Feb 17

Phased In For A Bite (Blue Moon in downtown York, PA)

Time to hit the streets and find a place to nosh. Myself and my dining partner (aka “My Better Half”) went looking for that special combo that one often strives to find: a place that buzzes a bit with the sound of fun and energy, and combines a great evening out with yummy food…

Walking into Blue Moon at 361 West Market Street is one of those moments when a venture out for food turns into a “visit” – like stopping over a friend’s house. The atmosphere presents itself in a really interesting way. The moment you enter the front door, a peek around a center column wall gives you a nice view of an open bistro space of earth tones with patches of blues and the reds and yellows from the room’s  fireplace.  A warm welcome, a walk to the table, coats to the coat rack. It’s eats time.

The menu is full of great spots to make the jump off, but we are focused on kicking this off right, so appetizer-ville here we come.

Leading Off (coupled with Surfin’ USA by the Beach Boys on the house sound) is the “Bang Bang Shrimp.” And just like the name suggests, this tasty portion is really a starting gun for the mealtime fun about to happen.

Boom Boom Shrimp (Boom. Mic Drop on this app.)

Boom Boom Shrimp (Boom. Mic Drop on this app.)

Romaine lettuce, diced red peppers and scallions are there at the party with you, but the headliners are those tasty little shrimp and the just-the-right amount of Remoulade-like sauce that complements the seafood. It’s an app solid for one, but most accommodating for two – even with the obligatory “battle for the last shrimpy” to which I am often the loser.




This salad has Bacon Jam as an amazing component. Bacon. Jam.

This salad has Bacon Jam as an amazing component. Bacon. Jam.

Next up (to the sweet sounds of “Be My Little Baby” by The Ronettes)… and “little salad” to share. Whew! Thank goodness this was a sharing situation as well, because this was an amazing salad. The Bibb Lettuce Salad is just chalk full of tasty bits. including Maytag Blue Crumbles, Dried Blueberries, Toasted Pecan Halves and finished with a Bueberry Vinaigrette (and let’s not forget the bibb lettuce). Then there is the Bacon Jam. Let’s pause for a second and think about these two words: Bacon. Jam.

Wow. Now that is a salad to spark conversation and a happy smile on one’s face.


Batting third in this delicious lineup was the main course (serenaded by the sweet sounds of Angie by The Rolling Stones). My better half went with the Flounder, sauteed in browned butter with fresh lemon juice, white wine and Worcestershire sauce.  Her review of this?

Flounder, sauteed in browned butter, fresh lemon juice, white wine and Worcestershire sauce. Yum.

Flounder, sauteed in browned butter, fresh lemon juice, white wine and Worcestershire sauce. Yum.

“Super yummy, DK. Super. Yummy.”

How can you beat that?









For Yours Truly dinner was featuring Pan Seared Diver Scallops. These tasty morsels were prepared with a red beet glaze, and came smartly with some roasted corn risotto and garlic broccolini.  The presentation was beautiful and colorful.  Risotto was cooked to perfection and didn’t move from “risotto” into “just some rice.”

Holy yummy, Batman. This is filled with deliciousness. Great scallops, crisy garlic broccolini, and wonderful risotto. Eat This.

Holy yummy, Batman. This is filled with deliciousness. Great scallops, crisy garlic broccolini, and wonderful risotto. Eat This.

The broccolini had a nice crispness to them (which I appreciate from the chef) and a good hit of garlic in every bite. These sidemen were beautifully blended and nice complements to the scallops.  Speaking of those scallops, wow. Headlining act for sure. Presentation and balance of the glaze was just enough.. and not to the point were we had a foodstuff drowning in sauce. This was a well presented and well balanced entree.




Finally, our clean up hitter was a taste powerhouse (coming full circle with another Beach Boys classic, “God Only Knows”), Chocolate Empanadas.  There was certain appreciation for the main component, the empanadas, and its wonderful presentation. But for the experience, the secondary components were the stars.

Chocolately Goodness with some great dance partners: fresh berries, smooth whipped cream, and amazing hot fudge. This is a must.

Chocolately Goodness with some great dance partners: fresh berries, smooth whipped cream, and amazing hot fudge. This is a must.

The fresh chocolate hot fudge, amazingly bright and crisp raspberries, whipped cream ready to stand on its peaks alone, and some cool vanilla bean ice cream – these item were built to create an incredible final act.

For someone looking for a nice place with nicer people and with the nicest eats, York Blue Moon is one of those places that will cure what ailes you.  So whether your night out with friends and/or loved ones has a companion of a Full, Half, or Crescent Moon.. just be sure that it’s Blue Moon when visiting downtown York, PA.


