Eating Clean Cooking Dirty

Increase Your Family Time and Decrease Your Kitchen Time without Sacrificing Healthy,  Clean,  Food

Everyone cares about health. Parents want to eat well and parents want their kids to eat well. And yet, a huge challenge lies in finding time to make healthy, scrumptious meals, that your family and kids will all love.

Eating clean can be fun, quick, easy, and as delicious as you want. Throw away your assumption that you can’t do this, you can – here’s how.

1 .Family Meal Planning & Prep for Clean Eating
As with many thing, you will begin with your prep work. No successful changes happen without a plan and prep work. Here’s a super simple guide to meal planning and cooking prep.

pic 1

This took me about 2 hours to prep, and gave us lunch and 4 dinners!
2. Start Simple
Now that your prep work and planning are complete, start your program with a simple, fun, and meaningful clean-eating change- upgrade your kiddos’ lunch box with this simple list of great clean and quick lunch ideas.

3. Start Cooking!

pic 2

Here a few starter recipes: 
Finger lickin’ good chicken.

I prepped this on Sunday (took about 5 minutes) and let it sit in my fridge until Wednesday. Wednesday evening, I dumped it out on a sheet pan and stuck it in the oven; cooked while Stella and I played games. Voila, dinner was ready and I literally spend less than 10 minutes in the kitchen.
Comfort food all the way
When you’ve had a week full of hard decisions, disappointments and major major changes, it is natural to turn to comfort foods to nurture your soul back to health.

4. Sign Up! 

Interested in learning more?

Check out the website for a free weekly meal plan trial.

Also my YouTube Channel for more great cooking ideas and posts.


FB @TheSRodgers
TWITTER @eatcleancookdirty
IG @eatcleancookdirty


More Posts From  David, Sophia, Melissa, and Lauren!

Our Team Video ! 

David on his Real Estate Investments.

Lauren on her running journey.

Melissa on stretching, stretches for more flexibility, and making it through an MBA program.

Sophia posts about marketing during a crisis and the Portland TrailBlazers brand strategy.

Digital Drinkers: What We Learned

We can taste the summer break, but first, watch our short film on what we learned during our Digital Marketing Competition. Hear from Lauren, David (groaning as he tries to hit a split), Melissa, and Sophia, as we recap this project and stretch our digital marketing knowledge to never-before-seen heights.

You can find us on Twitter: @lneiheis @investorhardass @melissa_barker @sophiabiabia

-Team Digital Drinkers
Continue reading “Digital Drinkers: What We Learned”

How to Survive (and Thrive) in a Professional MBA Program

I’m writing this with being 2 short weeks away from completing my MBA at Willamette.

Throughout the two years in the program, at times, I’ve worked more than 100 hours in a single week between my various jobs and a full credit load.

It’s amazing how formal education can be either the catalyst for growth (in all parts of your life) or make you feel helpless. What will make or break you is how you set yourself up for success. Currently, I’m enrolled in three courses (more than the average load), working multiple jobs and still having a great time. Don’t get me wrong – at times it feels like a death march.

Treepose8 Tips for Surviving (and Thriving) in an MBA Program

1) Get a Hobby

One of the first interview questions I was asked in the interview for Willamette’s MBA Program was, “What are your hobbies?” Seems odd, right? What could this have to do with my ability to be successful in an MBA program.

The answer: A LOT.

I have a hobby that forces me to be social, and present. Because most of the time, I’m putting other people’s lives in my hands.


Whether your hobby is a sport or not, having other people on your team or to practice with will keep you motivated and on track. After an 16 hour day comprised of 8-10 hours at work and a 4 hour night class, you need something to look forward to during the week.

2) Take on more, set goals. 

How sad would it to be to complete your MBA degree and feel like you’ve otherwise stagnated as a person? Wouldn’t you rather look back on this time as a period of immense growth? You might call me crazy here, but the saying could not be more true:

If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.”

Keeping busy will only increase your capacity. More importantly, having other goals will help you keep school in perspective. How much does it matter you got a “C” on that one marketing midterm? Not much in the grand scheme. But it can feel like your world is coming to an end if you don’t have other things you’re working towards.

