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30 Before 30

I’ve been in a list making mood lately.

Another friend of mine made her 30 before 30 list the other day. She turned 29, I have yet to turn 28. I figure I get a little unfair advantage here, but I am actually having a little problem coming up w/ 30 things I want to do… am I that boring? I scanned around the internet for other people’s lists and the impression I get is that 1) This whole 30 for 30 thing is kind of chick thing… 2) There’s awful lot of the usual suspects like “sky diving” and “take ballroom”, which I have already done, and of course there’s also the lovey dovey crap like “fall in love” and “get married” which is all good, just not for me…. right now (HIMYM reference)

Well, here it is anyway. Some are pretty easy to do, but the one about giving a TED talk I think would probably be the most difficult one.

1. Start a non-profit foundation –  still working on how to best invest my time to make the most impact

2. Fly in at least a G4 – I don’t have to buy a private plane by any means, I just have to fly in one either out of my own bank acct or invited by someone

3. Scuba certified

4. Bungee jump – already done sky diving, logical next option

5. Argentina – love, love Argentina

6. Machu Picchu – I hear they’re considering closing it permanently due to conservation reasons… better make it happen soon

7. Learn how to drive a stick – surprisingly important survival skill when renting cars in Europe

8. Get a meaningful tattoo –  somewhat discreet, corporate friendly of course

9. Own a tuxedo – when you turn 30, you own instead of rent

10. Read 30 new books

11. Oktoberfest – very feasible before school starts next fall

12. Do a stand up open mic

13. Brew my own beer

14. Learn how to fillet a fish

15. Learn to tie a bow tie – see #9

16. Touch rim – this is my way of saying lose weight, something more tangible, measurable

17. Northern lights – might be easier than originally planned considering Seattle’s proximity to Alaska

18. Learn how to break down a chicken


19. Speak at a TED conference


20. Fluent in Spanish
– Rosetta Stone’s progress is painfully slow…

21. Burning Man


22. Turn tables
– I will also accept vinyl player instead of regular DJ turn tables

23. Shooting range


24. Shoot under 100 in a round of golf


25. Play in a WSOP tournament


26. Catch a fish
– believe it or not in the handful of fishing outings I’ve gone on I’ve never ever caught a fish…

27. Live in a house boat
– even if it’s for a day

28. Interview someone really really really ridiculously successful and I admire greatly
– like Guy Kawasaki for example

29. Throw out the first pitch
– at a game of any level

30. Catch a fish w/ the Pike Place Market guys

and two more just for fun…

31. Get an A in Accounting – although I started out as an accounting major in undergrad, my grades in that certain subject had not been stellar… consider this a redemption)

32. Eat at a Top Chef contestant’s restaurant

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I’ve been back home for almost about a month and a half now and I’ve just been so bloody busy. There are so many loose ends that need to be taken care of before I move up to Seattle. Instead of traveling I’ve been:

1. Working: There was about 3 months worth of paperwork that I needed to organized. My father completely ignored my filing and naming convention so nothing is where they need to be. Plus his English is not perfect so there are tons of typo everywhere. We’re also raising our prices for our product for 2012 due to the high oil prices and unfavorable exchange rates. There’s tons of negotiating to do w/ our customers.

2. Research: We’ve exited out of practically every position except for gold and our Aussie Dollar. We’re sitting on the sideline with cash for probably more than we should… tons of reading and digging for buying and short opportunities. There are also couple of ventures I want to finish and hand off that we just don’t have enough information at the moment.

3. Meeting: Meeting up w/ friends for one last time, meeting real estate agents b/c we’ve finally sold the condo on West Campus in Austin and we got a new place in Houston severely under the market price for my sister. At the same time I have to coordinate w/ a future classmate on apartment hunting in Seattle.

Speaking of Seattle, I don’t think the reality has set in until recently when we finally secured a place to live. Definitely past the point of no return now and I’m getting a little cold feet. I’m flying up to Seattle on the 15th to take care of some stuff and then coming back to pack up and make the long drive up there.

Le sigh.

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As a reference for future travelers and as a small way for me to thank the following hostels for their hospitality, I am listing the best hostels I stayed at this trip, broken down into the categories listed on Hostelworld.com

Character: City BackPackers in Stockholm, Sweden. This hostel has a Swedish sauna, court yard to hang out, coffee shop combo out front, full kitchen w/ free pasta, full decked out lounge with four iMac’s and strong wireless connection everywhere in the building. All the rooms are named after each island/district in Stockholm. Plus you gotta take your shoes off when you enter, just like you would in a typical Swedish home.

