Twist the head and suck

Grab the head, twist it, and then suck…..the meat out of the crawfish.

What else would I be talking about?!?!?!

Recently I had the pleasure of heading south of the Mason-Dixon Line and ventured to the wonderful states of Lousiana and Mississippi and everytime I leave New England, I’m always amazed at the little differences.

I go to Cumberland Farms, you go to Wa-Wa. I buy liquor at the package store, you buy it at a gas station etc. etc. but everytime I go somewhere new I always like to try local grub and drink.

I would not consider myself a seafood fan, fish is meh, lobster is okay, but I don’t go out of my way to eat it. However, while in Nola (that’s what us cool folks call New Orleans) I tried Seafood Gumbo, as well as some delicious Mudbugs.

And they were delicious, the gumbo was spicy, and a flavor explosion. And crawfish were delectably seasoned with lemon and spices fresh out of the pot.

The point of all of this, is step out of your comfort zone, and try something new. Just because you don’t like something one way doesn’t mean you won’t like it another.

And remember, don’t forget to twist the head and suck……crawfish that is 😉.

Small talk, Big Results

Small talk, Big results

I’m sitting in the classroom, packed tightly next to the two people next to me, I’m looking around.

With everyone reading the same PowerPoint, it’s hard to think of a way.

I slowly reach into my pocket, pull out some mints, I place one in my hand as I reach and whisper to the student I’ve never spoken to next to me

“How about this ice breaker”

We silently chuckle and carry on with class…

Everytime you go somewhere new, from sitting next to someone on the bus, to a work conference to moving your whole life across the country, there is an awkward phase of meeting new people.

But it is not as scary as you might think!

Those that know me, know I can pretty much talk to anyone, from homeless folks to multi-millionaires. However, what most don’t know is I’m just as awkward in a new situation as other people. But, I mitigate this by using a few tools on small talk, and how to actually execute it.

1. Everyone is human. Everyone is human. Everyone is human.

2. Where are you from? This is one of the easiest ones. Chances are you have been to that place, know something about that place, or your third cousin twice removed grandmas sister is from there.

3. What do you do for work? There are so many jobs and someone has a unique job, someone has the same jobs or something to talk about.

4. Most importantly, give no f*%/$

Be yourself, make small talk and the rest is history

-Lil Kevy out

Grace the Magician

My parent’s basement is full of random things, (many a box is my stuff I have yet to move to my house, sorry….).  From a model ship made out of beer cans, to old knives hanging on the wall, to the god awful baby pictures with the creepy teddy bear.

While going down stairs with my younger cousin Grace, we passed a box of my stuff that has sat there for years, and right on top was a simple box magic trick.

It was a 2 inch by 2 inch plastic box, with a lid.  Inside was a cube with different pictures and colors on each side.  The trick as it goes, is someone, unbeknownst to the Magician picks a colored side of the cube.  Then they cover the box with the lid and hand it back to the magician.  As the magician shakes the box, sensing what color the audience picked, they must pass the box three times behind the back for the magic to work.  After the magical third pass, the magician will name the color the audience picked.

Remembering the trick, and of course the “Magic” behind it, I performed the act for Grace, and for my sister…. a college educated, higher education working twenty something year old.  As I performed the trick again and again, neither could figure it out.  I predicted the blue bird, the black hat and even the red teddy bear.

As neither could figure it out, Grace grabs the box and tries to see the trick.

So, I broke the promise that all fake magicians make and told Grace the secret behind the trick.  She makes a new magicians promise to never share the secret of the box, and we go back upstairs and we put on the trick for the rest of the family.

And they were dumb founded as well.

No one could figure out the secret of the box, that a 7 year old learned twenty minutes before and flawlessly executed.

As she performed the trick with each family member picking a new color each time, I stopped….

And looked around….

Grace had a twinkle in her eye and a smirk, running around as she fooled all the adults in the room with her slight of hand.

My uncle, carefully examining the box, trying to find the secret, as a jack of all trades, cannot figure out the mechanics of the magical box and fails to believe it is just three pieces of plastic.

My father who tries to perform the trick without knowing the secret, and fails miserably, thinking he had it all figured out.

No phones out, no technology, in a time where we have talking bottles of wine and voice commanded Amazon robots, what captivated this room was a 7 year old and a $5 magic trick.

And I could not help but smile.

