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8 Great tips for entrepreneurs to create a winning pitch

By | BUSINESS, coaches | One Comment

One of the richest men on earth, Bill Gates, says “half of Silicon Valley startups are silly.” He’s right, though perhaps a bit blunt. According to Microsoft‘s founder, plenty of great sounding one-line ideas won’t actually work.

GatesMicrosoftKindleBookCoverStay out of the “silly 50%” category by sharing your idea with a proper pitch. Whether your vision is a Facebook-size epic or a thriving brick and mortar business, it’s absolutely critical to get clear on your value proposition, competitive advantage and growth strategies. And do it early! How? Prepare a winning pitch.

“Pitching utterly focuses your mind to discover and prove the assumptions behind your idea,” says Roy Terry, a professional pitch coach based in the heart of Silicon Valley. Read on for his tips on how to pitch smarter, learn faster and build your dream.

1. Understand the goal of your pitch.

A pitch is a call to arms. You have a just cause to create a good result in the world and you’re asking others to share in your triumph. You want them to feel that it’s good for them to get involved. The goal is to motivate your audience to take action through logic plus emotion.

Emotion is more powerful than logic. Logic gets you in the door, but emotion gets you the business. The best starting point to generate emotion through your unique exciting idea. You want to pitch the “wow factor” of your idea. Ultimately it’s emotion that moves people to buy your product.

2. Use short colorful phrases to make your pitch stick.

It’s a common short-fall of many people to use long sentences. Punctuate your pitch with short sentences that carry your message. Mixing sentence styles and pace literally changes the listeners’ openness to receive your message. Remember to slow down and instead of giving explanations, make a crisp statement. Streamline your message to win converts.

3. Use a winning structure.

A pitch takes the audience from troubles to triumph. Start with a 15-second sound bite that captures the what of your company. Explain how you deliver value to specific customers. Then describe the problem.

Remember, the flip-side of every problem is an opportunity. Are there enough people who care enough about this issue? Incorporate a story to illustrate why this problem is important to a lot of people. Show how your solution solves the problem. Make it practical, unique and superior.

BearCartoonChuckIngwersenSavvyToons

4. Incorporate story.

The most fertile ground for your pitch is a personal story. Tell people how you found the vision for your business. A problem is like a bear. You want them to feel the sense of an agitated bear in the room. Your solution calms the bear or makes him go away entirely. People have lots of bears in their lives, but they don’t have the time or know-how to make them all go away.

The second fertile ground is the story of how you realized that your solution was the winner. Tell a story about how a customer expressed their enthusiasm or gratitude for your solution. Make sure each anecdote has a conflict and resolution.

5. Rehearse with adult supervision.

Your peers and best friends don’t have the best perspective. Seek a friendly senior advisor and take their advice. Ask your expert if they would repeat your pitch to someone else. It’s best to get advice from a number of people, but if you work with an pitch expert, he or she can help you quicker. As you develop the pitch, incorporate changes based on audience response.

The man in this video won the “worst ever pitch and product on BBC Dragons’ Den.”

Here are some of the common errors he made in his infamous pitch. He failed to do the following:

  • provide an overview of his business hypothesis that could have demonstrated savvy or credibility
  • convincingly demonstrate a large or serious problem
  • convey unique value and defendable advantage of the technology
  • respond flexibly to questions and criticism

6. Be approachable and willing to learn.

The purpose of your pitch is to motivate the audience, so be responsive to their viewpoint and willing to acknowledge and value their suggestions. When they view you as an expert collaborator who can help them solve their problem, calm their bears, they’re likely to engage.

7. Make your pitch a feel-good celebration.

This point relates to both structure and story-telling. You start with a serious problem and in the end, you offer a great solution. A great pitch is the ultimate feel-good story where the good guy wins in the end. Make your feel-good story extend into future solutions for more and more people.

8. Make it easy to follow up.

Offer at least two ways for people to take action. A pitch without an invitation is flat. A pitch needs to be about the future. Let them know what you want them to do. In traditional advertising this is your call to action (CTA).

Check out this vintage pitch of Steve Jobs introducing the iPod. It’s an oldie, but a goody.

In this pitch, Jobs covers all the usual persuasive points. However, since he’s speaking as a famous person with an iconic and legendary company, he can skip some steps. Nevertheless, here’s what Jobs does well:

  • SteveJobsKindleBookCoverOverview: It’s Apple introducing a new product. He explains in simple and compelling terms how the retail music device business is ripe for disruption.
  • Problem: All the existing devices have serious capacity, expense and convenience issues. There is no market leader.
  • Solution: An easy-to-use Apple MP3 device with CD quality that gives you 1000 songs in your pocket.
  • Business Model: In a consumer pitch, the business model consists of making adoption easy, addressing pragmatic questions such as: How fast will it charge up? Will it work with my computer? How much does it cost? Jobs provides smooth answers to all the basic questions.
  • Ask: The CTA is omitted because we already know it’s a sales pitch and the CTA is “buy one.”

Just in case you’re looking for a more current-day pitch, check out this winning startup pitch that Vurb did at TechCrunch DISRUPT:

 How to accomplish a big goal: Get in the right position

Roy Terry, The Primal Pitch

Roy Terry, The Primal Pitch

Roy Terry is a professional pitch coach who has served numerous startups in Silicon Valley and San Francisco. He serves both local and visiting overseas companies. He offers pitch-coaching sessions from time to time at Hanhai Investments. Roy’s clients include HP, Oracle, Talenttoday, PageyourselfPriceMatch and others. Roy is trained as a public speaker and NLP practitioner. He incorporates knowledge and practice from stage acting and hypnosis.

You probably already have a great value proposition. Now it’s time to create a pitch that motivates people to choose you. A great pitch is logic plus emotion. Call or email Roy at The Primal Pitch to build your winning pitch together.

 

ThePrimalPitchLogo

Popular restaurant rating apps are missing some stars

By | BUSINESS, Food, water | One Comment

Why did the man go up to the roof of the restaurant after complaining about a long wait for his food? Because they told him his meal was on the house. Jokes4Us

We all have our own standards and expectations on food when it comes to eating out. When you read a reviews on restaurant apps, you get a feel for how difficult it must be for restaurant owners to please everyone.

If you regularly use restaurant ratings, you’re probably familiar with some of the popular ones:

  • HappyCow is great when you’re looking for a vegan or vegetarian meal
  • OpenTable is useful if you want to make reservations online
  • TripAdvisor is helpful if you want to know how travelers rate a restaurant
  • Yelp is a quick way to find a decent restaurant nearby that’s open now
  • Urbanspoon is nice if you like to read critic and blogger reviews
  • Zagat is a the app to use when decor and service matter as much as the food

Each of these tools has its strengths and weaknesses. But they’re all weak in comparison to Dine Green when it comes to searching for a sustainable restaurant. I’m always looking for the healthiest restaurant around.
farmacy cartoon

Hippocrates said “let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” If you adhere to this philosophy, then you understand that every visit to a restaurant is just as important, if not more so, than a visit to a doctor or pharmacy.

