Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hello? Adele? Please Stop Calling

Adele's new album is breaking records with the release of her song Hello.

Sadly, this is a scenario that many may have faced.

Sometimes the only 'closure' there is just has to come from the peace we make internally with an event or a relationship from the past.

What if someone answered? Here's how it might go...

Hello, it's me
I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet
To go over everything
They say that time's supposed to heal ya, but I ain't done much healing

No. Not really. Thanks. 

Hello, can you hear me?
I'm in California dreaming about who we used to be
When we were younger and free
I've forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet

There's such a difference between us
And a million miles


Hello from the other side
I must've called a thousand times
To tell you I'm sorry for everything that I've done
But when I call you never seem to be home

Yeah. I know. 

Please stop calling. 

Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I've tried
To tell you I'm sorry for breaking your heart
But it don't matter, it clearly doesn't tear you apart

Nuh. Yah. I'm good. 

Hello, how are you?
It's so typical of me to talk about myself, I'm sorry
I hope that you're well
Did you ever make it out of that town where nothing ever happened?

Still here. New job. All that stuff. 

It's no secret that the both of us
Are running out of time 

Yah - well have to go now. Bye. 


Adele repeats what she already said and continues singing with nobody listening

So hello from the other side
I must've called a thousand times
To tell you I'm sorry for everything that I've done
But when I call you never seem to be home

Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I've tried
To tell you I'm sorry for breaking your heart
But it don't matter, it clearly doesn't tear you apart
Anymore, ooooohh
Anymore, ooooohh
Anymore, ooooohh
Anymore, anymore

Hello from the other side
I must've called a thousand times
To tell you I'm sorry for everything that I've done
But when I call you never seem to be home

Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I've tried
To tell you I'm sorry for breaking your heart
But it don't matter, it clearly doesn't tear you apart

Perhaps Gilda Radner said it best:

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.
Delicious Ambiguity.” 

Pre-Christmas Tips For A Good Day

Gift giving 

Who to buy for and how much to spend?
Are you still paying off credit from last Christmas?
Buying for people who ‘have everything’ - what to buy and how much is enough?

Experiences versus stuff. 

Nothing says I am just 'going through the motions',  as much as giving money as a gift. Many people regard cash gifts as “lazy and even inconsiderate. They are offended by the idea that the giver didn’t make any effort to shop for them.

For those with too much stuff already and the means to buy anything at all that we choose, the opportunity is to buy an experience for a loved one that they may not consider or would be shy about buying for themselves.

Why buy gifts anyway? 

Christmas gift giving is seen by some as a “dead weight material loss.” Many people buy gifts that cost far more than the value the recipients assign to them.  But life is not just a transaction. The evidence suggests that people behave reciprocally towards one another, so gift giving can be seen as ‘rational’ even in the context of economics if you view it as a way of strengthening a tie to someone and generating the promise of future ‘gifts’ — in the form of friendship, social networking or other things of value — from them to you.

A study in the US found that the thing that increases “sentimental value" is surprise. Pleasure is greater for unexpected gifts. Surprising gifts amplify enjoyment for both large and small items. Presumably a good surprise - not a dud gift you bought at the service station when you filled up the car.

In addition, sentimental value is increased by effort: “Recipients also felt positively toward givers who worked hard to find the right gift, even when that gift was off the mark. Givers who make the effort, but don’t quite succeed, should be heartened by the fact that recipients recognize the difference between process and outcome,”

Time sharing 

How many people will be coming to your house and then have to rush off for a second “Christmas dinner” with their partners family.

Time spent driving from place to place and cramming Christmas into one day may be counter-productive and spoil the day for parents and children who wind up grumpy and out of sorts, from overload.

Too much rushing, too much food and too much partying.

Family Togetherness – Too much of a good thing. 

A nice thing about Christmas is getting to catch up with family you don’t see often.  The downside of Christmas is having to be cooped up with people you don’t see often and have little in common with, but do have a history of family conflict.

People you don’t usually spend time with – for a reason + a confined space + alcohol and too much food = potential for explosive situations.

