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SPRING FLINGING

It’s a sport!

It’s a toy!

It’s a yo-yo!

Yes, it’s just a string and a spool! –A spherical spool attached to one’s finger with a cord that is looped around the grooved middle of the spool. When run up and down the cord with skillful throws and jerks, the spool takes positions and does tricks.

It’s been around since ancient Egypt and was played with by Greek youths in 500 B.C. There are reports that Napoleon and his army played with yo-yos just before the Battle of Waterloo. The yo-yo was very popular in the Philippines, and it was a Filipino American, Pedro Flores, who made the yo-yo popular in the United States and the rest of the world in the 1920’s. He sold his company to D.F. Duncan, Sr. who trade-marked the name “yo-yo” and set up his factory making wooden yo-yos in Luck, Wisconsin, which then became the “Yo-yo Capital of the World”.

Contemporary yo-yo culture, however, now includes innovative techniques, sophisticated technologies, large online communities, yo-yo collecting, and international competitions for individuals and teams. Most competitions consist of two parts—compulsory tricks and freestyle. Yo-yo enthusiasts are making efforts to include yo-yoing as an Olympic sport.

Major technological innovations since the 60’s include the automatic return and the ball-bearing yo-yo. Other innovations include the transaxles, free-spinning plastic sleeves, friction pads and O-rings, wide variety of shapes, and materials improvement. A number of yo-yo accessories are available as “after-market” modifications—players buy items, such as ceramic bearings, friction stickers, brake pads, or weight rings, separately from the yo-yo to augment performance over the original model shipped from the factory.

Today’s yo-yo manufacturers feature new materials from titanium to exotic woods; unique names such as Oxygene and Syzgy; and limited editions like “Ride the Void”. Recent innovations include an aluminum body, the auto-return clutch system, and a brake pad response system. China has become the top selling yo-yo market.

How to Select a Yo-Yo:

  • There is no single best yo-yo. Certain shapes and models are better suited to various tricks and to different styles of play, as well as different skill levels.

General Guidelines: Skill Level

  • For Beginner—Select standard fixed axle with a take-apart design (so one can more easily untangle knots) and an auto-return mechanism.
  • For Intermediate—Select transaxle yo-yo, as longer spin times make learning tricks easier.
  • For Advanced—Select ball-bearing yo-yo.

General Guidelines: By Style of Play/Tricks

  • Imperial or Standard—Best for looping, as having weight towards the center gives increased stability in the air.
  • Butterfly—Best for string tricks, as the wide gap makes it easier to catch the yo-yo on the string.
  • Modified—Good for both looping and string tricks, as the weight around the rims creates the extra circular inertia that causes the yo-yo to sleep long.
  • Off-string—this yo-yo requires two hands, as the string is not attached to the yo-yo. The Chinese Diablo is a giant version of this type.

Use:

  • Adjust string according to your height.
  • Find the correct string tension for each trick.
  • Basic yo-yo techniques include sleeping, looping, freehand, and off-string.

Care and Maintenance:

  • Do not overtighten a take-apart yo-yo.
  • New strings are safer and perform better. Replace string when it looks dirty, shows signs of wear, or feels stiff or hard.
  • Help maintain wooden axles by placing a small amount of wax on the last few inches of the axle end of the string.
  • Placing a couple of drops of light oil on a bearing yo-yo will help it to sleep and return better.

Wacky Facts:

  • The yo-yo is said to be the first toy to fly in outer space. In 1985 NASA sent a basic spinning yo-yo on the Space Shuttle Discover to see what effect microgravity would have on it. In 1992 the yo-yo again made its way into space on the Space Shuttle Atlantis.
  • The highest priced yo-yo, signed by Richard Nixon(!) and presented to country music singer and fiddler Roy Acuff at The Grand Ole Opry in 1974, was auctioned off for $16,029.00.
  • In 1968, activist Abbie Hoffman was cited for contempt of Congress for “walking the dog” (a yo-yo trick) during a session of the House Subcommittee on Un-American Activities
  • Many yo-yo en

FOR THE IDES OF MARCH: CAESAR SALAD

DEFINITION

A classic Caesar Salad is made of romaine lettuce dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, egg (raw or lightly coddled), Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, parmesan cheese. This mixture is tossed in a wooden bowl, then sprinkled with croutons, adding texture.

