Ultimat Vodka

There’s someth8ing to be said for a good, strong Polish vodka. Ultimat was crafted by the delicate hands and fantastic minds behind Patron Tequila, which we all know is the world’s best tequila. While you could make any cheap vodka, label it for blending, and turn a profit, you can’t mimic pure excellence. Ultimat is excellent on the rocks or mixed into just about anything, while keeping its distinct flavor.

 

Ultimat has been lining the top shelves of bars across America, and filling the oddly-shaped glasses as fine dining establishments—it’s a drink that brings people together, getting straight to the point, and getting you straight to relaxation. For the Ultimat way to unwind, we both know there’s only one choice.

 


 

Purity Vodka

A few times in your life, you’ll come into contact with one of those specific bottles of alcohol. One of whiskey, and one of vodka—or so the legend goes. That legend brings you here to Purity Vodka’s premium taste. 100 point vodka that’s been organic-certified, distilled 34 times, and winner of six consecutive years of Vodka of the Year, as awarded by The Spirits Business.

 

Purity’s bottle looks like it was pulled from the depths of some subterranean crystal cavern, filled one of the smoothest substances on Earth. Mixing it isn’t going to leave much of a distinct flavor, but it will leave an impactful punch in whatever you’re blending together. This is top shelf vodka at a mid-grade price, making it an excellent gift, and an even better addition to the top of your liquor cabinet.

 

What you need for a Moscow Mule

  • Lime
  • Vodka
  • Ginger Beer
  • Frozen Moscow Mule mug
  • Lots of Ice

Mix them all to your taste. Some people like it with more vodka, some with more lime juice. Choose your own quantity for each ingredient and make it perfect for yourself and others.


 

Victoria Prima

This has a flavor unlike any beer you’ll try this year. While you get a big rush of hops, you also get that “overloaded washing machine” look when you pour it into a glass. It’s a delicious beer, and it’s underrated.

 

This is the definition of a summer beer; an icy six pack by the grill on a hot day is just where Victory Prima belongs. While it’s not the biggest crowd pleaser, you can always buy your friends light beer.

 

You know, if you consider them friend. Some people have an aversion to victory.

 


 

Adorini Humidor Treviso Deluxe

When you spend good money on quality products, you’re expecting them to work for you—rightfully so. This humidor stashes up to sixty cigars for you (depending on your preference) and comes with all the bells and whistles that you expect when you look for a quality humidor.

 

The UV-protected glass on three sides allows you to keep the lights on, but to take a quick inventory just by looking through the case, all without having to open it. Let your worry slip away when you gaze upon the hair hygrometer built right into this unit. It comes with a pre-calibrated and pinpoint precise humidification system, allowing your cigars to rest on the lined felt, all without having to worry about them going stale.

 

Also—it’s damn cool looking. Don’t deny it; you want this sitting up on your fireplace mantle. If you have a mantlepiece, it’s about to have a high-class neighbor. It’s the piece that your home’s guests will be talking about, especially after they enjoy a nice crisp cigar out of the humidor and get a feel for what this baby can do.

 


 

Your Brief Guide to Choosing Your Next Wine

The wine has gone from elegant dinner party drinking, to casual. In fact, wine has been booming in recent years, as most of the Millenial population has ascended to this inexpensive and widely different world of wine buying. There are more brands being created for the wine business than ever before, and as such, it’s hard to figure out what you want. Whether you’re bringing it as a gift or having a drink after work, here are the characteristics of the wine that are going to aid in the determination process. First, let’s start with the Fourteen Robots crew’s top three picks for wine.

 

  1. Game of Thrones 2015 Red Blend, Paso Robles

 Whether or not you agree with how the series is coming to a close, you have to admit: their wine sure looked pretty good. Well, it’s on display and for sale, boating one of the coolest designs we’ve ever seen for a wine bottle. Apart from the obvious book and show craze, this wine actually has distinct and eccentric flavors, all without costing you an arm and a leg.

 

  1. NV Thousand Islands Winery, North County Red

 We were pretty shocked at the price. For less than you’d expect, a brand name label can be sent right to your front door. There’s nothing better than a top quality red wine, especially when you’re not pouring out your wallet to get it. Especially for those who aren’t too heavy into wine, or want to bring something delicious to dinner, you find everything you need in this bottle.

 

  1. Black Oak California White Zinfandel

 One of the most popular picks for wine is white zin. It’s inexpensive, packs great fruity flavor, and, admittedly, can get you tipsy before long. It’s a crowd-pleaser; you’re not going to bring this to dinner, only to find a unanimous hatred of white zin. You may have just helped someone pick out their next favorite wine, you know. Don’t worry; your viewership is thanks enough.

 

What Do I Look For In Wine?

 When you drink any type of alcohol, even if it’s not a personal purchase requirement, you’re going to look at the alcohol volume percentage. It’s a given—we all do it. Wines can contain as little as 4.5% alcohol and are generally considered more party-like drinks than those looking to enjoy a single glass of excellent wine at home. A great wine has between 10% and 12.5% alcohol volume; it’s just the right amount to help you unwind, while not overpowering the flavors associated with your specific bottle. One of the points of wine is: you want something flavorful. “Getting the job done,” or just getting smashed, can be achieved with cheap vodka or whiskey, but that’s not the route you’re going for. You want flavor with a buzz.

 

Do I Shop Reds or Whites?

That all depends on your preference. Sometimes, it takes biting the bullet a little bit or getting some wine delivered to your door to pick your favorite flavor and body. If you’re looking to become prolific, we recommend giving Wine Folly a read: it’s one of the best-selling guides to wine that you’ll find, and it’s told in the tone of the everyday wine drinker. You don’t have to be posh to enjoy an icy bottle of wine.

 

That being said, there’s a distinct flavor difference. Whites tend to have a bit more of a sharp, bitter taste to them; you get the full essence of the alcohol. Reds are considered to be heart-healthy; some cardiologists actually recommend a glass of red wine with dinner every night. Who knew, right? Reds also contain antioxidants, which are the keys to unlocking the well of youth, and just generally good for you. Do you want a fruitier, fuller taste? Go red.

 

What Do You Mean There’s a Wine Subscription Service?

