September just flew by. Seems like yesterday Austin sizzled with triple-digit days. Now, we’re enjoying cool fall mornings. The afternoons are still hot but that’s just life in Texas.
Speaking of fast, Wendy just finished an intense fasting diet and lost 14 pounds in as many days. It’s called the Snake Diet because it will make you “skinny as a snake.” Say what you want about the marketing, Wendy was happy with the results. Basically, you eat four meals in two weeks. You fast for 72 hours, eat one meal, fast for 72 hours, eat again, fast for 72 hours, nosh, and then fast for 96 hours to complete the program. Wendy did it with a big group of friends. While the first few days were rough, she adapted quickly. Going forward, she’s decided to fast one day a week.
In other news, Edward started his junior year at SkyBridge. We actually chatted about Hamlet the other night. He is struggling to keep up with assignments as the classes ramp up for college prep. Gus began his senior year at Acton Academy and likely his final year rowing at Austin Rowing Club. Bittersweet times watching these kids transform into adults.
2. Grapes and Giggles
Wendy and I visited Napa for the first time. We’ve never really considered ourselves “wine people.” But we had some miles about to expire, so we decided to check that box.
We rented a car on Turo (like Airbnb for cars) for the first and probably last time. When we landed, we were informed our rental was at a nearby mechanic having just been repaired. Uh-oh. The owner thoughtfully paid for a car service to ferry us from the airport to the newly repaired BMW. Just a little hiccup, right? About the time we hit six-lane traffic exiting San Franciso, most of the warning lights spontaneously came on. Including the “check engine” light. Normal people, I think, would have pulled over right there and insisted on a new car. Wendy texted the owner who let us know that the warning lights were probably a malfunction and we should be good to keep going. Our romantic getaway gained a subplot of adventure.
A little while later, we realized the speedometer was in kilometers per hour. Now, I remember noting the car had Canadian tags. Not knowing how fast we were going was actually slightly more anxiety-inducing than the check engine light. After all, how will we navigate a half dozen vineyards without getting pulled over for speeding? The plot thickens. Luckily, I remembered that the 10K we ran was about six miles. So I just used that 10:6 ratio to guess if we were reasonably close to the speed limits. 100 kph should be roughly 60 mph. So 120 kph should be roughly “highway speed.” Likewise, 50 kph should be about 30 mph, a reasonable speed for quaint downtowns and residential side streets. In its own way, the metric speedometer served as an ongoing sobriety check.
Ok. I believe I’ve driven the Turo rental story as far as it will go. The BMW never died. We never got pulled over. And we left a bad review for the owner. Turo responded asking how they could make it right. Wendy asked for a future discount but her email bounced. Bye, bye, Turo!
Wendy planned our days as follows. First winery tour around 11am, eat lunch, nap, second winery tour around 4pm, possibly nap again, and go to dinner. We visited Domain Carenos and Cuvaison the first day before checking into our hotel. Our first server was named Sherry and I asked her if she suffered a lot of bad jokes working a winery with her name. Her reply, “My ex says ‘Sherry’ like the wine...and the vinegar.” I enjoyed both wineries and rank them as my 3rd and 4th favorites for the trip.
That night, we ate at Auberge du Soleil, a Michelin-star restaurant for 13 consecutive years. After two wineries, we unapologetically split a salad, burger, and fries. I have zero regrets.
Day two we started the day at Castello di Amorosa. The founder spent decades (and unconscionable sums of money) to construct a legit medieval castle with a moat and four subterranean levels. He imported twenty shipping containers of salvaged European tiles for the flooring. Every stone was hand-cut. It even sported a moat. While the wine ranked second-to-last for me, the castle was top three for ambiance.
We ate lunch at Mustards Grill, which was my favorite food experience on the trip. Sorry, Michelin. We walked around downtown Yountville and had coffee and treats at Bouchon Bakery. We finished the day at Far Niente. This was by far the most beautiful winery we visited. The wine probably placed second. After a long day, we skipped dinner, sat in a hot tub, and went to bed early. Tasting wine is hard work!
Our final day, we started with Darioush. This was my favorite wine experience of the trip. The founder was a Persian entrepreneur. He fled Iran during the revolution to start over in LA. After the Watts Riots, he built his fortune in the grocery business by serving neighborhoods abandoned by big chains. The winery was built with a Persian motif. And we enjoyed our tasting in the founder’s personal tasting room.
Our final winery was Monticello where Wendy got the giggles. While I’d place it at the bottom for both vino and ambiance, it’s still a highlight. If you want pictures of our getaway, check out my Instagram post and a video of Wendy losing it.
3. Winning at Work
Wendy and I attended the new KWWealth class hosted by Brett Tanner. It got my attention when I learned you have to create a wealth plan that gets you to $50 million in net worth just to attend. We loved it, learned a ton, and had our minds stretched. Great investment if you are looking to level up your financial intelligence.
I’m also pleased to report that Your First Home made the top 50 business books at launch. We’ve now sold close to 17,000 copies in just the first month! Thanks to all of you who supported our launch! If you happened to buy the book on Amazon, we would really appreciate your leaving a review.
Wendy and I completed a top-to-bottom update on our annual Goal Setting Retreat. I’ve been sharing this with you for the past 5 years and we’ve been doing it for 16. Can’t wait to share the updated program at La Cantera Resort in San Antonio on November 5th and 6th.
If you haven’t signed up, you can use JAY2022 at checkout for an extra $200 off of VIP in-person tickets at this link. This code is good until 10/21/22 and cannot be combined with other offers. Hope to see you there!
4. What I’m Reading
This month I rediscovered an award-winning essay by Jo Ann Beard, called The Fourth State of Matter. Beard wrote it five years after a mass shooting at the University of Iowa where she worked as an editor of the physics journal. The mass shooting took place in her office. She included it in her sublime collection, The Boys of My Youth, one of my all-time favorites.
My friend Jennie recommended The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn. It’s historical fiction about Mila Pavlichenko, a female Russian WWII sniper. Mila is credited with the most kills ever recorded. The story alternates between her journey from single mother to sniper and a propaganda tour in America where she became a lifelong friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. Other than the subplot in America, everything is true including her friendship with the First Lady. I loved it.
My coworker, April (far right in the publishing picture above), suggested This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. The book is told through letters between two opposing soldiers in a time war. It’s a bit of a literary stunt. Written by two authors in epistolary style, weaving a love story into a complex conflict that jumps centuries. It also lacked tension or drama until the very end. I loved the craftsmanship but wished for more.
5. What I’m Watching
We finished Severance (Apple+). Slow start. Strong finish. Weird and original throughout! If you are one of those people who doesn’t start shows until they are finished, you can wait. Season one ends with a bit of a cliffhanger.
We also ventured to the theater for a date night. There really aren’t a lot of “must-see” movies these days. We picked Three Thousand Years of Longing with Tilda Swinden and Idris Elba. It's a sweet story about a djinn who falls in love. I love Swindon and Elba also but it was about 30 minutes too long. We sat next to two gals having a girls' night out. Walking out, I heard one say, “Three hours of long….” True.