First steps

Hi everyone!
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How are you, guys?
We came back from San Francisco and work literally killed all of our time. But I was happy about it. Today I actually want to talk about our business again 🙂
As I already mentioned I recently started up our family business and as I promised will share my experience.
So today I will describe very-very first practical marketing steps for everyone who want to start your own business.
Let me make a little note: this is for people who already know what they want to do, but don’t know how to start.
1. Name it. There is no product without a name. You should realize that your business is your baby, and you will now call your kid just the kid.
2. Create your logo. Yes, it is necessary from the beginning, it is your face. Your stuff should be recognizable and be different from everything else.
I bake French macarons. They are very unique. Lot’s of bakeries and stores provide them now, but they taste awful, seriously. I will talk about it a little later. So for me it was very important to create labels by myself. You could also order it, just make sure the designer will understand your desires. I used www.vistaprint.com. This company has an option that you could create your own design or pick theirs. Quality and prices are sweet. Don’t order too many, who knows – maybe in a bit you will not like it and will want to make changes. But they are necessary to start sales.
Here is mine.
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3. Find someone who will help you, part-time for the beginning. Yes, you need this person. You can’t do everything by yourself. It can be friend or relative, or next-door housewife, who have time and willing to help. You will give this person little tasks, like adding content to social network accounts, and even create them, involve people, reply to their questions, find new customers, give you ideas and side opinion (you don’t have to use it, just know it).
4. Create separate FB, Instagram accounts for your business page. Don’t make your friends mad posting promotion stuff only on your private page. Invite everyone and ask your friends nicely to invite their friends. Don’t be annoying!!!!!!!
5. Take pictures of your product everyday or make some announcement in your group. Also post something interesting that can fit in nicely.
6. Follow pages with the same interest, comment on their posts and pictures, let the audience know about yourself and your business, try to start dialogue and look for new customers and connections.
7. Make a little contest. Check on your audience and how they will react.
Mine first was absolutely fucked up, or so what I thought first. But now I changed my mind. Because the girl, who won (the only person who took part), is giving me nice recommendations around her and her boyfriend’s circles.
8. If you will have your first customers, be extremely nice to them. They may ask stupid questions, but you have to understand you are the business owner, because you know about what you are doing better than they are. Maybe they just heard about it for the first time. Make them feel pleasant.
9. Try to promote your page on FB. It is $10 per day. I will recommend to do it on Monday and Wednesday. Do it once and stop for a little bit to check on changes.
Don’t do it first, you need to get some followers from your friends.
10. Don’t hurry up!!!!!! Take a deep breath and read it again: DON’T HURRY UP!
Everything is perfect.
11. Order some flyers. Again, not too many. Drop them in your building or around neighborhood. Why I’m asking to do everything little by little. Because I’m thinking about your money. You don’t know which marketing way will work better for you. Me neither. Nobody knows.
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12. Research where you could sell your product. Make a list of companies and email them.
Be prepared: some of them will not reply, some of them will be already booked till next season, etc.
Don’t get upset, it is ok.
Don’t just show up in places. First of all it is not serious, you need to set up meeting; second, you will just waste your time. Call or email with a description of what you are doing and set up an appointment.
13. Create a little folder with your portfolio. There should be basic information, prices, contacts, pictures. It will help you and your future customer understand the subject better.
14. Research your FB friends, who can be useful to promote your business. If you don’t find anyone, research your friends’ friends. Make a list and leave it alone for couple days. Think what you want exactly from these people, what they can get working with you. Contact them directly or ask your friend to regard you (only if you are sure that it can help).
15. Don’t think too much, act! There is no exact recipe for success. Every story is different. And don’t get upset if something is going wrong. If you are to become a successful businessman/woman you need be prepared for mistakes and be strong to solve them easily!
I will continue to share my experience with you.
Have a great day, everyone. 

Following my dreams

Good afternoon, everyone!