 There are a bunch of these floating around, but the most prominent is Winc. Grab a bottle of wine starting at $13 a whack, and choose from a boatload of different vendors. You know the beauty of Fourteen Robots recommending things, right? We’re a small group of guys telling you what we love—these are recommendations from guys who’ve actually tried it, and liked it. (Mostly our writer; he likes wine a little too much.)

 


See also: Quick Whiskey Buyers Guide

Your Brief Guide to Rum

Beloved by Jack Sparrow and drink mixers alike, rum has been the go-to for centuries. It gives you the kick you need and is easily masked by the flavors you want. That being said, it’s also this writer’s favorite to drink straight-up on the rocks. As with the rest of our guides, take a look at our top three picks for rum before continuing onto the flavors and consistencies you should be looking for. If you decide on purchasing from our affiliates linked (1-877-Spirits), get a discount when entering 14-R in the promotion field at checkout.

 

  1. Montanya Oro Dark Rum

If you’re not a fan of darks, whether it’s in craft beer or rum, then you’re going to be in for a treat—Montanya built the hybrid between lighter and darker rum. This is light enough to be enjoyed over an ice ball and dark enough to go from your hand to your head in sixty seconds flat.

 

  1. Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum

A hare’s breath away from being a thickly-spiced rum, Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum brings us the flavor palette of an esteemed gentleman, while getting right to the point and relaxing our muscles in a snap. When you want charred, smoky, and oaky, go for the black barrel.

 

  1. Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum

Flavored rums rub some guys the wrong way, but you can’t jam out to Buffet (could you ever jam out to Buffet?) without coconut rum. Mix it into just about anything, and you’ll have endless summertime in a glass.

 

What Makes Rum So Good For Mixing?

Rum makes mixing drinks a blast. Its low-key flavor is easy to hide behind high-acidity fruit juices, especially pineapple juice. Rum mixes into summertime drinks without a problem. While the alcohol content can seriously pack a punch, especially when blended with other alcohols, you get the rum flavor to underline the drink, not embolden it.

 

What Should I Look For in a Rum?

Would I be lazy to say that you should just like it straight-up? If you can throw a shot back and genuinely enjoy the taste, you’ve found your rum. Beware, however—not every rum blends well. Captain Morgan tends to be better on its own or mixed straight into other alcohols, while Parrot Bay (also by Captain Morgan) blends better into other flavor profiles.

 

If you enjoy it straight, you’ll enjoy it behind a wall of flavorful additives.

 

What’s a Robot Mojito?

We’re so glad we positioned you to ask. After trying over two-dozen recipes, it’s our own little twist on a good mojito.

Robot Mojito sitting at a bar.
Robot Mojito sitting at a bar.
  • 2oz white rum
  • 2oz sparkling water/club soda
  • 3 mint leaves
  • ½oz simple syrup
  • ¼oz lime juice
  • ¼oz lemon juice

 

Do you want to experience rum like a champion? Mojitos are the way to go. Everything’s better with a robotic flair, don’t you think?

 


 

The Porch (Sacramento, CA)

Southern food is an age-old favorite for a reason—it’s delicious comfort food that always promises to envelop you in its warmth, and whisk you away to tastebudtopia. The exterior of the building looks like a southern-style mansion, and the interior is like beer heaven came to Earth, and for some reason, us mere mortals are allowed entry.

 

Fries, chicken, and burgers—that’s what I got while I was there, and I somehow managed to gluttonously shove down their buttery red velvet cake. By the time I paid, I was ready to retire for the week, and wake up so I could come back and do it all again. Fair pricing, southern-style food in the heart of Sacramento, all with a spirits menu that’s certain to excite.

 

Sit at the bar in the evening, and just nestle into the atmosphere. There’s really nothing like it; The Porch makes their own atmosphere. It’s not a dusty bar or an old west saloon—it’s The Porch. You have to experience it to understand it; tell them FourteenRobots sent you.

 

The Porch Restaurant & Bar
1815 K Street
Sacramento, CA 95811
916.444.2423

 


 

Quick Whiskey Buyer’s Guide

Whiskey is the prime drink of the working man, the businessman, everyone in between, and everyone beyond. It finds its way to every demographic, no matter what their preference is—you want to know why? It’s evolved over the years. If you’re looking for your next favorite whiskey, or you’re not a whiskey drinker and want to find that perfect introductory bottle, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s start with our top three picks for whiskey.

 

  1. Bookers Bourbon Small Batch

 Booker’s has always been a crowd favorite, and their small batch reminds us all why. When you don’t see a brand in constant advertisements, you start to forget them. When you pop into a pub for the first time in ages, and you see Booker’s on the shelf, you can’t help but smile. Their bourbon brings you all the flavors, packed into the punch of a single bottle—can you handle it? – Get a discount when entering “14-R” at checkout.

 

  1. Jack Daniels Sinatra Select

 We all know Jack has what it takes to turn your Friday night into the good time you’ve been hoping for. Jack Daniels has a wide variety of different whiskeys, but one of the most unique flavors out of their lot comes in Sinatra Select. When you go with a Sinatra, you’re getting a uniquely smooth ride—it’s fresh pavement and new tires. It goes down easy, taking you with it down the highway. – Get a discount when entering “14-R” at checkout.

 

  1. Ranger Creek .36 Straight Bourbon

 Single malt whiskey brands come and go, and then there’s Ranger Creek. (Personally, I never go without having a bottle of .36 on my shelf.) Brewed the way that only a Texas distillery can, .36 Straight is a scotch-style whiskey that blows their competition right out of the water. It’s hand-crafted and boasts one of the most unique flavors of any whiskey on the market. FourteenRobots.com’s top pick for the perfect whiskey for any occasion—Ranger Creek’s .36 Straight Bourbon.

 

What Do I Look For In a Whiskey?

 There’s a process that most whiskeys follow: sweetness at the lips, bitterness at the tongue, dry, smoky residual effect in the throat. When you throw back a shot or a glass of whiskey, you’re letting it take control and deliver an air of comfort and relaxation. Not everyone is big on the burn, some hate even the slightest hint of sweetness in their whiskey, so when you pick up a bottle or read a description line, here’s what to look for.

