Category Archives: LIFESTYLE

CONTRIBUTORS, LIFESTYLE, WINE

Hungry for This Wine: 2016 Malbec Rosé from William Chris Vineyards

It’s very hard these days to not get into a rosé mood.

Malbec RoséThe weather’s changing. The earth is tilting toward the sun. Its radiance is stronger on our face. The green grass is greener, and the blood flowing through our muscles is somehow warmer.

Welcome to the season of rosé, the one that lifts our mood and reminds our tastebuds of all that’s light. Translucent, even. And definitely sunny.

I am huge fan of rosé and here are two reasons why: it can be made from just about any grape (giving it tremendous diversity and range), and it can be made from just about anywhere.

By “anywhere” I mean the places you’d expect, like the Provence region of France, Italy, and California.

But did you also know that rosé is made in places that wouldn’t expect, like the Rioja region of Spain, South Africa, and Chile?

And also… wait for it… Texas?

Yes, Texas indeed.

Stay with me here.

It may not have hit your radar yet but a THING for wine has hit Texans. Hard.

In recent years the amount of grapes grown and wines made in Texas has leapfrogged over most other US states. This momentum has been bolstered by local and regional tourism boards, which are posting enviable numbers of consumer visits and engagement.

Here’s one of the best parts, in my opinion, of this major upswing:

The rosé of Texas.

I love it because, as this week’s wine pick shows, it’s made from unexpected grapes like Malbec.

I love it because, when I pour it for friends, they are surprised — actually, “shocked” is more accurate — that it’s from the Texas Hill Country.

I love it because they love it even before I tell them that.

I love it because it’s opening all of our eyes.

And I love it because it’s GOOD, and because it’s exactly the wine that I am hungry to drink right now.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS WINE!

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CONTRIBUTORS, LIFESTYLE, WINE

Hungry For This Wine: Cecchetto Raboso Passito

Can you taste “hungry” in a wine?

CechettoThat is, can you taste the desire that brought the wine into being? Can you taste the passion that brought the wine to your glass?

I think you can. But only if you’re really (really) lucky.

A few weeks ago I was in northern Italy for a wine trade fair, and one night I was lured away from the usual crowds and boisterous evening activities to visit one single, quiet producer called Cecchetto, some 90 minutes away.

I was lured away, that is, because they are hungry for this wine.

They are so hungry to share this wine that I’ve received personal, thoughtful emails from them for more than a year.

They are so hungry for the mystery and the science of the winemaking process that they travel to places like Armenia and Georgia to share knowledge and experience with the winemaking community there.

They are so hungry that they experiment incessantly, from wood for barrels (oak, chestnut, mulberry…) to aging in huge casks for years and years on end. Their experimentation, and the end results, have attracted the attention of Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini, among others.

They are so hungry to preserve their heritage that they’ve committed to a grape – Roboso Piave – that long ago represented a significantly greater percentage of vineyard plantings in their region. Today the quantity of Roboso is lean, replaced by the über-popular Prosecco and Pinot Grigio. But Cecchetto plants it anyway.

And they use it to make this wine, a passito version of it, which concentrates the fruit, the process, and the intention.

It’s the kind of wine my husband loves, because he loves Port and other wines in that sweet style. It’s the kind of wine I also love, because I love the narrative and the heritage of it. It’s the kind of wine we drink together, slowly and when it’s dark outside and we are capping another day.

This is the kind of wine we, also, are hungry to drink.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Cecchetto Raboso Passito wine!

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CONTRIBUTORS, LIFESTYLE, WINE

Hungry For This Wine: 2014 Smith-Madrone Riesling

Smith-Madrone RieslingThis wine arrived just in the nick of time. 

It was a Friday night, my husband and I were home alone, our twin boys having been invited to a sleepover elsewhere. It was a long and exhilarating week of work that we both love but lordy, by that point, exhaustion had won out.

We didn’t want to cook, we didn’t even want much to think. It was an order-in night for dinner — Thai food, in our case — and it was the sustenance kind of dinner that you expect to fuel you with calories and, honestly, not much else.

