Happy February

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The Impossible Engine Made It Possible

I recently experienced the proudest day yet in my career when we launched the animated short film, One Very Proud Dad. It all began with an inspiration I got after coming across a commercial that aired during the 2012 Grammys that really inspired me. It was Chipotle’s “Back to the Start” video. This less than 3 minute video got me inclined to join a movement Chipotle was clearly taking a leadership stand on in the fast food industry.

As Rackspace leads a new revolution in the cloud computing industry, I immediately thought, “we need to send this message to the masses.” We need to let the world know that Rackspace is doing something that is changing the way we consume technology and we need to get people excited about what we are doing.

I had been working with a small agency out of Austin, Texas, the Impossible Engine, on some other projects and pitched my idea to them. After getting some internal approvals (I have an awesome manager that trusts me), we invited them to the Rackspace headquarters and my team along with their team, spent an entire day talking about the ways in which we could tell the new Rackspace story. They took our notes and ran with it. After debating 3 different story scenarios, we settled on the caveman story. After months of storyboarding, choosing music, audio, settling on characters, script editing and everything that goes into building a short 3D animation video, we finally launched One Very Proud Dad.

I am so thankful Rackspace allowed me the opportunity to take this risk, for my amazing (and crazy smart) team, and most importantly, for the Impossible Engine who took a wild idea and made it a reality. They are really and truly the engine that makes things possible.

The Most Inspiring Message for our Youth (Thank You Henry Rollins)

I’ve come across many inspiring videos but have never heard a more inspiring message than the one in Henry Rollins‘ recent video, Young Person. The message speaks specifically to our youth but should inspire everyone because we all have a role in shaping the future for kids across our nation.

Even with all the negativity in the world, I truly believe there is more positive than negative and that the media makes us think otherwise. It can be scary for kids. More importantly, it can negatively influence the decisions our youth make. It is our job to make sure they know there is a place in the world for them to do big and great things.

Quotes from the video:

“You will encounter people who never have to pay in full, they get to wreck the room and never have to clean it, they can get all the way through high school and never have to understand where a dollar comes from because they just get it given to them.

You got what you got, so you got to make the most of it. You really can’t spend a whole lot of time worrying about his, you must go for your own.

If you have an idea of what you want to do in your future, you must got at it with almost monastic obsession.”

Read the full transcript on Big Think.

5 Reasons to hire Lavish to Lite Bites for your Dinner Party

This was the year of my 30th and I didn’t want it to pass me up without doing something memorable. As I thought about all the possible things I could do to celebrate, I kept thinking about how I love to entertain close friends and family. I love to cook and make people feel at home. As a birthday treat to myself, I thought how nice it would be to hire a personal chef to come into my home and cook for my friends. This would allow me to step out of the kitchen to engage in conversations and not be too worried about the food.

I knew nothing about personal chef’s in San Antonio but after doing some searching on the Internet, I found that there were a lot of them in San Antonio and apparently in high demand. I narrowed my search results to three personal chef’s and began writing inquiries to all three. I contacted Lavish to Lite Bites first and before I could send my other two inquiries, I received a phone call within minutes from Chef Catherine Richey. She had this lively voice and you could tell she was excited about my party just from reading the inquiry I sent her. I went ahead and said yes and am so glad I did. Here’s 5 reasons why I would recommend her to anyone:

1) Outstanding Service

Before Catherine even stepped into my kitchen, I was impressed with her service. After I committed to the date, she met me for lunch to chat about the menu. She initially offered to make me lunch at her home so I could have a taste of her cooking but since I was coming from the office we found a half way point. She brought with her the contract to sign and sample menu ideas. I had the opportunity to learn more about her and her background and how she made it to building her own business as a personal chef.

Throughout the few weeks before the party, her and I went back and forth on the menu. I wanted her to make something she was comfortable doing and she had so many options to choose from hors d’oeuvres to dessert options.

On the day of the party, hors d’oeuvres were to start at 7pm and the first course at 8pm. She arrived in her awesome chef uniform at about 5:45pm with all her cooking tools. Within minutes, her and her sister took over my kitchen and got straight to work, it was amazing! Once guests arrived, she brought out the . About 45 minutes into drinks and hors d’oeuvres, she came out to introduce the menu to all the guests. Once dinner was ready, she let me know so everyone could take their seat at the table.

