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Kids and Dogs are Truly Awesome Together!

April 14th, 2014

Having grown up with a dog most of my life, I know firsthand how much fun it is to have a pet. Take a quick moment and share these cute pictures.

They’re all great but my two favorites are the bunny ears picture and the one with the little girl listening to the dog’s heart! Hysterical!

How Do You Use Your Travel Reward Program Points?

April 11th, 2014

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a few friends and they mentioned that they were saving their airline mileage points for a family trip. They were a little short on points at the time, but they knew that within a few months they would have enough to take the entire family on a trip.

This got me thinking about the different ways that I tend to use my points.

My strategies may be a little different than most people’s. First, I try to use my airline points to buy flights if the flight is over $500. I must admit, rarely am I able to use the 25,000 point option, usually I end up in the 50,000 point option for the flights I need. I also try to go to a lot of sporting events, occasionally on short notice; I like to use my points for those types of trips if I can. Additionally, I give away points to my family and friends so they can enjoy some travel as well. As most of you know, I love the Marriott brands and I do save my points for family vacations. I enjoy taking my kids on vacation and they love staying in beach resorts so I like to use points to upgrade if I have the opportunity to do so.

  • When do you like to use your airline points?
  • Do you save up for something special or do you use them as you go?
  • Have you ever gifted your points?
  • Do you have any practices that you use to accumulate points quicker?

    I look forward to reading your comments.

Salt? As a Dental Tool?

April 9th, 2014

Last month, I had my teeth cleaned. Before we started that fun process the hygienist had to take X-rays (6 to be exact). She tried a number of times with the same outcome: For whatever reason, I physically couldn’t do it, something about the process was making me gag. I can’t recall ever having this issue before but on that day, I couldn’t overcome it. She decided to clean my teeth and try the X-rays after she was finished.

At the end of the cleaning, she called in reinforcements (presumably to pin me down and get me to be more cooperative). Another hygienist came in and said that she was going to try something that’s a little different but always successful in solving the problem. She actually took a packet of salt and put a little of it on my tongue. Apparently doing this tricks a number of your senses to detect taste and draws attention away from the other heightened senses, which solves the X-ray problem! I must admit I wasn’t sure if it would work but, low and behold, she was 100% right. She got the X-rays and I was out of there (thankfully) a minute later!

  • Have you ever heard about this salt trick?
  • Do you have trouble with X-rays at the dentist?
  • Does your hygienist help to make them easier for you?

    I look forward to reading your comments.

Hello, Spring!…Goodbye, Snow!

April 7th, 2014

I wish I were this creative! Now that Spring has officially arrived, can we officially say “Goodbye” to the snow?!

Which one of these do you think is the most creative?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Attention Sports Fans and Foodies…Are You Ready For This Challenge?!

April 4th, 2014

When I was a kid, I would plan what I was going to eat long before I got to Fenway park. If I did that now, I would probably have to save up a fortune…and fast for three days before I walked into the stadium.

For fans visiting the Tampa Bay Rays this year, there is a special challenge they have for you. The winner doesn’t get a trophy or money…but rather high fives from friends and strangers as well as a T-shirt and two tickets to a future Rays game.

The challenge is: Eat a 4 lb burger with a 1 lb side of fries. They’re calling this challenge “FAN VS. FOOD” (named after the TV show, “Man vs. Food”)
The meal is $30 and I am sure it’s worth hours of stories that you can share with your friends!

  • Are you in?! Will you accept the “Fan vs. Food” challenge?
  • How much of that food do you think you could eat?
  • Do you know anyone who could actually finish this meal?
  • Do you know of any other stadiums that have similar challenges?

    I look forward to reading your comments.

How Do You Rise After You Have Fallen?

April 2nd, 2014

Some say: “A person is defined on how they rise after they have fallen”. Today’s post is about describing how you have overcome a failure; how you prevailed over something you weren’t able to achieve initially. Overcoming challenges is difficult; How did you do it? Did you change your thinking? Your strategy? What did you adjust that ultimately led you to accomplish your goal?

