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How to Make Mother’s Day Even More Special

In my family, it was tradition that on Mother’s Day, mom would get breakfast in bed and the rest of the day was spent doing whatever she wanted. While I can’t be there to celebrate with her this year, technology has made it easier than ever to keep in touch. And with the latest technology from Verizon, I know she’ll appreciate being able to chat on such a special day! Click through the gallery below to learn how a few of our favorite bloggers celebrate mom on Mother’s Day.

Mother's Day Inspiration
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Mother's Day Inspiration
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If you’re looking for even more Mother’s Day inspiration, click here!

Compensation for this post was provided by Verizon Wireless via AOL Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Verizon Wireless or AOL.

Behind The Blog with Career Contessa

Lauren McGoodwin knows her way around a stellar career and her blog, Career Contessa is the living proof. A mash-up of business savvy advice, tid bits for achieving that all mighty work-life balance, and career profiles on truly inspiring women. And now we’re flipping the screen around and talking shop with Ms. Career Contessa herself and learning how a passion project became a full on dream job with a side of fun office space.

SMP: Tell us a little about your business.
LM: Career Contessa is an online platform facilitating honest conversations about work & life by real women— to help you achieve fulfillment and balance in both.

Every single thing we do is created by and for real women, but our biggest differentiator are our career profiles. We feature successful women across a variety of industries, levels, and companies to spread information and inspiration around career paths and opportunities.

SMP: What’s a typical work day for you like?
LM: I start my day at 5am and do a first check of emails with coffee.
7am: Walk (I listen to podcasts!) or exercise class
8am: breakfast, shower, get mentally prepared for my day and start my to-do list. I focus on more creative projects and writing in the morning (like this interview!)
12:00pm: Ideally I’m eating lunch but sometimes this doesn’t happen till 1pm
1:00pm: I like to take calls and meetings in the afternoon since this is my least productive working time.
6:00pm: dinner, relax time.
7:30pm: back at the computer to answer emails, check posts for the next day, finish any lingering projects.
10:00ish: bed. I always make sure I get lots of sleep!

SMP: Some words you live by?
LM: Everything happens for a reason.

SMP: Any guilty pleasures?
LM: My sweet tooth is out of control and I’m guilty of splurging on coconut water from Whole Foods.

SMP: What did you think your dream job was before your dream job found you?
LM: In college I was going to be a teacher and then switch because I wanted to be a sports marketing super star. Things have changed quite a bit.

SMP: What’s your favorite quote that describes your creative process?
LM: Clarity comes from engagement, not thought. The point is that you don’t create or make things happen by thinking really hard about it. You have to build, test, talk to people, etc. Get out there and do!

SMP: If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?
LM: I would of started sooner. Career Contessa was a passion project for a long time and I was terrified of who I would be without my safety net of a 9-5 job at a well-known company. I realized now that most of my regrets come from times in my life when I was making decisions out of fear.

SMP: What is your favorite item in your home?
LM: My nespresso! Favorite and most necessary.

SMP: What’s your best tip for balancing work and personal life?
LM: Change your perspective! It’s not about 50/50 balance and that’s ok. Make time for yourself everyday but don’t worry about a perfect balance. There is no such thing and honestly, I don’t think I would want it that anyway.

SMP: What was the tipping point in your business that made you feel like it was going to thrive?
LM: Every email, comment and in-person connection with a reader confirms that Career Contessa is a business and we are making an impact in people’s lives. Of course, having POPSUGAR, Refinery 29 and other big brands ask to work with us didn’t hurt either!

SMP: What is the hardest lesson in business you’ve ever learned?
LM: Focusing on the wrong things. When I first left Hulu to focus on Career Contessa full-time, I jumped around from idea to idea without a lot of focus. By chasing the wrong things, I wasted time and wasn’t a great leader to my team.

SMP: Stranded on a desert island question… what’s the one cocktail you would take with you?
LM: Mojito (made with real mint!) every day, all day.

SMP: If you could buy yourself a single gift of any cost, what would it be?
LM: Travel! I love to travel and would spend all my time seeing and experiencing new places if I could.

SMP: Three things every office should have?
LM: A whiteboard (or something for easy brainstorming), a comfortable chair and music.

SMP: Your most prized possession?
LM: Does my engagement ring count? I’m getting married in January so I imagine this answer might change to my wedding dress after that!

SMP: One thing you can’t live without?
LM: My friends and family. But my less-sentimental answer is my fit-bit.

SMP: Your secret to success?
LM: The Career Contessa team! We have such a talented group of women helping to build CC and it could absolutely not happen without them.

SMP: One place everyone must visit in their lifetime?
LM: It’s impossible to only mention one! I recently went to Petra in Jordan and it was breathtaking. It’s so amazing to see the art that human hands built!

SMP: Best moment of your career so far?
LM: Launching Career Contessa

SMP: Advice you’d give to your younger self?
LM: Don’t overthink it. It will all work out.

SMP: Your favorite instagrammer?
LM: For health, @NutritionStripped. For fashion, @JulieEngel. For a daily pick-me-up, @DogsofInstagram

SMP: Your go-to recipe?
LM: Corn souffle. So easy and inexpensive.

SMP: What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
LM: Stick with those Zumba classes. I’m terrible but I love it!

SMP: Your most memorable moment?
LM: When my fiance proposed in Santa Barbara last November.

SMP: What’s one thing you really want to do, but have never done?
LM: Go to a yoga retreat. I really want to be a yogi- even if it’s just for a weekend.

