Pink Thursday Rundown

For those on the East Coast, I hope you are handling this heat wave the best you can. Take advantage of air conditioning and stay hydrated! It is a Thursday so let’s get rolling with tonight’s five topics.

All Pink – Over four years ago, I wrote about the glee I felt when I opened a fun-sized Starburst package to find that both pieces were the pink flavor. For those who are familiar with the candy, the pink pieces are without question the best. Well, no longer do you have to leave it up to chance when it comes to scoring the best flavor. You can now buy a full-sized Starburst roll of all pink candies without worry of ever getting an orange or yellow.

What a great idea it was to make an all pink Starburst package!

Old – Earlier this week, I did what just about every American did and I aged myself using FaceApp. It was a little shocking to me, don’t know if I really like what I saw. At least my wife did––she said I will make a handsome old man. I sent the photo to our Reser Pride text message group and my sister said she doubts I will have that much hair. The app definitely provided our laughs for the week.

I look pretty weathered in this FaceApp photo.

Beach Day – Sidney is notorious for expressing her dislike for the beach. Despite having one of God’s great creations practically in our backyard, we seldom go. However, we did spend some quality time with the Atlantic Ocean this past weekend. We met Sid’s parents and her sister’s family at 44th Avenue. It was so refreshing to cool off in the water and pounce on the sand.

We had a great beach day on Saturday.

Movies – Let me ramble about movies for just a minute. We watched “Best of Enemies” last night and really enjoyed it. The way conflict resolution is portrayed in relation to a major civil rights issue was really interesting. But nothing compares to the film’s touching moments..so impactful! We also rented “Little” which was good for a few laughs. On Netflix I watched “The Informant,” a Matt Damon movie from 2009. If you have a couple hours to spare, go ahead and watch it, the deception is captivating! Finally, thanks to Timehop, I learned that 29 years ago “Arachnophobia” came out. It was just another reminder that I am old because I remember watching it with my friend during one of my first sleepovers. John Goodman and Jeff Daniels for the win!

I don’t have arachnophobia. I am more scared of bugs.

Tee Ball – In case you haven’t noticed, the past couple weeks I have struggled to find a fifth topic to write about. How can you tell? Well, I have resorted to throwback photos. This latest image shows me suited up for tee ball. We were the Expos and I am pretty sure I wasn’t all that good. I also wore my hat, as Sidney would describe it, “like a grandpa.”

Wearing my hat like a grandpa back when I was probably 5 or 6.

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As always, it is a pleasure. Stay cool this weekend and I will catch up with everyone next week. Don’t Blink.

Jalapeno Chips Mania

In the world of chips, I think there is a certain type that is underrated. I am talking about the jalapeno chip. Although this variety has made strides in recent years––you can now pick up a bag at Subway for instance––it still battles for respect.

The best chip is the jalapeno chip.

However, the jalapeno chip doesn’t need to prove anything to me. There is no other crunchy snack I prefer more. The texture, spice, and heat combine to make jalapeno chips my favorite.

But make no mistake about it, not all jalapeno chips are created equal. Because the snack isn’t as mainstream as tortilla chips or cheese curls, there is no national-leading jalapeno chip that leads the way and spawns similar-tasting imitators. Because of this, you have a lot of variance in the jalapeno chip world. In fact, the different tastes are so diverse that you need someone well-versed in the extraordinary chemistry of the snack to properly rank them.

Someone like me.

After bottled water and beer taste tests, my future sister-in-law conducted a jalapeno chip examination. As with the previous two, I was once again the one sitting at the table doing the testing!

When my brother and Carrie visited us, she had six bags of jalapeno chips sent to our home (four bags of the same brand, one bag of another, and one bag of another). The package arrived in the mail about the time their plane touched down in Myrtle Beach and the taste test was conducted a few days later when we had some downtime.

Carrie sent a package to our house that contained these six bags of chips.

I was blindfolded and fed the three different brands of chips. It was quite exhilarating. Now, I understand that 98% of my readers couldn’t give a Dorito about jalapeno chips but please humor me. Let me quickly (and I mean quickly) rank the three brands I taste tested.