If you knew your life depended on it, wouldn’t you say it’s worth walking the extra mile to have a healthy meal experience?

Next time you want to eat out, check Dine Green to find a restaurant making an effort to bring you a better all-around food experience while reducing its impact on the environment. The Green Restaurant Association (GRA) has developed the Dine Green certification standards and ratings which are grouped into seven major categories:

1. Sustainable Food

If you want to know if a restaurant is serving sustainable food, the best way to find out is to ask. But here are a few signs that may indicate the food is more sustainable than the average restaurant:

  • the majority of their foods come from local sources
  • their menu changes daily or from week to week since they’re serving fresh in-season foods
  • they offer plenty of vegetarian and vegan choices
  • meat portions are relatively small (by American standards)
  • they offer organic foods which tend to have less impact on the environment and better nutritional value

It doesn’t take a big staff or training team to explain these concepts to employees. Restaurants can express these values through their name, signage, website as well as their employees. But if you aren’t sure, don’t hesitate to ask. If they don’t know whether or not their foods are organic or locally sourced, you might as well assume they aren’t.

2. Water Efficiency

When it comes to eating and drinking, water is the #1 most important resource. Our bodies and all of our food sources depend on it. Like other businesses, restaurants can do their part in minimizing water waste by:

  • utilizing the right technologies in their restrooms
  • conserving water used for dishwashing

Current GRA standards cover these standards. But the final, and most important factor to consider is the quality of the water a restaurant uses not only for cooking, but also the quality of water they bring to your table if you ask for a glass of water. The GRA standard doesn’t include this yet, but it should. I carry a TDS water tester in my purse and it’s surprising how much water quality can vary from one restaurant to another even when they’re next door to each other. If a restaurant has low standards on its water, I avoid going back.

A $15 Water Tester is Worth More Than a $150 Water Filter

3. Waste Reduction and Recycling

The US is one of the most wasteful societies in history. About 40% of the food in the US ends up in landfills. InfoWarsRestaurants can play an important role in reducing food waste by taking actions such as:

  • offering smaller portion sizes for lower prices
  • composting food waste
  • donating to local food banks

4. Disposables

Disposable products make up a huge amount of waste in landfills. Restaurants can help to minimize their impact in several ways:

  • minimizing or eliminating the use of disposable paper products such as paper towels, coffee filters, paper cups and napkins
  • serving food on 100% reusable tableware including utensils, plates, bowls and cups
  • making drinks on site instead of serving individual bottles
  • providing incentives for customers to bring in their own to go cups, containers and bags
  • eliminating the use of Styrofoam
  • eliminating the use of plastic containers and bags
  • setting up condiments to be added in house (instead of individual packets)
  • cooking mainly with whole foods delivered in returnable packages or crates

As a customer you can also do your part by choosing restaurants that minimize the use of disposables. And as often as possible eat at the restaurant instead of taking the food to go.

5. Energy

How a restaurant manages their energy can be a difficult thing for a customer to notice or control. But as a customer you can look for the following things:

  • restaurant is mainly lit with natural lighting (at least in the daytime)
  • they offer outdoor or open-air dining seasonally as weather permits
  • they avoid using heating or air conditioning whenever possible, instead utilizing shades, awnings, windows and cross-ventilation to help regulate comfortable temperatures

restaurant electricity cartoon

6. Chemical and Pollution Reduction

Have you ever thought about the fact that you could choose a highly restaurant on one of the popular restaurant rating apps and be in one of the most toxic restaurants in town? A highly rated $$$$ upscale restaurant that appears to be clean may expose you to more toxins than a $ inexpensive burrito shop on the same street. Environmental and food toxins don’t necessarily make you sick right away, but through repeated exposure, they can lead to chronic or even fatal fatal diseases over time. Most of the most popular apps don’t take into consideration the following:

  • chemicals used to wash the dishes
  • chemicals used for pest control
  • bleaches used in deli papers, coffee filters and tea bags
  • bleaches, air fresheners and other chemical products used for cleaning
  • bleaches and chemicals used to clean table linens and napkins
  • indoor plants to help improve air quality
  • fresh air (no smoking inside or out)

Restaurants can also help to cut back on pollution by offering bike racks and choosing a location near public transportation (to help reduce transportation emissions).

7. Sustainable Furnishing and Building Materials

A large percentage of Americans don’t even question the food they’re putting into their bodies, so why would they care what materials were used in the restaurant or its furnishings? Unless you work in the construction or interior design industry, you may not even notice what materials are used on the countertops, floors and tables. But here are just a few reasons why sustainable furnishings and building materials matter:

  • they’re much less likely to give off noxious emissions that are harmful to humans
  • they’re less wasteful and have lower impact on the environment

Dine Green has what your body craves. Although Dine Green doesn’t yet have as many restaurant listings as some of the more popular restaurant rating sites and they don’t even have an app, they’re beginning to fill a big gap in the restaurant rating app market. As more customers become aware of how hidden restaurant standards can affect their health, more people will gravitate toward apps that guide them to restaurants with more transparency, more sustainable business practices and more commitment to the health of their communities.

Some stars are missing in all these apps. We can all benefit from restaurant apps, but because of the way they’re designed, some of the best restaurants may not be getting all the stars they deserve. Take Chez Panisse, for example. Shouldn’t they earn one or two stars for their Edible Schoolyard Project? How many stars do Whole Foods Market cafes deserve for their quality standards and environmental stewardship? How many stars does Chipotle earn for their food with integrity? And how many stars would you give Workshop Cafe for their great work atmosphere?

Like Working In Starbucks? Workshop Cafe is 10x Better

In addition to the Dine Green features listed above, here are a few more things I like in a restaurant:

  • food prep and cooking area is visible to customers
  • music sends out good vibes helping people to feel positive energy while they eat (and the volume is low enough that you can carry on a conversation without shouting)
  • restrooms have outstanding ventilation
  • pets are welcome

My friend, Steven Wright, prefers restaurants that serve “breakfast any time.” Last week we went out to dinner and he ordered French Toast during the Renaissance. FoodFunnies

Green Restaurant certified logo

Like Working In Starbucks? Workshop Cafe is 10x Better!

By | BUSINESS, Food | One Comment

Starbucks’ success has a lot to do with timing. They began expanding their number of cozy spaces at a time when a growing number of people were willing to pay $5 for a coffee and a tiny table to check their email, do some work or meet up with a friend or stranger. In just a few decades, they’ve grown to be the largest coffeehouse in the world.

Millions of people worldwide like working in Starbucks coffee shops. If you’re one of them, you’ll love Workshop Cafe.

Workshop Cafe

One of the numerous work space areas at Workshop Cafe.

Like Starbucks, Workshop Cafe offers WiFi, coffee, tea and food. They also have indoor and outdoor seating in a great location. And they offer some work space areas that are well lit with natural lighting.

