Haircare Revelations: Lessons Learned and Secrets Unveiled

I am on the life-long pursuit of healthy, carefree, beautiful long hair. Below you will read about my revelations and hard lessons learned. Stay tuned and I’ll unveil secrets you may or may not have known about this adventure.

The beginning of an end:

Around six (6) years ago now, I made a huge mistake. I went to a chain that shall not be named to get a haircut. That is something I will never do again. Before I moved back to the states, I had healthy, carefree, and beautiful long hair. It was simple, I went to the salon every two weeks and at that I went to the top stylist. I miss Felda Del Prado and her team of beauticians. It took a while to find a suitable beauty routine and a reliable consistent team to help with maintenance. Just like real estate or anything else the body and body things require maintenance to meet a high standard of operation.

Who cuts your hair and how it’s cut matters. You can monitor your overall health through the condition of your hair. I had to learn the lesson the hard way. It was a sad day. I only bring it up now because I saw a photo of myself recently and if I wasn’t holding the most precious child in the world – not mine, I would pay to have that photo deleted in every timeline in the universe it exists in. Luckily you can’t see my face… deny, deny, deny. It looked worse than the Titanic wreckage. Part of the issue was that I had overexposed it to hard water for years out of laziness but truly environment/ economic logistics of sourcing soft water. Mostly it was the hack job of a cut.

Keratin for hot and steamy climates:

So, I found another salon and started regimenting regular Keratin treatments to ensure my hair had a fighting chance to grow and thrive in these Houston, TX heat/sauna waves every summer for half of the year. The salon owner after some prompting told me a hard truth, that I would likely be looking at 4-5 years to grow it all back. I will say, there is nothing worse than holding on to dead hair, so I continued to get trims until all the color I had was gone and until today, I give my split ends the business twice a year or more. That was another goal of mine, to nix the dyes from my regimen and eliminate split ends (impossible on the split ends). I have a gorgeous hue to my hair and it was time I let her shine the way she was meant to. The grey hairs must have heard the whispers because less than a year later, they took up box seats in the front row to the Zee show. Keratin is still a staple in this routine. I go all in twice a year.


For a lifetime, I struggled with trichotillomania. There are so many of us out there it’s ridiculous. You most likely know someone who has this too. My interest was at the very front of my hairline. I was relentless, it was the center of activity. Most people would never guess this, but one of the reasons I straighten my hair is because it’s way too appealing when it’s curly. When it’s not curly it’s like when your cat ignores you after calling its name one hundred times, a non-existent exchange.

However, I finally beat it to have the greys take up residence. Perhaps gaining control over impulse was a sign of maturity that came with the cost of greys. Trichotillomania is an obsesses compulsive disorder. I could tell you all about it but looking back… it’s just strange and almost inexplicable to those who have never had the irresistible urge to, well, pull out one’s hair. I’m not trying to relapse, so I’m moving on although I will say I met someone whose main squeeze was their eyebrows and another who delighted in eyelashes. My grandmother used to be all over me from across the room, my mom too. Granny would say, “stop tugging at your hair”. I had a beautiful and delicate routine of playing with my soft curls before the ultimate KO. The strangest thing was that when I would look up at her, 8/10 times she would be tugging at her own hair. The blind leading the blind. I would exit stage left so I could build up on my routine again. Honestly, I’m laughing so hard while I’m writing this because I’m not sure I’ve ever written this down and now it just sounds insane. The crevasse of our minds and the ways in which we experience life are so unique. But I lived it and I do wonder if it will continue down my blood line and how to help my future children cope. Should I leave them hanging or tell them that I spent a lifetime trying to cope with compulsion? Only time will tell on this one. I’ll keep you updated. If you are wondering how I finally overcame the disorder, I went through something traumatic, and it just clicked I was able to change gears and replace the action. Now I obsess over other things and the hair in the front of my head can flourish. I also called myself Edward Scissor Hands one day. Sometimes it’s the messed-up joke that will make you put the proverbial knife down. I won the war that day. I’ll take that “W”.

Why not wear a wig? Why not wear a weave for that finished look 24/7:

I break a sweat thinking about going out in my real hair. I can’t image wearing a whole other set of hair on top. I suppose that’s where breathable wigs come in. Perhaps it’s fine and I’m wrong but I’m not willing to find out in this heat. Once upon a time, I wore a semi-short black bob weave for a whole summer. My hair was on point all day everyday until it grew out. It was a time and a statement. But my real hair would suffer in its removal. The end. Also, I have a hard time wearing anything on my head and keeping it on and straight besides a hat. I love hats.

What’s this post really about?

Finally, you are probably asking what the point is here. The point is that we are inundated with products to help grow long strong natural hair. At least, I am – thank you algorithm. I received a product today and I thought to myself, don’t you have enough? Vegamour has been fighting the greys like it’s their business because it is! It’s like the breakfast of champion for hair. Also, for those of you who are thinking greys aren’t bad, I agree with you. I will say that my patch that was coming in was v-uncute. Vegamour has been great for thickness too. My favorite though is the African Chebe powder I use in an overnight soak before heading to the salon every few weeks (MVP) – they know the drill. I wish I could do it more, but it’s very intensely oily. The result is well conditioned hair for a longer period of time.

