Tuesday, October 7, 2014

30 Little Life Secrets Learned By 30

James Bond - 30th Celebration 

Last December, I turned 30.

30 is a big milestone. For most people, it marks the transition from a period of life exploration in the 20s to a time where you start to feel more settled in your career and life path.

Here are 30 mantras, I learned from throughout my life. Some of these may be cliches, others are little perils that I have discovered.

30) Dance like no one is watching. You may not have the moves of MJ or Julianne Hough, but who cares? Dance and enjoy it! It's free and allows yourself to snap out of your regular routine and appearance.

29) Take calculated risks. It can be said that if you don't take risks, you don't reap a reward. This thought process may encourage you to take extreme risks in order to maximize your return. However, it may also lead to a reckless course. Taking calculated risks can allow to reap reward, while limiting your downside. For example, you may apply for jobs or start a company while you are currently working, instead of quitting everything and jumping straight at it. Or you may do your due diligence and research the financials of a stock, before just buying it on a hunch or strictly with a friend's recommendation.

28) Learn from Failure. Reflect on success. It's okay to try something and fail. Failures push us forward and build upon our live experiences. They help teach us that not everything will be perfect or always go the course. When you do have a success, enjoy your victory and learn how to reflect these successes into other endeavors.

27) Take a Workcation. It can be easy to follow into a routine of commute, work, commute, and repeat. Break this cycle every once in a while! Try visiting a local park or beach before or after work. Even if it's only for 10-15 minutes, the time to yourself or with friends in nature will go a long way.

26) Call instead of text. It's easier to send a text instead of call. However sometimes the context and personal connection of a text can be lost. Phone calls take a little more effort, but connecting over over a call allows conversations to naturally grow and provides deeper connection with friends and family.  

25) Try something new. It's easier and more comfortable to build upon our prior experiences and hobbies. However, when we try new experiences, it helps broaden our horizons and life understanding. Trying something new may mean taking a different route home from work, exploring a new restaurant or taking a community class in an unknown field. No matter the new element, the experience helps us develop and grow. 

24) Take vitamins. As our food becomes more and more mass processed, essential vitamins and nutrients are often lost. Taking vitamins and probiotics will help you stay healthy and feel better.

23) Send Handwritten Cards. Cards make people feel special as it shows the thought and effort you spent to reach out. Try sending 2-3 cards a week and see how it impacts your friendships. The cards don't necessarily have to be thank you or birthday cards, they may just be thinking of you cards or recognizing an accomplishment in someone's life.

22) Learn. Maybe it's time to learn more about a new topic or refresh your knowledge on a past subject matter. The mind is a muscle and the more we use it, the stronger it gets. From reading new books to trying online experiences, such as Kahn Acadamy or listening to a podcast; there are plenty of interactive and engaging learning elements that can enhance our life knowledge.

21) Travel. The more we experience, the more we grow. Travel opens our eyes to new cultures and helps us appreciate various aspects of our lives. 

20) Challenge yourself. Push your limits and try new adventures or life experiences. From tennis to cooking, sky diving to mountain biking, gardening to surfing, it's never to late to learn a new skill or try something adventurous. It can become harder as we grow older to try new adventures and be as open to pushing ourselves through new experiences. Even if the experience is a one time adventure, it will open your eyes to new horizons or possibly even grow into a regular hobby.

19) Break your routine. It's easy to fall into the habit of coffee, commute, work, commute, dinner, shower, repeat. It's easy and safe. However, there is a lot of life that exists beyond our walls of comfort. Breaking your your routine, doesn't necessarily mean making BIG changes. It may involve simply trying a different coffee shop around the corner, ordering something unique off the menu, or visiting a friend on the way home from work. The more we share different experiences in life, the more we grow.

18) Know your personality. Are you a morning person? Or an evening person? Do you prefer to socialize with a large group, small group or with just a few friends? It's okay what your answers are to these questions; the main part is to live life how you enjoy it and not feel confined to live it out to make other people happy.

17) It's okay to say no, but be selective. Don't feel pressured to always say "yes" to invitations, but remember that if you say "no" regularly to people; the invitations may not come as often.

16)  Cook. I've find the most challenging part of cooking is actually the preparation and making sure you have the proper ingredients. Cooking itself is actually not too challenging. As you cook, you grow. It's important to know what's in your food, especially as we get older and understand how these ingredients impact our body.