Don’t forget to take a step back, appreciate what’s in front of you, and that nothing ever beats a good magic trick.

Table for One

I nervously wait in line for the florist….will there be anything left? I need the favorite, I know lillie’s work the best..

S*^%@….

…..there’s no chocolate left, it’s all white choclate or weird fruit flavors…..

F@$&

Whatever….I scurry to the self checkout….

As I drive to the house I’m nervous….

My heart is racing….

I go inside and make dinner…..

Wheat wraps with turkey, cheese and lettuce and a hint of Avocado mayo……(watching those net carbs)

As I serve, sit down and start to eat dinner, I look across the table….

Wow…..

I admire the empty seat….

And I can’t help but smile

I scarf down my delicious treat and start cleaning my house like any other Wednesday.

I am not anti-valentines by at means. I love Valentine’s Day, the romance in the air, the chocolate, the random acts of love….it’s like a Disney movie but in real life. However, it brings up two points in my head.

1. Everyday should be Valentine’s Day. If your with the one you love, you should work towards that, treat them special and make them feel like everyday is Feb. 14 and they should make you feel the same.

2. More importantly, you need to look in the Mirror, and you need to love yourself. Loving yourself is a hard thing to do. You are your own biggest critic….physically, emotionally and mentally. But you also are the one person that knows yourself the best. You are the one person who knows what makes you tick, what motivates you, what drives you and how you really feel. Society, people, mentors whoever can give you advice, tools and ideas to help you succeed. But only you know what tools will work, what tools you know how to use and what you need to do. It’s ok to not be perfect, To not be your ideal weight, hit your goal, or be exactly where you want to be. But you need to be honest with yourself, accept what you are and where you want to be and accept how to get there.

So this Valentine’s Day, I challenge you, whether single, taken or “it’s complicated”, to learn to love you for you and to be your own Valentine!

-Lil Kevy Out

Little Victories

Little victories

When I interviewed for my first real adult job, I practiced all the questions before hand….

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

What do you like about our organization?

And so on and so forth, throwing out degree information and buzz words galore.

As I rambled about my experience and life and how I support the mission of the organization, I got a question that I was not prepared for….

What was one of my proudest accomplishments in life?

I thought “Easy, my degree, military experience, all that Jazz”

But before I could respond, they added this

That isn’t work, school, or family related…..

F@$%!

I don’t know

All of my accomplishments were based off of good grades in school and getting a degree, by joining the military, some meaningful friendships and relationships…..and you just eliminated all of them!

As I took a second back to reflect in what seemed like forever, which equates to all of 20 seconds, I explained my most recent proud accomplishment.

It was changing a manifold gasket on a Ford Ranger.

A simple job, remove about 8 bolts, take off the rubber gasket by hand, put a new one on and screw the bolts back in. Should take about 20 minutes or so for your average mechanic.

I love mechanical things and building things, but whenever I work on anything motorized, I know enough to know I need to be supervised or it will probably blow up (throwback to my first solo oil change when I overfilled the Cadillac by about 4 quarts hahahaha)

I spent 2 hours on this task, from disconnecting wires that I probably shouldn’t have, to not having the proper sized wrench to undo the bolts, to referencing YouTube about how to get a good seal, to finally placing it down and tightening the bolts back up.

As I stood there in the driveway, hands covered in engine grime and fighting the frigid New England winter, I tightened up the last bolt on the manifold gasket, and started laughing.

2 hours for a thirty minute job, I have no future in this business, but that’s not the point.

I did it

I changed it unsupervised

I sat through and problem solved along the way

I persevered

And I only cussed out the truck a handful of times.

A task so small, and simple, but you would have thought I just climbed Mt. Everest.

And that’s the first thing that came to mind during the interview. We spend so much of our lives worrying about degrees and jobs and those accomplishments we all need to hit, that we forgot our own accomplishments. We forget what we need to do for ourselves, whether that be focusing on a task for more then 20 seconds because you are a Spaz, or going bungee jumping when you’re afraid of heights.

In this crazy world , with society and other people telling you what you need or should accomplish…

Don’t forget about YOURSELF and what YOU want!

And if you ask me for help working on your car…..just know what you’re getting yourself into.