 

For the sweetness lovers, you’ll want to look for ingredients like caramel, toffee, or at least the flavors/extracts of them. This is going to give you that little zing on your lips and carry on right through to the very base of your palette, delving your senses into unique and sweet flavors, while still delivering the buzz.

 

Light whiskeys give you a slightly sweet taste, the same sweetness you can find in fruits like apples and pears. The burn has less of a residual effect, described as a “clean finish.” All that means is when it’s gone, it’s gone. You get a very minute smoky feeling, while the rest of it dies out within a minute or so after swallowing.

 

Then you get to full-on smoky whiskeys. For those of us who dive into the pool in the dark, the thrill-seekers, you go straight for smoky whiskeys. Part of the fun of trying new smoky whiskey brands is the plunge—throwing a shot back without taking a whiff from the bottle is exciting, while introducing you into an entirely different world than the one you were just standing in. It leaves more of a burn and smoky residue in the back of the throat, and that’s what some of us are after.

 

Whiskey on the Rocks

For those of you who enjoy alcohol in its purest form (whatever comes out of the bottle, stave off the mixers and juices and such), splashing a few ounces of whiskey over an ice ball chills it to the core, and intensifies all of those attributes and flavors in your favorite brand and flavor profile.

 

Scotch Whiskey

 Scotch comes in a couple different types depending on how it’s made. Scotch is a richer flavor than standard whiskey, distinct and sharp on your tongue. Scotch is best enjoyed with a big ball of ice, (made specifically for scotch drinkers), and goes down nice and smooth.

 

Bourbon

 In the family tree, bourbon is the fun uncle of the family. Bourbon contains at least 51% corn, and fills out the rest with rye or wheat, and malted barley. It’s distinct and dry, so for you smoky lovers out there, bourbon is a great bet.

 


 

Woodford Reserve Rye

We’re coming straight out of Kentucky with this one. Woodford Reserve is a grand slam, and one of the most potent rye whiskeys I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. When you pop open that top and get punches in the nose by the musk of real man’s whiskey, there’s no going back.

I’m a fan of whiskey on the rocks. Tossing four ounces of this over an ice ball hit the spot like nothing else. I can see Jack Daniels tearing up from the liquor cabinet shelf, and I think “Baby Come Back” is playing somewhere in the background. It’s hard to put Woodford down, but so easy to throw back.

 


 

Springbank 10

What’s better than a ten-year long marriage? A ten-year long marriage with Springbank 10 on your shelf for those special occasions. Each shot worth contained within this bottle is preset for a special moment in your life—you just don’t know what that is. Not yet.

 

When you sit back and watch your daughter go on her first date—Springbank’s celebratory shot is there. When your last mortgage payment gets mailed out—you guessed it: Springbank. It’s a premier whiskey that’s already got a spot on your top shelf (you just have to move the other ones over). Whiskey is one of those spirits that people love to overanalyze. If you’re a regular reader here at Fourteen Robots, then you know that’s not how we do it.

 

It goes down hard, leave the most delectable burn on the back of your throat for about thirty seconds, and settles into the spots that need it the most. Melt in your chair with the one-shot unwinder, and save the next shot for the next special occasion in your life.

 


 

Oliva Serie V Melanio Robusto Cigar

If you need to lean back in your chair, and just enjoy a clean stack of smoke rising to the ceiling, dissipating in the air, then you’re looking at an Oliva Serie to get the job done. This company was recently acquired by J. Cortez Cigars N.V. back in 2016, who is most noted for their Calvano brand, among four other brands of exquisite cigars.

 

The biggest concern was maintaining Oliva’s premier standard, which thus far, Cortez has managed to do with flying colors. You get a perfect blend of cedar, and silky, smooth smoke that leaves your lips feeling dried like a winter campfire, and your lungs feeling relaxed and smoky. Straight from Nicaragua, this recipe—which has been around in Cuba since the early 1800s—remains to be a favorite among anyone who has the pleasure of lighting one up, and settling on down.

 


 

Yellow Spot

We’ve been without Yellow Spot in this crazy, mixed-up world since the 1950s. Almost sixty full years later, back in 2010, they brought it back out in full swing. This UK-based Irish whiskey is aged for twelve years, triple-distilled, and gets you buzzed after the first shot.

 

This is a dry, raspy whiskey that’s going to be best served warm. Grab it from the cabinet and pour away. In the US, we’ve been able to enjoy it since 2015, and it’s absolutely flying off the shelves. While it’s not going to make your wallet very happy, how can you say no to a whiskey like that?

 

Get it here to get 5% discount using 14RVICES at checkout


 

UV Vodka

UV has become the go-to vodka for college students. It’s inexpensive, blends well into just about any beverage, and comes in a plethora of flavors. In my freezer right now, is a bottle of blueberry UV vodka that’s coated in ice, and blends perfectly with your favorite lemon-lime soda.

 

UV Vodka has an excellent strength to it, while also tasting clear and clean. You get the exact burn you’d expect on the back of your throat from an inexpensive vodka, and it burns so well.

 

You can click UV Vodka to see all the different flavors and styles that UV offers. If you grab a bottle tonight, you won’t be disappointed. It delivers on all the flavor you want, and your wallet will thank you.

 


 

 

Teaching Your Kids to Drive: The Positive Effects

Do you remember the first time you were able to drive with your buddies in the car, and how that felt? One of the best things in life is hitting the open road, and just gunning it. Going wherever it takes you. To a parent, that sounds terrifying, but there are a bunch of excellent benefits to teaching your children to drive. Let’s get into it:

 

  1. Viva La Freedom

 Not all parents are perfect. With teenagers, sometimes we end up yelling, saying things we regret, and the fights get out of hand. Nobody likes to hear it like that, but it’s true, and it’s part of the process of growing up. They’ll rebel, even in their own tiny ways. When they can go cool off with their friends or go for a relaxing drive, everyone gets a clearer head before the verbal warfare escalates. Let them hit the road for a few hours if they really want to; everyone is a lot calmer after some downtime.

 

  1. Teaching Responsibility

 It’s an exciting thing, but as we all know, cars are weapons in the wrong hands. Making this point clear without scaring your kid can help them come down from the adrenaline rush of learning to drive, and really see this for what it is: a privilege, not a right. This is your chance to teach them right so they don’t make mistakes that can cost accidents.

