Balancing it All

Julie Chenell

Accidentally Plant Based – My 30 Day Experiment

Yesterday I wrote a post on Facebook about my accidental lifestyle change surrounding plant based food.

The thread blew up, and within minutes I realized… I think I need to write a post about food on my marketing blog (lol).

So here it is, my 30 day journey into plant based cooking. But first… a MAJOR disclaimer I need to get out of the way.

I am not a certified nutritionist. I am not a health coach. I do NOT diet. In fact, I could probably run for President on my anti-diet platform because I think there has been so much damage done to our society through fad diets. It’s really destroyed so many peoples’ confidence, created extreme eating patterns that wreck metabolism, and has contributed to a rising sense of “not good enough” because we all don’t fit a particular body shape or ideal.

If you were to come to my house, sit down for a cup of tea, and tell me you want to lose weight, I would instead tell you to read books about loving your body, breaking free from emotional eating, and giving up dieting… FOR GOOD.

My stance on dieting hasn’t changed one bit since falling down the plant based rabbit hole, because all of this had nothing to do with losing weight. It all started with a curiosity about fixing digestive issues because of an intolerance to dairy (you can read my Facebook post here).

What I’m about to share is what I did PERSONALLY. That’s it. So no crazy haters or naysayers okay?

Step One: Make Sure You Understand What Plant Based ACTUALLY Is

It is not Keto. It is not Paleo. It is not South Beach or Whole 30 or any of that. Those are all fad diets. And the majority of fad diets demonize carbs. Plant based eating EMBRACES carbs. I knew that if I was going to make through the most American of holidays – Thanksgiving – without meat or dairy, there’s no way on God’s green Earth I was not going to eat carbs.

So plant based is basically as it sounds… based on plants.

Plants are things like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and yep… GRAINS. If you were to sit down and write out every veggie and fruit and nut and seed and grain out there, you’d probably realize that the variety of food you can actually eat is crazy. There are so many options it’s overwhelming. Eliminating meat and dairy means no butter, cheese, milk, yogurt, chicken, pork, steak, etc. etc. It’s like 10 things.

Now think about what Keto removes. It’s like 7,560 delicious foods that are incredibly healthy… like oranges, grapes, quinoa, etc. etc. Any eating regimen that excludes half of what was in the Garden of Eden gives me major side eye.

Step Two: Work WITH Human Nature, Not Against It

Most people start plant based eating to lose weight. I did not. Which is probably why I had so much success. I wasn’t trying to change the way I cooked AND restrict calories. I wasn’t basing my progress based on a number on a scale. I was basing my progress on how much fun I could have cooking with all this new stuff. How could I get my kids excited about the foods I was making? How satisfied did I feel at the end of the day? My advice is if you’re going to try it, don’t make it about weight.

Now if you start reading a bunch of Whole Food Plant Based blogs, you’ll see they eliminate flour, sugar, oils, etc. I haven’t done this. Not because I think it’s a bad idea, but because I’m interested in WORKING WITH my nature, rather than against it. I knew it’d be a big switch just to stop using butter and eggs and chicken, so I started with what I could do.

And that meant… making sure I had all kinds of yummy substitutions available to show myself, my family, my meat loving husband that our choices weren’t limited… and we could still enjoy all the social holiday type stuff we always had before.

So naturally…I started with dessert.

  • I found a Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that is RIDICULOUS. I actually used Whole Wheat White Flour vs. the standard bleached flour to give the cookies more fiber and density, and the kids STILL eat them faster than I can make them.
  • I also picked up some organic fruit bar popsicle-thingys if I wasn’t in the mood to bake.
  • We even tried this mocha pudding cake thing that was incredible (inside the Oh She Glows cookbook).

Step Three: Redraw Your Food Pyramid

I found this food pyramid that really helped – it’s on the plantproof blog here.

I noticed that all of my meals needed some sort of grain base to it in order to feel full. Think of it like this… if all you do is start eating salads, the bulk of the veggies will fill you up and you’ll get full. But you still might be in a caloric deficit, which leads to cravings, etc. So every meal I cooked had a grain + veggie base. This meant I had to figure out what kinds of grains to use, where, and why.

  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Quinoa (technically a seed I think but acts like a grain)
  • Bulgur
  • Cornmeal
  • Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes (technically not a grain but starchy enough to be a base)
  • Lentils (technically a seed I think but acts like a grain)
  • Brown Rice
  • Whole Wheat Flour (for breads and such)
  • Rolled Oats

Those are the ones I’ve tried so far. I know there are tons more but these are the staple grains we’ve used.

SO EVERY MEAL… I’m asking myself, “What grain and veggie do I mix now?”

Let’s take one of our FAVORITE meals here… Tacos. 

Well you can buy organic corn taco shells, plus tomatoes, lettuce, beans, and then what do you do for the meat? If you watch my IG stories, I RAVE about my Quinoa taco meat. It’s so good. So I made quinoa taco meat. If you absolutely need a dairy-esque topping (like cheese or sour cream) you can get a dairy substitute like tofutti.

Another meal we eat all the time (as do most Americans lol)? Meat and potatoes. It’s about American as it gets. 

And here’s where I think I stray from most folks who are sold on plant based… I still served my kids a meat if they want it. I’m not going to force my children to eat the way I do. My personal choice. So a classic meat and potatoes dinner shifted in this way….

I picked up a Rotisserie Chicken at the grocery store for kids that will die without meat. But instead of having a LOT of meat available for every person, I had just a small amount as a side.

I whipped up mashed potatoes using some almond milk and cashew butter, made a veggie (broccoli) and then offered a Veggie burger patty over greens to those who weren’t eating the chicken. Sunshine Organics makes a good veggie burger that has ingredients you can read on the back.

Another meal that we eat a lot? Pasta.

And even though pasta with tomato sauce is awesome, sometimes you just want a creamy pasta. Enter Avocado pasta. OMG. It was so good. Serve with a salad and some whole grain garlic bread. That recipe is in the Oh She Glows cookbook, although I found an alternate online one here.

Also? SOUPS for the win!

So many soups. Bean chili. African sweet potato/peanut stew. Minestrone. Soups are so easy and so delicious. Serve with bread crumbs or bread on top.