Taking off the blindfold to view the brands I had tasted.

1. Tim’s Cascade Jalapeno Chips – It was no contest. The thick, crunchy texture of the actual chip stuck out to me at the onset. Then, a second later, the one-of-a-kind bold and spicy taste registered within my palate. About 30 seconds later came the runny nose. It was the classic triple play! Tim’s wins for chip composition, flavor, and heat. It just sucks because this particular brand is only available on grocery shelves in the Pacific Northwest. The rest of the country doesn’t know what it is missing.

A look at how the taste test was laid out.

2. Kettle Brand Jalapeno Chips – These chips were kettle baked but noticeably thinner than Tim’s. The flavor was good but milder and less smoky than my top choice. If you don’t want to sweat, Kettle Brand is for you.

3. Cape Cod Kettle Cooked Sweet and Spicy Jalapeno Chips – In my opinion, jalapeno chips are meant to be spicy…not sweet. The description on the bag of the chips is no lie, you can definitely taste the sweetness. I was not privy to the brands of chips Carrie had ordered prior to the taste test, so I was actually a little confused at first when I tasted the Cape Cod version. Although not a bad snack to munch on, these flimsy chips were demoted to the third spot in the rankings.

Taking off the blindfold to view the brands I had tasted.

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Thank you once again to Carrie for allowing me to be the start of a well-facilitated organized taste test. Also, thank you for gifting us with FOUR party sized bags of Tim’s Cascade Jalapeno Chips, there is no better taste of home! Don’t Blink.

A Low Country Boil

Today our University Marketing and Communication Office held its annual summer lunch. Martha Hunn, our interim vice president and chief communication officer, once again outdid herself by making a delicious Southern meal for all of us in the department. We were treated to BBQ pork, baked beans, pecan sweet potatoes, cole slaw, and banana pudding!

A look at our conference room as people started to filter in for the UMARK+COMM lunch. Can you see me creeping in the corner? (photo cred: Tad).

But tonight I want to talk about another tasty Southern meal I enjoyed yesterday evening. Sidney’s family celebrated the end of the weekend by preparing a Low Country Boil. Now for my local readers, you are probably very familiar with this unique feast. However, if you are from the West you probably have no idea what those three words mean.

This was the Low Country Boil that my father-in-law cooked up yesterday.

A Low Country Boil can also go by names such as Frogmore Stew or Beaufort Stew but the concept is the same: A plethora of ingredients are boiled in a large pot of water over an outdoor cooker. Seasonings are added and a unique flavor is produced. But wait, I am getting ahead of myself. Don’t you want to know what the ingredients actually are?

I hope you like shrimp, red potatoes, sausage, and corn on the cob!

Well, I hope you like a couple of those foods at least. To be honest, I don’t care for shrimp but I still thoroughly enjoyed the Boil. You see, although the ingredients are cooked together, it is very easy to just grab what you want.

I don’t like shrimp, but I was still able to enjoy the Low Country Boil simply by choosing the food I wanted to eat. This was my boat.

Ah yes, that brings me to discussing how the dish is eaten. A Low Country Boil is just as much a social event as it is a meal. Once it is prepared, the large platter is placed in the middle of a table for people to serve themselves. It is not unusual for those partaking in the meal to eat standing up at the serving table. It is also very common for the contents of the Boil to be poured out of the platter completely and spread across the newspaper-covered serving table.

Low Country Boils might not be that appealing to children, so it is good to offer an alternative dish as well. Last night, Sloan ate popcorn chicken.

Last night we took a different approach. We put our contents in boats and then sat down at the kitchen and dining room tables of my sister-in-law’s house to eat. As I mentioned above, it was very simple to only select the specific portions of the Boil that I wanted to enjoy.

Our family gobbled up last night’s Low Country Boil.

What a treat it was! My father-in-law cooked the Boil and it was one of the best things I have eaten in a long time. We topped off the family dinner with peach cobbler.

We topped off our Southern dinner with a Southern dessert…peach cobbler!

Looking for something fun to serve as you enjoy the second half of summer? Impress your family and friends by making a Low Country Boil! Don’t Blink.

