Just Life

There’s so much to just randomly observe and comment from a fresh perspective. I never want to stop looking with these eyes.

~See Lemons Just Live

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Designing Your Life

seelemonsonline : February 17, 2017 4:03 pm : Just Life

Random Observation/Comment #573: It’s never too late to redesign your life.

Ever since I’ve started drawing every night (currently at a 200+ day streak), I’ve started doodling more random infographics about life. This one came to me when I was thinking about a community hub model to connect people to their interests. I wanted to map what people need for a well-rounded happy life.

What is this?

Starting on the top left quadrant, this is one of my biggest drivers: self improvement. As long as we’re smarter every day, learn from our mistakes, and set realistic challenges for the physical and mental space, we’re on the right path. You can optionally add spiritual in here for those who seek to be one with everything. I find physical and mental challenges allow one to continuously learn and stay healthy.

On the bottom left, this is self improvement as well, but towards a social construct with the purpose of contributing your special strengths into a greater vision. That vision could be one aligned to a company, your own entrepreneurship, or a cause. I measure my happiness at work by making sure that I’m good at what  I do, and that I’m doing what only I have special skills to do. These skills can always improve and grow from novice to mastery.

On the top right, this is your community (career, sports, family, etc) and connectivity into the world. I believe these relationships are your immediate reach of influence and where you call home. It’s important to foster the well-being and growth of this community because these people are the ones you love and can’t see your life without.

On the bottom right, this is the broader view – a place where you can return your blessings and teach to those who will be a part of the generation to change the world. The world is often a crappy and scary place, but I believe the majority of people are good. I always recommend helping and giving back where you can.

The left and right hemispheres may seem like they imply what you do and do not have control over, but the key here is that any step you take in any of these quadrants is significant to bettering humanity.

So What?

There are tangible action items for improving and expanding all of these aspects of your life. I often plan my vision, desires, and goals around where I want to improve and grow in these areas. The bottom right side is likely the one people will have the least examples, but I firmly believe sharing and giving back what you learn is how this world can get better. For those who already volunteer regularly: #keepthatshitup.

~See Lemons Design His Life

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Happiness Jar

seelemonsonline : January 8, 2017 9:58 pm : Just Life

Random Observation/Comment #569: You don’t need a reason to feel great.

 

I loved fireflies growing up. Whenever I visited Pennsylvania, I’d grab a mason jar and run around the meadows with my brother catching them. Because the flickering green made me happy, I always thought I had bottled happiness.

I learned a valuable lesson that first summer: happiness needs air holes.

Fast forward to early 2016, my wife learned about the happiness jar project when listening to the Another Round podcast. We had recently gotten married, I was nervous about starting a new job, and we just moved to a new place. A little skeptically, I asked, “so what is it?”

She explained the project. Full details here, but essentially when you experience a moment of happiness, you log it on a piece of paper, fold it up, and put it into a jar. At the end of the year, you open the jar and read all the happy memories. An ideal container is something large and preferably translucent so you can see the happiness fill it up.

In response to relationship projects, my inner Ackbar exclaimed, “It’s a trap!” But, of course, I caved. It sounded kinda cool, plus have you ever known me to turn down a side project?

On one of our I-don’t-know-what-number-because-ive-blocked-it-out-my-mind trips to Ikea, we spotted the perfect jar. She already bought some colorful construction paper at a local 99¢ store. During a much needed break from furniture assembly, we pre-cut the paper and opted for a minimal design, an arched label, “Happiness Jar.”

Our rules:

  1. Dates optional but preferred
  2. It can be anything momentous like a big trip to a funny situation. #allthefeels.
  3. No peeking until the end of the year

What did we write?

For me, I focused on inside jokes within the trips and large successes with TEDxBushwick and conferences. My wife had similar accomplishment-based notes, but also general thankfulness for mentors and friends through tough times.

What did we learn?

We decided to keep it clearly displayed on a shelf in our living room. It was a nice signal to recognize these moments as they occurred. Surprisingly, just seeing the jar could make one of us smile when we felt down.

