Category: Tricks of the Trade

July 1: The Necessity of Pushing Yourself Outside Your…

And here we have it.  The last and final installment of the series.  The last wise and sage bit of motivation and inspirational knowledge I get to impart for this series.

Some have asked me why I went with 31 days when June clearly only has 30 days.  While a completely legitimate question, my intent with this was not to match the number of blog posts with the number of days in the month, it was more closely tied to the fact that on June 4th, I turned 31 years young.  Also, when tackling the initial rush of ingenuity with this series, the piece that solidified my decision was the fact that the 31st entry would fall on July 1st, effectively giving me a final blog to help propel my readers into July and beyond, while offering a solidifying finale to the series.

If you have followed along with the series, I really have 3 running themes to all of these posts, 3 main areas where I believe that you cannot help but feel better about yourself and more alive, just by participating:

Finding Adventure

June 4: Hit the Road, Jack.

June 5: Embrace Spontaneity

June 6: Get Lost

June 7: Spin the Globe

June 9: The Long Road Home

June 10: First Flight

June 11: Blow Off Work

June 20: Get Lost (Again)

June 24: Take a Flying Leap

June 25: Map Your Escape Route

June 28: Choose Your Own Adventure

Embracing Action

June 1: Stop Reading My Blog

June 2: Take a Photo

June 8: Relax!

June 12: Take a Hike

June 14: Make Something New

June 15: Sell Your Crap

June 16: Stop Making Excuses and Achieve Greatness

June 17: Set a Deadline

June 18: Create a Bucket List

June 19: Throw Caution to the Wind

June 21: Dedicate Yourself to Yourself

June 23: Disconnect Yourself

June 30: Draw A Blank

Giving Charity

June 3: Say Hello to a Stranger

June 13: Be Kind, Rewind

June 22: Be Charitable with Your Feet

June 26: Selflessness and You

June 27: Find a New Best Friend

June 29: Go Out of Your Way

 

The underlying theme that I have been trying to convey is a pretty simple one.

It is absolutely necessary to push yourself outside of the confines of your comfort zone on a daily basis.

Far too often, as I have touched on before, Americans, hell, people, strive for COMFORTABLE. We strive to hit that point in our lives when we don’t have to work too hard, yet pull in a decent salary. Where we don’t have to try and constantly impress our wife/husband, but they love us anyways.

We strive to be AVERAGE.  Not for excellence, not to be a superstar. We strive to meet the status quo.  Not to beat it and call it our bitch.

Why is that?  Why don’t you strive to be perpetually amazing?

Each and every day we need to push ourselves to be better, to achieve greater things. We need to push ourselves to achieve what we never thought was possible.  No matter how big, no matter how small, we need to make forward progress each and every day.

Our limits are only defined by our previous shortcomings. We must constantly explore the boundary of what we have previously identified as our “limit” and then push those boundaries further.

Ordinary people don’t make history.

Ordinary people don’t even make the news.

Don’t be ordinary. Be extraordinary.

Day 31. Way 31. Be Extraordinary. Every. Single. Day.

What limits are you going to push today?

Fireworks Photo Credit / Desert Photo Credit

June 26: Selflessness and You

Recently I wrote an article on being charitable with your feet that brought up a number of good points that segue right into this blog that I have been wanting to write.

Charity sees the need, not the cause. – German proverb

So often there is a misconception that in order to help charities you must donate money.  You see it all over the place.  Donate money to help the children read, donate money to help build homes for the poor, donate money to save the rainforest, donate money to a scam that we just made up to get your money but we really are calling it a charity.

Fact of the matter is, there are plenty of organizations that need your time, not your money.  Actually, most every single non-profit organization (NPO) thrives on the time and dedication of its volunteers.  Whether you can donate 4 days or 4 hours, most any NPO can find a need, from helping build houses, to helping sort groceries, to stapling marketing materials.  There are plenty of jobs, some that will use your talents, others that will just use your time.

