Staying at Aloft Silicon Valley

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Last month I had the chance to stay at an Aloft hotel. Aloft is Starwood’s boutique hotel chain. These hotels are actually pretty cool and offer a unique atmosphere. I actually first heard of them when they made a custom playlist for Spotify a year or so ago. Since then I’ve always wanted to check them out. I attended a press event for ThinkComputers and the company put us up at the Aloft Silicon Valley so I was pretty excited.

The first thing that I’ve always liked about Aloft hotels is how they have a more modern design. This not only includes the rooms, but also the bar and lounge areas. The biggest thing I’m sure you want to know about are the rooms so let’s get to that.

From what I know all of the rooms are pretty much the same at this Aloft location. When you walk in your room there is a desk for getting work done followed by a large couch a coffee table. Separating the room is a sort of shelf unit that has the flatscreen TV on it. The TV can actually pivot so you can watch it from the couch or bed. On the opposite side of the room is your sort of mini-kitchen. You have a fridge, sink, microwave and coffee maker. Aloft does provide free coffee and two bottles of water each day for free.

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As I said the bed is separated from the best of the room by the shelving unit. The bed in my room was a king-size bed and was extremely comfortable. On each side of the bed you have reading lamps and shelves to put your phone etc. There are outlets on the wall behind the bed, but they were a little hard to get to. The bathroom was pretty impressive as you got both a normal bath tub and a standing shower. Besides that the sink area was pretty awesome as well. I shot my ALS ice bucket challenge in this bathroom!

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The hotel also has a outdoor pool area. I hung out here for a little bit each day. There were your typical lounge chairs, but there were also these massive circlular chairs that were extremely comfortable. Both times I was relaxing outside I was in one of those big chairs!

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I did have a chance to eat at the hotel too. Aloft calls their restaurant +Plus. I ate there for breakfast on my birthday and got the Eggs Benedict, it was extremely good! I also was a fat kid one day and ordered room service. I got the wings and seasoned fries, both were good!

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If you are heading to Silicon Valley Aloft is a great place to stay, not only to relax, but to get work done as well. Great atmosphere and very friendly people, I hope to be back soon!

Summer 2014 Highlights

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Well as you may have noticed I have not blogged in a while. I only really published 1 post a month for the entire summer. I hope that changes soon, but I wanted to recap some of my summer for all who are interested. I should have made posts these things as they were happening, but I guess I was just too busy living in the moment. That is something I learned this summer was to really appreciate good times with friends and to not take things for granted.

As I mentioned before on both on Twitter and on this blog this summer has been the best summer of my life! So in no particular order here is what I have been up to!

Boating on the River

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The thing I would say I did the most this summer was go boating. I had not done it much in the past and a few of my friends have boats and it seemed I was on the river every chance I could get. Not only is boating a lot of fun it is pretty huge in Pittsburgh with our three rivers. You can park boats right by PNC Park, Heinz Field and all other places a long the river. Boating not only is fun but it is relaxing and something different. There were so many boat parties this summer and it all culminated with a party we called “The Slip N Slide to Save Summer”. Shout out to Chris for shooting the video below.

EDM Shows

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If you’ve followed this blog for a while you know I am a huge fan of trance and EDM. I normally only go to 1-2 shows a year, but this year I’ve been to quite a few. If you haven’t been to an EDM show they are just awesome. The music and atmosphere is amazing and it just gives you a great feeling. So far this year I’ve seen Markus Schulz, Audien, The Chainsmokers, Seven Lions, and Sultan & Ned Shepard to name a few. I am heading to DC in a week to see DVVBS and there are so many great shows coming up!

Cookouts & Get-Togethers

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I kicked off the summer with a cookout at my house and it just went on from there. It seemed so many of my friends birthdays were in the summer and we all would get together for them. Also this summer I spent so many Sunday’s at Skybar, it just seemed like the place to be and there were so many cool people there. It does not get much better than cooking out and spending a weekend with friends, that is what summer is all about!

