My Favorite Things

We’re all picky, and I’ll be the first to admit I am too. If, like me, you miss the days when Amazon search was actually useful, then this is the page for you. Here’s a list of things I either use (or indulge) in my daily life:


  • Oura Ring: I use this to track everything from sleep to stress to workouts, and it’s always on me. Yeah, it does many things that an Apple Watch or Fitbit does, but my favorite thing is that it doesn’t have a screen and is a cool accessory to wear. The sleep tracking is excellent, and I routinely go back and see how my sleep changes over time (RIP eating anything after 8pm).
  • Ooler Pad: I have the older version but it’s basically a heating and cooling pad for your bed. I find I save money by cooling my bed rather than the whole room (within reason, you still need some AC) and you can set it to pre-heat the bed in winter too. It can also wake you up by heating the bed in the morning, which is a much more peaceful wake up than any alarm clock. Related to this, I use the Bagby clock because I’m big on having zero screens in the bedroom.
  • Kobo Reader: I have the Libra 2, and outside my phone is probably the most used device I have. It syncs with Libby so you can rent and read books for free from your local library, and I’m not kidding when I say I’ve been BURNING through books since getting it for myself for Christmas 2023. It’s far less eye straining than a normal screen, and is small enough to fit in a pocket: meaning it replaces mindless scrolling on the metro with something much more rewarding.
  • Breville Mini Oven: I use this thing almost daily, and it’s great for both quick meals (it heats up so much faster than a normal oven) and for small apartment living.


  • Searching for Italy: It’s Tucci walking around Tuscany eating homemade pasta, what more do you need?
  • The Orville: Alongside Strange New Worlds, the Orville is a great blend of comedy and sci-fi that is very bingeable.
  • Reacher: One my recent adds, the writing is quick and witty, and who doesn’t love watching Alan Ritchson go to town on baddies. And it’s a nice throwback to the movies with Tom Cruise.
  • Lord of The Rings Trilogy: Obligatory add, and I’m both old and young enough to remember growing up watching these with my dad on VHS.

Honorable Movie Mentions: Stutz, CODA, and The Way I See It


You can find me lurking on: r/simpleliving, r/powerwashingporn, r/brainfog, r/realestateinvesting, r/AmateurRoomPorn, r/dataisbeautiful, r/malelivingspace, r/Mocktails, r/patientgamers, r/Privacy, and r/ZeroWaste


It wasn’t until a few years after college that I learned books can be a way to learn new ways of thinking (not just for a test), and ever since, these are the books that have shaped my life the most:

  • Four Thousand Weeks: One of my mantras (or I should say hard realizations) is that I can do a lot of things, but I can’t do everything. This book helped me realize that the moment I’m living in, right now, is my life. And postponing things- like reaching out to a friend when I think of them- to some future moment where I’m in a better mindset to give the task the attention it deserves- means that moment won’t actually come.
  • Happy City: This book changed a lot of the ways I think about cities. As a teetotaler, it was a mindset shift away from cities are just about nightlife to cities are where ideas and culture happens, and just because DC wasn’t the city for me, doesn’t mean that’s true for everywhere else.
  • Building a Second Brain: We’re all bombarded by wayyy to much stuff to read, watch, and obsess over- and it’s maddening. BASB helped me setup the personal workflows and processes that let me save information (like healthcare info), ideas, project plans, and more that I can save for future reference. It sounds complex, but it’s actually really calming, since my mind knows that everything it needs can be pulled up at any time.
  • The Art of Gathering: This book addresses the why behind we gather, and helped me realize that when hosting, it’s not about having an impeccable place that brings out my inner Bobby Berk, but focusing on the relationships I’m trying to strengthen.
  • When the Body Says No: Our healthcare system is great (costs aside) at solving clear diseases and infections, but what about longer standing issues like fatigue and depression? Turns out, they may be linked to chronic stress and emotions more than we might think (much of which we inherited from our parents and grandparents).


  • CinemaTherapy: The name is self explanatory, but you’ll never watch a Pixar, Harry Potter, or really any other movie the same way again.
  • Streetcraft: Call me a bike-riding YIMBY, but a thing I think about a lot is how design plays a role in public spaces. Put another way, as a kid and later teenager, living in the suburbs felt isolating and suffocating because they were designed to be that way. Streetcraft talks a lot about that in a way that feels accessible.
  • Zeihan Geopolitics: This is my morning breakfast watch, and talks about the context and politics that drive a lot of the world news we see. It also led me to a great book, Prisoners of Geography.
  • Christian Jackson: Probably the furthest topic from what I do today, but in a past life I did lighting design for corporate events and helped staff a few touring shows when they were in town, and Christian is a designer behind a lot of the country’s bigger shows. If you’ve ever wondered how concert lighting comes to be, here’s your new rabbit hole.