What is the use of living if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone? – Winston Churchill

Here is just a quick list of places and ways that you can donate your time without a penny out of your pocket:

  • Build a house with Habitat for Humanity
  • Assist with pet care and events for the SPCA
  • Staff an event for a charitable organization
  • Volunteer with the Susan G. Komen Foundation to help cure breast cancer
  • ???

One of the best places, besides the internet, to find organizations in need of volunteers is your corporate HR department.  Most times, larger companies are involved in community driven charities and often use company driven recruitment to assist these organizations with their events.

Is money what all of these non-profit organizations need to function? YES.  But the money doesn’t just come in by the truckload, these companies need to operate like a normal, profit-based business and use their events to aid in the fundraising.  These companies need selfless volunteers to donate their time and expertise to run a business whose sole goal is to give back to their communities and their causes.

Day 26. Way 26. Selflessness and You.  You don’t need to spend money to affect change on a large scale.

I left the list above with some question marks at the end.  This is where you come in.  Can you help me finish off that list with a recommendation for groups or charities that need volunteer assistance?

Share your recommendations and stories of selflessness below.

 

toys photo credit / dog photo credit

June 25: Map Your Escape Route

Throughout this month of directives on how to get busy living your life, I have focused on a lot of spontaneous travel related items, such as playing a few travel games, to getting lost.

Today, I will take a look at the safer side of travel, and how you can use that to help get the blood pumping, the excitement level up and motivated to make things happen.

Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now – Alan Lakein

Maybe you are the type of person that does not embrace spontaneity. Maybe you don’t have deep pockets (I know I don’t) but still love to travel.  If travel hacking isn’t your thing and you just want to book a trip the old fashioned way, then here are a few tips for you to help make the planning phase a little easier, and a little more exciting:

Choosing a Destination

When choosing a destination for a large trip, a lot of factors come into the equation, such as time of year, season, length of time for vacation as well as money.  While I am a believer that all travel can be had inexpensively, I wouldn’t try and plan a beachfront villa in Bora Bora when you only have a 4 day vacation and $2,000.  Moral of the story, be realistic here.

Sites like Wanderfly are a godsend when it comes to the indecisive.  It is an intuitive web portal that will search for destinations based on time of year, theme, length of time and budget.  While I haven’t actually used their site to actually plan a vacation, I do use their site for idea generation.  Just one quick search will give you TONS of ideas on where to go, where to stay, things to do and so much more.

I could seriously sit here and do searches all day long.

Finding Airfare

So you have used Wanderfly to dream up some amazing destinations and have a general idea on what to expect for the price.  While Wanderfly uses Orbitz for their searches, I prefer to use Kayak and Bing Travel for my searches for 2 different reasons.

Kayak is a descendent of the old SideStep, one of the first companies to really develop a flight search aggregator.  Kayak searches all of the major airlines websites, as well as popular travel agencies such as Orbitz, Expedia and Priceline.  With tools to help you search all local airports, flexible days with a comparison matrix, Kayak is 2nd to none in the flight search business.

Bing Travel is the result of an online travel search company that Microsoft bought and integrated into their Bing search engine.  The reason I really love this site is that if you are traveling a common route (we will use LAX to JFK for example) with multiple flights per day, Bing Travel will look at the trending analysis of the flight costs, compare them against recent travel trends, previous year’s pricing and return a recommendation on wether you should purchase the tickets now because prices are set to raise, or if you should hold off, as ticket prices are set to drop.  This really is a handy tool when looking at flight costs over 3-4 months in advance.

Finding Hotels

Now you know where you are going and how you are getting there, let’s take a look at where to stay.  The real question here is if you are looking for a hotel room, or an all inclusive resort.  Kayak is my old fail safe when it comes to hotel searches, as their hotel search engine is just as powerful as their airfare search engine.  Kayak also has a section for deals and vacation packages that will help you look into package bundles and other deals that have amazing savings.

