When ascending the corporate ladder, the young professional must be armed with the following: sharp business attire, a braying work laugh reserved for lame boss jokes, a firm handshake, and the ability to hold one’s liquor. While the office environment may provide some opportunities for you to showcase your wardrobe and the occasional handshake, social business functions offer ample chances to strut your stuff for the powers that be. Any social event involving workmates has the potential to evolve into a business meeting, especially where clients or the boss are involved and you should be primed and ready to turn on the charm at any moment. Therefore, it is crucial to your career and office reputation to exercise good drinking etiquette.
Meeting co-workers for drinks after work and other similar functions can be tricky. The happy hour meet offers a casual environment for you to socialize with fellow desk jockeys, but you should maintain a bit of your professional persona. Unleashing your inner frat boy in front of co-workers will open you up to criticism and turn you into water cooler fodder. Instead, take the opportunity to schmooze and impress them with your knowledge of fine liquors. In the bar scene, it’s not how much you drink that counts, it’s what you drink.
Kelly Ekas of The Globe, Sam Snead’s Candie Ryser, and Peggy Lupica of 310 Park South all agree that the flavored martini is the drink of the year. Although the three-martini lunch has faded away, the beverage lives on after dark. To score points with hip colleagues, order a couple of the martinis and experiment with different flavors. The trendy concoction is still considered to be a woman’s drink. Men wishing to express their masculinity may opt for draft beer or some of the harder liqueurs.
Wine is frequently unfamiliar territory among young professionals, but is a popular favorite with the slightly older set. Become ambi-”drink”-trous by attending a wine tasting in your town and familiarize yourself with the process and flavorings. Sam Snead’s in downtown Orlando offers free wine tastings every Monday night. Expanding your palette beyond frou-frou drinks and beer will allow you to blend in with more worldly associates.
Once your chosen beverage has arrived, hold it with your left hand to keep the right one free for handshakes and business card trade-offs. You never know whom you might meet, but it could be someone who may have an impact your career. Regardless of drink specials, steer clear of drinks with umbrellas, whipped cream, and names like Sex on the Beach, Harvey Wallbanger, or Tropical Analgesic. These beverages, along with anything served in a fishbowl, lack the level of sophistication you may wish to attain. Save the “girl drinks” for evenings with close friends.
Earn everyone’s good graces by offering to buy a round early in the night. Waiting until the crowd thins out or everyone has had enough will make you the office cheapskate and may preclude you from further group outings. To lessen the alcohol effects, snack on an appetizer throughout the evening or, if the session lasts longer than two hours, casually suggest an upgrade to dinner.
Circulate the group and participate in as many conversations as you can, but refrain from butting into chats to interject irrelevant chitchat. Use this time to give your work laugh a workout. Play the role of social butterfly and mix your ideas for the company with charming anecdotes to show that you’re not all business.
Most importantly, know your limit. Cut yourself off before the bartender does. Unsure of your liquor tolerance? Once you begin entertaining private thoughts of Arvid from Accounting, stop drinking. Or take the serious route and calculate the number of consumed drinks in relation to your body weight to assess your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Your BAC is the estimated percent of alcohol in the bloodstream. To be safe, use the sip and savor approach to drinking or set a two-drink maximum limit.
Finally, take a cue from comedians and leave your colleagues wanting more. Bid proper farewells, settle up your tab, and head home after your final drink. Leaving early will show that you’re dedicated to your career, but there’s more to your life than just work. The professional who spend their whole life tied to work may rise to the top rung faster, but they will fall much harder once exhaustion sets in.
Following the rules of drinking etiquette may not ensure an automatic raise or promotion, but it will boost your reputation as a classy professional among workmates. A wise drink choice or knowing how to carry yourself during social business functions could get you on the list for other important functions and you never know where that may lead.
originally published in the December-January 2002/2003 issue of Industry magazine.