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So like many of you, I have a dream. Coming to the US was a little step to make it closer. I don’t know why, but even with all of my love for Ukraine, I always thought I was born in the wrong country. The USA was a huge dream for my life. Now I understand the reasons why. First of all, I met the love of my life here. Second, the next most important step in building your life and personality, yeah it’s a job. In Ukraine I tried a couple jobs and was even a little successful in one of them. But I always had a feeling that it wasn’t enough, something was missing. Of course, in the US I had some hard times too. Everything was new and different. Life is going so fast here, you can’t even think about your dreams for a while, because you just need to survive.
One day I finally realized my desires. I talked to my husband and he agreed to support me. It seemed not that hard: a small business, which seemed like something I wanted, so we decided to start it. It was a short time ago, that’s why I can’t really share my success with anyone yet. But I’m learning and trying, making mistakes and improving myself.
Yesterday I found a great article – the rules of James Altucher, an “investor, programmer, author, and several-times entrepreneur.” I would like to share it with you, friends. It is good inspiration, especially for young businessmen. I will just copy my favorite ones and give you link as well (http://techcrunch.com/2013/10/19/the-ultimate-cheat-sheet-for-reinventing-yourself/). Also I would love to read your thoughts or advice.
“Here are the rules: I’ve been at zero a few times, come back a few times, and done it over and over. I’ve started entire new careers. People who knew me then, don’t me now. And so on.
I’ve had to change careers several times. Sometimes because my interests changed. Sometimes because all bridges have been burned beyond recognition, sometimes because I desperately needed money. And sometimes just because I hated everyone in my old career or they hated me.
There are other ways to reinvent yourself, so take what I say with a grain of salt. This is what worked for me.
I’ve seen it work for maybe a few hundred other people. Through interviews, through people writing me letters, through the course of the past 20 years. You can try it or not.
A) Reinvention never stops.
Every day you reinvent yourself. You’re always in motion. But you decide every day: forward or backward.
B) You start from scratch.
Every label you claim you have from before is just vanity. You were a doctor? You were Ivy League? You had millions? You had a family? Nobody cares. You lost everything. You’re a zero. Don’t try to say you’re anything else.
C) You need a mentor.
Else, you’ll sink to the bottom. Someone has to show you how to move and breathe. But don’t worry about finding a mentor (see below).
D) Three types of mentors
Direct. Someone who is in front of you who will show you how they did it. What is “it”? Wait. By the way, mentors aren’t like that old Japanese guy in “The Karate Kid.” Ultimately most mentors will hate you.
Indirect. Books. Movies. You can outsource 90 percent of mentorship to books and other materials. 200-500 books equals one good mentor. People ask me, “What is a good book to read?” I never know the answer. There are 200-500 good books to read. I would throw in inspirational books. Whatever are your beliefs, underline them through reading every day.
Everything is a mentor. If you are a zero, and have passion for reinvention, then everything you look at will be a metaphor for what you want to do. The tree you see, with roots you don’t, with underground water that feeds it, is a metaphor for computer programming if you connect the dots. And everything you look at, you will connect the dots.
E) Don’t worry if you don’t have passion for anything.
You have passion for your health. Start there. Take baby steps. You don’t need a passion to succeed. Do what you do with love and success is a natural symptom.
F) Time it takes to reinvent yourself: five years.
Here’s a description of the five years:
Year One: you’re flailing and reading everything and just starting to DO.
Year Two: you know who you need to talk to and network with. You’re Doing every day. You finally know what the monopoly board looks like in your new endeavors.
Year Three: you’re good enough to start making money. It might not be a living yet.
Year Four: you’re making a good living
Year Five: you’re making wealth
Sometimes I get frustrated in years 1-4. I say, “why isn’t it happening yet?” and I punch the floor and hurt my hand and throw a coconut on the floor in a weird ritual. That’s okay. Just keep going. Or stop and pick a new field. It doesn’t matter. Eventually you’re dead and then it’s hard to reinvent yourself.
H) It’s not about the money. But money is a decent measuring stick.
When people say “it’s not about the money” they should make sure they have a different measuring stick.
“What about just doing what you love?” There will be many days when you don’t love what you are doing. If you are doing it just for love then it will take much much longer than five years.
Happiness is just a positive perception from our brain. Some days you will be unhappy. Our brain is a tool we use. It’s not who we are.
J) When can I start doing X?
Today. If you want to paint, then buy a canvas and paints today, start buying 500 books one at a time, and start painting. If you want to write do these three things:
Read
Write
Take your favorite author and type your favorite story of his word for word. Wonder to yourself why he wrote each word. He’s your mentor today.
If you want to start a business, start spec-ing out the idea for your business. Reinvention starts today. Every day.
K) How do I make money?
By year three you’ve put in 5,000-7,000 hours. That’s good enough to be in the top 200-300 in the world in anything. The top 200 in almost any field makes a living.
By year three you will know how to make money. By year four you will scale that up and make a living. Some people stop at year four.
L) By year five you’re in the top 30-50 so can make wealth.
M) What is “it”? How do I know what I should do?
Whatever area you feel like reading 500 books about. Go to the bookstore and find it. If you get bored three months later go back to the bookstore.
It’s okay to get disillusioned. That’s what failure is about. Success is better than failure but the biggest lessons are found in failure.
