Experiences or, Possessions? In 2016 We Choose Experiences

We are surrounded by our possessions. They bring us a sense of place, comfort, or, a measure of control in an ever increasingly frenetic world. In some instances our possessions purchased with credit or, financed can come to “own” us in some very uncomfortable ways. There is no question there are a certain amount of these things that are required for daily living but, at some point, things become things. They take up space in the attic in the name of “I might need it some day”, take up space in the basement /crawlspace for a similar reason and also take up space in our brains.

This year, we proclaim 2016 the year of experiences. We’ve come to understand that the things we hold near and dear to us are not possessions, they are experiences. They are trips to celebrate with family or, friends. They are day trips to orchards to pick apples, goat diary farms to see cheese produced. Craft festivals, bazzars, weekend trips to the mountains or, the beach, walks in the park or, sitting on the back/front porch. Family experiences.

I am Speaking at Dad 2.0 Summit 2016 in Washington, D.C.

For several years I have really, really wanted to go to the Dad 2.0 Summit. The first time I had heard of it was when I lived in Houston, TX. It was being held in Houston. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend. Then, when we moved back to North Carolina, I missed it again in Raleigh.

But,  this year is different!

I'm speaking at Dad 2.0 summit!

This year, I am speaking on a panel. And I am very excited! I can not wait to meet the many Dad Bloggers I have gotten to know over the years in the Facebook Dad Bloggers Group . I am grateful I will get to share what I’ve learned from the years of being a Dad, a blogger and a marketer. Will I see you there? If so, don’t be shy! I really would like to meet you. Really.

Which panel? I am told that will be announced on Wednesday. But, it is “aimed at helping blogging dads in attendance more effectively serve their audience and enable them to reach their goals amid a crowded universe of individual publishing platforms.”

Special Thanks to One Dad

Before I even step foot on the plane and head to D.C. there is one dad I really want to thank.

Doug French (Co-Founder of XY Media group) for the invitation to speak on a panel at the conference.

The conference announcement is here

Who do I Want to Meet at Dad 2.0 Summit?

Everyone! Seriously. I looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible.
And, there are a few that I am really hoping to meet if they are attending.
Aaron Gouveia – The Daddy Files
Art Eddy – Life of Dad
Zach Rosenberg – 8BitDad
Brent Almond – Designer Daddy
Scott Behson – Fathers, Work & Family & Author,  “The Working Dads Survival Guide”
David Stanley – Dstan58-Rants&Mutters
Justin Connors – Life in 140
Whit Honea – The Honea Express
James Zahn – The Rock Father
Lee Bodenmiller – Souvenirs of Fatherhood
Brandon Billinger – The Rookie Dad
Joel Leoj – 3Js & 1S

What is the Dad 2.0 Summit?

THE DAD 2.0 SUMMIT, started in 2012 by XY Media Group, is an annual conference where marketers, social media leaders, and blogging parents connect to discuss the changing voice and perception of modern fatherhood.

More men are defying stereotypes by taking active roles in their children’s lives, making day-to-day household purchasing decisions regarding products and services, and chronicling these experiences online. The Dad 2.0 Summit is an open conversation about the commercial power of dads online, as well as an opportunity to learn the tools and tactics used by influential bloggers to create high-quality content, build personal brands, and develop viable business models.

At the Dad 2.0 Summit, we work with a select group of brand sponsors to engage the conference attendees in relevant, fun and memorable activations at the event. All sponsorship activations must be value-adds for the conference attendees, and at the same time we create an environment for you to share brand messaging in ways that are enjoyable for everyone and provide great opportunities to build lasting brand-blogger relationships.

Will I see you? I hope so! Let me know in the comments below!

New “Mastering Google Keep” Book, Helps You Learn Google Keep, Get Productive & Organized

Mastering Google Keep

Rob Ainbinder, an author and business owner has published “Mastering Google Keep – The Unofficial Guide to Organizing Your Life with Google Keep”.

The book is designed to help users of Keep, Google’s note taking smartphone app and website, to get the most from it. Keep increases your personal productivity by allowing the user to create lists with photos, date/time based reminders as well as location based reminders and markup photos.

Anything created in the smartphone app or, the Keep website (keep.google.com) is available in either location immediately. This allows users of the service to create lists and update/view them seamlessly from any device saving time, reducing stress and increasing personal productivity. The book guides users through the major features of the service and points out important differences in the smartphone app versus the Keep website. In addition, Mastering Google Keep provides a list of ideas to help the user get started. Purchasers of Ainbinder’s book receive access to a Quick Start Guide and an exclusive support group on Facebook. The book is available for purchase on Amazon 

When Ainbinder isn’t writing books and blogging he spends time with his family and helping local and regional clients with their marketing and digital advertising needs via his Asheboro based firm Why People Click.