Her sister served our plates, filled our glasses and took each plate as we finished each course. And for dessert, they surprised me with a birthday candle! I had ZERO intention of being sung happy birthday to but that was a pleasant surprise.

Lastly, they cleaned! Once dinner was all said and done and they loaded up their car, I went to the kitchen to find it spotless! You would have never guessed that a five course meal for 15 guests was made in that kitchen minutes ago.

2) Superb Cooking

As mentioned above, we went back and forth on the menu and we finalized on this:

Hors d’oeuvres
Prosciutto Wrapped Lemon Chicken with Avocado Lime dip
Cucumber Rounds Topped with Spicy Hummus

Salad
Baby Greens with Toasted Pine Nuts & White Wine Citrus Dressing

First Course
Lemon and Herb Risotto

Entree
Filet Mignon with Pinot-Noir Mushroom Sauce
or
Pan Seared Halibut with White Wine and Herb Cream Sauce

Vegetables
Chipotle Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Asparagus

Dessert
Dark and White Chocolate Mousse
Petite Fours

Wow! I am impressed just typing this all out. Everything was extremely flavorful and I thought the menu was so well thought out.

3) Reasonably Priced

I had no clue what to expect on the price. I was just doing research and wanted to know what something like this would actually cost. When she told me her price, I said “yes!” before I even confirmed with Jason. Either personal chef’s aren’t just for the rich and famous anymore or I discovered Catherine before she is making it big. She charges you a service charge that you pay upfront and then she does all the grocery shopping for you and you pay her for the bill once complete. Yes, she does all the grocery shopping! I think the most unpleasant part of cooking is the actual grocery shopping and couldn’t believe she includes this!

In addition, because she is a certified chef, she shops at places like Restaurant Depot and gets preferred pricing on meats and seafood. Anything she already has on hand in regards to spices, etc, she will use so you don’t have to pay for it. And she is totally looking out for you. For example, we were initially going to do Mahi Mahi and when she said that the Halibut was 1/3 the price, she recommended to go with that one because it would be just as good. This made me feel so much more comfortable that I chose her for the dinner party.

4) Great Online Presence

When I first started looking for a personal chef, I asked people within my network of friends, online and offline. I received no recommendations. I was going to have to do a search online without any background on the services I would find.

When you’re going to hire someone to come into your home and cook for you, you want to make sure that you’re comfortable with that person and it can be difficult to get that vibe via a website. The first thing that got me to Lavish to Lite Bites was that the website was in the top 3 listings for Google paid ads for “personal chef san antonio” which told me that she was serious about her business. When I got to her website, I noticed 3 things that really got me to contact her 1) About Page. It was so personable and had a beautiful photo of her family. 2) Guestbook. She had reviews from her clients on her website. 3). Active Blog. I read her blog and visited her Facebook page. It was obvious that she had a great business going just through her updated photos and experiences.

5) Passionate about What She Does

I am a firm believer in following your passion and success will follow. Chef Catherine is passionate about what she does and it is evident in every detail of her business from the service, to the food to her business ethics. She is clearly in her element and you know that what she does is what she loves doing. Every time I interacted with her, I felt like I was her only client which, if you visit her Facebook page, I am clearly not! She had done a Spanish Tapas cooking class the weekend before and has regular clients that she prepares meals for during the week, on top of feeding her family! She lives to cook!

If you want to make your next event special, I would hire Chef Catherine from Lavish to Lite Bites in a heartbeat.

Contact Info for Lavish to Lite Bites:

Website: http://lavishtolitebites.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LavishtoLiteBites/

Contact by email or by phone at (210) 683-2933.

If you have questions, please leave them in the comments below.

Remembering Whitney Houston

Twenty years go, if you asked me what my favorite movie was, it was The Bodyguard; and I wanted to be Whitney Houston when I grew up.

In every image of her, she stood tall, beautiful and had such a striking smile (I can’t imagine what it was like to have met her in person). It was her voice, though, that moved people and as a young lady, I adored her. Now, as an adult and a mother, I look back and am saddened by the talent we lost. And although she had gone down a dark path, nobody can deny that she brought light to the lives of many people, including mine. May she rest in peace.

This, of course, was my favorite song and I feel so bad for my parents that had to endure me singing it in every talent show we had at the house (ha!).

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