Whoever said you can't buy happiness, never bought ice cream.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Black sent Red an email linking to what she thought was a fascinating article about the competitive ice cream industry, and Red rolled her eyes, thinking, "My sister can't even enjoy something as simple as ice cream without analyzing it."


But then, for Red, ice cream isn't just a food – it's an indulgence, an experience, and a trip down memory lane. Back to a time when ice cream was simpler, as was life. Well before the ice cream section of the grocery store overwhelmed you with too many choices (was there ever a time when the only options were vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry?), although she'll admit a pint of Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia and a spoon is all you need to make a bad day better.

Of course, the mention of Ben & Jerry reminds Black of how their ice cream somehow became political. She can understand the internal battles of whether the guilty pleasure of ice cream is worth the calories (she compromises by eating only a spoonful or two), or even arguing with someone over the "best flavor" (even chefs have favorite store-bought ice cream flavors), but the only connection between ice cream and politics should be related to the history of ice cream. (It was first introduced in America when we were still colonies. Later, President George Washington supposedly spent $200, a lot of money in those days, to satisfy his ice cream cravings, while Thomas Jefferson's credited with the first American ice cream recipe.)

Fast forward to today, and our love of ice cream is stronger than ever (and big business), whether fueled by the pandemic and our desire for "comfort food" or us wanting to return the simple pleasures, albeit with more sophisticated flavors. Black watches as there's a battle brewing (or should we say, churning) between artisanal ice cream shops opening throughout Houston, but Red sums it up best,

Whether it's the cheapest scoop out there or it seems more like a car payment (ok, that might be a slight exaggeration, but if there's three or four of you, it adds up), ice cream's one of life's greatest pleasures and always brings a smile to my face. Especially when it's one of those shops where you can smell the freshly baked cones before you even walk in the door. Then it's a treat for all your senses.

This name comes with a warning ...

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Yes, climate’s a “hot” topic, but summer has only started (marked by the summer solstice), and Red’s already whining about the heat, while Black considersthe logic of naming heat waves. (Really! But it’s not her idea.)

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Ok, let’s be clear (pun intended) … Communication is critical. Whether in your personal life or in business, not to mention communication skills are transferable between the two (Black even suggested Red hold family “business” meetings). And what better time to work on how we communicate, and maybe even have a new attitude toward vocabulary and “50-cent words” (Red loves those, but terminology scares her!?), than during Effective Communications Month.

Talking isn't the same as communicating. And hearing isn't the same as listening. Think about it.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Being an effective communicator, whether in our personal lives or at work, is a critical skill but one-size-doesn't-fit-all as we each use very different methods and styles … ranging from lots of words and talking stuffed animals (Red) to bullet points and racing flags (Black).

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Most workaholics can rationalize working all the time. At least to themselves.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: “Gizmos” already blurred the lines between the workweek and the weekend, but the WFH (working from home) “revolution” caused by the pandemic has destroyed the line; except for people like Black, who have always treated every day as a workday.

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