Kathy Ireland’s “911 For Kids”

After all these years, I got to meet my Twitter friend Kathy Ireland.
My husband and I were honored to meet Kathy and her awesome team at Kathy Ireland’s 28th Annual 911 For Kids / A.E.F.K Children’s Holiday Celebration.

It’s such a blessed event where children enjoy a day of fun activities, food, entertainment, many gifts and a photo with Santa and Kathy.

https://twitter.com/JonCarrasco/status/409382550440640513

What a great way for the kids and their families to kick off the holiday season!

https://twitter.com/JonCarrasco/status/409414364567834624Kathy Ireland’s son Erik Ireland Olsen and Madeleine Meyer, singing Christmas songs at the holiday celebration.

https://twitter.com/Stephen90069/status/409428911752110080Kathy Ireland, escorting Santa and Mrs Clause into waiting children at the holiday party.

https://twitter.com/JonCarrasco/status/409432120407240704

Kathy and Santa
https://twitter.com/JonCarrasco/status/409389798927785984

Brittany Duncan and Brian Nguyen, kiWW®
This annual event is one of Kathy’s many charitable activities.

Kathy Ireland is a beautiful soul inside and out. Her charismatic persona is warm, powerful and inspiring (even after her long day).

Kathy wears many hats: She is a successful mother, designer, CEO of Kathy Ireland Worldwide® (kiWW®) and a devoted philanthropist with extensive charity work. After meeting Kathy in person, I’m convinced that knowing our priorities and following our passion is the cornerstone of building a successful life.

Kathy has true self-esteem. Her focus on others, makes her a successful person both in personal and business relationships.

If you ask me what is my happiest moment of 2013? Without hesitation, it was meeting Kathy and her wonderful team members. I was overwhelmed by their love, warmth and kindness which will remain in my heart forever.

Thank you for everything, Kathy and Team. Merry Christmas!

PHOTO CREDITS: Jon Carrasco and Stephen Roseberry

Please Follow Kathy Ireland and Her Team on Twitter:

Kathy Ireland , CEO of Kathy Ireland Worldwide®
Jon Carrasco,Global Creative Director for Kathy Ireland Worldwide®
Stephen Roseberry, President and COO of Kathy Ireland Worldwide®
Steve Rosenblum , Executive Vice President Operations of Kathy Ireland Worldwide®
Ruben Torres, Kathy Ireland Worldwide® executive
Brittany Duncan, Visual Arts Manager of Kathy Ireland Worldwide®
Brian Nguyen, Marketing Manager and Administration Associate of Kathy Ireland Worldwide®
Andre Carthen, Kathy Ireland Worldwide® Design Ambassador, ‘the Fit Chef’
Nicholas Walker, Kathy Ireland Worldwide® Design Ambassador
Tommy Meharey, Works with kathy ireland Weddings
Christopher Spencer, Global Business Team Leader at Kathy Ireland Worldwide®

Visit: kathyireland.com/ and Find family, fashion, home, entertaining, outdoor, and wedding solutions with Kathy Ireland Worldwide®

 

Gift Giving

Once I was shopping in a designer store, a petite woman in front of me, was trying to do an exchange. She claimed she received the blouse as a gift and her friend who gifted her, had told her that she could exchange the blouse to her desired size in that particular store. I couldn’t help but follow the conversation between her and the woman at the register as they were talking loudly.

Now, here is the funny part: the blouse looked as big as size 16 and the woman’s size couldn’t be larger than 8. The sales associate at the register told the woman that she couldn’t proceed with an exchange because the item was not purchased in that store (possibly an outlet, where all sales are final). The customer was not very happy as she was leaving the store. Was the unhappiness due to the fact that her friend didn’t have any idea about her size, not even close or was it because she couldn’t exchange the wrong sized item?

I have a pretty good eye for size. I can buy gifts for my loved ones living in distance, just by looking at their pics and they would fit perfectly.

When you give a personal gift, such as clothes, wouldn’t it be a good idea to have an approximate idea of size? Or not give at all and buy another gift, something that can be treasured without going through the hustle and bustle of exchanges. We should also remember all hard working sales people in the stores, who are heavily burdened during the hectic holiday hours. I must admit sometimes I think the sales people are angels with utmost patience as some customers can be so unreasonable.

When we give gifts, wouldn’t it be wonderful to give them with love and not just for the sake of giving a gift?

We shouldn’t consume in the name of love. We should be creative and thoughtful in the name of gift giving.

 

                                               PHOTO CREDIT: SHI

Poor Service + Bad Coffee = No Thanks!

Every decision we make is emotionally based. We make friends because it’s the inner bond that draws us together, not the words spoken. We purchase a product because it brings us some level of joy.

I had a bizarre, actually two bizarre experiences lately. Some people would call me a coffee snob. I don’t drink much coffee outside my home but when I do, I like to visit my favorite coffee houses. I am not going to name them here and only call them coffee house A and B. Two weeks ago, as I was waiting for my husband to finish his workday, I popped in coffee house A. I drink black, bold, strong coffee. I ordered a cup and before that I asked if the coffee was freshly brewed. The guy at the counter shook his head, nodding as to assure me it was fresh. I sat down, started playing with my iPad and I am sure I would have spit it out if it was not for my new iPad. The coffee was awful. Not only it was not strong, it was at least a couple of hours old coffee. When I told the guy at the register, he just looked at me as if there was nothing he could do.