But then there was this wine. 

It had arrived earlier in the week, along with bottles that this particular Napa producer is frankly better known for, namely Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. But my husband and I are both suckers for Riesling, and spicy Thai food was on the way. We pulled the cork, casually poured a few measures of the wine into our glasses, and took our seats.

To be honest, I didn’t even smell it first. I know I should have; it’s something “wine people” do, but this producer is familiar and I respect their wines and their process. They want to make wines that express their place on the earth, they say, and they also want to make wines that express themselves as people and as winemakers.

That, I get. As winemakers in Napa for more than 40 years, certainly Stu and Charles Smith are keyed into what the market wants and what their land is best suited to produce. By and large, for them on Spring Mountain, that means Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

But then there is this Riesling.

This Riesling says that they have their independent streak. It says that they listen hard enough to their land (and its steep hillsides) that they know it is suited, too, to produce the grapes for this wine. It says that they know this wine will be good.

This Riesling IS good, and refreshing, though in a way-beyond-sustenance kind of way. You get oranges and white flowers and fresh acidity. You get the desire to take another sip and then another.

It’s the kind of Riesling that reminds you to be grateful that wine, and this wine, is part of our life. It’s the kind of wine that makes you grateful that your kids have a friendly and active social life, and that you have this time alone with the person who loves you most in the all the world.

It’s the kind of wine that I’m hungry to drink, with Thai food for dinner or many other things too. It was just the right thing at just the nick of time, to pull us back from the far edge of everyday life.

CLICK HERE for additional details on this wine!

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AUTHORS, CONTRIBUTORS, LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH, WELLNESS

Why You Should Run in the Rain

Literally. I don’t mean this as a metaphor (“Run in the rain so the shiny rainbows of life sustain you in the darkness where you light your candles as a beacon … ”) or in the completely non-literal sense of how we apparently are using the word “literally” these days.

I mean that if you’re a runner, or a cyclist, or a walker, or a hiker, you need to still do your thing when it’s raining. Or when it’s snowing. Or cold. Or dark. Or you’re tired.

If you’re building a habit in pursuit of a goal, it’s a habit in pursuit of a goal. Not a fair-weather habit that will get you started maybe on a half-assed goal. Your habit needs to literally (and I mean literally) be an all-weather, all-circumstance goal.

Just Make a Decision?

It sounds like I’m saying is that all you do is make a decision and then you do the thing. Of course it’s harder than that or we’d all have done everything we ever decided to do. There’s a strategy in changing behaviors (which is what habits are). The Fogg Behavior Model created by Dr. BJ Fogg, founder of the Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford University, identifies three elements to creating a new behavior: motivation, ability, and trigger.

Ability is a function of whether something is easy to do or hard to do. I’m able to get up and run in the rain on a Saturday morning because it’s easy for me to do. Well, the actual running is always very hard, but one you’re out there, what are you going to do? Quit? In front of my team? Which is another way I’ve painted myself into the commitment corner, but that’s another topic for another day.

The Hardest Part

The key is to find out exactly the smallest bit that is the hard part. For most of us, getting up, getting dressed or changed when you get home, and getting started is the hard part. How many times have you struggled to get yourself up and to the gym, but then felt great once you got there and got started?

If the hardest part is starting, then find a way to make that easier. I’ve made it easier by not even having it be a decision I have to make when it is the actual time to make it. I decided long ago that I was running on Saturday mornings. And then I run in the rain because I’ve made the decision in advance. The rain becomes irrelevant.

It’s Saturday morning. I run. That’s what I’m going to do. I don’t have to spend any brain power that morning talking myself into getting up and getting out the door. I decided that yesterday. I actually decided it about two years ago – so I’ve also had some practice.

Make Fewer Decisions

If you’re trying to get an exercise or better eating or more writing habit going, the fewer decisions you make at that point of doing or not doing, the better. Deciding whether you’re going to do it is a big decision. Given the choice of running in the rain or not, my in-the-moment brain says “I’m warm and dry. Why would I even want to go out in this?”

