Guys and Meditation: A Gym Membership for the Mind

Guys and Meditation: A Gym Membership for the Mind

Recently, I have noticed just how many of my guy friends are into meditation. Just this week, at the gym, there was Nick Morgenstern meditating in the hallway after his swim. I asked him about it and he told me that he has been a practitioner for years as a way to stay calm and not get overwhelmed by the stress of running his restaurants.

My friend David Rosenberg, from VaynerMedia, is a more recent devotee, having gotten into it over the last year. His company is also very meditation-friendly from what I’ve seen. Like Nick, he was drawn to it as a way to deal with an incredibly stressful, fast-paced job. He meditates twice a day (20 minutes per) and feels it gives him the equivalent of an extra 3 hours of sleep. Other physiological benefits include processing things faster, having more empathy and being more fully present at all times.

Read on below for more on the phenomenal growth of meditation and some of its high-profile practitioners from Novak Djokovic (tennis player) to Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.

Also below, highlights from my interview with Ben Turshen, David Rosenberg’s meditation teacher (and a former, stressed-out corporate lawyer!!).

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AT HOME With: Jimmy Wright, Artist and LES Pioneer

AT HOME With: Jimmy Wright, Artist and LES Pioneer

This is a new series of posts I’ll be doing featuring inspiring homes. Jimmy Wright, my friend and neighbor for over 25 years is kicking it off for us.

Jimmy was an original pioneer in our grungy Lower East Side neighborhood. His house, in the alley, was a marble factory at the time he purchased it but the building was originally built to stable horses all the way up on the 2nd and 3rd floors.

Renovating the building took Jimmy and his partner years to complete but they created one of the all time great live/work spaces downtown. And, they did find enough leftover marble and tiles to make for an amazing dining room table, bathroom counter tops, hallway flooring, and kitchen backsplash.

Everything about this house is inspiring – from the studio, to the library, to the plywood flooring that he painted tromp l’oeil style, to his collections of vintage toy trucks, and the many art works (both his and others).

Jimmy is represented by DC Moore Gallery. He’s also the President of the Pastel Society of America.

See photos below.

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This Is What 67 Looks Like

This Is What 67 Looks Like

Today I am doing something incredibly brave (for me) – admitting my age – for the very first time ever!

I’m doing it because I’ve been trying to figure out what I can uniquely offer through my blog that comes directly from my life experiences. I want to use everything I’ve learned thus far to inspire, and provide guidelines, for people from their mid-30’s on.

Having a fabulously interesting life at 60 doesn’t just happen – you have to work at it – and from what I’ve seen, the first steps have to be taken when you are in your mid-30s.

Two things particularly inspired today’s blog post:

1. I see many people in their late 40’s/50’s floundering and stumped about what is next for them. They change jobs or get laid off and suddenly, instead of being prepared for their next act, they’ve got nothing. They dig in and become even more entrenched in the old. Their reluctance to admit just how quickly and how profoundly EVERYTHING is changing makes it even more difficult to come to grips with the fact that what they’ve excelled at in the past is largely irrelevant today.

The topic of how you stay relevant is crucial to how I select topics for the blog. I’m not just writing about fintech or museum shows or restaurants or millennials because I feel like it. I’m writing about them, because these are the topics and trends that are all-important for staying ahead of the curve and developing a modern mindset. Life is so much more interesting when you put yourself in constant learning/discovery mode. And being up-to-date on these topics makes you more interesting to potential employers and also makes it much easier to strike up conversations – whether it’s with 20 year olds or 50-year olds.

2. My life has gotten so much more interesting and fun as I’ve gotten older. The exact opposite of what you imagine when you’re younger!!  And that didn’t happen by chance. It’s something I’ve mulled over and planned since I was in my 30s. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that how you live your life at age 35, will set the tone for how you will be living it in your 60s.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Be pro-active about embracing change and learning new skills
  • Remain humble about what you don’t know – and be willing, and grateful, to learn from people much younger than you
  • Adopt an “always-be-learning” mindset
  • Add a diverse range of people (ages, skills, backgrounds) to your network. Nothing more boring than being with all the same people as you all the time.
  • Be fiscally conservative when you’re young so you can be flamboyantly extravagant when you’re older!!

