Starbucks, Metal and the Open Road.

This past weekend, Eli and I, along with two very good friends, embarked on a four day adventure from Toronto to Asheville, North Carolina.  We were visiting some friends, and most people found that bizarre; including the guard at the border.  Admittedly, thirteen hours is a long drive to spend two days, but we live on the edge.  We had our share of obstacles, especially with the detour off the interstate, but sometimes veering off the beaten path is the most interesting part of the journey.  And the weekend was most definitely interesting . . . ffff ….

Road-trips are a great way to travel and experience new and exciting places.  The great thing about traveling by car is that the journey becomes just as much a part of the trip as the destination.  The time flew by because we had fun and a wicked soundtrack.  Driving through different states or provinces provides a different perspective, and is definitely more intimate than say, flying.   We were able to experience some of the people and places we passed through.  (ps. loving the southern accent all over again.)  Although there is a downside and that would be the cramped quarters or being frozen to death every time someone put the window down.

I have to say that I am in love with Asheville.  What a great town!  Surrounded by nature, with the appeal of a small intimate town, but the amenities of a city.  We had such a good time there, I think there may be plans for a summer-time trip.  🙂  Here are some pictures of the journey . . .

The boys looking particularly bad-ass.
The boys looking particularly bad-ass.

I will admit that Metallica greatly enhanced the soundtrack to the weekend.
I will admit that Metallica greatly enhanced the soundtrack to the weekend.
You would think coming from the land of ice and snow that we would have anticipated the weather.
You would think coming from the land of ice and snow that we would have anticipated the weather.
Some unusual combinations.
Some unusual combinations.

Idyllic surroundings perfect for stirring up the Christmas mood.
Idyllic surroundings perfect for stirring up the Christmas mood.
Some kind of power plant in Kentucky . . .
Some kind of power plant in Kentucky . . . I just like how this one turned out.
Great statue.
Great piece in the park in Asheville.
Eli and I.
We don't get decent pictures to often, so this one is a keeper.

It was really great to escape for a few days.  Life has been hectic . . . and it still is.  Hope everyone is coping with the hustle and bustle of the season, Merry Christmas and/or  Happy Holiday!


No Thanks to Toronto’s Crystal Bath

Hi all! I hope that all of you who were celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend had a fantastic time!  There is nothing better than spending time with family and loved ones, while stuffing your bellies with great food.

Although most of you were giving thanks this past Friday, mine was spent dealing with an unbelievable headache!  I have never in my life experienced such poor customer service . . .

As some of you may or may not know, I am a starving Interior Designer by trade.  My current project is a bathroom remodel that I am doing in my childhood home. (I will post pictures as soon as it is complete.)  The supplier for the floor and vanity is a company located in east end Toronto, called Crystal Bath, located at 2839 Kingston Rd.  I can’t even tell you why things went sour, but what happened on Friday when we went to pick up our product, was surreal.

The owners of the company, at some point, decided that we were “difficult” customers, and took the route of treating us like criminals.  When I asked where all the animosity was coming from, I was told that we asked too many questions.  I have worked in the customer service industry for my entire working career, and I have NEVER penalized a customer for “asking too many questions.”  Isn’t that the whole point of customer service?  Especially when the customer is paying over $ 4000 for their product?

The owner took the initial measurements for the vanity, which was wrong, as she took them before the bathroom was even demolished.  So to avoid them being built at the wrong size, I called to correct her.  When our floor was going down, not only was the installer unprofessional by hitting on me, but he did a lazy job of installing the tile.  We have a very talented general contractor in our family, and even he said that the installer/company took the shortcut in installing the floor.  The threshold they sent was the most insignificant piece of marble I have ever seen, and when they were questioned about it, informed us that we had laid down the incorrect sub-floor.  But where was the information from them regarding the proper preparation for the floor?  There was none.  There were no specifications for anything.  They made no attempt at communicating with us about what was required on their end for the floor to go down correctly.  I have worked in the flooring industry, and we ALWAYS provided the customer with such information and specifics to avoid these problems.  But apparantly, it was our fault.

The kicker was picking up our vanity on Friday.  Not only did they refuse delivery, forcing us to take time out of our day, rent a truck and drive from the west end of  the city to  the east end, but they didn’t even communicate the final payment method.  All of a sudden our cheque wasn’t good enough anymore and she needed either a certified cheque, credit card or cash.  At this point we are in Scarborough with a rented truck and they won’t take our payment.  When we told her that a credit card was out of the question, she insulted us by insinuating that we didn’t have the money to pay and that our credit card was “antique”.  The tension could be cut  with a knife, and in an attempt to be diplomatic and open the dialogue to get to the source of the issue, I asked her what the problem was.  She ROLLED HER EYES AT ME, and basically told me that I know nothing because I worked for IKEA.  In addition, she interuppted me, yelled at me and spoke right over me, I couldn’t get a word in edge wise.  She spoke to me as though I were 12 years old.  I have never been so insulted as a customer, but also as a person.  Not only do I have more design education then her, but I have had other work experience than IKEA.  Let’s not even get into the fact that IKEA is a world reknowned company that makes more money when they’re closed than her dinky operation  . . .