Instead let your decision-making brain decide impartially in advance and set your schedule so it doesn’t matter what your right-now brain thinks. You’ve got a plan and now you don’t even need to think. Isn’t that what a job does for you? No, not make us stop thinking, but makes the decision for us that we’re getting up and getting started on our work. There’s no decision to make. It’s why I highly respect those who work for themselves and don’t procrastinate. Maybe they have applied this same strategy to their business and there’s no longer any question about whether or not they want to get the work done! They work “in the rain.”

Puddle-Stomping Fun

We haven’t had a lot of rain here in the last several years. Now that the Pineapple Express (the weather phenomenon not the movie or the “sativa-leaning hybrid”) is rolling through, I’m tempted to get some galoshes and just stomp through puddles. But, I do still like to pretend I’m an adult, so running in the rain is the next best thing.

There’s a slightly naughty sense of freedom. Defying fate to give us our death of cold. When you see other people out walking or running or riding in the rain, too, you want to give them a knowing wink. As if to acknowledge that feeling of getting away with something.

Since I’m not a witch or a little girl made of sugar or spice, I’m certainly not going to melt. On the contrary, I’ll come away from the run in the rain with a pile of wet laundry, stronger legs, and a greater belief in my own mental toughness.

Here’s to another rainy run!

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CONTRIBUTORS, LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH

Are you Change-Ready for 2017?

So here it is and here we are….AGAIN! A new shiny year with great expectations for how we are going to change ourselves and the world around us. Some of us have already made the usual to-do lists and promises of lofty and inspiring goals. Finally the year we will lose weight, get a new job or overcome that behavior we don’t like in ourselves. If I can just nail this goal I will be happy and the world will be “great again.”

change-readyThere are just 2 problems with this perennial approach we all seem to take each year. The first is that we always consider the output we want more than the input or throughput it will take to get there. So we usually fail quickly or get bored when our patience for immediate gratification runs out (anywhere from 3 days to 30 days for most of us☺). The second is that we tend to think of our goals in insolation instead of in the context of a system with environmental dynamics in which they actually exist.

So how can we make this year different?

1. Getting the Sequencing Right!

Part of the challenge with realizing our goals is that we just jump into them without planning. You know the common phrase “ready, willing & able?” Well it is out of sequence! If we don’t rearrange this concept before we get started we are going to run into problems. The correct sequence is “willing, able and ready” and here is why:

Willing – means you have the mindset of discipline to do the work! Without this contextual framework and emphasis on cognitively acknowledging that you need to actually “do the work” it’s game over pretty quickly. Just writing things down does not count!

Able – means that you are aware of and have set up the environmental conditions to assist you in approaching your challenges on the way to achieving your goals. Everything works in a system so you must enable or disable the system around you to ensure success. This can range from scheduling that gym time in the calendar along with your exercise goals for the day, to getting some targeted coaching on that specific behavior you want to work on or even scoping out the homework or networking plan to explore that next career opportunity before you go to an event and start randomly meeting people.

Ready – Okay now armed with the mindset and environmental framework of what will be required, its time to get out there and start working! On what exactly you might be asking…..on being Change-Ready!

2. Being Change Ready!

Every goal we have ever reached has been over time as we have taken one step and then another. For many of us, we have most often done this unconsciously and out of need rather than want. When there is an urgent or pressing need our ability to persevere and be resilient is usually not a problem. It’s when it is more of a want without immediate consequences where we have our bigger challenges of maintaining conscious discipline.

Being Change-Ready requires that we apply conscious discipline to do 2 things over and over again to ensure traction & momentum forward:

a. Facilitate Progress
b. Facilitate Aligned Action

When we facilitate progress we are not just acknowledging that an action is required, we are in fact acting on a step forward. It can be one step or several that creates some traction toward our goal. So schedule gym time in your calendar with a note on whether today is a cardio or weight day and ensure you have enough time to get there and enjoy the experience. Or perhaps, print out your resume and start reading it over with a pen, circling those areas you know need updating and adjustment before you can start some serious networking conversations. These small steps create the energy of forward momentum. It is YOU, however, that must initiate the facilitation of progress with the first step and commit to practice taking these first steps everyday continuously!