My goals during this MBA program: strength and flexibility. Some of these achievements (like getting my splits) occurred even while studying.

splits and studying

3) Make sleep a priority.

There will be nights (and weeks) when that’s not possible. Take time each week to catch up on sleep at least one or two nights. During this program I averaged 4-6 hours on bad nights. For the most part though, I got 7-8 hours of sleep a night. 

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 10.26.46 AMAnd this was with working full-time, my hobby, friends, teaching, and taking a full credit load. It is possible, I promise.

4) Put pride aside. 

Know your network, and ask for help. An MBA is going to force you to learn about every field of business, so get to know your classmates (or cohort). Know their strengths and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t worry – when it comes to your subject of expertise, you’ll be able to return the favor. 

Also understand your personal network. Never be shy about asking for help because the worst case scenario is that they say no. Not so bad, right?

5) Be selective about who you give your time to.

The people who stick by you through these 2 years will be your best friends and life partners. My cohort alone had 3 marriage proposals during the program. Something in the water? Perhaps.

Getting through any program and working will test your willpower. People who are takers (emotionally and mentally) will stick out like sore thumbs, know when to cut your losses.

6) Efficiency, efficiency, efficiency.

Put your perfectionist ways to sleep because they’ll kill you in graduate school. I’m saying this as a long-term Type A “it must be perfect” personality. Trust me. You may think that is sustainable at first but it will catch up with you and eat away hours you could be sleeping.

Though, this may be taking efficiency too far. Bath studying…it’s a thing.


7) Prepare for the week.

Set yourself up for success every night. Do your meal prep and plan days in advance. Schedule your week: block off 1-2 hour time slots for homework. Stick to it. This is an easy way to get more efficient. Studies show that after 2 hours of working or studying the same topic, productivity drops dramatically.

8) Enjoy it.

This is probably the last time in your adult life you’ll have the luxury of learning in a controlled environment, where your job doesn’t depend on it.

Happy bending  studying!

Melissa Barker

Read more from the Digital Drinkers 

10 Back Flexibility Stretches | 15 Stretches for Splits, and Tips for Sharing Your Practice | 5 Secrets to Flexibility Training, and Building a Following | Surviving a Beer Fest    | Investing In A Home, Part 1      |     The Portland Trail Blazers Brand      |   Training For My First 1/2 Marathon


National Sleep Foundation (n.d.). “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?” Retrieved on 25, July 2016, from:


Portland Trail Blazers Cap Update and Predictions for 2016/2017 Season

google search blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers have been very busy this off-season, retaining almost their entire second-round 2015/2016 team including Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Meyers Leonard among others.


Branding the team isn’t the only way to keep butts-in-seats,  having a good team is the most sure fire way to all but guarantee a sell-out audience in Portland. 



The Blazers Biggest Moves This Off-Season


  • Allen Crabbe $74.8 million guaranteed
  • Evan Turner $   70 million guaranteed
  • Meyers Leonard $   41 million guaranteed
  • CJ McCollum $ 106 million guaranteed
  • Festus Ezeli $   15 million guaranteed


What does this mean for the salary cap?  The NBA cap is expected to rise to over $90 million next year thanks to the multi-billion dollar television deal signed in 2014. Mid-level players are set to earn what used to be max deals.  In 2017, the Blazers will have $104,709,320  in salaries, including over a million in non-active player salary cap hits,  which is over the cap currently listed at $94,143,000. Thus, total salary, including tax, is $118.5 million in 2017 alone.


Whew. Would that I had $120 mil to throw around each year like Paul Allen.



The Blazers clearly think it is worth it. I gasped at the Evan Turner deal, I’m still not sold on it, but Olshey has proven he knows how to find and keep talent. The bigger potential issue here is whether Turner can mesh with Lillard and CJ. They’re the stars of this team.


The Blazers have gone big in a short time frame, paying out big bucks to players, and betting on immediate finals-worthy returns as soon as possible. Hard to argue with this approach, if you’re an owner that has billions of dollars to burn. Some have offered this team is the deepest the Blazers have ever enjoyed– not sure if we can argue something like that, but a potentially great team is on the verge of putting it all together.



