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Some things will never go out of style

Some things will never go out of style 150 150 Pedrotti's Ranch

Apple released the iPhone 4s yesterday, much to the dismay of those hoping for an iPhone 5. While I am an avid iPhone user myself, I can’t help but wonder what drives our society to crave the latest and greatest in all areas of our lives. It’s unavoidable. As long as we continue to buy the newest in technology, corporations will continue to market and sell it. It got me thinking about a few things that will never be updated and how much I appreciate their simple charms that don’t need to be updated:

Rock n’ Roll – Punk, alternative, metal or progressive, call it what you like but good ol’ Rock n’ Roll will never go out of style. Whether you’re jamming in your car or cleaning your house, any classic rock anthem is sure to get at least some part of your body moving.

Blue Jeans – I can’t think of another article of clothing that I would rather be in than a classic pair of denim blue jeans. Levi’s and Wrangler ads consistently depict the classic look as a symbol of the American lifestyle. I don’t think the easy look of jeans and a t-shirt will ever go out of style.

Baseball caps – You want to know the best accessory to go along with your jeans and t-shirt? A baseball cap. As long as the great sport of baseball is played, players, fans and even those who aren’t fans, will sport the too-easy look of wearing a cap. How can you update the cap? You can’t. It’s perfect.

Watching and playing sports – One of my favorite childhood memories is sitting in the living room after an amazing Thanksgiving Day lunch and watching football with my family. After the turkey coma wore off, we would all go in the backyard and toss the ball around. From playing catch to a game of flag football, everyone was outside playing a sport and having a great time.

Home-cooking – I can’t think about a Thanksgiving meal without salivating at the thought of recipes passed down through the ages. Generations of tried and true methods of mixing, pouring, seasoning and tasting leave every family with the perfect meal on any special occasion. The best part of it all is that it brings any family together at the table to enjoy tradition.

Some things (the best things) will never go out of style and to update them would just be a crime. As updates in technology leave us in the dust, we should all just throw on our pair of jeans, watch a football game and dream of the joys of our grandmother’s kitchen.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall!

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall! 150 150 Pedrotti's Ranch

It doesn’t feel like fall yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start thinking of celebrating the slightly-cooler season. Whether you’re hosting a birthday, a big game-watching party, a fall wedding or celebrating holidays in-between, we’ve got some fun tips to ensure your guests will “fall” in love with your nod to the season.

Décor

When your guests enter the event space, the first two things they will notice are the smell and sights. Light a candle or burn oils of perfectly-seasoned scents like cinnamon, evergreen or sugar cookies to leave your space feeling warm and inviting. If you have the ability, softer lighting adds a nice flair and will remind your guests of the shorter days and longer nights of fall. When it comes to color, the best inspiration comes from right outside your window. When you look outside, you’ll notice dark greens, oranges, browns and dark yellows. When you’re decorating, look into buying pinecones and spraying them with copper glitter to make fun table decorations, you can also place several pinecones in a bowl to create a fun homemade centerpiece. If you want to add leaves to your décor, we suggest using fake leaves instead of real ones (sometimes real leaves have friends attached that make most unpleasant houseguests)!

Food

For the Pedrotti family, the thought of fall instantly warms our cool noses as we began to think of all the delicious recipes we get to break out in the fall. We’re putting away the popsicles and fruit salads of the summer and looking toward a more seasonal menu. Cooler weather is a great time to enjoy piping-hot dishes like hearty stews and soups as well as fall staples like turkey and ham. When planning out your event menu, think of traditional dishes that you can update to keep your table looking modern and fun. Comfort foods like homemade macaroni and cheese or your grandmother’s sweet potato recipe are always in demand and will leave your guests thinking back to family holiday dinners. Try recipes with interesting fruits and vegetables like pumpkins and squash, both have interesting shapes and flavors that can be used in all sorts of dishes (plus they make great décor for your table). To end your night on a sweet note, include desserts like homemade or store-bought pies and cobblers.

We love fall and events at Pedrotti’s and we hope you’ve enjoyed our tips to making your fall events special!

The Steps to Planning an Event

The Steps to Planning an Event 150 150 Pedrotti's Ranch

There’s no better feeling than crossing something off of your to do list, but as the old saying goes, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” One of my favorite parts of hosting events in San Antonio is seeing an idea on paper brought to life through teamwork and careful planning.

It all starting with planning – Sit your team down and discuss the bare bones of your event. A good start would be to answer the who, what, when, where and why of your event in the planning stage. Don’t think about specifics so much because that part will come later. I recommend using a brainstorming technique where all members of the group contribute ideas. Be sure not to exclude any ideas.