So my point here is, start thinking about what veggie and grain are going to form the base of your meal. Then work from there.

Step Four: Make Life Easier With Pantry Shopping

Here’s an argument for buying a cookbook. If you just use online recipes (which many are awesome), you end up having to buy 8,000,000 ingredients. But if you start with ONE cookbook and a few supplemental recipes, you’ll notice the author oftentimes uses the same things again and again. I started with the Oh She Glows cookbook and just committed to opening up that book and building my pantry from there.

I made a spreadsheet actually. You can have it if you want! It’s simply an inventory and there are three tabs… one for “We Need (the red x)”, one for “We Have (the green O)”, and one for “We Don’t Have but Don’t Need (the gray N)”. That one is for things that we might use but for whatever reason they aren’t in season or not what we’re into.

I keep it updated in real time and me and Alex and my house manager share access to it.

The idea is to fill your pantry with all the staples and just do your produce shopping every week.

  • We purchased those sealed containers to hold nuts and seeds and grains. Helps tremendously!
  • We outfitted our spice cabinet.
  • We made more room for fresh produce.
  • We looked for plant based snacks that, while not oil free, are at least a better choice than other processed things.

Once the kitchen was outfitted, cooking became so much easier. Tools we use a ton….

  • Food processor
  • Blender
  • Juicer
  • Lemon Squeezer
  • Instant Pot
  • Cookie Sheets
  • Cheesecloth
  • Shallow bowls (these make your meals look SO amazing and fun – power bowls I think they’re called)

Speaking of bowls, I went out and bought these.

And presentation is everything. So last night for example, I made a kale/quinoa salad. Put that on 1/3 of the bowl. Then I added a bunch of butternut squash, then a bunch of black beans, then topped it with Avocado cream and toasted pumpkin seeds. If I were a food blogger, it would’ve been IG worthy. But alas, I just ate it instead. So good (here’s the recipe).

Step Five: Create a Fun New Habit

For us? It was juicing. I know there are like crazy pro-juicers and then the people that are anti-juicing, and I’m just not going to fall down either rabbit hole right now. But I will say that making fresh juice every morning is something ALL of our kids got behind. Even William. Even when it’s green.

We’ve been experimenting with all different kinds of recipes, but this the produce we keep on hand:

  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Pears

(these are the sweet fruits that help sweeten a drink that might be bitter)

For green juice, keep on hand:

  • Celery
  • Kale or Spinach
  • Cucumber

For red juice, keep on hand:

  • Pomegranate
  • Beets
  • Strawberries/Raspberries

And then, don’t forget a splash of:

  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Grapefruit

We’ve started serving these half juice/half seltzer and I’ll tell you what.. it puts soda to SHAME.

Get some fun glasses, pour over ice, and enjoy. Last night’s concoction was like some decadent beachside cocktail (minus the alcohol) and it was SO good.

I was NOT excited about another kitchen appliance, and I admit – I resisted Alex’s insistence on the juicer. Not anymore. I’m sold.

Step Six: Fall In Love With Beans

I admit, beans by themselves don’t thrill me. Although now that my palette has changed, I feel differently. BUT… beans can do some pretty cool stuff! Here are two things our kids said YES to…

Falafel (we bake ours rather than fry)

Shove it all in the food processor, form into patty’s, and then freeze them. Pull out when you need. We love them over salads or inside whole wheat tortillas with veggies and tahini dressing.

Chickpea Chicken Salad

It’s not really that, but if you like the flavor and texture of a chicken salad on a piece of sourdough bread, this recipe from the Oh She Glows cookbook was one of our first winners. It legit tastes like you’re eating chicken salad on a sandwich.

Beans are so versatile, so filling, so good for digestion, I’m working on incorporating them into both lunch and dinner every day (I haven’t figured out breakfast yet). And if you’re short on time, just get the cans of beans. Don’t be a hero and soak them unless you’re on a mad budget and need the bulk pricing.

Step Seven: Fast Breakfast For The Win

If you’re like me, morning time is frantic. Kids have to be out the door by 7:30am. So our go to speedy breakfasts include:

  • Smoothies
  • Peanut Butter + Banana Toast
  • Avocado Toast
  • Baked Oatmeal (prepare the night before and keep in fridge for 3 days) – this by the way also can be a dessert

The Nutri-bullet is amazing. We taught the kids how to make smoothies… The idea is…

  • Coconut Milk or Almond Milk
  • Frozen Fruit (we keep a ton on hand)
  • Some type of seed (flax or chia)
  • Bonus points if you throw in some kale/spinach
  • Bonus points if you throw in some spices

If you’re in a MAD rush, just make the smoothie and put it in a to-go container. And if it feels too much like you’re drinking breakfast, make the smoothie a bit thicker, put it in a bowl, and top with granola, unsweetened coconut, and little pieces of dark chocolate. It’s like a mock acai bowl.

Step Eight: Don’t Ignore Your Body

If it’s hungry, eat.

Then eat again.

Then just keep eating.

For anyone who’s been on yo-yo diets, your body will naturally start to stop the feast/famine cycle when you’ve adequately convinced it that ABUNDANCE is here. Now I keep roasted veggies, grains/rice, and beans in my fridge so I can whip up a power bowl in minutes.

We always have some dairy free dessert on hand.

We drink juice and smoothies and spritzers in wine glasses.

Step Nine: Understand the New Weird Stuff You Will Cook With

  • Nutritional yeast for example. It’s in regular grocery stores, but it took me a bit to find it. It adds that cheesy flavor, plus it’s got all kinds of good stuff in it.
  • Coconut oil (which isn’t weird really anymore but if you’re used to regular canola oil, it takes some getting used to).
  • Tahini is like the consistency of peanut butter, and it’s made from sesame seeds. We use it all the time.
  • Get a garlic masher because there’s a lotta garlic going on in our house now.
  • A cheesecloth will help you drain the water when you’re soaking stuff like quinoa.

My point in all of this is that if you set yourself up right, it’s NOT harder to cook this way. It’s actually easier. Things can be served at room temp. Food spoiling and sanitizing spaces where raw meat was is gone. You can make all kinds of substitutions in recipes with whatever veggies or beans you have on hand. You actually eat MORE variety with less work.