There’s nothing like a good drink to buff out the edges of a rough day. When administered properly, alcohol can help ease the mind and body of stress. Downtown Orlando offers a wide variety of bars, clubs, and restaurants housing varying levels of ambience and drink specials. Choosing a destination is intimidating to the uninformed imbiber. One suggestion is to start at one end of Orange Avenue and drink your way to the other. Another suggestion is to check out Sam Snead’s downtown location.
Sam Snead’s caters to the whims of clientele ranging from nine-to-five professionals to first-daters to those in search of a nice place to nosh. The low-key golf decor of the restaurant won’t have you yelling “fore,” but their specialty drinks may inspire you to buy “four.” One specialty drink to try is the restaurant’s popular Candie’s Apple Martini. The drink is named after restaurant owner and recipe creator, Candie Ryser.
Don’t be put off by the “martini” part of the name. Yes, the traditional martini is a mix of gin and vermouth with either an olive or a twist of lemon. Today’s translation of martini is a little loose, turning a classy drink into more palatable concoctions, but the spirit of the original remains.
Candie’s Apple Martini continues to break down traditions. While green in color (candy apples are usually red), the drink is rich and sweet in flavor and captures the essence of its creator. The drink’s 2:1 ratio of apple pucker to vodka delightfully masks the presence of the vodka, making the drink easy to sip and a perfect beverage for drinking virgins, timid consumers, and those of us who don’t care for the taste of alcohol. A slice of Granny Smith apple tops off the drink, giving cherries, olives, and tiny paper umbrellas a run for their money. Because of its light and fruity nature, sucking down several of these would take minimal effort. Even though it doesn’t taste like an alcoholic beverage, it does pack some punch that can be felt several minutes into your second or third drink.
The martini was perfected by Candie last year, when she combined her love of apple martinis with a need for a signature drink for the restaurant. She and her staff took to their experiments for nearly five hours before reaching the final recipe. Since then, the concoction has soared in popularity with both guys and girls. On arrival, it may look like a girl drink, but it’s definitely strong enough for a man. Candie’s Apple Martini is only available at the downtown location.
The official recipe:
1 oz. vodka
2 1/2 oz. apple pucker
a splash of Sam Snead’s blend of splash sour
1 thin slice of Granny Smith apple
Mix and serve.
If apple and vodka doesn’t suit your taste buds, Sam Snead’s offers a host of other martini selections including Strange Brew, Chocolate, Man Style (traditional with blue cheese stuffed olive and a hot pepper), and Booty Call (a mix of vodka and Red Bull energy drink). The restaurant has daily drink specials, live music on the weekends, and occasional special events. Drop by for a leisurely lunch or hang out and watch sports on the 50 inch plasma-screen television.
originally published in the February-March 2003 issue of Industry magazine.
The standards of hip are constantly evolving, but there's one popular standard that has withstood time and elements- the martini. In its various forms, the martini has been the cocktail choice for imbibing hipsters for over 130 years. A symbol of sophistication and influence, the martini is no ordinary cocktail. It is a statement, an indication of status, and for some, a way of life. Many pop culture favorites have been known to sip this concoction. James Bond and his famous "shaken, not stirred" order immediately comes to mind and is probably the best example of the typical martini drinker.
How did the martini come into existence? The originator of the drink, though rumors of its invention range from San Francisco to the far reaches of Italy, is unknown. Perhaps, like most cocktail recipes, it was invented by various bartenders and travelers spread the word of the drink. This was the 1870s, before patents, copyright infringements, rabid lawyers, and globalization. The earliest mention of the martini comes from a cocktail recipe book from before the turn of the 20th century where it's referred to as a Martinez. The recipe calls for four parts red Italian sweet vermouth and one part gin mixed with aromatic bitters and topped with a cherry. Around this time, the name was interchangeable between Martinez and Martini.