The Jungle Juice Experiment

4 score and some odd months ago, I threw a semi-lit ugly sweater Friendsgiving party. In preparation for the festivities, I brought out the ole trusty “Cauldron Of Dankness” (may or may not be a Gatorade jug used for jungle juice that may or may not have been “tactically acquired” from a campground lol)

Anyway, I digress, with winter and the impending cuffing season looming overhead, I decided to try a spiked cider. Using only the finest ingredients, I mixed homemade (from the store) apple cider, apple juice, a dash of makers mark, and last but not least….a handle of liquid gold itself, Dubra.

For those of you outside the Tri-state area who do not know the wonders of Dubra, it’s pretty much your bottom shelf, $10 handle of vodka, that’s a step above rubbing alcohol but not by much.

After mixing and tasting, it was delicious. The home made cider and vodka had a little kick that was soothed by the warmth of the splash of makers mark.

Anyway, as I unveiled my concoction to the group, no one else would partake in the consumption of this delicacy. And it was all for the same reason…..because of the Dubra.

The few that did try it said it was delicious and drank it, yet some still refused, all because of one ingredient, that had they not known was thrown in, they would have gladly partook in a cup.

Although the night ended up great, it made me think…

Because of one pre-conceived notion or bad experience, people refused to even try something.

Just because you had a bad experience with one time, or one person, doesn’t mean you swear off them altogether.

You’d be surprised what a little patience and a little work can make of things in your life, whether it be a relationship or a friendship, or bad sushi you ate 7 months ago……it doesn’t matter. Don’t be afraid to try things again, or to re-open closed doors.

If you had a bad experience with dubra, so be it, but learn from it, let go, and drink the jungle juice.

Now I’m not saying don’t be cautious……re-opening a door with someone, or sushi, or whatever it may be is not easy, nor does t always work. But it’s sometimes worth trying, and who knows where it goes.

And remember….. you don’t have to drink the second cup, but you should at least be willing to pour it.

Time waits for No man (Part 1)

Time waits for no man….or woman. It’s sounds like Greek philosophy or some impending doom that we all must face…..but in reality, it’s exactly what it says, time does not wait. Time continues, time stops. It’s a scary thought to think that everyday we live we are a day closer to death, and if that’s how you want to live your life, then go ahead. We will all expire, at some point. And we are all ticking towards that time. So instead of living in fear and sadness about the unforeseen future, what do you do.

Live your f@%#ing life. That in itself sounds clichè, but who gives a f*&@. Live your life. Because no one else is going to live it for you. You can live your life sad. You can hate yourself for not achieving goals, you can works some tedious job that slowly turns your brain to mush. Or you can live your life.

Live your life how you want to live it. Set your goal, and work towards it. Buy a house, run a marathon, be kinder to others, set you’re freaking goal.

People are great at setting goals, but they suck at achieving them (myself included). The issue doesn’t lay with the goal itself, not the end point, but in the start point. People fail the major step.

Self evaluation.

Self evaluation.

Self evaluation

Hopefully you understand how important this step is now!

You need to evaluate your life in be honest with yourself. Why do you do certain things? How come you can’t hold a relationship or put down a cheeseburger when you are hungry? It’s because you are not self-aware. Either because you haven’t thought about it or because you refuse to accept the truth.

BUT ACCEPT IT!

Life is ugly, and beautiful. Accept the truth, accept your flaws but accept your strengths. And figure it how to make them work together.

Every single person is different and unique so their is no one size fits all answer. But you need to evaluate yourself.

Be honest, look at yourself, set your plan and execute your goal.

And remember, when you take 10 steps forward and three steps back….you’re still 7 steps ahead.

Tip of the Iceberg

Tip of the Iceberg

You never know what someone is dealing with, or who someone is. We go through everyday of our lives, dealing with different people whether they are family, friends, CO-workers whomever, and we truly never know what someone is going through.

The guy that works two cubicles over and seems a little off today? His wife just left him.

The woman you cut in line at the self check out at the grocery store who cussed you out? Her only kid is suffering from a terminal disease

The kid who cuts your lawn who hasn’t shown up for the last two weeks? Has become an addict because he’s young and impressionable.

These are examples, and although everything isn’t as serious as those, it could be just a bad day, we need to consider what other people are going through in their lives. 80 percent of the people we deal with on a regular basis, we don’t truly know much about.

Besides your close friends and family…..

How much do you know about your co-workers?

How much do you know your cleaning lady?

Or the kid that bags your groceries?