Survival Guide For A Happy Christmas 

1. Start with a list of people you intend to buy for and another list for people who may buy something for you.

2. Work out how much you can afford to spend on gifts and how much you can – or want to spend on other preparations for Christmas.

3. Set your spend limit for those on your list – and stick to it as closely as possible.

4. Give yourself time to find a gift that is a good fit for the person.

5. Beware gift cards that expire or mean that the receiver will have to pay more to buy something useful at that store in addition to the amount on the card.

6. Keep receipts in case the gift needs to be returned to the store.

7. Be flexible with how you’ll cover the split family arrangements over Christmas. Make the time you spend together pleasant – even it if means having your share on a different day.

8. Only take on as much as you can do without spending every minute rushing around managing ‘the event’.  Traditions are good but if a hot Christmas dinner is outside your ability to produce, tone it down to something you can cope with more easily.

9. Have lots of water based drinks and ice to serve along with the alcohol.

10. Put on your best attitude for the day and be generous with your friends and family.  Accepting them for this one day without opening up old differences will be a gift to everyone.

Christmas traditions, decorating the house, having the family together, and putting up with the rellies is how we build family cohesion and memories to look back on. It is a chance to strengthen bonds and remember our family ties. These family relationships can suffer with time and distance and loss of the parents who drew us together in the first place.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Communicating Honestly: Trickier Than It Seems

Honest communication. We'd all want that, surely?

Not so fast.

In reality we spend an awful amount of energy not communicating honestly, and those who do often find that those to whom they are communicating honestly, would rather they did anything but.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Chicken, Bacon and Leek Pies With Tarragon

These look good enough to eat!

One for the #recipe file.

Edgar's chicken, bacon and leek pie.

Chicken, bacon and leek pie.
Pie filling:
3 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 leek, thinly sliced
6 rashers bacon, chopped
600g skinless chicken thigh fillet, diced
2 big sprigs of fresh tarragon, can also use italian parsley with the tarragon.
½ cup plain flour
375ml chicken stock

For the pie filling
1. Place butter and olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add leek and cook until softened,
about 2 minutes.
2. Add bacon and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes.
3. Add chicken and tarragon and continue cooking until chicken is just cooked through, about
another 5 minutes.
4. Add flour to pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add chicken stock  and bring
to a simmer, stirring continuously until sauce has thickened.
5. Season. Set aside to cool.
6. Roll dough out on a clean, lined bench to 2mm thickness and cut 6 circles of pastry to fit 7.5cm
base pie tins. Spoon filling into cases and cover with another layer of pastry.
7. Crimp the edges of the pie and place in the oven to bake until pastry is golden and crisp and

filling is cooked through, about 25-30 minutes.

Butter Pie Crust

Author: Bakepedia, recipe by Dede Wilson


For a Double Crust:
• 2½ cups all-purpose flour
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
• 4 to 6 tablespoons ice cold water (or more or less as needed)

Friday, September 4, 2015

Shake Off The Pattern Of Ignorance

We all want to have an opinion but we often don't really know the facts of the situation. That leads us to have a view of the world that is not necessarily valid. The media don't present news as a way of showing the whole story, they promote - the sensational that will draw more eyes to view the story - and satisfy sales figures.

What is the pattern of ignorance? These videos will explore that and show you how to be more aware of the facts of the world and be able to make fact based decisions.

How Not to Be Ignorant About the World | Hans and Ola Rosling | TED Talks

           The Best Stats You've Ever Seen | Hans Rosling | TED Talks

Friday, August 14, 2015

Harpers Bizarre Sharon Stone Pics

Sharon Stone must be doing it tough for money. 

I am not sure what the fascination is for nudie pics but especially can't think of any reasons for nudie pics beyond the age when someone is at their physical peak ... other than the new type of freak show to that satisfies the curiosity of people. 

So these pics from Harper's Bazaar seem to satisfy that curiosity element. What else? 

I'm calling this as fauxtoshop magic.

It's unfashionable to get older. So we read from the magazines. 
"Old" being anything over 35 these days. Except those who are lucky enough to be alive all do get older. What's wrong with that?