Nabsico Thursday Rundown

It seems like just a couple minutes ago I was writing my Fourth of July Thursday Rundown and here I am writing my next one. That week sure went by fast! Here come five topics…

Souvenir Cups – Usually when I go somewhere like a stadium or theme park, the best souvenirs for me are a bunch of photos. I don’t usually spend time (and waste money) in gift shops. However, there is one material item I do sometimes bring back with me…souvenir cups! If a soda is offered in a souvenir cup, I will usually pay the extra couple dollars and get it. Not only do you get a refreshing drink to enjoy in the venue but you also get something to bring home with you. At our house, we use them! Our cupboard is full of cups from various places. Earlier this week, we added another one to the collection after our outing to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans game.

This is my latest souvenir cup! It has already been put in our drinkware circulation.

Making the Today Show – In the past, I have had success with my tweets being shared on videoboards at concerts, retweeted by celebrities, and used by major companies. However, I never had a tweet make the Today Show…until last week. On Friday, Toby Keith performed three songs on the show, all sandwiched between commercial breaks. I tweeted my admiration for him during his first song. By the time Today came back from the commercial break and Toby started his second song, my Twitter handle and tweet appeared on the lower third of the screen for a national audience to see. I may have danced around the living room when I saw it, much to the chagrin of my wife.

My tweet made the Today Show on July 5 2019!

Creating a Mess – We praised Sloan for her calm behavior as an infant, but we can’t exactly do the same now that she is a toddler. Our daughter has a mild case of the “terrible twos” but we love her for it. She keeps us on our toes and constantly makes us laugh (when she is making us pull our hair out). These below photos are from Publix when she proceeded to take tubes of fireworks off the shelves and place them in a nice design on the floor.

Sloan creating a mess at Publix.

Wacko Wardrobe – Six years ago, I posted this photo to my Instagram account. I joked that I had such a sour look on my face because of the clothes I was wearing. The best comment I received underneath the post was from my friend Kenny. Living in the Rose City at the time, he said my outfit was “in style” by Portland standards. Well, a long time has passed since then so I doubt that is no longer the case. At least I was a trendsetter for a short minute.

What do you think of my outfit?

The Skeptic In Me – Clickbait got the best of me and I followed a link that took me to a story about a 187-year-old tortoise named Jonathan. I know that turtles live really long and I don’t dispute the fact that Jonathan is that old. However, I am a little skeptical about the claim that the photo purportedly from 1886 is actually Jonathan. To me, it seems like it could be any turtle that has lived over the past 200 years, nothing really distinguishes it as the turtle in the current photo. I am also not 100% convinced that the photo is actually from 1886. What do you think? Just because I sometimes call B.S. on this stuff doesn’t mean you have to.

The photo on the left is from 1886 and the photo on the right is present day. It is of the same turtle.

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I am working the concession stand with my Knights of Columbus brothers at the Myrtle Beach Pelicans game tonight so I got to go! Hope everyone has a nice weekend and I look forward to touching base next week. Don’t Blink.

Ranking the Moments of #CarAndGlenVisitMyrtle

It was a tough question. As I sat around the dinner table with my brother, his fiancée, Sidney, and Sloan, we tried to identify our top highlight from the five days we spent together. We had so much fun doing so much, that I really wasn’t prepared to identify one specific moment. But since then, I have been able to reflect on the epic Fourth of July weekend.

We had a wonderful time spending the holiday weekend with Glen and Carrie.

In an effort to answer the question and to provide a respectable recap of my brother and Carrie’s visit to Myrtle Beach, I decided to rank our many experiences in a top 10 countdown form (Note: because it would be an automatic #1 and because I have already written about it, I am not including my brother asking me to be his best man in the countdown). Like I did with our Florida Keys wrap up post, I hope to use more photos than words.

Although we had many more than 10 great moments, how about we start there?

10. Playing Hard (Dave & Buster’s, Bowling, and Putt Putt) – We satisfied our competitive natures by playing a variety of different games. Dave & Buster’s at Broadway at the Beach, 810 Bowling by CCU, and Captain Hook’s Putt Putt on King’s Highway were all locations we converged on to have some fun. In the end, we all won at something.