When we opened it on New Year’s Eve and read each story, we had never been happier and never more in love with each other. We are continuing the tradition. I was again reminded that it’s possible to bottle happiness – airholes not always necessary.

~See Lemons Happy

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Reflecting on 2016

seelemonsonline : December 31, 2016 8:00 am : Just Life

Random Observation/Comment #568: Have compassion and perspective. If you’re kind and have a view that keeps humor in mind, I think things will be just fine.

In 2016, I turned 30:

  • Traveled to: Bermuda, Naples Florida, St Petersburg Florida (for Niki/Tomas wedding), Toronto, Maine, Switzerland, South Africa, Oregon, Redwoods, Washington, Alaska (cruise), London, Maryland, Tokyo, Singapore, and Sydney.
  • Triumphantly: Moved into a new apartment with my dream view, successfully completed TEDxBushwick, judged for idiotarod, joined R3 as an associate director, got promoted at R3 to a director,  created micro-resolutions, rode the Rodelbahn, presented Corda as the NY dev relations, hiked through ape cave, saw Crater Lake national park, saw the redwoods, saw a few whales fluke, saw a bear in person 10 ft away, saw an Alaskan glacier, attended a fun destination wedding (niki & tomas), attended a travel/beer themed wedding (jen & grey), attended an awesome cipriani wedding (crystal & riley), attended an Indian ceremony wedding #aksans2016, camped overnight on a beautiful lake, rode a train around a few mountains, checked off Australia!, and presented at a workshop in a fintech festival
  • Ate/Drank: Fish chowda, dark and stormy’s, rum swizzles, Bermudan lobsters, amazing lobstah rolls of Maine, fondue, meat volcano, bitch please biscuits and gravy, poke bowl from a real Hawaiian place, Alaskan salmon on the grill
  • Read/Listened to: The Long Earth, The Long War, The Long Mars, Dark Matter, Welcome to Nightvale, and A whole bunch of podcasts. So many that I needed to write a list of 30 podcasts
  • Saw: The Humans, Bruccceeeee, Modern Love Live, (Plus tons of awesome movies at Alamo Drafthouse that just opened across the street)
  • Completed: Built a meteorjs application, wrote Jasper for CBDC in Ethereum dApp, Wanessa Happiness jar, 30 day drawing challenge (and continued drawing journal), caught a lot of pokemon in the craze (but then stopped because it killed my battery), 30 days of mealpass, Completed 100 Actions of The Day (#AoTD part 1 and part 2), and crushed an embarrassingly large number of Candy Crush levels (I’m almost at level 900).

2016 was a pretty shitty year for the rest of the world with the death of legends (notably: Prince, Bowie, Ali, George Michael, and John Glen – full list) and exposures of general public distrust through elections. I’ve thought a lot about education and careers this past year mainly because of my career switch into something I find fascinating with a group of extremely motivated and brilliant people.

However, most people are not so lucky. I listened to a Mike Rowe (from Dirty Jobs) podcast recently and he noted the 4 main steps to looking for a career:

  1. Look around and see where people are headed, and then go in the opposite direction
  2. Embrace all the things that scare you
  3. Become really good at that thing
  4. Figure out a way to love what you do

And he said that most millennials looking for jobs now have these steps backwards/upside down because they want to do what the love right away without the hardship. For me, I think the most important thing about opportunities and “luck” is that it only happens when you keep moving and searching. For those who are stuck at any of those above phases – keep looking and figure out how to make it happen.

In 2017, I’m looking forward to:

  • Travels: Likely a lot more business travel to San Francisco, London, and Asia.
  • Challenges: Parenting (whenever this happens, I’m already thinking about prepping for it), growing a community of strong leaders and continue herding cats during projects, Keeping up with technology (never stop learning), breaking bad habits and creating more productive ones
  • Adolescent Career: Fostering collaboration without feeling the need to do absolutely everything

~See Lemons Look Forward to 2017

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Favorite Blogposts of 2016

seelemonsonline : December 29, 2016 8:00 am : Just Life

Random Observation/Comment #567: I may have actually written more internal work-related posts than public ones this year (which means I’m really liking what I’m doing).

