The Traits of Good Leaders

The Traits of Good Leaders

After years of observation, I realized there are specific behaviors that are common to all the great leaders I have had the privilege to be associated with.

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Listen to understand, not reply. Leaders listen because it allows for understanding. When people feel they have been heard and understood, they feel respected and in turn will respect you.

Ask questions.

Leaders ask questions to gather information. It is a sign of interest, not stupidity. People want to feel needed and valued. When you show interest in others, others will respect you.

Look people in the eyes.

When you are speaking or listening, look at the other person. Don’t look at your phone or let your eyes wander. Focus on the other person so they know your attention is on them.

Treat people with respect regardless of title.  

Everyone deserves respect, whether it is the CEO, the receptionist or the janitor. Leaders lead for all.


You don’t have to be serious all the time. Smiling reminds people you are human and showing emotion can make people feel comfortable and help to further develop a deeper connection.

Keep your word.

In most cases, people won’t open up to those they don’t trust. Trust is best created by earning it with correct actions, thinking, and decisioning.

Get personal.

Think dialogue not monologue. Here’s the thing – the more personal and engaging the conversation is the more effective it will be.

Get specific.

CLARITY!!!!!!! Specificity is better than ambiguity. Simple and concise is always better than complicated and confusing. Time has never been a more precious commodity than it is today. Make your words count.

Focus on the leave-behinds not the take-aways.

The best communicators are not only skilled at learning and gathering information while communicating, they are also adept at transferring ideas, aligning expectations, inspiring action, and spreading their vision. The key is to approach each interaction with a servant’s heart. When you truly focus on contributing more than receiving you will have accomplished the goal.

Replace ego with empathy.

When candor is communicated with empathy & caring and not the prideful arrogance of an over inflated ego, good things begin to happen. Empathetic communicators display a level of authenticity and transparency that is not present with those who choose to communicate behind the carefully crafted facade propped-up by a very fragile ego.

Quit waiting for the perfect circumstance.

Forget about finding the ‘perfect’ conditions. Learn to differentiate between the pain of growing and the pain of suffering. Be like MacGyver, use what’s at your disposal (you’ll be surprised at how many resources you DO have) and make the best of the situation.

Operational execution.

This is one of personal importance to me. Often times I see people talk about ideas and identify the problems, but nothing gets accomplished. True leaders take it a step further and implement a plan, hold people and themselves accountable and achieve results. Not only does the execution grow the business, but it engenders people’s trust. Debate. Decide. DO!

When you speak, know what you’re talking about.

Develop a technical command over your subject matter. If you don’t possess subject matter expertise, few people will give you the time of day. Most successful people have little interest in listening to those individuals who cannot add value to a situation or topic. Always be polished, poised and prepared.

It is also simply impossible to become a great leader without being a great communicator. Do not confuse this with being a great talker. There is a difference.

The key to becoming a skillful communicator is rarely found in what has been taught in the world of academia. From our earliest days in the classroom we are trained to focus on enunciation, vocabulary, presence, delivery, grammar, syntax and the like. In other words, we are taught to focus on ourselves.

It’s the subtle elements of communication rarely taught in the classroom (the elements that focus on others), which leaders thrive at. Effective communication is an essential component of professional success whether it is at the interpersonal, inter-group, intra-group, organizational, or external level.

A brilliant communicator possesses a heightened sense of situational and contextual awareness. The best communicators are great listeners and astute in their observations. They are skilled at reading a person/group by sensing the moods, dynamics, attitudes, values and concerns of those being communicated with. Not only do they read their environment well, but they possess the ability to adapt their messaging to the environment without missing a beat.

Remember, everyone has the opportunity to behave like a leader no matter what their circumstances.



When Life Hands You Lemons…

Life has handed us all lemons…so what do you do when it happens?


