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

Always Carry Your Camera in Your Purse…or Man Satchel

Anyone that knows me, will tell you  I like to tell stories – some make complete sense others are  borderline bizarre – but one thing I know for sure, they are best accompanied with a  photo. That being said, a lesson I am grateful to have learned  was to always carry your camera in your purse, pocket, fanny pack  and yes, even  that  beloved man satchel.

Because let’s be honest,  if you  don’t carry a camera with you at all times, how can you tell people…

How beautiful your mom is.

That you were there.

That your baby looks brilliant in a Trapper Hat.

That  your baby nephew will be the most stylish kid on the block.

How  you hugged a giant macaroni.

That you kissed a baby giraffe.

Or that you patted a dolphin on the head.

That you have been a human crayon.

That sometimes, you must forego your Cowboys gear for the one you love.

That it is not a joke how much your family loves miniature schnauzers.

And that you really do have the best friends in the world.

Special Delivery! A Corpse Flower for our Friends at CultureMap

I had the privilege this morning of dropping off a real live baby Corpse Flower to our friends at CultureMap as a congrats for their hilarious @CorpzFlowrLois Twitter account (which generated considerable buzz for the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s Corpse Flower Lois last month).

Raising a Corpse Flower is not an easy job – according to the HMNS blog, Corpse Flowers only bloom once they are 7 years old. Luckily, our fledgling came with instructions such as temperature, amount of sunlight, etc.

Congrats to the new proud parents!

More Corpse Flower delivery photos on Facebook

What is that?

Special Delivery!

Baby corpse flower, enjoying her new home.

Steven Thomson, Lois’s personal ghost writer with the new addition

PS – I’m adding Corpse Flower delivery to my resume under “special skills.”

Check out the delivery of the corpse flower!

7 Step Guide to Vacationing Gadgetless

When I think of all of my vacations, only one comes to mind’ the month I studied aboard in Costa Rica’ where the luxury of the latest technical gadget involved 2 cups held together by fishing line. While this may be an exaggeration, the fact that my Motorola Razor traveled well was nothing to balk at. Do you remember those things…thin little boogers weren’t they? Needless to say, it is obvious that I wasn’t a trend setter when it came to traveling ‘well-equipped.” I arrived in Quepos naked internet free, not knowing a single person in hopes that I could survive with little to no communication tools. While many speculated, I made it out alive and consequently wrote a 7 step guide to vacationing gadgetless:

1. Let the locals be your Facebook

The first step is getting to know the locals and in some cases, actually living with them. I resided in a beaten down house on the outskirts of Quepos with Mi Madre Mirna, and el perro Negro dejas de Club Banana…for those of you who do not speak broken Spanish, this means I lived behind a Club named Banana. I was able to expand my network by simply talking to everyone I ran into…Mirna’s neighbors, taxi drivers, the owner of Mango Bangos, surf instructor, cops, etc. It’s amazing the amount of free ceviche one will obtain by befriending Pepino the bartender.

2. Play games without a controller

If you follow step 1, you will find yourself being invited to participate in local activities that do not involve a computer screen.   Some games might include, Toothpicks…

Other games might involve putting a cup on the ground…any location will do, and grasping a quarter between your butt cheeks. The ultimate goal is to make the quarter in the cup, but be prepared, this game attracts many spectators.

Then there is everyone’s favorite…Spanish Twister…

3. Let the sun be your clock…watches are for cowards

Marinate if you will and imagine your days where the sunrise and the sunset are your alarm clock…that’s Tico time baby. I realize it’s difficult to comprehend, but you would be shocked at the amount of stress that is lifted when your life is not run by a clock.   So on your next vacation when someone asks why you left the Rolex at home, just smile and say, ‘Pura Vida!”

4. Do not wait on a Yelp review, try the food

Let’s be honest, sometimes it is just better if you don’t know.

5. Waving with purpose will alert taxi’s much quicker than a phone call

It is understandable that without a mobile device you will be experiencing text withdrawals, so I urge you to put that energy into waving down taxis. If you are confused, please revert back to step 1.

6. Use your internal Google Map

It is amazing the things you might find while aimlessly wondering about the area…

7. Put down the iPod and sing-a-long

There is nothing better than experiencing new music, especially if you are traveling outside of the country. Find opportunities to join in, even if it does involve holding a piece of wood while flicking a single string.

You do not have to try all 7 steps at once…I do not want to send anyone into culture shock. But try one every once in awhile, I promise it will make your vacation that much more fulfilling.

Happy Travels!

Creating Houston Chowhound Memories at Brennan’s

Celebrating Houston Chowhounds’ 2nd Anniversary

Amateur chefs, food writers, bloggers, enthusiasts and a selection of individuals with discerning palates, collectively known as the Houston Chowhounds (@HoustonCH), gathered at Brennan’s of   Houston for their second anniversary celebration.

