Whether keeping in touch from a vacation or just wanting to say "thank you" for friends or family, we recently found a local Houstonian who makes some of these wonderful notes for you to send to those on your mind. kikineumanncreations.com is the product of Kiki Neumann's wild and inventive folk art studios. She has some amazing work that we hope you will check out and send her some love. She has both individual cards (pictured below) or even sells packs for you to stock up on.
Photo credit: @redbanditmedia
So many have been affected by the wake of Hurricane Harvey. This past week has shown our city the best that we choose to see in one another despite some of the worst and most unprecedented rainfall events happening all around us. I am sure that you too have seen the many photos through the past week, just as we have, of the torrential downpours that have attempted to shake our city. But, really, that is where we would like to end most discussion about the actual water. Yes, it was rising, yes, it took many by surprise. It also created months if not years of work for many families who have been affected. Instead, we want to focus on the hope and the light provided by those who stepped up to respond. Because, as we are seeing, while we can talk all day about “the water”, the water from controlled releases at 2 reservoirs into the city’s bayou system, the water which sat above the city and steadily drenched the ground; it did not persevere over us. For those affected, know that our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you and your families.
Instead, we are focusing on 2 major portions of recovery from this incident; sharing stories of the everyday heroes and continuing to be a resource through our wealth of knowledge through networking. What the latter really looks like is providing Houstonians with information on local businesses who provide the services and products that one may need. Looking for a cleaning service? We’ve got that. Need a mechanic to check out your vehicle? We’ve got that, too.
And, to focus more on the first part of the recovery piece; an area for sharing stories from the last week. Admittedly, this week mixes a bit of the first and second part, which you will soon see. But in the comments section, feel free to share your own stories as we all process through what has been Harvey and what will continue to be a new effort to restore Houston;
Our Social Media Manager, Ryan, lives on the southwestern edge of the Addicks Reservoir, just north of I10 near Barker Cypress. Aside from Social Media Duties for 2nd Pair of Hands, he runs his own social media branding company, Red Bandit Media as well as working for an Insurance Company from 9-5 on business days. As the storm approached, Ryan stocked up for what he thought would be similar to the “Tax Day” flooding in the area last year, causing maybe a day of the roads being impassable for sedan vehicles. However, by day 3 of the storm, with the waters continuing to rise, it was clear that unless one had a boat, this was going to be a longer ordeal that most had prepared for. Thankfully, in the specific apartment complex Ryan lives in, the apartment had not taken on water. But with extended news coverage discussing voluntary and mandatory evacuations, Ryan was stuck at the complex while the water continued to crest above even the previous year’s peaks. And hope which was built up like a wall to protect and bind on Friday night seemed depleted by Monday, even less by Tuesday morning.
But out of the angst and worry of a rising tide also was a call placed and answered. The call for what needed to be a rescue was made to Kathryn and Sybren van der Pol of Adolf Hoepfl & Son Garage. Both Kathryn and Sybren answered in marvelous ways. The shop has a large Texas flag decorated school bus that Sybren drove from the Heights to the edge of Katy to attempt a rescue. When the water was so high that he was unable to escort Ryan from the apartment, Kathryn continued to pool for resources to lead to a successful evacuation. Inevitably, Ryan was evacuated by a military high water vehicle, but it was Sybren who was at the rally location (a second trip to the area) to escort Ryan safely to the shop.
Ryan took one photo of the shop as he arrived to safety and we just wanted to find a way to express our gratitude to the entire team at Adolf Hoepfl & Son Garage (4610 N. Shepherd Dr., Houston, Texas 77018). If you are in the area looking to make donation for Hurricane Harvey (They are filling the Big Texas bus!), need an oil change, or any service on your vehicle, we hope that you will join us in supporting this team who did not hesitate to answer the call for help with grace and who did not request a dime or thought in return.
Finally, if you want to check out their web presence specifically, head to http://www.adolfhoepfl.com/
Recently, our Social Media Manager, Ryan, decided to try a meal delivery service hosted online by Freshly.com. Here are some musings based on the experience that he had.