It is hard to know if Stotts has it in him to help the current roster gel even more, but if he can build on last years’ success, and everyone *knocks on wood* stays healthy, the Blazers have a real chance of making serious moves in the Western Conference.



For kicks, ESPN has the Blazers winning two more than last season and ending at 4th in the West.  



As last season’s surprise, our panel sees further progress for a Portland team that spent serious dough this summer to keep its roster intact. The Blazers spent just north of $290 million dollars this offseason on new deals for C.J. McCollum, Allen Crabbe, Meyers Leonard and Evan Turner. And with Damian Lillard’s five-year, $139.9 million contract kicking in this season, Portland is going all-in to return to contention in the West.

Why Do People Run Half Marathons? – I’m not doing it for the shoes!

When one types in a search for “why do people run half marathons?” into Google, they are most likely doing one of two things. One, they are following their marketing professor’s instructions for how to create a good blog post for a digital marketing class OR (more likely) two they are asking themselves the same question I’ve been asking myself lately:

“Why the hell AM I doing this?! Why am I training for a half Marathon, again?”

It’s just 13.1 miles. What’s all the fuss about?

A lot of you are reading this because you’ve heard through the grape vine, or from me directly, that I’m training for my first half marathon. And honestly, the first question most of you have asked me is “why?”

I’m here to tell you what all the fuss is about.  For me, anyway.

Running Shoes

Originally, I set out on this journey to:

  •   Test my physical strength
  •   Test my mental strength
  •   Test my willpower and commitment to a goal
  •   Test my ability to create a new habit and stick with it

The sheer curiosity of if I could or couldn’t do it was the entire reason I started training.

My motivation to keep training?

1. Camaraderie

The number of complete strangers in the global running community who continue to support me, follow me, read my blog, like my sweaty/frizzy haired instagram photos, offer advice, and cheer me on literally leave me in awe most days.  People who I have NEVER met, and NEVER spoken to, are taking the time out of their busy lives to support me in my goal to run this half marathon. If you want to restore your faith in humanity during this crazy time in the world, look no further!

2. Confidence

Sometimes you have to remind yourself what you’re really made of. Your body has to prove to your brain that you are a force to be reckoned with, and that you really can do whatever you set your mind to.

3. Curiosity

The sheer curiosity of if I could or couldn’t do this was the entire reason I started training. And my curiosity is still a main reason why I keep training and keep being motivated to work towards this goal. I guess we’ll find out if curiosity killed the cat in a short 36 days time!

Why Some People Run Half Marathons

Some common results from my quick Google search indicate the following as “reasons why people should run half marathons”.  There are some funny ones, that certainly don’t apply to me.

1. You Have A Thing For Bling

“Many races include all kinds of perks and amenities to draw runners to the starting line. One such amenity is the ubiquitous race medal. The bigger the race, the bigger (and gaudier) the medal you’ll typically receive at the finish line. Medals now double as coasters, bottle openers and more. If you complete more than one half marathon in a particular race series (for example, the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon Series), it’s likely you’ll get a special medal for your multiple efforts. So, if you’ve got a penchant for the bling, half marathons will hook you up.” (Forsman, n.d.)

Nope, I’m not in it for the bling. I’ll gladly wear a finisher’s medal when I feel like I’ve earned it, but the shiny, heavy circle around my neck is NOT my motivation. Doesn’t the strap end up chafing, anyway?

2. You Like To Party

“As mentioned earlier, the perks and amenities at races today are staggering. Aside from the gaudy ‘bling’ one typically receives, there is almost always some kind of post-race party or celebration. Destination Races sells out all practically all of its wine country-themed events to some degree because of the post-race wine tastings following the race. The anti-oxidants can speed recovery and augment the runner’s high. Live music often accompanies the imbibing of said anti-oxidants. If you like to party, the half marathon may be your distance.” (Forsman, n.d.)