We competed in putt putt, bowling, and video games!

9. Nightlife – Speaking of Broadway at the Beach, we spent an evening under the lights at Celebrity Square. It was Carrie’s first time at the nightlife destination so it was exciting to take her to the various themed bars and show her a good time.

It was stimuli overload at Celebrity Square.

8. Hibachi Dinner – On Saturday night, we went to Nakatos, a Japanese steakhouse in Myrtle Beach. The best part was that Sidney’s parents ate dinner with us, allowing them to reconnect with Glen and meet Carrie. Sloan was a challenge but the chef put on a good show and our out-of-town visitors were very impressed by the food!

Sloan tested our patience during dinner but the food sure was good!

7. Fourth of July – We did a few different things on the Fourth of July but the highlight took place in Murrells Inlet. My co-worker and friend, David Russell, invited us out to his family’s Independence Day celebration. With numerous red, white, and blue decorations surrounding us and the Inlet serving as a backdrop, we sat around in a circle and chatted with David, his wife (the famous Robin Russell), their young adult children, and their friends. It was relaxing and entertaining!

David invited us to his family’s Fourth of July celebration and we sure had fun!

6. Pelicans Baseball Game – With Sidney’s parents taking care of Sloan, the four of us went to a Myrtle Beach Pelicans game. Just like with our time at David’s celebration, it was very relaxing. The weather was perfect, the ballpark food delicious, and the on-field promotions engaging. To top it all off, there was a fireworks show at the end of the game.

We had an easy going time at the Myrtle Beach Pelicans game.

5. Homemade Dinner by Carrie and Glen – The whole trip, Carrie and Glen spoiled us. But they really outdid themselves when they cooked us dinner the night before they left. Chicken parmesan, pasta, salad, and bread comprised the menu as we feasted like kings and queens. The only thing better than the food was the conversation we enjoyed.

Glen and Carrie made us a delicious chicken parmesan dinner!

4. Our Own Firework Show – The evening of July 4 was dampened by a thunder and lightning storm. However, that didn’t mean we were going to let our fireworks go to waste. The night of July 5 we lit off the contents of a “toddler friendly” fireworks package I purchased a couple days before. We all enjoyed ourselves as Sloan shrieked with glee as we lit off fountains, strobes, and sparklers.

Glen, Carrie, Sid, and Sloan look on as we lit off “little guy” fireworks.

3. TopGolf – There is no mistaking how much fun TopGolf is. In fact, it is such a good experience that a four-hour wait did not deter us from playing. Once we finally got to our bay, we had an absolute blast! Carrie outplayed us all as we shared plenty of laughs (and drinks).

As usual, TopGolf was a blast!

2. Bonding Time at Home – Out of all the things we did around town, nothing beat the time we spent together on the couch. Whether we were watching Family Feud, Jeopardy, the Home Run Derby, the women’s World Cup final, or the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, hanging out in the living room was the best. It was there that we shared laughs, stories, opinions, and outrage. We were completely ourselves and it was so much fun.

Hanging out on the couch while talking and watching TV was actually one of my top highlights of the visit!

1. Playing With Sloan – I loved watching Carrie and Glen interact with Sloan. To see how much they cared for her and how much Sloan genuinely loved them was heartwarming. I couldn’t have asked for anything more than to see them all get along in such a loving way.

Watching Glen and Carrie spend time with Sloan was really special!

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As always, the time went by too fast. But we had so much fun and will have experiences to reminisce on for the rest of our lives. Thank you, Glen and Carrie, for visiting us. We (especially Sloan) love you! Don’t Blink.

Will You Be My Best Man?

One of the best honors of my life was bestowed upon me over the holiday weekend.

As you might have read about in last week’s Thursday Rundown, my brother and his fiancée are visiting us from Spokane. They arrived in Myrtle Beach on July 4 and celebrated Independence Day with us. They also celebrated the one year mark until they tie the knot––Glen and Carrie are getting married on July 4, 2020.