 

  1. Help When You Need It

We don’t want to use our kids as a package delivery service, but wouldn’t it be insanely helpful if they were able to drive the younger one to and from soccer practice? If you ran out of an ingredient while cooking; let them take the keys. It’s the start of letting go, piece by piece, and it builds on their responsibilities and skills.

 

  1. Turning It Into a Lesson

 I homeschool all four of my kids. They’re young enough that they don’t understand what money is yet, just that I need it if we’re going to do a lot of things. Teach them about the financial aspects: what does gas cost? What’s the wear-and-tear on the vehicle itself? How do you properly maintain your car? Use this as an opportunity to let them financially plan ahead for when they own their own ride.

 

  1. Bonding

 We’re in a day and age where a lot of us are working crazy workweeks, where everyone has their eyes glued to their mobile screen, so bonding time is at an all-time low. There’s a constant need to bond with our children, yet it’s an era where it happens far less. Take the time to build that connection with them, and blare your favorite tunes as you stroll through the parking lot, learning to parallel park. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing; make those memories last just as long.

 

When did you first learn to drive? Think back and remember what that felt like, and tell your son or daughter that you’re going to teach them from your library of wisdom.

 


 

 

Three Things You Always Need in Your Desk

Whether it’s to pay the bills or read one of the three most imperative books to your success, your desk is the throne of your home. Even if you’re not one of those “Dad’s Recliner” guys, you still have a proverbial roosting point. It’s the place your wife sees you when you’re managing the household and finances, where your kids see when you’re providing for their future. As such a seat of power in your home, there are three essentials that you should have in your desk at all times

 

  1. A Safe-Locked Loaded Gun

We can get into semantics all day long, but here’s the point: you need to protect your family, and you can’t dig out a safe from the top of your closet. One locked box in the top right drawer of your desk, or a gun in a drawer with a lock on the outside of it. Children won’t be able to reach it, and should an intruder break into your home, you’ll be able to defend yourself quickly, and effectively.

 

  1. A Plan

Not having a future plan for your family is like giving up. When you’re able to map out the money spent, steps taken, and battle scars you’ll be earning, it makes the path ahead more clearly. A notebook that hosts your information that a loved one may need should something happen to you, as well as a plan for what your family should do financially if you should pass, will be the best parting gift you can give to your loved ones.

 

  1. One Memento

 What drove you to pursue your career? What made you decide to walk up to your now-wife and ask her on a date? What made you want to be a father in the first place? We all have a handful of sentimental items. Whether it’s a prayer card, or a significant item that just resonates with us, having a memento in your desk—a reflective pool to grab and just hold when you need a moment of clarity—helps you stay grounded and focused.

 


 

 

Mulligan’s Bar and Grill

Deep in the roots of Farmingdale, there’s one of the best bars on the planet. Users on TripAdvisor agree; they have the best beer and the best wings in all of Jersey. It’s located conveniently near a few golf courses, making it the ultimate weekend retreat for the traveling businessman. Play around, peel off the singular glove and plop down in a booth.

 

I had the pleasure of stopping here on the way down from Boston to Miami. (I hate flying, you know? Seen too many Bruce Willis movies.) I’m not so much a wing fan as I am a steak fan, and I met my match.

 

Their garlic steak was probably the greatest steak I’ve had in recent years. I’ve been to a lot of steakhouses, I’ve been to a lot of bars, but I’ve never been to steak heaven like this. Just writing about it has me feeling nostalgic, and a bit hungry.

 

You land in that perfect atmosphere that’s certain to leave you feeling full, buzzed, and without lightening your wallet too much.

 

Price. Food. Booze. Check!

 


 

 

Empower Your Family With These Five Silent Rules

Media overload, exposure to violent news, the constant stream of negative information—does this all sound familiar? It’s new America. When we live in a world that’s constantly trying to bring us down, it’s up to you to bring your family up and empower them in this sea of uncertainty. Fourteen Robots are here to help.

 

  1. Keep It Positive

Silent rules are all about unspoken agreements. When you bring each other up, and you stay positive about everything, you’re going to see a rippling effect take place. Using positive words and staying away from negative tones will set your family on the right path, and help them keep their heads up even when they want to lean them down.

 

  1. Prioritize

 If you have a heap on your plate, prioritize tasks before you do anything else. Show your children and your wife that you’re able to handle things, do it in an orderly fashion, and maintain your family while doing so. Not everything can be done at the drop of a hat, and not everything should. This is also a silent lesson to show your family how it’s done.

 

  1. Pay Forward

 For no other reason than being a good person and following your moral compass, you should always pay it forward. Never do it in a way that shows your family, “Look at me, I’m paying it forward,” but just do it even when nobody’s looking. It pays off in the end (no pun intended).

 

  1. Take Care of Family First

 You can’t give everything away; you need to care for your wife and children before anything else. This shows them that you’re not only prioritizing properly but that you’ll do anything for them, as is your position as patriarch of the family.

 

  1. Settling Things Your Way

 That doesn’t mean “Highway or my way.” I can’t stand those guys. What it does mean is compromising appropriately, and showing your family that you can handle things in a non-aggressive, calm tone. Yelling and negative behavior damages your family’s psyche, piece by piece, brick by brick. When you resolve things calmly, it’s helpful for everyone.

The Best Apps for Android and iOS That Are Here To Stay

Apps come and go, but the best ones are forever (or about as permanent as you can affirm yourself in the media landscape). If you’re going to bench on a certain app to help you with your business, you don’t want the rug being pulled out from under your feet. That’s why you should go with the ones that are going to be around in a few years, and we’ve dug up the best ones for you. Some will be obvious, others won’t, but they’re all indispensable; we’d be shocked if any bad their plug pulled. Here are the best apps that strengthen your business.

 

  1. Microsoft Office Mobile

 This directly relates to every single app that Microsoft gives us. From Word to Excel, PowerPoint to OneNote, there’s an app for everyone. You may be wondering, “How are these organizational?” My friend, take a moment and look at fifteen seconds of a YouTube video regarding organizing your Excel or OneNote account; it’s mental, really. One of our writers (yes, I’m referring to myself in an obscure third-person perspective), uses Microsoft for everything, and so far, no broken bones.