The Houston Chowhounds seek the best places to eat in and around town, and in addition to Brennan’s decadent selection of menu items, it was a great opportunity for members of the group to visit the Houston staple since its reopening in February.

Always excited to connect with great Houston folks and a great client, Courtney (@cpembyrun) and I   got a chance to enjoy the Houston Chowhound’s anniversary brunch full of   yummy cuisine and great Houston foodies at Brennan’s Houston.

Brennan’s is Easy on the Eyes

Walking into the restaurant made me feel all genteel, and I think I ditched my rapid-fire Cindy Brady lispy chatter for a Blanche Deveraux drawl…with a rolling ‘R’ and everything…which I personally hate because that’s more Georgia than Texas/Louisiana.

The brunch was held in one of the beautiful upstairs dining rooms, (this one to be exact).

Brennan's of Houston restaurant dining room

Every aspect of the restaurant is charming to the eye. Once I entered the dining room, I was happily greeted by Houston Chowhound members Jody Stevens (@Jodycakes), Joanne Witt (@foodprincess) and mimosas. After a few minutes the room was brimming with victims other Houston Chowhounds, whom Courtney and I immediately attacked with the camera had a chance to ask a few questions about being a Chowhound and memorable Brennan’s experiences.

And Then There Was Food

The Brennan’s brunch menu for the event offered four choices of each the appetizer, entree and dessert. I started with the famous Turtle Soup Au Sherry while Courtney opted for the Barbecued Crawfish Shortcake. I promptly referred to her dish as “a biscuit thing with crawfish.” And while our table was   nearly an even split of the biscuit and the soup, we divided and conquered the second course menu selections.

I had the Lamb Debris & Sweet Potato Pancakes, which is braised lamb with blue cheese butter, chicory greens, a crispy poached egg and mint julep hollandaise served over soft, cinnamon-tasting pancakes. The pancakes were so moist and delicious no one at our table used the individual sides of maple syrup.

Conversation was at a minimal, though the meal was peppered with compliments about the sauce, praise of the aroma, and nods of approval on how appetizing the meals looked. No matter what item we selected, it was hard not to sneak a peek at surrounding plates. It was also hard to keep in mind a third course would soon arrive. Halfway through the pancakes I forced   myself to stop eating.

That’s also right around the time the band began playing breezy Dixieland tunes. This only helped transcend me to a faraway land some people like to call,   “New Orleans.”

Houston Chowhounds Grub and Give

Recipe 4 Success Houston non profit logoAfter the band, we took a few minutes discuss Chowhound matters like ideas for community involvement, fundraising and possible throwdowns. The Chowhounds are known for their throwdowns, which run the gamut from ceviche to bourbon to fried chicken. The group also works closely with Recipe for Success, a local non-profit dedicated to combating childhood obesity. Not to mention the group regularly participates in restaurant crawls, which support local eateries.

Talking was pretty much a lost cause once the scent of Bananas Foster, Texas Strawberry Shortcake, Brennan’s Pecan Pie and Creole Bread Pudding began wafting through the dining room. We had to snap photos of the food as quickly as possible.   It was a matter of seconds before forks hit the plates and desserts began disappearing. We weren’t exactly starving, but boy were we excited!

That’s the gist of the Houston Chowhounds though: excited! They are a lively bunch with interesting stories of world travel,   food adventures, friendships and memories. I couldn’t imagine a more charming place to hold a brunch for a such a charming group of people.

End of an era for a Schipulite!

So today is my last day at Schipul. After almost 6 years, leaving is NOT easy. Some of you will be asking why? I don’t have a good answer but mostly to have a little time with my baby girl and to see what’s next. I am not on a quest to find happiness. Happiness is having a my health, being married to a rock solid MAN, seeing a smile on my girl’s face, and spending the last 69 months of my life with a group of amazing people that have lifted me through a few dark times and escalated the happiest times.

Dear Schipulites’ I am so grateful for all the knowledge you talented, moving people have sent my way. You had made my 20’s unforgettable.  For so long, this has been my safe haven where I was not afraid to leap because I know you always had my back.  I have worked some of the best clients any company could ever have. Each and every person has touched my life in unimaginable ways.

I will never forget many deep conversations with @longstation, sharing an office with @deneyterrio (WOW, lol), and my Friday afternoon heart to heart chats with a STRONG and FEARLESS CEO.  Ed’ your efforts are amazing and I am honored to call Schipul my second family.

Enough already! You all know how amazing Schipulites are. I am excited about the future for you guys! I won’t be far.

Thank you 157,456,000 times for everything you have taught me.

Much love!


These have been the best days!