My other default is the Marriott website, as Juliet and I have been huge fans of their customer service and standards for many years now, they are our hotel membership of choice.  More times than not, while sites like Kayak are great, nothing quite beats searching right on the hotel website of your favorite brand.

For us, we can deal with a long flight, maybe a delay or two, but we will not scrimp on a bad night’s sleep or a dirty room.  Hotels are our number 1 priority when travelling, and it helps us wake up in a good mood, ready to attack the day.

Finding Adventure

Ahh, the most important part of your trip.  So you have picked your destination, your travel there and your hotel.  Great. Now let’s plan the fun stuff.  Let’s scope out where we are going to eat, where we are going to drink and where we are going to go have some amazing experiences.

TripAdvisor is a great place to start.  With recommendations based on city and location, Trip Advisor for me has constantly turned up great recommendations for sights to see, places to eat and more.

Twitter is another great tool for researching destinations, as there is always people willing to help give advice and recommendations on things to do, places to see, food to eat, drinks to… well, drink.  Recently, Juliet and I booked a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands for a much-needed vacation.  With a few quick searches and with the help of some Twitter friends, I got some great recommendations for smaller islands to visit, great drinks to try and restaurants to visit.  Cannot beat first hand recommendations.

The last recommendation for finding adventure at your destination is an old-fashioned Google Search.  There are blogs and websites dedicated to adventure travelers, from personal blogs to corporate guide companies and everything in between.  Chances are with a quick search you will come across a number of blogs from people who have vacationed at the same places you are headed.  Look at it this way, the most website traffic that hits my website from Google comes from people searching about road trips.  Yes, there are plenty more like me out there.

These are just a few of the tips and tricks to help make planning a vacation a little easier and a little more fun.  I spent regular amounts of time on these websites just dreaming about the vacations I would love to take, but I also visit these sites when I am ready to book my travel as well too.  Dreaming can be fun, just make sure to have a plan to turn that dream into a reality, then go ahead and plan your escape from the real world.

Day 25. Way 25. Plan a vacation. Map your escape route from reality.

What are your favorite ways to research and plan for trips? Share your stories, tips and tricks in the comments below!

Hotel Photo Credit / Beach Photo Credit / Zip Line Photo / Lego Photo Credit

June 19: Throw Caution to the Wind

Every once in a while, you need to stop playing it safe, stop making excuses and throw caution to the wind.  Take a chance on someone.  Take a chance on yourself.

Today, instead of giving made up examples and speaking to direct reasons to take my advice, I am going to share a story and throw caution to the wind in hopes that my readers can glean my message from my story.

Just 1 year ago, my (then) fiance and I had just returned from our trip up to Sonoma and Napa, CA where I proposed (and she said YES) to our routine daily jobs and our stable, safe life.

In that past year, we have been a little busy:

Needless to say, we have thrown caution to the wind a few times.  But nothing like this weekend.

This weekend’s excursion was decided upon less than a week ago and turned out to be such a great experience, a testament to my optimism and belief in the generosity of others and how paying it forward really works.

It was around 4 weeks ago that I first came across Team Cocktail on Twitter through a Thursday tweet up that happens ever y week.  We had exchanged tweets, I had checked out their website and loved some of their gear.  I had even tried out a few of their cocktails that were posted on their blog.  I was a fan. I even bought a shirt.

After multiple more interactions, all on Twitter, Juliet and I took a big leap of faith and threw caution to the wind.  Team Cocktail was announcing their plans for their 2012 cruise, a group discount brought the prices down to a reasonable level, so Juliet and I jumped on it. We put down our deposit and are booked for the Team Cocktail Cruise in January 2012, our first cruise, headed towards the South Caribbean and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

You heard me correctly, we booked our first ever cruise with a group of people we have never even met in real life.