But here’s why Workshop Cafe is 10x better than Starbucks:

  1. Forgot your charger? they’ll loan you one.
  2. Need to print, scan or mail something? You can do it here.
  3. Want to work on a larger screen? you can plug into one of their larger screens.
  4. Need a quiet meeting room or place to make a call? They have small meeting spaces.
  5. Want to keep an eye on your bike? They have bike racks on the walls inside.
  6. Want a booth area with a little privacy? They have booth seating.
  7. Need to recharge your phone or computer? You can find plugs everywhere.
  8. Don’t like waiting in line? Place your order from their app and they deliver to your table.
  9. Want to work late? They’re open until 10 pm every day of the week.
  10. Prefer to bring your own food and drink? No problem. Bring it with you. You don’t have to order food or drinks if you don’t want to.

See what others are saying about this cool cafe on Yelp. And check out this clip by Workshop Cafe founder, Rich Menendez:

Most remote workspaces require monthly fees regardless of how often you’re there. At Workshop Cafe, you pay $2/hour, but only when you’re there. Workshop Cafe is a great startup business setting a precedent for the future of sustainable cafes and remote work spaces. Their ideas are certain to catch on.

Happy People Stop Working But Never Retire or Quit

Workshop Cafe logo 2

If you’re visiting San Francisco and need a relaxing atmosphere to work for a few hours, check it out. Your first 10 hours are FREE!

A man walks into a coffee shop and asks, “how much is the coffee?”
“It’s $4,” says the waitress.
“And how much is a refill?”
“It’s free,” she says.
“Then I’ll have a refill,” he says. Jokes4U

If your local coffee shop is having a hard time competing with the local Starbucks, encourage the owner to check out Workshop Cafe to catch up with the times.

Kickstarter logo 300x225

Happy people stop working, but never retire or quit

By | BODY, BUSINESS, health, MIND | 2 Comments

Michiko Itosu has been running a rainwear shop in Okinawa, Japan, for the past 65 years. She has been working nearly every day from 8 am – 8 pm, taking vacation only during the New Year holiday. Her daughter and granddaughter also work in the shop, and the two of them speak fairly good English. When I stumbled upon their shop in downtown Naha, I discovered three friendly women eager to talk to me. Ironically, I was equally interested in learning longevity secrets from this 91 year-old shop owner.

Japanese 91 year old woman Michiko Itosu - Version 2When I asked her about her secret to good health, she said, “work every day and eat vegetables.” But I could tell by the look on her face that Michiko wasn’t really working. She enjoys helping people select rainwear. It’s not work to her. The smile that’s molded into her face is genuine. She helped me slip into several different raincoats, demonstrating the best way to snap and belt each one for the best look.

Do you spend the majority of your time on activities that you’d do regardless of whether or not you got paid?

For years, researchers and journalists have been curious about healthy old people in Okinawa. Reporters interview them for feature articles and longevity experts poke at them, literally, as they try to uncover the secrets to a long and healthy life. Some of the elderly seemed to be annoyed by Westerners like me walking around with a camera, while others were friendly.

Most of the exceptionally old people I interview say they enjoyed their work which they talk about as if they’re talking about a hobby they love. Whether farmers, teachers, doctors or artists, they’ve got a treasure chest full of stories. Most talk more about how they help people rather how much they earned. It doesn’t mean that they’re less motivated. In fact, they can accomplish more over their lifetime simply because they live longer. Turtles can win races against rabbits.

Do you love what you do enough to do it the rest of your life?

If not, consider putting a plan in place to change soon. When you do what you’re passionate about every day, not only will you enjoy life more, you’ll naturally reduce your stress. It’s so much easier to get up each morning when you love what you do.

Okinawans are known for living exceptionally long lives. Coincidently, the Japanese language has no word for retirement. If you visit the island, don’t be surprised if your taxi driver is in his 70s and the hotel concierge is in his 80s. That was the case for me. When I traveled to the island, I saw working elderly people in many places. When I asked their ages, most of them proudly told me. One taxi driver happily shared his age. At a red light, he pulled a case out of the center console showing his recognition medal of honor for more than 50 years of safe driving.

In the US, birthdays are happy celebrations up until the 21st. This celebration is the first legal toast with alcohol, the welcoming elixer to surviving the rat race. Many Westerners avoid talking about their age by the time they get to their 30s or 40s. When asked, they may pull out the “I’m 29 again” groaner to avoid revealing their age. If you took a poll on their favorite day of the week, more would say “Friday” than “Monday.” The US even has a restaurant in honor of the last day of the work week: TGI Fridays!

Short-sighted American companies often target “over the hill” people as the ones that need to be weeded out. This is justified, in part, due to the high cost of health care and the lower life expectancy of Americans compared to other first world countries. CIA Life Expectancy. Unfortunately, this results in a lot of great experience and wisdom getting extracted from organizations prematurely. Lots of great workers are put out to pasture, unwillingly, just as they’re reaching their prime.

IMG_8847 Okinawa rain wear shop owner (smaller)Even after 65 years of helping people in and out of raincoats, Michiko still likes to help people stay dry in the rain. “Years ago people bought more rainwear because they rode their bicycles,” she told me through her granddaughter who translated. Michiko, along with her daughter and granddaughter, work together selling rainwear 7 days a week.

“Today, lots of the young people go by car, so they only want umbrellas,” she told me. She has adjusted her inventory to meet their needs. Regardless of your age, you can make adjustments if you want to remain relevant in your field.

Many centenarians have habits that keep their minds sharp. They adopt new ways to remain proficient in their chosen field. Many centenarians in longevity hot spots never really retire from the work and activities they love. Although they may leave one employer or even close their business, they continue to share their talents and find ways to add value to society. They’re not quitters.

Have you mistakenly felt that you’re too young or old to be happy with your work? 

Centenarians didn’t get to their age by saying, “I’m too old to do this or that.” Many of them work well into their 80s or 90s doing what they enjoy. It keeps them alert and gives them a reason to get up and moving each day. Age itself is rarely the limiting factor in any country. Although there are laws which regulate minimum ages of doing things, there are very few things you can’t do because you’ve passed a legal maximum age.

Work satisfaction is one of the secrets of some of the world’s oldest people, and ironically, many are humble gardeners or laborers who are physically active every day.

Smart people sit at desks all day, while wise people get their hands dirty. Although educated women with desk jobs typically earn more money and have longer fingernails, they tend to lead more sedentary and shorter lives. Don’t be afraid of dirty short nails. If your work involves low-impact physical labor much of the day, you’ll probably be better off in the long run.

Whatever you do, don’t retire to a sluggish lifestyle. A sedentary retirement often leads to boredom, lethargy, depression, and a downturn in health. Even if your work is relatively sedentary, it still causes you to do things you wouldn’t otherwise do.

Do you leave work each day with a healthy sense of satisfaction and well-being?

Some jobs are better for your health than others. Jobs that expose you to toxins, or require you to do sporadic shift work, put you at high risk of injury, or require you to sit at a desk all day, are likely to have a negative affect on your health. If your job is causing too much stress, what good is it doing you or your loved ones? Resolve the issue or find a different job. You’ll be much better off in the long run.

Health is the greatest form of wealth, but unfortunately many people don’t realize it until they’re facing illness. Although your income can affect the range of options you have in life, your economic status is no guarantee of happiness or health.

