New Guy

So we’ve all been there…unless you have been living in your parent’s basement for 10+ years, we all know the feeling of that first day at the office. Everything is brand new, you’re not really sure what to expect and your ultimate goal for that first week is just to be able to keep your head above water. Well, I’m “that guy” right now.

After five great years at my former company, I decided it was time for a change…enter Tribe. I was fortunate enough to meet with Elizabeth, Jen and the rest of the team two weeks ago and decided that this was the place for me (lucky for me they agreed). After a much needed week of R&R, I started with Tribe on Monday and needless to say, it did not take me long to realize that this is my kind of job. Whether it be the company lunches brought in three times a week (yes, three), the modern-style office that even the most prominent Ikea designer would be envious of or simply the people that make up the company, I can tell that I made the right decision.

As with any first week, my first few days have been both trying and exciting at the same time. I’m not the type of person that likes to slowly ease into something until I’m 100% comfortable with it and lucky for both parties, that is definitely not the case so far. I’m getting the opportunity to step right in and be an integral part of the team from the get-go. Sure this lends itself to plenty of potential mistakes but I think I’ll hold my own…or at the very least, I have the new guy excuse to fall back on for the next couple of weeks. In all seriousness though, I’m very much looking forward to the challenges ahead of me and more importantly, the opportunity to make a difference.


Ketchup: Caught Up

If asked, I’d have a hard time choosing my favorite condiment. My gut reaction is honey mustard. I find it incredibly diverse. Chicken sandwich? Perfect. Salad? Tastes great. Nuggets? Yum. I also really like BBQ sauce, hot sauce, Heinz 57 sauce, regular mustard, Hellmann’s mayo, and soy sauce just to name a few. However, the topic of this blog is another personal favorite of mine: Ketchup.

One thing I never understood was why ketchup came in those stupid little packets. My good friend Walter Sanders showed me a trick a few years back. He opens them two at a time. This prompted me to try to open them three at a time but that was a ketchup disaster. Two at a time helps but the ketchup packet has to be the poorest designed packaging of all time.  The packet was designed in 1968 and according to Heinz’s Dave Ciesinski “Consumer complaints started around 1969”.

A few weeks ago all my ketchup packet dreams came true. After more than 4 decades of hell, the packet was redesigned. The new packets hold almost 3 times more ketchup (a huge plus). It also gives you the option to squeeze or dunk! I almost don’t even want to call it a packet. It’s more like a ketchup chariot. It’s officially called the Heinz Dip & Squeeze™ and it’s awesome.

Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin

Visualization to Improve Your Public Speaking

This morning I watched a client give a fantastic 45-minute presentation to a conference of 600 people. He looked confident; he looked natural; he looked completely at ease up there on the stage. What’s more, he thoroughly enjoyed the experience and was high as a kite afterwards.

The interesting thing is that six months ago he told us he was trying to get up the nerve to speak to this group for just five minutes. This client is in charge of planning the annual brand conference, but in years past had given himself no speaking role at all. He doled out all the time to his boss and colleagues because he said he felt shy about taking a speaking part for himself.

How did he go from someone too shy to speak for five minutes to a man striding the stage with confidence, reveling in the response of his audience? How did he not only get up the nerve to do it, but manage to do it so well, you’d think he’d spent much of his career giving successful presentations to huge audiences?

He visualized it being that way. We started working together back in February on visualization sessions to prepare him for this day.

He was leery at first. In fact, he only agreed to do the first session with me on the strength of our relationship and his inexhaustible courtesy. We sat down in the conference room at Tribe and had him plant his feet on the floor and place his hands on his lap, palms up. We asked him to close his eyes, to take a few deep breaths, and then I led him through some relaxation exercises designed to help his brain slip into a meditative state.

When he was very relaxed, I began to paint a picture for him in his mind’s eye. I walked him through the entire presentation experience, beginning with the adrenaline surge just before he took the stage and ending with the exhilaration of knowing he’d nailed his talk and receiving the congratulations and accolades of his colleagues afterwards.

We continued to meet for visualization in the months before the conference, and last night we did our final session in preparation for this morning. When he took the stage today, there was no question in his mind that he’d do well, because he’d seen it unfold before him over and over in our visualizations.

Of course, he also did other things to prepare. He had great material; he rehearsed it thoroughly; he bought a new suit. He made sure that he gave himself every advantage he could to ensure that his presentation would be a success. And it was a huge success. The crowd loved him. They laughed at all his jokes and they were listening closely at the parts meant to challenge and to inspire.

One of the images we worked with in our visualization sessions was seeing the bright light that shines within him. We saw it grow from a golf-ball-sized glow in his chest to a brighter, larger, tennis-ball-sized glow and then we saw that light fill his entire chest cavity and his whole body, so that he himself glowed and the light inside him shone out through his eyes and his smile.

That light inside him was clearly visible today. Even siting in the back of the ballroom, I could see the power and the love and the joy that was lighting up his smile and shining through his eyes. He’s a bright light. And now a brilliant speaker.

Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin

Chase Illustrates, Once Again, How Maddening Big Banks Can Be

Full disclosure: I serve on the advisory board for The Private Bank of Buckhead, an outstanding community bank in Atlanta. I also have advised other business owners over the years, both in my blog and in my book for women entrepreneurs, that the big banks are not likely to offer the level of service they desire.

So how could I have been dumb enough to open an account at Chase? Because I was sucked in by their TV commercial a few months ago showing how you could make deposits on your iPhone just by snapping a photo of the check.

