Create 🤬 You’d Pay For

Today, I was at the Triangle’s dopest barbershop, Rock’s. Not only do I get a consistently phenomenal haircut from Jennifer but I also get a craft beer with every cut. Today, I chose a Founder’s IPA and, right under the can’s rim were the words, “BREWED FOR US.” I thought that was great. They brew the kind of beer they want to drink.

Some people say you should make products or provide services that your customers would like. While I agree with that, I also think that you should never create something that you, yourself, don’t consider dope enough to pay for. In the case of barbers, yes, there are people who want really weird cuts and stuff. But that’s ok. Just think of it this way: if I was that kind of person, would I pay me for this caliber of cut?

If it’s not quality, don’t do it. Every photo I give clients is a photograph I would love to put in my portfolio. Every résumé and cover letter I craft is one that I would provide an employer with myself.

Be proud enough of your work to never give anything that isn’t good enough for you. And, if they want something that you wouldn’t be proud to tell others you did, turn down the business. It’s not worth it.


Make creating 🤬 you like a priority.


Don’t Believe The Hype

Contrary to popular belief, everyone isn’t an urban hipster. Everyone doesn’t live in a loft, have a wild sex life, and drink lattes every morning. Everyone isn’t a creative nor an entrepreneur nor a photographer nor a Crossfit enthusiast. Everyone doesn’t dress like a model every day. Everyone doesn’t do everything. Everyone doesn’t do anything.

It’s alright to pick Budweiser over a rare local craft beer. There’s nothing wrong with spending your Sunday mornings in a church instead of hiking a trail. You can work an 8-5 with hopes of climbing up the corporate ladder as opposed to blazing your own trail. Sure, sometimes, try some of that “hipster” stuff, just to see if you like it. You never know, you just might. But what you cannot be is average. Whatever you do, whether marketing guru, blogger, or a stock team member at the local grocery store, you must work to be the best at it.  There’s no hype in that. Only hard work.


Make professional development a priority.

Day 6: Here Comes the Sun

Thank the Lord above for a good night’s rest.  Our first few hours in London were less than desirable but, after some sleep, I was still a bit irritable but better than I would have been had I had a restless night.

The first thing we did after we got up and cleaned up was to catch an Uber from the flat to the currency exchange closest to us because, as I said on Day 5, euros don’t work in London.  Luckily, the metro station was right beside the currency exchange, so we caught it to Buckingham Palace.  It was a zoo out there!  Folks from all over the world had crowded the front of the palace, so we had to stand across the street and watch the festivities from a distance.  There was some ceremonial procession going on with a band, horses, and soldiers in full regalia.  After getting some good pictures there and at Big Ben, we grabbed a bite to eat at Taylor Walker, a pub downtown that has been standing since 1730.  Coming to London, there was one thing I knew I had to try and that was the fish and chips (fried cod fish and fries for you Americans reading this) with a beer.  It was pretty darn good.  And the bread they served with it was so fresh.  Taylor Walker has a proprietary pale ale called “1730,” which was better than I expected.  Folks say that the Brits drink warm beer but that isn’t the case.  They just don’t keep it as cold as we do.  It was more the temperature of apple juice.  I prefer an ice cold beer but to complain would be me being picky for the heck of it.  Desirée had something called a steak pie with mashed potatoes.  She said it was both filling and good but I was too into my fish and chips to even try a bite of hers.

We then found ourselves walking around the city for 3 or 4 hours, hopping on and off double decker buses thanks to our day pass.  Eventually we found Abbey Road where The Beatles took their famous photograph.  Luckily, I figured we might find the road today so I put on my graphic tee with The Beatles underneath my sweatshirt.  Made for a pretty neat photo opp.

I would be remiss if I didn’t cite Mr. Chris Rock in quoting him: “Women be shoppin!”  I swear we spent 45 minutes searching for the right scarf.  And I’m used to that.  The thing is, in America, when I go to the mall with Mrs. Daniels, I have internet access.  Here, I didn’t.  And I had left my book at the flat.  Thank God I had my journal on hand but a man can only write so much.