Shortly thereafter, I did a blog writeup for Team Cocktail about one their amazing pineapple mojito.  Great advertising for my blog and their site, it was a win-win situation and helped out Team Cocktail as they prepared for their trip from Kansas to Washington D.C. for  the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Fest.

A few more emails were exchanged and on about a week’s notice, Juliet and I made the 310 mile trek down from NY to DC to help out Team Cocktail with being exhibitors hawking Team Cocktail swag to all of the party-goers in Washington DC!

We drank, ate, partied, sold, bartered and had an absolutely great time with Trey and Lyndsey from Team Cocktail and are looking forward to the January cruise even more so now that we have met Trey and Lyndsey in person.  Great fun, great people and the start of a great friendship.

None of this would have been possible if we didn’t take a chance, threw caution to the wind and made a 310 mile drive to meet some people from Twitter.

Day 19. Way 19. Throw caution to the wind. Take a chance. You might be surprised with the outcome.

Share a story about when you threw caution to the wind and any success stories to go along with it in the comments below!

June 18: Create a Bucket List

This is a guest post by fellow blogger-extrordinaire Elle Swim.  She writes a Bucket List blog, so this is kind of her specialty.

Do you ever feel like your days are slipping away from you?  Do you ever wish that you accomplished more over the weekend or wonder where the time went? Are you tired of experiencing the same thing every day?

What did you accomplishment this week?  This month?  What are your upcoming goals?  What would you like to achieve?  Examine the things that you have done and consider the things that you would like to do.  Having a bucket list reminds you of what is important to you and what goals you would like to achieve.

Creating a bucket list is much like planning out the things that you want to experience in your life.  By writing things down, you are more apt to achieve them. Take time to reexamine and reevaluate your desires and then head out and do them.

So, are you ready to live the life of your dreams? Are you ready to create a list of your own? If you need a little inspiration or a few ideas, please take a moment to look over my list.

Now think.

  • What if you were to die tomorrow?  What would you like to see or do before tomorrow comes?
  • Who would you like to meet?
  • What would you like to see?
  • Where would you like to go?
  • What would you like to do?
  • If you won the lottery, how would you spend your winnings?
  • What achievements would you want to have?
  • What are your hopes and dreams?
  • What skills would have liked to acquire?

Think of as many things that you would like to see, feel, experience, accomplish and do and jot them all down.  Aim for at least 100 goals and you pass that amount than good for you.  The sky is the limit! Get busy living!

Day 18. Way 18. June 18: Create a Bucket List. Stop living vicariously and simply start living.

Where would you like you go?

What would you love to do if money and time were of no importance?

What is on your bucket list?

Share your thoughts, ideas and dreams with us in the comments below!

June 17: Set a Deadline

I admit it. I am a lister.

I create lists for everything.

  • task lists
  • to-do lists
  • grocery lists
  • project lists
  • wish lists
  • contact lists
  • activity lists
  • bulleted lists
  • see my point?

For me, they are easier to manage than random notes for things I need to take care of.  It offers organization and sense of order.  They help me prioritize the items that need my attention.

But they haven’t been working for me.

In business, I have made heavy use of Microsoft Project and Gantt charts to help define large scale projects, establish timelines, responsibilities, target start and completion dates, available resources as well as estimated deadlines.  These charts, commonly displayed as a task list, were essential to almost any project because it kept my engineering team and myself on task, on schedule and within budget.

So if these lists that I love and abide by so much in my professional life are working so fantastically, why aren’t they working for me in my personal life?

I have had lists in one way, shape or form for some time.  From using sticky notes, written notebooks and dedicated applications. Nothing was working.  I was using Evernote for my task lists and other miscellaneous lists.  It worked great, synchronized between web, computer and phone.  But the one feature it is lacking for a to-do list application is the feature that I needed the most.

The ability to set due dates and deadlines.