When we facilitate aligned action we are setting up our new system to enable success or disable obstacles that can derail us. So clean out the refrigerator and pantry before your new dieting approach is scheduled to start, don’t schedule networking events when you would normally go to the gym and let others know what your goals are so they can be supportive of you vs. sabotaging you unconsciously!

Make 2017 a year of being Change-Ready! All goals can be achieved when we are willing, able and ready to “do the work” by facilitating progress and aligned action on a daily basis! Good luck this year!

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HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH, SIMPLE LIVING, WELLNESS

25 Things To Do In 2017

1. Eat less.
2. Be more active.
3. Read more.
4. Listen intentionally.
5. Stretch more.
6. Slow down and breathe.
7. Criticize less.
8. Encourage more.
9. Buy less.
10. Donate more.
11. Stop multitasking.
12. Save more money.
13. Stop lying.
14. Communicate clearly what you believe in.
15. Trust more.
16. Write/journal more (even to yourself).
17. Make something.
18. Pay more attention to the world around you.
19. Stop judging.
20. Eliminate regret.
21. Take pride in everything.
22. Value what you have.
23. Prepare better.
24. Enjoy right now.
25. Smile more.

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HUMANITY, LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH

Halley Bock: Living life from the inside out

Joined on the show today by Halley Bock, the founder of Life, Incorporated, and organization that fosters mindful connection in all areas of life as the means to experience a wholehearted, fulfilling, and joyful life. She is also the author Life Incorporated: A Practical Guide to Wholehearted Living.

Discussion guide from my conversation with Halley Bock:

Halley Bock1. Key insights learned from coaching executives. And what exactly is wholehearted living?

2. The reasons behind why living in a hyper-connected world have resulted in a move disconnected self than ever before.

3. Cultivating long-lasting, deep contentment vs. short-lived bursts of momentary gratification.

4. “Live life from the inside out.” An important way to experience happiness and fulfillment is to first create it within ourselves.

5. Ways to rediscover our own self-worth, and tools to understand what makes us tick.

Find Halley Bock’s book here:

About Halley Bock:

Halley is the founder and CEO of Life, Incorporated–an organization that fosters mindful connection in all areas of life as the means to experience a wholehearted, fulfilling, and joyful life. Previously, Bock spent over a decade as a shareholder and CEO of a successful training and development company, where she both worked on and studied human dynamics and relationships and their impact on business and individual success. The focus of her company was on developing the art and skill of conversation as the vehicle for creating connection with teams, employees, leaders, and individuals, as well as transforming individual and collective results.

Based out of Seattle, Washington, Bock now spends her time writing, teaching, and leading her organization while also coaching executives. As a prominent thought leader, Bock has spoken to leaders and audiences across the globe on the topics of relationships, connection, culture, management, and fulfillment. She has also been relied on by substantial media outlets for her expertise. In addition, Bock serves on the boards of several nonprofits and can often be found exploring the trails with her wife and two children.

Halley Bock

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HUMANITY, LIFESTYLE, WELLNESS

The Impact Continues: I was Drugged

The Impact

Last spring, I wrote about being drugged by a restaurant manager while on a business trip to Dallas. Coupled with the sudden and unexpected ending of my marriage, my recovery from that incident has been slow and methodical. I have taken the time I needed to “get well,” if you will. Multiple doctor’s visits, lab tests, dietary and exercise changes, long road trips (road therapy), as well as addressing a new-found mental stress has been imperative to my recovery.