 

  1. Google Suite

Sheets, Docs, the whole bit—Google’s a great competitor when it comes to Microsoft’s mobile office apps. One of the best things about using Google is the automatic cloud storage. Want to download a sheet to your phone or laptop? Fine, no worries—but, they are more shareable and collaborative than using Microsoft Online apps, so they win there. Google’s apps are perfect to get yourself organized and easily collaborate with others; a well-done sheet or doc is the key difference between your day going smoothly, or you mopping up a mess.

 

  1. Wunderlist

 You may have read our review on Wunderlist, and you may be wondering how it’s that effective. Well, once you hop into the interface, you’re going to be amazed. Unlike a lot of apps that have gone ahead and complicated things, forgetting why people loved them in the first place, Wunderlist has stayed true to their original design: a simplistic tool to help you manage your crazy, hectic, everyday life. It achieves it with flying colors.

 

  1. Evernote

So Evernote can be one of those tricky apps. It’s available for iOS and Android, but the apps are slightly different. You get a lot of the same functions as Wunderlist, but it’s more about collaboration than it is simple lists. You can stay organized and engaged with your fellow coworkers or employees, and you can even send updates, comment, and make annotations or edits on the run. It’s the perfect app to check in with progress and keep your tasks organized, and your business running efficiently.

 

  1. Asana

 Looking to manage content? If you’re running a digital business, like a digital marketing company, or you’re a content writer, you may have heard the name Asana tossed around quite a lot. It’s not just about the function of managing writing tasks, attachments, and so on, but everything is saved and recorded properly. You get to manage everything from a calendar, and just about every function is time stamped. Even if you have trouble with organizing yourself, Asana is going to help you stay on track.

 


 

 

Jefferson’s Reserve

Get ready to fall in love with the highest class of bourbon. Jefferson’s isn’t the first name when it comes to bourbon, but it’s certainly carved a path into my liquor cabinet.

 

Jefferson’s Groth Cask Finish Bourbon comes with a surprisingly full-bodied flavor for only being aged nine months inside of French oak barrels. You’re going to apologize to your wallet when you pick up a bottle, and you’ll pamper your taste buds later.

 

You know that perfect level of burn? Three to five seconds after swallowing one gulp, you’ll get those fiery fumes tingling the back of your throat, ensuring your next breath sends shockwaves all across the back of your tongue. To put it simply: Jefferson’s Reserve is kick-ass, and knocks every flavor out of the park.

 


 

 

Three Ways to Encourage and Lift Up Your Children’s Confidence

One of the biggest things that kids struggle with is finding their place in the world, or whatever their rendition of that “special place in the universe” is. Truth is, we still feel like that at certain intervals well into adulthood, but children, from the minute they can form a complete thought, and well on through their teenage years, are self-conscious, angsty, and nervous on a constant basis, even when they don’t show it. You have to encourage their confidence; it’s the building block of success.

 

  1. Support Them No Matter What

 When you support your kids in anything they do, they know one certainty in life: Dad’s got my back, and that’s enough. Don’t expect it to be a complete shield for them against the world, but when the day comes to a close and the dust settles, they know that someone believes in them, and that’s a confidence boost. Even if their interests aren’t your cup of tea, invest your time in them so that they can see how much you support them.

 

  1. Don’t Embarrass Them

 As parents, it’s heartbreaking to hear, “Dad, you don’t have to walk me to the door anymore,” from our kids. However, we’re not raising kids—we’re raising the next generation’s adults. You have to remember that your child, whether you like it or not, will take small baby steps towards independence, and this is one of them. It’s something you’ve been teaching them, and it’s paying off, but it’s always bittersweet. Embarrassment is hard to get over. Don’t be stubborn and insist on keeping to things that they find embarrassing now (within reason, of course). You have to give and take, pick and choose your battles with this one.

 

  1. Show Them That They Don’t Have to Stand For Everything

It’s a tricky, slippery slope here because, on one hand, you want them to respect the authority in your home. That’s not unreasonable. On another hand, you also want to raise someone who’s going to stand up for themselves (and others, should they need it) along the way. Show your children when to speak up, when to stay a gentleman/lady, and what shouldn’t be tolerated as normal human behavior. None of us would go back to being children—remember that, and teach them right from wrong to better distinguish when they should stand, and when they should open the door.

 

Being a dad isn’t easy. It’s a whole new level of difficulty, especially as you’re watching your oldest start growing up and taking shape as a full-fledged, independent man-in-the-making or woman-in-the-making. Foster their confidence, and you’ll be raising tomorrow’s adults that go boldly where their peers do not, who stand against the wind instead of going with the current.

 


 

 

 


 

 

To Get a Loan, or Not – That Is The Question

Don’t dock me for the cheesy title, you know it works. One of the biggest issues with taking your business to the next level is funding. Investors have turned their noses up (much like they did to Steve Jobs, and the original publishers who Rowling submitted to are still crying a river), and you’re planning on funding it yourself and growing at a slower rate, but keeping it steady. Slow and steady wins the race for a reason, you know—there’s nothing wrong with playing it safe, especially when you’ve got a family to feed, and a lifestyle to maintain.

 

But you don’t have the cash, so you need a loan. You don’t want to be locked-in to a loan, so you pay yourself. My head’s spinning just writing about it, so let’s look at a few pros and cons of doing it on your own, versus going through the bank and getting a loan to fund your venture.

 

Funding It Yourself

 You’ve been tucking away capital, or you’ve been using your own personal profits and rolling them in your account. You’ve been eating Ramen noodles every day and you haven’t bought a latte in a year—at least you have your shit together. Going at it on your own has its perks, and it’s drawbacks, mainly being…

 

Pros

It goes well, and you did great—fortunately for you, your likelihood of getting an SBA loan or credit union loan in the future has tripled. Your business is making money, and they love seeing you put your own cash, especially large amounts, into your business. Not only that but if you’re happy with where it’s scaled to, you don’t owe anything to anybody. The success is yours; the profits are yours.

 

Cons

There’s no loan insurance. No way to bail yourself out. You can’t pay back a loan because it simply doesn’t exist. There are a lot of failed business ventures (mostly restaurants) where the owner ends up working two jobs when it goes down in flames—one to live off of (yeah, you’re still going to be eating Ramen every night) and one to pay back the loan. You have zero umbrellas.