I had these great lists, things I need to do, items needing my attention.  However, without actively staring at sticky notes, opening my notebook or loading up Evernote every single day to check when things were due.

It was not until about a week ago when I started using a program called Wunderlist that I realized the error of my ways.  The program is awesome and I love it as a dedicated task management app.  You can create tasks, set due dates, set priority, everything.  It lets you know when items are due in the next 7 days, due today, or overdue.

I need deadlines.

Now with deadlines and alerts, tasks are getting knocked off my to-do list left and right and ahead of schedule.

Now it is your turn.

Take your to-do list, or create one if you don’t have one.  Prioritize it and add deadlines.

Look good?  Awesome.

Now take those deadlines and bump them up a day.  Agressive? Yes.  Out of the realm of possibility? Of course not.

Push yourself to get things accomplished.  Even the smallest, most mundane task.  Get it knocked out ahead of schedule.  It will energize you and boost your confidence and make taking care of the next item on the list, just that much easier.

Day 17. Way 17.  June 17: Set Deadlines. Knock tasks off that list.  Boost your confidence.

Do you use lists like I do?

What do you use to manage those lists?

How do you keep the deadlines that you set?

Let me know your methods or suggestions in the comments below!

hourglass photo / clock face photo

June 16: Stop Making Excuses and Achieve Greatness

Seriously, knock it off.

All too often in life, we find ourselves making excuses for ourselves.  We are afraid to take risks.  We are scared of the unknown.  We are afraid to step outside of what is comfortable to us.  We are afraid to leave what is safe.

We are standing in our own way.

We work our way through high school and college.  From our first job to our first career. We work for years to build a life that for all intents and purposes is SAFE.  We begin to fill our life with “…but…”

“I should start my own business, I could TOTALLY do that better….. but, I don’t know the first thing about starting a business, so I will just go back to my 8-5 cubicle job where I hate my life but will never stick my neck out achieve greatness”

Who said you have to quit your job tomorrow and start a new business?  Find a business partner, a buddy who DOES know about business, or hey, go read a book. Go back to school. You CAN educate yourself to know how to run a business, but sitting there talking about it is just making you more bitter.  Get out there, make a decision and start controlling your own happiness.

“I really want to take that 2 week vacation to Europe…. but it will cost a lot of money and I can’t be away from work for 2 whole weeks like that, so I will sit here and look at pictures of castles and Mediterranean beaches while I plan my 4-day weekend, the longest vacation I have ever taken”

Take that vacation, trust me, the work will be there when you get back.  That is why you work 40-50 hour work weeks, to make this money.  Great, it sits in a savings account while you continue being miserable.  Spend the money, take the vacation, enjoy the hell out of it.  YOU DESERVE IT.

“I want to lose this extra 20lbs and get in better shape… but between work, friends and family, I don’t have the time to dedicate going to a gym every day, so I will continue to eat food that is bad for me while I sit my fat ass on the couch and watch Sportscenter and “unwind” from work”

Self motivation is hard, but so is losing weight when you don’t change your lifestyle.  Make the conscious choice to give up sitting on the couch, change your diet and start being physically active (walking to the bar for another beer doesn’t count).  Gyms are open 24 hours every day, you can sleep when you are dead. Or when you figure out how to balance your schedule.

“I would love to participate in that event this weekend, it only happens once a year!… but I already agreed to work this weekend, so, I will just have to wait for next year and hope that I don’t have an excuse next year when it comes up.”

The normal work schedule of a normal employee is 260 days per year. Some of us work more than that, inching up on 275-300 days per year.  An annual event takes place once per year.  Prioritize your schedule. Find someone to cover for you at work or make up the day later.  If you want to do something, stop making excuses and just do it. (Nike has nothing on me)

“Check out that girl at the end of the bar, she is so hot, I should go talk to her…. but, she is totally out of my league, so I am just going to sit over here in the corner by myself drinking my light beer before I go home to my parents basement to play video games.”