If you have a full-time job, you probably spend about half of your waking time getting ready for work, thinking about work, commuting to or from work, and of course, working at work. You give your best energy each day to your employer or customers, and your family and friends get your leftovers at the end of the day. Does this routine sound familiar? Doesn’t it make good sense to use all this precious time, your life, contributing to a product or service you believe in?

Are you passionate about your work?

One of the greatest regrets many people have late in life is that they didn’t take more risks to do what they really wanted. You probably know a few people who found a way to turn their passion into their source of income. They don’t even think of their vocation as “work.” If you’re already doing work you love, keep doing what you’re doing. But if you’re not satisfied with your job, consider finding one or two mentors who love their occupation, and ask for their guidance as you transition into more fulfilling work.

Don’t stress too much over any particular job. Be creative and put together a plan for your future. One of the best ways to reduce your work pressure is to keep your living expenses as low as possible. Use your time off work for retraining or making other changes that will help you to reposition yourself, if necessary. Or volunteer or take on a part-time job doing what you love. This alone may open new doors for you.

Remain positive through transitions. Knowing that you’re working toward a better future should help to give you the extra energy you need to get there. You may not be able to make drastic changes quickly, but if you plan carefully, get training as needed, you can find a way to support yourself while expressing your talents and interests at the same time.

What’s the point of burning away your days doing things that feel meaningless? Doesn’t it make sense for you to enjoy your work, get along with your colleagues, and be in an environment that’s conducive to good health?

Do happy people tend to find ways to like their work, you may wonder? Or is it that people who do the work they love tend to be happier? What I’ve noticed is that happy people who live exceptionally long lives never really work, retire or quit. They wake up every day and do the things that bring them a lot of pleasure and just enough income to meet their modest needs.

How to Save money: 7 Silly Secrets for Shopaholics

By | gifts, holidays, money | No Comments

You’ve already heard advice like “make a list before you shop,” or “pay cash for everything you buy,” but why bother with silly things like this when you can buy now and pay later? Not many people are willing to give up shopping for a year like Colin Beavan or Judith Levine, but most people can benefit from a few tips on how to save money when shopping. Here are a $even $illy $ecrets for $hopoholics:

1. Wear casual clothes when you shop. 

You know how some people get showered and all gussied up to go shopping? Don’t do that. If you go out in a pair of old sweats, your pajamas or your underwear, you’re more likely to shop faster. Millions of Walmart shoppers are using this strategy to help save money. Check out the People of Walmart website or the People of Walmart video to see how easy it is to pull together some minimalistic outfits for shopping. The worse you look, the quicker you’ll want to get back home.

shopping in underwear cartoon Tim Wyatt is a cartoonist who lives on a remote island
about 10,000 miles off the coast of New Jersey called Australia.

2. Avoid shopping in malls or stores that are larger than a football field. 

If you spend an entire day in shops and malls searching for shoes when you already own hundreds of pairs, you might be a shopaholic. This is just one of the many Confessions of a Shopaholic. Big name stores are set up to entice you into making impulse buys. Even when you have a shopping list, you have to pass by hundreds or possibly thousands of things you had no intention of buying. Bigger stores mean you’re going to waste more time wandering around and you’re more likely to purchase things you don’t need.

Whether you’re in a big box store or a mall, you’re forced to waste a lot of time getting to the few things you came for. Did you realize that American malls and stores have enough square footage to fit everyone in North America, South America and Europe inside all at one time? These glitzy mazes are full of hallways, aisles, fountains, slow escalators, endcap displays, music and smells, all designed to hypnotize and consumerize. Shopping atmospheres work so well that millions of people feel good about charging their way into debt.

3. Shop with two frugal friends.  

Some people use shopping as a way to zone out and forget their troubles. If you find that you lie about your purchases or hide them from family, you may need more frugal friends on your autodial. You need to shop with people who are so cheap that they wouldn’t even consider downloading a 99-cent app for deals. When you shop with frugal friends, you’re more likely to make fewer purchases.

Your frugal friends can help you decide whether you need To Buy or Not to Buy. If you get into a disagreement or have a shopping breakdown, they’ll outnumber you. They’ll win the argument and you’ll have one on each side of you to grab your arms and pull you out of the store. If your withdrawal symptoms are too bad, they might allow you to get something on Freecycle to help ease your discomfort. You can learn a lot from frugal people . . .

4. Listen to sermons by Reverend Billy’s Church of Stop Shopping.

Reverend Billy is seriously hilarious! He’s on a mission to $ave People from their $hopping addictions and their condemnation into eternal debt. “Nearly 1 in 5 Americans may be clinically addicted, compulsive shoppers,” he says. Reverend Billy and The Stop Shopping Choir are performance activists who have turned the First Amendment into the lyrics for a gospel tune.

Thank God kids go to school to learn how to sit still and pay attention, and to raise money holding bake sales and car washes, but unfortunately they don’t learn other practical things like how to prepare a budget or pay bills and taxes. “Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money on things they don’t have for things they don’t need.” Will RogersWatch Reverend Bill’s film What Would Jesus Buy? for free on YouTube. Stop shopping! “The Shopocalypse is coming,” he warns . . .

5. Track the number of hours you spend shopping. 

If you can go into a clock shop for more than an hour and enjoy every minute of it, you might be a shopaholic. You may know how much money you’re spending, but you may not realize how much time you’re wasting until you actually keep track of it. Use your calendar or a journal to note how many hours you spend shopping in stores and online. Be sure to include the time it takes you to get to the store and back, wait in line, assemble products, store things and anything else associated with buying stuff.

Keep a supply of rubber bands or bracelets on hand and put one around your wrist for every hour you shop. Let them accumulate for a week. Keep them on all day and night as a reminder. Then start over the next week and see if you can reduce the time. When you’re pulling out your credit card or cash for something you know you don’t need, you might want to tug on the the rubber bands to remind yourself of the sting of spending money.

Once you have a better idea of how many hours you spend shopping, you can brainstorm better ways you could be using your time. Challenge yourself to have fewer rubber bands on your wrist each week. As you become more like Miss Minimalist, you’ll have more money and free time to enjoy life in new ways.

There’s no such thing as bad habits 

 

shopping online cartoon

 

6. Spend time instead of money. 

If you go into grocery stores and take other people’s full carts when they aren’t looking just because you’re in a hurry, you might be a shopaholic. Many people feel the urge to shop before they go to a party or family gathering. Some people use the excuse that they need to spend large sums of money to show the depth of their love.

Some people have turned their holiday gatherings into ceremonies focused on how well the house is decorated and how well the gifts are wrapped. All the time you spent shopping, decorating and wrapping is time that you could have spent with family or friends doing more meaningful things.

The media glorifies gift-giving as if the cost of the gift is the measure of your love. But as Reverend Billy says, “you don’t have to buy a gift to give a gift.” When you’re shopping it’s easy to lose your sense of time. During store hours, there’s no past or future. You won’t find clocks in stores. The system is designed to make you believe that you need to buy more stuff now in order to live life to the fullest in the present moment. It’s a fantastical world of make believe. Next time plan to spend time instead of money, and if you feel you must provide a gift, give a gift card . . .