 

Getting a Loan

You either qualify for an SBA loan, or you’re able to get one through your local bank or credit union. Either is fine. But what are the terms and conditions? It’s not like the Apple Updates page, where we just click the little box, ignore the ever-accruing list of terms, and skip on our merry way—this is a big deal.

 

Pros

Even if you’re going for a microloan for a small one-man army shop, you’ll still be able to qualify, so long as you have some collateral and you can show your lenders that you’re making money. It’s actually fairly simple, so long as you’re not a fresh-out-of-the-gates business.

 

Cons

The higher you scale, the more you have to give as collateral. This can be in the form of a real estate piece, inventory, or anything that’s going to be worth money to these guys. It gets slippery, and you could be risking it all.

 

Resource To Manage Your Money Either Way

We’ve loved this excellent resource by Rachel Richards to get into the financial mindset, no matter which angle you choose.

 


 

 

Highlands Bar and Grill

Looking to grab a bite and get a fantastic selection of wines and draft beers? You’ve found the absolute perfect spot: Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham, AL. Just when you thought nobody could seamlessly blend French and old-fashioned southern atmosphere and food together—they pull it off with superiority.

 

Don’t let the posh waiters fool you; any casual gent can stroll on through and plop themselves along the bar. It’s difficult to explain if you haven’t been in Highlands before—it’s the perfect ambiance for every occasion. Taking the wife out for your anniversary? Getting off work after a long day? Highlands is where you belong.

 

Highlands Bar and Grill. Photo from Instagram: @highlandsbarandgrill

 


 

 

How to Budget For Your Family Vacation Without Bleeding the Bank Dry

Family vacations—they’re extremely necessary, but we never remember that until after we come home from one. You take a step back and tell yourself, “We really need to make this a thing.” Maybe you only go once a year. Maybe you splurge and go twice a year. The point is, it’s expensive every single time, and you have to know where you’re getting the money from. There are two models here that we recommend, so take a look and decide which is right for you.

 

The “Ante Up” Method

This is a more aggressive approach that involves taking your lifestyle, and making it a more minimalistic mantra. You’re probably going for two decent vacations per year if you select this method.

“Josh, I thought this was about keeping the bank in the green,” you may be thinking. It is, but if you want two vacations per year, and you’re making the median income (is there even a middle class anymore?) then you’re going to want to pay close attention to your finances. If you want this bad enough, you’ll be able to do it.

The first thing is this: cut back on your cell phone plan. Go for the most minimal option available. Most providers usually have talk, text, and unlimited data (slows down after X amount of GB), but it’s a surefire way to cut out, on average, about $360-$600 per year. That’s a few nights in a hotel and some road food depending on where you’re going.

Next thing, you’re going to take a closer look at your food budget. You want to keep the house stocked, but could you skim $10 worth of items from your list without it killing you? See what you can’t live without, cut back on those foods that aren’t necessary (even if you love them) and stick to meal staples and hearty ingredients. You can usually skim about $10-$25 per week off of this method, averaging a total of $520-$1,300 per year, which can account for a good amount of spending money and some travel expenses.

The big thing to remember is that you’re not going to auction off your stuff, no matter how bad you want that vacation. Don’t let the desire for it rip away the possessions and the lifestyle you currently have. You’re trying to add vacations to your lifestyle; not make a deal with the devil for them.

How many other things in your current budget can you think of that could be lowered? Do you have a monthly free-spending amount? Can you trim that? Assess your budget and really trim it back. All meat, no filler.

 

The “Micro Wager” Method

One stellar vacation per year for you. Doesn’t have to be too long, doesn’t have to be extravagant, but you need that time with the family. If you’re all about the bonding time and less about the destination and the amenities, you’re probably looking for a once-yearly trip that you don’t have to budget for.

In just about every household in America, we can think of one to five things, in the last week alone, that we shouldn’t have bought. Whether it’s a few $2 cups of coffee or take-out when we didn’t feel like cooking a meal, it’s important to take those moments, stow away the cash you would have spent, and call it a day. Distract yourself so you don’t reach into your back pocket and make that unnecessary transaction anyway.

If you’re usually seeing about $200 or more in free-spending per month, you’re going to restrict that number. Divide the average cost of your ideal vacation by twelve, and stash away one-twelfth every month. This won’t be enough alone, because you may just want to make that purchase from time to time, the one that will put you over. That’s why, on average, you’re stashing away those $2 blocks of money, to account for buffer room.

This method is all about being stress-free and making it work inline with your lifestyle so you can take a much-needed vacation without worrying all year long on how to achieve it. Calm mind, calm life.

 

Either Way, Enjoy Your Time

Family vacations aren’t supposed to be about work or devices—enjoy the time you have with your wife and children, because those days of fun in the sun are only around for so long before they start leading their own lives, or your other prospects start taking up most of your time. Enjoy it now, or you’ll miss it later.

 


 

Top 5 Books To Read Before Launching Your Startup

There’s nothing quite like launching your new business: there’s adrenaline, there’s honeymoon-style love, there’s… there’s… a whole lot to do. Even the tasks that you really, really don’t like are going to be crucial to starting up your business. There’s going to be hurdles, leaps, and bounds that all need to be met, and met quickly. These are the best books to go through and study before you actually take step one when launching your startup.

 

  1. The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career

Author Reid Hoffman brings us a collaboration with co-author, Ben Casnocha, all about the ultimate core value of yourself in your startup. No matter how many entrepreneurs have come before you, ride with you, or will come after you, nobody can have your exact idea. Investing in yourself, as corny as it may sound, is the number one step you have to take. You need to know what you’re looking to accomplish, what you hope to achieve, and how you’re going to get there. Reading this title is going to help you get to a mental state of clarity, and ask yourself the tough questions.

 

  1. The Startup Club

 Boasting a well-rounded overview of what it takes to commit to your startup, author JJ Ramberg achieves a level of excellent explanation that rivals any public speaker you’ve ever heard, no matter how many years of Dreamforce you attended. If you’ve ever wanted honest insight into what it takes to really grab your startup by the horns and push it on through the muck and the mud, Ramberg’s going to teach you in a brief novel that goes from the starting line all the way to your first day. The best part? It’s designed for children, and don’t worry—us adults can all learn quite a bit from it.