As the new school year starts, it is important that I eat healthily and sometimes I find that as a young professional time to prepare meals is limited. I recently saw an ad for Freshly.com which has fresh prepared meals that range in the 500 calorie per serving range (perfect for my dinner needs). So, I paid for a subscription and have received about 3 weeks of the service at this point. I was not provided meals by the company in exchange for a review.
This has been an effective process for me to watch what I am eating, challenging me to try things which I would not usually eat (see kale above), and save some dough from always forking out for a meal out. There are usually 6 meals delivered a week, allowing me options for at least one night out with friends. You can pause the service for weeks at a time if you end up on vacation or have an excess of meals one week or the next.
If you are interested in trying the service, you can save $20 off of your first delivery by using the following referral link:
If you do, let us know your experience in the comments below!
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering those who died while serving in the country's armed forces. The holiday, which is currently observed every year on the last Monday in May, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union Veterans founded in Decatur Illinois, established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the Union War dead with flowers. By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days had merged and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died in the military service.
It marks the unofficial start of the summer season while Labor Day marks it end.
It is also a great time to let us know your house sitting and pet sitting needs.
As Mother's Day arrives this Sunday, we asked our 2nd Pair of Hands team for a few words about their own Moms. Here is what we heard;
At the age of 27, my mom, who was 8 and a half months pregnant at the time, became a single parent of 2, soon to be 3 young children. Fortunately, she was able to move into an apartment next door to her parents who were anxious to help her raise her kids. Soon after my younger brother was born she took a job as a title clerk in a leasing company. She hadn’t finished college, but the company realized quickly how lucky they were to have her working for them. She advanced there and enjoyed her job for nearly 30 years. Mom was quick to find a church and school for all of us, and she made sure that the school my brothers attended had strong Christian male role models for my brother to watch and learn from. The three of us ultimately graduated from a Christian high school here in Houston and attended colleges here in Texas. She helped all of us graduate with honors and was around to walk us down the aisle as we married – all 3 of us marrying wonderful people and having great kids who loved their grandmother very much. Sadly, Mom passed away in 2006 from diabetes complications, but she was devoted to all three of us and our families until her passing. We miss her laugh and her “punny” sense of humor which my kids inherited from her. I consider myself very lucky to have had such a great mother who taught me to give my job 100% all the time. I miss her every day!
Although my mother is gone she is always in my heart. I miss her dearly but I know she is well and happy with her parents, husband and sister . I love you mom and miss you much.
When I was a child my mom told me I will always be loved and wanted by her. My mother was and is always there for me. In sports she was my cheerleader, in school my educator, in heartbreak a nurturer, and hardships the encourager. She was always there for me to talk to about the good and the bad. Till this day when something happens I tell my mom. No matter what the situation was she always had compassion and sympathy. Never once in my life did I feel unwanted and unloved by her. I know a lot of people frown on mothers being friends with their children but now that I'm an adult I would say she's my best friend. I wouldn't trade her for anyone. Because of her compassion and love towards me as a kid, my passion is to teach. Children need love from their mother. I was truly blessed by the best. Thank you mom.
My mom is an amazing women. When I was 11 years old my father passed away suddenly. She was launched into raising three children all by herself. Through the years I have seen my mother show many great qualities. She is loving, understanding, hilarious, smart, and especially selfless. She never complains about all the things she goes without to make sure her we, her children, have all we need. I am proud to say I have a mother like her. I love her very much.
I appreciate that my Mom is proud of the woman I have become and that she supports my continual growth. She taught me to not give up on what I believed could come about. She taught me to not give up even when things were really tough. Happy Mother’s Day Mom! Love you Mom!
My mother taught me of all that is kind, nurturing, persistent, and worthwhile. What inspires me about her is not only the tenacity that she owns, but in the grace and compassion that she conducts herself and shares with the world daily. Happy Mother's Day!
Recently, we heard an analogy by Kristen Morrison that Hiring Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers is like Dating. We couldn't agree more, and wanted to highlight some of her discussion on the matter;
"I had an epiphany a few years back when I realized how similar hiring pet sitters is to dating.