Nov 02

#Heroes Wanted

Join The Hero Round Table on Nov 9-10, 2013 (www.heroroundtable.com)

Join The Hero Round Table on Nov 9-10, 2013 (www.heroroundtable.com)

This week I will be shipping off the Flint, Michigan where I will be honored to be one of the presenters at an extraordinary event: The Hero Round Table.  This Saturday and Sunday (Nov 9-10) speakers from many different industries and disciplines will come together and talk about Heroes.  This event is arguably, as the organizers say, “a conference to democratize heroism.”

Because that’s what we need today… more heroes.

Now, I’m not one to suggest that I have a all the answers to all the problems we face. I don’t think I’m the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I’m sure not the dullest. I have experienced many people and places, and have been lucky to see a good deal of our country. And it’s from this that I think I can safely say that we need, probably now more than ever, more heroes.

Our political leaders? Failing us. Our education system? Failing many of us. Our position in the world? Faltering around us.

Where have all the heroes gone?

They’re here. All around us.. in fact, you’re with one right now…  Because YOU are a hero.

We ALL our heroes.

The problem with our sense of heroism is “the big wait and see.” What is that? That’s the feeling that I think most of us have in terms of understanding our potential as “a hero.” We see the idea of a hero in a situational way. Wait for the moment when a hero would be needed… and see if you have “the stuff” to act as a hero in that time in need.  A fire in a building, do you rush in to save someone? Car accident on the roadside? Do you pull over to assist? Walk by a group of individuals accosting a innocent bystander? Do you move to protect someone from injury?

But the heroes that are needed, they don’t need to wait and see. They need to do and be seen.

Too often the very best in us is left on the sideline, waiting to be unleashed, but left “to someone else.” We spend a lot of time wondering how we would react, but never act. We watch heroes on television – and think those only happen because of great costumes and some good writing by the show’s producers. We skip over the obvious.

Heroes are needed in the everyday. Going to work. Teaching our kids. Showing by example what it means to be heroic in the choices made in daily life. The sense that heroic actions can’t happen daily… that is what holds us back.

So here is the challenge: Let’s make the good choices in life “heroic choices.” Now, this doesn’t mean I’m one of these “everyone gets a trophy..even you 9th place guy.” No, we’re not talking about “everybody wins” here… it’s celebrating when someone sees a need to step up… and does. No award needed.

That’s what The Hero Round Table is all about. Celebrating not just the potential of heroes, but recognizing that we are here… and we are doing good. Now. For others. For our communities.

Check out our list of speakers and most of all, check out our call to action. Don’t sit on the sidelines. You are a hero to someone, maybe more than you think… and maybe to more people than you think… It’s time to celebrate this. It’s time to celebrate YOU.


Oct 29

Paging DK. Mr. DK. Please Report to Your Blog.

In the immortal words of President William Jefferson Clinton, “I did not have sex with that woman… Miss Lewinsky.”


Wait, what?

No, what I meant to say was “I’m sorry.” (Something the former President might have considered at the time of the above quote and presidential “wag o’ the finger”)…

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting regularly.  This is where many would throw out a list of reasons like moving, new client work, a new house, tons of speaking/working gigs, etc. But not me. Nope. Won’t do it.

I’ll just say I hope to get back on the writing horse here again and ride off into the prose sunset.. or something.

Anyway, thank you for hanging in there and enjoying the ride with me… Cheers to you all!

Aug 03

Fuelin’ That “Creative Up Meter”

Is Your Creative Up Meter at Full??

Is Your Creative Up Meter at Full??

Hi InterWeb Peeps! First let me apologize for not having a posting since the Franklin Pierce administration.  Like most of us, the world and all it’s needs and demands caught up with me and moved this here space lower and lower on the “DK Do” List.

What’s funny about saying that out loud is the idea of an actual “life list” – putting things in your life into an order and saying “nope..before you do this, you need to do that.”  Now don’t get me wrong, having priorities and the need to decide on what are actions and what aren’t isn’t something terrible; it’s just the fact that sometimes in our busy lives and 24-hour news-like deadlines and action items… we choose OUT of passions and things that inspire us or move our internal needle. In essence, we prioritize DOWN our CREATIVE UP METER.

Think right now what you love to do. What you have a passion for… what moves you. How often do you give yourself time to do it? Ever say something like “if I have time after XXXX, I’ll see if I can get to it.”….

Ironically, it is those things that makes us happy, inspired, or fill us with passion – it’s those things that we constantly need to refuel into ourselves so that we might effectively take care of those “life lists.”

Now it is true that on a whim you can’t just walk into your boss on a Tuesday afternoon and say, “Look Ms. BigTime, I am running short of awesome-sauce. So I think I’ll just pop out for a couple hours and do some free climbing up our 15-story building here. See you at staff meeting at 3.” Moderation, people. Even in my silly ideas and thoughts here.  But the conceptual idea of filling that Creative Up Meter is key to success. This has run by you as many other idioms: “Work/Life Balance” or “Mental Breaks” or even finding some “Me Time” during a day. Essentially this is the point in a similar way… except for one slight shaded difference.

