April 27, 2015

Some Things In Life Shouldn’t Have a Price Tag

Winston Churchill

There is a great story about legendary British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, that goes something like this: At a dinner party one night, a drunk Churchill asked an attractive woman whether she would sleep with him for five million pounds. “Oh my, Mr. Churchill ... I suppose, but we would have to discuss the terms," she responded. “Would you sleep with me for five pounds?” Churchill then asked. “Of course not!?  What kind of woman do you think I am?” the woman responded indignantl … [Read more...]

A Memory of Long Ago and a Way to Reflect It In My Life Today

Fitz and Floyd Dinnerware Toulouse Green Collection

After the Belgian waffle party tonight, once the goodbyes had been said and the lights turned off, I set to work on the personal projects that need to be accomplished.  This led to me, in the silence of my living room, remembering something that brought me tremendous joy. When I was 18 years old, my parents got a plane with me, flew out to the East Coast, and we toured the college that I was going to attend.  Though I was already earning money on my own, it would be the first time I was out in t … [Read more...]

My Day In Pictures – Belgian Waffle Party

Strawberry Belgian Waffle

We had an impromptu Belgian waffle party tonight at the house and it was awesome.  The recipe came from America's Test Kitchen and included buttermilk, seltzer water, sour cream, sugar, salt, unbleached flour, eggs, vegetable oil, and a host of other items to create a waffle batter mix that was crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.   It's been a great day: The sofa was delivered, as were the second set of fine bone china I haven't written about (all white, hotel collection for s … [Read more...]

Reflections on 2011 and Setting the Agenda for 2012

Reflections on 2011 and Setting 2012 Agenda

Fiscal 2011 was huge for us.  I feel like it went too quickly because we didn't get everything finished we wanted but in terms of progress toward our ultimate goals, it was very good personally and professionally.  The companies grew, profits were up, the family expanded, there was quite a bit of travel, and this blog, which is an interesting side hobby, actually began to monetize well.   Tuesday night, I talked to some of my family members who own shares of one of our businesses and told them t … [Read more...]

My Night Equals Rocking Out to Dixie Lady, Reviewing More Home Upgrades, and a Ton of Work That Needs to Get Done in the Next 72 Hours

Burgundy Coffee Urn from Reed & Barton

There has been a lot of progress today but it's been disorganized.  There will likely continue to be because I am in the middle of some projects I haven't discussed on the site and very well might be up until four or five in the morning.   Right now, I'm sprawled out on a blanket in the middle of my living room floor listening to the bonus track Dixie Lady from Elton John's 1974 album Caribou on a pair of Bose headphones super loudly, about to start on another wave and reviewing some of the purc … [Read more...]

Mental Models Applied: Don’t Fall for the “Too Nice to Use” Trap

Reed & Barton Francis I Sterling Silver 46-Piece Flatware Set in Chest

Of the many stupid things to do in life, one of the most foolish is to the fall for the "too nice to use" trap.  The moment I hear anyone, whether friend or family member, business associate or stranger, talk about how they "never use" something, I want to grab them by the shoulders and explain the mental models behind their actions.   It doesn't matter if you are talking about vintage cars, books, sterling silver flatware, fine china, cashmere sweaters, carpets, tea pots, fountain pens, li … [Read more...]

I Got Around the Joining the Nespresso Club and I’m a Total Convert to the Whole Nespresso System

Nespresso Pods and Capsules in the Nespresso Discovery Box

Back in June, I picked up one of those new Nespresso machines that Nestle was touting so heavily in their annual report.  With my schedule, the projects, work, and extra-curricular activities such as this blog, I hadn't gotten around to ordering the Nespresso pods or setting up an on-going subscription because I wanted to do taste tests of all the flavors.   Careful notes were taken that were subsequently lost.  So I gave in and just ordered a welcome package of everything.  I think they called … [Read more...]

If The Price of Gas Matters to Your Family Budget, You Are Doing It Wrong

Inflation-Adjusted Gasoline Prices Copyright Thinkstock

The Lesson: It is not the cost of a gallon of gasoline that counts.  It is the inflation-adjusted cost of a mile driven that matters. As I read the Chicago Tribune, I came across an Associated Press article called Gas Takes Its Biggest Bite Out of Family Budget In 30 Years.  That piece states: When holiday travel is over, the typical American household will have spent $4,155 filling up this year, a record. That is 8.4 percent of what the median family takes in, the highest share since 198 … [Read more...]

Maintaining Sacred Spaces By Carving Out a Secret Places and Rituals for Yourself and Your Family

Denny Crane and Alan Shore from Boston Legal

If any of you remember the television show Boston Legal, each episode ended with two main characters, great lawyers Denny Crane and Alan Shore, having drinks and cigars on the balcony discussing the cases and events of their day.  They were best friends that took time to block of a private area of their lives that was open only to them; a ritual that was both exceptional and routine.  That intimate space was "theirs" and, though generous, it was a sacred time they weren't willing to share with an … [Read more...]

The Three Ways of Making Money In Business

Three Ways of Making Money in Business

There are three ways to make a lot of money in business.  Typically, most businesses that are successful at making money do it in one by focusing on one of three models.  They either: Sell many things at a low price Sell few things at a high price Sell many things at a high price By way of example, let's look at three high profile companies that follow different business models but are all successful. Wal-Mart sells many things at a low price. For every $100 you spend, Wal-Mart owners ke … [Read more...]