Put A Sliced Lemon Next to Your Bed At Night:

  • Few scents are as refreshing as a lemon.
  • Slice it into quarters and sprinkle some salt on it. Done!
  • Put those slices on your nightstand and brace yourself for these benefits:
    • Stress Relief: The smell of citrus relaxes one’s brain waves and emotions.
    • Increased Focus: If you’re an insomniac whose brain tends to race all over the place – like me – a good night’s sleep is dependent on focusing on positive things and relaxation exercises that will get you to a state of rest. That’s where the focus-boosting lemon fragrance does its job!
    • Better Breathing: Let the gentle scent of that anti-oxidizing, anti-bacterial fruit waft through your nostrils and sleep.
    • Buh-bye Insects: Tired of mosquitoes making a meal of you at night? Or maybe it’s that fly buzzing around your ear that’s got you going insane. Fear no more! Lemon repels all sorts of insects!
    • Increased Energy & Positivity By Morning: I know, morning is the last thing you want to think about as you climb into bed. But those slices on your nightstand will make wake-up time a lot less painful. That’s because the smell of lemon boosts your brain’s serotonin levels.
    • Improved Air Quality: When’s the last time you thought about your home’s air quality? Not sure? Lemon not only smells great – it also purifies air. It’s so powerful you can use it to draw paint fumes out of a room.
    • Blood Pressure Reduction: Considering many American’s suffer from high blood pressure – myself included – this little lemon comes in handy.

Make Warm Turmeric Water with Lemon:

Tea cup with lemon on a wooden table

Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Curcumin or the active ingredient of turmeric is a powerful antioxidant which can provide many health benefits. Try turmeric water – which has numerous healing properties – and combine it with lemon juice.


  • ½ teaspoon of turmeric
  • ½ lemon
  • Organic honey
  • Warm water


You need to squeeze the lemon juice into a glass and pour the warm water into it. Then, mix it along with the turmeric. Add the honey and make sure to mix them well. Enjoy!

Benefits of Turmeric Water:

  1. Keeps Diabetes in check

Turmeric has the ability to regulate insulin resistance and to prevent diabetes type 2. It is very important to consult your doctor before using it because when it is combined with certain medications, it can cause some side-effects such as hypoglycemia.

  1. Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant properties
  2. Relieves Arthritis
  3. Prevents Heart Disease
  4. Prevents Cancer

Drink Lemon Water Every Morning on an Empty Stomach

There are numerous health benefits to this daily practice due to the fact that water keeps the body hydrated and removes toxins while lemon contains essential nutrients like calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin C, A, and B-complex, pectin fiber, carbohydrates and proteins.  Lemons also have the powerful antibacterial, antiviral and immunity boosting properties along with citric acid. The most important benefits from this simple practice are:

  • Boosts Immune System
  • Cleanses the Urinary Tract
  • Improves Digestion
  • Increases Skin Health
  • Helps Weight Loss
  • Controls High Blood Pressure
  • Boosts Energy
  • Balances pH Levels
  • Treats Throat Infections
  • Treats Bad Breath

Party By The Numbers

Working in the wine and spirits industry has definitely taught me how to plan and enjoy events. With the holiday’s approaching, here is a quick guide for party planning.


Invites: It’s always lovely to create custom invites and send them, but in this day and age, time is of the essence, and we are all on our digital devices. Step in: Electronic invites. They take the hassle out of party planning. At a glance, you and your guest can see who’s coming, bringing what, etc.


Bites Per Person: Did you know guests only eat about 6 appetizers per hour? Dazzle your guests with a nice assortment that will tickle their palettes.

Chef Name: Food Network Kitchen Full Recipe Name: Spanish Tortilla Talent Recipe: FNK Recipe: Food Network Kitchen’s Spanish Tortilla, as seen on Food Project:, SUMMER/APPETIZERS/PASTA Show Name: 30 Minute Meals Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Networkimg_2842

Bottles Per Person: If you have a heavy drinking crowd, which I often do, add 2 more bottles

10 people = 3 750ml Bottles

20 people = 4 750ml Bottles

30 people = 5 750ml Bottles

40 people = 6 750ml Bottles

50 people = 7 750ml Bottles


Minutes to Chill Wine: If your fridge is full, set out a few bottles in ice buckets. By the time the guests arrive, they will be cold (Chill reserves in a cooler)

Ice: 4 cubes per glass (or 8 ounces of ice per person), etc… use those math skills!

Songs on your Playlist: 90 songs = 3 hours of uninterrupted music. Choose songs that create a vibe you want for each moment of the evening.


Plates: Guests will usually go through an average of 3 plates in an evening (think for the crab cake, the dip, the cake…)

 Hope these party tips help and enjoy the holiday festivities! #stayinspired

4 Tips to Stay Healthy When Traveling

I love traveling but have faced some challenges on my adventures. It’s been touch and go, and I have not perfected them but have identified what I need help on, and am working towards getting better every time I go away.

