Chapter XVII

because you never know someone from the very beginning


June 2009

Interesting Article on Climate Change

Pretty interesting discovery related to climate change.  Read Scientific American article here.

Three Cheers for the Bota Box

Sometimes it's nice to give credit where credit is due.   In my house, we drink a lot of wine.  We cook with a lot of wine.  Therefore, we generally have a lot of wine around.  My husband knows more about this subject than I do – we like to divide and conquer our areas of expertise…makes for good balance in a relationship. 

The only problem is, wine can be really expensive.  So in times like this, we look for bargains.  In general, the concept of "Bargain Wine" gives me a hangover just thinking about it.  Plonk = Headache.

But not always.  Enter, Bota Wines.  No, this is not a sponsored post (see beginning – I like to give credit where credit is due).  We bought a box of Bota Chardonnary not too long ago and it's not half bad.  It's actually, pretty darn nice for an everyday wine for drinking/cooking (btw, I would NEVER cook with a wine that I found undrinkable.  You are asking for trouble if you do this).  So thought I would share our discovery.  At $26 a box, you are bound to be happy and feel pretty smart.  Just don't tell.

And if you are reading this and find yourself horrified at the thought of boxed wine, screw you because you are obviously a TOTAL ELITIST snob don't take my word for it, read what Chow has to say.  Happy vino!

I just LOVE a well executed consumer product.  Send me some of your favorites.


Find A Little Inspiration Here

When I graduated from business school I gave a few friends a copy of a book that meant a lot to me – Brenda Ueland's If You Want To Write.  It was given to me in college and I still have that beaten up copy of inspiration on my bookshelf.  See below for a quote from Ueland.  Buy it here.

“I learned… that inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic, striving, but it comes to us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness.”
Brenda Ueland

Introvert Speaking and Linking Around

Read an interesting article on how Higher Ed might be the next bubble to burst.  See it here.  Pretty interesting and I think might be true. 

My inner introvert seems to want to dominate today.  Unfortunately, the evening's plans call for the extrovert.  I expect to be fully exhausted and therefore non-social most of tomorrow.  Do you know what you are, intro or extro?  I took Myers Briggs before entering business school and yep, I am smack dab in the middle.  Check out this article for some backround.  My letters were E/I NTJ. 

But, if I have to go out, at least it's for good food and wine.  Dinner tonight is here, at Olana.  Work dinner.

Everyone is talking about a shakeout in the VC market.  Fewer GPs, etc.  I think that is right.  But let's not stop innovating, ok folks?  Keep coming up with new ideas.  It's what makes us American (and keeps us young).  Look here for 998 ideas.

My sister dropped off Facebook a few weeks ago.  Decided it was too much to manage and frankly, a waste of time.  Now, she is back.  Need to talk to her about that.  I find it a waste of time as well, for the most part.  I like Geni for family management (uploading videos, photos, memories etc. in a closed environment). 

Ginger Ale.

Want to do a treat for your spouse with very little effort?  Buy a roll of cookie dough and out of nowhere (wow!) bake up two and present hot choc chip cookies to your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend as a treat.  Low maintenance, high mileage.

My third wedding anniversary is coming up in a week :-).  What a great time that was, the wedding.  What an amazing time it's been, the last three years. 

My daughter held a dance party yesterday at our house.  It was billed a playdate.  Apparently, it turned into a dance party.  That's my girl. presented to certain members of Congress yesterday.  Connect with a tutor online, the minute you need help with your homework.  I just love that company.  Too bad it did not exist when I was in school.  I would have done a lot better.  (Disclosure: I am an investor in Tutor.  Therefore, if you have a child who does not have an account, what are you WAITING for??  Help a kid.  Get an account.)

I love the new blocked off streets in Times Square.  Makes getting to my office that much more tolerable.  No more near misses with cabbies or bad New Jersey New York drivers.

No Muss No Fuss Dinner Party Menu

Having people over and don't know what to cook that will allow you to be with your guests, not be all stressed in the kitchen and still run around all day chasing your kids?  Here is an idea:

  • Rosemary roasted almonds and walnuts (toss almonds and walnuts with a little olive oil and salt, place in tray with a sprig or 2 of rosemary; roast at 350 for about 7 minutes; do this right before guests arrive)
  • Oven fried chicken: recipe here.  I like to add cayenne to my flour btw.  Get creative.  You can start the frying process about 20 minutes before guests arrive so it's in the oven finishing as they get there…gives you time to clean up the stovetop and look cool and collected)
  • Not your average potato salad (made night before – it's better that way).  Recipe here.
  • Roasted asparagus (throw this in the oven with the chicken for the last ten minutes of the chicken's cooking time).  very low maintenance high flavor vegetable – roasting brings out flavor.  all you need to do is toss it with a little olive oil salt and pepper; on a cookie sheet it's ready for the oven.
  • Apple/raspberry crisp (assembled earlier in the day – maybe during naptime; baked in oven as you eat your dinner).

Basically, your oven does all the work at about 350 degrees for everything.  Most make ahead.  And who doesn't like fried chicken?

Breaking Down the Barriers that Stop the Start-up…

I asked a question earlier today on Twitter – if you have an idea for a business, big or small idea, what is holding you back from starting that business?  I got a few replies, mostly around money or lack thereof, and also a lack of confidence that he/she could raise enough money to start the business.  The reason I am asking is actually to get to another question – how have people done it?  Starting a business is hard.  There are many hurdles.  How have people successfully addressed those hurdles? 