Free Mimosas are great and all, but I’ll go to a bar (or my refrigerator) if I want one. And Yes, I do like to party, but not when I smell like literal ass, have Jell-O legs, and want to crawl into an air-conditioned hole to nap. Unless that’s your idea of a party, and then we may just inherently disagree on this one.

3. You want to burn some extra calories

“A mile generally burns about 100 calories. If you’re currently logging mileage consistent with running 5Ks and/or 10Ks, you’re burning some decent calories.” (Forsman, n.d.)

Nope. I like bacon, and my body the way it is. Thanks, though. Also since starting this training I have gained weight, not lost any. I don’t know if I’m enjoying the carbo-loading too much, or if I’m actually losing fat and gaining muscle. Either way: pass the bacon, please.

4. You want new kicks.

“If you are stepping up from the 5K or 10K distance, logging a few extra miles each week will undoubtedly necessitate the purchasing of an additional pair or shoes or two. So, if you’ve been eyeing the hot new pair of Nikes at your local running specialty store, sign up for a half and pull the trigger as you’ll likely need them soon.” (Forsman, n.d.)

Seriously? New shoes? That’s what is getting some people to feel like they are going to pass out from exhaustion? That’s what is keeping some people on their training schedules when it’s hot, when it’s raining, when you can’t feel your toes, when you’d rather do your damn laundry than go on another run. Shoes? Oh my god, shoes. To each their own but personally, this one doesn’t do it for me.

5. Your wardrobe needs upgrading.

“If you’re going to be logging more miles, that may very well mean you’re running more days per week than you have previously.  These extra days of running will make it easy to rationalize upgrading your running wardrobe.” (Forsman, n.d.)

Nope.  See PSA about shoes written above.

My Current Stats:

  • Motivation for my last training run: staying on track with my recent  progress
  • Length of last training run: 6 miles
  • Song that got me through my last training run: Send My Love (To Your New Lover) by Adelle
  • Longest continuous distance ran (to date): 6 miles

Days to Disneyland Half Marathon: 36

– Lauren N

Read more from the Digital Drinkers 

10 Back Flexibility Stretches15 Stretches for Splits, and Tips for Sharing Your Practice | 5 Secrets to Flexibility Training, and Building a Following | Surviving a Beer Fest    |     Investing In A Home, Part 1      |     The Portland Trail Blazers Brand      |   Training For My First 1/2 Marathon



Forsman, Matt (n.d.). 13.1 Reasons to Run a Half Marathon. Retrieved July 21, 2016, from:


10 Back Flexibility Stretches for Dancers

The stretches that took me from “I can’t do a wheel pose without help” … to… “Yeah, I can put my head between my feet.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 4.25.24 PMAs a dancer, back flexibility is always a topic of discussion. Unsurprisingly, when you type into Google “back flexibility” the first question that autofills is “back flexibility stretches for dancers.”

This has been an area of focus and success for me – with achieving the illusive “head-to-feet” in January of 2016.

back flexibility

10 Stretches: How I Got My Head-to-Feet

  • Disclaimer: I am not an expert on flexibility. However, these are all stretches I learned from certified personal trainers, yoga instructors, and contortionists.
  • Warm Up: Spend 10-15 minutes warming up. You can do chest circles, shoulder rolls, cat/cow poses.
  • Be mindful: Your spine is important, take special care and rest days.
  • Questions? I’ve hyperlinked to video tutorials from professionals for most poses.

1. Cat/Cow Pose (Howcast, 2012)

Inhale into Cat Pose, exhale as you round your back for Cow Pose. Rotate between both poses 3 times.

Cat Cow Pose

2. Downward Dog (Yoga with Adriene, 2012)

Press into the ground with your hands and draw your hips back. Hold for 3-5 breaths.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.03.44 PM

3. Cobra Pose (Yoga with Adriene, 2013)

Inhale as you press up. Focus on lengthening your spine. Gently twist side to side to warm up your low back.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.05.55 PM

4. Cobra Kicks

Once in cobra, I like to bend each leg. Bend each leg two times and hold for 3-5 breaths. Then, press your hips back for Puppy Dog.