7. Get help from Shopaholics Anonymous.

Terry Schulman of Shopaholics Anonymous is a specialist in shopping addictions such as overspending, hoarding, shoplifting and employee theft. He recently helped a man who got caught stealing ice skates from a sports shop. The guy is making some progress. At least he knows now that he should have waited until he left the store before he put them on.

Here are a few facts from Schulman’s book Cluttered Lives, Empty Souls: Compulsive Stealing, Spending and Hoarding. Over 10%, or 30 million Americans, are shoplifters. About 75% of people repeatedly steal from their employers. Check out what he has to say about compulsive shopping . . .

Many of the shiny and beautiful new things in stores are made in sweatshops by people living in poverty. Happiness can’t be bought this way. In the long run, it’s bad business for the makers and the buyers. It’s is an evil cycle that’s coming back to bite those who have profited as others have suffered. As Americans continue to buy cheap things made abroad, it’s only fair that they’re now giving up retirement benefits, jobs and in some cases even homes in their homeland.

The average American is $225,238 in debt and about $16,000 of that is credit card debt. The problem with credit card debt is that “the amount you owe increases almost as fast as you can pay it off. In fact, the credit card companies plan it that way,” says Douglas Adams, an accountant who helps people sort out their finances and deal with credit card issues.

Money can buy a clock . . . but not time.
Money can buy a bed . . . but not sleep.
Money can buy a book . . . but not knowledge.
Money can buy medicine . . . but not health.
Prem Rawat

But enough of this serious stuff. I’m sure you’re ready to get back to shopping. Before you leave, please be sure to buy everything mentioned in this post. It just might be the smartest buying decision you make all year! Good buy.

Looking for more ways to acquire, keep and produce more money? CLICK HERE now to start living your dream life!

Tired of living paycheck to paycheck? You have the power to improve your finances and develop financial fitness. CLICK ON IMAGE now to learn the offense, defense and playing field of money. You can become financially free!

 

What if You Come Down (to Earth) With Symptoms of Sustainability?

By | BUSINESS, gardening, health, NONPROFITS, Pets | No Comments

If you or someone you know has some of the following symptoms, you may be coming down (to earth) with sustainability. It can be contagious, but some people have strong resistance. Scientists believe that it may have something to do with a jean mutation. The jeans can be modified or removed, but some people don’t like to change because they’re comfortable just the way they are.

Sustainable World PeopleJust as a person who has obesity may begin to rely on a wheelchair to get around, a person who has sustainability may begin to rely on a bicycle to get around. Physical and mental conditions shape the surrounding environment.

Although some people feel uneasy about sustainability at first, they quickly begin to adapt to the condition. Some people do really crazy things like take up gardening or sell their cars. Once you catch sustainability, don’t be surprised if people with the mutated jeans call you crazy.

Once you’ve been diagnosed with sustainability, it’s helpful to join a support group with like-minded people who prefer trees over traffic and borrowing over buying. As the symptoms of sustainability increase, you may fall deeper into a wishful state of Utopia-euphoria wanting more people to contract your enthusiasm. Webweaver Earth

Here are some of the symptoms of sustainability:

Air. You go to parks and into the forest where the air is fresh and trees are plentiful. AIRNow

Banking. You closed your bank account and opened an account at a local credit union. Credit Union National Association

Whenever you go near a bank, you get withdrawal symptoms. PunOfTheDay

Bathroom. Your bathroom has a window which provides natural light and ventilation. American Restroom Association

Why are environmentalists bad at playing poker? They avoid the flush. Jokes4Us

Biking. Your bicycle is one of your main modes of transportation. People For Bikes

This CAR Game Will Drive You Crazy

Charities. You give generously to a local nonprofit or faith-based organization and they give back to the community. Charity Navigator

Cooperation. You quit your corporate job to work for a co-op. National Cooperative Business Association

Energy. Your home is drawing power from renewable energy sources. Renewable Energy World

Food. You have access to organic fruits and vegetables within walking distance of your home. GMO Inside

Gardening. You have fun working together with your neighbors in the community garden. American Community Gardening Association

Healthcare. You have access to affordable healthcare. Michael Moore’s Health Care Proposal

Housing. Your home is affordable and you help others who need housing. Habitat for Humanity

Laundry. You hang your laundry out to dry. Project Laundry List

Laundry Study Shows Americans Have Few Hangups 

Leaders. You’re a good communicator and leader. Toastmasters

Library. You enjoy going to your local library on a regular basis.

Lighting. The sun is your main source of light all day. VELUX

Music. You hear nature sounds or appropriate tunes that enhance your home, workplace and other public spaces. American Music Therapy Association

Names. You’re on a first-name basis with your neighbors and workers in local businesses. NeighborWorks

Organics. You buy organic foods in the local farmer’s market and grocery stores. CCOF

Outdoors. Your home and workplace outdoor spaces are green and welcoming. Alliance for Community Trees

What did the activist get when he sat on the iceberg too long? Polaroids. Jokes4Us

People. You treat everyone with respect, regardless of their age, race or social status. Grassroots International

Pets. You often take your dog along wherever you go. Go Pet Friendly

Plantscaping. You have plenty of indoor plants. Plantscape Industry Alliance

Prevention. Your healthcare provider incentivizes doctors for prevention. American Journal of Preventive Medicine

Why We Need to Do Doctor Reviews on Our Last Doctors’ Visits

Recycling. You have a donate box, a recycle bin and a compost pile, but you don’t have a garbage can. SCARCE

Sustainable Communities IndexSalary. Your boss doesn’t make too much more than you or your colleagues. Salary

Schools. Your kids attend schools which teach them how to create a sustainable future for themselves and the community. Edible Schoolyard

Seeds. You trade seeds and plants with your neighbors. Seed Savers

Sharing. You borrow stuff and lend a hand. mesh

Steps. The staircase in your workplace is more attractive than the elevator. StairPorn

Your Best Excuse for Not Going to the Gym

Students. Your kids are participating in solving real issues in the community. Youth Service America

Transportation. Your community is investing heavily in public transportation, bikeways, sidewalks and pathways. American Public Transportation Association

Volunteers. Your neighbors are engaged in making the community a better place to live. Volunteer Match

Water. Your drinking water is pure and safe. Local waterways are full of healthy marine life.  American Water Works Association

Weight. You’re healthy, not malnourished or obese. Weight of the Nation

Sick of Diets? Film Diet Plan Will Help You Escape the Fat Trap

Work. It’s easy for you to find work opportunities near home. Smart Growth America

If you’re experiencing several of these symptoms, stay calm. If you generate too much excitement, the zombie police with mutated jeans may try to attack. They are known to be mindlessly unreasonable, doing raids on people who sell fruits and vegetables, for example. Check out this raid on an organic food store in California.

Zombie Police - resident evil

What’s the difference between zombies and patched jeans?