My point is that I have never received such horrific customer service and in all my experience, I have never been witness to such appalling customer service.  This is the way they run their business.  I could not imagine ever treating our customers and clients this way.  I could not even imagine treating another human being this way.  How is it possible to make it in business by insulting your clients?  It makes my blood boil that she thinks this is the way to treat people.  It makes me even more angry that there are probably people who have received this kind of treatment and just accepted it.  It is not right and they need to know it.  I am writing this for all those living in Toronto, avoid Crystal Bath for your bathroom or kitchen renovations.  This company does not recognize the investment required to have these projects done and are not sensitive to the needs of their clients.  Clearly, in their eyes, there is a fine line between being a valued customer and a criminal.

I apologize if it seems I am ranting, but I had to get this off my chest.


Back on the Ball

It has now been 4 official days of internet service with no interruptions or crashes.  This is monumental!  It seems that that box of connections at the back of our building was in complete dis-repair; with no cover or protection.  There may even have been a family birds living, what seems like, on our line.  It would definitely explain the random signal dropping.  My condolences go out to the family that we displaced, but there are plenty of actual trees in this neighbourhood.  To think that all this time we’ve been calling customer service, all someone needed to do was physically walk to the back of  our building.  Sometimes I cannot believe that it took 2 months for major internet providers to provide us with the connection we need, especially since we live in the heart of a metropolitan city.  We unfortunately took this service for granted.  Non the less, it feels so good to know that we’re back on track.  I feel like I barely got a taste of working from home and everything went in the shitter.

In hindsight, it may have been a good thing.  Sometimes the only way to look at these experiences is as positively as possible.  We have DEFINITELY learned some important lessons and are better for it now.  But in that time, I can’t even begin to describe the frustration we were feeling.  It makes me think back to the post I wrote about Copreneurs and how this was one of those times that could make or break us.  Thankfully, we kept our heads on and dealt with it, with minimal tension.

It’s such a different type of stress.  At a workplace, the conflict would have been a big mess during the day, but eventually you go home and forget about it for the night, until you have to go back in the morning.  But for all of you that work from home and run your own business, you understand the black pit in the stomach and never ending swimming in your head.  The stress in 24/7 and there’s nothing you can do but move forward.  This is all still so new to me, and I’m not going to lie, we talked about me going out and getting another job.

I’m still holding out.

Things are back on the way up.  Elijah’s got tons of work coming in and I’ve even got some design jobs rolling my way.  It’s funny how life sometimes make things suck as much as possible and then flips it instantaneously, in my opinion to make us appreciate what we have in our lives.  If anything, this past downturn is just the “rock-bottom” chapter in our success story.  Look for it on shelves at your favourite bookstore in 2015.

The other silver lining, albeit small, is that I’ve uncovered my love for crafts!  It may sound lame to some people, but I bet those people wouldn’t be saying so if they were curled up in a hand knitted blanket of awesomeness!

mug cozie

Here’s my latest project.

I’m definitely not a pro, but these are what my family and friends can expect for Christmas.  Not only is it going to save us money, but it has kept me sane during these past few months.

Now that Elijah and I are slowly starting to get back into the routine, I look forward to sharing more of my musings with you.  We have a ton of projects on the go, and I can’t wait to share them.  Keep you’re eyes peeled, ’cause we’re back and with a whole lot of wind in our sails!

Stay classy,


I’ve Lost My Way

So it’s very clear that I have lost all steam on – what amuses me the most, is I have no reason why, or when this happened.  It’s like one day I woke up and had nothing to write about.  Eventually that day turned into weeks, and now I’m at the point where I am.

I want to be very clear in letting all of you guys know that Veronica and I are doing well.  We’re doing great actually!  I’ve been kicking ass online and making somewhat of a living over the last 3 months; a little white hat, a little black hat, a little NO HAT.  I’ve recently hit the point where It would be smart to start outsourcing some of the content creation for my site flips, so I can produce more sites in less time – ultimately increasing my profit for that revenue stream.

To answer a few questions that I’ve received…

I am not selling this blog – no way in hell.

I am going to get back on a regular writing schedule after Christmas, promise! will be revamped in the early new year, with a new theme, vibe and logo.