5. Puppy Dog Pose (Ekhart Yoga, 2010)

Keep your hips over your knee as you drop your chest down. Hold for 3-5 breaths.

Puppy Dog Pose

6. Camel Pose Rotations

Using a gentle rotation to grab both ankles, lead with the arm in the direction you plan to go. Sweep out the opposite direction. Repeat 3 times in each direction.


7. Camel Pose (BeFiT, 2013)

Gently reach back for your ankles or feet. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Repeat 3 times.

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 7.26.00 PM

8. Wheel Pose (, 2013)

Press up into wheel pose. Hold for 3-5 breaths. See video tutorial for proper form.

Wheel Pose

9. Plow Pose

Keep arms and palms down to your sides, pike both legs to roll overhead. See video for leg variations. As you unroll, pike legs together and unroll one vertebrae at a time.


10. Feet to Head: Lower Down from Camel Pose

Work on lowering down with your back muscles. If this feels too challenging, practice with walking your hands down a wall. Feeling bendy?  Reach overhead for the ground and walk hands in towards your feet.


How often to stretch?

I do the stretches listed above for 20-40 minutes three days a week. 

Happy bending!

Melissa Barker

P.S., This is the 3rd post in my series on flexibility, for more see  5 Secrets to Flexibility Training and 15 Stretches for Splits.

Read more from the Digital Drinkers 

15 Stretches for Splits, and Tips for Sharing Your Practice | 5 Secrets to Flexibility Training, and Building a Following | Surviving a Beer Fest    |     Investing In A Home, Part 1      |     The Portland Trail Blazers Brand      |   Training For My First 1/2 Marathon



Howcast. “How to Do a Cat Cow Pose for Energy | Yoga.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 23 June 2012. Web. 14 July 2016.

Yoga with Adriene. “Downward Dog – Downward Facing Dog Yoga Pose.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 12 December 2012. Web. 14 July 2016.

Yoga with Adriene. “Cobra Pose – Yoga With Adriene.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 16 January 2013. Web. 14 July 2016.

Ekhart Yoga. “Yoga, the Puppy Dog Pose.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 1 March 2010. Web. 14 July 2016.

BeFiT. “Jillian Michaels: Yoga Camel Pose” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 24 March 2013. Web. 14 July 2016. “How To Do Wheel Pose – Yoga Pros on Yoga Poses.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 29 June 2013. Web. 14 July 2016.

Digital Drinkers’ Runnin’, Stretchin’, Sportin’, Home-Buyin’ Week in Review

An ode to Sarah Palin -suddenly sane sounded member of the GOP.


Enough gun-totin’, rally-goin’, Trump-lovin’ politics.  We had a great week running, stretching, traveling and writing. Get in formation and get ready for an awesome review of our group’s content this week!


This week, Melissa followed up with a list of stretches to achieve flexibility and expanded her approach to marketing. Learn how you, too, can bust a split! 


Lauren is still running toward her goal, finishing the Disney half-marathon and gives us all a good primer on starting a personal blog. Unsurprisingly, she can’ t Dory. 


David gathered some useful insights from industry leaders about how to market your business during times of crisis or tragedy.  Learn how to avoid massive social media mistakes that could cost your company millions. 


David also posted a second article in his series on how to successfully invest in real estate – part 2 is here!  Start with his series if you’re interested in buying homes as investments. 


Finally, Sophia spoke with Jeff Garcia and Chelsea Mojo on their approach to digital marketing and growing their respective businesses.  Absolute must reads! 




Social Media Discussion with Ms. Mojo Risin’

This week, I had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Mojo Risin’ (@mojowriting), founder of Mojo Writing, a full-service online marketing provider for Loudoun County and Northern Virginia businesses and organizations. On twitter, her bio  states, “Writer, single mom, feminist, social media strategist, copywriting & SEO’ing your world. Random lyrics. I eat brains. #amwriting #intj #yoga #FriesBeforeGuys.” For me, that was enough to earn an instant follow.

Our conversation covers her business and marketing approach, how she helps women business owners, and her advice to companies using social media. My questions are in bold.

Q: In a few words, describe what your business does.


