Many people feel that we are currently in the golden age of board games. With funding platforms such as Kickstarter, a fresh board game idea only needs a few hundred backers before becoming a reality. With this large influx of new games, which ones should you be playing? Here is a list of some of our favorite board games: Read More
What job does your watch do for you?
I have four watches and each one says something slightly different about me. At one time I had five. About a year and a half ago I wrote a blog post about the Apple Watch. I actually sold my Apple Watch to a family member a few months ago. I stand by all the benefits I laid out in my original post but I don’t think I really understood the downsides of a smartwatch at the time. The biggest issue is that the watch was on me at all times because I wanted to use it as a fitness tracker. This meant that I was tempted to use it for at least a few notifications. But even with the sound turned off (eventually vibration too) and notifications turned to a minimum few, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the watch was wearing me instead of the other way around. Sometimes this meant anticipating the hourly “stand up!” exhortations– other times it meant meaninglessly scrolling through watch apps or looking at the stock ticker on the face.
For my attention’s sake I got rid of it. Many of us are faced with this dilemma daily, especially those who do deep work (Cal Newport’s term for effortful, creative work that requires concentration).
But I didn’t get rid of my other watches. In fact, I found myself wearing them more often, after going for a few months with just my phone for telling time. That didn’t last long. The temptation when you pull out your phone to look at the time is to swipe and look at the other things going on in there. Not the kind of behavior I wanted to turn into a habit.
The watches that I do have are functional and I’ve had two of them for a long time. Many people associate the word functional with “utilitarian” or even “ugly.” That’s definitely not the case with these watches. Read on to find out more about the functional watches I have and my watch wearing philosophy.
Denzel: Best Actor Ever.
Denzel Washington is one of our favorite actors, if not our absolute favorite. When you view his career one thing stands out: the consistent, forceful performances. Denzel rarely, if ever, “phones it in.” Its as if he’s incapable of being lackluster. Add to that his flexibility: he’s played flawed heroes (Man on Fire, Manchurian Candidate, Flight), more “pure” heroes (Remember the Titans, Book of Eli, Glory, Equalizer), villains (Training Day, American Gangster), historical figures (Malcolm X, The Hurricane) and very much “human” roles (John Q, Taking of Pelham 123, He Got Game). In fact, he’s been nominated for an Academy Award eight times, including two wins for his performance in Glory (best supporting actor) and in Training Day (best actor). If you’re bored on a Friday night, you could do much worse than find a good Denzel flick to stream. Peter and I have been talking about doing a Denzel Marathon for a while, which would include back-to-back-to-back-to-back viewings of our favorite Denzel flicks. Here’s all of our favorite Denzel movies, in order based on release (it is honestly too hard to decide which one is better than another, so we decided to go with chronological order).
Over the years, I’ve experimented with various types of breakfasts, hoping to find the sweet spot between something that tastes good, is easy to make, and gives me the nutrients and energy to start my day off right. In this post, I’ll be sharing my “go-to” breakfast that I eat at least 4-5 times a week.
The Ultimate English Muffin
The centerpiece of my breakfast is the English muffin. My preferred brand of choice is Vermont Bread Company’s Organic & Natural English Muffins. I’ve tried all the different varieties (Whole Wheat, Golden White, Honey Wheat, Multigrain, etc.) and my hands-down favorite is Spelt. Spelt is species of wheat that’s been around for a long time and known for being an excellent source of protein and dietary fiber. Its taste is not as distinctive as whole wheat, so it becomes a nice canvas for whatever I put on top.
I ran my first half marathon last year. Before last year, I had never run a race longer than 3.1 miles. I put in a good four months of training and even hired a running coach to guide me. I was very proud and loved the experience. But one thing I didn’t like was the pain I endured in my feet and ankles towards the end of my training. I had a nagging pain right under my right big toe that wouldn’t go away and after some 5+ mile runs, my ankles would always be very sore. During my training last year, the pain became unbearable at certain points that I had to take a week off before I could start again.