Healthy Travel

Hope these tips help you. #stayinspired

  1. There’s too much drinking. The opportunities for this have been so tempting in my past 10 years working in wine/spirits. The possibilities are endless and honestly delicious. Alcohol will not ruin you, but this will impact your eating decisions and quality of sleep. If you choose to drink, have one or two. 1 drink = 5oz of wine, 12oz light beer or 1.5oz of hard liquor. To minimize empty calorie intake, take SMALL, SLOW sips and if possible, alternate those sips with water and lemon (this helps keep your body in an alkaline state).
  2. There’s too much food. Remember you are in charge of what you put in your mouth. Empower yourself to put the brakes on mindless eating. When you are satisfied with the food intake create a ritual to stop the next bite and overeat. Pop a sugar free mint/breath mint, have a cup of tea, go to the bathroom and brush your teeth (this is really helpful for me).
  3. I don’t eat like this! Prepare! You may not always have control of the food at events, but if you prep in advance you can navigate this challenge. The goal is to make sure you don’t go hungry and have healthy snacks (200 calorie portions of nonperishable foods that contain protein and fiber). My go to’s are: nuts/seeds, dry roasted edamame, Quest Bars, jerky, banana.
  4. I have no time for exercise. Create opportunities – a gym doesn’t have to be the only option. Take the stairs, park your rental car further away and walk, walk where you can – just move! Before, in between or after events, do jumping jacks, lunges, squats, planks, crunches. This can be done in your hotel room. Moving keeps you alert, awake and focused and is necessarary for health in our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. BC Workout

How To Retire with Enough Money

When I turned 35 I had a sudden, and scary, realization. According to many books and financial advisors, the age of 70 is the best year to retire because you will collect the maximum benefits from everything.

I just thought ‘Oh my goodness – I am halfway there! Am I doing everything I can to ensure my future is secure?” As I would typically do, I started reading up on everything I could about the best ways to retire.

The advise was pretty consistent and made perfect sense. Because this is a very important topic and knowledge everyone should know, I decided to summarize everything I learned in quick, digestible chunks.

I hope this helps. #stayinspired that we will all have a great retirement!


In your 20’s: If your company has a 401k, participate in it. See if your company provides a match, it’s even better. If it doesn’t offer a 401k, open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Goal for both is to put 15% of your salary away. Also, use debit cards and cash – you don’t want to get in unnecessary debt. Regarding  credit cards, do your best to pay them off every month.

In your 30’s: These are the years we start talking about/having families. Things to really consider are determining if a parent stops working. Remember this is a personal choice, but after 2 years staying out of the labor market hurts the person’s future earnings. Depending on your career category, 6 months could have an impact, too. It’s important to factor the cost of child care into your decision to have a family, also. When it comes to mortgages, if possible, get a 10 year one. You should also try and make a 20% down payment. This will save a fortune in interest and you will get a good rate.

In your 40’s: These are the consolidation years. Embrace and love your lifestyle and the stuff YOU ALREADY HAVE! Prioritze that mortgage (if you have one). Paying it off is savings for you. College for your kid may be a topic of conversation. Do not be seduced by big name private colleges. How many people can really afford $400k for college and save for retirement? Prepare yourself to choose a college that fits the needs of your child and is financially appropriate for your situation.

In your 40’s and 50’s: Not always thought of as a financial investment but get a check on your health. This will save you health care costs in your 60’s and 70’s. Eat right, have an exercise routine, and take care of your self-care (mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually). If you discover you haven’t saved during your career, now is the time to save 50%. That means you  are going to have to go cold turkey on spending to have money later. Bear in mind, this is the time when you need to improve your work skills because if you lose your job it will be more challenging to get a new one. Bite the bullet and learn new things (social media literacy, etc.), make sure you have good communication/people skills and keep up with technical skills.

In your 60’s: Use your 401k to delay collecting Social Security till that magic age of 70. That’s when the government will pay the maximum benefit – put it this way, it will be 76% higher than it would have been if you had started collecting at age 62. You will now have a finite amount of money. Stop giving handouts. Make financial plans and live a life within your means.

Retirement 2

Resource: I am a HUGE fan of Money Magazine: They have great articles on personal finance. I hope you find them as a great resource, too.