15) Cash is king. Debt is not your friend, it's easy to be attracted to special offers or justify an extra splurge on a credit card, but those charges can add up and take away from the power of being financially sound and debt free.

14) Respond and commit. If you are invited to a party or sent an invitation to a function, respond quickly. The RSVP deadline may be weeks or even a few months away, however responding quickly will help the event organizers with their planning and even give them a chance to invite someone else if you are not able to attend.

13) When you commit, you commit. There may be times when you commit to one function and then something bigger or better comes up. Unless it's a one time event, like a wedding; stick with your original plans.

12) Save for a rainy day. We never know what weather is around the corner, having an emergency fund will help shield you from any unpleasant weather. 

11) Treat your friends. Don't keep tabs on friends. The cliche of "what goes around comes around" is often more true then not. Treating your friends to a drink or meal out with no expectation in return is freeing and will eventually come back around to you.

10) Stretch. Remember how easy it was to sit with your legs folded in elementary school? Now, the same stance may be more challenging. The older we get, the tighter our muscles become. When we stretch we open our joints and ligaments, helping to improve our overall health and well being. 

9) Open doors and doors will open. When we provide opportunities for other people or make ourselves available to other people, our availability will in turn make ourselves open to new opportunities. 

8) Give. Giving may mean financial contributions or simply volunteering our time, however having an open heart and giving helps our personal growth.

7) Unplug.  It's okay to ditch the cell phone. You may miss a few Instagram or Facebook posts, but you can always catch up. Have one day or 1/2 a day while you simple leave your phone behind and just connect. 

6) Treat your in-laws like your parents. Even if you are just dating, treating your significant other's parents just like your own can go a long way!

5) Pray. You may not be "religious," but praying and opening ourselves up helps us reflect upon our lives and center our thoughts for causes and interests that live beyond you.

4) Sweat (daily). Working out doesn't have to mean hoping on a treadmill for 45 minutes, it may mean going for a rigorous walk around the neighborhood or a pushup challenge. No matter the workout, sweating daily helps us remove our toxins, counter acts stress, keeps us fit and generally makes us feel better. 

3) Eat organic. The next time you are at a supermarket try buying one regular apple and one organic apple. See if you can taste the difference. It may be subtle, but the benefits of eating organic extend beyond just the taste. 

2) Treat each day as a gift. We only have one life, make the most of each day and you'll make the most of life!

1) Don't forget the sunscreen. 

What are some of your life little secrets? Leave a comment with some tips below!

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Tile GPS Tracker - Find Your Keys!

When is the last time you misplaced your keys or wallet? It may have happened this AM or maybe it doesn't have too frequently. Regardless of how many times you lose your belongings, it's always alleviating to quickly relocate them.

In an effort to help keys and belongings be rightfully returned to their owners, Tile, a GPS tracking device, has launched new Bluetooth GPS device to help users locate their belongings. Launched from a Kickstarter campaign last fall, Tile started shipping its device to early founders this summer. I received mine a a month ago and have enjoyed testing it out.

From the past month's experience, here is my initial feedback:

  • Easy to Set-Up: I was able to sync the Title to my phone in a matter for a few minutes.  
  • Connect Multiple Tiles: Users are able to connect up to 8 Tiles to their devices.
  • Seamless Application Interface: The iOS application's interface is clean and easy to navigate. 
  • Helpful: I did use Tile once to locate my keys, which were in my front door.

  • Novelty: Although, I did user the application once to locate my keys, the other two times I used the application was to demonstrate how it worked.  
  • Size: Although the size is slightly larger than a quarter, it's still fairly large and cannot fit comfortably in other personal items, such as a wallet.  
  • Volume: The alarm sound of the keys is still fairly quiet, which requires users to be close by when the keys are in locate mode. 
  • Lifespan: This is my largest complaint, as the Tile is only guaranteed to last one year. It may be part of Tile's business model to encourage users to repurchase each year. However, if I only use the functionaly once or twice during the year, I may not renew. If electronic car keys are able to work for 8-10 years without replacing the batery, the same technology should work be integrated into the Tile to increase the product's life cycle.
  • Not Waterproof: If you accidentally wash your jeans and your Tile is in your pants, you're out of luck!

If you are interested in checking out the Tile for yourself, get yours here.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Your Morning Routine

Every year, various periodicals and magazines publish articles about successful people's morning routines. The articles generally highlight a mixture of a healthy breakfast, checking late breaking news or mediation and/or exercise, including yoga, running or swimming.