Now, there’s a bank offering something that really works for me, I thought. There are plenty of times I’ve had a big check I needed to get in the bank, but no time to even run by the ATM. I jumped online to open an account and deposit a check I happened to be carrying around in my wallet for $2,092.

Chase can’t take an opening deposit of more than $1,000 via iPhone. No problem, I thought. Just to get the account open, I’ll deposit this check with my other bank and write one check for $1,000 to open the account, and then another for the remaining $1,092 to get the whole amount into my Chase account.

Turns out Chase also doesn’t allow any subsequent iPhone deposits of more than $1,000 either. So today, I noticed that old check for the other $1,092 sitting in my desk drawer. Ridiculous, I thought. I need to just close that account at Chase.

So I spent a painfully long time on the phone with a Chase representative. At the very end of the process, he let me know that since my account was open less than 90 days, they’d be charging me $25 to close it. After a long series of disclaimers he was required to read me, I asked if there was a way I could give Chase some feedback. He directed me to and said I’d see a tab for complaints after I signed in.

The Catch 22 is that I can no longer sign in, since he’d just closed my account. Brilliant! You know how sometimes you’ve been on the phone for so long grappling with various representatives that you talk yourself into not hanging up, because you’ve already invested too much time? I should have hung up a long time ago.

Because, for one thing, The Private Bank of Buckhead now offers deposits by iPhone. With no limits to the size of the check you would like to deposit.


Creative inspiration is all around us. The power of interpretation can sometimes be as strong as the creativity of the artist. Anytime I want to “get the creative juices flowing,” I simply visit a site like Abduzeedo. It is a site where you can view user-submitted art from literally thousands of different users. The art ranges from high precision graphic design to the free-flowing beauty of graffiti street art; its creator, or any user that may stumble across it on the Internet, can upload the art.

There are tons of down-loadable wallpapers and extremely helpful tutorials, but my favorite is the daily inspiration section. Currently Abduzeedo is on Daily Inspiration #777 and each day has around 20 compositions. As you can imagine this has created an enormous archive, all of which is accessible, for limitless imagination.

In particular, one of the links that has really caught my eye lately is Japan Support Art. It is a collection of pieces in support of Japan’s recovery from their recent disaster.  I personally enjoy the minimalism used in some of the pieces. It has always impressed me greatly that these pieces can speak volumes by saying so little. People tend to look at it and say “I could do that,” but the skill of execution is not the heart of the art. It’s the idea itself. These pieces not only inspire me as an artist, but also remind me of the less fortunate and provide a true reality check on my life.


Popping Out of My Bubble

All of us occupy the same planet — Planet Earth — yet we all live in different worlds. We all live in these separate “bubbles”, a place we’d like to think of as a safe haven that won’t collide with other “bubbles”. But sometimes while living in my safe individual bubble I often become so absorbed with myself and all my silly problems that I forget there’s a world beyond the little bubble that I’m in.

When I flip through TV channels, browse through the newsfeed on my facebook, or listen to the radio on my way to work I can’t help but notice all the events and stories happening around the world. Earthquakes, tornadoes, political unrest, murder, and starvation are all so prevalent around the world and doesn’t seem so realistic until it hits close to home. This makes me stop and realize how grateful I really should be for my running water, over abundance of food, the fact that I have more than one pair of shoes — things I tend to take for granted because these conveniences are such a normal part of my life. I think of the people in Japan and the tornado victims in the south who literally lost everything. I think of their loved ones taking time to care for others who are hurt even amidst their own loss. This makes me ashamed of how much I don’t care for others when I live in such comfort and luxury. But it also gives me determination to live harder, be thankful for the life I have more, and give to those who are less fortunate. So, I’m making a resolution to pop out of my bubble and embrace life to its fullest while giving back! After all, it’s a huge part of Tribe so why not start now?

By Grace Shim

Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin

Now’s The Time to Ask For An Executive Assistant to Boost Your Own Performance

“After years of cutting back, companies can boost productivity by arming more managers with assistants,” writes Melba. J. Duncan in this month’s Harvard Business Review. If you’re looking for a way to increase your productivity, it might be a good time to make the case for hiring yourself an executive assistant.

“Generally speaking, work should be delegated to the lowest-cost employee who can do it well,” says Duncan. So maybe spending your time changing the toner in the printer or booking a plane ticket is actually not serving your company very well. If you think about what your position costs the company per hour, you might realize that you’re a pretty expensive toner changer.

It’s true that technology has made most of us more self-sufficient at handling our own administrative tasks. Younger professionals may never have worked in an environment where assistants handled much of the flotsam and jetsam of business days. But just think of all those time suckers than can eat a hole in your workday. Things like trying to figure out which hotel is sort of in between the location of your two meetings next week, has a decent gym, yet is also not too expensive nor too scuzzy. An assistant could be dealing with that, while you get on with the bigger fish that need frying.

Some managers may feel that using an executive assistant sends a message that they’re too important to bother themselves with the little things. Really, it’s not an issue of importance but economics. Even companies that pride themselves on running lean — especially companies that pride themselves on running lean — can benefit from pushing some of the work load down the ladder to assistants, who presumably are paid less than the people they support.

Once you manage to land yourself an assistant, the next step is to develop the right relationship with him or her. In the best executive-assistant relationships, there’s an understood give-and-take. Your assistant accepts the fact that the job includes some work that’s less than glamorous, and you look for opportunities to give your assistant projects meaty enough to help build their career. The end result can be increased performance for you, your assistant — and the company.