It’s been a slow year of writing blogposts mostly because of the new role. As I spend the last quiet week before things get crazy in 2017, here are my favorite blogposts of 2016:

Turning 30

 

30 Day Drawing Journal Challenge

 

Achievements of All Types

30 Milestone Questions

30 Blockchain Buzzwords

 

Life Lessons from Corporate

 

30 Microresolutions

~See Lemons Blog in 2016

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Favorite Photos of 2016

seelemonsonline : December 27, 2016 1:20 pm : Just Life

Random Observation/Comment #566: Get addicted to creating, sharing, and putting good use to content. It’s so much more rewarding than simply absorbing it.

Another year of incredible changing times. I chose the photos above as my favorite because it represents the teamwork and hard work it takes to move the needle. I continue to see some pretty incredible sights and hope these are continuously attained. Let’s keep dreaming.

~See Lemons Photograph 2016

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Turning 30

seelemonsonline : December 23, 2016 11:37 pm : Just Life

Random Observation/Comment #565: “It’s all downhill from here…” ~All my friends


My 20’s was basically a test of goals, time, and relationship management.

  • Goals management is your mission, vision, and true North towards your ideals of success.
  • Time management is the organization and prioritization necessary for executing and delivering those goals.
  • Relationship management is making the connections and building a community in order to share what you’ve learned.

For keeping my goals inline, I learned from a toastmasters international speech by Dana LaMon from 2010 that outlined the desires and drivers in my life. I wrote my own version and reflected on it yearly.

For making sure I actually accomplished what I set out to, I stuck to the bigger perspective and the little things. We often say we don’t have time to do things, but what we’re really doing is being lazy and not taking our own tasks seriously. Most people spend their entire first 20 years being told what to do, so coming up with your own homework assignments and drive is even more important than doing the work yourself. I enjoyed assigning myself responsibilities and taking charge of them.

To foster relationship growth, I trusted in people’s good nature and chose the people I spend my most time with very carefully. We are ultimately the combination of our 8 closest people, so hopefully they’re engaging, honest, and open-minded. For business, I also learned the value of a meaningful follow up.

I’m thankful and grateful for incredible role models, friendly community support, and the means to fulfill my ambitions. It’s all possible because my parents provided me with a strong foundation of health, deductive reasoning, and moral values.

Thank you, Mom and Dad. I love you both and you are still teaching me life lessons.

A Special Thank You to my wife. Thank you for giving me the best birthday present and putting up with my loud sneezes.

So How did I do?

Not to gloat, but Pretty damn proud of myself. My 30 under 30 and the accompanied blogposts are all updated with their results and lessons learned. I might have missed the mark on some languages and plane flying, but I feel mighty accomplished with this blog, my book, and the stories I tell daily about these adventures.

What would I do differently?

When I reflected on my quarter life crisis, I was a bit of a drama queen. These age numbers and expectations were fairly arbitrary and generally driven on fear of wasting a blessing. I think I’d relax a bit more and worked on the things I felt really inspired by. I wish I created my own YouTube channel when PhillyD did and started a community of people who would listen.

What’s next?

There’s still much personal growth in my life, but I think I’ve ignored a key puzzle piece with 1) community and 2) asking for help. There’s an innate sense of altruism that gets muddied with business and vested interests. I think humility in asking for joint collaboration will be the crux of my upcoming challenges. I clearly need a challenge, so challenge accepted.

Whether it be leading a team to success or eventually being a loving father, I am excited to continue on this journey – wherever it will take me – wherever it will take us.

~See Lemons Turn 30

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30 Day Drawing Journal Challenge

seelemonsonline : October 27, 2016 8:00 am : 30 Day challenges, Just Life, list of 30

Random Observation/Comment #562: I almost forgot the joy of just sitting down with a pen and drawing what’s on my mind – I highly recommend this challenge.