Drupal Rap – Thanks Dries & the Drupal community!

“Community is the difference between something that is boring… and something that is a phenomenon” – Dries Buytaert

The Schipul Drupal Rap Video, featuring AHughes and Qcait:

Around here, we are pretty passionate about Drupal – one of the platforms we use to build websites (including Web Entertainment Guide and Gulf Coast Balloons) – and what it can do for our clients. Last week I had the opportunity to see Dries Buytaert (creator of Drupal) at SXSW presenting on how Drupal is changing Content Management.

The biggest point I came away with was that when people talk about Drupal (and Open Source technology in general) they tend to focus on the fact that there are lots of people developing and improving the technology, but often leave out that these aren’t just any people. These are people who are extremely passionate – and that passion makes a difference. This passionate community is the X factor in open source that pushes innovation – and often gets overlooked.

“I never meant for it to be so big – it’s the people who made it” – Dries Buytaert

As part of the presentation, Dries showed off things the community has created for fun because they are passionate about Drupal: Drupal Easter eggs, Drupal stress balls, Drupal cupcakes, even a Drupal tattoo.

Our Drupal rap video is something we did for fun because we’re passionate about Drupal. So, I sent it to Dries.   And he posted it on his site! Then he tweeted about it. Then @Drupal tweeted about it. Now we’re closing in on 1,200 views. We’re thrilled that so many people thought our video was worth sharing!!

I wanted to post this to give a   huge THANKS to Dries and the Drupal community for sharing the video! We had a blast making it and we’re looking forward to many more!

Storytelling and How 3 Cups of Tea can Change the World

Imagine if world peace could be accomplished for pennies.

You know those little copper disks that we leave laying on the ground cause they’re worth so little.

No more bombs, no more causalities, no more terror – peace, for pennies.

That’s just what Nobel Peace Prize nominee and The New York Times best-selling author Greg Mortenson thinks is possible… and he has been focused on just that for the last 16 years.

The son of educators himself, his devotion to building schools began in 1993. After failing to mount K2, the world’s second highest mountain’ an adventure undertaken to honor his youngest sister, who died of cerebral epilepsy’ he lost his way and stumbled into a small, remote village in Pakistan, where people took him in, nursing him back to health. Out of gratitude, he pledged to return and build a school… read more>>

And return to build a school is just what he did… and has done 131 times over. Build schools for children in Pakistan and Afghanistan to say thank you to those generous, open-hearted, people who took him into their homes and nursed him back to health.

Mortenson has shared that,

‘In my own observation, educated women tend to refuse to allow their sons to join terrorism groups, he says, adding that about 30 of the 1,100 teachers he knows in Afghanistan are former Taliban sympathizers, who explained to him that they defected after their mothers told them it was “disgraceful.”

I had the joy of getting to attend a luncheon where Dr. Greg (as the people of Korphe nick-named him) spoke about his experiences helping to build schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan. What I took away most were not the staggering statistics or the pleas for policy change – what stayed with me, haunted me, inspired me to share with friends and family and co-worker and anyone who would listen were the stories of the people Mortenson has connected with along his journey.

Here at Schipul we are very focused on the art and power of storytelling. We help our clients craft and share their stories and we have a culture of supporting our fellow Schipulites in telling their own personal stories.

In Half the Sky Nicholad D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn write,

Frankly, we hesitate to pile on the data, since even when numbers are persuasive, they are not galvanizing. A growing collection of psychological studies show that statistics have a dulling effect, while it is individual stories that move people to act.

I for one can attest to the power of storytelling, based on my experience at the ‘3 Cups of Tea” luncheon. One week has passed since the luncheon and what I remember most is that 1 dollar will fund a child’s education for an entire month and the story below…

Mortenson had a meeting with shura (a council of elders) in Oruzgan province in volatile, southern Afghanistan. He wanted to build a girl’s high school in this Taliban controlled part of the country and these men’s approval was the key. The shura asked to visit one of the Central Asia Institutes (CAI) schools. Mortenson shared that these very powerful men arrived with long black beards, black turbans, machine guns and belts of grenades. What these men noticed was the playground at the school and for an hour and a half these men, these fierce powerful ruling men, laid down their weapons and with turbans flying played on the swing set. Mortenson let them have their fun and when it came time to settle into the business of the visit the shura said there was no need to meet – they were satisfied. They would give him the land, the supplies, the labor he needed – he would have his high school.

What Mortenson realized was that for these men, raised in a country at war… from the moment they could walk they were taught to fight. These men, these fierce, armed, powerful men had never been allowed to be children. They had never played – and what they wanted for their children was a school where they could swing and play and learn.

If this story moves you and you want to know more about Mortenson and the Central Asia Institutes work building schools check out: