The Best of The #SantaHat Tradition

My Last #SantaHat Season

I seriously have no idea how I pulled these off:

  • 2008 - 79 santa hats
  • 2009 - 190
  • 2010 - 446
  • 2011 - 532
  • 2012 - 669
  • 2013 - 706

That makes six epic seasons of staying up late for 3-4 weeks, looking back at old photos, revisiting good times and photoshopping santa hats, fake snow, and even ugly Christmas sweaters on all you guys. Then over the course of a week, I get the pleasure of watching my newsfeed turn into a joyful stream of Christmas red and white.

By far, my favorite part is getting flooded with notifications not just from you guys but from your friends. When I see your friends getting into the Christmas spirit, my heart does a fist pump and I know I did my job.

These past six holidays seasons have been a BLAST. I can't help but smile when I look at each and every one of those pictures in that epic collage of my best Santa Hats.

But alas, with all of the changes going on in my life, I feel like the universe is telling me it's time to focus on other real world things; specifically, my career.

This year was by far the hardest. I honestly didn't think I'd come close to last year's 669 santa hats because I didn't pick up steam until five days after launch. My new job (which I love and plan to keep for a very long time) just gets so hectic around the holidays, there is simply no way for me to keep this going.

As epic as it has been, this indeed is the final #SantaHat least from me. I know other people on other parts of the internet have been doing the same thing for years and they'll continue to do it after me.

I just wanted to say thank you to all you guys. Thank you for all the good times, being a part of my life, and being part of the tradition these past few years. The end of the #SantaHat Tradition is definitely the end of an era...but we sure made it kick ass while it lasted.

Wishing you all a whole lot of love, a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. <3


p.s. For my newer friends, here's a throwback post of the story behind the tradition: The #SantaHat Tradition: What It Means to Me

Holy shit. I think I'm dyslexic...

My mom, as far back as I can remember, has ALWAYS mixed up my name with my brothers. ALL THE TIME. "Michael. I mean, Mark! I mean, Melvin!" Seriously, ALL THE TIME. I kinda just got used to it and got desensitized to it.

Yesterday, my mom did the same thing...but this time, I jokingly thought to myself, "What if she has dyslexia or something?"

I didn't really know much about dyslexia to being with. As far as I knew, it was a thing that caused people to mispell words frequently. But as I read through a fat list of symptoms, it just hit me.

"Holy. shit. This is totally me..."

Here are some of the symptoms that are all too familiar:

  • Thrives in careers where visual-spatial/kinesthetic talents can be realized: For example - Entrepreneurs, Engineers, Trades (carpentry, plumbing, electrical), Artisans, Interior Decorating, Actors, Musicians, Police/Investigation, Athletes, and Business Executives (usually with staff/assistants).

  • May pass up promotions or advancement opportunities that would require more administrative work.

  • Has difficulty focusing and staying on task - may feel more comfortable managing many different tasks simultaneously.

  • Difficulty with tests - passing standardized tests can be a barrier to career advancement.

  • Out-of-the-box thinker or operates with very strict rules for themselves.

  • Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation, and visual aids.

  • May be able to sense emotions and energy of others.

  • Remembers struggling in school.

  • Misspeaks, misuses, or mispronounces words without realizing it.

  • May have excellent recall of events that were experienced or not remember at all.

  • May confuse past conversations or be accused of "not listening."

  • Difficulty remembering names of people without tricks, but remembers faces.

  • Difficulty remembering verbal instructions or directions.

  • Poor recall of conversations or sequence of events.

  • Avoids reading out loud. May dislike public speaking.

  • Will commonly perceive that they "read better silently."

  • Has adopted compensatory tricks to remember spelling and homonyms (their, there, they're), or misuses homonyms and has poor or inconsistent/phonetic spelling.

  • Reading fluency and comprehension fluctuates depending upon subject matter.

  • Frequently has to re-read sentences in order to comprehend.

  • Fatigues or becomes bored quickly while reading.

  • Reliance on others (assistants, spouses, significant others) for written correspondence.