Zombies are dead men. Jeans are mended. JokeIndex

If you or your loved ones are coming down (to earth) with sustainability, the best thing you can do is band together with other level-headed people and come up with a smart plan to protect yourselves in the event of a random zombie invasion.

Yes! logo

Don’t count on pink to save your hOOters from cancer

By | BUSINESS, Food, health, Movies, NONPROFITS | No Comments

Would you like some milk? Or how about a soft drink, a mixed drink or some dessert? It’s ironic that the Hooters menu features some of the very foods that may be detrimental to bosoms. Many of these foods, along with hamburger buns. sauces and other items on the menu are laced with high fructose corn syrup made from GMO corn.

Not long ago I heard that Hooters was considering starting a home delivery service called Knockers. JB. Surveys consistently show that most men like knockers. And many of them are willing to do just about anything to fit them into their daily routine. Hooters put the idea on hold for now, however, because some of the young women were having trouble getting through the training.

HootersKnock knock.
Who’s there?
Madam.
Madam who?
Madam foot is caught in the door.

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Doris.
Doris who?
Doris locked, so I had to knock. AT

Men gather together to keep their eyes on Hooters. The NFL Shop sells more than 1000 pink products in a category they call “breast cancer awareness gear,” to make sure that all Americans know how bad the problem is. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in American women, who have about a 1 in 8 chance of being diagnosed at some point in their lifetimes.

But I can’t help but wonder why adults need to pay for gear to prove they’ve been informed of this? Kids get gold stars on their foreheads in kindergarten and that’s cute. But men wearing pink ribbons is like women putting blue balls stickers on their faces. The most common forms of cancer in men occurs in their prostates or on the skin of their heads or faces.

Don’t buy this pink stuff! It won’t do anything to save your boobs or your wife’s, whatever the case may be. Monsanto, cancer centers, pharmaceutical companies and even the NFL are all profiting from this pinkwashing.

cancer posterFootball was an obvious choice for pinkwashers who knew it would be a bad idea to promote pink at the olympics. Why advertise that we have one of highest rates of breast cancer in the world? BBC News Magazine. The pinkwashers don’t want this kind of news to make headlines. If foreigners leak information to Americans about what they can do to help prevent it, it would be bad business for insurance companies, cancer centers and big pharma.

It’s hard enough on women who are told by their doctors and insurance companies that they need annual mammograms. For the men out there who’ve never experienced a mammogram, imagine this. Another man places your wiener between the refrigerator and its door. Then he pushes on the door as hard as he can until you’re sure your wiener has become a sausage patty. Or picture another man maneuvering your joystick on an ice block and then putting another heavy ice block on top, crushing it down on you until you doubt whether you’ll ever experience joy again. CC

What Pink Ribbons founder, Jane Weiner, did to help save her sister is certainly admirable. It’s always nice to hear a success story about someone saving the life of a loved one. But this pink thing has gotten completely out of control. Now you can buy pink just-about-anything or participate in a pink walk, run or bike ride to raise more funds for cancer centers and pharmaceutical drugs that “cure” women through inhumane tortuous treatments.

During football season, millions of Americans tailgate and then sit back to drink and eat junk food while they cheer on the few dozen guys in the stadium who are actually getting some exercise. The next time you see a team sporting pink gloves, socks or shoelaces, here’s what you need to realize. The corn chips, popcorn, candy, soft drinks, and mixed drinks full of high fructose corn syrup sold at these “sports” stadiums are increasing your risk of cancer. And you’re forking out the dollars to put these addictive and GMO poisons into your body! Non GMO Project

Watch this clip to see the effects of eating Monsanto GMO corn . . .

Take a look at the Pink Ribbons website. You won’t find any information about prevention. It’s all about supporting cancer centers and the drugs and treatments they sell.  They’re helping to fund the “cure” side of the issue which is exactly why pink has become so popular. The “cure” industry is big business and it’s fully entrenched in every aspect of American culture.

cure cancer billboard

City of HOPE – City of Hospitals, Oncologists, Pharmacies & Expenses

Angelina Jolie was busted. But thanks to American medicine and places like City of HOPE, she isn’t anymore. Read the signs. Americans build cities around Hospitals, Oncologists, Pharmacies, and Expenses.

Women who face breast cancer certainly need help and much more support than their bras can offer. They need more solutions. And we also need more organizations focusing on prevention for other women who want to keep their breasts along with the rest of their body parts.

If you’re looking for less traumatic cures, contact the Burzynski Clinic, Gerson Institute, Hoxsey Clinic, Cure Naturoli Cancro, or other similar centers in the US or abroad. If you’re aware of others, please let me know and I’ll add them to this list. Chances are, you’ll have to come up with the money on your own. Even if you have insurance, they’re not likely to cover “alternative treatments” since most insurance companies are in bed with the rest of the pinkwashers. Your doctor, cancer center and insurance company wants you to fear anything outside their fortress walls.

Why We Need to Do Doctor Reviews on Our Last Doctors’ Visits

What can women do to reduce their risk of breast cancer? Check out Dr. Mercola’s articles Why Medicine Won’t Allow Cancer to be Cured and Breast Cancer Breakthrough for some great tips. Learn why Evita Ramparte rejected surgery, chemo and radiation, and instead choose to cleanse her body and mind to cure her cancer. And watch these movies:

A flat-chested young lady went to a doctor for advice on enlarging her breasts.

“Every morning during your shower, massage your breasts and say ‘scooby dooby doobies, I want bigger boobies.'” the doctor told her.

She did this faithfully for several weeks and it seemed to be working. But one morning she was running late and forgot her morning ritual. She didn’t want to lose momentum so she began her ritual on the bus. “Scooby dooby doobies, I want bigger boobies.”

A guy sitting nearby said, “Do you go to Dr. Hugh G. Rection by chance?” MBS

“Yes, how did you know?” she asked.

“Hickory dickory dock, I want a bigger . . . ”  TTF

ThinkBeforeYouPink.org BCAction.org

 

Four Great Ways to Solve Your Garage Storage Issue

By | health, home, money, transportation | 2 Comments
images

BIKE RACKS

Do you really need more shelves and hooks for stuff you rarely use? Before you pull out your wallet to buy garage storage systems, think for a minute. Consider the following suggestions:

1. Downsize before you organize

Most of the time, garage storage isn’t the only issue. Running out of space is often a clutter issue. Don’t throw more money at the problem by buying  shelving units that only add to the problem. Chances are, you can get rid of more than half the stuff in your garage. The more often you clean out your garage, the more likely you’ll be able to Organize Your Garage In No Time.

When you have a free day, get the family together and remove everything from the garage. Yes, everything! Not only does this give you a chance to clean the garage, it also forces you to go through things and determine what you need to keep. If you have children, they’ll moan an groan on garage-cleaning day, but if they keep stuff in the garage, they need to be involved. They don’t like going through piles of clutter any more than you do. Be sure to give them an incentive for their participation.

If you haven’t used something for the past month, you probably don’t need to keep it. If you haven’t used something for the past year, it’s definitely time to sell it or give it away. At the end of the day, call your local Goodwill or Salvation Army to schedule a pickup.