Finally, I must share what I consider my crowning achievement, which is the creation of this ever-evolving lifestyle and career.

What makes this achievement particularly impressive to me, is that there is not one single thing in my background – not money, not education, not connections – that would have suggested that I could end up in New York City living this astonishing life, doing work I love with people I find amazing. And it’s all come from a driving force to stay relevant, evolving my skill set, and continuously adding terrific people – who I can learn from, as well as have fun with – to my network.

So that’s all I’ve got for you today: But I do promise you that if you follow some of these tips, you will find your BEST years are yet to come.

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The Top 5 Things To Do In Savannah

The Top 5 Things To Do In Savannah

Savannah is an extremely beautiful, historic city. It’s also known as America’s first planned city with lots of parks and squares (22 survive to this day). And because of SCAD, it has a young, creative vibe.

I visited for 4 days/3 nights and was the guest of two longtime Savannahians so my experience was definitely more “insider” than tourist. I also appreciated getting a local’s perspective on the who, what and where of the city. Alice and Bob seemingly know everyone so I met lots of fascinating people – including one of Savannah’s major style icons, Ann Lytle (see pic below).

Here are my top recommendations for a weekend visit to Savannah:

1. Explore The City On Foot

It’s a small, easily navigable town with lots of charming old buildings. I especially love the variety of ironwork balconies and the downspout fountains that are shaped like fish or dolphins (see pic below).

Make sure you stop by some of the major squares and parks e.g. Forsyth Park. There are also lots of small restaurants and bars with outdoor seating. And you MUST stop by Leopold’s Ice Cream Parlor – it’s 100 years old and popular with both locals and visitors – and they make rosewater ice cream! Other restaurants worth dropping in on as you explore: The Public Kitchen & Bar, Soho South Cafe, The Grey, The Collins Quarter.

See below for more pics of Savannah and additional tips.

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HEALTH UPDATE: Top of the List for Boomers, Reverse Aging!

HEALTH UPDATE: Top of the List for Boomers, Reverse Aging!

EVERYTHING on my personal health radar has to do with maintaining peak fitness for my age. That said, getting older is definitely not for sissies as my body reminds me daily.

And since Boomers are apparently healthier than Gen Xers (see #7 below), here’s my best advice for my younger friends:

  • Never let your weight get out of hand (treat it like a life and death situation, because it is!) Every single aspect of my health has been dictated by my weight.
  • Do something physical for at least 1 hour DAILY – workout/walk/ ride a bike/ take the stairs
  • Keep your mind sharp: read books, learn new skills, seek out new and interesting people to add to your network.

Here are the 9 most important health trends I am currently tracking:

1. America is getting older and heavier

  • 2 out of 3 Americans are either overweight or obese (Source: CDC)
  • 1 in 3 obese people suffer from arthritis
  • Obesity causes excess fat in the body which releases inflammatory chemicals that may play a role in arthritis flare-ups.
  • Osteoporosis is a major public health concern for 44 million Americans aged 50 and older.
  • The orthopedic industry is booming!

 

2. Active Lifestyles Counter Aging

  • Women who don’t exercise and who spend too much time sitting, are biologically eight years older than their counterparts who are more fitness-oriented!!!
  • Physical activity should continue to be part of our daily lives as we get older, even at 80 years old.
  • Exercise has been found to keep the cells “younger.”

 

3. The flu and pneumonia are the biggest infectious disease killers today

  • Get your flu shots people – even though this year, only 48% effective!!
  • A recent study of 100 years of infectious disease deaths shows that only pneumonia and the flu are still dominant– and responsible for nearly 40% of all deaths from infectious diseases today.

Read on below for more health trends. I am especially psyched about FORWARD, the new tech-forward doctors’ office concept created by Google and Uber alums based on their first-hand medical experiences.

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Losing Weight and Feeling So Good. How did I do it?

Losing Weight and Feeling So Good. How did I do it?

