Top 5 Barbecue Books

Smokin’ with Myron Mixon: Backyard ‘Cue Made Simple from the Winningest Man in Barbecue (by Kelly Alexander and Myron Mixon)

Mixon has won more awards for his BBQ than you can shake a smoking stick at. Want to take home the blue ribbon yourself? This is your book. Here, Mixon gives away 75 of his award-winning secrets. Drool-worthy pictures of smoked meats of all types make this book a winner, and recipes for marinades, rubs and sauces will inspire culinary fantasies. Mixon also helps readers find the best electric smoker in his chapter on equipment. Getting fired up? Excellent! This book will have you firing up the BBQ every night!

The Barbecue! Bible 10th Anniversary Edition (by Steven Raichlen)

This book is an old standby. Anything that has won the IACP/Julia Child Cookbook Award deserves a place on your shelf. With over 500 recipes, it’s one of the larger collections of BBQ recipes available. The caveat of this book is that it’s aimed more at a beginner crowd. If you’re just getting started with your BBQ career, go for it! If you’re looking for something more detailed or even gourmet, explore some other options.

Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room: Southern Recipes from the Winningest Woman in Barbecue (by Melissa Cookston)

Let’s face it, the title is apropos. BBQ is usually associated with guys and their grills. Cookston, however, is one of the world’s top pitmasters, and oh boy (I mean, oh girl!) is she a master! Here’s just a small sample of the to-die-for dishes you can cook up with the help of Cookston: Slow-Smoked Competition Brisket, Fire-Grilled Pork T-Bones with Hoe Cakes and Mississippi Caviar, and Grilled Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Yes, there is a BBQ desserts section! Need we say more?

Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book: Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue Joint (by Chris Lilly)

This is a comprehensive book filled to the brim with rubs, glazes and sauces. With multiple recipes for side dishes, it’s a great addition to your collection, as it allows you to plan meals made entirely on your BBQ, smoker, or in your backyard ground pit. Lilly writes an informative chapter on equipment including a barbecue smoker guide in which he walks readers through the best equipment for their needs.

Smoke & Spice: Cooking with Smoke, the Real Way to Barbecue (by Cheryl and Bill Jamison)

This husband and wife couple has truly given a gift to fans of authentic smoke-cooked BBQ. The cookbook is focused completely on the art of slow and smoke, and it delivers with 400 outstanding recipes. Some of those are not for the faint of heart or the impatient, but if you love meat that falls off the bone after being smoked for 12 or more hours, this is your book. You’ll be able to make just about any type of meat into a mouth-watering indulgence.

Reading without the Lights on – Scary Business!

Lights offI am book crazy! I love reading books of all different types and to be honest I can’t quite get enough. I read in the morning, I read during breakfast, I read during lunch and pretty much every other spare moment that I have. My favorite types of books are fantasy with perhaps the highlight being the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

This past year I was lucky enough to visit Harry Potter World at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. It was amazing and it felt like I was really there. I rode all off the rides multiple times but perhaps enjoyed the atmosphere more than anything. I was able to sip pumpkin juice and butter beer and even have lunch in the ‘Three Broomsticks,’! It really brought the books to life for me as exactly I had imagined it. At the amusement park, they have built Hogwarts Castle which overlooks the rest of the park which acts as the entrance to perhaps the most popular ride. It’s amazing how much detail they put into the castle; it makes you feel like you’re really there.

One of the problems I have with my reading addiction is when I am in bed with my wife. She cannot sleep for the life of her unless the room is completely dark which creates a bit of a problem for me. Of course, I could read in a different room but there is something which is relaxing about falling asleep with a good book. To solve this problem, I did some research into suitable flashlights I could use in the bedroom. I started out with using the flashlight we had kept in the garage for sometime but it was big, clunky and pretty much the worst reading companion a guy could ask for.

I then took a little bit of a closer look at the tactical gear industry which has a variety of products designed to be discreet. I figured if I could find something small enough to hold to the side when I am reading, it would be discreet enough for my wife to be able to sleep soundly. Unfortunately, the high-lumen tactical flashlight I settled on was just a bit too bright and in fact illuminated the room way too much.