Eating Cleaner & Better with Some Inspiration from Alton Brown’s “Diet”

This year, my Wife and I set the goal to commit to eating “cleaner” and wiser. The inspiration for this change (for me) came in the form of a video shared on Facebook by Alton Brown’s page about his “diet”.

I place the word diet in quotes because it’s not how we choose to approach this change. Instead, we are pursuing a new way of eating for life.

In fact, this still from the video above really crystallized it for me. In it, he shows an orange versus a piece of a doughnut to illustrate. The orange has way more nutrition than the doughnut. And the type/amount of calories in the orange won’t hang around in our body parts like a doughnut will because there are less of them.

Our main take aways from Alton’s “diet” are:

  • Dump as much empty, high calorie, un-nutrient foods as possible. This includes: sugar, corn syrup, white flour, junk food, fast food, potatoes, etc.
  • Eat red meat, alcohol and dessert once a week.
  • Eat more fruits, vegetables (especially leafy greens) and whole grains.
  • Eat more healthy fats from avocados, fish, nuts.
  • Quit coffee due to our use of creamer.
  • Not diet anything
  • No soda
  • Drink more water. Lots more water.

Swaps We Have Made

  • Sugar —> Stevia
  • Coffee w/creamer —> Tea with Stevia. Note: We found Stevia (generic brand) at WalMart and Big Lots to offer the best price/lb.
  • White flour —> whole wheat flour and Beesan/chickpea flour
  • Chips —> Beanitos

First Week Results and Observations

  • We’ve each lost weight!
  • We are sleeping better. Likely, due to reduced levels of caffeine.
  • We are less bloated feeling after any meal. Probably from an increase in plant based foods.

Are you doing anything different eating wise in the new year? Share in the comments below.

On Writing & Lightning

Writing has always been a part of my life. When I think back on it, it’s always been there. In middle school I toiled away on a journal for class. Later in life when I returned to college as an Adult Learner, there was writing. And I really didn’t mind it. Not one bit.

My writing platform has evolved over time migrating from hardbound journals to essays saved on floppy disks/hard drives and then, on to the first version of this blog on Blogger and moving to it’s current incarnation on the WordPress platform.

It was that second version of my writing platform (essays saved to 3.5″ floppy disks) that I learned a particularly hard lesson. I was tackling college for the first time at a community college in Orlando, Florida during the late 80’s. The computer lab was a series of early Apple MacIntosh computers all lined up in rows on laminate woodgrain work tables. The lab was illuminated with overhead fluorescent lights. The windowless walls were an off white, the floor laid with low pile, brown carpet. Usually, there was a lab assistant present, presumably to keep an eye on the equipment and help those in the lab. I occasionally saw the assistant get up to help someone on their computer. Most of their time seemed devoted to homework or, tapping away on their computer.

One rainy afternoon, I signed in and took a seat at an available MAC. I needed to start a term paper and this was the only way I was going to get one done. I fired up MacWrite and started hammering away on the term paper draft.

I was tapping away just as happy as a clam. Time passed, page after page began to take shape and then… POP! The screen goes blank and the lights go out. I look around in a daze, confused. “What just happened?” I ask aloud. From the half-darkness a response, “The power went out”.  Then another response, “Yeah, we’re in the lighting capitol of the U.S.

My mind reeled from the loss of the work. I was frustrated and angry at myself for (apparently) not saving to the floppy disk more often. What could I do? Could I mentally recall it all? Some of it (hopefully)? Minutes ticked by and the power hadn’t returned. The rain finally relented. Light from outside streamed into the lab from the propped open door. I decided to get up and head outside into the day light.

A small group had assembled outside. We commiserated on our losses. Most had lost a page or, a few minor edits. By comparison, my loss seemed the greatest. There was little sympathy to be found. Most, chided me for not saving frequently enough. What did I know? It was my first time there.

A few minutes later the power was restored. I headed back in and resumed my seat at the workstation. I was staring at a blank screen. It was then, I noticed a small note taped just below the small monochromatic screen. “Save frequently to your disk or, the network temporary folder.”

The computer came back to life and I started writing again. But, before I did I took a moment to learn the keyboard shortcut to save. And from then on, used it every time I paused from writing.