In this series we will be highlighting burgeoning entrepreneurs in the modern era. These are folks who have taken the risk of quitting or working double to quit their conventional jobs in pursuit of their passions. This is a difficult road that many never find the courage to venture upon, but the rewards are so worth it, and as you know, no risk, no reward, know risk, know reward.

This episode highlights Lee Cooks.The world is an oyster, variety is the spice of life, and Lee Cooks will spice your oysters to perfection. Life is about living on your terms and at your pace. Lee knows like a good meal, all things in life take their time and she's mastered patience and the art of living life artfully. Read to learn more, and make sure you take time to just stare out the window.

Do you remember your first day, What were you feeling?

My first gig I was 90 minutes late. All my food was done and heated by 12pm. I asked a friend of mine who had a minivan would he drop me off at Queens College Manhattan campus,I needed to be there by 3 to set up. I asked could he pick me up at, he said yes. Long story short, he didn't tell me till 1:45 that he couldn't pick me up, and it took me 30 minutes to get a cab that would go from the Bronx to lower Manhattan. I was so angry and obviously annoyed when I got to the college, which wasnt a good look. It was a huge learning experience for me, always have a back-up plan.

What Were You Doing Before? Why Made You Want To Try Something New?

I was doing customer service jobs. H&R Block, cold calls. I hated it, I hated having to deal with the customer directly. I'm an introvert/ extrovert, food was/is my passion. I decided to say Screw it and go to Culinary school. If I could get through school, Again, in my adult life. It was meant to be. I graduated, me and 4 others. From a class that started with 25 students.

How Do You Balance Your Time?

I have a lot of time now that I live in New Mexico.Taos specifically. Everything moves at a much slower pace, so I have time to do my leisure activities; as well as focus on my business. Gratefully a lot of the times they intertwine.

Tell Me About Your Business?

My business is me. Yes I cook, and have done catering, and pop-ups, but I indulge in more than just one art form. I sing, I make jewelry, I write, I throw parties. I use my talents to make money, grow my network,and be free. Leecooks Everything is literal in EVERY way. I'm cooking up a little of everything. I won't let myself or anyone else pidgeon hole me in a box.

How Much Time Per Week Would You Say You Dedicate To Your Work?

I'd say I put in about 4 to 5 days a week towards my business. I take time to just be.

What Else Do You Like To Do With Your Free Time?

I like to write, hang out with my circle, stare out the window and be in the moment.

What's Next For You?

I've been in New Mexico for the past six months, I'd like to live in another place outside the country for 8 to 9 months. Study their Cuisine. I'm thinking of Brazil being my next tour

Any Advice For People Wanting To Follow A Similar Path?

Have everything in writing.

Always know your worth, don't let anyone try to shortchange you. Don't let your talent go to waste, use it to uplift yourself and to encourage someone else. You never know how your of service to another human being. Someone is always watching


Want to learn more about Lee Cooks, book her to cater your next event? Hit her up and have some of the best food of your life!

Website: Leecooks.com

Instagram: Leecooks_everything

Fb: Leecooks Taos

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Over the past month, both Haiti and Afghanistan have been pummeled by tragic disasters that left devastation in their wake.

In Haiti, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake erupted, leading over to 2,189 deaths and counting. A few hours later, in Afghanistan, Kabul fell to the Taliban just after U.S. troops had pulled out after 20 years of war.

In many ways, these disasters are both chillingly connected to US interference. The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly promising to restore order after a presidential assassination but really intending to preserve the route to the Panama Canal and to defend US creditors, among other reasons.

But the US forces soon realized that they were not able to control the country alone, and so formed an army of Haitian enlistees, powered by US air power and intended to quell Haitian insurrection against US controls. Then, in 1934, the US pulled out on its own, disappointed with how slow progress was going. Haiti's institutions were never really able to rebuild themselves, leaving them immensely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Something similar happened in Afghanistan, where the US sent troops and supported an insurgent Afghan army – only to pull out, abandoning the country they left in ruins, with many Afghans supporting the Taliban.

In both cases, defense contractors benefited by far the most from the conflict, making billions in profits while civilians faced fallout and devastation. While the conflicts and circumstances are extremely different and while the US is obviously not solely to blame for either crisis, it's hard not to see the US-based roots of these disasters.