Step Ten: Holidays, Travel, and More…

We’re going to Disney World tomorrow so I’ll report back on how it goes. Disney has over 400 plant based options on property so I’m sure we’ll be fine. And we’ve gone out several times in 30 days and here’s what we do…

Tell the server you have a dairy allergy. That way they’ll be sure to not cook with milk, butter, eggs, cheese, etc.

Then just order the vegetarian option on the menu.

  • We went to hibachi and had the noodles, the rice (without the egg), the veggies, the soup, and salad. We were STUFFED.
  • We went to Sushi and had veggie rolls, edamame, and miso soup.
  • We did Thanksgiving and filled out plates with veggie based stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, more veggies, bread, and then had a lentil/kale salad as the whole grain.
  • We had company over and did a Taco bar and offered ground meat and quinoa meat so people could choose.

At this point almost every restaurant and party has a vegetarian option, so choose that and explain you’re dairy free and you’re good to go!

So What’s Happened In 30 Days?

Here are the things that have changed in our house since starting this…

  1. My teenagers regularly make fun of me because I’ve gone “hippie vegan”. They sometimes participate, sometimes don’t.
  2. William is drinking fresh juice every morning and getting a massive hit of vitamins that we wasn’t otherwise getting in his very picky diet.
  3. Alex and I are cooking together.
  4. We waste less.
  5. Insomnia GONE.
  6. Digestive issues GONE.
  7. Energy levels WAY up.
  8. Mood levels UP.
  9. Palette changed
  10. Sugar cravings gone (YES we’re still eating sugar and yet the night snacking is gone- I can’t explain it).
  11. Weight lost (I’m not tracking but I can tell by my pant size). I know Alex has tracked and lost somewhere between 10-12 lbs in 30 days.

So there you have it. 3000 words letter and not one affiliate link, it’s my gift to you! Merry Christmas!

By the way, a couple of books I read that cemented my belief around this way of eating?

I want to end with this. My family still eats processed food. We have diet coke and cookies in our cupboards. This is not about extremes. I personally feel better than I EVER have and have no desire for meat or dairy. So I’m going to keep going. But I’m also not the kind of person who’s going to control everything about what my entire family eats, because I’m a big believer in just leading by example, by what you feel in your heart you should do, without any judgment or shame about what other people choose to do instead.

So yea… maybe they ate a veggie burger with a Diet Coke and some potato chips.

Maybe they eat beans. Maybe they don’t.

All I know is that I accidentally fell into plant based eating, and me, my palette, my body, and my stomach… are happier than they’ve ever been.

Julie Chenell

Productivity Hack: How To Move From Interruption To Search

I had the privilege of attending Russell Brunson’s Traffic Secrets event last year, and it was there that I first heard the phrase “Search vs. Interruption.” It’s Russell’s way of talking about a marketing topic that many of us know as…

Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

Or sometimes called…

Content vs. Direct Response Marketing

People like Gary V. and Neil Patel lead with content. They invite people into their world by creating value and leveraging organic traffic. From there you might level up into their paid offers.

Russell Brunson and Dean Graziosi are industry leaders in outbound or direct response marketing. This is where you’re interrupted with paid ads and drawn into a funnel, even when you weren’t planning on it. You weren’t actively searching.

In one case, the prospect is actively searching for information and runs into your content (which leads to your paid products). In another case, your prospect is scrolling on social media and gets interrupted with ads that lead to a funnel.

This is not going to be a blog post about the differences between the two types of marketing. What it is going to be is (hopefully) a MASSIVE productivity aha! about how this schema in marketing works with productivity too.

First off, at the bottom of this post is an article I read about productivity and your phone. It’s a long article and totally worth the read, and I found myself implementing a bunch of the hacks in it.

However, what I recognized is this…

To become more productive, it’s important to build your daily routine around the concept of search… not interruption.

Most of us don’t do this. We love interruption. We have the typical *bad* interruptions like social media. We also have *productive* interruptions – like… calendar reminders! These are good right? Alarm clocks do the same thing. Interrupt our activity to get us to take action.

So I’m not trying to demonize the idea of interruption… because there are times when it’s necessary.

But if we developed search based routines, we’d avoid a crap ton of interruption.

Here’s the idea…

In the article I mentioned, one of the things he describes is the idea of using folders for your apps, and also removing badges (the little red notifications). That’s because if you open your phone and see a 45 next to your inbox, even if you were opening your phone to turn on some music or use the calculator, you probably had to resist the urge to check your inbox (or maybe you didn’t resist and went down a rabbit hole).

If you put your apps in folders and remove badges, then there’s nothing interrupting you. You will have to SEARCH for updates, notifications, messages, etc. which means, unless you’re actively looking for it, you won’t see it.

Now let’s expand this to think about in other ways.

How many of us use notifications on our computers too? I know I have it on for Facebook, for Slack, for Voxer… heck even for Trello! I am using the notifications to dictate where I look and when, which is interruption based.

What if I restructured all my work to be search based. At first, I’d need reminders yes. But eventually, I would learn how to use all these apps without the buzz of interruption all the time.

What if it started with a simple checklist? That checklist is all the places you check during your prescribed “admin” time. So for example, at 12pm and 5pm EST everyday, you would check…

  1. Your Trello Boards
  2. Your Slack Channels
  3. Your Voxer Messages
  4. Your Email Messages
  5. Your FB Groups

etc. etc.

I know people do this with email, but there are so many other communication channels now – that we have to carry this idea over to them as well.

Another question to ask yourself is this:

What would your day look like you had NO REMINDERS and had to actively search out anything and everything you were going to do?

Think about that for a minute.

  • No calendar reminders. You’d have to open your calendar and actually look.
  • No Facebook notifications. You’d have to pick the groups and places you were going to check for updates for.
  • No Slack messages. Which channels would you go in and read the happenings on?

Then ask yourself this next level question…

If I received NO INBOUND messages at all for one day – no comments, no emails, no Voxers… WHO would I actively reach out to? WHAT would I actually do with my time?

Then… once you’ve answered those two questions honestly, compare it to your actual day. Are you talking to people you would never reach out to? Are you checking and answering things that aren’t something you’d proactively go after?