To be effective in life, we MUST have the fuel that drives our creativity. So it isn’t a balancing act (work then play), it’s a go-no-go act (fuel in car? car goes. no fuel? welp, start walking pal).

I don’t look at this as a “fill out this column and then balance it with that column” but rather like an “If/Then” statement. IF there is that time to build my Creative Up Meter, THEN I will be ready to tackle that “DK Do” list and rock out my day with check marks and “completed” status updates. Without it, the to do list is still there, but the action and the timing of such action is effected… perhaps even not done to the level you even wanted to do.

For me, writing and music fuel me. Not doing them for some length of time leads me to feel that sluggish, “just getting done what needs to be done” kind of vibe. Does it mean I’m skipping out on work needs or life tasks? Nope. But am I doing it with purpose, or passion… or with my personal identity shining through it – my personal Life Stamp as it were? Most likely, not really.

100% Pure Awesome-Sauce (no substitutes)

100% Pure Awesome-Sauce (no substitutes)

And THAT’S why it’s important. I WANT to see that stamp of life from my colleagues, clients, vendors, family and friends. I NEED to experience their work efforts as seen connected with their joys and passions. It’s why we hang with the people we do, right? There’s a lot of bands out there, but the ones that MOVE us… their work brings us joy. And we are moved by that joy.  That formula translates elsewhere in daily life too.

So don’t short change your work, your needs, and especially you. Be sure to always give yourself those times to fuel that Creative Up Meter… so that your creativity is seen and experienced by all of us.

Here’s to your Creative Meter… happy times getting that up to hit a full tank. Cheers. ~DK

Jun 11

Time for a S-T-R-E-T-C-H

stretch“Measure Twice, Cut Once.”  I use this phrase more often than an NSA official uses the phrase “Can you hear me now, Verizon?” (sorry Mr. President, but really…oh, and for those of you monitoring me, I was just kidding about the whole NSA/Verizon tapping thing I just mentioned).

I have been known to be “that guy” who ramps into cool, innovative idea.. but then asks to hit the brakes and slow down.  Prep work before busy work. Getting it right, to be sure you get it right.

But there’s my other side… the side that wants to just GO GO GO… especially when, as Tin Cup told us, a feeling of when a “tuning fork goes off in your heart.”

You KNOW it’s good to go. You’re READY. But your calmer half hits pause for the cause. “Wait,” he says. “Be patient.”

Screw patience.

Sometimes the sense for a need for calm and a calculated decision sounds right.. but isn’t. You need to stretch, damn the torpedoes, and get a-rollin’! The sense of immediacy, the sense of vitality that washes over you on one of these power decisions (Let’s do this!) is pretty remarkable, positive, and daring.

Now, Mr. Risk Management Guy/Girl reading this, easy does it. I’m not suggesting strategic planning and monster decisions should be based on a “YEEE-HAAA” and a hop on the nearest missile to launch. What I am suggesting it that the idea of “paralysis by analysis” is real. And too often, it is certain moments like this that slide our trajectory  ever so slightly… and change a great idea into a kind-of-good one. Still a victory… but not one of those “tuning forks goes off in your heart” ones.

It is in the nature of many of us to be either one or the other. You know these friends. The one who is so impulsive you wonder how she ever finds her way home because you are convinced that between you seeing her and her walking away, she will decide to fly to Cuba. Or that buddy of yours that is so painstakingly slow that you need to tell him about the weekend plans on Monday, just so he can decide if he’s in or out… the mix of these friends and personality types gives us our amazing friendship circles, and makes events and everyday hanging out so much fun.

But for YOU. For you and your direction in life, in business, in so many other decisions… allow for times of impulse.  I see the need for these moments especially in those idea sessions and brainstorming (dare I say, an “Idea Break?”)… turn your ideas loose and see what happens.

For example, I was pitching a client idea for a campaign. Almost immediately into the initial tick-tock of the basics, a lone voice popped up announcing “that’s too big and too expensive for what we have here.”  He was probably right, and truthfully, the idea of a tad too big for the immediate moment of the organization… that is until I continued and positioned how a campaign like this can be done in stages, where it isn’t a “hit the home run” kind of approach; but rather a plan for “singles and doubles” to reach the eventual endpoint… and that it could be done, with a little boldness and passion toward the end vision. Guard dropped, everyone allowed for their personal passion and belief in what a campaign like that could be, to be thrown over any analytical choke-point.. and a plan emerged. Stretched with passion and drive… not with worry or doubt.steal2_keep1st

Impulsiveness isn’t the greatest of qualities all the time, but confidence in one’s abilities to launch a project with passion and drive is something else. There will forever be fear of the unknown, a fear of failure. But I feel a greater fear: when I notice that an idea of mine never moved past the initial thought; and then I see it pop up somewhere else.. and that drives my batty.  It’s time to let your skills and passion run wild every so often.  Project feels too daunting? Stretch out and get into it.  Feel like you want to start a hobby but don’t feel like you have the time? Dare yourself to budget your hours more wisely.  Worried that a pitch for business is far beyond your reach? Double down, build that kick-ass presentation, and knock the socks off the big boys in the room.