Why do we need nudie pictures of Sharon Stone at age 57 to read about her struggles with medical conditions and her career?

I wonder where there is left to even see a real human form these days online. 

Nothing like poisoning the well for us all when it comes to aging naturally.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Grow Your Own Avocado Tree #tips

How to grow your own avocados successfully.

Why People Fail at Avocado Trees
Why People Fail at Growing Avocado Trees.
Posted by Daleys Fruit Tree Nursery on Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Life In Australia - By An American Living Here

This is an interesting piece. There is much of the American life that I like, but it is interesting to see a well-written piece about Australia from the viewpoint of an American who knows what it is like to live in Australia. That takes courage. Not everyone in the US has the ticker to 'leave home'.

Put away the flags and enjoy your country on Australia Day

David Mason
Published: January 26, 2014 - 3:00AM
More often than you might expect, Australian friends patiently listening to me enthuse about their country have said, ''We need outsiders like you to remind us what we have.''
So here it is, just in time for Australia Day - a small presumptuous list of what one foreigner admires in Oz.

1. Health care. I know the controversies, but basic national health care is a gift. In America, medical expenses are a leading cause of bankruptcy. The drug companies dominate politics and advertising. Obama is being crucified for taking halting baby steps towards sanity. You can't turn on the telly without hours of drug advertisements - something I have never yet seen here. And your emphasis on prevention - making cigarettes less accessible, for one - is a model.

2. Food. Yes, we have great food in America too, especially in the big cities. But your bread is less sweet, your lamb is cheaper, and your supermarket vegetables and fruits are fresher than ours. Too often in my country an apple is a ball of pulp as big as your face. The dainty Pink Lady apples of Oz are the juiciest I've had. And don't get me started on coffee. In American small towns it tastes like water flavoured with burnt dirt, but the smallest shop in the smallest town in Oz can make a first-rate latte. I love your ubiquitous bakeries, your hot-cross buns. Shall I go on?

3. Language. How do you do it? The rhyming slang and Aboriginal place names like magic spells. Words that seem vaguely English yet also resemble an argot from another planet. I love the way institutional names get turned into diminutives - Vinnie's and Salvos - and absolutely nothing's sacred. Everything's an opportunity for word games and everyone's a nickname. Lingo makes the world go round. It's the spontaneous wit of the people that tickles me most. Late one night at a barbie my new mate Suds remarked, ''Nothing's the same since 24-7.'' Amen.

4. Free-to-air TV. In Oz, you buy a TV, plug it in and watch some of the best programming I've ever seen - uncensored. In America, you can't get diddly-squat without paying a cable or satellite company heavy fees. In Oz a few channels make it hard to choose. In America, you've got 400 channels and nothing to watch.

5. Small shops. Outside the big cities in America corporations have nearly erased them. Identical malls with identical restaurants serving inferior food. Except for geography, it's hard to tell one American town from another. The ''take-away'' culture here is wonderful. Human encounters are real - stirring happens, stories get told. The curries are to die for. And you don't have to tip!

6. Free camping. We used to have this too, and I guess it's still free when you backpack miles away from the roads. But I love the fact that in Oz everyone owns the shore and in many places you can pull up a camper van and stare at the sea for weeks. I love the ''primitive'' and independent campgrounds, the life out of doors. The few idiots who leave their stubbies and rubbish behind in these pristine places ought to be transported in chains.

7. Religion. In America, it's everywhere - especially where it's not supposed to be, like politics. I imagine you have your Pharisees too, making a big public show of devotion, but I have yet to meet one here.

8. Roads. Peak hour aside, I've found travel on your roads pure heaven. My country's ''freeways'' are crowded, crumbling, insanely knotted with looping overpasses - it's like racing homicidal maniacs on fraying spaghetti. I've taken the Hume without stress, and I love the Princes Highway when it's two lanes. Ninety minutes south of Batemans Bay I was sorry to see one billboard for a McDonald's. It's blocking a lovely paddock view. Someone should remove it.

9. Real multiculturalism. I know there are tensions, just like anywhere else, but I love the distinctiveness of your communities and the way you publicly acknowledge the Aboriginal past. Recently, too, I spent quality time with Melbourne Greeks, and was gratified both by their devotion to their own great language and culture and their openness to an Afghan lunch.