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Why this Challenge?

I can draw one good line at a time, gauge perspectives, scale sizes well, and be patient with results. However, one of my all time goals is to be able to sit at a bar and draw something amazing on a napkin on the spot. I want someone to give me a subject and story, and then I can draw them a scene from it. Why? Because it’s cool and it’s on my 30 before 30. Why not?

What did you Draw?

The way I approached this challenge was less structured than my others. I first randomly started from watching Planet Earth with hump back whales. I decided to draw one in a cartoon form with the closest writing utensil at reach (a ball point pen).

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The result wasn’t terrible, but I found value in 1) not copying from an existing drawing, 2) using a permanent and easily-bleeding writing utensil, and 3) keeping a simple creative structure.

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My next drawing was of Henry (of course), but I started adding the environment and a few accessories to the piece. This lead me to asking Vinessa for advice on what to draw next. A koala bear dancing ballet in a tutu:

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The pattern I liked in this challenges evolution was setting a structure:

  • Animal
  • With accessory
  • Wearing special outfit
  • In environment
  • Related to something from that day

Here’s a few samples:

From Zurich’s street parade, I drew a lion DJing:

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From a wine festival, I drew a seahorse scene drinking a glass of wine:

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From Vinessa, I drew a karrot karaoke knight:

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From Crater Lake National Park, a Shell-fie

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From watching Zootopia on the plane and starting the roadtrip, a sloth driving a racecar:

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One of my personal favorites, a flamingo on a tightrope:

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From the cruise’s first night, a polar bear cooking tepanyaki:

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This, too, didn’t last very long because I ran out of animals I knew how to draw. Instead, it involved into something more or less random about the day. I’d draw something from a scene or funny part, and it always took a path of its own.  Ever since August 8th, I’ve been drawing on a daily basis and really enjoying myself.

Here’s a few more notable ones:

From the cruise’s honeymoon package of chocolate covered Strawberries:

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From Alaska, a king crab eating a soldier:

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From drinking all day at the wine tasting:

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From flying to Heathrow after a long honeymoon trip:

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From the first presidential debate:

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From our 1 year anniversary:

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From random nights and knitting hobbies:

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From our secret blockchain project:

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From a random fun weekend:

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And my personal favorite, when Vinessa got a haircut and dyed her hair black:

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From 30 day challenge to 90+ day adventure onward!

 

 

What’s Next?

I really love this as a part of my habits, and specifically as a wind down mechanism for going to bed early. It keeps devices out of the bedroom and gives me more creativity than just writing. On my ideal night, I’d be in bed by 10:45PM with my pen and notebook to sketch something from the day. This has definitely continued and become part of my day! Maybe I’ll even have a separate blog section, blogpost, or instagram feed for these.

I highly recommend this challege to anyone and everyone. Even if you can’t draw, you only get better when you try.

~See Lemons Love Drawing

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[Travel Advice] Pacific Northwest roadtrip

seelemonsonline : September 13, 2016 9:00 am : Just Life, Travel

Random Observation/Comment #560: Honeymoon Roadtrip was the best choice ever. A lot of car tunes, audiobooks, podcasts, and funny discussions that brought us closer.