However, I got very sick a few months ago and my hair started shedding just when it was was back at its prime. Once I got a bit better and really noticed, I was disappointed. Nothing has helped, including my special Pantene formula that I hoard when I cross the Atlantic because you can’t get it in the United States.

 Then an advert for Moerie came across my social feed that intrigued me. I just received the products. I will fill you in around 3-6 months from now and what the verdict is, what the routine was and my thoughts exactly. Feel free to reach out with your take on your healthy hair routine in the comments.

Thanks for reading my musings and I wish you the best in your own pursuit of happy, healthy. Carefree hair. 


Thirteen (13) food for thought fun needle movers you should take time to read in 2023

Prioritize growth…take time to read in 2023

Here are thirteen (13) food for thought fun needle movers you should take time to read in 2023. My challenge last year and this year is to go beyond myself. So, I made a conscious effort to shake things up from my familiar life and surroundings. In doing so, I had to be resourceful. This is a strong set of authors and narratives that are keyed into everything from mind, spirit, politics, and economics to discipline and heart. All of it is to enhance your life and outlook. This is the life-enhancing material outside of the GU Master’s program and any continuing education courses I focused on in 2022.  If you have a book or an author that you think would add value to my or any else’s quality of life, please reach out. Above all, take time to read in 2023, the year of the Rabbit!

Must Reads


1. Autobiography of a Yogi: 1946, Paramahansa Yogananda [4.2/5] Genre (Autobiography)

I am starting with this as I went at it on my first trip to Morocco in early 2022. I got through a lot of it on my train rides like the one I took from Casa to Fez. It was recommended to me by someone who change my life so profoundly when I was suffering from chronic self-doubt. What can I say, I had lost my mental mojo in the folds and speed of life moving from one environment to another. While the book is fantastical, you follow the author throughout his life and he claims to be factual. I followed along doing my best to read without judgment or intent. There are some awesome lessons to be learned and the perspective is vastly different from anything else you will read. It’s deeply religious and has a spirit of kindness. However, I will warn you, it’s for everyone but not everyone is for it.

2. Be Water My Friend, The True Teachings of Bruce Lee: 2020, Shannon Lee [5/5] Genre (Biography, Personal Success)

I read this book throughout my first round of Art Baseling. It was a profound trip that triggered a different tangent in life. There wasn’t a better time to read this book. Shannon Lee did this piece justice. Bruce Lee and his legacy are a true gift to this world, I am so honored to have been able to be still and absorb the message. If you listen to the gurus of today, like Dr. Joe Dispenza, they all are saying the same thing. Bring your energy back to you and be intentional about how you are showing up in life. Move and act with purpose.

3. The Elements of Power: Gadgets, Guns, and the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metal Age: 2015, David S. Abraham [5/5] Genre (Economics, Technology)

This was one of my favorites this year. If you care about trade, economics, and the environment, you are among people who no longer look at everyday news through the same lens. With globalization, the vehicles through which commerce has scaled become more important. Technology is evolving rapidly to support growth that partnerships among private and public organizations and nations globally have become vital to forward momentum in tech innovation. However, most people don’t stop to think about how tech scales. What changed? For one tech has gotten smaller (handheld devices) and more portable through lighter and different materials. The internet has increased the speed of transactions and connectivity. Demand has been created and now there is a need to support an experience that keeps consumers hooked. The capabilities of our beloved tech are powered by natural resources called rare earth metals. This book is an excellent guide to how these metals are cultivated, where they are found, and what that means for global trade and the future of innovation. 

4. Noise – Living and Leading When Nobody Can Focus: 2019, Joseph McCormack [4/5] Genre (Personal Success)

Reading “Noise” seemed like an excellent follow-up to Joseph’s book “Brief”. Noise’s sentiment that “The world is going deaf” sounds a lot like Henny Penny’s “the sky is falling”. That begs the question, who is our modern-day Foxy-Woxy? This author believes that we are consuming “empty information” and believes that this will last for generations. This book focuses on helping readers understand his thesis on society’s shift that threatens traditional connectivity and provides a solution to being able to have more civil discourse while canceling or being more protective of the constant noise. His ultimate point is that we need to improve attention. If you work in corporate, this reading directly addresses the “buzz words” we all use that trigger people to tune out. In any case, there are effective ways to communicate, this book will make you think harder about how to not become part of the noise and evaluate how you can turn it down in your day-to-day.

5. How to Catch a Mouse with No Cheese: 2014, Donnie P. [4.3/5] Genre (Business)

If you have ever tried to or have started a business from the ground up, you are aware that your success comes down to preparation and a touch of luck. Donnie’s five (5) points outline the principles of success for those who have little to no funding and or experience. My generation of could/should-be entrepreneurs desperately needs the nuggets provided here. On another note, I will have to read this more than once as I am in the thick of propping up my first business. What I loved about the material was that it was empowering and easy to read. Donnie P. may have some new material coming out soon. According to the latest book cover he released, his next publication is titled “Health and Wealth is Always Green, How I Went From Elderly Care to the Cannabis Industry”. “THE GREATEST VIRTUE is not LOVE, but DISCIPLINE.” –Donnie P.