Here's how hiring is similar to dating:
You have to be crystal clear about what you want so that you can recognize that person when they show up.
It's so similar to when you are actively dating to meet the right person: when you are hiring pet sitters to work for you, you quickly realize that hiring the right people requires skill."
We couldn't agree more.
While very few this year have used the infamous "R" word, we wanted to take some time this week to review some of our goals for the year and see how we have done with our New Year's Resolution. Below are some helpful tips and trick that could help you shape up if you've already had a shaky 2017 or strengthen your already solid plan;
1. Calculate your presence. This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes we need a reminder as it's easy to slip into autopilot. For example, how much data do you use on average on your cell phone plan? Are you paying for a data plan that is way too big? If so, reducing the data plan to better reflect your usage could easily save you an extra $100 annually.
2. When you are done calculating what you use, identify trends and plan ahead. So, how often do you really buy a giant package of toilet paper? How about toys for your favorite pet? We recently tried out an online grocery service (Boxed.com) for some of those non essential grocery essentials. If you know what you need and how often you need it, such services may be a great fit as a way to save money and more importantly saves hassle. If you are interested in trying Boxed.com, feel free to use our discount referral link and save yourself $15.
3. Find ways to enjoy yourself in the process. Part of real financial freedom is accounting for a little bit of fun. No one likes to think that they can't kick back every now and again. Instead, as you are planning all of the other areas of your life, be realistic in setting a goal for yourself which allows you a little bit of wiggle room. For example, we love the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Knowing this, we also know that at times there are discounted carnival tickets and food. We plan on having some fun this March and you are welcome to join us as well.
Recently, our Social Media Manager, Ryan was presented with an opportunity to cover Houston's 2016 Day For Night Festival. The festival combines both music (primarily Electronic Dance Music and Hip Hop) and Art Instillations for one weekend each December. 2016, the second annual installment for the festival, was held at 401 Franklin St. within PostHTX. 4 stages hosted acts from Aphex Twin to Run The Jewels. Ranked by The Houston Press as the Best Music Festival in Houston and named by other sources as among the top anticipated festivals for the year, the event met and exceeded expectations this year.
At first glance, as I approached the entry line to the will call, approximately 4 rows deep of about 400 anxious festivalgoers. The air was crisp, but in Houston, that may have just been our humidity. It was about a cool 75 degrees at the time, overcast as if to provide an amazing backdrop to the city, perfect for piling in the same people that stood around me. The line started to drag along, of which was partially due to a miscommunication on the different types of tickets could be accepted (paper, mobile, and QR code enabled passes). The media pass bracelet I was granted ended up taking about an hour to acquire after all said and done, but what strikes me as foundationally important in assessing how Day for Night was a success was the groups in which the festval attracts.
Long have I heard that Houston is one of the most, if not the most, diverse cities in America. Day for Night continued to add to such a legacy in the crowd that it drew. Folks from all walks of life flocked to the festival; from the 17-20 somethings to the sprinkle of 50 year old couples (dressed like their 20 year old counterparts). The festival has already started and the bass is cranking in the background. Whispers of who everyone is their to see help pass the time. Patrick, one of the 20 somethings starts to muse about headliner Aphex Twin as well as Squarepusher, of which he is thrilled to pull up a video on his phone as to justify his excitement. Volunteer staff, as happy as they were accomodating (though somewhat misinformed about where they should be directing groups) stand around to verify that no one gets hit by a car as the line has potential to move largely past the blockaded area in front of Post HTX.
I've been to Austin, I've survived ACL and the conglomerate that dual weekend event has become. Day For Night is no ACL, which is to compliment both experiences. Day For Night is the refuge that will not only provide the city more long overdue notariety, but that every individual is able to actually interact with. Whether through immersive art exhibits or yelling the lyrics to your favorite song among 1500 of your new closest friends.
Overall, what strikes me about Day For Night and the reason that you might consider 2017's unannounced line-up in your plans is that it personifies what Houston has worked long to acheive; Everyone is not only welcome, but encouraged to experience here.
We'll be on the edge of our seats to see the next installment of how Day For Night presents us with a unifying and collective response of sound and art.