see lemons love bridges

Things Pacific Northwest Does Well

  • Pure nature bliss – National parks are sprinkled throughout this magical place.
  • Clouds – When you get the non-rainy ones, they’re really something #cloudporn
  • Hospitality – Super friendly people with a lot of smiles. It was easy to strike up a conversation. People were eager to share their favorite trails or places to eat.
  • Scenic byways – The 101 drive was mind blowing. Driving through national parks is a new favorite tourist activity.
  • Little to no traffic and great parking – Despite visiting during peak season, there were no issues with parking (even in Portland).
  • Local IPAs – Consistently a great choice. A must for IPA lovers.
  • Pour over coffees –  These are the real deal coffee shops that brew coffee for the single serving. Stumptown is based here and didn’t disappoint.
  • Doughnuts – What Oregon lacks in bagels, they make up for in doughnuts (mini doughnuts are a must)
  • Drive through coffee spots – Ubiquitous across the Oregon “highways.”  They are all so sloooow. Undeniably slower than regular coffee places. Not sure how they deal with rush hour. Bonus points for the cute themes and accessibility. Vinessa accidentally chose a bikini themed one …awkward.
  • Pinot Noir – The climate of Willamette Valley makes for delicious grapes and flourishes beautifully. These rival their more famous California neighbors in Sonoma.

Things Pacific Northwest Can Improve

  • Diversity – We noticed the majority of people we came across were either Asian or white, and found ourselves missing the diversity from back home.
  • Mixed food scenes – Perhaps we had too high of expectations, but we found the average place in Oregon was meh and the good places were swarming with lines. Oregon wine country and Seattle saved the day.
  • Homeless population in Portland –  This is by no means singular to Oregon, but was particularly noticeable in Portland. Heartbreaking.
  • Employment – Job opportunities appear to be very limited (unless you want to sell yoga accessories).

So, how does the Pacific Northwest stack up?  We loved the laid back energy and flannel. If it didn’t freeze over the winter, we’d consider moving here.

Our Roadtrip Approach

Roadtrips are fun because the road becomes your guide. You are led by your adventure. We only booked 3 nights of our 8:

  • night of arrival near the Portland airport,
  • Abbey Road Farmhouse for our wine excursion, and
  • night in Seattle before the cruise.

Everything else was basically picking random Airbnbs the morning of.  Most Airbnbs were happy to rent on a weekday and had a fairly self-sustaining method of picking up and dropping off keys. Landmarks were mainly discovered by asking the wait staff at restaurants. It worked out pretty well. Plus, it keeps things spontaneous.

We started driving east to Mount Hood, then south to Crater Lake National Park/Bend, next to the Redwoods, then north up 101 to Willamette Valley, with the final leg towards Washington through Mount St. Helens. Whew

Our Itinerary

Friday – The necessary day

Overnight at an airport hotel

Saturday – Let’s be tourists in Portland for a day. 

Stumptown Coffee Roasters – Conveniently located near Voodoo Doughnuts. Grabbed a cup to keep us company on line. It is also served pretty much everywhere.

see lemons stumptown

Voodoo Doughnuts – Informing Oregonians of our visit immediately prompted eye rolls but this staple is a cute introduction to the doughnut scene.

see lemons voodoo

Walked to Saturday market by the water front – We lucked out with perfect weather so had fun checking out the local vendor scene.

International Rose Test Garden (free) and Portland Japanese Garden (about $10) – So beautiful you may confuse the parking lot as part of the gardens.

see lemons flowers

Drove to Multnomah Falls and then hiked to the top through the switchbacks – This is a major hike for a limited view of the falls.

see lemons falls

Drove to our Airbnb, a house on a stick

house on a stick

Saw the sunset from the top (note that you can drive here and you don’t need to hike up like we did)

see lemons sunset

Baan-Thai – Decent local Thai place

Wine and relaxing

Sunday – Mount Hood and Sheepwagon, aka, Clemens and Vinessa barely escape being attached by evil deer 

Woke up to pink sunrise

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Drove from South Portland to Breakfast halfway by Trout

Mount Hood hike

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Timberline Lodge – Hit the bar for a drink and lunch

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Shaniko ghost town – The ice cream shop is still open and decent. Grab a cone and explore.

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Crazy drive in the middle of nowhere

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Dinner in The Porch (Sisters, OR) – great sweet potato strips like bacon

Stayed near Sisters in a sheepwagon – a bit too remote for us

sheepwagon

Monday – Crater Lake National Park day

Breakfast at the Breakfast Club in Bend – Get your dose of Portland pancakes

Crater Lake National Park – Amazing park. Wish we could have spent even more time there.