6. It Worked for Me – In Life and Leadership: 2012, Colin Powell [4.5/5] Genre (Personal Success)

My reason for purchasing this title was because I was having challenges identifying what this country’s (United States) leadership needs to be for our nation to thrive in the next 50 – 100 years. For this, I thought that I would start with what it used to be. Colin makes this easy to consume. You have a good feeling and a sense of who he was or wanted to be remembered as. The stories are intimate. He effortlessly commands your respect and helps us understand our roles and responsibilities to the communities throughout this nation. I recommend that you read this book, it isn’t an anchor to the past. It is a reminder of simple and swift leadership principles through storytelling. I found myself involved in the anecdotes. I think you will too.

7. Jonathan Livingston Seagull: 1970, Richard Bach [4.5/5] Genre (Motivational)

This is a story about a very special Seagull. He’s no ordinary bird and his name is Jonathan Livingston Seagull. He has a certain ambition and curiosity about himself. He knows that he is an ordinary Seagull and believes that he can do extraordinary things. He is cast out of his community but continues to not only keep his head up but also goes on to master his extraordinary life and journey. The rest, I will leave for you to discover. In my opinion, it is a big lesson in commitment to mastery and perseverance.

8. Becoming Supernatural: 2017, Dr. Joe Dispenza [5/5] Genre (Personal Success)

Gratitude, joy, and love. Dr. Joe explains how heart coherence is the missing link. Heart, mind, body, and spirit working together towards the same goal can create a more profound love and state of gratitude. This helps you naturally and regularly show up in the world in a more elevated manner. It takes time, effort, and commitment. I think that this is Dr. Joe providing a piece of the puzzle that is often difficult to remember let alone sustain. The theory in practice is that you have to create the experience before it occurs. So, get excited about your future. This book, in my opinion, outlines some of his neatest breakthroughs. Dr. Joe Dispenza is a journey you will have to take. However, be prepared to receive.

9. The Diabetes Code: 2018, Dr. Jason Fung [5/5] Genre (Health)

This one was a disturbing wake-up call. Once you hear about the symptoms, you will begin to understand some of the illnesses you can physically see in society and those that you don’t see. It is shocking how so many health issues are linked to type I and type II diabetes. Treatments are costly and diabetes is deadly. The good news is that it isn’t all downhill once you get it. However, the best policy is prevention. This book addresses what it is, what it results in, and how to overcome it before it overcomes you. This book is designed to address the issue scientifically. However, I think its primary purpose is to save lives. Although I don’t have diabetes, I know people who do and now struggle to maintain any health normalcy. The big lesson here is that if you misuse your body, you can lose it, piece by piece. As Dr. Fung describes, the dose makes the poison. More sugar? Ehm, no thanks. 

10. The Nightingale: 2017, Kristen Hannah [4.5/5] Genre (Historical Fiction)

This isn’t my typical reading material. I found this novel to be intense. The detail puts you on the field or in the room. You can smell the strife, hunger, dirt, sweat, tears, ++. I had to break this up into chunks as I became very introspective. Two sisters whose lives have taken two very different roads must find a way to reunite and survive during the German occupation in France. It is set in World War II. The struggle you find in this story may help you find resolve in your own life.

11. You Only Fall in Love Three Times: 2020, Kate Rose [4.5/5] Genre (Personal Success)

This is the pep talk of all pep talks! Yes, she speaks about the three (3) different types of love and why they have to happen. The “Soulmate”, The Classic “Karmic”, and the “Twin Flame”. Her theory is that sometimes you go through all three (3) with one partner. This book is about ending the cycle of self-doubt and self-loathing if you are single and still on the search, have given up, married, or all three. She breaks it down so that you at the very least understand that there is no love without self-love and true self-realization. As we all know, there will be tests along the way. She urges all to not only keep their head up but understand it rather than let their experiences scorch their souls and… I will leave the rest of the pep talk up to her because she’s darn good at it. My advice is that we should all give up on this quest, have fun, and stop screwing each other up. Too much? Well think of it this way, once you discover the beauty and kindness in yourself you may not have a need to be attached to someone else for the things that you seek to experience. Ah…there it is, freedom.

12. The Power of Crisis: 2022, Ian Bremmer, [4.2/5] Genre (- New York Times Best Seller List, Politics, Economics)

This author maintains a hopeful outlook on the global state of affairs but warns that unless nations come together, we may be doomed. He believes that crisis often brings unlikely alleys closer. Covid was just one example of how a crisis for a short period helped nations across the world work together towards a common goal. If that cooperation can’t be maintained, we will be slowed in global economic progress. He believes that without it, we will be utterly unprepared for the next major crisis. I don’t think there is a way to be fully prepared for future unknown threats. The three (3) threats he believes we will eventually face either jointly or as individual nations are: more deadly diseases, new & influential technology, and climate-related change. It’s an interesting lecture that is worth the read.