Nights out with Friends

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Besides the cookouts and dinners I did do my fare share of partying as well. It seemed like every weekend we were all out at Cavo, Diesel, or Static! It is so great after a long and stressful week to be able to kick back and have a night out with your friends. I think I went out more this summer than I did all of last year! Although, as I mentioned before going out is great motivation to work even harder!

FoodPorn!

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Of course if you follow me on Instagram you know I enjoyed plenty of foodporn over the summer! I think out of all places I went to Nakama the most (who does not love their sushi!), but my favorite place has to be Capital Grille, that is where the above photo was taken at. I think I ate there at least 4-5 times over the summer, best place to get a steak in the city! Now the best “summer spot” has to be Redfin Blues, not only is at the marina where my friends have their boat, but their outside deck overlooks the river. It is one of the only places in Pittsburgh like this, perfect for a date!

So this is what I was doing in my free time this summer, and as I said it was the best summer of my life! How was your summer? Remember you can always see what I’m up to by following me on Twitter!

10 Things I’ve Learned In the Past 10 Years

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Today I turn 30. It does not seem like a big deal to me, but I guess it’s one of those big birthdays sort of like when you turn 21. My 20’s are over and wow does it seem like time flies. When I turned 20 I had no clue how my life would turn out, but I think things have gone pretty well. I am my own boss and I love what I do. I have amazing friends that support me and knock on wood I am still very healthy. Instead of doing my normal post where I reflect on the past year I decided to give you 10 important lessons that I’ve learned in the past 10 years.

It’s not all about money – of course money is a good thing, without it we couldn’t buy nice things or go places, but don’t make your life all about money. When you do that you forget about actually doing things you enjoy. I know people that make over 500K a year and are miserable because all they do is work. What is the use of having that money if you can’t enjoy it. We all think we want to make a million dollars, but in reality we want the lifestyle that we think a million dollars brings. The truth is you can have that lifestyle for far less.

Follow your passion – What are you passionate about? Is it a big part of your life? What is the point of living if you are not doing things you are passionate about? I know not everyone can have a job that they enjoy and they are passionate about, but if you are not going out on weekends or in your free time doing things you enjoy, what is the point? You will be happier in life if you do something you are passionate about, even if its only once a week.

Say Yes – This has been a big change for me. For the longest time I would always say no to things. This past year I have said yes to a lot of things. Some of the best times of my life have been from saying yes to people. Saying no all the time just limits your opportunity and you never know what experiences you are missing if you say no. As the famous quote goes, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”

Fail early on – This way sound weird but try and fail early on. These failures will teach you a lot and lead you to your biggest successes.

Be nice to everyone – While this may seem like a simple thing many people do not follow it. I’ve always tried to be nice to people regardless of anything whether it be social status, race, etc. This is why I have so many different “groups” that I am friends with. This has made me a very well like person and you never know when you may need a favor from someone.

Not getting what you want is important – As they say the world works in mysterious ways and it is true. Always remember when one door closes another one opens. If you are going through a bad breakup or things are not going well with business it is ok. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. This was very true for me this year as I myself went through a bad breakup, but that actually turned out to be a blessing as I’ve had the best summer of my life!

Eat well and take care of your body – As we get older this is huge! Stop eating like crap! Over the past few years I have really changed my diet around and I eat very well. Instead of shopping once a month and getting mostly frozen food I shop weekly and get everything fresh. On top of that I mainly eat healthy food. Hardly any snacks, sweets etc. I see people that I’ve grown up with not take care of their body and I’m glad that I have.

Better to have a small group of real friends – Growing up it seemed all you wanted was a ton of friends. As you get older your group of “real” friends gets smaller, but that is a good thing. People show their true colors and over time you find out who your real friends are. I am not saying don’t be friends with people, but do not consider everyone a true friend. It is far better to have a small group of people that actually care and that you can count on.

Don’t take anything for granted – There have been times in my life that I’ve taken things for granted. When these things leave our life they all of a sudden become the most important thing in our lives. Do not wait until that moment to appreciate what you have.