Man up, grow a pair and go talk to her. You will never know she is out of your league until she tells you she is.  Guess what, she turns you down, at least you tried, and now you know to try harder next time.

Fact is, we talk ourselves out of achieving greatness every single day.  We think we aren’t good enough. We don’t have the time. We don’t have the knowledge.  We stand in our own way.

So here is the challenge.

Stop making excuses. Stop talking yourself out of things. Get out of your own way and allow yourself to achieve greatness.

Day 16. Way 16. Stop making excuses and allow yourself to achieve greatness.

What are the excuses you find yourself making commonly?

How do you plan to overcome them?

What excuses did you bypass to achieve greatness?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

 

fitness center photo / office photo / beach photo / bike photo / bar photo

June 15: Sell Your Crap

Yup, you heard me.

Those excess shelves of random stuff you have in your garage.

All the miscellaneous boxes in your attic.

That part of the closet of clothes you never touch.

Sell it!

Have a yard sale.

List it on Craigslist.

Hell, give it away.

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”

In a consumerist society, we are  taught from a young age by marketing companies and other influences that we need a big house, a big car, a big garage, big EVERYTHING. In the end, we NEED these big items just so we can store all of our crap we have amassed.

Buy first, ask yourself a question.  Why?!

As some of my longtime readers have seen, aside from the motivation of moving cross country, I started Operation: Consolidation with chronicled my goal of selling all the crap that I kept up in my attic and never looked at.  Over the course of 2 months, I sold 80% of what I listed on Craigslist, traded a few things away and donated the rest to charity.

5 months later, I can honestly tell you I don’t miss it one bit.  Don’t miss the ATV, don’t miss my old truck, don’t miss any of the old toys, collections, memorabilia or the video games.  It had been in my attic for years without being touched.  And now it is in someone else’s house/garage, not mine.

Also around the same time, I started a new project.  Project 333 was more than an experiment in living with less, it taught me how much excess we all have, from clothes, to shoes, to everything in between.  After leaving a consulting job in favor of an employer with a casual workspace, I packed away all of my clothes except for 33 items.  And it was EASY.

Evaluate the amount of “things” you have in your house.  By “things” I mean items that you have not used in 6-12 months, clothes you have not worn in 6-12 months or really anything that holds no sincere sentimental value and is just taking up space.

Identify what you can get rid of

Sell what you can.

Donate the rest.

Clear your life of crap you dont need. This is meant to challenge your definition of what you need.  This is not meant to teach you to give up everything you love, or be a test of your will, this is to get rid of the excess.  Think of it as excess weight, excess baggage.  This is just taking up space in your house, in your life.

The less “stuff” and “things” that fill your life and space, the more free you become. Decisions become easier, moods become happier.

Day 15. Way 15. Sell your crap. Free your house. Free your life. Free your mind.

Have you gone through and de-cluttered any?

Would love to hear how much you got rid of, how well it went, and most importantly, how you feel now that it is done.  Let us know in the comments below!

June 14: Make Something New

As you might have noticed, I posted another blog earlier tonight.  The first one, a guest post I wrote for Team Cocktail, really got me thinking about actions that embody the mantra of “Get Busy Livin.'”  To speak to kindness and generosity, Lyndsey, the leader of Team Cocktail (her title actually is Director of Awesomeness) simply asked me if I would like to write a guest post on their blog.  Without hesitation, I agreed.  Not because I am hoping for more traffic to my site, not because I am making money off it, for no other reason other than she asked.  My first response was “hell yeah!”

After writing the blog and proof reading it, having Juliet read it, and re-reading it again, the second embodiment of my mantra really became clear.  The only reason I was able to have the opportunity to write for Team Cocktail is because I was willing to put myself out there and engage others, but what really drove the article was that I was not afraid to take the advice of someone else and try something completely new.