Very important: There’s no rush. You will reinvent yourself many times in an interesting life. You will fail to reinvent many times. That’s fun also.
Many reinventions make your life a book of stories instead of a textbook.
Some people want the story of their life to be a textbook. For better or worse, mine is a book of stories.
That’s why reinvention happens every day.
N) The choices you make today will be in your biography tomorrow.
Make interesting choices and you will have an interesting biography.
N1) The choices you make today will be in your biology tomorrow.
O) What if I like something obscure? Like biblical archaeology or 11th-century warfare?
Repeat all of the steps above, and then in year five you will make wealth. We have no idea how. Don’t look to find the end of the road when you are still at the very first step.
Choose freedom over family. Freedom over preconceptions. Freedom over government. Freedom over people-pleasing. Then you will be pleased.
Q) My mentor wants me to do it HIS way.
That’s fine. Learn HIS way. Then do it YOUR way. With respect.
Hopefully nobody has a gun to your head. Then you have to do it their way until the gun is put down.
R) My spouse is worried about who will support/take care of kids?
Then after you work 16 hours a day, seven days a week being a janitor, use your spare time to reinvent.
Someone who is reinventing ALWAYS has spare time. Part of reinvention is collecting little bits and pieces of time and re-carving them the way you want them to be.
S) What if my friends think I’m crazy?
What friends?
V) What if I’m busy cheating on my husband or wife or betraying a partner?
Read this post again in two or three years when you are broke and jobless and nobody likes you.
W) What if I have no skills at all?
Read “B” again.
X) What if I have no degree or I have a useless degree?
Read “B” again.
Z) How come I always feel like I’m on the outside looking in?
Albert Einstein was on the outside looking in. Nobody in the establishment would even hire him.
Everyone feels like a fraud at some point. The highest form of creativity is born out of skepticism.
AA) I can’t read 500 books. What one book should I read for inspiration?
Give up.
BB) What if I’m too sick to reinvent?
Reinvention will boost every healthy chemical in your body: serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin. Keep moving forward and you might not get healthy but you will get healthier. Don’t use health as an excuse.
Finally, reinvent your health first. Sleep more hours. Eat better. Exercise. These are key steps to reinvention.
CC) What if my last partner screwed me and I’m still suing him?
Stop litigating and never think about him again. Half the problem was you, not him.
EE) What if I’m shy?
Make your weaknesses your strengths. Introverts listen better, focus better, and have ways of being more endearing.
FF) What if I can’t wait five years?
If you plan on being alive in five years then you might as well start today.
GG) How should I network?
Make concentric circles. You’re at the middle.
The next circle is friends and family.
The next circle is online communities.
The circle after that is meetups and coffees.
The circle after that is conferences and thought leaders.
The circle after that is mentors.
The circle after that is customers and wealth-creators.
Start making your way through the circles.
II) What if I’m passionate about two things? What if I can’t decide?
Combine them and you’ll be the best in the world at the combination.
JJ) What if I’m so excited I want to teach what I’m learning?
Start teaching on YouTube. Start with an audience of one and see if it builds up.
LL) How do I meet mentors and thought leaders?
Once you have enough knowledge (after 100-200 books), write down 10 ideas for 20 different potential mentors.
None of them will respond. Write down 10 more ideas for 20 new mentors. Repeat every week.
Put together a newsletter for everyone who doesn’t respond. Keep repeating until someone responds. Blog about your learning efforts. Build community around you being an expert.
MM) What if I can’t come up with ideas?
Then keep practicing coming up with ideas. The idea muscle atrophies. You have to build it up.
It’s hard for me to touch my toes if I haven’t been doing it every day. I have to do it every day for a while before I can easily touch my toes. Don’t expect to come up with good ideas on day one.
OO) What if I do everything you say but it still doesn’t seem like it’s working?
It will work. Just wait. Keep reinventing every day.
Don’t try and find the end of the road. You can’t see it in the fog. But you can see the next step and you do know that if you take that next step eventually you get to the end of the road.
PP) What if I get depressed?
Sit in silence for one hour a day. You need to get back to your core.
If you think this sounds stupid then don’t do it. Stay depressed.
RR) What if I get scared?
Sleep 8-9 hours a day and never gossip. Sleep is the No. 1 key to successful health. It’s not the only key. It’s just No. 1. Some people write to me and say, “I only need four hours of sleep” or “in my country sleeping means laziness.” Well, those people will fail and die young.
What about gossip? The brain biologically wants to have 150 friends. Then when you are with one of your friends you can gossip about any of the other 150. If you don’t have 150 friends then the brain wants to read gossip magazines until it thinks it has 150 friends.
Don’t be as stupid as your brain.
SS) What if I keep feeling like nothing ever works out for me?
Spend 10 minutes a day practicing gratitude. Don’t suppress the fear. Notice the anger.
But also allow yourself to be grateful for the things you do have. Anger is never inspirational but gratitude is. Gratitude is the bridge between your world and the parallel universe where all creative ideas live.
TT) What if I have to deal with personal bullshit all the time?
Find new people to be around.
Someone who is reinventing herself will constantly find people to try and bring her down. The brain is scared of reinvention because it might not be safe.
Biologically, the brain wants you to be safe and reinvention is a risk. So it will throw people in your path who will try to stop you.
Learn how to say “no.”
VV) Why should I trust you – you’ve failed so many times?
Don’t trust me.
WW) Will you be my mentor?
You’ve just read this post.”