PROVENANCE

The Caesar Salad is generally believed to have been invented in Tijuana, Mexico, on July 4,1924 by Cesar Cardine, an Italian immigrant and restaurateur. Originally, the leaves were arranged on a plate so that they could be eaten as finger food.

Greatly enjoyed by Mrs. Wallis Warfield Simpson (later the Duchess of Windsor), she helped to popularize it both in the United States and Europe. Julia Child , also a Caesar Salad enthusiast, has said she was served by Cesar Cardine himself when she was a child.

In 1956, three years before Cardine’s death, the master chefs of the International Society of Epicures in Paris proclaimed the Caesar Salad to be “The greatest recipe to originate from the Americas in 50 years”!

In the late 70’s Caesar Salad was discovered by the fast-food industry, resulting in an amazing increase in the production of romaine lettuce–from almost no production in the 70’s,  to the cultivation of more than 16,000 acres in the 90’s, to today’s growing of over 80,000 acres.  With his sister Rosa, Cardine produced Cardine’s Original Famous Caesar Dressing which is still available today.

HOW TO SELECT MAIN INGREDIENTS

  • Romaine Lettuce (sometimes called Cos Lettuce because it came from the Aegean Island of Cos)–Look for boldly colored, firm heads, heavy for their size and with tightly closed leaves. Select heads that have been cut close to the leaf stems. Avoid heads that are wilted and leaves that have brown edges, rust, or holes. Large white milky ribs and some leaf tips on outer leaves can be quite bitter.
  • Eggs–Purchasing eggs from cage-free, organically-certified and organically-fed chickens will help to assure quality and freshness while significantly reducing any potential of salmonella poisoning.
  • Croutons–For authenticity, prepare croutons from a loaf of rustic Italian bread.

HOW TO STORE MAIN INGREDIENTS

  • Romaine Lettuce–Rinse and dry the lettuce, place in plastic or special “greens” bag for refrigeration up to one week.
  • Eggs–Store eggs in coldest part of the refrigerator and never leave unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours. Throw out any eggs which have an odor or any cracks or breaks.
  • Croutons–Croutons will last about 1 week if stored in an airtight container on shelf or in refrigerator; up to 6 months if stored in a freezer in an airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bag. If croutons contain butter, store in refrigerator or freezer to avoid rancidity.

HOW TO USE

  • As an appetizer course, a salad course, an entree for lunch or dinner
  • Dressing sometimes includes pounded anchovies or anchovy garnish, garlic, Dijon mustard, blue cheese, and/or capers.
  • Salad variations include grilled chicken, bacon, meat, shellfish or fish.
  • Buon appetito!   Cin-cin!

WHOLISTIC  CONCERNS

  • Although the primary Caesar Salad ingredients are very healthful, questions remain about the safety of eating raw eggs. The major concern is contracting salmonellosis (from the salmonella bacteria), which can result from the improper preparation, handling, or refrigeration of infected eggs. It is uncommon and, in healthy people, it is usually a benign, self-limiting illness.
  • Raw eggs should not be used in any food prepared for pregnant women, young children, or those whose health/immune systems are compromised.

TIPS

  • There is a special tossing technique used at tableside which requires the tosser to skillfully break 2 eggs onto the romaine, then gently roll over and round the leaves.

WACKY FACTS

July 4 is National Caesar Salad  Day.