My business provides online marketing solutions like blogging, articles, social media and strategy services.


Q: How did you get started in this field ? What is your background and how long have you been doing this work?


I learned layout and design in high school (yearbook, actually). I’ve always been pretty tech-savvy and was in several “right places” at the right time, so it was a pretty seamless transition into web and graphic design with the small businesses I worked for. Eventually, I worked at a start-up web design company and spent a lot of time learning HTML there and on my own.


Eventually, I decided that everything I was doing could be done on my own and I began freelancing web and graphic design. Once social media became a thing, I started building discussion forums (the web side and the administration side).


It all pretty much came together after that. The business side of things and how that connects directly to online marketing and those efforts.


In one way or another, I’ve been at this for 23 years.


Q: Compare the way you marketed your business at the beginning to how you do so now?

At the beginning, I had the normal freelancer mentality, I believe. It’s hard to start out and you pretty much are grateful for even an inquiry, much less an actual gig. However, the majority of my clients (then and now) have been women, who not only hesitate in business but also with computers and technology. So I’d like to think my early marketing was simply keeping lines of communication open with those clients and getting referrals as a result.


Honestly, I don’t do things much differently right now, just a better understanding of where to focus the energy and when to walk away from a campaign, client or project.


I have a new division, if you will, that I’m launching. Along with a fairly niche community project that I’m testing out. Those projects and the campaigns I run for clients require a pretty complicated strategy, but one that is soaked in social media. I refer to it as the old  “spokes on a wheel” concept and it holds true at all times, no matter the niche or the client. Online marketing is integrating those spokes into a seamless experience for both the client and the customer.


Q: I’ve known you through twitter, how important have social media accounts been to your business and promoting yourself  and your business?


I often tell people not to be like me on Twitter, at least not if they want to be taken seriously. I’m fortunate that what I do requires a certain level of risk-taking and showing I can be technical, swamped in pop culture, in the throes of #momlife, and still a very accessible person.


For what I do, social media is vital on all levels. You can’t sell social media without being social media.


Q: So you mentioned that you largely work with women, you still do to this day, why is that? Was that a natural targeting decision or something done more strategically ?


Most of my clients are women still. I think a lot of that came from helping friends  launch websites in the past or encouraging them to register as an LLC or just supporting their ideas. I feel there’s a natural affinity between women in business that is a lot like when we get together to cook a big meal or go sailing or whatever.  I’m drawn to that and I like to think I help bring that same vibe to the women I work with.


Q: What is one piece of social media marketing advice that you have for business owners?


If you wouldn’t trust your intern (child, nephew, pet goat, neighbor’s cousin’s ex-girlfriend, etc.) to drive your car, don’t trust them to run your social media. You and your business deserve better.


Sports and Social Media – A Conversation With Jeff Garcia

This week, Sophia had the opportunity to speak with Jeff Garcia (@JeffGSpursZone) of WOAI News 4 San Antonio, KABB Fox 29 San Antonio, and host of “Locked On Spurs.”
Sophia has known Jeff through Twitter for 5 years and has always admired his work. She discussed his approach to using social media to market his work and build his sports-media empire through digital relationship building. Sophia’s questions are in bold.

Q: Tell me a little about your background and how you came to do what you do today for work?

Many know me as a Spurs writer/media personality but I am actually an attorney. I practiced Immigration Law for years but moonlighted as a sports writer since 2004. I started off as a co-founder of Project Spurs and from there  my love of sports media/writing took off. From covering the Spurs as a credentialed member of the media, covering Team USA basketball, attending major NBA events such as the 2014 NBA Finals and multiple NBA Drafts to co-hosting a sports talk show on 1250 ESPN San Antonio all led me to where I am today. Now, I am the Spurs beat writer for two local news outlets in San Antonio (WOAI News 4 San Antonio and KABB Fox 29 San Antonio). And yes, I am still an attorney.

Q: How do you approach digital marketing of your content?


