Friday Fun: Get Up,Get Moving!

When did the word “athlete” become a label? Or maybe its just always been and we had not taken a moment to notice.

What does it take to be considered an athlete? Running in a marathon?  Competing in the Olympics?    Winning a medal?

Maybe its none of the above. Maybe it is all.

In my opinion, anyone who gets out, is active AND especially has passion, can be  considered  an athlete.

People exercise for various reasons: weight loss, healthier lifestyle, feeling/looking better..
Whatever the reason, those people have a passion to be able to  succeed  in something they have set their mind too.

And guess what?!? Yes, some people  exercise just  for fun!

I recently started getting into workout regimes such as Insanity and P90x. These are the programs that everyone sees on infomercials and usually thinks “HAHAHA, yeah right, NO way!” And Guilty as Charged, I was one of those people.

Which brings me to my next and last point: The 2011 Metro Dash

A 30 element obstacle course that tests physical and mental limits.

Never have I ever ran a marathon, much less a  triathlon…and much less even thought about doing the MS150 (props to the fearless  Rodney)  so this will be something new, challenging, and fun!

Trying something new is scary, thoughts of failing can be even more daunting but in the end, accomplishment really is a warm, fuzzy feeling. You never know what you can do until you try. Don’t knock it ’till you try it!


What Would Warhol Do?

“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” – Andy Warhol, 1968

I attended a screening of Warhol on TV presented by Aurora Picture Show at the Menil Collection last Friday night. The film was a collection of excerpts of works created by and featuring Andy Warhol. The film was curated by the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA.

Andy Warhol’s obsession with celebrity and the lives of the rich in famous is well documented, and very evident in the film. What hit me was his fervent dedication to documenting his life and the world around him in photographs and video. Take this photo I took of a video of Andy being done up in drag.

In today’s pop culture, our obsession with the lives of the rich and famous is at an all time high. The entire Charlie Sheen saga has been a grim reminder of how much we thirst for a good celebrity train wreck. But a democratization of the velvet rope has occurred with the proliferation of camera phones. Whether it is the video of Cyndi Lauper singing Girl’s Just Wanna Have Fun in an airport terminal . . .

Or a little girl singing the new Lady GaGa single . . .


There are moments of Warholian fascination being born (this way) every day. It’s had me thinking about what Andy Warhol’s art would have looked like if he was armed with an iPhone. The glut of photography apps on the iPhone, particularly those dedicated to creating a vintage look to your photos, make your iPhone reminiscent of Warhol’s ubiquitous cameras. Here are a couple of my favorites

Instagram – FREE

Instagram is incredibly simple. Take a picture, apply a cool filter, share with other user and over your social networks. They recently added hashtag support allowing users to tag their photos, making them searchable. Instagram is great to get quick snaps of random things going on around you. The in-app feed is great for those moments when you want to just look at something interesting in the middle of the day. You can also like and comment on your friends photos. There is also a Popular button that takes you to a collection of the most liked photos taken by Instagram users.

Hipstamatic – $2.99 plus multiple $.99,  Hipstapaks (app currently on sale for $1.99)

I’ll warn you now, this app can lead to a serious obession. I LOVE Hipstamatic. While the app comes with a nice set of equipment up front, the real fun is adding the Hipstapaks, expanding your lens, film and camera options. I doubt I’ll ever learn how to use this app to its fullest potential, but I know it’s going to be fun trying. Another great feature of this app is the Hipstamart. You can upload photos from your phone into the Hipstamart, and order high quality prints! They come in a nifty little envelope that folds into a stand-up frame.

Hipstamatic just takes great photos. You can also share them in Instagram, doubling the AWESOME! One more thing, if you’re going to be using Hipstamatic, you might as well invest in SwankoLab as well. It’s like having an entire dark room in your pocket!

8mm Vintage Camera – $1.99

I haven’t been able to use 8mm as much as I would like. As you can probably imagine, it turns your iPhone into an 8mm camera. Like Hipstamatic, it comes with a small collection of lenses and films to experiment with. Turn your videos into home movies from yesteryear!

Fortunately, the bad fashion from the 70’s is not included.

With an iPhone and these apps, anyone can lead the life of Andy Warhol. And getting your 15 minutes of fame just got a bit easier. Happy content creating!

Chookooloonks visits Blue Willow Bookshop

Blue Willow Books Houston | Karen Walrond reading The Beauty of Different

Maybe that one thing about you that you can’t stand is your different.