The Ides of each month was a standard way of saying the 15th of the month And the Ides of March was originally an especially  festive day, celebrating the God Mars. On this day In 44 B.C. Julius Caesar was stabbed (23 times) to death, after having been forewarned by a seer on his way to the Senate. Subsequently The Ides of March has become a symbol of foreboding, as immortalized in Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar–“Beware, the Ides of March.”

According to the Guinness Records, in October 2007, Tijuana Mexico broke the world’s record for the largest  Caesar Salad, weighing  in at over 2 tons!

“Bewitched”  had an episode about Samantha’s  attempting to make a Caesar Salad and having to call on Julius Caesar for help.

http://www.thequlaipedia.com

International Business Protocol

By Dawn Bryan, best-selling author of “The Art and Etiquette of Gift Giving” and “Elite Etiquette”, and founder of Qualipedia ™

It is very easy to unwittingly offend your international business prospects. Many global marketing efforts and contract negotiations have been destroyed by the unintentional blunder.

Being too late or too early for an appointment, using the wrong form of address, improperly receiving a  business card, shaking hands, bringing wine to a home dinner, insulting with your choice of business gift, using a “hard sell”,  or even eating everything on your plate could ruin your negotiation…and reputation. Americans most often make mistakes with meeting/greeting rituals; eating/dining; giving/receiving;   and not recognizing significant taboos. And, when setting up or responding to a meeting request, remember that many Europeans and South Americans write the day first, then the month, then the year when using numbers.

Meeting/Greeting Rituals
Although handshakes are standard greeting gestures among Europeans, the gesture is generally more formal and more firm—except for the lighter touch of the French. Usually those of higher rank and women are expected to extend their hand first. Asians will often greet you with a gentle handshake; however, the bow is more traditional and more respected. Learning how to bow, including depth, eye contact, etc. is very important. Some South Americans can be effusive and take a long time to greet, believing that this conveys respect for the other person.  In many cultures, it is good manners to shake hands with everyone in a group/room upon arrival as well as departure.  Many European and South American women kiss each other on alternating cheeks. In Brazil, a third kiss between women bestows “good luck” in finding a spouse!

Be sure to use the proper form of address when meeting—or greeting: there are many different customs. For example, Europeans rarely use first names until they know the person well; unlike the United States, titles, especially academic titles, are always used.  Asian names are usually listed in a different order from Western names. In Japan, use last names plus San meaning “Ms.” or “Mr.” The Chinese are very sensitive regarding status and always use official titles, such as “Committee Member”. Titles are also important in some Central/South American countries: in Panama the title Licenciado is used for anyone with a bachelor’s degree. In Norway, lawyers and clergymen do not use titles, although government officials do.

Learn the business card protocol for each culture. Your card should have the other person’s language printed on the back and that side should be presented to her/him. The presentation itself is important, particularly in Asian cultures where it is given with a proper bow. Do not just quickly stuff someone’s card into your pocket or bag. Always treat another’s card with respect, taking the time to read and appreciate it. When you meet with several people, be sure to give your card to each person lest you slight someone.

Eating/Dining
Whether you are a host or a guest, you should be familiar with the local food, drink, punctuality expectations (local time), when and how to conduct business, and appropriate seating. In some cultures, guests are expected to arrive late—don’t be offended at your Spanish associate’s late arrival. In others (Japan, The Netherlands, Sweden), tardiness is considered very rude. In Italy, the more important the person, the later he/she may arrive to a business meeting. Europeans are generally not fond of business breakfasts.

Learn when and how to correctly order and eat difficult or new foods. If possible, practice eating in the style of the other person—European, American, chopsticks.

Giving/Receiving
In some countries, such as Norway, gift-giving is simply not a part of doing business, whereas in many other cultures (Japan) it is an integral part of the process of learning about the other person. In China a banquet is an acceptable business gift.

Some business gifts are not presented until negotiations have been completed (Latin America), others at the beginning (Korea).Some countries (Australia) have very strict quarantine laws regarding even wood products and many foods.