  • Uncertainty with words, punctuation, and spelling when writing. Reliance on spell-check and grammar-check.

  • Poor handwriting.

  • Relies on calculators or finger counting. May have difficulty with making change.

  • Difficulty with left/right and/or North, South, East, West.

  • Gets lost easily or never forgets a place they've been.

  • Difficulty reading maps.

  • May have anxiety or stress when driving in unfamiliar places. Relies on others to drive when possible.

  • May lose track of time and is frequently late - or is highly aware of it and is very rarely late.

  • Finds it difficult to estimate how long a task will take to complete.

  • Self-conscious when speaking in a group. May have difficulty getting thoughts out - pause frequently, speak in halting phrases, or leave sentences incomplete. This may worsen with stress or distraction.

  • Sticks to what they know - fear of new tasks or any situation where they are out of comfort zone.

  • Confusion, stress, physical health issues, time pressure, and fatigue will significantly increase symptoms.

UPDATE: Found a few more symptoms from Quora:

I make mistakes when copying down numbers, especially addresses and account numbers. When I write down an important number I have to check very carefully two or three times to see that I copied it correctly. Often, I have switched a few numbers without realizing it. Several times, I have knocked on a stranger's door because I copied an address down wrong.

I struggle with paying restaurant bills and figuring out tip, and how much change I should get. If my bill is 24 dollars, and I want to add a tip, and I am paying with a 50, I can't for the life of me figure out how much money to get back. It feels like there's a wall between myself and the answer. Mental math is almost impossible.

I get confused by pronouns when speaking. If I'm telling a story that involves a lot of "he said to her that she told him that she wanted..." I will get very confused. It feels like the story is getting away from me. Sometimes I struggle to express myself verbally. all makes so much sense now. All of my deepest insecurities stem from these very things...

It totally explains why I have NEVER been able to comprehend fictional books. Why I've always HATED reading aloud. Why even with a GPS, I'll still get lost in LA.

Why I'm so shy around big groups of people. Why I avoid confrontation like the plague. Why I remember names, dates, and outfits so well but I can't remember names for the life of me. Why I repeat the same questions or tell the same stories over and over.

Why I can never come up with the right words to say when I'm put on the spot. Why I rely on texting/chatting/emailing over talking on the phone or in person. Why I frequently ask people to repeat themselves. Why I suck at expressing myself verbally and compensate by being a perfectionist writer. Why I always get called out for saying "nutterbutt squash" or "California Pizza Chicken."

Why I frequently mess up my own signature. Why I have never been able to keep track of the score when watching or playing basketball. Why I can never remember if I've closed the garage door or not and had to drive back home to make sure.

All those times when people have given me shit for doing any of the above...all those countless times I've unintentionally hurt people because I was a poor listener...all those times I've wondered why I am so damn introverted...

This is why.

(I need to get tested and find out for sure.)

Ladies: What do you do when a guy friend that you're not interested in keeps insisting on being more than just friends?

Let me guess:

  • You act like everything is just fine and dandy, hoping that he'll just figure it out and back off eventually.

  • You act passive-aggressive by screening his calls/texts/messages and give him the cold shoulder in person.

  • You lie to him with something like, "I'm not ready for a relationship right now" or "I'm talking to somebody."

  • You ask a mutual friend to help you out and talk to the guy.

Let me tell you what you should do:

Reject him. Straight up.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with turning down a guy that you're not interested in. All it takes is a simple, "I'm sorry but I don't look at you that way."

No need to give him attitude. No need to get all passive-aggressive. No need to feed him BS.

Just reject him. Straight up. But do it with class.

Sure, it'll be awkward for a little while, but by outright turning him down, you set his expectations back down to reality. If he really does not have a chance with you, you need to make sure he doesn't have a single thread of hope to cling on to.

If you don't draw the line, this is what will happen:

  • He will keep pushing your friendship boundaries over and over and over. — "I know it's 3am but I'm gonna text her and tell her I miss her!"

  • He will over-analyze every single action you do, every word you say, and make a big deal out of the smallest, stupidest shit. — "She did/didn't Like my post on her Facebook! I'm so fucking happy/emo!"