I promise to start leaving fucked up comments on your blogs more often as I manage my time and tasks more accordingly (this is where outsourcing comes into play).

That’s it!

I might squeeze out a post before Christmas hits, but in the mean time I hope all of you guys have a great holidays, eating lots of food and drinking lots of other people’s booze.  If there’s a girl at your office that you’ve had your eye on, be sure to give her ass a good squeeze at the Christmas party – because it’s the only time of year you can get away with it!



Success Starts With Your Socks

Funny Spongebob SocksThis past Saturday I got together with some friends to celebrate the 28th birthday of my friend Alistair Hill, and if you remember my post on finding local niche markets to dominate, Alistair is definitely a dude who shows great interest in outside-the-box business models – and more recently this whole Internet marketing madness I’ve been engulfed in.  I have a great circle of boys who all support each other and for the most part, are all successful in their own way.  As much as it may seem to others that we’re a bunch of drunken hooligans when we’re out on the town, genius happens quite frequently at these gatherings and Saturday was no different.

For Al’s birthday we decided to go bar hopping, or what some may refer to as a pub crawl, with more soldiers joining the brigade as the night progressed.  Stop number two on the night was a quaint little establishment known as Sharkey’s;  A contemporary, low-lit gastro pub with a menu and wait staff that were equally attractive.  Joining our original party of three was a handful of other friends who stumbled in from various locations throughout the city, and for the topic of this blog I will be introducing you to our good friend Vic.

Vic is one of those unique, eclectic type of cats that are completely unassuming – especially if you were to see him walking down the street.  He’s currently on his way to becoming a full fledged Architect within the next 24 months and has an insane knowledge of music culture.  Combine this with a pretty intense shoe fetish and the ability to inflict unforgettable moments in conversation, and you’ll begin to have a brief understanding of why we love it when Vic comes out to play!

The moment of truth…

After two or three rounds of drinks, about seven rounds into the night, the discussion was on the topic of prostitution and goat cheese – feel free to be creative and figure that one out.  Vic jumped in changing the direction a little by asking us all a question, “Do you know what sets apart the upper class of society from regular guys like us?”  Somehow I knew there was undeniable substance behind Vic’s train of thought as he began to tell us about a professor at school, and how he’s recently noticed that he never wears the same pair of socks twice.  Where normal guys go to Wal-Mart and grab the 24 pairs for $13, upper class dudes have a more refined taste in foot comfort and tend to pay upwards of $97 for a 12 pairs of Gold Toe Windsor wool socks which they will never wear twice in the same week, or month for that matter.  The moment of truth at the table hit pretty hard as Vic concluded that his professors level of success is because, and I quote:

“His sock game is tight!”

You heard right!  His sock game is tight, and having a tight sock game is vital to success in today’s business world.  Now let’s think about this for a minute.  Will buying $97 socks improve your chances of running a profitable business online?  Probably not.  If anything, spending that much money on socks will guarantee your future bankruptcy status and ensure that your wallet is forever empty.  Symbolically speaking, this particular individual is one who believes in the “dress for success” theory and your only as good as you look because we all know in the real world, first impressions are everything.

Maybe it’s the attention and care for minute detail, or the strive for perfection that has set the threshold of sock quality so high?  I think it would be safe to say that someone who cares that much about their feet would naturally expect supreme quality from their business and personal life, and those are the type of people you would want to be surrounded by when you’re first starting out.  I’m sure you’re getting my drift, or at least I hope you are!

You can’t expect to take care of business if you don’t take care of yourself.  Treat yourself to a nice dinner every now and then, or go out and buy that golf club that you’ve had your eye on for the last few months.  Don’t be stupid and put yourself into more debt, but at the same time don’t fixate on spending $60 that you hypothetically “don’t have” because if you really stop to think about it, when will you really “have” the money to spend?  Never.  Sacrifice is absolutely necessary to budget and create surplus, but don’t cheat yourself completely – live your life to the fullest, and surround yourself by things that make you happy.  Make sure your “sock game is tight” and everything else will fall into place.

According to Vic.



Elijah Sings The Blues

A short post here to end off a pretty crazy, but productive week.  I really don’t feel like talking about Internet Marketing or the newest micro-blogging network, but I did wake up today feeling music in the air – which is a feeling I’m beginning to miss.  I decided that I would do something completely out of the ordinary for this type of site/community and play a song for you guys.

The track is called “Enough” and I wrote it 3 or 4 years ago.  I’ve also included, for you music heads out there, the mp3 download of the track – which is mixed and mastered with drums and all (by myself of course).  I really hope you guys enjoy it as it’s one of my favorite songs.

Download “Enough”

Have a great weekend, and feel free to distribute the download to whomever you’d like.