If there’s a huge disparity between what you’d do “in the wild and left to your own devices” vs. what you’re responding or reacting to on any given day, then that’s a sign that your productivity should become more SEARCH based.

This works for battling shiny object syndrome too. I can’t tell you the amount of times I got sucked into massive amounts of head trash because of something SOMEONE else said, did, wrote, posted, etc. It would derail me for hours.

  1. If you want to JV or do an interview, who are YOU going to choose? Is it the same people that are reaching out to you day in and out for requests for interviews?
  2. If you want to learn from someone, who are YOU going to buy from? Is it the same people that are cluttering up your inbox and your newsfeed now?
  3. Or, what about a slightly off-kilter customer service inquiry on email that then has you re-evaluating your entire business model, value ladder, and material because of a criticism you didn’t even see as an issue?

I’m not saying that these things don’t have their time, place, and value, but if we take our cues from the most successful people on the planet, they have entire teams of people managing ALL the interruptions, and only allow those interruptions to make it to their desk at a prescribed time.

We do need feedback. We need new ideas. We need new people.

But we also get to control how and when and where that information comes into us, and if we ask ourselves… how do I become more search based, vs. interruption based… we’ll go a long way towards better time management and staying on task with the goals that matter to us.

Here’s the article I read —> How to Configure Your iPhone to Work For You. Hat tip to Cathy Olson in our Marketer’s Heart Facebook Group for the find. It’s really good.

Ep. 58 I Hired My First Personal Assistant!

Subscribe On:

Subscribe on iTunes Subscribe on Google Play Subscribe on Stitcher

Full Transcript:

Today I am super excited, I want to take you a little bit behind the scenes in my personal life. I just made a new hire. And it was so funny, because I just did this sort of with me and Alex discussing it, didn’t really talk about it much, and then I went live in my, or I actually just posted in my mastermind group that I hired a house manager, personal assistant, and my group went crazy and they were like, “We want to know all about this.”

And I was like, “Huh, alright well, I’ll tell you.” So I’m going to tell you all about what led me to hiring this position, what I did, all that good stuff.

So first of all, I can’t take any credit for any of this information, it is all information I borrowed from other people. So two people I want to give a shout out to, the first person is Stacy Martino. Stacy Martino, and her husband Paul Martino, they run, they help keep families together and build relationships. And they are the ones that first introduced me to this concept of a house manager, and also gave me a lot of the original wording that I needed when I was looking for this position. Second people I want to give a shout out to are James Friell and Yada Golden, they are my dearest friends, and James is a business partner, and they hired a house manager and told me all about the marvels of this wonderful thing called, having help.

Even though Alex and I have had nannies for the past two years, we had a nanny, her name was Rosie, and then we had another nanny, and her name was Bailey. Both of them lasted about a year, this time we were going to do things a little bit differently. We knew that we needed someone who would be willing to do childcare, but ultimately the thing that I need most is to not be a hot mess. And it’s funny because in business I am not a hot mess. In business I really, I keep it together pretty well. I have a great team, I have an amazing assistant, Emily, and she’s more than just an assistant, she really runs so much in my business. I have, like I said, an amazing team.

But I have it all together, but pretty much in every other area of my life I’m a hot mess. If you guys were ever to come to my house and look at my closet, you would laugh hysterically. If you saw how exhausted I was at the end of the day, or the way my kids leave the house, or anything like that, you’d be like, “Well, clearly the way she does one thing is not the way she does everything.”

It’s funny, I see people say that all the time, “Oh how you do one thing is how you do everything.” And I was like, pretty sure that’s not true, because I am a hot mess in my closet with my clothes, but I am pretty damn organized in business. Anyway, this is a rabbit trail. But the point is when we went, we decided, “Okay, do we need to hire someone?” and at first, when the fall came and the kids went back to school, and William’s getting older, he’s in school 5 days a week now, part of us were like, “I don’t know if we need someone. We kind of got into a rhythm.”

And this is an important lesson right here if you’re a business owner. When things are calm, you sometimes don’t feel like you need to hire. You don’t need an extra team member. And maybe you don’t, maybe you can live without it. I know Alex and I certainly could have lived without it. But the problem is you’re not taking into account opportunity costs when you do that. Because yes, things are calm, yes, you’re able to handle. What we do is we wait usually until there’s a crisis. A crisis in business, a crisis in life, and we are being squeezed really hard and then we’re like, “Okay, I need to do something.” And typically, it’s urgent at that point. It’s urgent and that causes us to make mistakes, because we’re just trying to put out the fire instead of being forward thinking.

So the instinct this fall for Alex and I was to sort of be like, “I don’t know if we really need this?” and that would have been short sighted because number one, we know there are going to be stressful moments in the next year, and those stressful moments have taken a toll on our marriage from time to time, and that’s an understatement. And also, I’m not counting the opportunity costs of what’s going to happen if I buy my bandwidth back. So instead of stressing about the fact that the kids don’t have winter gear, or what am I going to wear on my photo shoot next Saturday, I now have someone who’s going to help me do all those things, which allows me more time to talk to you, to create courses, to build content, to be visible. That is opportunity costs.

So even though you may feel like everything is just kind of going along, you’re not considering the future potential of what would happen if you were to hire. So I hired a house manager, personal assistant. I decided to go that angle versus just a nanny because ultimately, if I could get my time back then I would want to spend more time with my kids, not less. So that’s where I said, “Okay, let’s do the personal assistant.”

So here’s what we did. We posted on, but I know that other people post on other places like Craigslist and Deed, there are agencies out there that will do it as well. And we created a job description that basically said, “You need to be very organized, you need to like cats, you must love kids because there will be a lot of them and they will be around, and supporting two parents as they run this very busy household.” So the job description includes, child care, meal prep, laundry, household, and then a lot of personal stuff. Things like helping book travel, helping pack and unpack, watching the house when we go away, making appointments, managing calendar, managing inbox.

And we decided to go ahead and hire full time, it’s pretty expensive, because you want someone who is committed to your family. And that means you don’t want them having a million other part time jobs, or not feeling like they get paid well, and all that kind of stuff. So we went ahead and said, “Alright, we are going to pay well, and we are going to pay full time, and that way we will find someone who really wants to make this their thing.”