Through the titles, the articles inadvertently imply that successful people wake up early. I'm sure there are countless successful people who either wake up later or don't even wake up in the morning, because they are either night owls or just prefer it. However for the most of us who work a 40-60 hour/week job, it's typically for us to not have a morning routine.

As our morning lives are ofter intertwined with preparing lunch, cooking breakfast, completing the dishes, sorting through the laundry, checking email, sending the children off to school, showering, sneaking in a game of Candy Crush, or finding the perfect outfit for the day, it can be difficult to have a regular morning routine.

Lately, as I've been trying to cherish the earliness of the morning hour and not just rush off to work, I've found the easiest way to add a morning routine is to take the few minutes when the coffee pot is brewing. I turn on the pot and use these 5-8 minutes as "me" time and mentally prepare myself for the day; by stretching and focusing on the day ahead. I remove myself from electronic distractions, such as TV, cell phones and the radio and completely focus on the day ahead as I stretch out my body and awaken to the world around me. Since I'm an early riser, there is typically no one else up on my street and I'm able to enjoy the peacefulness of the neighborhood. 

5-8 minutes may not sound like a lot of time, but it's a short enough period of time to easily integrate into your life, yet long enough to get a good boost of personal reflection to help power you through the day.

Tips to help find "Me" time: 
  • It can take 60 days to develop a habit. At first, It may be challenging to remind yourself to take "me" time at first. However, using the time it takes for your coffee to brew is a good reminder. If you don't brew coffee in the morning, use the time that it takes for your tea to get ready or simply just pause and reflect for 5 minutes.  
  • Unplug, remember we already spend on average 11 hours a day with digital media. If you can't pull yourself away from your iPhone in the AM, check out the application, "CALM." It has short 5-10 minute guided meditations and nature sounds to "add a sanctuary in your pocket." 

  • It can wait. The dishes, laundry and urgent emails will still be there in 5-8 minutes; it's okay to put them on hold and wait until you get your day started. 

 What's your morning routine? Leave a comment and share any helpful tips below. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Cell Phone Roulette

Americans spend 11 hours A Day with Electronic Media, Source Mashable

According to a recent Nielsen study, the average American spends 11 hours a day with electronic media. Let's pause at that statistic for a moment! It's almost a 1/2 a day of our lives that we spend checking email, sending texts, browsing Facebook or watching TV.

Now this statistic may not hold true for you, but think about it for a moment. How much of your day do you spend just on your smartphone?

In today's digital era of hyper connectivity, the need to stay connected or entertained descends so far our lives that can impact the time we spend developing and maintaining real life relationships. Often the need to capture the perfect moment to post on Instagram or Facebook, can distract from the perfect moment that we are spending with our friends and family.

In 2014, it's rare to spend 1 hour with a group of friends, where one person hasn't snapped a picture for Snapchat, responded to an email, sent out a group text or checked for a sports update. The need to check the phone is so pervasive that it has become second nature in group social settings, including time at the beach or eating out at a restaurant.

The next time you are at a restaurant with a group of friends, I challenge you to play Cell Phone Roulette, where each of you places their phone in the center of the table. If one person reaches for a phone and checks it during the meal, then he or she pays the entire bill. If the group makes it through the meal without checking or reaching for their phone, then group equally splits the meal.

I tried it with a group of friends over the weekend. The first time we were trying to cohere each to look at each others phones, however by the second, third and fourth time, we were engaging in deep conversation, making eye contact the entire meal and staying unnplugged. We may have missed a few posts on Instagram, but the conversation and relationship building far outweighed any missed calls, texts or social media likes.

Now, it's your turn to give it a try!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

2015 Calendar

Earlier this year, I ventured to Phuket, Thailand with my fiance. We had an incredible adventure, as we ventured to remote beaches, desolate bays and ancient pirate caves. Our eyes were opened to Thailand's rich and vast culture and landscapes.

From our epic journey, I compiled the best photographs and placed them in this 2015 Calendar. Included in the calendar are beautiful images from Maya Beach, Pga Bay and the Phi Phi Islands.

The 2015 Calendar is available on Amazon's kindle or electronic devices, such as an iPhone or iPad. It's free to borrow, if you are an Amazon prime member. To get your copy, click here