10. Fewer guns. You had Port Arthur in 1996 and got real in response. America replicates such massacres several times a year and nothing changes. Why? Our religion of individual rights makes the good of the community an impossible dream. Instead of mateship we have ''It's mine and nobody else's''. We talk a great game about freedom, but too often live in fear.

There's more to say - your kaleidoscopic birds, your perfumed bush in springtime, your vast beaches. These are just a few blessings that make Australia a rarity. Of course, it's not paradise - nowhere is - but I love it here. No need to wave flags like Americans and add to the world's windiness. Just value what you have and don't give it away.

David Mason is a US writer and professor, and poet laureate of Colorado.
This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/put-away-the-flags-and-enjoy-your-country-on-australia-day-20140125-31fm4.html

Tips for Americans Moving to Australia

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Puddles Pity Party At #Edfringe

It's going to be a better life if you are in Scotland for the Fringe Festival - and can go see Puddles Pity Party! Read all about it here

"Without a single spoken word, Puddles says more than most SHOW & TELL Presents: Puddles Pity Party WHERE: Assembly George Square Gardens TIME: 7:25pm (runs for one hour) DATES: 8th– 31st August (except 18th & 25th) PREVIEWS: 6th - 7th August 2015 Buy your tickets now from edfringe.com You can follow Puddles on Twitter @PuddlesPityParty

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Judging Women

Do we make it impossible for women to live without judgement?

The ugly judgement of society (w subtitles... share awayyy)
Posted by

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Our Inner Garden: The Gut Is Our Largest Sensory Organ

Giulia Enders, microbiologist and author of Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Under-rated Organ, explains just how the gut works and why it is so important.

This video a US interview on The Agenda

Interview on Lateline (excerpt)

TONY JONES: Indeed. Let's look at some of the areas you focus on in your book and the first one is the possible link between obesity and gut bacteria. Are there studies which show the difference between the gut bacteria of obese and normal weight people?

GIULIA ENDERS: Yes, there are plenty of studies, actually. And we see, for example, that there are some bacteria that can be found in people with higher weight. I would - I like to call them the "chubby bacteria" because we see that they can actually harvest more calories out of the food you eat. And we see that overweight people, they - when they go to the toilet, there are less calories that they excrete and other people, they just excrete more of the calories they take and up and - and then we see that there are things like diversity. Having a more diverse ecosystem will actually be a very protective thing for people struggling with overweight. We see that some diets, when they work on a person and they don't work in another person, there was a study that showed that it worked when it altered the gut flora. So all those things are interesting and I think in terms of diversity, also interesting when we think about the definition of what is clean and what is cleanliness, because we see it's more diversity and not trying to sheltering off things that might be not good all the time. It's really more a balance thing of trying to get the good stuff just as well as protecting from the bad. (Lateline ABC July 2015)

TONY JONES: Now, from early on in your book you looked at the connections between the gut and some mental illnesses and you were inspired in fact by the suicide of a fellow student, who, as it turned out, also had very bad halitosis and I think you made a connection with that person and wondered whether that sort of connection might exist with other forms of mental illness, whether there was a genuine connection between the gut and the brain. Is there real science around this now?

GIULIA ENDERS: There is and I was really surprised because this was an event that of course touched me and it really didn't - those things, they stick with you. And it was the reason why I got into reading more about this area and then I found that there was already a huge area and people doing great research on this topic. And I think the idea behind it is not so crazy when you think that the brain is very isolated. It has a bony skull and a thick skin around and it needs to get information to know how am I doing, to put together this feeling of how am I doing. And it gets information from eyes, ears, from all sensory cells around the body it can get it's information, but the gut really is our biggest sensory organ. It has - it knows all the molecules from the food, knows the hormones in our blood, it can test them with receptors, then it is the host to those trillions of bacteria and to all the things they produce. There's two-thirds of our immune system. So it really has a lot of information to gather and send up to the brain. And we see especially with people with irritable bowel syndrome or also inflammatory bowel disease that they have a higher risk of having anxiety or depression. And I think this is information that we are now really researching how much can it influence, how big is the piece of the cake. But I think the information that we are already have this as a theory that we are looking into that, that's pretty neat and that's a very new thing to follow up.  (Lateline ABC July 2015)

You can find the interview with Tony Jones at ABC here  (If it is still available)

The Truth About Population: Statistics In 2015

What's the story about population really?