At 365 days out from the big day, the future husband and wife had already nailed down many major details and settled on important decisions regarding the wedding. However, when the Fourth of July passed and they dipped under the one year mark until they get married, one appointment still needed to be made.

My brother needed a best man!!

Not to say that I was cocky, but I had a suspicion that it might be me. Glen was my best man and we have always been close. With his groomsmen already selected, I thought Glen might ask me to be his right hand guy during his visit to Myrtle Beach. However, I had no idea how he would “pop the question.”

Glen was my best man…but would he want me to be his?

On Friday, July 5, we returned from a packed day doing fun Myrtle Beach-type things. Once we were all settled and comfortable in our house, Carrie and Glen asked if I wanted to do a taste test. I know this might sound a little weird, but I like taste tests, both giving them and doing them. I have given a couple to Sid and last December I participated in a bottled water one. The taste test that Carrie and Glen wanted me to do dealt with beer.

Hello, that is what you call a no-brainer.

I was blindfolded and handed different cups of beer. I tasted them and offered my opinion on each one. Supposedly, they were trying to see whether I could differentiate between a couple of different brews. After about 5-6 rounds of tasting and analyzing, not knowing whether I was right or not, I was told to take off my blindfold. When I did, the below six-pack was right in front of me.

This special six-pack was waiting for me when the blindfold came off.

After what was on the packaging registered in my brain, Glen asked me if I would be his best man. It was an easier decision than deciding to do the taste test in the first place.

Glen posted this photo to Instagram after “I said yes.”

The bottles are actually Blue Moon, my favorite beer. Glen and Carrie ordered the labels and affixed them to the glass of each bottle. Honestly, I don’t know if I will bring myself to drink any of them.

This is what the individual bottles look like (the brews I tasted alternated between Blue Moon and Coors Light).

I am excited to serve in this role for Glen and hope I do as good of a job as he did for me. Thank you for this special honor, brother, I love you. Don’t Blink.

Independence Day Thursday Rundown

Happy Independence Day and welcome to a holiday version of my Thursday Rundown. I don’t got much time to mess around so let’s get started…

Fourth of July Guests – In about an hour or so, I will be headed to the airport to pick up my brother and fiancée. They have traveled all night to spend the Fourth of July weekend with us. This will be Carrie’s first time visiting Myrtle Beach and Glen has not been here in over two years. They have not seen Sloan in over six months so they are looking forward to playing with their niece again. It is going to be a fun next few days!

We are excited to welcome Glen and Carrie to Myrtle Beach!

Career Highlight – Late last month, my boss and I found out that we have been selected to present at the 2019 American Marketing Association (AMA) Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Ed! This is a major conference for top marketing executives in higher education. This year’s edition will take place in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace. Lindsi and I will be presenting on what we are doing at CCU to reach Generation Z on social media. Things got real this week when the association’s website was updated with our names and synopsis of what we will be presenting. The symposium will take place in November so we have plenty of time to perfect.

Lindsi Glass and I will present at the 2019 AMA Symposium for Marketing of Higher Education.

Fourth of July Fun – I love everything about the Fourth of July from the fireworks to the hot dogs to the patriotic displays. I also really enjoy dressing up for it! In conjunction with my now defunct holiday text messages I would send out, here are some of my wardrobes from past Independence Days.

When it comes to July 4, I dress accordingly.

Nature – Over the past week, I have encountered a couple cool animals. Last Friday, I came across this red-tailed hawk on the CCU campus. If it wasn’t for the dead squirrel it was standing over, I would have used it for social content on our #CCUSocialMedia accounts. Then, on Saturday, Sidney noticed something in our backyard. As she looked out our kitchen window she turned to me and said, “What is that creature?!” I went out and investigated. I almost thought I was back in the Florida Keys as I was once again face-to-face with a large reptile. But this guy was different from the iguanas of our vacation. I posted a photo of our backyard visitor on Twitter and my followers told me it was a bearded dragon. Not native to South Carolina, it was probably an escaped/released pet.

Last week, I encountered a bearded dragon and a red-tailed hawk.