  • His subconscious will constantly rationalize for reasons to believe that you're into him. — "She said I'm the nicest guy she's ever met! She totally wants me."

  • He'll get jealous of any other guy that comes into the picture, including (and especially) other mutual guy friends. — "Why is my friend talking to her? What are they talking about? Why are they laughing so much??"

All of that will drag on for MONTHS until you finally bring it up to him.

If you wait too long to do it, in his eyes you'll go from being this "perfect" girl on a pedestal to "the heartless, unappreciative bitch that took advantage of every nice thing I did for her and threw me to the side the minute another guy came into the picture."

So ladies"¦just be straight up the guys around you.

There's no need for you to deal with drama. There's no need for the guy to build up his hopes for months only to have it come crashing down. There's no need to drag in your mutual friends and make it awkward for everyone.

I know you don't wanna come off as a bitch and you don't want to deal with the awkwardness. Totally understandable. But if you have zero interest in a guy that keeps insisting on being more than friends"¦save yourself the months of potential drama and just let him know whats up.



(And no, this post isn't about me or made to call out anyone specific. This is just something that I've lived through several times in the past and continue to notice from other friends on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr & in person.)


That is Earth seen from 4 billion miles away, photographed by Voyager 1 on June 6, 1990.

Carl Sagan, Astronomer:

"That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every 'superstar,' every 'supreme leader,' every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."

As a kid I was always amazed by the night sky. I was fortunate enough to grow up in an area where the atmosphere wasn't tarnished by a thick cloud of smog and crap. Everynight I was able to see the better part of the sky And I got to see the Milky Way in all of its beauty. City folks never get to see that. Or when they do get the chance, they hardly take the time to appreciate it.

I'm completely captivated every single time.

Science fiction likes to talk about time-travel, but what many of us don't realize is that we do that every night. The light we see from the stars above is millions of years old. Millions. The night sky that you see today is a snapshot of what was really there millions of years ago. Hell, even the light from the sun takes 8 minutes to reach Earth. If the sun blew up right now, we wouldn't know about it until 8 minutes later. Just thinking about the shear numbers of size, time and distance that I find completely fascinating.

But there's something about this photo that really gets to me.

It reminds me of my early grade school years when I finally learned my first constellations, like Cassiopeia, Orion and the Summer Triangle. It reminds me that no matter how much we change, some things will always be the same. And it reminds me that all the pain, heartbreak and jealousy I've endured is really just insignificant in the grander scheme of things.

But most of all, it reminds me that even the smallest things in life -- just like that tiny pale blue dot in the picture -- may actually mean the world to someone else.

It's just a matter of perspective.

Inspired by Futility Closet

How to Gain Weight Fast

// here's a copy of the speech i gave today for public speaking. enjoy!!

I have a friend who is a bigtime pothead. When you hang out with someone like that, you tend to have some of the wierdest conversations. Like one random night, as we were enjoying our carne asada burritos from Albertos, he had a stoner epiphany:

Stoner Epiphany:

What if we lived in a world where everyone wanted to be fat? ...where it was cool to be obese? What if you turned the channel to Real World and instead of finding guys with rock hard pecs and chiseled Abercrombie abs, they're running around with flabby guts and saggy manbreasts?!

If this was the case, then the hottest pitch in marketing wouldn't be How to Lose Weight Fast. Rather, it would be How to Gain Weight Fast.

Playing along with this idea, I did a little research as well as looked at some of my own personal experiences. This is what I came up with:

The key to gaining weight fast is influencing the stomach to get hungry and the mind to get cravings.

Today I am going to give you some tips on how to stimulate both of these.

First I'll start out with tips on influencing the stomach to get hungry.

Every meal is a race.

Your stomach, mouth and brain are all connected and it takes 20 minutes of chewing before your stomach tells your brain that you are full. With that in mind, your goal is to eat as much as you can, as fast as you can in those 20 minutes, before you brain has a chance to tell you you're full. As an added bonus, try minimizing chewing as much as possible to further deceive your brain.