After the cruel and unusual punishment… I mean, after the shopping, we headed back home.  I grabbed some jerk chicken from this authentic Caribbean spot called Jerky’s and Desirée got a panini from the mall.  Netflix lullabied us to sleep.

Make exploration a priority.

Day 5: Proost!

How do you say “Cheers!” in Dutch? “Proost!”

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  This morning, we went ahead and checked out of Wen’s condo but he agreed to hold onto our bags for us while we explored the city for the last time.   We went on a crusade to find the “I am sterdam” sign and, betchabygollywow, we did!  After taking a few photos out there, we had breakfast at this sports bar that was alright but nothing to write home about.

One very cool thing about Amsterdam is the fact that it’s such a bike-friendly city.  But it’s so bike-friendly that I doubt I could drive there.  In a given lane, you could have a car, lite rail, and bike all turning left, one behind the other.  And I’m sure more people bike there than drive.  When in Rome…  For the first time in my life, I felt somewhat uncomfortable riding a bike.  There were other bikers out there who were real serious about the rules of the road and I wasn’t exactly sure what those were.  Anyway, by now it was time for my Amsterdam activity: The Heineken Experience.  We biked over there, locked our “vehicles”up, and pulled out our tickets.  This was the first beer “museum” I’ve ever been to and it was very engaging and hands on.  I learned how Heineken is made, found out its background story, AND I got some free beer.  Plus I learned that, instead of saying “Cheers!”, I’m supposed to say what?  Good job.  Remember that and you’ll get an additional free beer at the Heineken Experience like the guy who answered that question correctly.  All in all, a very fun educational experience.  Sadly, after that, it was time to return our rented bikes and get back to walking.

If you know me, you know I love traveling to find great food and I was only thoroughly impressed  one time since I visited Amsterdam.  Following Heineken, Desirée and I went to find this food court called “Foodhallen,” but, on the way there, we stumbled across an outdoor food market directly behind Foodhallen.  Out there was this one place that made spectacular handcut Belgian fries.  Dutch tradition is that you eat fries out of a paper cone and top it with mayonnaise, ketchup, and raw onions.  Now, I can’t really rock with the onions so I opted out of that aspect of the tradition but the rest was amazing.  If you’re in Amsterdam, make sure to stop by Ten Kate Friet in the Ten Katemarkt.  Shortly after our fry experience we found Foodhallen and had some traditional Deutsch food that was, once again, alright.

There you have it.  That’s Amsterdam.  We went back to Wen’s, picked up our luggage, caught the metro to the bus that dropped us off at the airport and then caught our 7:55 PM flight to London via Vueling, which cleverly enough, was slated to arrive in London at 7:50 PM.  I think I’ve finally figured out Stewie’s handwriting (inside joke).

Nothing went as planned.  Our flight took off an hour late due to weather, which we landed in and found to be the stereotypical cold, dreary, rainy type.  Once in London, getting through customs took forever.  Then we had to find the metro.  But to get to the metro, you had to take a regular train.  Then we had to transfer trains.  Then we had to transfer again.  By this time we were lost in London with no phone service (believe me, I tried to connect but it didn’t work) and no cash (we arrived so late that there was no time to exchange euros for pounds). Luckily we found a cab stand outside one of the train stations and the driver said he’d accept our euros.  Then the GPS had the cabbie going in circles.  Mind you, at this time, it’s midnight, we hadn’t eaten, and we just wanted to go somewhere warm.  We ended up using the cab driver’s phone to call our Airbnb host and, within minutes, we had checked in.  Soon after, I was sleep.  No dinner or anything.  I was just glad to be indoors.

Oh, and this whole driver-on-the-right-side-of-the-car thing is throwing me off.  Especially when they pull out of parking spots.

Make exploration a priority.