How will you know when you are able to do this? Easy. Grab a mirror and ask yourself this…. “Am I ready to stretch?”

Then get to it, Plastic Man.  ~DK

Jun 03

An Open Letter to the District of Columbia

Dear DC,

DC_flagHey there my friend. Just wanted to thank you for all the incredible times we’ve had over the years. Since arriving in town at what seems to have been immediately following the War of 1812, you have been a great host and a roommate for me. This Jersey-born, PA-rooted, and NH-grown kid was able to call The District of Columbia home… and it was an absolutely great time being there all these years.

Times are never 100% perfect, I know. Like when that madman and son we running around you as two deranged snipers and the fear it cause? But even in the midst of such madness, you saw us through.

Just a maddening,  but certainly less physical danger (one might argue) is the steady stream of politicians who somehow get elected and crash at your place. Too often they promise to “fix” you – a phrase get gets them here, but too often gets turned into “let’s find a way to keep you broken, cuz it keeps me elected.”  Always mildly ironic to me that this “broken” city has always been under the thumb of congressional control, yet hasn’t really progressed in many ways because of that group of misfits thinking “they” know better than “us.” But even then, you kept on keepin’ on.

You protected me from  hurricanes named Sandy and another called Irene, a Snowmageddon  in 2010, a earthquake that many of my west coast friends made fun of us for reacting to like it was the beginning of the end like the Mayan promised, and countless day to “DC skillet” heat in the summer. You celebrated spring each year with Cherry Blossoms; you welcomed the fall with a Drag Race.  Each of the four seasons brought me some amazing things to do and see, and I can’t thank you enough for the diverse menu of goodness you brought to the table.

You do have some great stops for tourist-central. Your National Mall and the monuments and Smithsonians that dot the landscape – and believe me those were oh so fun always to bring people to whenever family and friends called up Cafe DK for a reservation.  But I will always appreciate the “real” Washington monuments. The neighborhoods and the people who made up the living breathing city I love. Ben’s Chili Bowl, The Big Chair of Anacostia; the Spanish Steps;  Eastern Market; my awesome family run bagel shop on P Street called, of course, “Bagels Etc.”; the Exorcist Steps in Georgetown; the 9:30 Club, the SW Waterfront, the old Bayou of Georgetown; and most importantly my neighborhood of Dupont Circle.

What makes a city like Washington so wonderful to be in? Like most cities, it isn’t what you see on the brochures or the tours… it’s the smaller, intimate spots. The character-defining places and faces that drive that spirit of community.  Yes, I was able to experience a number of amazing national moment in an unique setting. Things like  Presidential Inaugurations (5 of them), the opening of both the WWII & FDR Memorials, and the passing & viewing of President Ronald Reagan at the Capitol Rotunda. Being a witness to these historic markers in history (like the absolutely inspiring inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2008) was indeed a privilege and an honor. Thanks DC for letting me be a part of those special moments as a residence in your care.

But while I have you here, allow me a couple of suggestions for you as you head into 2014 and beyond. Kind of like when I gave a few “Little DC Tips from DK,” these are just some things to put into the District Idea Box for later:

1. Don’t forget to tout your communities, not just your national monuments – DC is WAY more than a group of museums, a Capitol, a nice White House, and a Mall. It’s people. Never forget your best asset are those who your spot home.

2. Metro, I love you, but please keep working to get yourself stronger – The subway system that travels all around you is fantastic…. but it is still a hot mess more often than it should be. You are lucky in the fact that it is such a good overall people mover – I mean can you imagine the traffic without a metro?! It’s bad enough with it! But really, DC, don’t let it fall apart. Issues happen, but don’t become a busted eyesore. Remember, most people see you by way of Metro… it’s your tour guide on tracks.

3. Pizza – C’mon my friend. Gourmet pizzas are fun for lost of nights out with friends and vino. But a good pizza shop? Just one good place for good ‘ol slice… and no, the late night “Jumbo Slices” do not count (that’s 4am goodness, not regular day goodness… you drunk.)