So ultimately, I thought to myself, well if I don’t need it now, when will I need it? You know what I mean? When is the right time to invest in my sanity? And I’m pretty sure it’s worth it when you have 3 teenagers and a toddler, well, preschooler. So we went ahead and did that.

One of the things that I learned directly from Stacy was that if you are going to go on a site like to look for a house manager, nanny, personal assistant, etc, etc, it’s really important that you create a little bit of a barrier because you’ll just get inundated with requests, especially if you pay for like a prime listing. And if you do that, you’ll get 10 to 20 people a day interested in your private message inbox. So we just responded to everyone with the same email, or the same message back. We said, “Awesome, we’re looking forward to getting to know you, and having an interview. Before we do that, we’d like you to just do this one thing, it’ll just take 10 minutes.” We asked them to send us three pictures of various meals or organization or projects they did. We also asked them to email us sort of a description of how their friends would explain their personality, and that sort of thing.

So we did all of that, and what do you know, I would say 85% of the people who inquired about the position never sent us an email. And that’s very, very telling, because if somebody is not willing to send an email, not willing to take a few pictures, and write a little description about themselves, then they are not a good a fit. So we ended up whittling down probably 40 or 50 applications to about 5 interviews. So that was easy. And maybe there’ll be another podcast episode on this. I had someone ask me, “How did you know that the 5th interview was the right one?” I had done 4 other interviews, and it was more about figuring out who is not the right fit.

And there were 4 interviews that I had, and it’s like almost process of elimination, because I didn’t want to hear about someone who was unsure about whether they were committed for the long haul. Because I just don’t want a revolving door of people in my family. I didn’t want someone who wasn’t able to make eye contact with me, who wasn’t able to explain or articulate themselves or their feelings very well. So it was a process of elimination asking myself, if this person were to be around my kids 8 hours a day, even though I’m not hiring as a nanny, would this person make my child better, or keep them the same? Obviously you’d never, ever hire someone who’d make your child worse, but typically you’re not looking at people like that, you’re looking at people who would make your child be the same, keep your child the same, or better.

So when I got to the 5th interview, I had a gut reaction that said, “Yes.” This person cares, I was impressed with her email, with her photos, she was articulate, she was kind, she made eye contact, she definitely had an air of like wanting to do a really good job, that was also very obvious, and I asked her questions about her past, her life, her kids, all that kind of stuff, and that’s not a very official way to make a decision, but ultimately I went with my gut.

So that’s what I did, and I encourage any of you guys, business or personal, if you feel like, “Oh I don’t need to hire yet. Everything’s good.” Maybe it is, but I would encourage you to think about the opportunity costs and the pain involved of getting to that point of squeeze and having to make a rash decision, and how painful that one can be.

So I hope that’s helpful guys, talk to you soon.

Why Donald Trump Should Be Impeached (But Probably Won’t Be)….

Can I Ask You A Question?

Whenever someone reacts violently, angrily, or with rash behavior and words, we usually send funny memes with the word “triggered”. It is a psychological phenomenon that the person with the most to lose, or the most to hide, will often be the one over compensating the most.

“WHO FARTED?!” is usually asked by the person who actually did it.

People who are liars and cheaters? They are usually the ones accusing others of lying and cheating.

Why does this happen?

The simple answer is because it’s in THEIR nature to do it, so they assume it’s in everyone’s nature to do it as well.

I don’t usually write about politics on this blog, but what I’m witnessing in this country is so divisive, so extreme, so outrageous, I’ve determined it’s urgent enough to interrupt my marketing speak to write down some fundamental truths and facts about the political climate in this country.

First, let’s begin with VERIFIABLE UN-EDITORIALIZED facts about the current impeachment inquiry on our president Donald Trump. I’ve done my best to write down facts without any opinions laced in.

  • Donald Trump had a conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine, and asked him (several times) for a favor. That favor included investigating corruption – the specific two incidences he cared about were Burisma and the 2016 election interference conspiracy. Both of these had personal ties to Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.
  • Donald Trump enlisted help from his private attorney Rudy Giuliani.
  • Military aid was withheld for several months after passing in Congress. There were a lot of questions about why the aid was held up in a delay.
  • A meeting at the White House with Zelensky and Trump was also delayed.
  • There are transcripts of texts that strongly suggest these two events (the delay of aid and a meeting) were linked to Trump’s interest in asking Zelensky for a favor, which included in part, a public statement from Ukraine about their commitment to investigate Burisma and the 2016 election.
  • The Democrats opened an Impeachment inquiry upon hearing about this from a Whistleblower.
  • The hearings are happening in a secure room behind closed doors.
  • Republicans stormed the secure room with their cell phones to stop the inquiry. They did this one day after William Taylor (hired and a part of Trump’s team) testified that there was a quid pro quo with Trump and the Ukraine relationship.
  • Any Republican that is already on the committees holding the hearings were ALREADY allowed in the hearing, be it without their devices. There would be no need to storm in with their device as long as they were on the committee to begin with.
  • The house doesn’t need to have a vote to conduct an impeachment hearing.
  • The Benghazi investigation was a closed inquiry. So was Bill Clinton’s impeachment inquiry. Many Republicans are quoted as supporting these closed hearings.
  • When and if an impeachment inquiry gets a vote and moves to the Senate, it’s at that point that it turns more into a trial – since the Senate acts as jurors. Until that point, it doesn’t act as a trial.
  • William Taylor provided a testimony to the committee that Trump was running a shadow policy team in an attempt to withhold aid and a meeting until Ukraine complied with demands to publicly announce investigation into Burisma and the 2016 election conspiracy. He delivered a 15 page opening statement that squarely suggests a quid pro quo and abuse of power from Trump.
  • Donald Trump is regularly tweeting about all of this, using words like Lynching, Civil War, Human Scum, and more.

There are more facts – hundreds more – but those are the highlights.

Now…here comes the editorial.

I have voraciously read the reports from every news outlet I can get my hands on – both right and left leaning. That means I read and watch Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, as well as sites like New York Times, the Associated Press, NPR, and others.

I have also printed out EVERY SINGLE letter, transcript, and hearing document and read them all.