To avoid looking cheap, do not give logo gifts unless they are of excellent quality and the logo is subtle.

If bringing flowers to someone’s home, be certain that the color, number, or actual type of flower is not offensive: in many countries certain flowers and colors signify death.

Taboos
Do not be impatient when dealing with cultures such as Saudi and Russia. Russians prize patience as a virtue and some regard compromise as a sign of weakness.

It is usually inappropriate for a foreign business woman to invite her male counterpart to a business dinner unless other associates or spouses attend.

Do not dress casually for a business meeting, and, if a woman, probably best to wear a skirt.

Never say “no” to the Japanese and understand their aversion to the word. (This maintains harmony and saves face.)

Arab World – Do not give or present anything with your left hand; give an alcoholic beverage or bar gift; or show the sole of your shoe.

If you would like to hear more about international business protocol, please tune in to Success Express at Big Blend Radio and my recent interview:  http://www.bigblendradio.com/April-18-2014.html

CHOOSING CHOCOLATE

Called “food of the gods” by the Aztecs, the best quality chocolate is made of the highest quality beans and ingredients, with no fillers, waxes or additives. It can be expensive, but one taste will prove its worth to you.

Choose, according to taste:

  • Dark Chocolate can contain from 62 to 85 percent cocoa paste (pure pulverized cocoa beans). Chocolate labeled “bittersweet” contains about 35 % and “semi-sweet” about 15%. Bittersweet and semi-sweet are often used interchangeably in cooking. The term “dark chocolate” describes any sweetened chocolate that does not contain mild solids.
  • Milk Chocolate contains either condensed or dry milk as well as 30–40 percent cocoa. Typically much sweeter than dark chocolate, less than 30 percent cocoa may mean that the chocolate is too sweet.
  • White Chocolate contains a blend of milk, cocoa butter (fat), sugar and sometimes flavorings like vanilla. It contains no cocoa solids and does not taste like chocolate, as it gets its name from the cocoa butter it contains. Beware: the cheaper varieties will have most or all of the cocoa butter replaced by vegetable fats.

How do you recognize good chocolate?

As with most good things, the more senses that your chocolate appeals to, the better…

By Appearance: Smooth texture, evenly colored; no air pockets or cracks, surface should not be dull or have streaks or dots (chocolate bloom or fat bloom). This occurs when chocolate has been stored in too humid or too warm temperatures.

By Aroma: Sweetly fragrant while being unwrapped; Lack of smell may indicate a lack of flavor. You may detect also vanilla, berry, caramel or roasted nuts. Burnt, musty, or chemical smalls are not acceptable.

By Touch: Should feel silky, not sticky; As it is the only food that melts at body heat, it should just begin to yield to the warmth of your finger; it should snap cleanly, not crumble.

By Mouth Feel and Texture: Most of our taste buds are on the front of the tongue, so the taste explosion should begin immediately;  It should be smooth and buttery, gently dissolving into a creamy liquid; If waxy, it may indicate that the cocoa butter has been replaced with vegetable fat;  Should not feel grainy or gluey.

By Flavor: Quality chocolate will be bittersweet, fruity and spicy with a good balance of acidity. The flavor should linger for several minutes with a clean aftertaste. It should not be overpoweringly sweet

How Do I Store Chocolate?

All chocolate should be well wrapped and stored in a cool (60-70degrees F.) dry place with good air circulation and odor-free environment. Keep away from direct heat and sunlight. White and milk chocolate can only be stored for about 10 months because of the milk solids they contain. Never store chocolate in plastic wrap–it gives the chocolate an unpleasant taste.  It should always be consumed at room temperature.

Podcast: Cracking the Code on Elite Etiquette – Jennings Wire

Please enjoy a recent podcast interview with Dawn Bryan and Annie Jennings of Jennings Wire on proper etiquette.