“Overpopulated” – BBC Documentary by Hans Rosling

We live in a world of relentless change. Huge migrations of people to new mega-cities filling soaring skyscrapers and vast slums, ravenous appetites for fuel and food, unpredictable climate change... and all this in a world where the population is still growing. Should we be worried, should we be scared, and how to make sense of it all?
Seven billion people now live on this planet of ours. Isn't it beautiful? When some people think about the world and its future they panic, others prefer not to think about it at all, bit in this documentary Professor Hans Rosling will show you how things really are.

Rosling is statistician and he'll show you the world in a new way. He'll tell you how world's population is changing and what today's data tell us about the future of the world we live in. We undeniably face huge challenges, but the good news is that the future may not be quite as gloom and that mankind already is doing better than many of you think.

Many people think population growth is out of control, some even talk about the population bomb, but are they right? Most of the population growth in recent years has been in Asian countries, like in Bangladesh, where the population has tripled during Rosling's lifetime from 50 to more than a 150 million. It's now one of the most densely populated countries in the world.
However people in Bangladesh, whether in the city or the countryside, are intensely concerned about the size of families. There is a cultural shift away from big families and there is actual success in reducing the fertility rate, which is the number of babies born per woman. In just 40 years Bangladesh has gone from 7 to 2.2 children per family. But is it only in Bangladesh? According to the Rosling's stats the trend is worldwide. In 1963, the average number of babies born per woman in the world was 5... and today the average is 2.5.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Watch This Bird Go Fishing. Really!

We like to think we humans are the only creatures with the ability to hatch a plan.  Check this out.

Ever seen a bird fishing? Using bread for bait? Me neither... at least until today
Posted by If the Devil Had a Wife

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Three Ages We Live

Sculpture executed circa 1300 A.D

"The passage of time was one of the main concerns in Mesoamerican society; thus,  many depictions of its passage allude to different aspects of the Mesoamerican view of the cosmos.

The three faces depict three phases in which time and humans are closely related. The central face is jovial and full of vigor, referring to the time when individuals are during their most productive years in a society. 

By way of contrast, the exterior mask has closed eyes, alluding to the opposite phase, death. 

In between is a period of no less importance, the state that arrives with experience: old age."

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

RIchard Thompson: Still on NPR

ABC Radio National


Thompson's skills on the guitar were first noticed in the UK folk rock band Fairport Convention which he co-founded in 1967. His Ivor Novello-winning songs having been recorded by everyone from REM, Elvis Costello, and Graham Parker to The Pointer Sisters, Los Lobos, Jeff Lang, Dinosaur Jr and the Blind Boys of Alabama. His lyrics can be romantic, biting and black all in the same verse. 'There's a fine line between repeating yourself and having your own style,' he says.

 In his time as guest on RN Afternoons with Michael Mackenzie, Richard discusses his search for surprise, working with producer Jeff Tweedy (Wilco), and plays a new song called Beatnik Walking from the new album Still to be released in June 2015.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Ray Bradbury: Advice On Driving, Pleasing Yourself And Writing

Ray Bradbury spoke with these college students and this is what happened.

"Nobody else is going to give a damn what you're doing, so you need a few other people like yourself"
- Ray Bradbury as told to two college kids on road trip in 1972

In the autumn of 2012, Lisa Potts rediscovered -- literally, behind her dresser -- a taped cassette of a long-lost interview with author Ray Bradbury that she made as a college student journalist back in 1972. 

Even earlier, Ray Bradbury turned up a TV show hosted by Groucho Marx.

A Peek Behind The Curtain: Leonard Cohen Choices

Here's a rare gift - a chance to see the evolution of a performance.