Honorable mention – Bilbao Akelarre Hostel in Bilbao, Spain. Fun and funky art decorated by local art students.

Security: Hip Karma Hostel in Barcelona, Spain. Although I didn’t like this hostel as a whole, you gotta hand it to them on the security. You get a locker right underneath your bed, with a power cord in there for you to charge all your electronics without worrying leaving them exposed compared to leaving them out in the lobby where anybody walk by could snatch them. Also you get curtains around your bed to block out the morning sun if you’d like to sleep in or surf the web in your bed.

Honorable mention – Sleep in Heaven in Copenhagen, Denmark. Electronic access card for your room and locker. Don’t even have to worry about carrying a keypad or combination lock with you anymore.

Location: David Inn in Florence, Italy. Just a short walk from the train station, right by the Duomo and Accademia.

Honorable mention – City BackPackers is really close to the train station as well. It didn’t win this category because it’s not as convenient to get to the sights like Gamla Stan or Djurgarden. Way Hostel in Madrid is pretty good too as it’s close to all the bars and Plaza Mayor and Pueta del Sol with a metro stop right at the corner, but the train stations are a bit out of the way. You’d have to walk a fair distance, uphill, from Atocha and Chamartin is a long metro ride.

Staff: Hanoi Hostel in Hanoi, Vietnam. The owners work right there themselves. They set up all my tours to Sapa and Halong Bay, laundry service, breakfast in the morning, happy hour in the afternoon and all the recommendations on where to go and eat in Hanoi.

Honorable mention – Ciao Bella Hostel in Milan, Italy. Silvana and the gang were so friendly and helpful they made me totally feel at home. Also Surfbackpackers in Bilbao, Spain. Fede and Rafa are just getting started when I stayed there. They also stay there so they attend to your every need. They even took us all out to get some pintxos at night.

Worst – I don’t like to be negative, but Hostel Cinque Terre deserves to be noted. This was a Lonely Planet recommendation and quite honestly Lonely Planet has let me down many times before as well. They don’t participate in any of the hostel listing sites looks like. You are required to send in reservations at least a week in advance. Lights out at midnight. You get a coin for the shower a day that runs for just 5 minutes. You’re not allowed to check in between 1-4pm. In fact, you are not even allowed to be in the hostel between that time as well. It feels more like a prison than a hostel. When I got there at 3pm the owner literally shooed me away like a stray cat. The kitchen was understaffed and you have to wait forever for them to take your order when they feel like it. They’re also not shy to tell you that they’re busy and you impatient American just need to wait… well, there’s patience and there’s waiting 20 minutes to just order some store-bought frozen gnocchi, and another 20 for it to get to my table.

Fun: Way Hostel in Madrid, Spain. Way is a huge hostel but all the different walking tours, tapas tours, and pub crawls really help facilitate meeting fellow travelers.

Honorable mention – The Siem Reap Hostel in Siem Reap, Cambodia. How many hostels do you know has its own pool? Pool table, bar, TV lounges.

Cleanliness: Hostel Cinque Terre, in Manarola, Italy. Yeah, I know I just bagged them but again, you gotta give credit where credit’s due. It is really clean. With the place operated like a prison and most people not even around most of the time to make a mess, of course it’s clean…

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My Reading List, 11/7

Five ways to turn your living room into Carnegie Hall Paste Magazine   [music]

7 healthy fall super food – The Daily Green   [food]
Pick some up at your farmer’s market!

The coolest small cities in America – GQ   [travel]
Wow, thank you GQ! I’m surprised by some of the tips and recommendations in here, including Hominy Grill in Charleston, SC and J’s Oyster in Portland, ME.

What to do when travel stinks, literally – Budget Travel   [travel]
TSA compliant products

Top 7 emerging destinations in the world – travelanthropist  [travel]

Napa‘s top secrets – Budget Travel   [travel]
This article is legit. Check out the Oxbow Market and The Preiser Key, but skip the Old Faithful Geyser

Top 10 extreme destinations for Thanksgiving – InventorSpot   [travel]

New spin on food trailers – Entrepreneur   [business, food]
By far the most interesting article I read this week.

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My Reading List, 10/24

Have you wondered how to use social media to market your business (or yourself)? I just signed up a client who is a personal trainer to help her w/ marketing her business so this week a lot of the articles are related to branding, marketing, and social media.

8 famous brands and their rebranding cost – Graphic Design Blog
My friend wanted to rebrand her business but she actually ended up confusing herself a bit.  Rebranding is an important decision and you want to avoid throwing money at something that ain’t broken and still not getting any results.

26 apps every social media marketer needs to know – Social Times
I personally love HootSuite.  You can link up multiple accounts and schedule your tweets.  My only wish is they can link to Tumblr.