Eventually, I found a whole new market which included low powered headlamps which were extremely convenient for me. They were also very discreet which meant my wife could still sleep despite my reading. Now we both rest better than ever and I get to enjoy all of my books!


My Top 5 Stylist Education Books

Hair StylistThere are many great books for stylist but if I had to choose these are my top five:

1. The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair Care by Davis-Sivasothy, Audrey. This book is technically detailed and covers everything from maintaining optimal heir health, which shampoos to use, to growing longer and healthier hair. There is a special salon version that features full color photographs and color tab organization.

2. Make a Six Figure Income Doing Hair: How To Do It, Really. by Alan Daniels (Oct 10, 2012). Although this book is not about the process of cutting and styling hair, it is still one every stylist should read. Lets face it, we would all like to make a six figure income as a stylist but how realistic is this dream? Alan Daniels explains exactly how to build and maintain a thriving client base, everything from using humor with clients to tracking your business. It is not easy but Daniels gives you the tools to leap ahead of the competition and significantly increase your earning power.

3. How to Create the Perfect Cut, Shape, Color, and Perm for Any Hair Type: Secrets and Techniques from a Master… by Easterly, Cosmo (Aug 3, 2009). Cutting hair is all about Hello yes I tried and inspiration. Understanding how to read and work with different types of hair can take a whole career. Not only does this book cover every aspect of styling hair, it also goes into depth on how to talk with clients and build a strong client base. Written by Cosmo Easterly, this book is a must read for any stylist no matter their experience.

4. Good to Great Hair: Celebrity Hairstyling Techniques Made Simple by Vetica, Robert, Hayek, Salma and Messing, Debra (Jan 1, 2009). Celebrity hair stylist Robert Vetica dives into the work of celebrity style with this fascinating book and reveals the tips and secrets celebrities use to get their astonishing looks. Every client that walks into a salon secretly wants to look like a star. Vetica does a good job of explaining how to use these celebrity techniques on the average person to give them the best look possible. Before and after photos help customers pick the best hair style for the shape of their particular face.

5. Hair-Styling Tips and Tricks for Girls (American Girl) (American Girl Library) by American Girl Editors (Sep 1, 2000). If you are a fan of the American Girl books that have swept the nation this book is absolutely for you. With over 40 great styles for young girls and teens from knots to pony tails to ballet buns, you can use this book as a guide for your younger female clients. This book is packed full of easy to follow instructions that you can teach your clients so that they can get the same results at home.

There are many great helpful hints for stylist on the web. As a stylist it is important to keep up to date on the latest trends and techniques.

My Favorite Fitness Books

This list of books features some of the standards that focus on overall fitness. They are books that will help you to build a well-rounded workout that includes flexibility, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness. While they are likely to be familiar to some, it never hurts to review the classics for those who are looking for guidance in achieving a new level of fitness.

ACSM Fitness Book

This book, written and periodically revised by the American College of Sports Medicine, has earned its status as a standard. It is my all time favorite, and the one I most often recommend. Tests of flexibility, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness along with an assessment of your Body Mass Index (BMI) determine your fitness level for your age and gender in each of the above areas. The book then guides you to a six-week long program of carefully described exercises that start at an appropriate level and build from there. Photographs also illustrate the proper form for the exercises. At the end of six weeks, you repeat the tests to find the exercises appropriate for you new level of fitness. The book also contains a fitness maintenance program and suggestions for ways to vary the routine or to increase the difficulty levels of the exercises should you want to move beyond the level of fitness attained in the maintenance program.

Fitness for Dummies

Fitness for DummiesAs with all of the books in this series, this book is a comprehensive guide. It cuts through hype and quick fixes. Then, like the ACSM Fitness Book, Fitness for Dummies addresses the need for testing to find an exercise program appropriate for your fitness level. It goes beyond the ACSM Fitness Book, however, to discuss diet, finding a health club, hiring a personal trainer, and creating a home gym. Once you read these sections, you will better understand which route is the best for you. Continue reading “My Favorite Fitness Books” »