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Highlights from the conversation include:

  • How would you define “etiquette” for the 21st Century? What is Elite Etiquette?
  • What are some of the unspoken, unwritten rules, customs and traditions? When do they apply?
  • What if you make an embarrassing protocol mistake in your business communications?
  • In new experiences, what do most people worry about doing wrong?
  • Why do some businesses ask to have a MEAL with a job candidate before making an offer?
  • What does the gift you give say about you? How is it a reflection of who you are as a person?
  • Why is it important in this rapidly changing, social media world to learn about etiquette and protocol?

Listen to the full podcast HERE

Full article HERE

 

New Book, Elite Etiquette, Cracks The Culture Codes

Renowned cultural coach Dawn Bryan publishes book revealing informative protocols for strengthening business and social relationships

 New York – January, 2015  - Quality expert and best-selling author, Dawn Bryan goes beyond the traditional rules of “etiquette” to explain the often unvoiced, assumed customs and terminologies that are a sign of belonging and a way of expressing respect within a culture. The first book of its kind, this comprehensive guide provides the reader with the social behaviors needed to communicate within various lifestyles.

Going to a formal banquet, a golf tournament, a wine tasting, the opera, or an unfamiliar religious ceremony or celebration? Have you been asked to make a toast, host a business luncheon, join an aficionado for cigar smoking, meet at a sushi bar, or attend an art auction? Are you traveling for the first time on a yacht, private plane or helicopter? Or do you just need to know how to open a champagne bottle or the correct way to eat lobster, artichoke, soup, escargot, pomegranate, bone marrow or spaghetti?

Categorically and concisely, Elite Etiquette explains everything you: Need to Know; May Want to Know; May Find Helpful to Know; and Must Not Do. With wisdom and wit, the author gives you the information you need to feel comfortable wherever you are. The book is ideal for hosts, guests, and spectators seeking advice for the appropriate conduct, dress, courtesies and guidelines, which will expedite almost any business or social situation.

Elite Etiquette is available now: Paperback: http://amzn.to/17lyvGd, Kindle: http://amzn.to/10lLfZ3

Related Links: Dawn Bryan on E! Entertainment: http://youtu.be/9ezTf–iQo8
About Dawn Bryan         

An authority on quality, protocol, gift giving, and conscious choice, and founder of The Qualipedia.com. Dawn Bryan has taught cultural competence to global businesses, foreign service diplomats at the University of Shanghai and MIT business school students. She has coached a broad range of people from financial services executives, airline industry CEOs, executive staffs of legendary music moguls and rap artists. Her impressive career includes being selected spokesperson/consultant on international protocol and gift giving for many luxury brands, including Neiman Marcus, Hammacher Schlemmer, American Express, Diners Club, and Waterford Wedgwood. She is author of the best-selling book, The Art & Etiquette of Gift Giving (Bantam Books), and has written many articles and columns on quality, gift giving, and protocol. These have appeared in Business Week, Vogue, Town & Country, as well as bride, business and travel magazines. She has won numerous awards, including The Ellis Island Medal of Honor (2006) and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS, for her pioneering and extensive work with the cause.

Learn more at TheQualipedia.com

WHICH CHRISTMAS TREE IS RIGHT FOR YOU? Tips to Help Shoppers Select the Perfect Tree for Their Lifestyle

 

Since President Franklin Pierce had the first White House Christmas Tree in the 1850’s American families have faced the task of choosing a tree that fits their lifestyle, demonstrates their passion for Christmas and is practical and economical.

 Everyone has an opinion about the family Christmas tree–must it be live, cut or artificial? And what size–is bigger always better?

What about the shape, the color, the needle length, the branch strength and spacing, the needle-holding ability–and even the fragrance? We can always cut our own trees, but most of us purchase them from the nearest local seller.

Dawn Bryan, author of the best-selling “The Art and Etiquette of Gift Giving,” and founder of Qualipedia (www.thequalipedia.com), a consumer information and lifestyle website, offers the following tips to help shoppers choose the tree that is right for them.