Why have I done this? Simply for this one reason:

The amount of gaslighting, projection, and deflection happening (depending on whether you ask a Republican or Democrat) is so extensive, it feels like you are in a house of mirrors. Like you’re going nuts.

It feels like there are two sides, dealing with two sets of facts. You hear one thing, and then nearly the exact opposite. And God forbid you try to stay on one story – there’s an unending number of rabbit trails and distractions to keep you ever on the hunt for the truth.

In order to get ANY kind of clarity, I had to go RIGHT to the source of the facts. I had to read them for myself, and use my own judgment and discernment as I researched law, rules, precedents, and more.

I don’t know why I’m so fascinated by it all. I think because my psychology background cannot believe what level of gaslighting and projection has befallen our government and our media.

I am looking for the truth. I am regularly going against my own confirmation bias to see if the side I naturally and intuitively disagree with, might just have a point.

I know that the majority of Americans are not doing nearly the same level of investigation or research. They are just listening to random news clips, sound bites, tweets, facebook posts, ads, and whatever else just lands in front of them.

This makes me sad. It makes me sad because I know that anyone (Republican or Democrat) will just listen to that which confirms their bias. And that’s exactly the kind of sleeper behavior that allows gaslighting and projection to continue.

So now, I come to my opinion. My conclusions based on all of this research. The hours I spend reading and listening and watching (just ask Alex who’s lost his Netflix evening partner for the last several weeks).

If you trust my research, trust my intelligence, trust my character, maybe you’ll trust my opinion. Maybe not. It doesn’t matter to me either way. But here it is… (I am a Never-Trumper Moderate Republican by the way)

Aside from politics and policy, Donald Trump’s character is corrupt.

He’s a shrewd businessman, with a long history of unethical dealings. He entered as president, unaware that the presidency is not like running a business. To that end, he’s carried many of his tactics right into the White House, and with his new unmatched power, and incredible amounts of attention from the media who can’t stop reporting his antics, his character is now simply amplified.

He’s amplified name calling. Amplified lying. Amplified gaslighting. Amplified projection. Amplified double speak. Amplified intimidation. Amplified attention getting behavior.

And he’s got a scared, intimidated, psychologically mindf*cked Republican party that’s trying to save itself (and their reputations) by falling down party lines and defending him.

But not all are.

Slowly, quietly, with as little ripple as possible, some are distancing themselves.

You also have SUPER honest (clearly not very politically minded) bureaucrats like Bill Taylor who just take copious notes and tell it all without fearing the consequences or fallout from Trump.

I believe that the escalation of distracting behavior and political stunts from Trump and his closest allies is a desperate attempt to hide the truth – that Donald Trump is abusing his power in office and running the presidency like he does his shady business dealings.

It doesn’t mean that he hasn’t done good things economically for the country.

That’s like me committing a crime and claiming, “But look at how many people I helped in my business!” A right doesn’t overturn a wrong. They are mutually exclusive events.

I spent nearly a year of my life in a psychologically abusive relationship. I went through therapy for a long time to learn the tactics of a narcissist. I could go into great depth about the art and science of gaslighting, and how it’s playing out RIGHT now on a NATIONAL level.

I don’t know if his crimes are impeachable. I haven’t done enough research yet to know that his wrongs are worthy of impeachment, and I tell myself that if it’s not impeachable, the WORST case scenario is we endure this for five more years and then he’s gone.

That’s not very reassuring to me, but I have made my peace with that possibility.

What I do know – I KNOW in my gut and in my heart and in my brain – is that our president displays a corrupt character.

He is a corrupt character and it would be foolish to expect that a corrupt character wouldn’t become MORE corrupt when given a 24 hour news cycle, crazy loyal fans and millions of followers on Twitter, and incredible amounts of power.

And I know that corrupt humans can also do good things. No one person is ALL bad or ALL good. No one. Those good things don’t excuse the bad, no matter how much they may try to say otherwise.

You must take personal responsibility for your behavior in a given situation, irregardless of other “stocked up” good deeds.

Whenever you see an escalation of psychological mind games, where ever you see rising chaos, unrest, division, and confusion – you can reasonably conclude that corruption is at work.

Side note — Did you know that I wrote a blog post (it’s since been deleted) about a year before the election? And in that blog post, I said that the media would (in part) be to blame for Trump becoming president because they refused to ignore his antics? I did. I wrote the whole long thing – it got tons and tons of reads. I deleted it (and the whole blog) one day when I was feeling unusually insecure about my opinions. I knew he’d become president the minute I saw the way he controlled the news cycle like an evil master of ceremonies.

I was correct. And I believe I am correct now.

I do not think that Trump will actually be impeached, even though he is corrupt. I think he’s created such a crazy climate of confusion and gaslighting, that he’s secured his position as President because he’s gained too much control and power over those who are supposed to be his checks and balances.

I hope I’m wrong.

But if I’m not, remember this time in our history. This season of confusion and frenzy. It’s impossible to plant an apple seed and get a peach tree. And it’s impossible to put a corrupt man in incredible power and expect that he won’t produce more of what he is….


The Adventures of Lake Powell + 10 Days Without Internet


It’s taken me four days to even get my sea legs enough to sit down and write.

Today is day four. We’ve been on this crazy amazing lake for four days (five counting the travel day), and the amount of stuff I want to tell you might make this the longest post ever.

Even though this isn’t my first time on an outdoorsy like camping vacation (my craziest camping trip was Kenya Africa) – this is the first time I’ve ever committed to a solid 9 days of real life escape to the high desert climate of Arizona… with our four year old William in tow.

No internet. 18 people. One houseboat.

The first thing I want to tell you is that if you haven’t tried to really unplug from the real world – no internet, no news, no email, no social media – try it. Your brain frees up enormous bandwidth. For me who works online and regularly answers over 100 messages a day, I honestly bought back 90% of my brain’s bandwidth when we rolled up onto the desert-y beach for the week.

This has both amazing consequences and unintended ones.

The amazing ones you probably know – things like resetting your rhythm to the sun, living in the present moment with the people you’re with, more time to think, etc. The unintended consequence of all this brain power?

You have time to really let all those repressed thoughts rise to the surface as you stare at the stars. Hard emotional thoughts you ignored as the busyness of life took hold.