 

  1. The Startup Checklist: 25 Steps to a Scalable, High-Growth Business

 Far more than a simple checklist, David S. Rose brings us the fundamentals that you need in place before you launch your startup business. The aim of the game isn’t the same as the rest of the flock: David is giving you concrete steps that abide by the necessities of just about every startup model you can think of. There are just certain ins and outs that require your attention, no matter what industry you’re hoping to break into.

 

  1. Startup Evolution Curve From Idea to Profitable and Scalable Business: Startup Marketing Manual

 Take the research of 1,400+ business startups, and let Dr. Donatas Jonikas show you the rights, the wrongs, and explain why over thirty international startup experts look towards this as the businessman bible that they recommend to other new startups. As Dr. Jonikas states, this isn’t a one-time read, but a manual that you should consult the whole way to success, (and, admittedly, during your success, too). While most entrepreneur books on startups come through the door like a coffee table guide, this thick book is one of the best investments you’ll ever decide on.

 

  1. The Start-Up J Curve: The Six Steps to Entrepreneurial Success

 Author Howard Love couldn’t be any more dead-on about startup success and failure. There’s a sense of dizziness we all feel in the startup phase, even when you’re just planning it all out, and no money has been spent, and no pen has been put to paper. With more than thirty-five years of experience in the startup world, Love’s got the goods and the know-how when it comes to getting your startup moving along like a freight train, and mentally grounding yourself in the process so you don’t freak out the entire time. Don’t worry; we all do.

 

Are your fellow LinkedIn connections startup champions, too? Share this one on your LinkedIn feed and tag your mates. (The ones who aren’t competing against you, anyway.)

 


 

 

Dead Guy Ale

Two legends—both named John—meet in the middle to create a hybrid ale of their very own designs. What we received out of their cumulative efforts was Dead Guy Ale. If you’re into whiskey (and who isn’t?) you’ll get some familiarities in the texture and flavors of your favorite middle-shelf whiskey, all in an inexpensive, delicious package.

 

Avid testers agree that it’s sourer than it is sweet; I say it smacks you in the taste buds and says “Wake up; this is real beer.” It’s something you can enjoy on tap at the local pub. It accompanies spicy foods exceptionally well, so if you sit by with a basket of hot wings at the bar, you’re sure to be in for one hell of an evening.

 


 

 

Setup a Lemonade Stand Like a Real Dad

Okay, so it’s your child’s first attempt at their own small business. We know you’re teeming with delight, but it’s also a tricky situation to be in. Lemonade stands aren’t exactly great business ventures, considering most people only buy the lemonade to make the kid happy. Not only that, but we all remember that fiasco about a lemonade stand getting shut down years ago, even though it was just some little girl. That’s right—your kid’s hopes of that lemonade stand are dwindling, but as Dad of the Year, you can handle it. You’ll be doing all the behind-the-curtain work while teaching them how business, money, and responsibility works—it’s a big day, so do it right.

 

Step 1: Check With the Law

 Avoid having your kids getting their hopes shot down. Contacting your local town hall or an authority’s office is the quick way to know if there are any regulations in your area regarding lemonade stands, and sometimes, there are. Last I checked, there’s something like 500 cities and towns that have restrictions on lemonade stands, ranging from light to heavy. You may need a license to operate, a license for selling food, and you’ll have to make sure your kitchen is top-notch if the health department rolls through, so they can see where you make it, and deem it food safe. Sounds excessive? It is. Handle all that crap so your kids can get on with their excitement.

 

Step 2: Teaching Them Business

 You should take a week to set up the lemonade stand. Teach your kids about debt and loans, and have them choose whether they want to purchase a banner for their stand, or make one on their own. Teach them the difference between craftsmanship and cost, but also that making something on your own still costs money. Where’s the construction paper coming from? Where are the markers coming from?

 

You can also buy a lemonade stand base model, or, safely scour the internet for local listings on free pallets, buy some paint, bring out your tool bag, and show them how to make it on their own. Every business comes from the ground up—make it a learning experience.

 

Step 3: Recipes

 Not every lemonade recipe is going to win the gold. Now, base this on your children’s age and their enthusiasm, but teach them that they need to get a good recipe, and not to follow the exact recipe on the package of mix, or the first thing they find online. Teach them about going the angle all on their own, and making something new.

 

Step 4: Cash Management

 As a gift for opening day, buy them a cashbox and a calculator. When they need to give change or track spending, also supply them with a legal pad and a few pens. This is also a great time to implement charity, as not a lot of businesses do anymore. Tell customers that 5% of every donation goes to the local food pantry, or your charity of choice (but also check the legal ramifications in your area, you may need a permit for that, too).

 

At the end of the venture (they may do this all summer long, and I’d say go for it) get some learning material. Teach them what scaling a business is. If you take a look at our five books that help your success—some are designed for kids.

Parrot Bay Coconut Rum

Captain Morgan gives us a tropical twist on traditional rum, and it’s called Parrot Bay. It’s a totally different flavor than we’re used to when you think of Captain Morgan. It’s personally my favorite rum out there for drinking straight. Pop a bottle of this in the freezer, pop the top, and throw it on back right out of the b0ottleneck; you’re good to go.

 

Parrot Bay is a lot sweeter than you’d expect from Captain Morgan. You definitely get that calm, numbing burn in the back of your throat, but it’s flavorful as can be. Parrot Bay, when mixed with a shot of orange juice, makes the perfect drink to serve at a cookout this summer. If your goal is to get as drunk as possible, make like Jack Sparrow and drink it straight.

 

Get 5% off when purchasing here with code 14RVICES

 


 

The Benefits of Having More Than One Child

When you have a singleton, you’re going to hear one phrase at least once: “Can I have a little brother/sister?” Instead of panicking, approach the topic with care. In fact, consider it. If you’ve established yourself, transmogrified into a parent, and you love your children with all your heart, why not fulfill their wish? It isn’t just about four-year-old children wanting something beyond their control or understanding, but for you and your wife—consider it like this:

 

Playmates

Look, I have four children. All boys. They’re ages five and down (twins in the middle). I’m not saying it’s a seamless lifestyle choice, but I love my boys very much. That being said, there’s something about seeing your kids play together that just lights a fire in your heart, and makes you feel like you’re fostering positive relationships. I mean, five minutes later they could be whipping LEGOs at one another. There’s chaos time, and then, there’s playtime. Both are equally treasurable.