I wish I could say that this was the first time I had been drugged, it was not – but it has become the one that mattered, the one that scared me, the one where I was almost raped. Perhaps it is because I am more aware of the danger, or because of my age, or simply because my three daughters are the ages where this could easily happen to one of them. Or maybe it is because I want my son to be supportive of women’s issues and really understand why women are afraid, concerned, and becoming more vocal.

I Will NOT Forget Being Drugged

I won’t forget. Mostly because I cannot, but also because there is now a calling before me – one I did not want. I really didn’t want it, but I cannot remove the impact, anymore than I can remove the incident. It has taken me a week to even write about the latest. Writing about my life is much like giving birth, for it is painful, it is embarrassing, it is necessary. The birthing is a required step.
So here it is.

The Latest

Last week, I attended a book release party for a local new author: his first book filled with his experiences and the photographs he had taken. A novice author, an amateur photographer putting his experiences of traveling 15,000 miles on 2,500 paddle outs on a Stand-Up Paddleboard. Right up my alley, I have a couple Stand-up Boards and I love the ocean as a swimmer, boogie boarder, diver, snorkeler, observer, and wannabe surfer. I wanted to be a part of this event. I purchased a book and had my book signed by the Author/ Paddle Boarder, Rich German and asked if he’d be a guest on my podcast after the new year. Earlier in the evening, I had watched my drink made, as has become my practice, and proceeded to make some new friends, refreshed current relationships, and ended my evening with an excitement about my expanded local network.

I proceeded to my car, where I sat for a moment and texted a friend. While I sat there, I watched, what appeared to be, two very drunk women try to walk up the inclined street where I was parked; they had just left the same event where I had been. One of them kept falling down. My selfish brain told me to ignore them and drive away – as I had plans for the evening. But my heart (and ultimately my head) would not let me. I got out of my car and walked over to where they were resting on someone else’s vehicle, one of them barely able to hold her head up. I asked if they were alright and if I could give them a ride home. I could not let them get in their own car or an Uber in their condition. I could not drive away because when I had been drugged, a good friend and extended network had taken care of me. I needed to help them – I needed to make sure they were safe.

They were rightfully leery

Who is this stranger wanting to help us? Why do you want to help us? Are you an Uber driver? Is this your job? and…, Are you an angel?

I told them my name several times, as they asked several times, I assured them I only wanted to make sure they made it home, safe and sound. One lived in the city immediately north of Laguna Beach (where we were) and the other lived in the city immediately south – no where near each other, and not close by, at all. Fearing they would pass out, I asked for their addresses first thing. After a very eventful drive, one that included one of them throwing up all over my front seat and the other accusing me of kidnapping several times, I was able to get them both to their front doors. The discovery of a missing wallet just before I dropped the second lady off prompted me to return to the restaurant where the event had been held and search everywhere for the lost wallet – leaving my name and phone number at the front desk; I even searched the street where I had found them, but to no avail.
I worried they would think I had stolen the wallet.

I didn’t care that there was throw up all over my car. I didn’t care that I’d had to talk the woman in the back seat down from her metaphorical ledge. I didn’t care that this had taken 1.5 hours out of my night. I only cared that they had made it home.

I couldn’t stop thinking about them and the next morning, I called the one whose phone number I had. She’d had a rough night, as had her friend and they had come to the conclusion that they had been drugged. They had been drugged. They think they had picked up a drink that had not belonged to them. I told her about my drugging and cautioned her to never turn her back on a drink or consume anything with which that was unfamiliar or a drink she had not seen poured.

Like me – like my incident, they were ladies out for an evening together – out to have fun, at a place they knew.

I sobbed.

I cried that night as I drove away from the restaurant following my search. I cried again when I hung up the phone the next morning. I do not want this to be my calling. But I don’t think I would have been able to sleep that night or lived with myself – period – had I driven away.

Taking Care of Each Other

We must. We need each other. Yes, there is evil out there – but there is more good than evil.

Be the good. 

INCUBATOR, LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH, WELLNESS

Matteo Franceschetti: Discover a better way to sleep

Joined on intrepidLIFESTYLE today by Matteo Franceschetti, co-founder and CEO of Eight Sleep. Learn more about Eight Sleep here!