This is a miracle. It is February 5th and I have survived the holidays without putting on a pound. As a matter of fact, I have LOST 6 pounds over the last 6 months (a big miss compared to my lofty goal of shedding 5lbs a month!!). In August when I wrote about my horrific weight gain, I knew it would be hard to lose weight because my social life consists almost entirely of eating out and catching up with friends over cocktails and wine. But once I lost 5lbs and managed to keep it off for a few months, I knew I had passed a milestone of sorts.

Also, for me, 5lbs is noticeable. I feel much better, my blood pressure is down significantly, and my arthritis is definitely under control. I look better and my clothes fit better. The pictures above are from the last few months. I will do a better job of documenting the weight loss between now and the summer.

How did I do it?

For the first few months, my weight loss teetered around 2-3lbs – sometimes up, sometimes down. It was not very inspiring to see no progress. But once I started to get diligent about what I ate things improved.

Here are ten rules that are working for me:

  • No eating after 10pm. I literally tell myself “you could have these chips or candy but tomorrow morning, you will feel so disgusted with yourself when you step on the scale.” That works 75% of the time and now that I see the weight loss, I am even more inspired to do the right thing and not get derailed by unhealthy snacks.
  • Count the calories. I use the Lose It app and am diligent about adding every last morsel of food or sip of wine. My goal is to not go over 2500 Calories when I go out. And I am trying to stay home 2 days a week so that I can stick to 1500 calories twice a week.
  • No snack foods. This is easier when Brad is away because then I simply do not buy any. Now that he’s back and the cupboards are once again stocked with crackers and cookies and chips, I have to show more self-restraint.
  • Buffet table willpower. The 3 days that I work at Ludlow House each week, I have to show remarkable self-control. I always get a large piece of salmon and fill up the plate with greens. And I have gotten good at telling myself that although I’m spending $18 for lunch, I don’t want to give in to all-you-can-eat piggery because when I step on the scale, I will be very very unhappy with that decision.
  • Dial down the drinking by one or two glasses of wine when socializing.
  • No drinking when attending large parties.
  • No salt – very bad for my blood pressure
  • Avoid cheese and salami – caloric and bad for my blood pressure. This requires ridiculous amounts of will power. While I am writing this post, I am literally 15 ft from the buffet table but have not touched the cheeses or salamis.
  • Work out every day. Additionally have signed up with a trainer once a week to strengthen my core. My third week of working with him and I am definitely feeling – and seeing – the difference. Also, I walk everywhere and take Citibike instead of subway or taxis.
  • Don’t sabotage yourself. I often find that once I hit a new plateau of weight loss, I will do something really stupid like eat a pint of ice cream that I know will make stepping on the scale a disaster. What often works is telling myself how much better I will feel/look in the morning if I forego this craving now.  It has worked often enough that I am routinely overcoming the desire to binge eat at night.

I will do another health update in May before I head off on my next big trip. But so far, so good.

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NYC absolutely reeks of pot these days. What is going on?

NYC absolutely reeks of pot these days. What is going on?

I know it’s legal in a lot of places but not in NYC, although you’d never know it. Our “pothead” mayor has clearly given strict orders not to make weed (buying, selling or using) any kind of a crime! Heck, even cops in his security detail have been found stoned on duty.

Besides the gross skunky smell, I don’t get how everyone is OK with the loss of productivity and most especially with driving while high. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked by some huge delivery truck parked at a light and the driver is smoking a joint. If the streets reeked of alcohol the way they do of pot, I don’t think people would be so blase about it.

Read on below for more examples of how pot is taking over NYC – and the country! The number of daily pot smokers in the U.S. has doubled over the last 12 years – great for the cannabis industry, not so great for those of us who can’t stand the smell and everything else that goes with it.

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TRAVEL TRENDS: The More Exotic, The Better

TRAVEL TRENDS: The More Exotic, The Better

Paid the final installment for my next Nat Geo Around The World Trip (Northern Route). Especially excited about Mongolia and the Nordic countries. And can’t wait to see Mongolian kids riding their reindeers – see video below. NatGeo, you MUST make this happen!!

But with my June trip paid up and ready to go, I need to start thinking about where to next. And thanks to Bloomberg, I discovered two intriguing destinations – one is totally do-able, one requires a little more boldness on my part. Read on below the video.

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