We deal with so many human interactions, so many exchanges everyday, yet we barely know these people.

Take a minute, meet someone new, don’t be fake.
Ask someone how their day is and actually show an interest, remember little facts about people…..give a F@$%.

There are so many people with so many experiences out there and so much to learn. You have 23 year olds that seem 40 and 50 year olds who never left high school.

There is always something to be said for life experience, but you’d be surprised that it’s not measured in years, it’s measured in experience and time.

Bottom line up front: take a second to chat, whether it’s striking up a conversation with the guy that empties trash at your work, or the person behind you in line at a concert. Talk to them, and you’ll be surprised at the world around you.

Pretending to be an Adult

For our entire educational lives we are told what to do. Life is sequential, you complete 3rd grade so you move on to fourth, fourth to fifth and so on. And it’s simple. For most of us the biggest worries are avoiding bad grades and making sure we don’t fail finals.

But, it all comes to an end after high school/college when you finally complete your schooling and now have to be a real adult.

It’s a crazy concept to me, but I like to equate it to Grand Theft Auto. School is story mode. As soon as you graduate, you go into free play where you can steal cars, break into prison or use the cheat codes to get a helicopter (my personal favorite). At this point, no one tells you what to do, your only accountable for yourself, and this scares so many people. There are so many adult questions….”what’s the difference between a 401k and a 403b?” Or “How do I build a shelf set in my house?” Or even “What is a good price to buy boneless chicken at?”

It’s a scary time, but you’re not alone.  You are like a thousands of other people who go through this exact same realization.  Some of us are forced to grow up faster than others, but that’s life.

But fear not, because there is such an easy concept that fixes all of that. It’s called “talking to a more adult adult”. Why yes you are an adult but there are adultier adults that now more about adulting than you do as a young adult. It’s ok to not know everything, but it’s not ok to not ask. The time to ask the question is not when you need the answer, but when you think of the question. And the beautiful part is these adultier adults are all around you. Friends, family, co-workers, random people on yahoo answers, they are everywhere.

SO ASK QUESTIONS!!! AND DON’T BE AFRAID TO LOOK STUPID!!

You can ask stupid questions, but I’d rather look dumb and ask what might seem to be a simple question than still have my pride as my house burns down because I put the wrong fuel in my oil tank.

1. Find an adultier adult
2. ASK QUESTIONS
3. Live your life and drink lemonade because lemonde is delicious

Run through the Puddles in Life

A few years ago, like every kid trying to figure out life in chaotic world I had an experience, that would shortly help shape my life philosophy.  Now many of you have heard me say things like “be confident” or “give less f@$&’s”, but they all stem from one minor experience.

I was in college, on a wet and rainy day, walking from my final class of the day debating whether to do work or binge on Grand Theft Auto 5(we all know which one).  As I was walking in the rain with a good friend at the time we came across and area of the sidewalk that had flooded.  It’s was about 15 feet wide, and about 12 feet of it was covered in water.  As every other student funneled like lemmings into the small patch to not get their shoes wet, I saw an opportunity.  Simple as that I saw a giant puddle, and I took off.  I ran through the gauntlet kicking up water, my boots and jeans drenched, laughing and giggling at the simple fun.  In a time where the future is unknown, stressing about classes, friends, relationships etc.  it was a moment of peace, a moment of clarity and a pretty fun time.  I came out on the other side and looked, so enlightened from a 30 second trot through puddles, and everyone was still funneling, still blindly trying to stay dry (when it’s raining out, but that’s besides the fact).  The friend I was with finally reached me at the other side of the puddle and is embarrassed.  “You made a scene” she said, flush in the face.  And it was at that moment, I realized I didn’t care.  I had fun, I didn’t care if people saw this goofy bald kid running through a puddle in the rain.  I didn’t care what they thought, because I knew, that I was better off from the experience.  That I had fun, that I lived life and I ran through the puddle.

It seems we forget a lot about the simple little things in life these days.  We fall victim (myself included) to being glued to our phones, to worrying about what someone thinks or will say.   We worry and spend so much time thinking about what can happen or what’s coming next, that we forget about the simple things.

The satisfaction of a thin mint cookie at 2am.

That moment when you’re middle school jam comes on the radio on a long commute.

The satisfaction of on a rainy day, laughing like a child and running through a giant puddle, and experiencing life.