4. Keep those chains at bay – Even Will Farrell like to spend a Saturday at Home Depot (maybe Bed, Bath & Beyond, only if there’s time) but the soul of a city are the local merchants and shop owners. Embrace your opportunity to have a place that shops local and supports local. I’ll take Kramerbooks & Afterworks over any chain restaurant any day.

5. Where’s the Franklin Pierce Monument? – Shoutout to my NH brothas and sistas.. .plus the Pierce Brigade, PA Chapter.

6. Marion Barry – Wow. Words don’t do it justice.

7. Get an statue up for Chuck Brown, the Godfather of Go-Go….. NOW.

DC, you have been a great friend. I’m gonna miss our times sitting out on the deck looking over Rock Creek Park, watching everything from The Space Shuttle’s final flight to the annual Capital Pride Parade…and all the nights of nothing but watching you and your residence interacting, everyday life & buzz.  And thanks for my super secret spot, where I got a combo of historical momument and a quiet place in the heart of the city to read & write (you know where I’m talking about, right?)…. Thanks for all the memories, DC. I’ll always have you as a part of me, and I’m proud to have been a Washingtonian… Cheers… ~DK

PS…. oh, and don’t mind Sidney telling people to stay away from Dupont Circle in The American President. She was just acting. It’s a GREAT place to go.

DC_flag2Justitia Omnibus

May 31

Collaboration…and Dancing.

collaboration-not-compromise-control-agile-blog-solutionsiq“Collaboration.”  It’s one of those buzz words that we throw around in just about every business sector and encourage its development.

But  (and let’s just keep this between us okay) we are sometimes better at talking about collaboration than we are are doing collaboration.  Put it another way: A Meeting Does Not Make a Collaboration…You Just Made a Meeting.

I find this question popping up all the time to me. “DK, how can we increase our collaboration opportunities?” My answer is pretty simple:

Dare Big.

The biggest problem with really strong collaboration is the fact that it is built on, well, kind of lame-o ideas or initiatives.

Now don’t take out those pitchforks and torches and storm Cafe DK quite yet people. Hear me out.

Too often our ideas of collaborating come from necessity. We need a certain skills set our crew doesn’t have; call in “that guy.” Our proposal won’t get to the right people, unless we call “connected girl.”  We can’t afford to put on this kick-ass event, but we might if we call “moneybags organization.”

The best time to collaborate is when ideas are being generated. In this initial stage, when things are bouncing off walls and creative juices are a-flowin’, inevitably  natural allies and partners will bubble up during the exploration stage of design. A key phrase will trigger a name, or company, or nonprofit organization. Keep a running tally of those pop-ups as they appear.

Conversations don’t cost you much. In fact, they are value added, if you let them.  Contact those potential players and schedule time to pitch your collab-idea. If nothing else, the interaction will be a nice networking moment; more likely the person/organization will be thrilled to be considered such an asset/resource and share some cool thoughts/feedback; hopefully (if you have a like-minded, kick-ass collaborator type you’re visiting) the meeting will spawn even more ideas and the road to collaboration ready to travel. See? Nothing negative there, huh?

But be bold. No one gets fired up over “Hey, can we collaborate on this grant? I need someone who can write about pine trees and the dangers of certain chemicals on lawns.” YAWN….. But someone might be jazzed if approached with, “Hey… wanna BOOM this community with a new approach to a greener, beautiful community?!?”  BA-ZING!

The fear lies in the potential for failure. Biting off too much. Gaining a one-side collaboration that yields more work than if alone on a project. Not getting along and breaking up the band.

Hey… Chill there cowboy.

That’s the added bonus of collaboration.  Collaborators increase their confidence.

Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner.

Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner.

You will see in collaborations a new side of you – if you let it happen. You will begin to reveal your “Inner Dance Partner.”  What’s that? It’s the moment when you realize that your moves, creative ideas, and skills can complement another’s. Now you’re dancing. And THAT’S what make collaboration meaningful, practical, and beneficial.

So be bold in your ideas. And realize that collaborating will not only assist your creative in becoming reality, but it will  boost your own confidence and leadership. Makes you wonder, why AREN’T you collaborating more?

Good question… time to build some new, bold ideas… and find that dance partner. Hit it, Gene. ~DK

May 29

The Only Constant is Change

Decisions, decisions...

Decisions, decisions…

Turning the page. Beginning a new chapter. Starting anew.  For some, these are phrases that bring emotions like trepidation,  nervousness, maybe even fear.  For others, transitions are something to be excited about. To thrill at the possibilities. To wonder at what is next.

For me… transitions are inevitable. A part of life.  Growth.

Hallmark moments in life are often marked with these senses of transition. After high school, I was convinced my best times in life were behind me.  Until I went to college. Then THAT was the greatest part of life. Of course then I met some awesome people and visited cool, unique places after my school days came to an end. It was then – for SURE this time – that I had found my place in life… then years went by with more and more changes. Faces fading in and out of life,  jobs, clients, events… change upon change upon change.