My second experience in my other favorite coffee house B was quite similar. At this time, I was certain that those who worked at both coffee houses, simply didn’t care whether the customer was content or they were simply saving money for their employer.

One morning, I stopped at another coffee house (which I will call here, coffee house C). There were two smiling, enthusiastic girls behind the counter. I told them that I wanted a cup of fresh, bold, strong coffee. One of them assured me that they would brew new coffee for me. Both were upbeat and very welcoming. Now, this coffee house C is not my favorite coffee place yet I loved the coffee there that morning. Great customer service should never be underestimated. It’s what keeps us coming back.

Next time, when I want to have a cup of coffee, I am heading to coffee house C. I still remember those two girls’ kind smiling faces.

I know now that I prefer coffee with kindness.

PHOTO CREDIT: SHI

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul. ~Henry Ward Beecher

The essence of a Thanksgiving celebration is our need to connect with loved ones, and to express gratitude for all our blessings.

The kitchen is the heart of a home. In cooking, we move beyond ourselves into loving and compassionate care of our loved ones and friends.

Cooking a Thanksgiving meal is a wonderful opportunity to share our love and practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a source of happiness. Let’s cook with our whole being. Let’s taste the abundance and blessings of the moment. Let’s be grateful.

You don’t have to sacrifice your healthy diet on Thanksgiving.
Here are my healthy Thanksgiving recipes that are both delicious and low in calories.

Happy Thanksgiving!

ROASTED TURKEY

INGREDIENTS

1 turkey rinsed well and patted dry. You should wash your hands, cutting boards, utensils, counter tops and surfaces with hot soapy water after handling turkey.
1 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus 3 sprigs
8 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons grape seed oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 lemons, poked thoroughly with fork
Salt and ground pepper
1 quart apple cider

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Remove packet of giblets and neck from cavity. Rinse and refrigerate.
3. Turn turkey on it’s back.
4. In a small bowl, combine parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic, 4 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Using your fingers, loosen skin of breast and around thighs, and rub herbal mixture under skin of both breast and thighs.
5. Fill cavity with lemons and rosemary sprigs.
6. Pour apple cider in bottom of roasting pan. Set roasting rack on top. Place turkey onto rack, breast side up. Rub turkey generously with remaining oil; season with salt and pepper.
7. Cover turkey loosely with foil. Roast about 1 hour. Uncover, basting frequently with pan juices and roast until the thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh reads 170°F. Remove from the oven and cover loosely with foil. Let stand about 30 minutes before carving.

PUMPKIN SALAD

INGREDIENTS

1 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 sugar pumpkins (4 pounds each), peeled, seeded, and cut in 1 1/2-inch chunks
10 tablespoons grape seed oil
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper
5 tablespoons pure maple syrup
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 pounds arugula
12 ounces feta cheese

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Spread pepitas on a large baking sheet; toast in oven, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
3. On a large baking sheet, toss pumpkin with 5 tablespoons oil, red pepper, salt and black pepper. Roast, until pumpkin is tender, about 30 minutes.
3. Drizzle pumpkin with 2 tablespoons maple syrup; toss well. Return to oven and continue roasting, until pumpkin is glazed, 10 minutes more.
4. In a large bowl, add lime juice, minced garlic, mustard and remaining maple syrup. Add remaining oil while whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Add arugula and pumpkin; toss well.
6. To serve, sprinkle salad with toasted pepitas and crumbled feta cheese.

Serves 8

BUTTERNUT SQUASH GRATIN

INGREDIENTS

6 tablespoons grape seed oil
4 medium leeks, white part only
1 cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and sliced 1/8-inch thick
2 pounds apples (preferably Gala or Fuji), peeled, cored and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
Salt and ground pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add leeks and 3 tablespoons water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, until the leeks are brown, about 8-10 minutes. Add sherry and sage; cook about 3 more minutes. Set aside.
3. In a large baking dish, arrange squash in layers. Spread leeks evenly over the squash.
4. Arrange apples in layers over the leeks. Brush apples with remaining oil. Cover with foil. Bake about 45 minutes.
5. Uncover and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake about 10 minutes until the cheese is golden brown. To serve, garnish with sage leaves.

Serves 8

ROASTED SWEET POTATOES

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Arrange sweet potatoes in a 9 X 13-inch baking dish.
3. Combine maple syrup, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper in small bowl.
4. Pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes; toss well.
5. Cover with foil. Bake the sweet potatoes for about 15 minutes. Uncover, stir and bake until tender, about 50 minutes more.

Serves 8

ROASTED SQUASH WITH GARLIC AND PARSLEY

INGREDIENTS

6 pounds winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
5 tablespoons grape seed oil
Salt and ground pepper to taste
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Toss squash with 2 tablespoons oil, salt and pepper.
3. Spread squash chunks evenly on a large baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until all squash chunks are tender, about 30 minutes or more.
4. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook gently, about 1 minute.
5. Toss the roasted squash with the garlic and chopped parsley.

Serves 8

BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH THYME

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons grape seed oil
4 shallots, chopped
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add shallots, Brussels sprouts; cook about 4 minutes. Stir in broth, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook until the Brussels sprouts are tender, about 15 minutes.

Serves 8

Bon Appetite!