What is Eight Sleep? A sensored mattress cover designed to personalize and improve sleep for every body. Eight senses and analyzes over 15 factors from your sleep patterns and bedroom environment, to determine the conditions that help you rest your best.

Discussion guide from my conversation with Matteo Franceschetti:

Matteo Franceschetti1. How can technology help people sleep better and live healthier lives?

2. How is Eight guiding people to sleep the right number of hours?

3. How can consumers benefit from tracking their sleep?

4. What does the scientific community think of the science of sleep tracking?

5. Have you discovered any unique trends on how sleep impacts your users wellbeing?

About Matteo Franceschetti:

Matteo is the Co-Founder and CEO of Eight, a proprietary technology reinventing the way people sleep. Eight is backed by some of the best venture capitalist in Silicon valley including Y Combinator (YC S15) and StartX, Stanford University’s accelerator.

Prior to Eight, Matteo co-founded and led as Co-Ceo two clean-tech companies – GIR in the US (acquired by Coronal Management, a Panasonic company) and Global Investment in Europe (acquired by Relight).

Matteo is a Co-Chair at FWD.us and has been a Mentor at Techstars, Microsoft Bizpark and the NYU Summer Launchpad Program. He continues to actively mentor and invest in early stage startups in the tech space.

Matteo graduated magna cum laude with a Law degree from University of Ferrara, and was a member of the Italian Bar Association while working as a lawyer in the finance practice of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Allen & Overy, both part of the Magic Circle of British’s elite law firms.

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AUTHORS, BUSINESS, HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH, SALES, WELLNESS

Stephan Aarstol: Shifting to a five-hour workday, and changing your life forever!

Joined in the house today by Stephan Aarstol, the CEO of Tower Paddle Boards, and the author of The Five-Hour Workday: Live Differently, Unlock Productivity, and Find Happiness.

Discussion guide from my conversation with Stephan Aarstol:

Stephan Aarstol1. What’s wrong with the current eight-hour work day and 40-hour work week.

2. What prompted him to move his company to a five-hour workday.

3. How a shorter work day makes businesses more profitable and productive and employees happier, healthier and more loyal.

4. Steps to implement a five-hour work-day at your company, and how to test risk free!

5. How winning on ABCs Shark Tank changed his life.

6. The importance of the pursuit of happiness.

Find Stephan Aarstol’s book here:

About Stephan Aarstol:

Stephan Aarstol is the CEO and founder of Tower Paddle Boards, an online, manufacturer-direct brand in the stand up paddle boarding industry. With a three-year growth rate of 1,853 percent, Tower was named the Fastest Growing Company in San Diego by the San Diego Business Journal, and was featured in the Inc.’s 2015 500 List of America’s Fastest Growing Companies.

After appearing on ABC’s Shark Tank and securing an investment from Mark Cuban, Aarstol was featured by People Magazine as one of “Shark Tank’s Biggest Winners.” Aarstol’s company quickly became one of Mark Cuban’s best-performing investments from the popular show, and in early 2016, ABC returned to feature Tower Paddle Boards in a nationally televised episode, “Beyond the Tank.”

Tower began as a disruptive, direct-to-consumer stand up paddle board company, and has since evolved into a more holistic beach-lifestyle company. Today, Tower offers a growing array of beach-lifestyle products, sold and shipped directly to consumers at a fraction of traditional retail prices. Tower’s successful brand extensions include a beach-lifestyle magazine, Tower Magazine, a sunglass company at SunglassesByTower.com, and a direct-to-consumer surf- and beach-lifestyle company at TowerMade.com.

Aarstol’s objective is to build Tower into the world’s premiere beach-lifestyle brand, and he currently has plans to extend the Tower brand into many additional business units.

As an entrepreneurial-thought leader and online-marketing expert, Aarstol’s insights have been published in the Washington Post, Inc., Forbes, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Mashable, and many other prominent business publications.

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