And now, another transition is taking place.

After years of living in my adopted city of Washington, DC I am now transitioning again. Now it’s a move taking me from a large metropolitan city and an urban lifestyle – to a more suburban, smaller town experience. City living to Rockin’ the Suburbs.  Helllllllooooo Awkward.

What does a kid who has grown accustomed to walking city streets to eateries, farmer’s markets, bars, and every other thing needed do when the answer to ANYTHING includes the phrase “drive down the road about….” WTF?! Drive? Drive what? For more than a decade my “cars” were a pair of sneakers and an umbrella.  Now, gas prices aren’t just a news show talking point, and I am learning to appreciate words like “supper” (which, I must admit, is a wacky way to describe a meal… reminds me of Little House on the Prairie). But I digress.

Change is indeed inevitable. There was a cliche that said “the only constant is change.” True, but I also like part of a rant by the once-funny Dennis Miller who said “Life is like riding the bus, it requires change.”  These transition points we face in life shouldn’t come strictly from the “Oh Shit” department of our emotions. Granted, when awful moments come about, and a transition is truly something unplanned for, you might get that sense of fear. That sense of confusion or dred. But even in those moments, even at those unexpected times of grief… change is inevitable, and often surprisingly helpful once time does its magic and pulls you farther and farther away from the epicenter of your transition point.

When I was a kid, my parent split up. I was young, but not young enough to not feel the direct pain of a divorce. My father’s leaving was stemmed from a terrible injury he sustained to his brain, which caused his personality and outlook to change dramatically. I was young, but not young enough to fail to understand these reasonings. But still, the transition of my father leaving – leaving me, my brother, my mother – I took this transition with difficulty and responsibility. What did I do wrong? Why couldn’t I do more to help him and perhaps stop this change, in him or in our life? Why did I fail my father?  If you are someone affected by divorce in your childhood, or know someone who has this kind of history, you know what this feeling feels like. It is, sadly, a common feeling that children experience when something this traumatic happens in life.

But even this moment. Even something like the loss of a parent… it inevitably changes you. But in an amazing twist… this transition not only helped define me, but it drove me.

youarehereThis drive wasn’t an ambition or wealth, or greatness, or some other falsely monitored sense of “success” – but it drive me to be strong, Strong for me, strong for my family. Strong in my belief that transitions, whether known or unknown, would allow for me to grow… to learn.

i guess it was this focal point that allows me to embrace transitions. I don’t think of myself as any kind of expert, but I think I have some lessons-learned that might help you in whatever transition you are facing (no matter if it’s a positive or negative transition)…

1.  There is no spoon. – We spend a bunch of time on our transitions looking for meaning, for rationale, for a sense of “why” – take some time to ponder these, but don’t get lost in the wash. Try not to spend all your time bending the spoon, and instead realize that these moments are inevitable, are frequent, and are natural.  Figuring out the why to the point of paralysis is just an exercise in futility.  Once you have that…

2.  Implement the “Pull the Band-Aid Quickly” Theory. – Get that transition going, and then get it REALLY going. Don’t dwell, don’t linger. Pull the ripcord. It’s time to jump.  I think why most people dred life’s transitions is due more to the fact that the transition of the transition becomes it’s own thing – a big HUGE thing. You see the fork in the road? Make your choice, and turn that wheel. Then back on the gas and G.O.

3.  Screw that Double Rainbow, Get Ready for the Double Pot o’ Gold! – Transitions have a constant finality to them.. they end, and what you arrive at? Well, that’s up to you. Again, you could approach the outcome with sadness and too much “remember when’s” coming from your mouth… OR you could prepare for an amazing Return on Transition. New places, new faces… these bring new opportunities, new successes. Don’t look back… forward thinking, forward looking. It’s what’s about to come face-to-face with you that matters the most. Your new starting point. Not ending. Beginning.

Turning the page. Beginning a new chapter. Starting anew.  For us all, let’s commit to seeing the possibilities, the opportunities, and the new memories to be made.  It’s sometime a tough pill to swallow, but the ending is always bright.

For me… transitions are inevitable. A part of life.  Growth.  ….and a great way to find a better to play, live, and dream. Like the boys of Oasis said, “Don’t Look Back in Anger, I Heard You Say.” Couldn’t agree more, Noel. Cheers.. ~DK

May 22

We Are Gathered Here Today

Welcome to the World, Zoie! (with Godmother Salena Deihl and Godfather, well, me)

Welcome to the World, Zoie! (with Godmother Salena Deihl and Godfather, well, me)

This weekend was super cool. I was honored to have been asked to crazy things: First, I was asked to be Godfather to my cousin’s first child, Zoie. (HI ZOIE!! Wait, how are you able to read this, let alone access the internet…or computer…or lift yourself up onto a desk?!) Second, I was also asked to perform a ceremony that was dubbed “Welcome to the World Zoie” or as I was referring to it, a “Not-So-Baptism Baptism.”  As both my cousins are not so religious to look for a known ceremony, coupled with their love of nature, the beach, and water-sports like surfing, we designed a family ceremony that welcomed young Zoie into the family by way of an ocean-side ceremony, emphasizing the importance of water, its value, and its connection to our lives and futures.  It was incredibly fun, and I hope for all who attended, a symbolic event to welcome our newest family member into the clan.