So I ask: WHEN DID YOU RISE AFTER A FALL?

  • Please describe the situation
  • What did you adjust after failing that led to your success?
  • How would you describe the feeling you had after achieving your goal?

    I look forward to reading your comments.

Hey Merrill, What’s a Wanu?!

March 31st, 2014

A few times a year, I come up with a good idea. Last month was one of those times. While on vacation with my kids in Key Largo, FL, I decided to surprise them with a morning swim. Most of you are thinking, “So what? That’s no surprise!”…and you’re right; but what if I told you that the swim included a 153 pound sea lion named Wanu?! Now, THAT’S a surprise.

What an amazing time we had. Nicole, the trainer, couldn’t have been nicer or more informative. The kids loved it (Although my daughter was a little scared and had to come out of the water for a little while) and they learned a lot about the sea lion, its body and how smart the species is!

I highly recommend doing this if you are in the area. They do the swim twice a day and typically only take two people per session…but if you plead a little, they might stretch it to four people like they did for us.

For Me, It’s All About Names!

March 28th, 2014

Over an 8 hour period of time, I met Corey serving food at the beach restaurant, Nicole training the sea lions, Luiz who checked us in at the hotel, and Adam at the local restaurant. All strangers whose names I remembered.

That night, my son, who tends to be very inquisitive, asked me an interesting question. He said, “Dad, why do you call everyone by their first name? I noticed you always do this and that lots of people don’t do that”. My first response was “Thanks for noticing and asking” (His observance, in my mind, is two good signs from someone I am trying to help navigate thru life.) My next few comments were the explanation of why I do that:

  • It’s a sign of respect
  • Most people like to be called by their first name, it’s a feel-good for many people

    Those reasons are very important…but there is a another reason, a bonus as to why I call people by their first names, which is: Because I have been in sales for so long, I tend to go to meetings and meet lots of new people very often. By calling everyone I meet by their first name, it helps me remember names of prospects/clients. This a strategy that I have been using for decades!

    So, one of my secrets is out of the bag!

    • Do you tend to call servers, retail, hotel staff etc…by their first name?
    • Do you ever find yourself sitting in a meeting with six people but can only remember the names of three of them?
    • Do you have any helpful hints or strategies to share related to remembering people’s names?

      I look forward to reading your comments.

Wouldn’t It Be Great If Every Place Were Like This?

March 26th, 2014

A few weeks ago, I was on vacation with my kids in Key Largo. As we were going back and forth between the pool and beach I noticed a cute tiki hut. As I was looking at some merchandise, I noticed there wasn’t a staff member manning the hut. I needed to buy some sun tan lotion and noticed the sign below which basically said that the “Birdman” was away and just to take what you needed and leave your money or room number in an envelope.

What a great concept – the honor system!

When I think of the honor system, I can only think of USA Today and the concierge lounges at hotels as using something like the honor system. I struggle to think of others who use this system!

  • What do you think of this concept that “Birdman” has been using
  • Do you think “Birdman” sells more or less items with this strategy?
  • If you had to guess, do you think he has many dishonorable customers?

    I look forward to reading your comments.

Can We Please Stop With The Impossible-To-Remove Price Tags?

March 24th, 2014

Here is a business idea: Can’t someone create a retail price sticker that is easily removable? I understand that retail stores probably don’t want to make it terribly easy to remove the stickers so people can’t switch price tags in the store…but seriously some of these stickers are impossible to get off! Recently I purchased some items from Pier One Imports and the stickers must have been made out of the strongest adhesive that I have ever encountered…almost broke a nail or two, they wouldn’t come off with Windex and when all else failed: I put them in the dishwasher and the dishwasher BARELY won that battle!

So I ask you:

  • Have you had a similar experience with retail price stickers?
  • Do you have any secrets on removing them?
  • Should we all join together and start a company called “Magic Stickers: Remove at Home With Ease”

    I look forward to reading your comments.