This song is a cover of a song by George Jones September (12, 1931 – April 26, 2013), which Leonard Cohen offers as something of a tribute to him.

It's also a great coaching song! Choices. We all have them.

It was not really a planned choice for Leonard Cohen to have his retirement savings stolen by his manager but he's made some good choices, with a lot of help from people around him, about what to do next.

Imagine yourself at 80 producing some of your best work.

Now that's a better life to expect than the one we often are presented in popular culture for what old age will be like.

I know which choice I'd make.

Sound Check 


The song "Choices" from the album Cant Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour Live.

George Jones sings from experience it seems in these lyrics. You can find his life story here  It makes for an interesting read. 


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Higher Cost Wine - Is It Really Worth It?

Why is it that we so easily fall into the trap of believing that something expensive is better?

Once upon a time there may have been some connection between the cost of production for high cost items and similar products on the low end of the scale. These days that may not be true.  We know that factories making generic cans of fruit and the like just retool to change the labels for the different brands.

When it comes to wine I know I have bought many bottles of reasonably expensive wine that were less enjoyable than some other bottles that I like which are much cheaper. But then I don't get any kick to my self esteem by buying wine that has a high price.  Don't misunderstand, some more expensive wine is superb and well worth splashing out for on occasion. I think the lesson here is to make choices based on what you really like and not what you think you should like.

A few years ago a TV channel did a testing panel of champagne and champagne styles with some Melbourne Cup racegoers. Now this is a time of year when people like to drink some champagne and have fun. Many of the tasters were inclined to put strawberries into the champagne anyway so not exactly wine connoisseur.  What transpired was that the favourite bottle of champagne turned out not to be a vintage French real McCoy, but a domestic dry bubbly that retailed for about $14.

Red Wine Price Versus Enjoyment Test

"We blind-tasted three cabernet sauvignon wines, one of which (the most expensive) was described by Wine Spectator as "extremely well done ... with style and panache." Our response was somewhat different."

Vox wrote an article on this you can find it here - Expensive wine is for suckers

It's little wonder then that research into human behaviour can allow marketers to use those same patterns of human behaviour to sell more products using psychological tricks to make us buy more, eat fast and get out of a fast food restaurant (it is no accident that fast food chains are all garish red and yellow colour combinations), buy the more expensive option or in some way affect our decisions around purchases.

Shopping Is Like A Minefield 

This article on Mental Floss goes into some detail to show how menus presented a certain way will drive sales of particular items that might otherwise not be our first choice. They limit options, since more choice adds more confusion and can make it harder to make a choice at all.

Like this one:

"One way to encourage you to spend more money is by making price tags as inconspicuous as possible. “We get rid of dollar signs because that’s a pain point,” says Allen. “They remind people they’re spending money.” Instead of $12.00 for that club sandwich, you’re likely to see it listed as 12.00, or even just 12. One Cornell University study found that written-out prices (“twelve dollars”) also encourage guests to spend more. “Your pricing format will set the tone of the restaurant,” says Rapp. “So $9.95 I’ve found is a friendlier price than a $10, which has attitude to it.”

Dotted lines leading from the menu item to its price are a cardinal sin of menu design. “That menu was introduced before modern typesetting,” says Allen. “It was a way of keeping the page looking properly formatted, but what happens is the guest reads down the right side of the menu and then looks to the left to see what the lower price point can afford them.” The solution?“Nested” pricing, or listing the price discretely after the meal description in the same size font, so your eyes just glide right over it. "

Planned Environments

The way stores feel, the temperature to which the climate control is set, the light levels, the music that is playing in the background, even the visual cues like fresh flowers at the entrance to the grocery store are not there to sell flowers but rather to get you geared up to buy the fruit and vegetables you will find when you pass them and enter the store.  Welcome to Neuromarketing.

Packaging follows a similar strategy with "fresh" and images of rolling hills with contented cows in stylized artwork make us think of farms and rural life, that is nothing like the product it represents which many times may have no natural ingredients that came from anything like the image depicted.