The next day, we were sitting in a pub in Delray Beach, and the subject of “ceremony” came up with a poignant question: Why not more secular, general ceremonies? Seems like when talking about ceremony, one often cites religious events primarily: weddings, baptisms, funerals, “adulthood reaching” (Bar/Bat Mitzvah) and the like.

But ceremonies are found throughout our society in interesting ways too.. most everyone has been to a graduation, where graduates throw on that robe-and-cardboard flat hat combo without once thinking, ‘why must I dress like “a professor” when in fact NO PROFESSORS EVER go to work dress like this…ever.’ Or what about the amazing ceremonial events surrounding sporting events, like the opening of the Olympic Games, or the first pitch at a baseball game. “Pitch” of course can be a loose term to some who are asked and “throw”, right?

The question on our minds though was different: what about ceremonies for the sake of celebrating in the everyday?

And no, I’m not talking about that “Employee of the Month” photo op and ceremonial hanging of the plaque up near the cash register at your local Wendy’s… no, the celebrations that occur within our lives and our interactions with others.

Don’t get it, DK. What do you mean?

OK… why does a ceremony for joining a family (marriage for example) have a ceremony, but there’s no ceremony for welcoming a girlfriend/boyfriend into a family?

Um, because that’s a bit creepy/cultist, DK.

I grant you, ceremonies can sometimes given off the impression of a weird cult getting ready for the spaceship with purple robes and Nike sneakers.  But in the same manner, non-religious people look to ceremonies with a strange eye too.  I mean really, if you’re not a religious person, how do you describe a First Holy Communion Ceremony? Or a Jewish Bris?

So here’s an idea: Create some fun ceremonies for you, family, and friends to partake in and enjoy.  Take time out to celebrate cool moments of our lives with a little bit of ceremony.  No matter where you are, what you’re doing, or who is with you, you can create and have a fun ceremony to signify a hallmark event.. or just an everyday thing and make it special… here, I’ll get you started:

The First Slice Ceremony



If you’re like me, pizza is something of a food group in and of itself. Whether picked up at your local shop in the neighborhood, or delivered to your door hot n’ fresh, the cardboard box is got it’s board-prints somewhere in your kitchen.  Next time you and the family (or a bunch of friends) are gathered around that box o’ goodness, perform a little ceremony to the occasion. Something like:

“My friends, it is time to gather as a family. And as a family, we join as one, a circle.  Like our circle, this meal is served in the round, signify its completeness, its unification, its deliciousness.

[Cue Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore” on the smartphone/stereo; join in a sing along]

Select someone in the group worthy of the First Slice (the oldest, the guest farthest away, you mom); while you hold the box (open end facing away from you) with two hands, slowly open the box to reveal the pizza to the honored guest. He/she reaches in, splits off the first slice and gets the first bite before others get their slice of yummy.

Boom. A ceremony.

Hey DK. Are you… you know…. crazy?

Hell no. It’s it fun to do? It’s not like you are promoting this around the world for all to see (well I am here, but that’s not the point)…. The point here isn’t the absurdity of the event… the point is to take time out to enjoy each other, enjoy what you all have together, and celebrate THAT. The connection and love between each other is key.

If you happened to be walking along the beach in Delray Beach this past weekend, you might have seen a bunch of people and a baby standing near the shore-end, reciting something, and splashing some water onto the legs of a super cute baby… strange? absurd? weird?

Maybe. But it was also meaningful, special, unique, and all about family. And for that, it was a blast!

So get out there and create your own ceremony. Anything can be made into a meaningful little moment, don’t be shy. Remember, the memories are YOURS, no one else!  Make them how you’d like. Just do me a favor, no heart grabbing okay? That always ends weirdly, just ask Indy.

May 16

Hey, Goin’ Out for an “Idea Break”

First, it was “Smoke Break.”  For those of us not into the habit, we would marvel at the conga line that was created once those two simple words were uttered in some Cubicle Kingdom in Anywhere, USA.  Assistants, managers, CEOs… didn’t matter. The call to light up was a beacon of goodness, and many followed the flock to the magical “smoking area” and its glorious “smokers post.”