  • Stratechery: Ben Thompson spent years on the industry, and I find his writing and podcasts sheds a lot of light on the why and thought process behind big tech.
  • Nick Gray: Nick is the author of the 2-Hour Cocktail Party, and his posts have inspired the way I think about hosting events in that it’s not about doing bigger spectacles to wow people, but finding ways to host easier events more often.
  • The Essential Man: I’m still figuring out what my personal style looks like, but Peter was a huge resource for me starting out, alongside The Modest Man.

Honorable Mentions: Mark Manson, Cal Newport, He Spoke Style, Style Girlfriend, The Art of Manliness, The Intercept, Mat Stoller, Gil Gildner, Tiago Forte, and Kat Vellos


Travel Spots

  • Český Krumlov: A small town in the Czech Republic that’s right out of a fairy tale. I visited around Thanksgiving 2022, and there’s a small Italian restaurant there that, to this day, has the best Bolognese I’ve ever had.
  • Australia: The entire country is out of a postcard, and the 16+ hour trip is 100% worth it. I’ll never forget staying in a Hostel on the beach, and waking up with the realization that there’s literally a planet between me and all my problems back home. I toured with GAdventures back in 2017.
  • Brussels: I visited Europe for Christmas in 2023 with my sister (our first solo trip without the folks) and we visited Amsterdam, Brussels, Bruge, Zurich, and Geneva, and by far my favorite was Brussels. It’s got a cool blend of French and German influence, and I had an outstanding waffle served from a van outside the capital.

Mantras and Habits

  • No Social Sunday: Every Sunday I block every social media site across all of my devices using Freedom. It really helps beat the Sunday scaries.
  • Clean While Away: I have a monthly cleaning service come to my apartment; I live in a tiny studio, so the idea took me a while to come around to, but I try to schedule them while I’m traveling and I can’t explain the joy I get coming back to a spotless place. It’s worth every penny.
  • Bedtime Starts in the Morning: I try to get into sunlight within 20 minutes of waking up, and I find it does wonders for being able to fall asleep at my usual bedtime.
  • Leave the Phone: Whenever I find myself wound up or my mind racing, I’ll go on a walk or run errands without my phone. It honestly feels illegal at first, and I’ve legit gone grocery shopping with a paper list in 2024. But it feels great to be out and distraction free.


  • Todoist: I manage everything I need to keep track of in Todoist, and have so since about 2017. That includes random thoughts at 3am, cool ideas or places people tell me about, or inspiration for blog posts and pages such as this.
  • Notion: Anything that’s important to remember, but not really a ToDo, goes in Notion, which I use for my 2nd brain. This houses everything from car registration info to doctor notes from my last checkup.
  • Ate: I started logging every meal since the start of 2024, and it’s been massive in helping me figure out sensitivities and what type of diet makes me feel my best. I like Ate because it’s visual- all you need to do is take a photo (I find macro tracking takes the joy away from eating).
  • Bearable: I use Bearable to track my daily mood and health metrics, and over time can use that to see how things like morning exercise vs supplements impact my mood and energy.
  • One Sec: Just like everyone else I’m guilty of mindlessly scrolling, and One Sec is an app that makes me pause before opening distracting apps. In other words, am I checking Bumble because I’m bored, or because I’m actually in the mood to send out messages?
  • Blank: I use this as my main minimalist phone launcher, and I love the clean look it gives my Home Screen. No annoying apps, no clutter, just the apps I use most.
  • Freedom: The more nuclear version of One Sec, this app completely blocks sites and apps for set periods of time. It’s been huge for my mental health since I have routines like blocking all work apps (email) after 8pm, and all social media once a week for what I call “Social-Free Sundays”
  • You Need A Budget: Putting this under business because I think of budgeting more along the life-admin types of things, but this app changed the way I think about money. Whereas Mint tells you where your money went, YNAB helps you plan for where it goes. Instead of forgetting that you have a $200 car registration bill coming up, YNAB lets you budget for it every month; over time it means you’re actually planning for bigger costs, and helps you break out of the month-to-month paycheck cycle. May have bought a house using this!


  • PRISM: PRISM is a faculty-led, student run Marketing agency based out of Virginia Tech. It’s where I got my start in Marketing years back, and today they continue to pair students with real-world experience. I’m a founding member of their Alumni Council.
  • Comfort Zone Camp: Picture your usual summer camp with swimming, bonfires, you name it- but every kid has lost a significant person in their life. I started volunteering as a Big Buddy in Spring 2024, and the lessons I’ve learned from it have been nothing short of life changing. It’s a heavy weekend, but a ton of fun, and they’re always looking for more men to volunteer (if you do, tell ‘em I sent you)