This time around, I resolved to approach training in a smarter way. I did some research on injury prevention and came across a fantastic book by Crossfit San Francisco founder and physiotherapist Kelly Starrett. It’s called Ready to Run and I can’t emphasize how impactful this book has been for me. In many ways, it’s not only helped me to become a better runner, it’s helped me to rethink the way I move and live my life everyday.
Tea Season is Here
One of my favorite parts of autumn and winter is that it’s tea-drinking season. During the warmer months of summer, I rarely crave any warm drinks (except coffee), but the moment it dips below 50 degrees, I’m all about the tea.
One of my favorite teas is Rishi Turmeric Ginger. It’s got a yellowish tint with an herbal, spicy flavor and makes for a great nighttime drink since it’s caffeine-free.
These are the ingredients:
- organic ginger root
- organic turmeric root
- organic licorice root
- organic lemongrass
- organic orange peel
- organic lemon peel
- essential orange and lemon oils
I typically get about 2-3 steeps out of a bag before the flavor runs out, and since it’s caffeine-free, I don’t mind refilling my mug with hot water over and over again.
Getting Started With Starter
About a year ago, my friends and I began working on a new company called Grove Ave (fair warning, this is a bit of a cross-promotional post). The other two guys who regularly write for BuysWithFriends, Andy and Pete, are also working on Grove Ave. We put out a free e-book that helps people become more productive and we have a second e-book on the way. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that we really value our time and our freedom, both of which greatly inform whatever purchases we make. So, we began to think about the following question: what kind of product could we come up with that would help people save time every day? It took close to a year to formulate but we finally did it: we created Grove Ave Starter, a combination energy and immunity booster. I took it for a month and now I’m ready to talk about it. How did it go?
We have two really cute cats, Percy and Portia. Unfortunately, I’m mildly allergic to them (although I’m dangerously allergic to trees and grass, a problem I developed after my first Iraq deployment… something about the trees at Fort Bragg). My doctor told me to get rid of the cats, but they’re definitely part of the family and there’s no way I could ever give them up.
So I decided to place several more portable air filters in the house, increase the filtration in our A/C system, start immunotherapy for all of my allergies, and buy a serious vacuum to help reduce the amount of cat dander floating around. We’ve had some not-very-effective vacuums before, even from well-known brands like Daredevil, so I wanted to do my homework and avoid repeating those experiences. How did my vacuum search go?
NOTE: this is a special guest post from friend of BwF Tom Hickey. Tom recently bought a DJI Phantom 4 and wanted to let everyone know about his experience with this really cool drone. If you’re interested in guest posting, shoot us an email @ buyswithfriends-at-gmail.com
My Journey to Getting a Phantom 4
By: Tom Hickey
My friend and avid outdoor adventurer Supriya told me I should get a drone. I told her it was ridiculously expensive. My wife told me that drones were exciting and that we should get one. I told her we didn’t need one- no one needs a drone. Apparently both these people know me better than I know myself because I ended up buying a Phantom 4 from DJI. How did my experience go? Read on to find out!
Reviewing the Amazon Tap: Another Piece of Amazon Hardware
Amazon continues to build out its surprisingly successful hardware line. From with the Amazon Echo, which we previously reviewed, to the very successful (to the point of selling out) Amazon Echo Dot (which I wasn’t able to get in time), Amazon recently produced their own UE Boom– inspired speaker, the Amazon Tap. Regular readers know I really like the convenience of having speakers in conveniently placed areas around the house. The Tap basically replicates the Echo’s abilities in a package that you can literally take with you. So I took the plunge for the speaker (it seemed a bit expensive at its regular price of $129) when the price dropped down to $69 ($50 Prime Day deal and $10 off any item you order off of Echo). All it took was saying to Alexa: “Alexa, order an Amazon Tap” and two days later it was in my hands! So how did my two month road test go? Was it worth it?