To that, Karen Walrond (@Chookooloonks) would say, “Your different is your beautiful.”

Karen Walrond, author of The Beauty of Different dropped by Schipul client,  Blue Willow Books for an intimate reading and book signing. Karen shared with visitors her different (she was a sensitive child) and said it’s probably what made her able to write the book.

Chookoolonks reads from The Beauty of Different at Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston

The reading was like sharing a story with a good friend. It was share and share alike as visitors talked about their different, their experiences blogging and their journeys through photography. After the reading, Karen signed books with personal messages to each woman.

Karen signs copies of The Beauty of Different at Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston

The Blue Willow staff f gifted Karen with a pen before she climbed the ladder to leave her mark on the wall. She wrote: Your Different is Your Beautiful.

Karen Walrond leaves her mark on the Blue Willow wall

The Beauty of Different features photos and stories of everyday people and the unique things about them. Through their faces and revelations, perhaps readers will discover their own special qualities.

For more about The Beauty of Different check out Karen’s Blog.  Also, our very own happykatie is featured in the book and writes about being part of the experience on her blog.

Be sure to check out Blue Willow Bookshop on Facebook to learn about more events like this. Each event brings a new guest, a new book and new friends.

Youth is Wasted on the Young

Some facts about dear old dad

  • He came from Mexico the legitimate way
  • Found work
  • Raised a family
  • Became an entrepreneur
  • Has worked for himself for over 20 years
  • Paid off his home in 5 years
  • Currently in 0% personal debt

One of my many stories

When I was younger my dad would circle the property around his business every chance he had. If we went to the movies, the grocery store, to visit family or friends; he’d always find away to reroute our way home just to get a glimpse of his business. He did this a lot, to say the least.

When I was 6, I asked him; why are we always coming back here. You do this all the time and it takes forever to go home. He looked at me proud; as though he was glad I asked the question, but not fully prepared to benefit from the answer.

‘This is my business and if I don’t look after it, no one will.”

This message along with the many others helped shape my perception of this world.  At the age of 6, responsibilities were but a mere blip on my radar.  My father made sure to remedy this.

Everyone in this world is born into a debt of responsibility.  The sooner I learned this lesson the sooner life got a lot easier.  I love listening to my father and those that came before me.  [Don’t tell him I said that].

Somewhere between elementary and the graduating of college my father lectured me on his experiences with finances, relationships, time , and dreams.  My father makes bold statements about what I should do with my life.

Ironically it was not the bold statements that taught me anything.  It’s the stories he tells about his experiences.  The memories that he illustrates with such detail.  It’s easy to take  scenarios  that he builds so well and deduce my own lesson.

It’s  unfortunate  that many lessons are learned without the time to apply them.

My father has given me the ability to start from where he currently is in his life.  He’s given me time, which until now I thought was impossible to give.

When I was younger my father got me to do things by teaching me.  22 years later he’s still getting me to do things by inspiring me.

“Youth is wasted on the young” — George Bernard Shaw

I Shall Pass This Way but Once

The old saying goes:

I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

These words can be found in Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People (pg. 32), but they are not originally attributed to him. Similarly, that book is not the first place I have heard this virtue. I first heard those words from my father, and have heard them repeated here in the Schipul offices.

I don’t remember the circumstances of my first exposure to this virtuous statement, though I can only imagine it was one of the many times that I failed to appreciate an opportunity for kindness. My dad sat down with me and shared “I shall pass this way but once”. He went on to explain the broader meaning of the tale. It’s not about passing through a town or place or really anything specific. It’s about every moment, every interaction, every opportunity to do good. It’s not about buying gifts or planning celebrations. It’s all about the little ways you can show kindness, much like those Liberty Mutual commercials.

It’s easy to glamorize doing good things, to fantasize about writing huge checks or volunteering every weekend somewhere or even just planning special events for your family every night. But this message is about doing much less and achieving much more than those things. It’s the tiny, seemingly insignificant things that you can do to help someone else out that can matter so much more to them. You don’t have to spend money or give all your time, you just need to act in a good and kind nature.

But this is only the first half of the message. The latter portion is a bit more intimidating. As we grow older, we begin to recognize the missed opportunities of our past. I’m only 25 and I can count stacks of occasions, of moments, when I could have been better. As my father explained to me, life comes with thousands of opportunities, but you only get one shot at each one. I can’t go back in time and hold the elevator for the woman I can hear walking down the hallway. I can’t go back and offer to clean the dishes from a meal that I did not have to cook myself. Each opportunity presents itself only once, and we must seize each as an opportunity to show kindness.