By the early 20th century, the Martini evolved into its better known recipe of gin, sweet vermouth, and orange bitters and the Martinez name was eventually phased out. The "dry martini" was introduced in the 1930s and consisted of one part dry vermouth to two parts gin, with bitters nowhere to be found and the cherry was replaced with the green olive. At the time, President Roosevelt was enthusiastic about martinis and often mixed in ingredients that were considered unconventional such as fruit juice and anisette (a colorless, licorice-flavored liqueur).
As the evolution of the martini continued into the mid-1900s, its popularity was on the rise. Major changes were made to the drink including the disappearance of bitters and the decreasing importance of vermouth. Marketing whizzes at Smirnoff began substituting vodka for gin. The combination of vodka and vermouth appealed to the modern man and the martini was defined as a man's drink. Martini lunches were trendy among businessmen and no hipster or member of the Rat Pack could be found without a martini glass firmly in hand. Experimentation in the 1960s led to the invention and subsequent popularity of light, fruity cocktails and the next decade ushered in a mellower way of life, thus ending the martini craze.
After a brief hiatus from the popular bar scene, the martini has made a huge comeback, though not entirely in the sprit in which it was intended. The desire for all things retro inspired the resurgence of martini popularity, but our taste buds weren't quite accustomed to the old-fashioned cocktail. The classic gin and vermouth martini can be quite a shock to someone accustomed to wine, beer, and what could be defined as "girl drinks" (pretty much anything with rum and a paper umbrella). Rather than stick to the classics, bartenders simply modified the recipe and sold it as a martini. Lounges and bars started providing martini variations, some of which stray so far from the original that only the glass remains the same. Cocktails such as Cosmopolitan and the Manhattan were suddenly being classified as martinis.
Today, most bars offer a Martini Menu which includes a variety of cocktails served in martini glasses. Some may attach a "girl drink" stigma to the modern martini because of its more palatable and often feminine form. The Martini Menu creators realized this at some point and added the traditional recipe to the list and refer to it as the guy's martini with whimsical but masculine names that vary from bar to bar. The martini purists frown upon the current craze of inventive cocktails passing themselves off as flavored martinis, but it's perfect for those who want to experiment with new drink combinations while maintaining a hip image.
In time, the traditional martini of the 19th century may work its way back onto drink menus. Meanwhile, enjoy some fine flavored martinis and mingle with the other sophisticates.
originally published in the February-March 2003 issue of Industry magazine.
Forget skeletons in the closet. If you’ve ever fancied yourself a ‘computer enthusiast,’ you’re dealing with far greater beasts. They lurk behind closet doors, in basements and attics. They may even be right beneath your feet. As the years go by and you accumulate more, you just can’t escape them. Or can you?
Computer equipment is the equivalent of old love letters in terms of sentimentality and monetary value but tend to take up a lot more space. It’s a common trap for technophiles to fall in—as newer technology is released, you buy it to replace outdated models and hang on to the old machines with fair justification. Who knows when you’ll need spare parts, right? But as the older models collect more dust and new machines are released at a faster rate, we’re quickly running out of room. What’s a geek to do?
These days it’s impossible to think of just tossing out old computers with yesterday’s soda cans and pork rind wrappers and it's almost illegal to do so. There is growing concern that the disposal of “end of life” electronics poses risks to the environment because of the presence of lead, mercury, and other volatile substances. The primary concern is that the growth of this electronic waste stream and the potential for the hazardous materials to cause disposal problems in the future. Many state legislatures are focusing on the issue and writing bills to handle the e-waste better, to ban landfill disposal of electronics, and to further encourage manufacturers to do more to make the “end of life” easier for consumers and the environment.
•More than 20 million PCs become obsolete each year in the United States.
•Computers, TVs, and other electronics account for 220 million tons of waste each year in the U.S.; more than 10% of that goes into landfills.
•As much as 80% of PCs and other e-waste collected for recycling in the U.S. ends up in Asia—where it is unsafely disposed.
•40% of the lead found in landfills, as well as other toxic materials such as cadmium, barium, and mercury, are all found in PC components.