If you had a money hurdle, what did you change in your life to manage that?  Did you move?  Did you vow to eat ramen?  Did you use your credit cards? 

If you had a confidence problem, what did you change in your life to manage that?

So first, I am trying to get at what holds people back, then I am trying to get at the solutions – boring or even better, creative, that allowed people to move ahead.  It seems to me a lot of folks want to do something on their own, but for a variety of reasons they don't.  I suspect that a lot of issues that typically stop people are shared – and some people say "oh well, I can't do it" and others push through.  In the start up world we talk a lot about what makes a business successful – but we don't as often hear the personal stories behind the people who make it happen – what choices and trade-offs they chose to make to pursue their dream.  People love to say "I can't do it because of [insert excuse]".  Of course you CAN, you are choosing not to for some other reason.  Let's break that down and give people some real life ideas for how to make it happen.

If you have some thoughts on this, comment here or send me an email to  I would love to hear from you.  I meet a lot of people with interesting ideas who STOP.  I would love to help them move past that with some interesting examples of people who pushed ahead.

Chapter I

This blog is titled Chapter XVII because inevitably, we meet people when they already have a history.  If you are just meeting me (hey, how are ya?) and want to know a few things I have to say, that could take a while if you dig into this blog (feel free to do so) OR you could just click here for a link to the posts that I like the best.

Two Simple Dinners

Weeknight.  Quick food.

Night one: Pasta with Pancetta and Spinach

Saute half an onion with cubed pancetta.  Maybe add garlic – I do.  Boil water for the pasta.  Add chopped spinach to the onion and pancetta.  Keep heat on medium – no burning or high flame drama needed here.  Add a little chicken stock to the onion/pancetta/spinach mix; and salt and pepper if needed (most likely).  Reserve a mug full of pasta water.  When pasta is al dente, drain but not too well – a little water is ok.  Add pasta to the pan with the pancetta/spinach etc.  Toss it all together.  Add some parmesan cheese.  Keep tossing.  If it looks dry, add a little of the reserved pasta water and yes, toss!  Then, serve.  See pics below.  Simple, somewhat healthy, tasty (how can you beat pancetta and cheese).  Get creative – you can use broccoli rather than spinach if you like. 


Night Two: Salmon and Broccoli

We are going for power foods here.  And quick tasty food. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

Salmon on plate.  Pour a little soy sauce over it.  Grate some ginger over that.  Let it sit.

Chop a stalk of broccoli and microwave it (with just a little water) for about 2 minutes. Pull it out of the microwave and set it aside.  Chop a clove of garlic. In a pan on the stove, add a tablespoon of olive oil and the garlic.  Medium heat.  Chop the broccoli into smaller pieces.  When you smell the garlic and it starts to sizzle, add the broccoli to the pan.  Salt/pepper.  Stir to combine.  Let heat for about two minutes.  Turn heat off.

Once the oven is preheated, get working on the salmon.  On a burner, heat a pan with a little olive oil.  When it's hot, add salmon flesh side down in the pan.  Heat it for a couple of minutes.  Flip the salmon over, and then put the whole pan in the oven.  Five minutes tops.  Salmon out of the oven – leave it in the pan but let it rest while you reheat the broccoli (still sitting on the stove in a pan).  Maybe add a little sesame oil to the broccoli for flavor.

Plate the broccoli.  Add the salmon on top (see pic).  Squeeze a little lemon.  Prepare to feel full but healthy – all in about 20 minutes.


What I Wanted To Be When I Grew Up

The very first thing I remember wanting to be was…

A doctor.  I remember sitting in our house in Sodus, NY (so I was no more than 5) looking at an anatomy book (really) and thinking I should be a doctor.

And from there I draw a blank until maybe, high school, when I wanted to be in fashion.  So the list starting in high school, through college was:

  • Fashion Designer
  • Something else in fashion when I realized I was not really a designer
  • Architect (still in high school)
  • International relations person (no idea what I wanted to do) specializing in Russia (applying to college)
  • Domestic security expert (freshman in college)
  • No idea (sophomore in college)
  • Corporate lawyer (later in my sophomore year in college when I realized I liked to argue and wanted to make a little money)
  • Cosmetics industry executive (junior in college; this interest led to an internship at Estee Lauder in London, where I realized I could not focus on lipstick all day)
  • Investment Banker (senior in college.  for obvious reasons.  I wanted to make money and live the Wall Street dream)

So what happened?

First job out of college: Kidder Peabody as a junior investment banker.  Kidder was quickly sold to another company – I was in the last analyst class at Kidder!  So I moved to another firm – Peter J. Solomon Company, to be a mergers and acquisitions banker (a junior one – don't be fooled).  I could write a LOT about being a banker.  Bottom line: I loved it.  Worked my tail off averaging 80 – 90 hour weeks for three years.  Amazing training.  Shaped so many aspects of who I am professionally today (I think first jobs really do that).

And then what?  For another post.  But fun to remember where my head was a long long time ago.  Funny thing is, I am still interested in cosmetics, not really in law, definitely in fashion, am bummed I speak a little as opposed to a lot of Russian, would love to design our own house one day (though will hire a proper architect of course), and domestic security…well, no knowledge of that (my experience in NYC on 9/11 does not qualify).

And the story of what I want to be when I grow up continues with a few other things in the past including hip-hop start-up, a variety of jobs in the media industry, and now VC.

Of course, these are only JOBS.  One thing I have learned is that this question is not only answered with what you do for a living.  My current definition is MUCH more expansive.  

How do you / did you answer this question?

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