Skip meals.

The first meal of the day is the meal what jump starts your metabolism. Also, eating constantly throughout the day keeps your metabolism high. If you're trying to gain weight fast, you do not want that. Instead of eating three square meals a day, try combining all three meals into one huge, massive mega-meal. Doing so will keep your metabolism down since it takes a lot of time for your stomach to digest all of the food. Also, hunger will be at an all-time high because you had the whole day to build it up.


Try eating ice cream straight out of the carton while watching TV. Or try eating a bag of chips while doing homework. Or try eating a box of Krispy Kremes while driving to school. Your stomach might be full or you might not even be hungry, but multitasking will distract you from paying attention to exactly how much you are eating.

Smoke Marijuana.

Marijuana contains a chemical called THC. THC has an affect on the pituitary gland, which is the gland that regulates the hormone for hunger.

My stoner friend once described to me that when he's high, food doesn't just taste good: it feels good. He described it, and I quote, "its like a party in your mouth and everyone's invited." Basically when you're high, food feels so good that you just don't want to stop.

While it is your stomach signals hunger, it is your brain that controls your cravings. Here's a few mental tricks you can use to stimulate cravings.

Be an emotional eater.

Eat when you are happy and you want to celebrate. Eat when you are feeling down and you need something to brighten your day. Eating during emotional periods will help you build a strong, psychological association between food and your feelings.

Find Takeru Kobayashi.

Back in Japan he's nicknamed The Tsunami. Here in the states he is simply known as The Asian Dude that eats over 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes. Some of you might have heard of him. He is the 4-Time International Hot Dog Eating Champion here in the US. Also in his list of achievements is eating 17.7 lbs of cow brains which he accomplished to win the first ever nationally-televised Glutton Bowl on ABC. Although he is not fat, his eating abilities is truly something to admire.

All or nothing mentality.

When you are struggling at finishing your food, remind yourself that you are not a quitter. You are a winner. You came here to conquer. Food is your business. You eat like there is no tomorrow. You eat like there is no such thing as leftovers.

Special Occassions.

Holidays are great reasons to eat a lot. You have the turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, honey glazed ham, a plump juicy pot roast"¦holidays are just a perfect time to celebrate and indulge.

And its not just holidays: its all special occasions. For example, when friends are in town visiting, you absolutely MUST show them all of your favorite places to eat and share the wonderful eating experience with them.

Now that you know some of the mental and physical tricks to assist weight gain, here's a short list of some extra tips based on my own personal experiences.


Because you'll be eating so fast, you rarely will have enough time to appreciate the taste of your food. This is where condiments come in. Add lots of it. Tons of it. Oodles. Your food will have more flavor, not to mention it will add extra precious calories to your meal.


When eating out with other people, beat them to finish line and then taunt them. Stare at their food deeply and intently. Breathe heavily for added effect. They'll eventually cave in to your psychological games and give you the rest of their food. Trust me, it works...I do it all the freakin' time.

wink smilie

Slim Fast.

Slim fast is bad...but Slim fast with ice cream is really good.

big grin

Fruits and vegetables.

Forget it. Waste of space, not enough calories.

Happy hour.

Many sit-down restaurants have some sort of happy hour special. But I'm not talking about the drinks, I'm talking about the half-off appetizers. Why buy one appetizer for half the price when you can buy 4 for just twice the price??

Wear stretchy pants.

A tight waist line can greatly restrict your eating potential. Drawstrings, resizable belts and elastic waistbands are highly recommended. I you don't have such clothes, you can always just unbutton your pants to allow more room for your gut to hang out. Just be sure to button them back up when you leave the table.

Lastly, grab a partner.

Find an eating buddy that can eat just as much as you. Someone that'll push you, motivate you and spot you during your eating sessions. And if you're lucky enough to find a boyfriend or girlfriend that can eat as much as you, they're a KEEPER.

So there you have it, a little insight in what stimulates hunger & cravings, as well as 15 tips that you can easily implement into your daily life. Just follow these tips and you'll be rocking that saggy gut in no time!! Thank you.