I approached it by what I like to call the new “word of mouth” approach – Twitter! Heavy use of Twitter. That platform was actually the first social media outlet I used to promote my content. From there, I developed Twitter relationships where people who enjoy reading my work would re-Tweet my work. Today, I have the back of the two local San Antonio media outlets who in turn promote my work on their official Twitter feeds as well as on their Facebook pages.
My approach also involves a balancing act where I will promote my work multiple times on Twitter but in different forms. For example, I will tweet my own work, then re-Tweet others who Tweet my work and space out my self-promotion by an hour. With tweets getting “buried” on people’s timeline, I feel one has to stay on top of it (see what I did there?) and tweet as much as one can to keep my articles fresh on people’s minds and eyes.
I believe with digital marketing being so fast and furious, so can people’s memories. Fans get swamped with so much digital marketing, I have to be unique, and mix it up.

Q: What is it about social media that makes sporting events so fun to talk about online as they are happening?.


That is the best isn’t it? I fall into the drama of it all. And that is what makes it fun. The passion, drama, angst, etc. from fans who give you their emotions in an instant. I can “feel” the excitement that it only enhances the fun of watching events. It also gives me a sense of the pulse of the fan that I can use in my articles.

Q: Is twitter the new sports bar?


Yes but at a whole other level. It is a 24-hour sports bar. A mega water cooler for people to gather around and talk sports. You meet new people with similar interests, viewpoints and build from there. It’s a sports bar that never closes. You can go in and out of it and catch up on what the talk is or sit back and watch the drama unfold.
Q: How can businesses capitalize, in an authentic way, on massive social media user-ship during sporting events?
Simple – play to the emotions of fans. If their team is winning and fans are ecstatic then a business can capitalize on that and, for example, have free social media codes for a discount for whatever they are selling. Another example is what the Spurs do at games. If the Spurs win at home, everyone in San Antonio gets free coffee at their business. Same can be done online.
Q: What is your most popular social media driven piece of work?
I noticed anything where a team’s rival opponent is giving them some juicy locker room material or if the team they are cheering for gets crushed on the scoreboard is when I have popular social media driven content. Anytime there is some sort of “emotion inducing” moment during the season gets fans going and it gets popular. Oh and odd-ball, random posts. For example, I can write a 1,000 worded piece on why the Spurs need to change their lineup. It will get views but if I find a video of Tony Parker dancing with a teddy bear in Portland while singing a Taylor Swift song, well that will explode on Twitter. My suggestion, do both.
Q: What advice do you have for newcomers to the online world of sports reporting?
Be consistent. Find out your strengths and run with it. If  you are good at writing from the hip, then do it but do it well. If you notice you get more views from Facebook and not Twitter, then focus your strengths there and eventually it will even out. Meaning eventually fans will ask “Why aren’t you on Twitter?” and vise versa. Then you can branch out.
Write a lot. I mean even if there is nothing going on with your team – find something. It makes you stand out. You got to satisfy a fan’s thirst for the love of their team. Quench it.
Do not give up. Keep on writing even if your work gets hardly noticed at first. I recall starting off with no one knowing who I was and couldn’t care less about my articles. But perseverance paid off for me. Do not be afraid to ask. Seriously. My first big “break” into the larger NBA writing world was in 2004 when I just asked the NBA if I can cover the Vegas Summer League. Days later I got a “yes” and from there I established myself.
If I can do it, so can you.

How to Select the Right Property (Part 2) – Delivering Returns on a Skyrocketing Real Estate Market

Always wanted to build a Real Estate empire?

Want to know how to get started?

This 3 part series will get you well on your way with real life examples and experiences using proven techniques for generating huge returns.

post 2

If you missed part 1 , get caught up here first to learn the basics.

Selecting the Right Property: By Type

“How do I select the right property?”

This is a one of the biggest questions I get from those seeking real estate advice. First, decide what type of income you want from this property: rental, long-term investment, short-term investment, or vacation rental income?

1) Rental Income

If its rental income, I would highly suggest seeking out multi-unit properties. Anything 4 units or less and you can still use a conventional loan and take advantage of conventional rates. Research rentals in the area, occupancy rates and learn how to be a landlord.

