Saturday, January 31, 2015

Getting your creativity back

From the moment we wake up until the moment we go to sleep, we are surrounded by distractions.  With the invention of smart phones, data plans, mobile apps and social media, it’s hard to be bored.  Think about this statement: when was the last time you felt bored? 

If you have a smart phone and Internet access, my guess would be that you have not experienced boredom in a very long time.  As soon as there is a moment of downtime, I pull out my iPhone and wake it up.  I check my email, I check my Facebook, I check how the stock market is doing, I send off a few text messages, and then read the news (not necessarily in this order). 

I know I’m not alone in looking at my phone to alleviate my boredom.  Seems like nearly everyone around me with a smartphone is addicted. Everyone around me is looking at his or her phone in line at the grocery store.  At a traffic light: the driver in the car next to mine is text messaging.  On the subway or bus: it’s completely quiet and everyone is looking down at the bright screens of their mobile devices.  In any waiting room: same thing.  The first thing I look at when I wake up is my iPhone.  One of the last things I look at before going to sleep is my iPhone. 

Why do we feel the need to look at our mobile devices at the first hit of idleness?  We tell ourselves that we need to stay up to date on the news.  We need to see what’s going on with our friends on Facebook / Instagram / Twitter.  We need to multitask to stay productive.  It would be rude not to respond to an email immediately.  Mobile games and apps keep us always entertained.  Some people can’t even walk in the street without their phone. 

Are we afraid to be bored? 
When were you bored last?  Maybe the last time you felt bored was when you were sitting in traffic, and you couldn’t look at your cell phone.  Or when you arrived early to a restaurant to meet a friend – and your cell phone had no service.  You were probably bored when you were waiting for your plane to take off – and you weren’t allowed to use any mobile electronics in the meanwhile.  I think the last time I felt bored had something to do with me not being able to access my iPhone. 

This addiction has to stop
Over 50 percent of the U.S. population has a smart phone.  Studies find that mobile phone users spend an average of about 3 hours each day on mobile phones.  Three hours each day.  What could you do with an extra 3 hours in your day?  Could you get more work done?  Could you find a way to hustle more money on the side?  Would your productivity and efficiency increase?  Could your happiness increase?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sheraton Miyako Hotel Tokyo review and Japan travel tips

Sheraton Miyako Hotel
Thanks to Starpoints, we were able to enjoy 5 free nights at the Sheraton Miyako Hotel Tokyo.  The Sheraton Miyako is an SPG Category 4 hotel, and cost us 10,000 Starpoints per night.  Thanks to the SPG 5th award night free benefit, we were able to stay here for 5 nights in Tokyo for 40,000 Starpoints (an average of 8,000 Starpoints per night).  This was a valuable redemption since paying for a 5-night stay here would have cost us $1047.45!

Compared to other Sheraton properties, the Miyako Hotel seemed very plain.  The main entrance has a nice fireplace and large window to view the gardens outside.  Overall the hotel felt like there wasn’t enough lighting, and everything just seemed so “brown” in appearance.  Once we got past the boring look of the hotel, everything else was quite nice and peaceful.   

The room was very clean without any frills.  The Wifi was fast and reliable.  We enjoyed the butt-warming toilet but didn’t try the bidet.  The bed was extremely comfortable. 

We really didn’t like how dark it was in the room; we would have preferred more or brighter lighting.

If you’re staying at the hotel, be sure to check out the garden outside.  It’s a peaceful area you can spend 15 minutes exploring.  

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Our experience at Tokyo Station

Getting around Tokyo was extremely easy on the Tokyo Metro network.  Of all the stations we visited, Tokyo Station was the most fun.  In Japan, Tokyo Station is the busiest of all stations.  The station is multi storied with 5 stories below ground level.  There is so much to explore with food stands, clothing stores, restaurants and cafes.  They managed to fit an entire shopping mall inside a metro station. 

We ventured out to Tokyo Station with one purpose: to try the ramen!  We enjoyed Tokyo Station so much that we came to explore it 2 times, and enjoyed 2 different types of ramen here.  Look for “Tokyo Ramen Street.”  When this part of the metro was being built, they invited only the 8 best ramen restaurants to be a part of the Ramen Alley

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Our Sumida experience

Sumida was another special ward we explored in Tokyo.  We came to Sumida to visit the Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest freestanding tower and also the tallest man made structure in Japan.  This massive tower is 2,080 feet (634m) tall.   

Sumida Aquarium
We were surprised to find out that there was an aquarium right next to the Skytree, and decided to visit the aquarium first.  

The Sumida Aquarium has the theme “Tokyo Islands” and has many fun exhibits to see.  

I have never seen a moon jelly with 5 rings before... cool!

In the middle of the aquarium, there is a large indoor penguin tank.  We were lucky to catch a penguin feeding.

I was also really excited to see some deep sea giant isopods.  Think of these as giant pill bugs  / rollie pollies.  The isopods were pretty gross and awesome at the same time. 

I was tempted to buy this cuddly giant isopod doll...don't know what I would do with it!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!  Whether you were out partying at the club, staying in with friends and loved ones, at church, or sleeping in early - I hope you all had a great night.  Like the last few years, me and my wife enjoyed a wonderful dinner and did the new year’s count down at our friend’s house with several of our closest friends. 

This was a very different New Year’s Eve party than those of the past.  For the first time, the party was made up of couples only, many of them married.  Several babies and kids were at the party, as well as a few pregnant women (including my wife!).  The times partying at a club and drinking too much are definitely behind us.  Seems like we are now part of the “boring” group – our single friends were out to different parties all night.    

As we look forward to an exciting new year, I also like to take the time to reflect on how 2014 went for us.  I mentioned last year that 2013 was the best year for us to date.  Well, 2014 kicked 2013’s ass.  This year has treated us even better.   

December side hustles 2014 and year end summary

Happy New Year!

The great thing about doing side hustles to generate extra income is that you can hustle on your own terms.  The more hard work, time, and creative effort you put in, the more extra money you can make.  You can hustle as little or as much as you want, whenever you want.  It’s your extra money, and you can choose how you want to spend it.  Not all of the following side hustles may be applicable to you.  Instead of focusing on what ideas don’t apply to you, try focusing on different side hustle ideas that you can implement to work for your situation.

Here’s our monthly summary of side income that we’ve generated in the month of December.
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