Spoil Yourself Anyway

All this is not to say that there are not times when it is okay to splurge and some things really are worth a premium price. That vintage bottle that has been aged and stored for years in the right conditions to reach its peak right now when you buy it to drink may well be worth the extra price for what you get.

But if you can remember that price alone may not be an indicator of the product being worth that much, then you might start to discover some bargains that are just as enjoyable because they really do taste better to your palette.  

After all. We are all unique and so too our taste can be out of step with those educated to prefer a particular style different from our own.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Yellowberry A Mission & Brand For Young Girls

What happens when you take your little sister shopping for her first bra and don't like the process you see? When you notice that clothing for young girls is not age appropriate and the choices are poor?

If you are Megan Grassell you pay attention to that internal dissonance and start a kickstarter crowdfunding and launch a new business to cater to these young women.

Why 'Yellowberry' as a name and image?

It is the stage of the berry, after it is formed but still not yet ripe and still needing time to mature.

Perfect name for a perfectly identified market that Yellowberry will serve.

Read more about Megan Grassell and Yellowberry on Fastcompany

Now partnering with Aerie.com - see more on that here 

New businesses finding a niche in the market and filling it. That's what makes for better business and better choices for customers too.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Your Business Is Not You

“If those who are sent to draw water begin by drinking themselves,
 the army is suffering from thirst.” 

Starting a business is an incredibly brave thing to do. It is to make a commitment to an idea that you don't know for sure will work, and will require you to put all your money and your time and your effort into building.

All for a crazy dream.

After a while though, if you are fortunate, the business will be more than an idea. It will be a real living breathing entity that makes money and serves customers and has needs of its own. It needs to be tended and fed and watered and needs good air to breathe to enable it to be healthy. The business needs the weeds pulled and the grass mowed and kept tidy so it can be as productive as possible.

To see the business as its own entity and not just a dream in our mind now, that's a critical point for any business owner to reach.

Some never do.

Some owners of a business continue to regard their business as an extension of themselves.   "This is my business, the money in the till is mine and all I have to think about is what I want."

That works for a while but it doesn't allow the business to grow true and strong.

Any business has needs that are not the needs of the owner.  This is your business, but the money in the till is not yours and the business needs you to think about what it needs not just what you want.

We sometimes dream of having a child and when we do we learn that a dream of a child is different from the reality of a child. Real children are messy and grow and need new things as they get older, demand more from parents and learn the lessons that let them develop into individuals who can think and make decisions so that they can, when the time is right, be independent and confident.

The way we care for a baby is not the way we care for a teenager, though we love them just as much.

The same goes for a business.

The business grows and matures, the marketplace changes and new realities emerge that the business must deal with. This can mean a need for new skills, new methods of operating, better attention to detail and delivery. Consistent marketing to bring the oxygen that the sustains the business.

Sometimes - often - what the business needs, is not what the owner wants.

What then?

Business owners have a choice. To continue to do the brave thing. To steward the business to develop into a healthy strong entity. To empower it to succeed and be the best it can be.

Or do what they want instead.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Repurpose, Reuse And Recycle!

Lately I have been fascinated with the work that some people are doing in turning discarded and outdated items into beautiful pieces  that anyone would be happy to have in their home.
Confirmation once again if we needed it,  that a better life - doesn't need to be expensive. 

Consider buying furnishings for a house. New pieces that are often now made to look like 'retro' pieces, but made cheaply, compared to original pieces that can be bought cheaply but are well made. 

Renovating items and giving them a new purpose. Fantastic! 

What I notice as I collect a lot of strange things on Pinterest is the way that the mind changes in the way we view items, when we learn to look beyond now at what is and look instead to how something could be and what else it might be useful for that is not the original purpose but could work a treat and turn into a funky new unique addition to the house. And it's cheap, so there is no real risk, having a go to make something of it. And if you don't like it you can either do it over or give it away.

Having Fun With Your Imagination

On the other hand it is a deal if you can buy something for little money and make it the way you want it rather than spending a few thousand dollars to buy something that in a while you might want to change again. 

A simple canvas frame from the dollar store becomes a stunning wall decoration. 

Even clothes can have a new lease on life. 

No need to buy new fabric if you have an old piece of clothing you can recut to fit the purpose. 

Not even any paint needed for this transformation - just use washi tape for a new look. 

Beautiful signature gift wrapping with simple style.  

Old glassware is great to buy from a thrift shop and used here  with a length of chain to make a bird feeder. 

Old cans painted in bright colours make a splash and look more interesting than plastic pots.

Old baskets get new life in the garden.

Outdoor furniture can be expensive but why not go for something more festive by painting up an old thrift shop table (or one you want to take out of the house) to use under cover in the backyard? Or leave it inside if you like the Boho look that's fashionable now.

Home decorator pieces can be expensive! A simple redo of a thrift store buy and a bit of spray paint could be an economical way to get something stylish without the cost.  For the house or garden. 

Blackboard paint and some simple frames transform this old filing cabinet.

A tired old set of drawers with a coat of paint and drawers removed becomes an console table with open storage for the linens.

Remember when pine furniture was the thing? Before you throw it out think about how you can update it. A painted dresser new would cost a few thousand dollars to buy (if you can find one you like). Updating an old one could be a great alternative and give you the storage and the look that fits in a modern decor.  This is also a good way to unify odd pieces of furniture that don't go together naturally.

A plain storage cube gets new functionality with the addition of some baskets to store those things that won't look good on the shelf.

You'll find more ideas here 

No matter what situation you're in right now, there are things you can do that will make your surroundings more pleasant and give you projects to work on that don't cost a lot of money. If money is no object, then the appeal of creating something uniquely your taste may be the incentive you need.

Repurpose, reuse and recycle! It's a very on-trend thing to do!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Choose: High Income Or High Net Worth?

Robert Neubecker

Years ago one of the books that made a big impact on me was Thomas J Stanley's The Millionaire Next Door, a study of what really affluent people actually do and how they live. And it found a lot of surprises.  Often those who look the most affluent by their purchases and appearances - are not at all.

The difference between high income and high net worth is an important distinction to make. 

You probably know people who have had jobs with big money coming in, buy all the toys and then when the economy tightens and they are laid off, are in dire straights.

This illustrates the point quite well. It also reminds us that we need to verify the logic behind numbers and statistics that are in the articles we read.

"I estimate that there are 2.5 million households or nearly 2.2% of the total that have annual realized incomes of $250,000 or more.  Using Ms. Muller's estimates that 39% of "the rich" buy luxury brands, one can estimate the number who do so, approximately 975,000.  Ah, but this population is much smaller than those households who drive prestige makes but have annual incomes under $100,000.

About 30 million households have annual incomes in the $50,000 to under $100,000 bracket alone.  Translated:  8% of 30 million = 2.4 million who are buying luxury cars but are not in the so-called "rich" category.  This population is nearly 2.5 times the size of the high income/luxury vehicle buyer."

Which leads to the really important question...

"Could it be that it is the pseudo affluent, the aspirationals, who are keeping the manufacturers of prestige makes of motor vehicles in business?"   You can find the article this is from here. 

Sadly  Thomas J. Stanley, at age 71, died in March 2015 in a car crash.

He used research to smash the stereotype that being wealthy meant looking wealthy. On the contrary, his works said: Self-made millionaires — the real deal, not the wannabes — are much more likely to be frugal and spurn spending for show. More ...

As for the people showing off the bling? “It’s the neurotic middle-class,” he said in a 1991 interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Or the millionaires’ children."

More on Thomas J Stanley 

Paying Tribute to Thomas Stanley and His ‘Millionaire Next Door’ - New York Times

Remembering Thomas J. Stanley, who redefined what it means to be rich - Washington Post

Thursday, May 7, 2015

On Staying In A Job, Or Quitting To Follow A Passion.

Excellent answer to the question the comes up all the time about staying in a job or quitting to follow a passion.

Should I quit my job and follow my passion or stick to job and improve my performance?
My wedding is six months away and my manager just extended my probation saying I have not performed well and got an offer to teach one more subject (teaching is my passion and teach during weekends) my friends started a start up.

Click through for the thoroughly generous and satisfying answer one Quora member responded with.
Click here to read