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Random stops along the East Rim

crater lake national park

Stayed in Crater Lake area by Chiloquin at an A-frame house with some great VHS movies

A frame house

Tuesday – Beautiful 101 drive and Redwood National Park

Breakfast on the road

Drive to the Redwoods

cow family

Stout Grove trailhead for Redwoods

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Beautiful beach stops

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Secret Beach – You can only walk out during low tide

beautiful beach

Got Chinese take-out (because why not?)

Stayed in Eugene in a tiny house / studio cottage in great part of town

Wednesday – Continuing our drive through national forests. Pregaming for wine tour day. 

Wake up to some flowers and a great little studio in the backyard

Breakfast at Studio One cafe – Get your fill of Oregon pancakes

Drive towards Florence to get to the 101

Drive through Heceta Head Lighthouse

beach houses

Brief stop at Flounder Inn Tavern

Drive through national forest towards McMinnville

Left Coast Cellars tasting – white pinot. On Sundays they serve pizza.

R Stuart & Co Wine Bar – Elegant and cozy

Thistle – Farm-to-fork goodness and drink some cocktails

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Staying near Carlton in a fairly large house next to the farm – we loved the old school record player

Thursday – Oregon Wine Tour

Breakfast at Community Plate

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Wine tour with Oregon Wine Tours – Ron was a great guide who taught us so much about Oregon pinot

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WillaKenzie Estate – great pinot noir

Lemelson Vineyards – decent grapes

Lunch at Subterra

Owen Roe – great selections and knowledge staff

Caravan Coffee – pour over specialty

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Lenne great wine and chat with Rob

Stayed at Abbey Road Farmhouse BNB – yes, those are old silos converted to bedroom suites

abbey road farmhouse

Dinner at Agrivino – Farm-to-table Italian food paired with Italian wine

Friday – Towards Washington with a stop in Ape Cave

Bed and breakfast delicious breakfast

Drive through Oregon into Washington

Portland for Pips Original Doughnuts – Best mini-doughnuts ever. Also try the Chai.

pips donuts

Ape Cave – Spooky but worth it. For $5, rent an old school lamp at the visitor center.

ape caves

Chinese restaurant in Kalama (because someone said this was the best place in town) – it may have been, but Clemens is a Chinese restaurant snob.

Drive to Olympia staying in University Place Airbnb – one of the best Airbnbs we’ve stayed in (below is the view from our room)

airbnb room

Saturday – Last day of roadtrip

Brunch in Tacoma at Renaissance Cafe

Drive to Seattle – fairly easy since we were staying an hour away

Explore Seattle walking around Pike Place – tried to avoid the crowd

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Seattle Great Wheel – touristy, but not a bad way to spend an hour

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Antique stores – a few places to poke around while walking towards the public market

Public market flowers – $5 is a pretty good deal. Happy anniversary!

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Lunch at Hudson – a little place out of the way, but we had a car

Visited a few malls to buy stuff

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Dinner at the Cheesecake Factory – It was that or wait over 2 hours somewhere else. That being said, super tasty comfort food is always a roadtrip special meal.  

Stayed in Bellevue coast hotel – we would have rather stay closer to the city, but this worked out pretty well.

Sunday – #cruiselife

Say goodbye to our car, Buckley.

Walk around pier 66

Board cruise

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Sunday (1 week later) – #FatCruiseLife

Disembark cruise 10lbs heavier 🙁

Drop off bags at Concierge of the cruise ($3 per piece up to 3:30pm) – if you go to the airport and drop it off to come back for a full day, it would have been $19 for 2 hours. Airport robbery.

Biscuit Bitch – get the “gritty scrambled cheesy bitch” – nom nom nom

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Chihuly Garden & Glass – Buy a package ticket to save wait time at the Space Needle. All the reviews say to go here for a reason. A great place for a date, if you ask me.

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Seattle Needle – A bit expensive for a hit/miss view, but have fun at the top with their fancy timelapse screens that records photos every 10 minutes of every day.