Next thing to think about is logistics. Can the event take place with the time limit and budget given? Logistics is a good time to start crossing off items that require more resources than what are available. During logistics, a team should also think about the number of attendees. (We suggest over-estimating on the amount of guests you have, nothing is worse than running out of food or supplies!)

After the logistics are set, time to organize! Take all of the information you’ve brainstormed and the ideas that have passed the logistics test should be plugged into a timeline. Organizing your event will help ensure you don’t forget anything. After you’ve organized you event, you should know what will be needed for each activity throughout the night.

All that’s left now is to execute the event. This is when all of your careful planning and organizing pays off. Make sure you stick with your plan, keeping your event on time will not only ensure it ends on time, but your guests will appreciate the easy flow of the party. Your job as a host doesn’t end as soon as the party begins. You’re allowed to have fun, but always keep in mind food refills, new guests and the overall energy of your event.

After it’s all over, be sure to look at what worked and what didn’t for the next time you host. We hope that these simple event planning tips will help you to become the host or hostess you’ve always wanted to be!

Feeling the Tech Crunch

Feeling the Tech Crunch 150 150 Pedrotti's Ranch

In our technology-crazed lives, it seems as though we have virtually every bit of information we could ever need right at our finger tips. It’s a pretty powerful position to be in but at the same time, extremely distracting and can often make us lose sight of what’s currently important. I noticed the other night while drafting an e-mail on my computer, checking scores for my fantasy football team on my iPad and texting my wife on my phone, that I needed an intervention. Technology is great, and I am a complete proponent of using all the resources we have, but there comes a time when I need to focus on one thing at a time. Here are some tips on not letting yourself get bogged down by technological distractions.

Discriminate so you can learn to concentrate – The goal to this one is when faced with a task, ask yourself, “Can it wait?” If the answer is yes, finish the task-at-hand and then get to it. Keeping yourself focused on one task will not only keep you on schedule and productive, but it will give you some time to work on the new task with more dedication.

Don’t let your email control your schedule – It may seem like a luxury that your computer automatically alerts you when someone emails you, but it’s actually very distracting and can make it easy to start a new task without completing the first. I discovered that I can disable the feature so that I can check my email when I am ready.

Protect yourself with a password – Most social networking sites allow you to check and un-check the “remember me” box so that every time you close the browser to one of these sites, it will still keep you logged in. To avoid the temptation of checking your Facebook notifications or Twitter mentions, always keep the box unchecked so that you have to physically type in your password every time you want to get on. You’ll instantly feel annoyed by the monotony of typing your password so many times that the temptation will decrease, and you’ll want to stay away from these sites and the distractions that come with them.

One is enough – If you’re like me, chances are you have or want to own every piece of technology known to man, but just because you own all of the gadgets that this world has to offer, doesn’t mean you need to be glued to all at the same time. If you are at the office, the computer is enough: Put your cell phone, tablet, MP3 player, CD player, Walkman or anything else that could potentially distract you in a drawer, briefcase or if you’re a woman (or a well-styled man) in your purse. Out of sight, out of mind.

Hopefully with these tips, you’ll find it easier to concentrate at work and not let technology run your schedule and more importantly, your life. Sometimes, it’s best to put all of the devices away and engage in actual human interaction. Try it, it’s not so bad.

Hosting the Perfect Summer Soiree

Hosting the Perfect Summer Soiree 150 150 Pedrotti's Ranch

Hosting events in the summer can be a ton of fun, but in places with extreme heat (like Texas,) we have to make sure we are adapting to the climate. Here are a few easy tips to make sure your summer soiree is an event to remember!

Keep your event cool by having plenty of beverages (and ice!)
I don’t know if you’ve been outside lately, but it is hot here in San Antonio and the easiest way to feel cool is to sip on an ice cold beverage. It doesn’t matter if your guests are simply walking outside, chatting or playing, they’re going to get thirsty. You can never have too many beverages to offer. From soft drinks to blended drinks, there’s never enough in the summer. Most importantly, remember to include water in your arsenal of thirst-quenchers, it’s usually a hit and you can never go wrong with H2O (especially the drinks you want to serve the most may not be the most hydrating)!

Think about lightening your menu for the hotter summer months
Use as many fresh, seasonal ingredients in your menu as possible. As thirsts increase during the summer, appetites for heavy recipes shrink. Opt for salads and grilled food in place of stews and casseroles. Not only will your guests welcome the seasonal change, you’ll find it’s much quicker and cooler to prepare this food in the hot weather. Fresh fruit and vegetable trays with a side of toothpicks are also great ways to keep your guests feeling full and light. The fruits and vegetables add an amazing splash of color to any menu.