Side note: If you are anticipating an inheritance that is great, but let it be a nice surprise. Don’t assume it will happen. Anticipating and relying on money gifts is not a smart play in a financial plan. Also, if you win the mega millions or Powerball, you can disregard everything I said 🙂

The Natural Way to Cure Jet Lag

I have literally tried everything to cure jeg lag: ambien, power naps, prayer, anything with caffeine — all to no avail.


I have sporadic sleep habits to begin with. Add in travel/time zones and I’m all screwed up.

So what has helped me? Drum roll…meditation! It’s extremely difficult to get into if you are an A-Type, constantly on-the-go, instant gratification type of person, BUT I swear by it. Not only does it help with jet lag but benefits you by simply lowering your stress levels and quieting that ever so busy mind.


The dread of starting meditation is similar to how I feel before working out. ‘Do I have to do this?’ ‘How long will it take?’ ‘I have so much to do.’ Even with all those pesky thoughts, I do know deep down inside I always feel better afterwards. My head hangs without stress, and my thoughts are no longer scattered but silent! I also feel like I drift in and out of consciousness which is pretty amazing. It’s like plugging into a new frequency.


I go to and listen to meditations. In the morning, I usually dedicate 10-15 minutes and if needed (mainly for jet lag) I will go to bed with my earphones and a 1 hour meditation session.

The beauty of meditation is that it’s scientifically proven to boost your immune system, increase productivity and release stress. It all makes sense from a holistic standpoint: if you meditate regularly, you start to feel like you naturally have more energy day-to-day because you’re allowing your body to let go of the stress it carries around.

It does take practice but once you get the hang of it, it’s truly addictive. Cheers to a natural approach that is a win/win spiritually, physically and mentally. And it’s free to do!


Fight Hate with Love – Love Make the World Go Round

The recent tragedies in the world have broken my heart. I realize topics are sensitive & must allow for diverse opinions, but there should be no distinction on the value of #life.

So taking the quote of ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world, I am starting a #RevolutionOfLove. If we come together, and unite as one, we are truly #unstoppable.

As @Jlo & @Lin-Manuel express in their latest single, @LoveMaketheWorldGoRound, I created a video featuring the beautiful, diverse, brilliant people / canine friends in my life to show that #WeAreOne, #united, by #love.

 Answer hate with love! Please share this with the people you love!


BLC Revolution

Remedies For Those Pesky Bug Bites

Since I was a child, mosquitos have wreaked havoc on my life. It was a contest every summer – how many bug bites could I endure? The scars on my legs are literally the bug-bite story of my life. I’ve been told, “Bugs like you because you talk so much. They are attracted to carbon dioxide.” Whether this is true or not, I haven’t shut up.


Let’s be honest, insect bites really kill the mood. And now with Zika, everyone is extra fearful and cautious of these little monsters.

Sure, traditional repellants can help, but they don’t guarantee around-the-clock protection. So the next time you stumble upon a bug bite, don’t be so quick to make a beeline for the closest pharmacy. In general, I am trying to be more holistic in my approach to healing and medicine. I have discovered some amazing alternatives to soothe your pain first. Experts say they might be just as effective as any over-the-counter medicine. Can’t hurt to try.

Essential Oils

Tea tree, lavender, and coconut oils all have properties that can alleviate itching, pain, and swelling. Tea tree oil is also antibacterial, which can help prevent infection from incessant scratching.


Scents With the Power to Heal

Honey: If you don’t mind a bit of stickiness, honey is an anti-inflammatory and can alleviate itching.

Milk and Water: Mix equal parts skim milk and water, dip a thin cloth (like handkerchief or an old T-shirt) into the concoction, and dab your skin.

Lemon or Lime Juice: These fruit powerhouses provide itch relief and are antibacterial. DO NOT use if you have burns/sunburn. The acidity will hurt your skin.

Toothpaste: Because of the mint or peppermint flavor, and the menthol ingredient, it creates a cooling sensation on your skin. Your brain picks up on this feeling much quicker than the itching sensation. This is one of my favorites.

Basil: Basil leaves contain chemicals such as camphor, which creates a cool feeling, similar to menthol in toothpaste. Crush a few leaves and apply the bits directly to your bumps.

Ice: A single ice cube can constrict the blood vessels and decrease the body’s natural histamine release.

Tea Bags: Cool tea bags draw fluid out of a bite to reduce itching and swelling. Can I get an AMEN?

Apple Cider Vinegar: This is a great home remedy to block itching because of its small acidic levels. Dab it onto individual spots or, if your body’s been a buffet for bugs like me, you can add two to three cups to warm water and soak in a tub.