Can’t live with ’em, can’t toss ’em out. Looks like recycling is the best option. But within that option lays several sub-options. We’ll discuss a few of them in the hopes that you’ll be inspired to pursue one or devise new ways of disposing of the useless equipment.
First, let’s take a look at what you can do with those fully functioning machines that you’ve simply outgrown.
There’s no need to haul your current machine out to the dumpster merely because you upgraded. Just because your needs have surpassed the old computer, doesn’t mean everyone has, so if you’ve got relatives who are sans-computer, simply pass it along to them. Sure, it means you’ll be their personal help desk, but as a computer-owner you’ve probably already earned the reputation of being the family geek.
Already hooked up the fam with choice equipment? Schools are always in need of better computers and it’s possible that they could use your cast-offs. However, some school districts can be discriminating in selecting old computers as they may want the whole package (keyboard, mouse, software, etc.) instead of just a tower or a monitor. If you’re interested in donating to an educational facility, call up your local school district for their computer donation guidelines. Failing that, you could check into donating your goods to an individual teacher for professional or personal use.
Charities and churches are also good homes for old computers. These groups can either put your machine to use in office or find a new home for it through their connections. Check local bulletin boards and weekly papers for notices of local groups in need of computer equipment. Some charity groups may be able to provide a receipt for your donation, an added incentive for taxpayers clinging to ancient computers.
If you do manage to find someone to take your old unit, don’t forget to use disk-cleaning software to remove all residues of you and your files from the hard drive. Include any software required for the OS and write the license number on the back of the computer. Some groups will use the original software with your letter of permission.
Most technophiles don’t have just one complete unit to hand off to some unsuspecting schlub and we keep them with the intention of putting them to use in the future. But still they pile up in the middle of the floor, menacing any non-computer user and their feet. It’s time to sort through the pile to determine what’s still useful and what has become obsolete.
Anything past its usefulness should be set aside for shipping off to a computer salvage company. They can pull out any materials that can be reused and destroy the rest of the materials in an environmentally safe manner. This is also where dead peripherals and monitors should be sent. Empty out that dead mice drawer and send them off to a proper burial.
Parts less than five years old can probably be sold off for a minimal profit, depending on the size and quality. Try listing spare parts on eBay. Or, if you have an exorbitant amount of spare parts, take them down to your local flea market.
With the lower costs of technology, you could easily build a new, low-end PC using your own spare parts. In a matter of hours, you’d have an extra computer for folding, testing out fishy software, or learning a new operating system. It would also be a great learning tool for novice geeks who have never tinkered with computer innards.
Whatever you decide to do, there are dozens of computer recycling programs to give you ideas or assist you in the ultimate removal of your equipment. For example, Share the Technology gives donors and potential recipients a way to connect regardless of their metaspace location. The non-profit corporation’s mission is to help salvage retired computers before “end of life” and place them in schools or with other non-profit organizations. To do this, Share the Technology provides a searchable national computer donation database.
In February 2004, it was reported on GreenBiz.com that U.S. electronics industry representatives “endorsed a resolution with state governments and environmental groups to develop flexible and fair recycling efforts.” The report also states that the electronics industry will create a proposal for legislation to finance nationwide recycling programs through a fee at point of sale or allow companies to create alternative plans to manage costs without a fee on their products.
Some manufacturers already have recycling programs in place. Gateway, HP, and Dell each claim to offer programs and incentives for recycling through them, but you’ll have to put in some dedicated search time to find out whether the programs still exist.
Even if you can’t find a way to recycle through the manufacturers, you may be encouraged to see that some of them are taking the initiative to aid in future recycling efforts. While a few companies are implementing end-of-life programs, others are trying to cut back on the amount of toxic materials used in new devices.