Thanks Dad, for reminding me often that I shall pass this way but once.

Inspired by Looking Beyond the Window

Looking in Florence, ItalyI am a small town girl, who grew up in small town Texas. Really. CNN said it was the smallest typical small town in America for the Millennium 2000. It was a great place to grow up safely where the rest of the world didn’t set the pace. My mom chose it so she could care for my father in his later years of aging health care and not worry about their little girl when she couldn’t keep an eye on her every minute. It worked, I have some great memories even if I grew up rather quickly. But, it didn’t do much for my world view and experiences.

One of the greatest gifts of my Mom gave me was the encouragement to learn about other cultures and travel when possible. So much so, that it required faith and living out her dream. On the eve of a summer study abroad for Architecture in Italy, she was hospitalized for a heart attack. A phone call from my sister while I was packing interrupted the hundreds of little decisions about what to pack in only a backpack and carryon for 10 weeks. A long night, and several conversations later, and I was on a plane at her pleading. Mom never traveled across an ocean, but dreamed of it for her daughter. In all that was going on, she told me “Go! Learn about the world and have a better life that I dreamed of for you! Live out my dream for me.” It’s hard to argue with a 115 pound (when soaking wet), wiry, Texas born and bred Mom. And, her cardiologist promised to take good care of her.

What I learned on that first trip abroad was to experience everything different than in my world, appreciate the differences and similarities. I came back inspired by history, art, architecture, culture and the people that make all these things so vital. Umm… good red wine and cheese as well, but that is another post. I learned with historical significance what we do in this world, in this lifetime, affects those who will come after us and builds on the body of work for our humanity. Could I have learned these things without traveling abroad, yes. Would I be the same person, no. My mom somehow knew this more than I did. She knew I needed to experience people and living differently. I know my place in this world is here in Texas, but I also know in small ways, I am connected to a larger picture and have so much more to learn from others.

Mom did get released from the hospital and we shared great stories about my travels and many more trips and escapades. She lived vicariously until her heart couldn’t keep up with her spirit anymore. Her eyes shined with each story and photo and in retrospect, yes, Mom was right. Mom, Thank You for inspiring me to experience more about the world other than what is outside my living room window. Even when I had to leave your side under extreme circumstances, you inspired me to be a better neighbor to human culture.

Book Give-Away: Greater Than Yourself

Update: We Have a WINNER!

Happy Thanksgiving folks! I hope that you have a wonderful Holiday. Thanks to all the folks who shared their comments about being inspired.

Now onto the important FREE Book thing – we dropped the names in the magical internet hat at and  Jim Struck has won the Schipul Thanksgiving Book-Away! We will be sending over a copy of Greater Than Yourself: The Ultimate Lesson of True Leadership. Congrats Jim! We would love to hear your thoughts on the book once you get a chance to read it.

Thanx again everyone for sharing – now…   go eat some Turkey!


It’s November again in Schipul-land (well, it’s really November everywhere else too, but is makes for a good opener) … and we are once again focusing on thankfulness. This November we are celebrating the sources of our inspirations… those people, quote, movies, books, etc. that have influenced us, motivated us, inspired us to do bigger, better, awesomer things.

To celebrate our celebration of inspiration we have a super special giveaway!

While our blog posts are sharing those things that have helped us get farther down the road of life, we want to give away a copy of book that focuses on how we can all give to someone else’ to inspire them, help them grow, lift them up, guide them through the obstacles of the work place, or community space, or fill-in-the-blank space.

Greater Than Yourself
Greater Than Yourself

Greater Than Yourself: The Ultimate Lesson of True Leadership is a book devoted the idea that the goal of genuine leader is to help others. To help those around us become more capable, confident, and accomplished than we are. That’s right… a leader’s goal is help the people we lead to be Greater Than Ourselves.

‘Real leadership, in other words, is an extreme act rooted in love and motivated by a desire to create a better world’ whether it’s the world of your company, team, neighborhood, or family.”