New York. Great and Mighty.

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In the rhythm of my heart. New York, New York.
Hello everyone!
Look out the window! Yeah, it is real spring outside. And what can be better than to plan an amazing weekend in the big city.
First of all I would say: New York is much loved by many (I adore it), however it is not paradise.
I will skip tons of words and instead I will just show you pictures 🙂
Just a couple of places I would love to mention, they are seriously worth it.
Let’s start!
We stopped at friend’s place and got the most fantastic view of Manhattan which, as a photographer I could only dream of.

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As a real Ukrainian I couldn’t skip Brighton Beach (now I have serious doubts, or maybe we should start describing it as Ukrainian neighborhood – now Russians, are you feeling like we feel about Crimea?). We had there traditional Ukrainian soup – borsch, I’ll definitely post a recipe in a while.

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Central Park

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Two important spots 🙂
Spot #1 is Vintry Wine and Whiskey in the Financial District http://www.vintrynyc.com/ . It is a food and drink paradise. Go there for brunch and make sure you try their Bloody Redemption.

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#2 is Blu at Hotel Indigo Chelsea a rooftop bar & lounge). Actually it is a very nice place with a great view of Manhattan, cocktails were delicious and prices were affordable. I noticed there an amazing atmosphere, in the city that never sleeps and people should be tired, but no way! They were completely happy and enjoy every single moment!

Wanna Meat?

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Yesterday I spent a couple hours arguing with my husband about the title of this post. It’s a recipe, but it is not an ordinary one: this is a freaking amazing recipe.  I can’t tell you my suggestion, but you will understand when you taste it. So what is all of this mess about?

We actually opened new BBQ season last weekend. There was nice weather, good beer and this fantastic dish. My hubby was the chef – he found this recipe at his addictive site, Reddit. Here is a link http://www.creative-culinary.com/balsamic-and-blue-cheese-steak-sandwich-from-the-national-beef-cookoff/ . I edited it a little bit and am adding pictures step-by-step.

Also here I will show you our little monkey-dog Sean, he is such a funny guy and of course a big help 🙂

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Balsamic and Blue Cheese Steak Ciabatta

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon fennel seed, toasted, crushed

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar, divided

3 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon crushed black pepper

1 beef flank steak (about 1 pound)

1 ciabatta baguette loaf (about 15 inches). (We used 2 regular ciabatta flatbreads)

2 cups arugula ( * 1 is enough!!!)

3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

Preparation:

Combine fennel seed, 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (*2 Tbsp is enough), 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper in small bowl; mix well. Place beef steak and marinade in food-safe plastic bag; turn steak to coat. Close bag securely; marinate in refrigerator 6 to 24 hours – recipe said, BUT: don’t do it more than 12 hours or instead of the taste of meat you will feel the taste of balsamic.

Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Place steak on grid over medium, ash-covered coals; grill steak, covered, 11 to 16 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, covered, 16 to 21 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F), turning occasionally. Carve steak diagonally into thin slices.

Meanwhile cut ciabatta in half lengthwise; brush cut sides with remaining olive oil. Grill cut-side-down, during last 2 minutes of grilling beef (1 minute is enough, we did around 2 and burned it). Look at the picture for direction.

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And I was responsible for dessert. Les Macarons with fresh made raspberry jello and chocolate cream.

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P.S. Hot night of pleasures is guaranteed 😛

Maine – State of the Real Scouts

P.S. Yeah I will start my post today with letters I have to finish it. But here is the thing – I wanted to create a blog for the last two years, but I had already written this post a while ago. I have been to Maine a couple more times since and I changed my mind about some points. But I would love to share with you my first impression.

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So here I am, sitting at the table, enjoying raspberry flavored tea, and staring at pictures of our vacation. Memory is such a strange thing. It’s already been a month since we came back, but it seems like yesterday. I remember our trip like a flash of something bright, very emotional, long-anticipated and at the same time fast. It couldn’t have been better. We went to Maine – I called it the state of the real scouts. It is not a place for people who just like to spend their vacation lying on a beach. Maine is great for those who prefer to discover new horizons.