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Hawaiian cultural week festival

Drink at Cyclops

Hawaiian lunch at ‘Ohana – Eat all the Poke and Spam Masubi

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Bought coffee and beans at Cherry Street Coffee House

Walk around and enjoy the rare sunny Seattle afternoon

Arrive to airport early to write this blogpost

~See Lemons Love Roadtripping Honeymoon with Vnessawithaneye

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Achievements of All Types

seelemonsonline : August 20, 2016 10:00 am : Early Career, Just Life

Random Observation/Comment #559: Work towards something bigger, something broader, and something that involves more people. Community makes things better and stronger.

achievements

Achievements sometimes happen without planning, but sometimes they need a bit of intention and definition.  I’ve been sneaking “what is your greatest personal accomplishment?” into conversations in order to get a sense of what people are most proud of about their hard work. After a bit of analysis and mapping, I’ve found a few interesting bits.

Medium:

  • Portfolio – Combination of bests
  • Competition – Some type of a comparison of head-to-head where you can be recognized for being better and winning something
  • Milestone – This includes packaged material of completed work like a book or album
  • Hobby to money maker / entrepreneurship – Converting something that you enjoy doing into a service or product someone else wants to purchase.
  • Learning a new skill – Going out of one’s comfort zone and learning something because it’s cool is a huge accomplishment. Don’t knock it until you try it.
  • Mastering a skill – Being able to do this one thing relatively better than the average person because you’ve spent the time trying
  • Experiences – Collection of these under a theme could be considered an achievement that requires dedication and work
  • Giving of life – Nourishing a growing /living thing is pretty incredible

The Medium of your achievement provides you with some guidance of starting or continuing your journey. Here are a few examples following those mediums.

Examples:

  • Drawing book – A continual project of drawing things and improvement
  • Blog – Series of posts about a subject that accumulates into your brand of opinions. This can be career related on your linked in posts or just a separate site
  • Book – One subject from different angles with a structure that best expresses those ideas
  • Screenplay – A manuscript of ideas put together with creative writing
  • Music – Mashing together some songs or recording yourself singing a song
  • Physical – Yoga for a year or becoming an instructor. Running a marathon or completing a physical challenge of sorts
  • Sports – Being able to play something above normal and having fun in the meantime. Playing with friends and making friends in the process
  • Photography – Putting together a portfolio of your best work or getting to the point where you can make money by selling a photo
  • Starting a company – Structure of creating a service someone else wants and automating the operations so it can be sustainable and strategic
  • 30 day challenge – Complete an epic one that finishes all your side projects or starts new ones
  • Coding – Building an app or website isn’t that difficult. I’m sure you can follow a few tutorials and do this within a few months. Apps are great because you can use them for yourself
  • Travel to x countries or y continents – I find this one to be the most fun because it involves a hobby that most people take for granted. Leaving one’s home and stepping into a new culture is usually very difficult. Hopefully these travels contribute to other achievements like photos or blogging.
  • Collection of stamps – I know some people are very proud of attaining rare pieces which take a lot of work and research.
  • Organizing an epic event – “I threw a 50th anniversary party for my parents in Croatia” could be a really incredible accomplishment showing commitment, thoughtfulness, and dedication towards others.

These examples are fairly broad, but you can imagine your own relevant milestones or activities you wish you could recognize as an accomplishment.

It’s important to:

  • Limit scope – don’t try to do too many things at once. It’s okay to just do one for 2 months and switch rather than 3 at a time for 6 months. Focus!
  • Temper ambitions – these things take time. Like getting a new job, there are steps towards mastering skills and building work
  • Tie it to existing things – you don’t need to start from scratch. Try to tie things to your existing skill set
  • Know it’s not for the recognition – it’s for you and a compass for how to spend your free time.
  • Understand you won’t be the best at it – and that’s okay because there’s always someone better and life is more fun when it’s not a competition.
  • You are your own motivation – I stayed away from anything that included money because most people go to work because the company pays them. Not many people get paid from not being able to run a marathon into a top 100 runner.
  • Set up your discipline and routine – motivation is fleeting, but discipline gets things done. If you are really passionate about this, you will find time to do it.
  • Appreciate the journey – put yourself into the struggle of gaining discipline and learning the lessons the hard way. You’ll build character and appreciate your reward much more.