13. Woke, Inc.: 2021, Vivek Ramaswamy [3.5/5] Genre (Biography, Opinion)

This book was interesting in an inflammatory way. I was sad that I invested money here but not the time. It is so important to understand different perspectives, so at the very least, you know where someone is coming from. This author and this book are about self-promotion, and I can see him gearing up to run for office. Unfortunately, the same folks who may support his theory that wokeness is a scam, may look at this author and think, we can get behind his narrative but not his image. The book takes on all the woke folks and woke organization which is now waning (thank goodness – the term was stolen and then abused  by corporate “do gooders” and everyone else who needed something to latch onto). He also goes after the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement bulldozing through all other factors and very real sensitivities to expose what we already know. ALL of what is happening is about money, class, and controlling information. Power. If I had to sum this read up, it’s a targeted dose of pointing out how corporations are now woke-washing and monetizing causes while not moving the needle on actual change. In this book, he details the trick

Revolutionizing the way we buy, trade, and sell commercial real estate (CRE)


The Game Changer

Are you all about the early retirement paradigm? I thought so. So, let’s talk about the way and why folks are revolutionizing the way you buy, trade, and sell Commercial Real Estate (CRE). CRE is now being tokenized on blockchain technology for fractional ownership. This new system securitizes real estate. The result is a lower barrier to entry and higher liquidity, and the foundations of those benefits are on blockchain today. Therefore, blockchain is a game changer. Keep in mind this is currently NOT a retail offering but today, accredited and institutional investors can most certainly capitalize on this opportunity. See more through the second installment of how is further revolutionizing how we buy, sell, and trade, commercial real estate today

On behalf of asset type, real estate investments are hedges against inflation as they are vehicles through which you can store value (wealth) while owning a tangible asset. When debt is what our economy has run on, there must be a way to beat inflation by staying ahead of leverage (debt). Staying ahead increases your purchasing power. Having and keeping capital is the name of the game. Like everyone who signs up for debt, it is in hopes of higher returns than what you owe and the interest you owe on your debt combined. As a whole, as long as we stay ahead of our leverage through productivity (putting your cash assets to work) that leads to economic growth, healthy commerce, and more sound investments. Economies will prosper, and opportunity will flourish.

You are probably asking yourself what actions you can take to set yourself up for success:

I am not yet financial advisor, but the logic goes that the right investments can set you up for a healthy retirement and hopefully through various vehicles income as well. The Social Security system isn’t a given in the next 30 years. Real estate is, and it is, one of the fastest ways to grow your wealth. Lastly, and as mentioned above, it can help you hedge against inflation through its ability to store value. Later in this post, I state that our US currency isn’t currently backed by tangible real-life assets. Real estate is a tangible real-life asset. Also, according to the experts, space (real estate) is here to stay, although its use will keep evolving based on what is most productive. Throughout history, there has been a higher barrier to entry to growing your wealth through commercial real estate ownership. What if you could now get in the game and afford to purchase and trade fractional ownership of property through a transaction from the owner straight to you powered by self executing contracts (once all terms of trade are met)? Let’s add in the generation of passive income (dividends) should you choose to hold. Might that be a needle mover in your financial success? I think so. Now, you can purchase and trade real estate, more easily follow transactions, and sans the middle man with intensive transactional costs and all those hidden fees.

A brief history (as I understand it) of the impetus of the Blockchain and why it’s valuable to you: 

In 2008, the United States saw poor lending and investment practices crash the world economy; the debt that created the mess didn’t just disappear. The United States Fed printed more money, thereby diluting the supply for a massive bail-out. Yes. Laws were enacted to stop the same type of disruption from occurring again. However, the banking system had already been exposed, and there are a million and one ways to fail. The banks who endorsed poor lending practices walked away without paying the full toll for their actions (it’s not that simple, but…). The banks we rely on daily are currently too big to fail and perhaps learn.

Imagine your future success enabled by the right technology tailored to your end-end goals.

Newsflash: The US dollar isn’t backed by real-life assets (ex: gold or silver). The true worth of the dollar is sentiment and consensus – just like Bitcoin. The point is that the US’s central banking system is centralized, which means we got the first taste of what kind of power our banks hold and what their practices are and can become if unchecked – which they largely are. That is why in 2009, global citizens got to work on how a new, better, and more transparent economy could work through a new currency – with blockchain technology as a foundation to grow that economy. The rise of a decentralized financial model using blockchain technology (a distributed ledger) revolutionized the financial industry.

Crypto was born and is easily distributed (now more than ever), stores value, and is easily traded through an open yet distributed ledger although crypto’s volatile nature has cause for much concern. Cyrpto is not blockchain but Crypto transactions are stored on the tech.

The term “follow the trail of money” has never been more powerful. The use of blockchain has expanded significantly past cryptocurrencies that seek to improve upon the dollar and other fiat systems since the Great Recession. Good money and economic strength through a thriving economy often mark the success of a civilization. The opposite can be said for a society with a weak currency (one that prints money) and a less productive economy (not stimulating the growth that those who printed the money had hoped for). The Fed has the unenviable job of controlling interest rates to stimulate the economy while hoping to balance the causation of inflation. Part of the challenge will be to not print more money as the US government has done i the past. Bloomberg as of June 26th has inflation rates at just above 4.5% which is an improvement from 2022 where is was estimated by Bloomberg to be almost double. 