SMP: The best advice you’ve ever received?
LM: Don’t compare yourself to others.

SMP: What was the first job you ever landed?
LM: Retail at Old Navy in high-school, working at a sports non-profit after college.

SMP: If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would
your message be?
LM: To stick with it and focus. I think persistence and patience are really key ingredients to any type of success- business, career, relationships, etc. We all want immediate results but staying focused and persistent on your goals is everything.

SMP: Do you have any secret talents?
LM: I can make a cauliflower pizza that people will actually eat!

SMP: If you could dine with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
LM: Another impossible question! I have to reach for the stars and say Oprah because why the hell not!

SMP: Where do you see yourself in five years?
LM: I hope Career Contessa has become the go-to resource for women’s career advice and we’ve expanded to offer products and services that continue to help women achieve professional fulfillment! I also hope to have a dog! #WannabePupMom

SMP: Why do you think your business has done so well?
LM: I think Career Contessa has done well because we strike an important yet emotional cord with women. Every woman has asked, “what should I do with my life?” and we’re helping them answer it. We saw a problem and we’re delivering the answer in a manageable, relatable and fun way!

All Photos: Joe + Kathrina | Company: Career Contessa | Office Space: The Unique Space

Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts

What could be more perfect than the bright, tangy flavor of lemon to put a spring in your step? Perk up your palate with these crazy good lemon poppy seed donuts, oozing with fresh lemon curd and drizzled with lemony poppy seed frosting, dreamed up by Jessica of A Happy Food Dance.

One bite and you’ll be hooked on these donuts for life. They’re perfect for springtime celebrations and weekend brunches and the tastiest way to use up all those fresh lemons!

For the full post and more delicious recipes, visit A Happy Food Dance.

Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts
prep time
10 Hour/s
cook time
30 Minute/s
total time
10 Hour/s 30 Minute/s
Serves 12Ingredients
  • Ingredients for Donuts:
  • 1 package (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • ⅔ cups milk, at room temperature
  • 3½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 7 tablespoons butter, at room temperature, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
  • canola oil, for frying
  • Ingredients for Lemon Curd:
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • Ingredients for Poppy Seed Frosting:
  • 1¼ cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  1. To Make Donuts: In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the yeast and milk. Stir together briefly, then let sit for about 1 minute to dissolve the yeast.
  2. Add the flour, ⅓ cup of the sugar, the salt, and the eggs and mix on low speed for about 1 minute, or until the dough comes together. Then, still on low speed, mix for another 2 to 3 minutes to develop the dough further.
  3. Next, begin to add the butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to mix for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough is soft and cohesive.
  4. Remove the dough from the bowl, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 15 hours.
  5. Lightly flour two baking sheets. On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch by 9-inch rectangle about ½" inch thick. Using a 3½" to 4" round biscuit cutter, cut 12 donuts. You may need to re-roll out the dough to get 12.
  6. Arrange them on the prepare baking sheets and cover with plastic wrap.
  7. Place in a warm spot to proof for 2 to 3 hours, or until they are about doubled in height.
  8. When ready to fry, line a tray or baking sheet with paper towels.
  9. Pour the oil to a depth of about 3 inches into a large, heavy bottom saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees on a fry thermometer.
  10. Working in batches, place the donuts in the hot oil, being careful not to crowd them. Fry them for 90 seconds to 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
  11. Gently flip and fry them for another 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the donuts to the prepared tray and let cool completely until you can stuff with the curd.
  12. To Make Lemon Curd: Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of one lemon in large pieces.
  13. In a large bowl over a pot of boil water, combine lemon zest, sugar, butter, eggs, lemon juice and salt. Whisk together over the heat until the lemon curd will thicken and coats the back of a spoon. This will take 15-20 minutes.
  14. Once thicken, discard lemon zest and strain through a fine mesh sieve.
  15. Refrigerate until cool.
  16. To Make Poppy Seed Frosting: In a small bowl, combine the frosting ingredients and whisk till smooth.
  17. To Assemble: Once the donuts and lemon curd are completely cool, poke a small hole in the side of each donut and create a little space in the middle of the donut for the curd.
  18. Transfer the curd to a piping bag and pipe each donut with lemon curd until full.
  19. Set donuts on top of a wire rack and spoon poppy seed frosting over top.
  20. Let set just enough for frosting to harden and then serve. These are best served immediately after frosting.

Photography: A Happy Food Dance | Recipe: A Happy Food Dance

Clever All Natural Spring Cleaning Tips

From our friends at DIY Inspired … I’ve never experienced changing of the seasons because as a native California we basically have one nice season all year long. Since moving to Tennessee, we are experiencing spring as I’ve never seen it! There is a definite draw to do some all natural spring cleaning that I hadn’t experienced when living in California. Being a proponent of organic eating and living I am constantly searching for ways to use what is natural to clean. Click through the gallery below to see a few cleaver spring cleaning tips!

Clever Cleaning
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Clever Cleaning
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17 Best Pretzel Recipes for National Pretzel Day

Oh pretzel, how we love thee! Soft and smothered in mustard or baked to a crisp, this old-time snack was introduced to the States by German immigrants in the late 18th century and is now enjoyed all across the country, from stadiums to the street corners of New York City. Celebrate National Pretzel Day on April 26 with 17 tasty twists on the pretzel, from cheesy pretzel dogs to chocolate pretzel bark!

17 Best Pretzel Recipes for National Pretzel Day
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17 Best Pretzel Recipes for National Pretzel Day
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