Next, came “Mental Break.”  You know, when your job gets too much? My question on this always was… when you missed said “mental break” did you actually HAVE a mental break and lose it?! It’s an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, circled around a “WTF?”  I always felt mental breaks seemed to be eerily similar to the “I’m outta here” kids in school who would just randomly decide the high school history class was just not moving the needle too much, and stood up and walked out of class… wha?

We spent so much time figuring out ways to escape the work we do, that we often forgot the most important break needed… the one where you allow yourself time to DREAM BIG. Time to ROCK OUT SOME FRESH CONCEPTS. Time to hit an “Idea Break.”

Every sector, every industry needs this kind of moment.  Even if your job is creative by design (like, say, you are a “Creative Director” hello?) you need to step away, reset the brain parts, and look to find a spot to get down n’ dirty with the funtime, jovial, and idea portion of the head.

But DK, my boss would be so thrilled with me doing this?

Really?! Smoke breaks build camaraderie, through Parliaments and Marlboros.  Mental breaks will keep the pressure cooker turning into a volcanic eruption, but saying you are about to step away to generate new, fresh ideas would be considered naughty? Really?!

Look, Mr./Mrs. Ima BumBoss, I don’t mean to rain on your reign, but you need to check that melon of yours. Idea Breaks are the best kind of getaways for you. If positioned properly, fostered with love n’ trust, and sprinkled with a little support… these might be the best non-meeting meetings you have each and every week for your team.

Companies large and small are moving into this world of unlimited sport drinks, ping-pong tables in the break room, flex time on the time sheets, and other perks in the  workplace. Now don’t get me wrong, a noble game of “Damn I Wish We Have Beer” Beer Pong is always fun at 1pm on a Wednesday, but I’m not talking about breaks that are solely for the individual to relax and recharge. I’m talking about a concept that includes awesome work benefits while also giving people a little get-away from their desks, computers, or dull cubicles sitting next to this guy.

Wanna build your little Oasis for Idea Osmosis? Well get out your ruler and 3/4 inch reversible drill Bob Vila, it’s buildin’ time!

1. Find a great conference room, unused office, or other available space.

2. Fill it with easel pads, markers, whiteboards, Post-It notes, crayons, and other fun Weapons of Cool Creation (WCCs)

3. Place the “We’re Open” sign on the front.  Cut the ribbon, break the champagne bottle on the door, whatever. Call it open and have at it.


Rules for the room are easy: 1. Not be used for sitting around staring at your belly button or out into space (unless that’s how you generate cool ideas, then go man go); 2. No phones; 3. Clean up and reset the room when you’re done; 4. There’s no Rule 4.

Let your team know that the room is to be used whenever, however. It is a safe place to bring colleagues, design teams, executives, clients… whoever might need the space for a moment of idea generating; HOWEVER, the room should not turn into a conference room, with the trappings of booking the room or closing it off. The room should always be open to anyone/any team who might want to go into it. If they are cool with another person(s) in the room already, they will just take an alternate corner/side/wing… if not, they can come back later.  Again the idea of the space is for you to get away for a moment and be in a space to allow yourself the freedom to free-think, design, conjurer up, or doodle… make it a space inviting and open to all.

OK, DK. But I’m am told that that’s why I was given an office – to give me the space to do exactly that.

Really? Well what are you doing now? Probably at the same time as you are reading this, you have Facebook open, Twitter running (you just can’t help but see that “(356) Twitter” at the top, can’t ya?), you voice mail box light is blinking, your Blackberry light is blinking red (which of course dominates your ability to do anything else but check those emails/voice mails), and your email inbox has important E.D. spam mailers and asks for donations to the King of Siam or something sitting out… Offices are now rooms filled with Idea-Vacuums – ideas get sucked into them and have to be filtered out, if and only if you have the patience to clean out the bag and attached it back without getting dust all over you.  Office space is the cassette tape of idea creation: it still can turn out a tune, if you love the Lo-Fi, have the exactly right equipment, and don’t mind twirling the taps sometimes with a pencil (Youngster, please consult someone who grew up in the 1970s or 80s for more information on these “cassettes” I speak of)…

We are constantly told how ideas and time to create are essential to work, to bolstering or brain activity, and to keep us sharp.. then create a space that allows for this at any point in time!  If you live in a business world that feels this way in ANY part of your space.. congratulations, you have a kick-ass joint and bravo to you and your team. But for the 95% of the rest of you… it’s time to get creative. If you build it, he will come.

Space for ideas (metaphorically and literally) are needed to make us all better at what we do. The space to reach out, stretch, and challenge ourselves to not settle for the norm or what is typical, allows for our work to improve and progress… and at the end of the day, that is the truest definition of a great idea.  Well that… and a great encouraging you to “Do It.”

So next time, dare yourself to take a break.. an Idea Break.

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