 

When They’ve Grown

When they’re teenagers, who are they going to call when they get drunk at a party? It may be you, and you may have my golden rule: “If you call me for help, for no reason whatsoever will I speak about it get mad at you. I want you to be safe more than anything else.” That, of course, will be outfitted with no words being exchanged, and as promised, never speaking of it again.

 

Teenagers are also less likely to tell their parents things that are bothering them. That’s just a fact of life; we’ve all been down that road. They can tell their friends, but they can also tell their siblings. Fostering a healthy sibling lifestyle is difficult from the parent’s end. I’ve already had to talk with the eldest about tattling/ratting on his younger brothers. They don’t get in trouble for it, and I tell the eldest that it’s okay not to tell me every little thing they do. It’s helped him differentiate what is tell-worthy, and what isn’t, and it boils down to this: If it’s going to hurt someone, or it’s dangerous in any means, tell me.

 

Family Gatherings

If you’re a father who’s going to be proud of his children no matter what, who’s going to be there for them for anything, then you’re going the right direction. Kids need that sense of structure more than anything. I’ll tell you one thing, having multiple children is definitely going to make family gatherings that much more fun. However many children you have X how many hours you have to stay at one of those things = the total outcome of your fun.

 

Whether it’s having two or more, you have to know your limits. We’ve maxed-out at four. Don’t have so many children that their quality of life is affected; you need to be able to give them the time they need individually, and, I hate to say it, money is a big factor. Don’t be the dad who works eighty hours a week just to be broke; this is the time to make the best memories, so get on out there, and do it.

Solar Powered Windows: Business Investment, or a Pitfall?

We’re seeing an abundance of solar-powered technology sweeping the nation, all in the nick of time (we hope). Solar farms are popping up all across Africa and North America; Germany has become the most energy independent nation on Earth, rivaling America nearly fourfold. It’s an amazing time, and with innovative energy solutions, we get the startups and the pitfalls. Solar powered windows—it sounds crazy, but it just might work.

 

How Solar Panels Work

 Solar panels are actually photovoltaic slabs that are made out of silicon cells—an entire network of them—and through those, solar power can be extracted and turned into kinetic energy, or electric energy. The same thing is being done to windows, but is it a wise investment?

 

Solar Powered Windows

 It sounds a bit redundant to call them “solar-powered windows,” since windows are the ones being run by solar energy—however, they are absorbing solar energy in small batches. Much like the first development of photovoltaic panels back in 1954, solar windows are slow moving. Back when Chapin, Fuller, and Pearson developed solar cell energy, the effectivity range was within, or less than 1%. That’s how these windows are operating in their infancy.

 

They undergo a certain type of adhesive, which applies micro-thin layers of silicon cells to the windows, while still making them appear clear and bright. You get a small amount of tint to them with most models, roughly between 3%-5%. That energy is then sapped into the cells, and when all the cells fill up (which can happen fairly quickly), the energy moves to the base of the windows to bleed into thin lines that feed into the energy supply of the building. It’s as if you’re slowly sapping the sun for small bits of energy.

 

It’s Not Worth It… Yet

 This is definitely a breakthrough. Thousands of years ago, when glassmakers were crafting imperfect windows, they were just trying to keep the wind and the bugs out. Now, we have the power in our modern day and age to have our windows work for us. As of right now, though, it’s not really worth it. Not yet.

 

These solar windows end up running an extra $370.00 per window panel (on average, based on statistics gathered from the few startup companies that exist for this type of business model), and after enough time, those silicon cells that are essentially painted onto your windows will burn up. As about ten or twenty years stretch on, sun bleaching will strip the silicon cells of most of their usefulness, meaning that your energy absorption rate will diminish.

 

The tech is still there, and it shows great promise. Ten years from now, you could see solar-powered windows and windshields on cars aiding in extending the life of your battery, or windows that can charge your cell phone. The possibility is out there—it all depends on what we do with it.

 


 

 

The Original Cheers Bar in Boston: It’s Still Alive

Perhaps the most legendary bar in all of American history, though primarily due to the television show, Cheers in Boston is actually still operating today, and they may have the sitcom’s success in the early 80s to thank for it.

 

The show ran until 1993, which greatly boosted the bar’s popularity, but it’s more than a sexually-charged sitcom with a volley of jokes that has kept them alive and running. The bar still opens at 11:00 AM and closes at midnight, and it’s been running since 1895. They even have a second location, still located in Boston, Massachusetts.

 

So How Did This Bar Stay Open So Long?

 As with any business, you have to understand: it comes down to management. But there’s a lesson to be taken away from all of this. Boston is a prideful city. I’m originally from a Boston suburb, and spent most of my life there; I had the opportunity to go into cheers slowly after turning twenty-one, and it’s an experience. The employees are happy and loyal to the brand. It’s a phenomenon; even the patrons love being a part of one of the oldest bars in Boston. It’s a time-tested strain of factual evidence: you don’t stay open for 122 years (give or take the dry years,) providing the same exact services the whole way through, unless you have persistent, diehard brand loyalty.

 

Prohibition

 We know that bars were basically all shut down during the prohibition. But alas, speakeasies were born! While there’s nothing concrete, Cheers was one of the most revered pubs in all of Boston, and during prohibition, Papa Joe was known to smuggle booze into Boston. Where do you congregate to gather future campaign donators? What better way to a man’s liver than illicit alcohol? So, there’s nothing saying that Cheers was shelling out bottles during prohibition, but it didn’t transform into another business like many bars and pubs did during this period. I’ll let your imagination connect the pieces on this one.

 

How Is It Doing Today?

It’s 2017 at the time of writing this, and Cheers is doing better than ever. While most of the alcohol industry sees spikes in business when there are dips in the economy, Cheers has seen consistent clientele through everything. This would be the perfect time to be cheesy and insert the famous tagline for the Cheers sitcom, but by bringing it up, I’ve already put it in your head. You sang the theme in your head, didn’t you? (So did I.)

 

Visit the original Cheers.