Today, in Haiti and Afghanistan, civilians are facing unimaginable tragedy.

Here are charities offering support in Afghanistan:

1. The International Rescue Committee is looking to raise $10 million to deliver aid directly to Afghanistan

2. CARE is matching donations for an Afghanistan relief fund. They are providing food, shelter, and water to families in need; a donation of $89.50 covers 1 family's emergency needs for a month.

3. Women for Women International is matching donations up to 500,000 for Afghan women, who will be facing unimaginable horrors under Taliban control.


4. AfghanAid offers support for people living in remote regions of Afghanistan.

5. VitalVoices supports female leaders and changemakers and survivors of gender-based violence around the world.

Here are charities offering support in Haiti:

1. Partners in Health has been working with Haiti for a long time, and they work with the Department of Health rather than around them, which is extremely important in a charity.

2. Health Equity International helps run Saint Boniface Hospital, a hospital in Haiti close to the earthquake's epicenter.

3. SOIL is an organization based Haiti, "a local organization with a track record of supporting after natural disasters." They are distributing hygiene kits and provisions on the ground to hospitals and to victims of the earthquake.

4. Hope for Haiti has been working in emergency response in Haiti for three decades, and their team is comprised of people who live and work in Haiti. They focus on supporting children and people in need across Haiti.

via Tiffany & Co.

When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.

Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.

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Road trips can be a lot of fun — but they can also drain your wallet quickly if you aren't careful.

From high gas costs and park admission fares to lodging and the price of eating out every night, the expenses can add up quickly. But at the same time, it's very possible to do road trips cheaply and efficiently. Without the headache of worrying about how much money you're leaking, you can enjoy the open road a whole lot more. Here's how to save money on a road trip.

1. Prepare Your Budget, Route, and Packing List in Advance

If you want to save money on a road trip, be sure you're ready to go. Try to count up all your expenses before you hit the road and create a budget. It's also a good idea to plan your route in advance so you don't end up taking unnecessary, gas-guzzling detours. And finally, be sure to pack in advance so you don't find yourself having to buy tons of things you forgot along the way.

2. Book Cheap Accommodations — Or Try Camping

All those motel rooms can add up surprisingly quick, but camping is often cheap or free, and it's a great way to get intimate with the place you're visiting. You can check the Bureau of Land Management's website for free campsites. Freecampsite.com also provides great information on If you don't have a tent or don't want to camp every night, try booking cheap Airbnbs or booking hotels in advance, making sure to compare prices.

Camping camping road tripConde Nast Traveler

If you're planning on sleeping in your car, a few tips: WalMart allows all-night parking, as do many 24-hour gyms. (Buying a membership to Planet Fitness or something like it also gives you a great place to stop, shower, and recharge while on the road).

3. Bring Food From Home

Don't go on a road trip expecting to subsist on fast food alone. You'll wind up feeling like shit, and it'll drain your pocketbook stunningly quickly. Instead, be sure to bring food from home. Consider buying a gas stove and a coffee pot for easy on-the-go meals, and make sure you bring substantial snacks to satiate midday or late night cravings so you can avoid getting those late night Mickey D's expeditions.

Try bringing your own cooler, filling it with easy stuff for breakfast and lunch — some bread and peanut butter and jelly will go a long way. Bring your own utensils, plates, and napkins, and avoid buying bottled water by packing some big water jugs and a reusable water bottle. Alternatively, try staying at hotels or Airbnbs with kitchens so you can cook there.

4. Avoid Tolls

Apps like Google Maps and Waze point out toll locations, so be sure to avoid those to save those pennies. (If it takes you too far off route, you might have to bite the bullet and drive across that expensive bridge).

You can also save on parking fees by using sites like Parkopedia.

Road Trip Road TripThe Orange Backpack


5. Save on Gas

Gas can get pricy incredibly fast, so be sure that you're stopping at cheap gas stations. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the most affordable gas prices in the area. Also, try going the speed limit on the highways — anything faster will burn through your tank. Be sure that you don't wait till you arrive at touristy locations or big cities to fill up.

6. Get a National Park Pass

All those parks can get really expensive really fast. If you're planning on visiting three or more parks, it's a great idea to get an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. For $80 you can get into every National Park for one year.