Loyalty lessons from Lady Gaga – Church of Customer

10 social media marketing ideas that the experts are talking about – Social Times

It’s gotta be the shoes – ESPN.com
Doesn’t NBA banning the shoes actually give it credibility?

9 top ways we waste money – Wallet Pop
It’s true, I spend way too much on coffee and energy drinks.

The two most important words in blogging – Copyblogger
blogging and practically everything else!  Here are a few more articles from this awesome site I discovered this week

Things go better with persistent branding – Designer daily
Again, something to think about when you want to rebrand your business.

The consumer appeal of underdog branding – HBS Working Knowledge

The 7 P’s of branding – Brand Channel

The 6 C’s of branding – Dim Bulb

5 reasons why other people will spread your personal brand – Drew’s Marketing Minute
Consistency is key

How to make time for social media – Drew’s Marketing Minute

10 steps to make your facebook fan page shine – Social Mouths
I’ve really enjoyed some of the articles on this site, too.  [subscribe]

10 things you need to stop tweeting about – The Oatmeal

14 power women to follow on Twitter – Forbes
Cross reference with the social media divas list and you’ll know who really to follow.  BTW, I know more women uses social medias, but what about MEN? Where’s the Power Men follow list?

5 unique ways to use Twitter for business – Mashable

Four main ways to monetize a social network – Venture Dig

How to make your social networking stand out – Personal Branding Blog
Again, consistency

Picturing the past 10 years – NY Times

The psychology of prices – Science Friday

Use Twitter lists to build your personal brand – Social Media Today

Growing your brand on Twitter – Parnassus Group

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Sorry for not posting the links the past two weeks.  I had my GMAT to deal w/ and last Sunday was my birthday 10/10/10.  I just didn’t have the time.

11 ways money can buy you happiness – CNN Money
What happened to hookers and cocaine?

The dim sum guide for dim sum virgins – dimsumpop.com   [infographic] [dim sum] [food]

10 things CEOs need to know about design – JESS3   [business] [design]

How to choose the right colors for your brand – Inc.   [business] [design]

Facebook brand pages pay off – AdWeek   [branding]

Top five leadership mistakes and what to do about them – Entrepreneur.com   [leadership]
This is also why Donald Trump is a shitty leader

7 things you really don’t need to take a photo of – The Oatmeal   [photography] [humor]

Persuasion tactics of effective salespeople – Harvard Business Review   [sales]
kind of common sense if you’ve been properly trained in sales

A salesperson’s seven deadly sins – Harvard Business Review   [sales]
More interesting article from the Steve W. Martin

Four things VCs look for in a star-up – Entrepreneur.com [VC] [Start-up]
The Four M’s

5 steps to better photography – Digital Photography School   [photography]

Famous skulls – artnet

Best photography iPhone Apps – Travel Gear Blog   [photography]

How to get more out of your trip – Lonely Planet Blog   [travel]
By far the best set of travel tips. except #25. Seriously, throw your guidebook away.

Five places for lovers of art deco to visit – BrilliantTrips  [travel] [art]
Mmm… Valencia

No sleep in Reykjavik – Frommers   [music] [travel]
Iceland Airwaves Fest combines two of my favorite things: music and Iceland (duh), and it’s not just Sigur Ros playing 24/7

10 seminal books for world travelers – Flavorwire   [travel]
Wow, I feel dumb. I haven’t even heard of some of these books before

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My Reading List, 9/26

Spectacular building constructed using beer crates – DVICE   [beer, architecture]
~ 33,000 beer crates on the wall, 33,000 crates of beer. you take one down, pass it around…. ~

Surprising truths about 10 famous brands – Graphic Design Blog   [design, business, branding]
There’s a reason why it’s not called Packard-Hewlett

10 dead simple gmail tips, tricks & shortcuts – Mashable   [tips & tricks]

Another reason why Facebook is terrible? – The Washington Post   [facebook, social networking]
I’m not that big of a fan of fb myself, but I don’t see what the big deal w/ this youropenbook.org thing is. Isn’t this like able to search people’s tweets?  I do love the opening though: “an ocean of banalities shared among person w/ lives so empty they echo”

Ninjabread Men – instructables.com
this totally kicks gingerbread men’s ass

The 10 most important gadgets – Epicurious.com
Want an immersion blender and the rabbit corkscrew so bad.  My birthday is coming up ~

Top 10 new foods at the 2010 state fairs – Endless Simmer
Fair food is not just about funnel cakes anymore

What would happen to your hand if you stuck it in the Large Hardon Collider –  BuzzFeed

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