Revolutionizing the way we buy, trade, and sell commercial real estate (CRE)

As the world becomes more integrated and experience focused on personal and financial gain, here is how the pioneers are shaping the future of real estate on blockchain tech. Check out the two (2) installments on opportunities for fractional CRE ownership on my homepage and what that means. Another fun project is Fractionvest (residential) out of Ontario, Canada, which just took a massive leap in regulatory processes.

I encourage you to do your due diligence on what could be your next opportunity to learn and grow alongside this evolving industry where fintech meets real estate and proptech moves spaces to be better, more intelligent, and more productive to support a thriving economy.

Finally, be sure to see more through the second installment of how is further revolutionizing how we buy, sell, and trade, commercial real estate today.

Samorost “Unique Game Adventure”

Two words “unique adventure”.

Few things capture my sense of adventure in online gaming. I DO NOT game. However, once upon a time in my young adulthood, there was a game that hit all the marks and fulfilled my propensity for the off-the-beaten-path type things. That game was Samorost. Having thought about it recently, I was thrilled thinking about how the creators must have advanced the game from 2003’s initial version if it still existed. They did not disappoint, it is still up and running and the integrity of the original look and feel remains. Why is it unique? Because it was built to enhance your problem-solving skillset through puzzling while satiating escapism. A friend recommended it to me, and my interest grew from there.

The Unique Adventure

Samorost Gnome Character

Samorost was made by Amanita Design (Czech Indie Game Developer)/Jakub Dvorský  (1 (2003), 2 (2015), 3 (2015). It’s simple to play with point-and-click technology and features a gnome trying to save his planet. As you experience emersion, the world starts to unfold and you get wrapped up in its story. It is a unique adventure that you will only find in the world of Samorost. Its originality alone gives you so much to explore without the total effects of overstimulation.

Amanita Design’s original launch strategy was brilliant, they posted a free teaser of the game online in 2003 – which I don’t think exists anymore (the teaser). It has a peculiar and mysterious soundtrack that fits perfectly making it a true collector’s item. Now that this woman (me) is on summer break from grad school, I am chomping at the bit to rekindle with my old gnome friend (who I have been calling Samorost all these years. Once again, I am super pleased to see that this quality of game still exists. Now, I want to share it with you.  You can chalk this up to, things that I find time value in.

Samorost – “maverick”, Czech translation “object made from discarded wood”

Click here to check out more Samorost. I am not affiliated with the team, just a fan of the most unique adventure in online puzzle gaming that I have found yet. If you find the free version, leave a comment with the link. I would love to iframe it into this post.

The good good reads of my 2021

2021 has been raw. I am almost halfway through the Masters of Professional Studies in Real Estate (RE) program at Georgetown University (GU). It is true what they say, working and going to school is a BEAR of a task. While in the throws of an RE accounting course, what has kept me sane is a combination of Transcendental Meditation (TM), good reads, and working for an excellent and growing organization, JLL Technologies (JLLT). Before you dive into this list, you should know that there is no rhyme or reason to what I read. Most good authors recommend others to read, and one continues down the rabbit hole of in-the-know. The Head of my current team (Global Alliances – partnerships + technology) recommended at least two (2) of these titles. I am so grateful to have leadership around me who read and understand what contributes to healthy lives and teams. Because they are willing to pass it forward, I can pass this on to you in the good good reads of my 2021.

1. On Mental Toughness by HBR 10 Must Reads On Mental Toughness

Just so you know, I am also reading the same by HBR on Strategy. On this read, if you don’t push yourself, you will never achieve. Life is what you make of it. We all have choices. The writing clearly defines what your options are for a response when things go sideways (and they eventually do). Those responses are – active constructive, passive constructive, passive destructive, actively destructive. When you read this, you may take a walk down memory lane of situations that you handled well and poorly. In addition, you will understand and have a better idea of where others are in their journey based on the responses you receive. The writing has moments that may remind you of Simon Sinek’s the Infinite Game in relation to the fact that mental toughness is the practice of not being deterred, brushing yourself off, and evolving to play the game a little better until you reach mastery. As a former tennis player, I can tell you that a former coach gave me some sage advice and told me NEVER to miss in the same place twice. If I hit it in the net in error, the next should be to the fence until I stopped missing at all and that’s how you stay in the game. A few years ago, that same coach experienced a life-shattering event ( like 15/10 bad). Without a doubt, he may be the most mentally tough individual I have known. He identified the new path and turned the loss into an epic win in a matter of a few years. This was a decades kind of challenge. He increased his capacity, focused his energy towards the goal and put the ball between the posts. His wife is now free from a fifteen (15) year jail sentence in around six (6) years because of his grit. Did I mention that they have four (4) kids?