Your Commute is Now Your Gym sign (1)

Human Transit: How Clearer Thinking About Public Transit Can Enrich Our Communities and Our Lives

2. Downsize a vehicle

If you have an SUV, trade it in for something smaller. If you have a car, trade it in for a Smart car, a motorcycle or scooter. When you decrease the size of your vehicle, you make more room for other things in your garage.

 

3. Sell a vehicle

Selling a vehicle has several big advantages. You can save money, get more exercise, and have more time to build relationships and get work done.

You’ll save a lot of money in the long run. On average, Americans spend more than $9,100/year for each vehicle they own. And those are after tax dollars! FairTax estimates that most Americans are paying 23% or more toward taxes. That means you need to use about $11,000 of your earnings each year just to pay for one car. Don’t get too hung up on the accuracy of this estimate. Instead, take time to calculate the specific cost of your own vehicle(s). See for yourself how much you’ll save.

When you spend more time walking and biking, your health will improve and you’ll find it easier to sleep at night. It’s no coincidence that the USA has one of the highest ratios of vehicles per capita and is also the most obese country in the world. If you need a car every now and then, you can rent a car for a few days or use a car-sharing service, such as ZipCar, for a few hours.

Commute with a colleague or look for carpool buddies through eRideShare or CarpoolWorld, or take public transportation, ride a bike or walk. You can also combine various forms of transportation. In many cities, you can take your bike on the bus or train. Whether you’re carpooling or waiting at a bus stop, you have more time to socialize and build relationships. When you commute via public transportation, you can work, listen to music, or nap while your driver is paying attention to the road.

4. Convert your garage to living space

A 2-car garage is typically 400-600 square foot. After traveling and living throughout Europe, South America, the Caribbean and Asia, I can tell you that millions of American cars have better housing than millions of humans on the planet. And housing is a problem for many people in the US as well.

According to the National Center on Family Homelessness, millions of families and children in the US go homeless each year. And according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, on any given night more than 60,000 veterans are sleeping in the streets. When you convert your garage space to living space, not only do you increase the square footage and potential value of your home, you could also create a small, affordable living space to rent out to people who can’t afford more. Doesn’t it make more sense to invest in people or your home instead of shelving?

Are Your Muffin Pans Safe Enough for Imaginary Pets?

By | BUSINESS, Food, money | One Comment

Recently, I purchased a Wilton non-stick muffin pan. After I baked a batch of muffins, I realized they fell out too easily, in a Teflon-like kind of way. So I went to the Wilton Facebook page and asked if their baking pans were safe for birds.

Are your muffin pans safe for imaginary birds?

Are your muffin pans safe enough for your imaginary birds?

They responded quickly, but didn’t publicly answer my question. Instead, they gave me their customer service number. When I called, the nice lady said that they “don’t test their products on animals,” so she couldn’t assure me that my (make-believe) pets would survive.

My real question was, “Is this pan harmful to my health?” In case you want to know too, please call and let me know what they say. Perhaps they’ll say they “don’t test their products on humans.”

If you have  questionable non-stick-ish products in your kitchen, I urge you to return or recycle them. While you’re at it, consider removing another dozen dangerous chemicals that may be lurking in your home.

One of the things I like most about Target is their no-fuss return policy. When the nice lady at the return counter asked me why I didn’t want it, I told her, “it might kill my imaginary birds.” She opened her eyes real wide, giving me an are-you-crazy-or-just-confused kind of look. Without asking any more questions, she refunded my money.

A safer alternative is cast iron. From now on, I’ll stick to making muffins in my Lodge pans!

 

Ethos Vegan Kitchen Has a Winning Recipe!

By | BUSINESS, Food | No Comments

Some restaurants have great food and some have great atmosphere, but VERY few have both. Today I discovered Ethos Vegan Kitchen, a neighborhood charm in across the street from Gaston Edwards Park in Orlando. Well, I didn’t exactly “discover” it by accident, I found it after I did a search for vegetarian-friendly outdoor dining in Orlando. Ethos had some of the highest online ratings on various restaurant search engines such as my VegOut iPhone app where they hold a Five Star rating with 56 reviews! On Urbanspoon 90% of 372 people like it! According to Ethos customers, owners Laina and Kelly Shockley know how to please!

From the online photos and the view from the road, I wasn’t so sure about the restaurant. But as soon as I stepped inside, I felt at home in this inviting atmosphere. The warm yellow and red tones on the walls are accented with brick and wood. The floors are partial tile and partial rough concrete. It works very well for this down-to-earth locally-owned restaurant. The lighting is just right–not too high or low. And the music is a mix of sensual tunes like Midnight In A Perfect World by DJ Shadow and Brown Skin Lady on Black Star, an album assembled by emcees Mos Def and Talib Kweli.

While I was in line, a talkative birthday girl celebrating her 40th randomly introduced herself to me. I told her it was my first time to this restaurant and she raved about the food telling me that everything on the menu is fantastic. She was talking among lots of her yogi friends in line telling them all about the fabulous food.

It was quick and easy to place an order. You order at the front register and then they bring the food to your table. The two tables near the front windows are great seating with a view of the park and lake. It’s also a nice spot to sit if you’re waiting for a friend to arrive before you place your order. The front windows are bright and beautiful in the daytime! And if you’re inside, you can access free WiFi.

Near the back of the restaurant, there’s a great area with not only tables, but also a couch and some chairs. It’s a comfortable place to congregate and that’s just where the 40th birthday girl was schmoozing with her friends.

No business is complete without local art! If the number of pieces were a measure of their commitment to local artists, then I would say that Ethos is very committed to the well-being of the local community–not only in providing tasteful vegan delights, but also in supporting local artists. In fact, when I asked about the art, one of the employees told me that they recently had an art show put together by their resident artist, Scott White.

“Resident artist?”

How many businesses can boast of their resident artist?

Apparently Scott recently coordinated an art show displaying collaborative art among local artists. How much more can one restaurant help create camaraderie among local artists and customers? Check out this creative concoction between Scott White and El Shanebo. Priced at only $60, this piece is sure to be adopted by a customer very soon! I like how they used both images and words in this work entitled “Go Robot.”  Learn more about Scott at his website GhostsOfScottWhite.

After you’ve had a chance to check out some local art, be sure to check out the scenery. If you’re near the front of the restaurant either inside or out, you can look across the street and through the park to see the lake. I saved the best for last. Not only can you get great healthy food here, but you can also sit outside and enjoy the your meal in a covered area. Rain or shine you can enjoy the fresh air, well at least as fresh as it can be alongside a street with occasional cars going by. And you can also enjoy the green plants in the eating area.

