Giving Yourself the Chance to Slow Down


I’m halfway through a two week family vacation and let me say it’s been great. There hasn’t been a whole to do.  We spend time together, eat, drink coffee, and go to the beach.  That’s it.  It’s really forced me to slow down my brain and just think… reflect. It’s awesome. :)

It’s amazing how back at home that was force ourselves to go a mile a minute. We’re trying to figure out how to jam as many things into a day as possible. There’s no time for thinking. What are we missing out on… what are we not seeing because we’re going so fast?

The other morning, Miles and I took a long walk on the island and found this beautiful old church.  Then we just sat and watched the waves roll in.  It was fantastic.

Despite the urges to the contrary, I’ve been trying to not touch my phone as much as possible and read a physical book.  I’m reading A Curious Mind by Brian Grazer.  It’s amazing how when you slow down that you find that you have the ability to comprehend a thought formed into greater than 140 characters.

Slowing down isn’t just something for vacation.  It should be something that’s part of your everyday.  I like to take 30 minutes at the end of everyday and just drink a beer. It’s my way of slowing down.  I know some people that run or do spin classes.  What do you do?

eMeals Makes Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping Easy!


Being pretty busy, Lauren and I found it exceedingly hard to plan healthy meals for the week.  We were going to the grocery store and just getting whatever sounded good, which wasn’t always the healthiest (or the cheapest for that matter.)

Lauren discovered a site, which has quick become one of my favorites, called eMeals.  You select the type of meal plan that you want (i.e. clean eating, low fat, paleo, etc.), you select your family size, and every week you can get a PDF which a grocery list and recipes for the week.  Just recently they launched an iPhone app, that delivers the same weekly meal plan and interactive grocery list.   This is all about $5/month.

We’ve been using the site for about a year and a half now and absolutely love it.   Around January 1, we switched to the paleo meal plan which we’ve particularly enjoyed and found to be good for us as we continue our journey towards more healthy diets.

eMeals just makes things so easy.   When we go to the grocery store, we have a plan.  We know exactly what to get and exactly what to cook.    AND it’s all DELICIOUS.  We’re both consistently wowed by what we end up cooking.

If you’re looking for a way to make meal planning easy, I highly recommend eMeals.

Downside of being an early adopter

One of the big downsides of being an early adopter is that you start using or depending on technology that gets shutdown from lack or success or acquisition, like SnapJoy under Dropbox.   I didn’t use Snapjoy but there have been others.    I was a big proponent of Oink.  I also used LivingSocial to track beers, apps, books and movies back before they dived into the world of daily deals and local marketing.

Mayor Vincent Gray Loves DC Tech

Even though we don’t reside there anymore, I’m still super psyched and rooting for the DC tech & startup community. Over 7 years, it has been great to see DC Mayor Vince Gray really become a spokesman and advocate for the movement.

This year, he even went to SXSW to evangelize the region. Here’s an interview that he did with TechCocktail

Make It Easy For Me To Quit You

Haven’t been using my gym membership lately so decided it was time to cancel.  Instead of paying $70/month to be able to exercise, I decided I could just run outside.   Funny thing is that it’s free to run outside.

Figured I could just stop by Washington Sports Club and cancel.  Nope.  It’s not that easy.  They handed me a piece of paper, which gave me instructions to cancel over the phone.

So, a few times I had a few minutes and figured that I had a few minutes so I’d call their member services line.  I get the hold music.  After a few minutes of hold, I gave up because I had other things to do.  Lauren had a few minutes today so she called for me and had to wait 10-15 minutes on the phone before she got to someone and actually cancel my account.  It was ridiculous.

It shows a solid principal that it’s worth underlining.  If you want me to trust you with my business, you have to let me easily stop using your service.  The fastest way to lose my trust is to make me feel trapped when patronizing your business.  Let me get out as easily as you allowed me to get in to the relationship.

What I’m Reading – Monday, November 19th

Here’s what I’ve been reading lately…

What I’m Reading – Tuesday, November 13th

Here’s what I’ve been reading…

Where are all the DC hipsters hiding?

Today, Lauren and I went to the Crafty Bastards craft show put on by the Washington City Paper. This year it was being hosted at Union Market in DC’s up in coming NoMa neighborhood.

There were 2 massive tents with booths occupied by handmade creators from up and down the east coast. (I wonder how many were from DC.) You could get everything from jewelry to bath products to tshirts to leather bags.  Everything is made in small batches by hand. It’s like an offline version of Umba Box.

And… It was packed. Not just crowded but annoyingly packed.  It was hard to get up to some of the booths because there were so many people.  AND… everywhere you looked there was plaid and a beard.

It made me wonder. Where are all these hipsters hiding? When you think of DC, you think of the government and people in suits. When you think of creativity, you think of Brooklyn or Portland. Does DC have a burgeoning creative class that’s just about to explode?

6 years ago a handful of folks felt a hunger for a technology & startup community and look what happened.

(Photo by Jason Rosenberg)

What I’m Reading – Tuesday, November 6th

Here’s some of what I’ve been reading the last couple days…

The psychology of someone browsing at a craft show

So for the last two days, I’ve been helping Lauren with her Umba Box booth at the Urban Craft Uprising craft show in Seattle.   It’s been great.  Have gotten to tell the Umba Box story to a lot of people and helped garner that much more excitement for what Lauren is doing, which is AWESOME!

I’m completely fascinated by people.  It’s been a lot of fun to watch people walk by the booth, try to figure out what’s going on their head, so I can figure out how to get them over to talk to me about Umba Box. Craft shows are different from just general expos or trade shows too.  The goal at a craft show is you actually wanna move product.

I developed a theory about folks that come to craft shows and how they browse.  There are people who walk at 1 feet, 3 feet, and 6-10 feet from the booth.

The 6-10 feet people aren’t really interested.  They come to the show to feel all handmade but they’re not interested in buying a product.  There are always exceptions to this.  Interestingly lots of men/husbands/boy friends hover at the 6-10 feet mark.  Umba Box is an especially great gift for the lady in your life so I’ve been successful with pulling the guys who are hovering at 6 to 10 feet and getting them to make a purchase or at least take a card.

With the 3 feet people, they’re interested in what your selling and want to buy but they need to be invited over.  It’s funny because most handmade vendors just sit behind their booths and don’t actually talk to their customers.   I would step out from behind the table, invite them over and talk to them.  Was able to reel them in from 3 feet to 1 foot so they would start to play with the products and listen to my schtick about Umba Box.

The people at 1 feet are the best.  They’re the ones that go booth to booth and are really interested in what everyone’s doing.  These are the people you can have a conversation with.  These are also the people who have 3 or 4 bags in their hands because they’ve been buying and buying and buying.