Before making any decision, keep in mind where your tree will be displayed and know the measurements of the area before you purchase.

Trying to balance our love of tradition with practicality and current lifestyle, we can easily make the wrong decision. Ask yourself:

Are you the traditionalist who loves to make the season come alive while stringing lights and breathing in the fresh fragrance of your pine?  Do you not have the space to store an artificial tree during the year? 

If so, select a cut tree with good green color, needle resiliency, and pleasing fragrance.

How to Select a Live or Cut Tree:

  • Check condition of the needles by bending the needle gently between your thumb and forefinger. The fresh needle should bend easily, not break
  • Pull your hand toward you along the branch. Needles should adhere to the branch and not fall off in your hand.
  • If a cut tree, lift the tree a few inches off the ground, then drop it on stump end. If outside needles fall off in abundance, it is probably not fresh. If old needles, which have been lodged among the branches from prior shedding fallout, this is not a sign of a dry tree. 

How to Care For:

  • Living Trees: Store before decorating in unheated, sheltered area out of sun and wind; While inside, keep soil damp; limit inside stay to 7 to 10 days; when moving to the outdoors, do not immediately change temperatures from warm house to freezing cold; when planting, mulch heavily over the top of the planted root ball to prevent freezing and water only when needed.

 

  • Cut Trees: Cut a half-inch off the base of the trunk before immediately placing it into water; do not whittle down the sides of the trunk, as the tree drinks mostly from the edges of its trunk base; trees may drink as much as a gallon of water in the first 24 hours and one or more quarts a day thereafter; keep tree away from sun, fireplace and other heat sources; and unplug lights at night unless you are expecting Santa. To recycle, check the recycling link on your community’s website.
  • Real Christmas trees are a renewable, recyclable resource, often grown on soil that doesn’t support other crops.

Are you time-compromised, afraid to climb ladders, not interested in needle clean-up and tree maintenance, or evergreen allergic? 

If so, select an artificial tree that imitates your favorite variety or is in your favorite color. Many are pre-lit and some come with ornaments, berries, pine cones, flocking, frosting and fiber optics already in place.

How to Select an Artificial Tree:

  • If you are looking for the most realistic looking artificial tree, purchase one with PE needles (rather than PVC), a center pole, and individual stick branch attachments.
  • If your primary concern is buying tree that is easy to assemble, choose one with PE needles, a center pole, hinged branch attachments and pre-strung lights.
  • Artificial trees come in a myriad of varieties, heights and shapes to fit into your space and decorating style. 
  • “Tip count” can be used as an advertising ploy, and usually makes little difference to the overall appearance, mattering much less than needle quality.
  • For quality, look at the branch ends: well-crafted trees use heavier gauge metal and have sculpted, not snipped-off, ends.
  • Lights: Look for three-year or 3,000 hour warranty,  80-100 lights per square foot,  twist-proof sockets, the ability for the entire string to stay lit, even if a single bulb burns out, is broken or removed; and have 8-10 inches between lights.

How to Care For an Artificial Tree:

  • With proper care, an artificial tree will last 6-7 years, making it an economical choice.
  • Wear gloves and a long-sleeved shirt when putting up your tree.
  • Store the tree in a carrying case, NOT a cardboard box. The latter will get damp and/or disintegrate and cause dust to inundate your tree, and critters like to chew through boxes to makes warm homes in artificial trees.
  • Concerns:
  • Artificial trees off-gas volatile organic compounds (VOCs,) as they are made of PVC and/or PE and many contain lead, which makes the PVC more malleable. These trees are known to shed lead-laced dust.
  • Artificial trees often are treated with a fire retardant which off-gasses.
  • Artificial trees cannot be recycled. It is possible to donate a gently used tree to a local thrift store. If the tree is unfit for use, it must be taken to a landfill.
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