But that’s not all that’s right about this restaurant. They have three restrooms with signs on the door that say “bathroom.” That makes so much sense! Other less efficient restaurants can learn from this. If the ladies room is locked at Chipotle or another restaurant where they label the doors “men” and “women,” I often use the men’s room because it’s not an efficient use of any woman’s time to wait for the women’s room if the men’s room is free! Yet so many obedient female customers do just this–they wait and wait and wait, and don’t never complain to management! If you want to learn more about my restroom philosophy, check out my “Gotta Go” video on YouTube:
When I was planning my trip to Orlando, I thought about contacting owners Kelly or Laina in advance to see if I could interview them, but I didn’t want my first experience to be swayed by people who have a vested interest in the business. I’m not even sure if they were in the restaurant for the majority of my time here, but I’m pretty sure they weren’t there most of the time because I didn’t see anyone who looked like them walking around the restaurant.
That’s even more points for this successful business–for their willingness to show their faces on the About page on their website and one more point for the fact that the customer experience is fabulous whether they’re here or not.! I saw lots of happy customers coming and going and I didn’t notice even one complaint or go-back! All the staff was friendly and you can learn more about them on the same About page. It’s clear that the owners value their employees.
At most restaurants I have to search for ways to say more positive things than negative, but the opposite is true here. If I were to offer a few suggestions for improvement and potential for increasing profitability, here’s what I’d say in order of priority:
  • Collaborate with a sustainable local greenscaper to improve the outdoor seating area by adding an enveloping, rejuvenating greenspace, perhaps even including some edibles.
  • Offer consulting services to other locally owned healthful restaurants in Florida. You obviously have a tremendous scope of talents that other like-minded restaurant owners need.
  • Open a second Ethos closer to a place with higher foot traffic, like St. Augustine please : )
  • Set a goal to continuously increase your 50% organic food to higher percentages over time.
  • Add more character and context to your restroom. When people are sitting around or standing in place for a minute or two, you have time to give them a message. Don’t lose this opportunity.
  • As it got dark, the track lighting on the ceiling felt a bit harsh–replace purple/redish bulbs with something less harsh. It distorted the color of the artwork after sunset.
  • Add free WiFi to the outdoor seating area.

Next time you’re in Orlando, I highly recommend that you stop by here for at least one meal. I’m sure I’ll be coming back!

Ethos Vegan Kitchen  on Urbanspoon

Downtown Disney Designed to Roast Tourists

By | BUSINESS, GO, HAVE FUN, travel | No Comments
Downtown Disney was designed to scorch its daytime visitors. On this sunny afternoon in June, I was just as hot as all the other tourists walking on this hard surface pathway. Disney knows how to do greenscaping, but I guess the greenscape design person was on vacation when they drew up the plans for this “downtown.”
This could be a beautiful shaded walk zone where people could enjoy a stroll in the park along the water, but instead, it’s more like a frying pan. And designs like this in Florida trigger people to say things like, “it’s hotter than hell here,” and “let’s go get ice cream.” Downtown Disney was designed to get people to go into the air conditioned stores to shop and into the restaurants for overpriced cold drinks.

On the Environment and Conservation page of their website, Disney states that they’re taking action to protect the planet. I sure hope that they add Downtown Disney to their list of initiatives soon! They really need to tear up some of the stone walkway and add some trees for shade! It’s nice that they make statements about how they’re helping the planet, but it’s even more important for them to first act local and set an example by greening their own properties.

One thing that they did do right here at Downtown Disney was to include a ferryboat where you can go to and from four different resorts. This helps reduce the use of cars and buses and it’s also safer as vacationers go out for dinner and a few drinks–at least they have a safe way to get back to their resort. In the future, it would be great if Disney could connect more of its waterways so visitors could go between and among more of the properties via water taxis.

Because I’m staying at the Dolphin Hotel, I didn’t have the option to travel to Downtown Disney by ferry. I need to fess up that I drove my own vehicle to get to Downtown Disney because the bellhop told me that it would take much longer if I took a Disney bus to get there. Not only would I have to wait on both ends for the bus, but the ride itself would take longer because of the frequent stops at various resorts.

One of the main issues with public transportation in the U.S. is that it generally takes longer to ride a bus than use your own car. Until we plan for the opposite, people will continue to choose to pay a higher price with their own transportation to save the time.

Got any other suggestions to help make Downtown Disney a bit more sustainable? Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear your ideas!

Stir It Up at St. Augustine Beach

By | BUSINESS, Food | No Comments
“I’ll do a Get up Stand up with a Nutty Mother,” says a barefoot young lady wearing a hot pink bikini, as she adjusts her dark sunglasses and green visor.
“And I’ll take The Boss with Good Karma,” says her friend in navy swim trunks as he shakes his foot sporting a white ankle bracelet.
This is what you’re likely to see and hear if you’re in line at Stir It Up. You’ll find this Florida eatery on “A” Street just a few doors back from the St. Augustine Beach front. Locals regularly line up in tank tops, shorts and flip flops for their favorite “Veggie Heaven” menu items. Tourists find Stir It Up on their way to the beach or through the fantastic online reviews. “If all vegetarian food was this good I would consider becoming a vegetarian,” says one reviewer on TripAdvisor.

Look for a white house with blue trim and a line of customers on the front steps. Although this lunch spot has the right location, location, location, it also has the right burritos, quesadillas and salads made primarily from organic ingredients. Whether you’re looking for a turkey sandwich (Smokin’ Turkey), a vegetarian hummus burrito (burRita Marley), or a chicken quesadilla (Cheesy Chick), you’re in the right place. If you want vegan, be sure to ask. And a healthy beach lunch wouldn’t be complete without a fresh fruit “Natural Mystic” smoothie made with thirst-quenching tropical fruits such as bananas, mangos, pineapple and coconut.

This isn’t a typical restaurant where you walk through the front door to be greeted by a hostess. Here you walk up to the front door and look through a screen window to place your order. Nothing goes through the front door except your order and your cash. No credit cards. While waiting you can play with toy dinosaurs or leaf through magazines. If you’re here to stay a while, check out the community bulletin board to find a yoga class, concert, or apartment for rent. When your name is called, you pick up your food from the window next to the front door.
You’ll see customers sipping smoothies at barstools pulled up to the front porch railings. From here you can read lyrics to Bob Marley’sStir It Up tune such as: “cool me down when I’m hot,” and “quench me when I’m thirsty,” which are painted in bright colors on the inside of the porch trim.

Yelp appropriately categorizes the ambiance as “hipster, dive-y and casual.”  In this 100% open air restaurant, you’ll feel like a welcome guest hanging out on a surfer’s porch which wraps across the front of the house and opens up to a large side deck extending to the entrance of the Pit Surf Shop.
You’re likely to see ladies in sun dresses eating at a black wrought iron table on the deck, and a group of surfer dudes under a thatch roof gazebo at the corner of the deck. You could see a family at the picnic table under palms in the front yard and a couple sitting at purple or white Adirondack chairs by the mailboxes. Wherever you sit, you’ll get to enjoy the beach breeze.
You might hear music coming from the kitchen, but what you’ll surely hear is “yums” and “ahs” in conversations among companions as they enjoy “positive food in a positive place.” This isn’t just a slogan at Stir It Up, it’s exactly what you’ll experience when you eat at the best lunch spot at St. Augustine Beach. Bob Marley says it best: “Your recipe is, darlin’, is so tasty.”
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