To PSL or not to PSL?

As we head into fall, we all anticipate the cooler days, the change in the feel of the air, the colors around us transitioning from bright blue skies and lush green lawns and trees to the golden glow of autumn.

We start decorating our homes and yards with beautiful fall flower arrangements and wreaths on our front doors. They kids are settled into familiar school and sports routines. Our homes begin to smell of hot apple cider and maybe a fresh baked pie or two!

One thing that a lot of you look forward to more than anything else at this time of year is the change of menu at your favorite coffee shops. More specifically, the availability of the famed pumpkin spice latte!!!

Having this iconic fall beverage back on the menu seems to be the thing that brings many back into the mindset of the changing season. We appreciate the crisp mornings more when we are sipping on the warm goodness in our to-go cups. We feel a new found pep in our step, and maybe even a renewed energy for the daily routine that, just a week earlier, seemed monotonous and boring. There’s something about the pumpkin spice latte that makes us smile!

I personally love the change of seasons and fall and spring are arguably my favorites! The feeling that fall brings is uplifting and invigorating. The changes that take place, both in nature and in my daily life, are beautiful and fun to experience. Raking the fallen leaves in the yard, getting the garden ready to be put to bed for the winter, taking out that well loved and oh-so-comfortable old sweatshirt and remembering the good times had while wearing it around the campfire with friends all bring a smile to my face and a sense of joy to my heart. 

But the pumpkin spice latte …. ? I don’t know if I fall into the category of folks who anticipate its return each year like a kid anticipates the upcoming Christmas vacation.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love a sweet treat now and then and having the seasonal flavor only available for a short time in the fall certainly does make this a much desired beverage. Offering it for “a limited time only” also increases its demand, which from a business and marketing viewpoint is brilliant!

Having a product exclusive to a season creates a relationship between that product (in this case a hot, delicious, sugary treat) and your brain which in a lot of ways changes the way you think and feel about it. Knowing you can only enjoy something for a few months, typically from early September to just after Thanksgiving, creates a feeling of need for that thing. You feel that you have to have it, and you have to have more of it, because it won’t be around forever. You have to enjoy it while it lasts!

This feeling of need can also be described as a craving. You anticipate it’s return and crave it so much so that nothing else will satisfy you. Your regular morning coffee just won’t do anymore. That afternoon treat you are used to having isn’t the same. You now crave that pumpkin spice latte goodness!

This strong brain/product relationship, I think. Is really what makes the simple pumpkin spice latte such a well loved and enjoyed fall beverage. The anticipation begins weeks before it’s arrival, with some actually counting down the days until their first taste of the season. Once it’s finally here and you have yours in hand, you find yourself slipping into a sensation of overwhelming joy. Much like my old sweatshirt makes me happy year after year, the pumpkin spice latte does the same for many of you. So enjoy every sip!

Thoughts shared by Kris

What motivated us to start a blog?

I’m not going to lie. Getting motivated, and staying motivated, is hard for me. I have all these  grand plans to start eating better, exercising more, completing projects around the house …. yeah. I’m sure you know the routine. “OK. It’s Monday morning. LET’S GET STARTED!” By Friday afternoon I’ve slipped back into the same old lazy day-to-day slump that has been typical of my life for the last 5 months.

I haven’t always had a hard time getting and staying motivated. I used to run daily and would complete a half dozen or so 10k races a year (I never had the desire do to a half or full marathon, but maybe someday).

I was self-employed and my wife and I ran a successful and very busy handy-man business for a little over 5 years.

I have worked two jobs while renovating houses with the intention of selling them for a profit (flipping) all with the end goal of creating wealth and having free time to do the things I love most. That all takes dedication, determination, and daily motivation! 

So why now, in 2020, am I finding it hard to get motivated and to stay motivated? You could say “Well, it is 2020 you know!”

As a reminder for those of you reading this in future years, 2020 was the year of the Covid-19 outbreak that pretty much shut down the world. This is relevant in my life because it put an abrupt end to a dream and huge life goal.

My wife and I started a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail on March 4th. By March 22nd, with only 119.5 miles of the trail completed, we were forced to end our journey and go home.

Embarking on this 2,193 mile journey that would take us approximately six months and allow us to travel, on foot, through fourteen states took years of research for the best gear, footwear, food, etc., not to mention finding a trusted individual to take care of our dog, extensive planning for the best towns to send resupply boxes to, the best hostels/hotels to stay at, what to do if one of us should sustain an injury …. not your usual “vacation” by any stretch of the imagination. Having all of this planning and preparation come to a screeching halt after just 19 days into the trip had a huge affect on me mentally.

For weeks after we had made it home I found myself struggling to get into a routine. Struggling to get out of bed at a reasonable time (no, 9:00 AM is not a reasonable time!). Struggling to get motivated. Period. I was irritable, easily triggered, emotional, and just plain unmotivated to do anything.

Fast forward to September 2020. The answer to the question posed at the beginning – What motivated you to create a blog? – is found in all of what you just read. I am motivated to write this blog because I love going out for morning runs and participating in 10k races! I am motivated to write this blog because I want to have the satisfaction of working for myself and making a difference in someone’s life again! Because I have created a life that I can be proud of! Because we (my wife and I) WILL return to the Appalachian Trail next year and complete our dream journey! I am motivated to create this blog because I believe that because of my life experiences I have value to give to someone else. That maybe someone will read what I am sharing here in these pages and find the motivation to go out and make a change in their lives, do something that makes a difference for them or for a family member or neighbor.

I am also motivated to create this blog so that I can learn from it.

Each time I sit down to write a post is an opportunity for me to learn something new, either about the topic I have chosen to write about or about myself and my relationships.

Because I want to connect with others and create a community of like-minded individuals who can share experiences and add value to each other’s lives.

Getting your thoughts down on paper (or onto the computer screen) and on public display is scary as it puts you in a very vulnerable position. Much like making YouTube videos of our daily lives, I never know who is going to read these words and how they will perceive my thoughts and how they will respond. I like to think that the content that we create, whether here or on our other social media platforms, will attract folks with similar principles and desires to grow and learn as we have. That our various media outlets will be places of positivity and fun! 

This is my motivation. All of this. And so much more! Thank you for being here. 

Thoughts shared by Kris