I have this high powered, fast moving brain – in a completely foreign environment. Times that by all the other successful people I’m with? It’s a lot of brain power sitting on a boat in the middle of nowhere. I’m not sure how it was for everyone else, but for me? It brought up a whole lot of stuff I don’t normally pay attention to.

For the first four days, I couldn’t go two hours without trying to figure out what time it was. All the phones are jacked because there is no internet first, but secondly, we’re right on the timezone line between mountain time and pacific time so it’s always a toss up on what time you’d get when you asked. And I got a ton of shit from everyone because it mattered to me what the REAL time was. They were all like, “Why does it matter?!”

Literally..two phones next to each other at dinner one night.

And it was a really good question. Why did it matter so much to me? Everything I do runs by the clock, and without it, I was completely lost.

The thought of trusting my own instincts to guide me (and also to guide me parenting William) felt scary and unknown. For those of you who have children who are monsters when they are tired or out of their routine, you understand why I chose the word “scary”. I pushed through the discomfort and as each day passed, I asked the time less and less. It’s now day four and I no longer need to know what time it is to wake up, go to sleep, or eat meals. I just feel my way through it, for me and William. It may not seem like a big deal, but it is.

Sleeping under the stars will probably go down in history as one of the most incredible things I’ve ever done. Being a New Englander, I haven’t ever been able to sleep outside. It’s either too humid, too buggy, too stormy, or too cold. Here? There are no bugs that bite. No humidity. Just miles and miles of water, red rock, and stars. I feel my body resetting every night I sleep here.

I want you to imagine for a minute, 15 entrepreneurs all on one houseboat together. Every day is like a new reality TV episode. We had Lake Powell Day 4 – the day Nick successfully climbed the steepest rock you’ve ever seem. We all watched from the lake below, as he became the tiniest speck against all the rock. He definitely didn’t bring a walkie talkie, enough sunscreen and water, or even a shirt…but it didn’t stop us from listening to James narrate his descent in true David Attanboro fashion. We all peed our pants laughing, which didn’t matter because peeing in the lake is perfectly acceptable.

Several entrepreneurial endeavors have popped up in our new lakeside economy. Sophie (age 10) has started a floatation rotation service business. She hops in the lake and gets paid every time she tows someone on a floatie back to a prime spot (near the dock, in the shade, etc.). She hustled Brian out of 40 bucks yesterday since she rotated his floatie over 35 times in our afternoon floating session.

The days revolve around floating sessions. Think three or four hours of talking, laughing, and drinking – on the bluest most beautiful lake water (temp 87). It’s the closest thing to heaven I can think of. We drink hard seltzer – called White Claw. So much so it’s become a verb. You yell to whomever’s on the dock and say, “CLAW ME!”

Peppered between float sessions – we do all the water sports. Wake surfing, wake boarding, slalom, paddle boarding, jet skiing, kayaking…

And then, because it’s a bunch of a-level players in the water, it turns into headstands ON the paddle board (really it’s just Brandon who can pull off this incredible feat). Nothing is ever just status quo.

Brandon and Kaelin hosted this trip, and if you’ve never watched them surf…you should. It’s impressive.

It’s funny when you’re in close quarters like this – there’s only a few hours a day of electricity, limited toilet paper, fuel, ice, and of course – throw in some toasty daytime temps of 95+ degrees, the rules change.

Things you’d never normally do – sleep in a wet bathing suit, taking communal outdoor showers, sharing beds and blankets with people, drinking sangria for breakfast (it’s really just a fruit salad with wine)… you find that the rules you live by in your real life, are just arbitrary principles you set up for the life you have.

And if you change your life, you can change the rules.

That’s been a huge aha! for me. If I want to spend more time not caring about the time, or spend more time not worrying about your house being perfectly clean, then change your life so you can create new rules that make that as normal as breathing.

In this environment, it never dawned on me not to sleep in a soaking wet bathing suit. I was hot, it was evening, I was tired, and so that’s what I did. And I woke up ready to swim.

We have a few neighbors here on the lake. Since we’re in the middle of nowhere, every new houseboat that shows up – draws intense interest from us all. There’s a territorial-ness about our little beach on the lake. So much so that James and Kaelin have concocted an elaborate plan to scare off any new visitors. It might involve stacking the long and slender white claw hard seltzer cans into what looks like a bomb, and a giant avocado and sauerkraut slingshot. I can neither confirm nor deny. What happens in Lake Powell stays in Lake Powell.

Our neighbors have attempted to barter with us a few times. Mostly for toilet paper. We did share one roll, but last night – they drew on James last nerve. He walked over there to politely ask them to turn off the flood light on their boat, and accidentally walked into a costume party. They were dressed up like the Kardashians, and even gave James an Oscar for coming as Darth Vader (they were drunk – he simply had on a Star Wars t-shirt).

Everybody has a job on this boat. Jeff is our sheriff. He’s always patrolling the beach, announcing the impending windstorm, chasing after air mattresses that blow off the sundeck into the water.

Yara has two jobs – she’s the featherer of the nest – making everything cozy and comfortable. When she’s not the nest featherer, she is a dangerous fly hunter with a salt gun.

Steve is our resident Stevearita – he can turn ANYTHING into a Margherita. Also…the catcher of one lonely fish. Didn’t stop us all from trying, but he caught only one the first day.

And of course, Kaelin and Brandon are captain and captainette….


Roeme is CAPTAIN!

All of us have distinct personalities that show up and perform well in different circumstances. Just like in business, it’s important you have the right person for the right job. If you asked me to check the water level of the lake to make sure our houseboat is anchored properly, we’d be screwed.

I’m keenly aware of the fact that I can even write all these adventures because Kaelin, Brandon, Steve, Steph, and Jeff are expert adventurers that know all things boats. The amount of logistics are insane. From locating the right beach, rationing electricity and ice and fuel, anchoring down our boat, towing all the extra water toys, and finding this epic location, without them, I wouldn’t get to experience this great grand adventure.