Creative Photographers – Our photographers at CCU are dedicated and creative. This week, they showed up to work in the early morning when it was still dark out. They trotted out to the Chauncey statue and placed sparklers in his hands and took several incredible shots. The images made for perfect Fourth of July Eve content on our social media channels.

Kudos to our CCU photographers for doing cool and creative things.

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Celebrate our country today, folks. We are extremely blessed and I am damn proud to be an American. Don’t Blink.

Our Family Vacation in the Florida Keys

It has been a little over a week since we returned from the Florida Keys. This has given me enough time to transition off of “island time” and properly reflect on our trip. In tonight’s recap post of our vacation, I wanted to rely more on photos than words.

Sidney and Sloan on the plane at the beginning of our vacation.

We stayed at Hawks Cay, a resort on a secluded island called Duck Key. The accommodations were beautiful. Sidney, Sloan, and I shared a villa with my in-laws while my sister-in-law’s family of five stayed in the villa next door to us. The resort property boasted five pools, numerous restaurants, a kids complex, and a fitness center.

Hawks Cay was a beautiful resort. Our villa had a gorgeous backyard!

The gorgeous resort did more than provide us leisure; it served the main purpose for why we were there––the wedding of Sid’s sister (Courtney) and her now-husband.

You can’t forget about the most important reason for why we were there!

Festivities started the day after we arrived. Courtney’s husband’s family hosted a welcome party for those already in the Keys for the wedding. The party took place at the resort at one of the pool areas. It was a nice opportunity to break the ice with the 70+ people who made the trip and celebrate Court and John one last time as an engaged couple.

The welcome party hosted by John’s family was very nice (and also really hot…Sloan couldn’t help but jump in the pool).

The wedding followed the next night. The short ceremony took place in front of a picturesque backdrop of blue canal water that fed into the Atlantic Ocean. An island drum musician played during the cocktail hour and the dinner that followed was delicious (I had steak). Dancing followed as Sloan had no issue showing off her moves.

Court and John’s wedding (#HandshakesToHentrys) was really nice.

With the wedding completed, the following day was pretty laid back. We took advantage of the various resort pools and the options available to the kids. When we weren’t in the water, Sloan and I were playing on a jungle gym, hitting golf balls around the putt putt course, running on the soccer field, and climbing a pirate ship/water slide structure.

We had a great time playing at the resort. During the trip, Sloan’s swimming skills dramatically improved.

The next day, Sid’s dad rented a boat and we cruised the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Although I battled a brief case of seasickness, we had a good time sailing the blue waters.

Some of the crew taking a dip in the Atlantic Ocean during our boating cruise.

The day before we left, Sid, Sloan, and I took an afternoon/evening trip to Key West. We stood at the southernmost spot in the continental U.S., walked by Ernest Hemingway’s home, caught a sunset at Marion Square, and walked vibrant Duval Street. My only regret is that we didn’t have more time to spend there.

Key West was awesome!

A highlight of the trip was eating with everyone at interesting restaurants. We would go to fun spots with thatch roofs, live music, and water views. I loved ordering island rice and black beans with my meals. We ate at so many great places but my favorite was a restaurant called the Island Fish Company. During that meal we ate outside on the longest day of the year as we watched the sun go down.

I had a lot of fun EATING on vacation!

Our time in the Florida Keys was also made memorable by little things whether it be the iguanas that roamed the resort gounds freely, the white chocolate macadamia bread pudding we would order for dessert, or the cannon ball competitions at the pool. Personally, I enjoyed my workouts at the resort fitness center, attending mass at St. Pablo Parish, and catching up on some much needed rest.

I had many fond memories from our trip to the Florida Keys.

Of course, in the end, it was just nice to spend time with family. Not only did I get to spend quality time with Sid and Sloan, but I got plenty of time to hang out with my in-laws, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law (was singular before the wedding), nephews, and niece. Nothing can beat that.

I will end with one of my favorite photos from the trip. This was from the longest day of the year…we ate at Island Fish Company and sat outside as the sun went down.

I will always remember this trip fondly. It was a true family vacation that included one significant event and hundreds of priceless memories. Don’t Blink.