For me, that advice led to me trying a Pineapple Mojito.  I know, it is not that far of a stretch, but it is more of the concept that is the point here.  Do away with the old and tired.  Try and make something new.  Whether it is a new twist on an old dinner dish or something completely new that you have never had before. Even if you are out at dinner, or ordering a pizza for delivery, try something you have not had before.

The only way to find out if you don’t like something is to try it at least once.

A few years back, Mike relayed a story to me about how, when he was living in North Carolina with his roommate, they would trade off and cook dinner with a signature item as the staple.  One week they would each cook a new dish with leeks. The next week, they would each cook a new dish with sweet potatoes.

Nothing revolutionary, but they were expanding their culinary talents by attempting to cook new things, but also expanding their palette with new dishes, new ingredients and new methods of preparation.

There is a reason that there are multiple television channels, dozens of magazine publications, thousands of books and millions of websites dedicated solely to food/drink/cooking.  These outlets market to everyone, from those who have absolutely no idea where to start when cooking, all the way to dedicated foodies and home chef’s.

Use those resources. Use your imagination.  Pick out something new, and give it a shot. Challenge your palette, challenge your mind.

31 Days. 31 Ways. June 14 – Make something new, challenge your palette, and your mind.

What is the best dish you ever had for the first time?

Share your comments and photos below of how going out on a limb and trying something new really expanded your palette and appreciation for new food!

My Team Cocktail and Pineapple Mojito Addiction

This is a syndication of a guest blog I wrote for Team Cocktail.  Original article can be found here.

Lets get these 2 simple facts out of the way right up front.

Fact 1: Team Cocktail is a bad influence and will drain your bank account.

Fact 2: You will have no money in your bank account, but you will be rocking the most stylish fashion around, be surrounded by hoards of gorgeous supermodels as you wow them with your exotic drink recipes while relaxing on a white sand Caribbean beach.

Or, at least that is how I envision it.

But I am not here to talk about the white sand beaches, the gorgeous women or even the awesome Team Cocktail clothes and accessories.  No, I am here to talk about how Team Cocktail is a bad influence on me (and my wallet) and why I completely love them for it.

It was not too long ago that I came to know Team Cocktail in all of their online awesomeness.  I started following them on Twitter and quickly found out just what an awesome group they were.  I then found myself spending inordinate amounts of time on their website, browsing through all of their awesome clothes and accessories, all while doing my best to avoid breaking out the credit card to completely revamp my wife’s and my wardrobe.

Soon after came my demise. I found their blog.  Yes, this very blog that this article is being posted on.  I started reading updates about these amazing TEAM COCKTAIL APPROVED locations, these great bars, amazing adventures that the other fans were embarking on.

And then came the drinks.  My first foray into the Team Cocktail concoctions was “The Tornado”. I convinced a local bartender to follow the Team Cocktail recipe and was I ever glad that I did.  Smooth, yet sweet, the drink goes down way too smooth for a drink that potent.  Guaranteed to have you feeling like a Tornado hit you after only a few of these great drinks.

My absolute favorite so far (and my wife’s too) has got to be the Pineapple Mojito. As soon as we read that update, the shopping list was made and that was all we could talk about for 2 days.

Here is our journey, in photos, to the best cocktail we have had in quite some time:

The all-important shopping list:

Store #1: RUM

Store #2: A Muddler (we needed a new one)

Store #3: Brown Sugar, Club Soda & Mint

Store #4: Pineapple

Store #5: Mojito Barware

Yes, you read that correctly.  5 stores to get everything we needed to make the mojitos.  That is where this story was born from. I was taking photos of every ingredient as the shopping day went along. Slowest.Day.Ever. Seemed like eternity until we got home and got our mixologist on. (Well, my wife got her mixologist on. I got my bar back on. She used to bartend, me, there is a reason I drink beer)

After a few minutes, our exotic drink recipe turned this:

Into this:

…….And I realized, I have my supermodel….

…now where is my Caribbean beach….