Also, I wouldn’t have had the chance to experience what a desert hurricane is. I can’t remember what day it was – it was the first day I decided to see if William could handle sleeping outside too. He’d been in the boat for the first two nights, and it took some persuading of Alex, but we decided to give it a go with William. We managed to get him to sleep despite the noise and fireworks. And about 10 minutes later, the wind picked up. Like REALLY picked up. So much so that our night plans of a campfire were completely demolished in exchange for all of us holding down our mattresses so they wouldn’t fly away. One still did. Twice. And some of the gusts were so strong and so loud, Alex and I spent our entire evening using a blanket to create a makeshift tent to blunt the wind.

Notice the rope. Our attempt to hold the bedding down. We’ve essentially roped our kid to the boat. LOL

Alex and I just looked at each other as we spent our night tenting William and agreed…this is what it feels like to protect your young. It’s just your family against the elements.

I’ve only taken a few photos. Mostly my phone stays in my room, barely charged. I randomly get text messages in the middle of the night. The best guess is that a satellite flies overhead and beams down messages from the real world. Once in a while I can get one out. Or… we get a service run on our two trips to the Marina.

This post to be continued…

Jeff just drank a Monster with a bee inside, and got stung on the ROOF of his mouth. Off to go find my children’s Benadryl so he can chug half the bottle.


Okay I’m back. It’s now day six. Took me two days to get back to writing. A lot’s happened…the biggest thing is we’ve moved the boat. We’re now at a totally different beach and canyon, re-invigorated by all the new stuff there is to explore. Giant rocks to climb, crystal clear deep water in a private little lagoon, and cave-like taverns of inlets to kayak through. We didn’t intend to move, but by the end of day five, we ran out of drinking water – and had to head back to the marina (about a three hour ride in) with the big boat… so we decided to camp out in a new place.

No one got dehydrated don’t worry. We have enough hard seltzer on board to hydrate the population of Utah.

The wind continues to show us who’s boss at night. It rips up about sunset and flings full length sundeck lounge chairs and heavy mattresses right into the water like it’s nothing. You know, Kaelin and Brandon warned us about the wind. But it’s not until you lose your bed that you quickly learn how to rope your linens in place. Sleeping on a wet mattress is no fun.

I think it was yesterday that we all hit our stride. Everyone now has nicknames. Kaelin is ponytail. I am Lampshade22. Lampshade because of my hat, and 22 just because. Who knows. There is one person here called Canyon Shitter because… well. Pretty sure you can figure that one out. When you put James and Kaelin in the same vicinity, the amount of shit talking is insane. It’s 100% pure entertainment watching the two of them banter back and forth. It’s like a sport. Our nicknames are going to be sealed tonight at the campfire, and then – there is no changing.

William is being stretched, I can tell. I found him in his bed last night – blankets covering his ears, slowing rocking back and forth. I think he was trying to drown out the wind and fireworks. He woke up today pretty tired. My mama heart feels like it’s ripping in two watching him cut his teeth on nature and learning how to face less than ideal circumstances and still thrive. The other part of me knows that he will go back to Connecticut and be so much more resilient. I’m really proud of how few meltdowns we’ve had.

Yesterday I stretched too. Literally. On a tube. On the back of Brandon’s boat. While I hung on for dear life screaming profanities at everyone laughing in the boat, as well as Yara who was next to me on the tube laughing at my wimpyness. I wouldn’t say it was fun being flung around on a tube going a million miles an hour – but I will say I’m glad I did it. For the photo. And even if all I learned is that I really don’t need speed in my life in order to have an adrenaline rush.

It’s so hard to explain how you bond with people when in the wilderness this long. When you see someone peeing off the side of the boat, you just walk on by as if it’s the most normal thing in the world. Because here…it is. So is waking up essentially next to 15 people. We’re all in one big bedroom called the second floor of the boat.

There are three more nights. Kaelin explained that we would hit our stride about halfway, which is partly why the trip is as long as it is. And she’s right. We have hit our stride here on the lake. We’re making memories that will last a lifetime.

To be continued… it appears there is a chainlink floatie parade led by a paddle board, swimming to shore for homemade tostadas, and I will not be last in line for dinner tonight.


Day seven. Last night around the fire, I had the distinct privilege of hearing one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. My sides hurt from laughing. The problem is I can’t share it on this post. There are too many things that must remain in the desert sands of Lake Powell.

William now has a calendar on the wall of his cabin to track the days. He kept asking me how many more sleeps, so I drew a calendar on a piece of paper and taped it to the wall with bandaids (cause I’m scrappy like that). He’s now announcing the date each morning.

Clearly he is just like his mom with her timezone addiction.

Tomorrow, we return to civilization.

There are hundreds more stories I haven’t had time to share. Stories of nature showing us who is boss… people getting stuck in canyons and needing a jetski rescue, me trying to swim unsuccessfully in the waves and wind and needing to be thrown a rope. Stuff that reminds you that we are small and God is big.

Stories about the first ever annual White Claw Pong Tournament.

Stories about firework blisters as big as your palm.

But mostly they are stories about how fast people bond when taken away from the outside world, and only have each other to be with. I’m so grateful I have the family, friends, and team to be able to experience this adventure.

*Important Notes*

All the really good photos are most definitely the work of Brian Burt, our resident photographer, drone flyer, and firework starter. Do not attempt a houseboat Lake Powell vacation unless you have the distinct privilege of hanging out with boss people who know what the hell they are doing.  Remember that whoever you go with, will learn your sleeping face, and most definitely, your peeing in the water face.

This post was written live, in real time – in the wild. It’s missing BIG huge chunks of the vacation for one reason…I was living it. <3

Latest Podcast Episodes

Where to Find Me

Digital Insiders for Life

Join my mastermind where you rub shoulders with talented business owners working to scale from $100k a year to a million. This intimate group is by application only, has a max of 100 people, and is the way to get 1:1 support from me. Would love to hear from you!

More Strategy, Please >
Funnel Gorgeous ®

Become a part of the Funnel Gorgeous movement to transform your funnels to beautiful, on-brand, profitable cash-flow machines even if you are not a designer, have been told that "ugly" converts, and have no idea where to begin. Say goodbye to ugly funnels forever!

More Gorgeous, Please >
Create Your Laptop Life ® Podcast

Inside each episode, you'll learn business & mindset growth tips, lifestyle hacks, & marketing strategies for growing an online business from scratch. Learn the art and science of launching new products, sales funnel creation, copywriting, branding, and more!

More Freedom, Please >