Have a positive outlook – You have to go through life with a positive outlook. Bad things are going to happen in life it is inevitable. But it is all about how you take them. Life is 10% what actually happens to you and 90% how you react to it. And who wants to be around someone that is negative all of the time?

Wow so I am 30, what will the next 10 years of my life bring?

Buying a Product Because of Instagram

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I’m sure by now you’ve heard of Instagram and most likely have an account. If not Instagram is a simple way to take a share photos, and add some cool filters to along the way. It is a social network as well so you can follow users and see what photos they are sharing.

I have been on Instagram for a good while now and I follow a good amount of people. It is always fun to find new and interesting people to follow. Since I am pretty big into cooking and eating well I follow quite a few different healthy living and cooking profiles. I started to noticed many of these profiles that I followed were talking about Flavor God Seasonings and posting photos of some awesome food they have made using the seasonings.

Well it turns out Flavor God had their own Instagram account so I went and checked it out. There were some pretty awesome photos of food on there like you see below.

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There was quite a lot of information on their Instagram page and on each post. They also do a great job showcasing people who are using their product. There is a great way to “keep the conversation going” about your product. Another great thing they do is list recipes using their product so you can try them.

So after seeing awesome food for about a week I went over to the Flavor God website and ordered the seasonings. They arrived about a week later and I love them! I use them on pretty much everything I cook and they have really helped me with my meal prep as well.

For those wondering Flavor God seasonings are low in salt, contain no MSG, use all natural spices, are gluten free and follow the paleo diet. Also shipping is free in the US!

Anyways I would have never heard of this product if it was not for Instagram. Again if you think social media is not important to your company you are behind the times. Instagram is completely free to use and is a great marketing tool you can use for your company. All you have to do is put in the time to do it.

Have you found a product or service on Instagram? Let me know in the comments!

Actually Living Life…

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If you may have noticed I have not blogged for about a month. So what have I been up to? Well plain and simple I have been living life and loving every second of it! I posted a status update on Facebook about how my life has seemed like a movie lately. Below is that post…

“The last 3 weeks of my life seem like a movie almost. And not just the good times that you see on Instagram or Facebook, but work and my personal life as well. I think the big change for me was to let the negative people in my life go and live for now. Negative people have so much to complain about and are never happy. No one wants to be around that. Do you know how lucky you are? How blessed you are to have great family and friends? To have a job and a roof over your head? I think it is the little things like this that we take for granted. You should wake up each day with a smile on your face and be happy with what you do have rather than harp on what you don’t. Living for now means if you want to do something go do it. That means go on an unexpected vacation, take a day off from work and hang out with friends, have a party, etc. Don’t make excuses and worry about every last detail. If it is important to you and will make you happy, just do it and correct course along the way. At the end of the day life is too short to be anything but happy…I am truly blessed to have such an amazing group of friends that bring out this euphoric positive energy that’s contagious!”

Let me touch on a few things that I said here. The first is to let go of negative people. You can’t expect to live a positive life if you are surrounding yourself with negative people. Let them go and see the difference that it brings you.

Appreciate the little thing and be thankful for what you have. While I may not be making a million dollars a year I am extremely blessed to have my own company that pays my bills, my amazing friends and more. Each day I realize things could be a whole lot worse for me.

Live for now. So many times I have told friends no or just stayed in. Over the past month I have said yes to so many things and had a great time. As I said in my previous post having amazing times with friends can really help improve productivity. If something is important to you just go do it, stop making excuses not to.

With all of that said the past month or so has been some of the best times of my life. I am definitely appreciating things and people more too. I am not sure why I did not have this outlook on life much sooner. I think that for many of us we get in auto-pilot mode and just let things go and put things off, many times until it is too late.

I recently found this amazing video which sort of sums it all up.

There are so many amazing things in that video, but I think the point I’m trying to make and what I was thinking when I wrote that Facebook post is that life is too short to be anything but happy. So if you are not happy go out and do things that make you happy, leave the negative behind and actually live life.