Written using the now very popular allegorical form, Greater Than Yourself wraps the three tenets of Greater Than Yourself’ Expand Yourself, Give Yourself, and Replicate Yourself – inside a fictional narrative. We follow the main character on his journey towards understanding and embracing the ‘GTY” way of life.  The book is a short and sweet read… ending with a perfectly useful recap of the steps to the Greater Than Yourself philosophy. It strips out the entire story and gives you the guidance you need to embark on your ‘GTY” way of life. The book is also supported by a vast and active online community at

My favorite quote of all time, the one that keeps inspiring me over and over again is the Marianne Williamson quote stating, ‘as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” It will come as no surprise then that one of my favorite quotes from this book is right in line with this idea…

‘One tricky part of a Greater Than Yourself project is that you cannot truly give in a worthwhile way to those around you without accepting within yourself the qualities the program emphasizes. You must be willing to expand yourself, to give your abilities to another, to tap into the greatness inherent not only in you, but it those around you.”

So’ we want to inspire you! We want to inspire you to inspire others! We want to give you a copy of ‘Greater Than Yourself.”

How do you win this amazing book? Glad you asked:

  1. Leave a comment below’ who or what has been a source of inspiration in your life?
  2. That’s it!

We will pick a winner using the random integer generator on Wednesday, November 24th.

PS –Be sure to let us know a good way to contact you when you win!

Life’s too short to read bad books

If there is one thing that we Schipulites all have in common, it’s a love of reading. (I would also add cupcakes, LOL cats, and “that’s what she said” jokes, but some people hate joy.) We all have books around our desks, track our reading across multiple platforms, and have standing permission to grab a hot new business title from the local book store. In addition, we’re all pretty tenacious folks who hate to give up on something we start.   Some might even call it “stubborn”.

It’s those traits that can sometimes lead a person to be curled up on the couch, book in hand, slogging through a downright boring book. Oh sure, it’s not interesting and you’re not going to get much from it, but hey – you gotta finish, right? No one likes a quitter! And maybe it’ll turn around in the next chapter or so. If not, well, lesson learned. At least you get to move another one to the read pile.

That was me. Dragging my way though books that just weren’t doing it for me. That feeling of immense satisfaction gained from moving a book to the read stack was so motivating that even the worst books could hold down a spot on my nightstand. I couldn’t quit them. And often I was miserable for it. What was supposed to be a great way to relax and expand my thinking turned into a chore, a bother, and an obligation.

Fortunately I read a lot of blogs too, and one day stumbled upon a feature article over Nancy Pearl, author of Book Lust. In it, she shared her “50 page rule” – if the book doesn’t grab you in the first 50 pages, give it up and move on to the next one. It’s not defeat. It’s knowing what you like and not trying to force it.   I loved it. In just a few words I got the confirmation that it wasn’t just me; and permission to put down the bad books. At the time I had just come from struggling with Infinite Jest, the highly-confusing massive tome of a novel by David Foster Wallace. I was just starting with a new novel and already at page 20 I was finding it over-written and lacking in story. I thought of Nancy’s rule and vowed to give it the 30 pages more – and was rewarded with an unexpected page-turner.

Most recently, I picked up a historical look at the game of poker – a subject I am deeply interested in – and began reading on a plane. Even with my handy Nook nearby, full of a dozen or so others, I found myself again trying to force my way through some very dense material. It’s history, and it’s poker – I have to love it right? It’s going to get more interesting, I just know it. Upon my return home, I left the book on my nightstand, ready to be picked up the next evening. When the time came though, I found myself going for the remote instead. Didn’t want to read it, yet didn’t want to give up. And then I remembered Nancy, and her sage advice. Life’s too short. Maybe the book and I weren’t getting along right now, but it didn’t mean we were doomed forever. I could set it aside, grab another, and try again some other day.

So thanks Nancy Pearl, for your wise “50 page rule”. It’s saved me yet again from literary heartache.

Own It

Puppies!I’m a serial self-critic who recently transitioned from relaxed to natural hair.

I have an eye for detail.

I’m a chronic nail-biter and known smartass who loves rap music, dancing, video games, puppies and high heels.

Most days that’s an awesome, adorable combination!   (If I may say so myself.)

Other days (particularly bad hair days/laundry days/break-up days), it’s flat out obnoxious (or funny). And I know it.

So what’s a girl to do?!   Own it.


When it’s all said and done, we can only be ourselves. Sometimes we get it all right. Sometimes we get it all wrong. The important thing is to forgive yourself your shortcomings; then appreciate, sharpen and share your gifts.

And of course celebrate people who do the same.

Here are my Own It champions   (Shoutout to Facebook! Thx for the pics.)