It is far too easy to get wrapped up in the new toys that allow us to forget not only about the old electronics but also about the environment and the world around us. Put your devices to work for the global good by encouraging fellow technophiles to reuse and recycle spare computer parts. Encourage your local legislation to support e-waste bills and to open more computer recycling and salvaging centers in more areas.
originally published in the May-June 2004 issue of Orlando Life magazine.
Looking to fill a hole in your social calendar? Think about hosting a food swap. Food swapping parties offer opportunities to share favorite recipes, socialize, and sample new dishes. A baked goods swap is a great low-key party idea and a fun excuse to gather your girlfriends and dabble with domesticity. Baked goods can range from biscuits to quick breads and cheesecakes to cupcakes.
If you've never hosted a food swap, these tips will help you plan a stress-free (and mess-free) event.
Keep the guest list small. For a more manageable food swap, limit your guest list. Six-to-eight people will provide plenty of options for swapping while reducing the amount of pre-party prep.
With an event like this, food allergies are always a concern. Ask invitees to reveal any allergies with their RSVP and alert the other participants so recipes can be altered to accomodate.
Establish some rules. Choose a theme for your baked goods swap (sweet 'n' savory, secret family recipes, breakfast treats, etc.). Encourage your guests to tell you what they plan to bring to ensure you don't wind up with multiples of the same dish. The goal of a food swap is for each guest to leave with new treats to enjoy later, but you'll want to have something to try during the party. Ask guests to prepare enough for all the attendees to take away plus a mini batch for sampling.
Be prepared. In addition to standard party needs (drinks, napkins, seating, music, etc.), have cutting and serving tools available for use. Also have some pens and stickers or place setting cards so people can label their goodies. If you're feeling ambitious, provide a packaging station with food grade boxes and decorations where guests can wrap up their treats for taking home. Blank index cards come in handy for those want your great-grandmother's awesome zucchini bread recipe.
A food swap doesn't necessarily mean everyone will fill up on samples, so set out a few trays and bowls of munchies and appetizers. Offer some healthy options to balance out sweets-based contributions
Don't forget to make your own dish to swap! If you are sidetracked by planning details, try to incorporate your dish preparation into the party. Get your guests talking about their own cooking methods.
The best part of a food swap—beside eating, of course—is the socializing. Every recipe has a story. Whether it's a sentimental memory or an embarrassing anecdote, sharing these stories over homemade goodies makes for a lovely bonding experience. What started out as a way to use up leftover chocolate chips may actually strengthen friendships.
You've got the man. You've got the ring. You've set the date. Now it's on to tackle the biggest challenge of planning a wedding—picking the right venue. To help narrow your options for a wedding venue you'll want to consider your guest list, your needs and, most importantly, your budget.
Choose a type of venue. If you've got a large guest list, you'll need space to accomodate them. An outdoor venue sounds romantic but is susceptible to weather changes (with nonrefundable deposits). Are you anticipating a lot of out-of-town guests? Maybe a hotel wedding suits your needs. Are you an avid arts lover? Rent out your favorite art gallery or museum.
Get recommendations. Ask around for opinions on venues in your chosen location. Contact former brides about their experience with the venues you're considering. They'll have the best insight for pre-wedding venue hunting and how the staff handles last-minute crises.
Visit venues in person. Once you've made a list of your venue preferences, tour the facilities with your partner to get a full assessment. Consider the following factors:
Work within your budget. Factor in costs of the facility itself along with catering, equipment rentals, and staff services. What's included in space rental and which services are considered add-ons? Before booking a venue, get details of the rental agreement regarding cancellation policies, change of date, and terms for deposit and final payment.
Be flexible. If you find your dream venue, make sure you're prepared to compromise on your wedding date to meet venue availability. Get married in the off-season, when rental costs will be lower—and you won't be competing with all the other summer brides.
Content on this site was originally written by Katharine Miller between 2000-2015. Many feature articles and interviews were published in print and on websites that no longer exist. Katharine is reproducing her written material here for portfolio and archival purposes only. Links and credits to clients and original publication will be included where possible.