~See Lemons Do More

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30 Days of MealPass

seelemonsonline : June 17, 2016 8:00 am : 30 Day challenges, Foodie, Just Life

Random Observation/Comment #552: I miss the simplicity of cafeterias at school. Who am I kidding – my mom packed lunch for me. Can I get on that meal plan again?

pacman food

At the end of April 2016, my colleague introduced me to Mealpass. Naturally, I signed up immediately and decided to make a 30 day challenge out of it and see how much money I saved (and at what hidden cost).

What is it?

The best way to describe it is “Classpass for food” with a few small details:

  • Only a limited number of restaurants in Midtown and Flatiron offer daily selections
  • Each participating restaurant can choose whichever dish they’d like to offer
  • You must choose/reserve your meal between 7pm and 9:30am the day before
  • Mealpass only works on weekdays for exactly 30 days (not month date to month date)

Experimental Setup

If I were to use this mealpass for what it’s worth, I needed to be regiment on booking meals and commit to eating what I booked for all weekdays. Of course, I had to collect data on this. First things first: create a Google Form that I could fill out every time I had a meal. This captured:

mealpass

Results

I used the google sheets output to help me run a few interesting statistics:

  • Initial Cost per month: $120
  • Number of Meals: 17
  • Average Price per Meal: $7.06
  • Normal Price of Meals (Sum): $161.50
  • Average Normal Price per Meal: $9.50
  • Total Savings: $41.50
  • Discount savings per Meal: 25.70%
  • Average size of Food: Medium-Big
  • Order again percentage: 58.82%
  • “Awesome” percentage: 47.06%

Does it work? Would you Recommend it?

Here’s what I liked:

  • It was pretty convenient skipping the line and picking up food
  • There were some pretty awesome deals of lunch that are normally $12+ (e.g. Reichenbach Hall and Japas 38)
  • Selection is actually pretty decent for working on 37th and Broadway (but pretty crap everywhere else)
  • Great conversation starter. I don’t mind talking about mealpass and its benefits.

Here’s what I didn’t:

  • Weekly repetitive meals. I got used to the menu and didn’t want to have anything that was too far of a walk away.
  • Ordering the day before. I lost a lot of my spontaneity, but at the same time I didn’t have to think about lunch because I already made the decision. Some good and some bad there.
  • Eating at my desk. Because it’s all food to-go, I did a lot more eating at my desk than I wanted to. Luckily, I had someone else who was getting mealpass so we went to pick up our food together.
  • Guilt of not using mealpass. This was a big one. it’s that “gym phenomenon” of getting my moneys worth and then winding up missing out anyway. I felt more guilty buying food on top of the cost I’ve paid because technically I’m already paying a flat fee per weekday I don’t use the service.
  • Less money saved from leftovers. As a person that likes to cook a lot, I think I saved the same amount of money just bringing leftovers from dinner. In fact, I may have wasted food for not bringing those leftovers to work.
  • Crappy credit card and money management. In the whole payment transaction process, I was not told how much I would be charged for this service to my credit card and I was not able to cancel without a lengthy email with the title “CANCEL MY SUBSCRIPTION” and a phone call. It was then that I realized that it’s only 30 days instead of month-to-month distinctions, so I needed to pay a separate make-up fee for the meals that went over (I did not include these meals or extra fee in this 30 day analysis)

 

Conclusion

It was worth the 30 day challenge to save a few bucks, but I did not renew (plus I do not intend to in the future). I really love eating with coworkers and choosing my food destiny with spontaneity, but I also think this might be a fun experiment for some people who live in the area.

~See Lemons Back to Regular Lunch

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