Property management companies are great but you will be paying 10% of your gross. Be sure to do your research on home warranty companies and landlord laws. There are also landlord associations that can help with legal advice, and reputable handy men.  

2) Long-term Investment (more than 2 years)

With long-terms investment the biggest factor is location, location, location. Find the most distressed house in the best neighborhood you can afford. This can prove to be huge payouts if you chose the right area and time your sale. A perfect area will never lose value, but choose carefully. For example, walkability is huge and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Segmenting the market for a long term investment is also important, ensure you are aiming for the right clientele when making improvements, target the wrong customer and your home improvement investments could end up not delivering a return (which is key to any home improvement on a long term investment).  Plus, if it you’re the primary resident for 2 out of 5 years, you will pay 0 capital gains, a big bonus.

Long term capital gains can be as much as 25%, depending on your tax bracket and state. We also recently sold a property at the exact 2 year mark. It was a huge fixer upper and we built an additional guest house in the back. The house sold for nearly 50% higher than we purchased it for 2 years ago. We chose the perfect neighborhood, and put a ton of work into it, which included a renovated guest house and new bathroom.  

If your going for a fixer upper, the contract is key. If you live in the NW Portland/Gorge area, Pinnacle Concepts LLC is a great company to work with. They have done a lot of our remodel work, the owner Randy is one of the best guys you can hope to find.

Before and after dining room renovation:

 reno 1

Before and after kitchen guest house renovation:

reno 2

3. Short term investment (less than 1 year)

Again, location is key, but here you will be looking for something that is quick to fix up. No foundation, roof, electric, or plumbing work. Cosmetic updates, landscaping, and low dollar fix ups. Also, you have to consider short term capital gains, upwards of 39%! This is not a path I have headed down before, be careful with this option, it’s risky and most real estate is a long term investment unless you are doing this full time and are a contractor yourself.

4. Vacation Rental

This option is reserved for mainly vacation destinations and in great locations. You can often find distressed properties for this investment, but they will go fast and often paid for cash due to condition. Bedrooms are the one of the biggest income generators for these sorts of investments, the more people you can house, the more you can charge per night. This requires extensive managing on a weekly or even daily basis, a true part time job. Also, check with local laws as many states and or cities do not allow short term rentals (defined as less than 30 days).  You also have to figure in the cost of furniture, bedding and supplies, which can be significant depending on the size of the home.

According to the Financial Samurai at Personal Capital, you must decide on a realistic income from your rental property:

It’s all about income. As a real estate investor you must ascertain what is the realistic income the target property can generate on a sustainable basis every year. Once you have an income range then you can calculate a property’s gross rental yield and price to earnings to compare it with other properties on your acquisitions list.


We used social media marketing to advertise the vacation rental we invested in, check out this link for a full tour.

We purchased that property at an auction, fixed it up, rented it out as a vacation rental (for 4 years), and sold for a great profit.  We purchased the property off an auction website, Williams and Williams, a great place to find auctions. Check out this link to the vacation rental we purchased, and pictures of the original condition of the home when we purchased it.

reno 3

Exit strategy

Develop an exit strategy no matter what property you buy.

Put every property in your ROI calculator I mentioned in Part 1, and decide how long you want to keep it. Five years is a reasonable time frame for a long investment to properly forecast.  Examining the market and properly forecasting will bring in huge returns. I’ve been asked by others to invest in their real estate ventures with no clear exist strategy, I would not recommend it as this should be your biggest criteria when deciding how to invest.

Bottom Line

Find a property you feel confident in, and trust your gut! Don’t settle just because you want to get in the market, you will find the right property if your consistent and have an open mind. Keep your eye on the cash-in (exit strategy), we will be discussing that in Part 3: Cashing in on your Investment — next week!

Read more from the Digital Drinkers 

15 Stretches for Splits, and Tips for Sharing Your Practice | 5 Secrets to Flexibility Training, and Building a Following | Surviving a Beer Fest    |     Investing In A Home, Part 1   |   The Portland Trail Blazers Brand      |   Training For My First 1/2 Marathon  | 5 Things to Chant in Your Head While Running



Financial Samurai, October 6, 2014,