Since returning from Austin, I’ve kept in touch with a few of the folks I met at the conference. To be honest, it quite surprises me, as I wasn’t going there for the material, but for the connections. But, in fact, I was so inspired by the community and the sheer positivity that I was surrounded by, that I became swept up in the whole thing and formed a real connection with some of these people. There’s been an on-going email exchange between three of us, and we’ve talked a lot about the relationship between diet and brain health, particularly as it relates to mood.
There are few things in life better than a good deal, and there are few deals as good as Target’s five dollar DVDs. A hoarder of movies, those deals are my kryptonite. I’m proud to say that in the past year I’ve only purchase one movie there, a marked departure from my previous average of a few a month. I’ve been making a conscious effort to reduce the amount of DVDs I purchase (my collection is over the top), and I’m pretty sure I’ve only bought about three in the past six months. More importantly, I’m shedding many of the ones I never should have bought in the first place (thanks Basic Instinct, but once was enough for me). Today was yet another test of my resolve, as I had to pop by Target to get a few extra gifts for my youngest niece, who turns one this week (today actually!). I had a moment of weakness in the beginning, as I beelined to the DVD section. Quickly though, I caught myself and verbally acknowledged that I came here more out of hollow habit, than actual need. Off to the children’s section I went.
Instead, $5 is going to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, which funds research into mental illnesses. My friends and I are exchanging emails speculating on the issues of brain and behavior, so why not fund some research trying to get to the bottom of them.
To me, there’s nothing better than a walk outside, whether it be a stroll at 3PM on a Wednesday to help calm the mind, or a 3mi aimless trek to wherever my feet take me. I’ll frequently walk from the Upper East Side to our office in Long Island City, just because I enjoy the extra time outdoors. I’ve even been known to walk from the depths of the Village back to the UES at 2AM on a Saturday, just because. Is it safe? Maybe not. But do I feel like I did myself a favor by doing it? Sure. It’s my own little way to keep my body moving, after sitting in front of this glowing rectangle for hours at a time.
This matters because, tonight, I enjoyed a Thai dinner in Hell’s Kitchen with two close friends. We were all going home after dinner, as everybody had a different reason to need to be up early Sunday morning. They lived local, so I was left to wander home alone. Getting from Hell’s Kitchen to the Upper East Side involves either a subway transfer or a walk to Park Avenue, the former of which I try to avoid whenever possible. So, I decided to walk, and I figured, if I’m going to walk, let’s go all the way. Sorry MTA, I’ll use my legs instead.
So, the $2.50 I’m not giving to the 6 train is on its way to Indego Africa. I guess it’s pretty clear now that I like to highlight causes that impact women and those that work in Africa. So of course, Indego Africa is an organization that I would want to spotlight. Coincidentally, I walked past their New York City office while heading home.
Indego is a social enterprise and lifestyle brand that provides female Rwandan artisans with the tools and support necessary to develop their own businesses and collectives. The products these women produce are made available on Indego’s website, and they are the kind of things you’re going to want to get your hands on now. To prepare these women for the mechanics of running a business, Indego puts them through a six-month leadership and business training program. To learn more, check out their beautiful annual report.
For starters, today was one of those “my life has long been building to this” days. As you all know, I’m currently in Austin, Texas, for the Paleo f(x) conference, pretty much the “it” event of the year for the Paleo tribe, and for anyone interested in ancestral health theory and practice. For those of you who don’t know about Paleo, it boils down to “The Caveman Diet,” the idea that we should be eating only what our ancestors ate (e.g. grass-fed beef, nuts, greens, limited fruit, no grains). I came down to try to network for some new business, in addition to supporting one of our clients, Terry Wahls, who would be speaking on a few panels. Of course, knowing I was coming to such a cultural hotspot, and the home of some epic BBQ, I added a few days onto the trip for exploration and binge-eating.
Without much to see at the conference today, I poked my head into a few AM panels before meeting Spoofy, my friend I was traveling with, for brunch. We took in the Gospel Buffet at Stubb’s BBQ (you’ve probably seen their BBQ sauce in Costco), and I’m proud to say we were the last table to get up. One thing I can say about the folks in Austin (though to be fair I bet many of the folks at this brunch were out-of-towners), is that they don’t know how to enjoy an all-you-can-eat-brunch. The number of one-and-dones we saw, as well as folks who just sat and left within less than an hour, is slightly upsetting. After brunch, we rolled ourselves to the car (because I had inflated to Violet Beauregarde size), to take a quick drive over to the Austin attraction that was #1 on my list: the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library.
It’s been a slow spending start in April, mostly because I owed the government an inordinate sum of money for taxes. That wake up call really sidelined my disposable spending for a while, which I guess is a good thing? Though it minimizes my involvement on the blog here. It doesn’t mean my attempts to make a difference have slowed though, as in the interim I cleaned out my closet and basement, coming across a wealth of clothing, books, gadgets, kitchen tools, and more, that I was able to donate to some local organizations.
On the road for the past two weeks though, I ended up in Austin, Texas for a conference, where I was seduced by the men’s stores that have popped up in this amazing city. My far and away favorite is Dandy’s, and there’s more to that than just the fact that they have a store mascot, and that mascot is a teacup pig (pictured above) that’s so cute it will melt your face off. Needless to say, I wanted everything I saw. Tweed vest? Sure, I’ll take one. A pocket watch? I haven’t used one for seven years (yes, that means I used one when I was seventeen), but I could be convinced to buy it. A bowler? I look terrible in hats, but this is trendy enough.