My New Favorite Perk of Walmart Pickup

Two years ago, I wrote about how much I enjoy Walmart Pickup. The convenience, cost savings, and stress reduction were all advantages I listed for ordering groceries online. These days, my enthusiasm for the service has only increased as we order our groceries online more than ever.

Back in 2017, I was pretty excited about Walmart Pickup.

The reasons I listed above for doing Walmart Pickup are still very much valid in our decision to use the service, but there is another perk that has emerged…

Upgrades.

If you are selecting your groceries online and Walmart does not have an item you selected (i.e. if it is out of stock), the ordering system will sometimes tell you. When this occurs, you simply have to choose another brand or leave it off your list. However, it is not uncommon for Walmart to not notify you that the item is unavailable. But don’t get too upset just yet…

If the online system allowed you to order an item that was unavailable or that managed to sell out by the time you went to pick up your groceries, Walmart will adequately make it up to you.

Case in point, on Sunday we were the recipients of these substitutions.
– The 12-pack of Diet Dr. Pepper we ordered was upgraded to a 24-pack.
– The Great Value peanut butter cookies were substituted with Nutter Butters.
– The 60-pack of Great Value paper bowls was upgraded to a 72-pack of Dixie paper bowls.

Although technically classified as “substitutions” by Walmart, make no mistake about it, these are legit upgrades. Best of all, you never pay a penny more than the generic, smaller item you originally purchased.

We are the recipient of an upgrade at least once every order. I understand that some people might be a little annoyed by it (some people prefer smaller portion knockoff brands) but you can substitute my Dr. Thunder for Dr. Pepper any day!

I Imagine people could really scheme the system and make a killing out of the substitutions. Those really looking to come out ahead could probably walk around Walmart with their phone, attempting to order items that clearly aren’t on the shelf. But in a way that is robbing Peter to pay Paul because by doing that tactic you are sacrificing the convenience advantage of Walmart Pickup.

When it comes to our online grocery shopping, we won’t “fish” for an upgrade––we will just put in our order at home and cross our fingers that we are the beneficiaries of a few extra cans of soda or a premium brand. I know Walmart has my back! Don’t Blink.

Significance of July 1

July 1 has always signified different benchmarks for me. At most jobs I have held, it has been the start of the fiscal year. When I worked in intercollegiate athletics, we designated it as the unofficial kickoff of the “busy season.” When I lived in Washington and Montana, we treated it as the beginning of summer––because in those places, you only have two months of it¬¬––July and August.

There is another July 1 distinction that I am especially mindful of, more so than the three reasons listed above. The first day of July marks the beginning of the second half of the year. That’s right, 2019 is already 50% over with. Where did the time go?

But wait a second. I challenge you not to frame this point of the year in terms of “where did the time go?” Rather, give yourself a frank assessment of how the first six months of 2019 went for you. Did you hold true to your resolutions? Are you on your way to completing your yearly goals? Do you feel good about yourself?

Or, did things not go according to plan? Did you stray away from your goals and ambitions?

Well, if you have faithfully stayed the track for the first 26 weeks, great job! Keep up the good work and don’t get satisfied. The prize awaits! But what about those who fell off? Listen to me: don’t give up

How many times have you watched a sports team start a game flat? Players take the court or field and can’t get anything going. The opponent takes advantage of the team’s struggles and opens up a big halftime lead. In the locker room, players are dejected. When you are down by 25 points in basketball or four touchdowns in football, it can seem like a lost cause. Why even go back out and try?

Thanks to personal will and perhaps a good pep talk, athletes have learned that the game can be won, even if the first half did not go according to plan. Even after the disappointment and embarrassment of the first two quarters, we are shown that it is possible to turn things completely around and emerge victorious. Even when a win on the scoreboard might not be possible, opportunities exist to make a run at it and secure a respectable result when the horn sounds.

If the first half of the year didn’t work out for you, use today as a new starting point. I promise you, 2019 can still be a record year! If you wrote down your goals or resolutions on January 1 (I always do), go back today and evaluate your initial intentions. Your goals are still achievable. I wish everyone a great second half of 2019. Don’t Blink