#85 Investigate New Restaurants

It was so much of a routine that when the bartender saw us sit down she automatically ordered our appetizers and placed the margaritas in front of us.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#85

Investigate New Restaurants

For years, our Friday Night Date Night was routine. We took off a little early and then headed to our favorite Mexican restaurant for margaritas and dinner. It was so much of a routine that when the bartender saw us sit down she automatically ordered our appetizers and placed the margaritas in front of us. People nearby would often ask one of us if we had ‘ordered ahead’. While that routine was kind of nice and predictable it prevented us from discovering new restaurants. Since Harlan’s death, I’ve made an effort to discover new Friday night jaunts.

Recommendations

One of the first places I turned to were friends and family. I wanted to know what their favorite eatery was and why. I started my list. It’s always nice to have a personal recommendation when visiting someplace – especially by someone who knows you and is considerate of your time and budget. Most people are candid if they believe you won’t enjoy a certain experience.

Yelp

This is a great ‘recommendation’ app for smartphones. Generally, you can access the menu there and see photographs that have been taken by other people who’ve eaten there. Of course you can read their ‘reviews’ and determine if it’s a place you want to try. I’ve found that its necessary to read through a number of review in order to get a balanced perspective. Sometimes, people are having a bad day and leave solid derogatory review for a small infraction.

OpenTable

This is another smartphone app that is mostly for reservations; you won’t find every restaurant here but those who are will typically leave a table or two specifically for people who request tables through the app. Case in point: on a beautiful spring day in Baltimore, we strolled along the waterfront and decided to have lunch at a waterfront restaurant. When we approached the maitre d’, he told us it would be a 90 minute wait. We knew we didn’t want to wait that long so we found a bench and I checked Open Table to see what was available in our location. That very restaurant had a table for 4 available in 15 minutes. We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch overlooking the Baltimore harbor that day and I spent just a few minutes being just a little smug about the work-around.

Dinner Club

If you really need inspiration, start a dinner club with a couple of friends or family members. Plan to meet once a month at a different restaurant each time. There’s a certain sense of adventure that you’ll experience in doing so and even if there’s a less-than-great meal now and then – you’ll at least have had fun with people you care about.

Be brave, trash the routine, and give your taste buds an adventure by…

Investigating new restaurants.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#87 Attend a Concert

. Mick Jagger, from The Rolling Stones is 74 years old and still entertaining millions of people. If you’re a Stones fan… You’d best catch their next tour.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#87

Attend a Concert

I’m sure many of you have – at least once in your lifetime – been to a concert of some type. There’s a wonderful element about music that helps us feel better, no matter the genre. And there are so, so many options. No matter your preference, Country, Rock, Opera, Acapella, Easy Listening or Jazz and there may be almost as many different type of venues.

Outdoors

My personal favorite is attending a concert outdoors, preferably at the beach where I can combine the sensations of both the sun, sand, and music all at once. Summer concerts in big outdoor stadiums can also be a blast, albeit crowded. The acoustics there may make the sardine effect totally worth it however. Smaller outdoor venues can be a lot of fun as well and it’s there that we often find new bands that are just getting started on the circuit. Often, outdoor concerts won’t have a seating capacity – especially at locations like the beach but you are always vulnerable to the weather.

Indoors

Indoor venues vary from small and intimate to covered Superdomes. There are venues with front stages, stage-in-the-round, and others with no stage at all. Indoor venues generally do have limited seating and there’s a special energy to a ‘packed house’, especially because special effects generally have more of an impact inside. Of course, weather isn’t an issue indoors but crowds can be.

Old and New

I’m always a bit surprised when I see bands that I loved as a young adult still pull in packed houses entertaining an entirely new generation of music lovers. Bands like The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, and The Who are still touring. Mick Jagger, from The Rolling Stones is 74 years old and still entertaining millions of people. If you’re a Stones fan… You’d best catch their next tour. Some of the newer music artist are drawing great audiences also and we’re never too old to enjoy good music.

Perhaps you’ve discovered a new genre that you’d like to see in concert. Don’t forget colleges, casinos, and State Fairs when considering concerts – they often book new artists that are gaining momentum.

Go ahead and take a look at TicketMaster, VividSeats, or StubHub (rated #1) and see who’s going to be in your area – or consider traveling to see a much loved band and make a weekend of it. The best holiday gift may be tickets that allow you to …

Attend a concert.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#129 Stargaze

There’s always something to learn about the stars and planets we can see and because our view changes as the earth turns, it’s not exactly the same month after month.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#129

Stargaze

While the bulk of the population may attempt this with the naked eye during summer evenings when we can comfortably lie outside and gaze above, there is a lot to see in the Autumn sky. The brightest star is Fomelhaut, the overall 18th brightest star in the sky – and it’s sometimes called the lone Autumn star as it seems to be alone up there. As the fall transitions into winter, the Milky Way gives way to the constellation of Orion and all of the neighboring stars. And if you’ve never taken the time to notice, the winter sky looks very different from the summer one.