Learning the lesson and being consistent in your new response practice will get you further. I say practice because that’s what the takeaway is. Transforming your response to adversity takes time and practice, just like everything else. This is a good guide. If you have not or never experienced adversity via some sort of mechanism of denial, delusion, or privilege 

2. My Story by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – Visionary of Dubai

Dubai holds a special place in my many lives having grown up spending summers in Dubai among other places. Even as a child, I could see his vision for the uncapped development of the UAE, and oh yes, he has delivered. The writing is personalized. It feels as if he is sitting there telling you stories about his life and legend as a grandfather would. He will forever be immortalized in his writings and on every grain of sand in that desert. It is especially interesting to read about how he kept a peaceful and safe space throughout history while managing to remove the hand of the Empire from Dubai’s ports and land so that it can be what it is today whilst keeping peace among the tribes. I appreciated his affinity for Arabian horses, sport in general, and family above all. 

“Countries succeed when political power is used as a means to cement the people’s desires, and not simply as an end unto itself.”

Could be a lesson for corporates… just saying.

3. Measure What Matters by John Doerr

Now that I just wrote on “My Story” by Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, I think that he may have been the OG of OKRs for succeeding in the UAE as he did. Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) don’t just stand on their own. Continuous performance management is supported by Conversations, Feedback, and Recognition (CFRS). IMO CFRs are the key ingredients to this practice of setting proper goals and measurement that leads/managers often forget. It’s like buying bagels but no butter or cream cheese (hmm). If your organization uses OKRs and your leadership and practitioners hasn’t read this book, you can wave a long goodbye to the full potential of your initiative. This author gives you example after example of how to perform optimally, what that translates to in written format and in practice. It describes the result as the break down of those wicked corporate silos so that healthy networks can percolate. It also further involves each and every stakeholder so that folks have skin in the game.  That’s by helping employees better understand how their actions and projects impact the success of the organization at large with the freedom to pick their passions. 

“People who choose their destination will own a deeper awareness of what it takes to get there. When our how is defined by others, the goal won’t engage us to the same degree. “

4. The Moral Case of Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein

I did not purchase this piece. It was passed on to me from a network of O&G/Energy folks that I met at the North American Prospecting Expo (NAPE) this August (2021). I am grateful to have read this. So, many horrible far stretched items of vague and mismanaged points in this. But, it proves a great point about how anyone can publish just about anything as I am doing at this very moment. Strangely enough, the author does bring up a FEW good food for thought moments. The main takeaway is that there aren’t really that many other reliable AND cheap energy sources and so we shouldn’t just throw out fossil fuels as they have moved our society so far forward from where it would have been. If we have innovated our way out of many other issues, we can innovate and tech our way out of this so-called environmental/energy “crisis” as well. He argues that fossil fuels are not poorly affecting the environment but improving it among other things (unless I read that wrong – doubtful). On another note, I saw this guy on a dating app recently and after swiping through his photos in disbelief, it dawned on me that he is local to Houston, TX and that I eventually will be able to discuss my gripes face to face and should reserve my harshest criticisms for then. This might be a waste of your time to read, but it is entertaining. The version I had was filled with notes of disbelieve and counterarguments (good ones because it’s just so easy to point out how the author’s arguments are weak) from someone who eventually gave up counter arguing because it was just not worth the effort… he also drones on a bit hashing over the same point with the same weakness in argument throughout the book. I am not really sure why I am not mad that I read this. In either case, if anyone brings it up, I will be ready for both sides of the argument and not just my own views.

First-time Homebuyer Experiences

Map of the Greater Heights Area – #5

In 2020, I purchased my own home in an emerging neighborhood of Houston, Texas called Independence Heights. I served as my agent and saw something special in the quiet quarter between I-45 just north of the 610 Loop that encircles this enormous and growing city. I moved from my parent’s home in Bellaire also off the 610 and there were many comparables regarding how retailers were positioned throughout my new neighborhood. Although Independence Heights is no Bellaire, it is nestled perfectly on the borderline of Garden Oaks, a lovely neighborhood with tall lots and plenty of mature trees. The agent that upsold me was Rachael Hadzega. She assured me that the home was a good, energy-efficient build and that the neighborhood was coming up. Let me be perfectly honest, most agents are trained to say those things, however, like a good agent, she understood what to lean on. This was not just a home; it was also an investment. Further, the neighborhood was on the brink of a transition that could go in any direction given a fragile economic state due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. So, here is what I did right, and what more I could have/should have done better.

What I did right

  • I moved back to Houston, TX permanently in 2015. At the time, I was not able to purchase a home. I did, however, get my real estate (RE) license. Having a license was the source of $7 – 9 thousand in savings. It also connected me to a network of people with key information about local culture, neighborhoods, and opportunities. Although I was more interested in the commercial RE perspective, the license was an excellent first step to everything RE. It also helped me obtain plenty of data points to be able to make sound decisions moving forward.
  • A major factor of my decision-making process was the current and future health of my neighborhood. How did I assess this? I looked at neighborhoods that had already matured and took note of which retailers positioned themselves in or near my neighborhood of choice. I had the fortune of the perfect retail model to help establish the trend.  