Happy Healing!

A Weight Loss Shot? Hello?! Sign Me Up!

I am a sucker for new ways to be healthy. I damage my body in every way imaginable but still find ways to keep it working – remember the Cryotherapy article? Well let me introduce you to Lipotropic Injections.


Let’s be real, in today’s world, it’s not easy to lose weight. We are tempted every place we go. Enter in the Lipotropic Vitamin Injections or fat burn injections.

What is it?

Any vitamin/nutrient injected into the body can improve overall liver function – you want a healthy liver to lose weight! Many professionals recommend 2x a week, but honestly, do what works best for your lifestyle and schedule. I usually go once a month for maintenance and it really does help. My place is the Body Factory in NY (

There is a little soreness at the time of injection, but it goes away in an hour.

Here are the nutrients and vitamins:

  • Methionine: Helps break down fat and aids digestion.
  • Inositol: Regulates metabolism of fat and helps prevent hardening of arteries.
  • Choline: Heart health.
  • Vitamin B12: Many Americans are deficient in B12. This nutrient helps prevent anemia, keeps nerve and blood cells healthy and ultimately provides energy!

For me, it’s about the energy. I want and need more. Aside from the classics: eat right, stay hydrated, move, sleep…this gives an extra oomph.

So what are you waiting for? It’s almost summer – boost your metabolism, lose some weight and get more energy. The magic weight loss shot has arrived!

Cold is the New Hot: Cryotherapy

My family and friends often think I’m a nut when it comes to new health / fitness / wellness ideas. When I told them about my plan to try cryotherapy, they laughed, said it was another trendy thing and told me not to freeze to death.

Remember the traditional ice bath athletes would take to heal? Cryotherapy takes it to an otherworldly level. These days, professional athletes are opting for a treatment that sounds like sci-fi torture: whole-body cryotherapy.


So who’s done it?

Cristiano Ronaldo removes his Real Madrid soccer jersey after his team defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-2 at the Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California.Pictured: Cristiano RonaldoRef: SPL201036 070810 Picture by: Splash NewsSplash News and PicturesLos Angeles:310-821-2666New

  • Cristiano Ronaldo – he bought his own chamber for his home
  • Daniel Craig for Skyfall
  • Justin Gatlin
  • Kobe Bryant
  • LeBron James
  • Floyd Mayweather
  • Jennifer Aniston
  • Demi Moore

Here’s a great article:

Let me tell you – it works. I’m addicted. It’s a crazy experience but the results are remarkable.

So what exactly is cryotherapy?

Whole body cryotherapy was invented to naturally reduce chronic inflammation – a major contributing factor to disease, weight gain and obesity, hormonal imbalance and advanced aging. You step into a cylindrical chamber, where you are wrapped in hyper-cold air. And when I say cold, I mean temperatures in the realm of  -184˚F and -292˚F. The treatment is painless, and, dare I say, refreshing! The body literally gives up trying to regulate skin-surface temperature drawing the blood to the core to protect it.  When the blood is in the core, it picks up oxygen and nutrients since the body feels like it’s in massive distress. At the end of the 2-3 minute session, the brain figures out where to send the blood first. You step out of the chamber with immediate recovery effects.

My personal experience


I go to Kryolife, a New York City-based studio. The owner, Joanna Fryben, was responsible for bringing cryotherapy to the States from her native Poland. You go into a dressing room where you are instructed to remove all your clothes. Guys can stay in their underwear, women should wear panties and a sports bra. You must remove any piercings under the neck because it could freeze. I almost forgot to move my belly ring the first time! You put on a robe, knee-high athletic socks, wooden clogs, and white gloves. The rationale behind this unique outfit is that the blood gets cut off from your extremities so you need to protect your hands and feet. As you enter the chamber, the technician instructs you to wear another pair of mittens over the white gloves. The entire Kryolife team is very conscious of safety.  I always time my appointments so Peter, who I lovingly refer to as my Saint Peter, is my technician. He talks me through and distracts my mind for those 3 (cold as hell) minutes.

The benefits

  • Improves skin tone
  • Reduces signs of aging
  • Manages pain
  • Accelerates healing
  • Lowers inflammation
  • Improves athletic performance
  • Mitigate depression

I say try everything once. Even if it means freezing yourself to get a fabulous body. Cold is the new hot!