Use an App

Knowing what you are looking at is easy these days with a smartphone. iPhone users can literally just point their phones at the sky using the SkyView app and identify precisely what is there. The apps NightSky and StarChart are also good options if you want to know more detail about the space beyond.

Telescopes

Another way to participate in stargazing year round is to view the sky through a telescope. Depending on your interest level, you can spend anywhere from $50 to several thousand in order to get a better view. A telescope magnifies and clarifies your view, allowing you to see much more than you might with the naked eye.

Family Time

Stargazing is a fantastic family activity that allows for fun and learning simultaneously. There’s always something to learn about the stars and planets we can see and because our view changes as the earth turns, it’s not exactly the same month after month. Not to mention that it’s a huge sky when you are gazing at it one part at a time so each night, a different quadrant can be explored.

The holiday’s are approaching and it may be the perfect time to consider adopting a new hobby or to introduce your family to an activity you’ve enjoyed through the years. If nothing else, the next time you are outdoors in the evening, take a few moments and do a little…

Stargazing.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#149 Try a Cleanse

While there are a ton of products on the market that claim to ‘cleanse’ there are dangers to riding your body of too many of the nutrients that aid in the proper digestion of good things we eat.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#149

Try a Cleanse

Yesterday, I offered the tip of fasting for a day and touted the potential benefits of doing so. One of them is cleaning the body of toxins. If denying yourself a meal isn’t your cup of tea, then perhaps a cleanse would accomplish much of the same objective.

Get the Bad Stuff Out

A cleanse is intentionally ingesting something that is designed to rid your body of the chemicals and bacteria that should not be there and/or is hazardous to your overall lifespan. There are a number of foods that purport to detoxify your body primarily by flushing fluids; very similar to the process we use in our home piping system.

Ideally, a cleanse is designed to encourage your liver, kidneys, and colon to do their job. THEY are the organs in our bodies that are perfectly designed to naturally keep the good things in and the bad things out. Eating foods that help them process more effectively and work better is the key here.

The Liver

Your liver filters toxins from your blood at the rate of 1.4 liters per minute. It breaks down alcohol, drugs, and chemicals we ingest. Dark berries and hot peppers (caspian) will help it work more effectively. The best advice however is to eat cleanly and avoid alcohol of any kind for the best liver function. The liver is divinely designed to heal itself naturally and will do so if there aren’t any deterrents

The Colon

The colon accumulates waste and prepares it for elimination. In order to do so, material needs to move freely and so hydration and fiber are critical components. Dr. Oz says whole grains and fermented food are key elements in this process.

The Kidneys

The kidneys filter toxins from the blood as well and are responsible in maintaining electrolyte balance and blood pressure. Hydration is a primary consideration here – a state that most human bodies today fail to balance. When properly hydrated, kidneys don’t need to be cleansed. Cauliflower, broccoli, and Soy products will support kidney function naturally.

Dr. Oz Recommends

While there are a ton of products on the market that claim to ‘cleanse’ there are dangers to riding your body of too many of the nutrients that aid in the proper digestion of good things we eat. A diet with only the foods listed here may be the only cleanse you need (not medical advice) says Dr. Oz who recommends eating the recommended foods over a 48 hour period to assist the natural efforts of your body.

When your body works the way it was designed, your energy level, your mood, and your spirit are likely to be organically balanced. If you don’t want to fast, you can …

Try a cleanse.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

 

#150 Fast for a Day

The postulation is that without food to digest, the body organically spends its energy cleaning house.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#150

Fast for a Day

You may have done this recently for some kind of a medical test and decided that fasting was ‘for the birds’ as you denied yourself coffee or food because the doctor ‘said so’.

Personal Control

What if you fasted for a day because YOU wanted to… because you were demonstrating control over your body for the purpose of telling your cells ‘who’s boss’! Or, perhaps you’ve heard of “intermittent fasting” where you only eat food during an 8 hour time period and no more – giving your body a full 16 hours every day to process what you’ve put in it.

Perfect Design

Fasting has been a tradition, a happenstance of the environment, a spiritual practice, and a medicinal effort for perhaps as long as man has been walking the earth. At the very least, our bodies are designed to fast overnight as we sleep and they know what to do when they are deprived. In fact, many illnesses were called “Kings disease” because it was only those who were well fed that came down with particular ailments – attributed to gluttonous living.

Start Over

While there are significant debates among medical professionals about the types of illness that benefit from fasting, one tenet is common; fasting offers the body an opportunity to ‘reset’ (akin to ‘wiping the hard drive’). This may be especially helpful when beginning a healthier eating phase or starting a weight loss program – a kind of ‘jump start’ for your body by cleansing the system of accumulated toxins.