Our flight was from Baltimore to Portland – where my then-boyfriend’s (now husband’s :))) parents met us. It was my first time meeting them, so I was kind of nervous. We went to Sea Dog Brewing Co. I’m not a big fan of different kinds of ale, but their raspberry ale is my little foible.
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The next morning we went to Acadia National Park. I was speechless. I just can’t – and refuse to – describe this beauty. After that the world lost me, I changed my reality; and didn’t pick up phone calls or answer texts. I was completely into all our adventures. I wanted to catch every moment, and it didn’t matter what it was: walking along the beach while a light breeze inflates my curls and cool ocean sprinkles my feet, or hiking up Cadillac Mountain…
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Every day we drove through small towns with names of European countries or capitals. I never thought that I could drive from Manchester to Norway through Paris in a couple hours.
Of course, we visited the capital – Augusta. The Maine State House looks like a miniature of the US Capitol.
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I had a mindset that nothing would ruin my trip. But visiting this state I developed an idea: there is nothing to do there for young people. I mean the entertainment infrastructure is almost absent, but while I was on vacation I wanted to see only the wonders around me. My galaxy is full of joy and happiness. I’m absolutely sure that to reach these feelings you need only one thing: harmony with nature and the world around you.
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Of course I can’t skip cuisine. It was a lobster paradise. I had a food coma every single day. Though we were in New England, I completed the pleasure with my favorite French wine.
Our last stop was at my boyfriend’s family camp. We did lots of fun activities there: kayaking (I tried it for the first time in my life) and hiking in the woods – where I saw so many wild mushrooms. At the end of the evening we were lying on a deck with a glass of wine, staring at an amazing night sky, listening to the loons, and dreaming…
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Dinner-dinner! Come on-come on!

Here’s my second post. I decided to write about food for a couple reasons: one, I’m already really hungry. Two, today is Thursday. So time to celebrate, it is almost Friday (I will write little bit about wine too). Three, I want spring. This f*cking snow outside my window is annoying.

So let’s go to Italy. We will enjoy nice weather, little beautiful streets, the magic atmosphere, and good food with a glass of wine.

No, no, no, I will not talk about pizza or pasta today. We have sexy bodies to maintain, after all. We will cook warm salad with shrimp and artichokes. You have to trust me, this salad is absolutely fantastic. A wonderful combination of completely different ingredients – cold and warm, fresh and cooked.

If you don’t like artichokes, my husband doesn’t either, and… he didn’t actually taste them in it.

I know, I need to shut up and give you finally this recipe.

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Ingredients:

5 oz. mix of lettuce;

1 lb uncooked large, peeled shrimp; (you could use pre-cooked shrimp)

1 green bell pepper;

1/2 red onion, chopped;

1/3 cup cup black olives;

1/2 cup artichoke hearts;

4 cups milk;

2 tablespoon salt;

1 teaspoon ground black pepper;

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.

Dressing:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil;

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar;

1/2 teaspoon Italian herb.

Total time: 20 min, serves 4.

Direction:

Cook shrimp in hot milk (don’t boil!) with salt and ground black pepper just until they become pink.

Slice the pepper into pieces (look at the picture for guidance on how to thick you should slice). Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pepper and stir until coated with oil. Cook 2 minutes until the pepper is brightly colored.

In large mixing bowl, combine the lettuce, shrimp, the pepper, the 1/3 cup cup black olives, the 1/2 cup artichoke hearts and the onion.

To make dressing, whisk olive oil and red wine vinegar in small bowl with Italian herbs. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Serve from the big bowl, or turn out onto a nice platter.

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Now for the most interesting part. Wine:)

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The best pair for this salad will be definitely whites, such as chenin blanc, riesling or viognier. These guys work great with a huge variety of fresh foods, including seafood.

My picks today are:

1. 2010 Roots viognier from Oregon. This is a killer, if you have opprtunity to get it, don’t even think, pick a case. But probably you will not find it, because we drank it all (kidding). It has a distinct fragrant bouquet. It’s an excellent food wine.

2. 2010 “The Lyricist” riesling from Washington. This is serial killer #2. I’m serious. The smell of this wine is lively, fragrant, fruity and flowery.

3. 2012 Clarksburg dry chenin blanc from California. This one will be a perfect choice for people who like light body-wines. It is very crispy and  incredibly refreshing dry wine.

 Ok, enough chit-chat, we have work to do. Have a wonderful evening and fantastic night everyone.

Best wishes,

xoxo