Keep the fine china and silverware indoors

If you don’t already own some cheaper plastic dinnerware, now is the time. The dishes will not only be lighter for your guests, but if they fall on the ground, crack, or get lost, it won’t break your bank. Most homeware stores carry a line of fun and festive summer dishes, and they’re usually not too expensive.

Let your guests know the dress before the event
Your guests will appreciate an invite that reads ‘casual dress,’ and it will give them the OK to break out the shorts, flip flops and summer sundresses. Unless you’re hosting a wedding, there’s usually never a reason to have your guests dress up in the scorching heat.
Give your guests the option of escaping the sun
Make sure there’s an area that’s not in the direct sunlight. Whether you’re using a tent, patio or even just some chairs placed beneath a tree, guests looking to retreat in a shaded area will appreciate the thought.

Remember food safety
Always keep cold food chilled and hot food heated. Summer heat can easily turn delicious foods into a stomachache or could lead to a much more harmful consequence.

The 100 degree temperatures are not stopping any time soon, so be sure you take the heat into consideration as you plan your events for the rest of the summer.

Remembering Where You Came From

Remembering Where You Came From 150 150 Pedrotti's Ranch

Richard Bach said, “Remember where you came from, where you’re going, and why you created this mess you got yourself into in the first place.”

I think once we all grow up and start to take ourselves too seriously, we forget where we came from and the journey that got us to the place we’re at. In some aspects, our backgrounds truly shape our motivation and drive.

When I was younger, my parents pushed me and wanted me to reach my full potential. They knew that I could be great someday. Without that initial push, I’m almost certain that I wouldn’t push myself today. I can still hear my mother in the back of my mind asking, “Was that your best? Don’t you think you can do better?” I ask myself the same things whenever I’m working on a project or task.

I’m thankful for the friends I grew up with. Even in elementary and middle school we all would challenge each other. If my friends got a good grade on an assignment, I knew that I could get that good grade too. Our friendly competition helped us all grow into professional young adults that sought out that same competition in college. There, I met some of my best friends and fostered lifetime relationships.

During my time in college, I also met some of my most valuable mentors, especially the professors who would sit down with me, tell the truth and genuinely wanted me to be successful. I remember one professor in particular who I just knew was out to get me. She didn’t like any of my papers. I didn’t want to hear it. I just wanted to take the course for the semester, get my credit and graduate. It wasn’t until much later in the semester that I realized why she pushed me so hard. She believed in me. She knew my potential and wanted to make sure I worked toward it. If we have someone who tells us how great we are and simply agrees with us all the time, there’s no room for improvement and as they say, “the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.” The humbling experience helped me become a well-rounded person as I learned to accept and learn from criticism.

I have nothing but appreciation for the people who have led me to where I am today. For my parents who pushed me, friends who challenged me and professors who believed in me, I thank you; life wouldn’t have been the same without you.

Making a Great First Impression

Making a Great First Impression 150 150 Pedrotti's Ranch

You only get one so you better make it good! This week as July makes its first impression on us, we’re taking a look at what makes a good first impression.

Unfortunately, you can make a bad first impression on someone before you even meet them if you’re late. Always be on time. The person you are meeting with will appreciate not having to wait for you. Go ahead and plan to arrive a few minutes before the meeting to allow time for travel. If you’re on time, you’re already starting your first-time meeting off on the right foot.

Before you even open your mouth, chances are you’re already being judged inadvertently on your professional appearance. This doesn’t mean you have to look like a fashion model to make a good first impression, it means that you should present yourself appropriately for the occasion. You should ask yourself if the appearance you are giving off is the impression you want to leave. For example, if you’re going into an interview, make sure you are dressing for the job you want.

So what now? You’re on time and you look good, but remember your face. Are you smiling? If you walk up with a huge positive smile on your face, c whomever you’re smiling at will likely return the gesture. Just make sure your smile is genuine and not too fake or forced. The next steps are to stand tall and with confidence, make eye contact, smile and greet the other person with a strong (but not too strong!) handshake.

After your initial greeting, it’s time for the tough part: Making small talk. To avoid lulls in the conversation, make sure you’ve done your research. Most professionals post a small bio on their website, educate yourself on their interests and you won’t find yourself without conversation.

I hope that this little tutorial will help you make a great first impression and we hope everyone has a wonderful summer season!

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