Bellaire: Home Depot & Lowes, Chick-fil-a, PetSmart, Whole Foods & HEB

  • In Houston, Home Depot, Lowes, and Chick-fil-a tend to roll together in viable neighborhoods. PetSmart is in almost every “comfortable”
    The Whole Foods Market 365 mural reflects the African American roots of Independence Heights on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018, in Houston.

    neighborhood in Houston, and not by mistake. Also, Whole Foods and HEB are some of the titans of the grocery industry. In 2018, before the pandemic and after Hurricane Harvey, the opening of Whole Foods 365 Market was a tipping point for this neighborhood. Whole Foods introduced a new product/brand to support the variety of demographics that the neighborhood is comprised of. HEB followed in 2019. Retailers make their RE location decisions based on a healthy supply chain, demographics, surrounding growth potential, and more. They have determined that their businesses complement each other, a winning combination. After I pinned the neighborhood, I began to dig further into my personal preferences such as a gated community and the accessibility to outdoor activities. The things that you seek, often seek you too.  Established businesses like the ones mentioned have put a ton of resources into their location intelligence models. Know the experts and trust that they have done the heavy lifting.

  • I had the advantage of being in Houston during Hurricane Harvey. Therefore, I drove various neighborhoods to review and assess damages. You can have a perfectly good home, and an excellent location but the risk vs reward of that purchase needs to be taken into account. In Houston, I searched for investments that were outside of the flood zone and near but far enough from the bayou waterways to have a fighting chance in the case of another major flood. Given the history of the neighborhood not flooding during Harvey, that also meant that investing in flood insurance became optional. It was another cost savings opportunity.
  • HOA fees can be insane if not a little rude. HOAs are businesses. The costs rarely, if ever go down. Make sure that you know what neighborhood policies are, how much they cost, and why they cost what they do. Speaking of businesses, ensure that your HOAs do not tie your hands by not letting you monetize your property. You may not want to, but it is always nice to have options. Specific examples are, can you rent, Airbnb, and what improvements are within policy guidelines?
  • Who you choose as a lender can help you gain financial leverage. This program may expire at some point, however, first-time homebuyers could beeligible for up to $30,000 worth of assistance in Houston, TX. Also, some lenders have a discount for the first-time homebuyer education course (if you are required to take it).
  • If you find that a quality builder or RE firm has invested greatly in certain emerging markets, check out their inventory throughout the city. Like the commercial retailers, the odds are that they have done their homework too. Get an expert like Rachael to outline the pros and cons of the options you have outlined. Even if you think you know the answer you could find out something that you didn’t know and that could reframe your search.

What I should have also considered

  • There was an easement on my property that I asked to be relocated before I even knew it was an easement. The telephone line stations were not installed in a straight line. One of them ended up in my backyard and to get to it, the service provider must enter my property. They can dig up my back lawn to burry telephone lines to other homes. Unfortunately, I picked that lot for a compelling reason. I honestly thought it could be a quick removal of the box. It was way more complicated than that. So, I must live with it, for now. Although, lucky me. There was a development in Houston around the same time where the developers forgot to oversee the installation of internet infrastructure within the community during the height of the pandemic and when everyone was working from home. Those residents were out of luck for over six (6) months.
  • The first morning that I woke up after I moved in, I experienced the train. It was way down the road and I did not think that I could hear it from my home. The area is not a quiet zone. When I inquired with a community leader, they gave me a comprehensive list of other items that the community wanted to prioritize. Some of those items were gentrification, extreme poverty, and rising taxes that were forcing the locals to move out of their long-time community. Moreover, in parts of town, there was an increase in flood damages due to an uptick in housing and construction coupled with a lack of progress within the infrastructure. Lastly, the I-45 expansion project may cause the neighborhood to shrink on the East side of town displacing residents due to eminent domain laws. The thunderous train was at the bottom of that list, as it should have been. Did I mention the rooster at dawn?
  • During Snowvid (the winter freeze week of 02.15.2021 – $18 Billion in damagest-shirts here), it was a shock to tout le monde. It left the city bruised but not broken. Right before the water to the entire city shut off for days, my aunt gave me some sage advice. She told me to fill my bathtubs with water. We usually drink filtered water and not bottled water, so we would not even have had water to drink as the stores were out of, well, everything! I was lucky to do so just in case and we had some form of water supply until we pooled resources with refugees. In my second bathroom, I settled for just a shower. Perhaps having a second tub would have been wise. As the water supply got lower and lower by day three, the second tub issue began to settle in. On a positive note, I also got to experience energy efficiency at its best. The home remained appropriately insulated throughout and my energy bill for last month was only $30.00. My energy retailer, Pulse Power, came through. It was fortune mixed with choosing the right team.

Suffice to say, I am learning a lot from my homeowner experience in Houston, TX. Also, I am happy to live in a diverse and growing neighborhood. Finally, I hope that hearing about my journey will enrich your point of view. You may not think of everything but there are ways to set yourself up for overall success. Oh, and if you are gearing up to be a first-time homebuyer, CONGRATS in advance!

Bucket List Travel Experiences – 2022

Hey there, Traveler!