Fasting – consuming water only – for a day allows the body an opportunity to enter the stage of autophagy which basically means that the body naturally works to repair damage that has accumulated. The postulation is that without food to digest, the body organically spends its energy cleaning house. Intermittent fasting (one day a week, for example) has been demonstrated to be very helpful for some medical conditions.

Be Smart

Some people fast for longer durations. These intense fasting sessions should be done under medical supervision as the experience is very similar to detoxing from hard core drugs according to people who have suddenly eliminated sugars and refined carbs from their diets. When the body is denied these ‘drugs’ and the reserves it has to use run dry – there is a withdrawal experience.

Before you grab the bull by the horn and dive into a fasting experience, pick a day when you will be distracted by things or people you love (to detract your attention away from hunger), do a trial run by…

Fasting for a day.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#154 Follow the 5 Minute Rule

What tends to happen here is that once we begin to attack something – the enormity of it goes away.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#154

Follow the 5 Minute Rule

About a year ago I ran across Mel Robbins and her explanation of the 5 second rule…. A commitment to start those things you’ve been putting off by counting down 5-4-3-2-1 – and GO. She does a much better job of discussing this and extolling its benefits – it’s worthy of attention if you procrastinate. Interestingly enough, as I was explaining it months later – I confused the concept by describing that we can do anything for 5 minutes so go ahead and … just do it. It’s different than Mel’s strategy but helpful nonetheless.

There are tons of things in our life – on our to-do lists – that we simply don’t want to do… we may dread it or be annoyed by our need to accomplish it. Perhaps it just feels overwhelming. The idea behind the ‘5 minute rule’ is that if spend just five minutes on that item  you are avoiding and still don’t find the wherewithal to keep going – then, stop; redirect and know that you made an effort.

Reality

What tends to happen here is that once we begin to attack something – the enormity of it goes away. We often finish before the five minutes is up, having manifested the ‘thing’ to be much bigger – more challenging – than it actually was. Additionally, after giving something five minutes of our time and attention, we frequently discover that we can keep going; that it isn’t that bad after all or that we’re halfway there.

Try It

As you go throughout your day and face something that feels overwhelming or too cumbersome to attack – consider using this 5 minute rule and step into it with a timer set. Let me know what the result is! I love to hear the successes or challenges when people make an attempt to …

Follow the five minute rule.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#160 Practice Mindful Compassion

Think for a moment of how you would comfort a child who has just lost his mother. Imagine that child sitting on your lap in a deep state of sadness and you are helpless to ‘fix’ the problem.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#160

Practice Mindful Compassion

One of the ‘new’ buzzwords in psychotherapy is ‘mindful compassion’. It’s not new really… Buddhists have been practicing mindful compassion for thousands of years and one might even argue that most prayer regiments are akin to this practice. Mindful compassion is the specific expression of empathy, goodwill, and compassion towards oneself and/or others. It’s learning how to extend a deep level of compassion, without judgment, to oneself or to others.

Imagine

Think for a moment of how you would comfort a child who has just lost his mother. Imagine that child sitting on your lap in a deep state of sadness and you are helpless to ‘fix’ the problem. Your only comfort can be a deep level of empathy and compassion for the pain that this child feels. Now, imagine that you can generate this same level of compassion for yourself each time you experience emotional discomfort or send that compassionate energy – via thought waves – to another human who may be suffering.

Extend It

This level of comforting – this extension of deep compassion – can be very healing. Cultivating an ability to self-sooth is the focus of new treatments for anxiety and depression. It is also a wonderful way to begin each day – extending compassionate ‘vibes’ to people in your life who may benefit from a little extra love.

Doing so is quite easy if you sit quietly and imagine yourself in a state of deep compassion; going to your core. Next, create an image of the person you want to send energy to… and offer these words:

“May you be well; May you be happy; May you be free from suffering”

Spend 5 minutes in that space, sending love and energy to one or more people – or even yourself. Practicing this on a daily basis will not only increase your personal depth of compassion, it will calm you, build inner peace, and increase the endorphins that are associated with acts of benevolence.

Learn More

This suggestion is a mere blip of an introduction to mindful compassion and I encourage you to investigate leading teachers and practitioners such as Sharon Salzberg, Kristin Neff, Paul Gilbert, or Christopher Germer, just to name a few.

Benefits

This is one of those ‘tips’ that anyone can do; requires no tools; is completely FREE; benefits others; improves mental health; and can be accomplished anytime – anywhere. It may be a perfect activity! So, sit quietly for a few minutes and let the sun shine on your face as you close your eyes and …

Practice mindful compassion.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below