If you landed here it is to touch base with that overwhelming feeling of adventure that you may be feeling at this time. I have it too. Thus far, I have been to over twenty (20) countries and lived in four (4). I promised myself that I would not do as much travel to the Middle East and Asia, but I keep coming back.


The new travel promise is to develop ties to new cultures and get in on at least one bucket list item! On this trip, the bucket list item is the World Cup. However, if we don’t make this one, there will be plenty others. 

Let’s get started. To do so, I have detailed an eighteen (18) day trip for 2022. Specific emphasis has been placed on what the value proposition is. These destinations have so much to offer. All of them are on a coast of water with a deep richness of history. Doha, Qatar is hosting the Fifa World Cup 2022. Oman is the oldest independent state in the Arab world located on the Indian ocean and Arabian Gulf. While The Republic of Turkey, now Turkey is the successor state of the Ottoman Empire and is on the Bosporus Strait that connects the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. Honestly, I am bubbling over with thoughts of heading back to the peninsula that my family and I road tripped through many years ago.


Doha – by Qatar Airways
Doha, Qatar (World Cup Time! – Bucket List item)

Dates: Late November, Visa Information

Accommodation: The W

Value Prop: Start of the Fifa World Cup 2022 – Networking, Jewelry Arabia is typically held in late November in Manama, Bahrain – A possible day trip to Bahrain.

Muscat, Oman

Dates: Late November, Visa Information

Accommodation: Shangri – La Al Husn Resort and Spa

Value Prop: Jebel Shams – Hike, Nizwa Fort, Royal Opera House Muscat, Bimah Sinkhole, Dimaniyat & Fahal Island Scuba Diving, The Empty Quarter ‘Rub Al Khali’, Salalah – East, Local Souqs

A weekend in Istanbul – Forbes
Istanbul, Turkey

Dates: Late November to early December, Visa Information

Accommodation: Airbnb

Value Prop: Sunset cruise on the Strait, Misir Carsisi – Souk (Market), 1.5 hours by plane to Cyprus and four hours by train to Cappadocia (hot air balloons), and the Turkish Hammam experience which is the perfect way to round out a trip!

If you have been to any of these destinations and want to help those of us going on this trip thrive locally, reach out! We/I would love feedback on places to visit, things to do that would be a bit difficult to sus out via search.


The Top Ten (10): Must Reads for 20 and 30 Somethings

If you are like me, you know how exciting good reading can be. Not just exciting, but it can alter the course your life takes. If you are like me in other ways, you find it the most awful thing to read stories or books that aren’t well written. Below you will find books that made me think, wow, I am glad I read this. So much so that I thought it would be nice to pay it forward with this list of must-reads. I can’t guarantee that any of these will be your cup of tea, but they certainly helped satiate some existential need of mine to help support purpose and direction.  

1. The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton

This story gives us a front-row seat into the world of professional cyclists, what pressures they face, and what lengths they are willing to go as a collective to win. This particular journey details the life of a former associate of Lance Armstrong. It is a compelling anecdote of why people do what they do and that eventually, almost everyone gets caught.

2. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha is about a quest. It doesn’t feel like a short read. However, it is. Just when you think the main character is truly living their life, the direction changes. It brings out the ultimate question in the reader. What does your quest include, and are you reaching your potential?

3. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Ralph Ellison crafts one of the greatest stories that will have you wondering, is this truly fiction? Between the narrative on politics and culture, it will be hard to put this down let alone not vicariously learn a lesson or two.

4. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

You may want to purchase two (2) copies. That is one (1) for you and one (1) to pay it forward. Gladwell is most likely best known for this work of fact and fun. It addresses at what point and why things trend and go viral.

5. The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck

Settle in because this is a long journey. It’s one that you must take when you are ready. Therefore, you may have a few starts and stops. First and foremost, it is about finding both peace and meaning. The final points will blow your mind.

6. People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck

It will confirm what we already know. There are bad (evil) people in this world. The question is, how do they affect others. Explore that vein in People of the Lie.

7. Comfy Slippers & a Cup of  Tea by Julie Lomas

A touch of wisdom propels you through this experience. The technique best used to reap the riches of this literature is to pick it up and start reading at whatever point you open the book. That’s correct; any page can offer something significant. Again, the goal here is to explore the fundamentals of life which, includes self-love and forgiveness.

8. The Magic of Believing by Claude M. Bristol 

It is the type of book that appears in your life at just the right time. It seems a bit cheesy, but you can’t help but get sucked into the narrative until you, too, start to believe. It highlights what you can do outside of working super hard towards a goal to be successful. Its theme revolves around how beliefs make things happen.

9. Connected by James H. Fowler

Could you have imagined that science proves that your friend’s friend’s friend can influence your life? It even explores the political influence and the blogosphere in the United States and Iran. You will be shocked at the research.

10. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle 

Enlightenment is the keyword here. Have you ever asked yourself what you could accomplish if you could move out of your own way? The Power of Now can serve as a guide to removing obstacles from your path to greatness even if an obstacle is you and how you identify yourself.