Upcoming Home Build in Mexico June 18, Help Needed

March 2015 Build Trip Daniel Rollins, my brilliant cousin from Mom’s side of the family, and I heading to Mexico to join a group of volunteers I help lead for 4 days. While there, we plan to build 5 or more homes for families in need, and connect and share community with the villages in the areas we’re building. This is our big annual family build, inviting families of all sizes and age to join us, and I am excited to share we have almost 150 people registered.

I’ve been leading these trips every few months, and I am so excited to have Daniel join us. While I have previously used my businesses to fund these projects, I’ve recently had a change of heart to open that call to others to be included in a different ways. To help support the cost of materials and accommodations for our entire trip, we plan to raise about $500 from each volunteer. We’d really appreciate any and all help or donation. (Paypal, check, cash, Venmo, anything) Facebook, text, or email me at cmeadows@mac.com for details if you can help.

Personally this service trip has become one of my most favorite volunteer weekends. Friends and family know I love to share about it, and I am so excited Daniel can come down! I love connecting with families from both sides of the border, seeing the slacks of wood and nails become safe harbor for those in need, and the spirit and memories that lasts a lifetime. Many have asked how they can help when I return from these trips, and here is just one small way you can for I a project I love to support.

I’ve posted pictures from our previous build trips on Facebook and will do the same of this one, and if we’re not friends feel free to add me. (My Facebook page) This ‘asking for help and cause’ is new for me, and I hope that you can help us.

Hello other California, Spring Road Trip

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For a week I’ve decided to leave Orange County, and visit a few other California’s out yander. I’m following Highway 1 up the coast in search of sand and sunset, working on a winery, frolic in the mountains and meadows, and stand tall against some mighty Redwoods by camp and backpack. The car is packed, and the initial itinerary below. Let’s go!

Saturday // Santa Barbara, CA (Hotel)
Sunday // San Louis Obispo, CA  (Cabin)
Monday // El Paso (Cabin)
Tuesday // Big Sur, CA (Camping)
Wednesday // Big Sur, CA (Camping)
Thursday // Big Sur, CA (Tiny House)
Friday // Napa, CA (Tiny House)
Saturday // San Fransisco, CA

Update: Returned and it was amazing. Expect photos in a coming weeks.

Back to Business and Travel…

Today marks the start of some medium business travel as year comes to a close. Large in part, I have spent all of 2014 home, which as been a welcome, healing experience. As this new season begins, I plan to get this right this time. So cheers Delta, let’s do this differently– because exploring the world is very much something I’ve missed a great deal this past year and looking forward to share with something again.

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Kitchen le Simple – Penne with San Marzano Tomatoes

photo 4For anyone who knows me well outside of the office, I love food… to a dangerous and adventurous fault. And the truth is, while I have tried a great deal to prove this to others, my presentation would far outweigh my flavor. So earlier this year I vowed to change that by adding real cooking skills to my roster of awesomeness. The progress, well we’re still looking for a judge, but in the mean time since I am not bouncing around Europe as previously planned, I am going to make cooking sharable, awesome, over-the-top, doo-licious meals and share my progress and recipes along the way.

Some context for those who are new to Chris Meadows: I do things big… way too big usually. I over-think, over-do, and over-over most things as art. I go big and interesting, or I go home to think about it and go again. When I had roommates in my younger editions of life, dinner nights were often fake restaurants with menus, accents, music, and all. Brian (@bt3k) had competing nights where something like “Simple Food Place” one week met “Italian Dinner Place” the next week… The winner? Whole Foods who took all our monies for said adventure.

Now it’s my turn to build up my Chef-ery skills for keeps this time, but for reals this time. As many know I plan to start a local “stop” one day, and a guys got to learn to cook to impress and serve someday. That’s today, welcome to the new ‘Kitchen le Simple’ column. (Paella is on the list, I promise.)

Here’s how it works: I find a recipe in my growing collection or the inter-webs. (Want to watch me destroy then concur, please send your ideas along. I’ll plan it out, cook it out, invite company to judge, write out recipes, and share here. Comment, don’t comment, invite yourself over to judge future Kitchen le Simple adventures. Mondays? Here we go!


Our first Kitchen le Simple adventure comes from an actual cook book. Yes, a real printed paper book, that I bought not downloaded. It’s an adapted recipe from Tal Ronnen, a super awesome vegan chef and founder of Lyfe Kitchen which are poping up in California. (Please eat there… not vegan and but love every plate.)

Chefing  and  for the first  on the blog...It caught my eye with the San Marzano tomatoes I remember form Italy and France. I didn’t eat them there, I just remember that they had those cans at home… the little things. On further inspection I found myself excited about the possibility of making this right the first time, read on. It’s vegetable heavy, flavorful,  and the sort of pasta dish Olive Garden wished they could serve.

Beyond flavor, it has health and color going to. Light, and easy to make, this made a perfect place to start the column. I recommend changing up nearly any of the ingredients to enhance your way. Not a chard dude, then go spinach. Not into fancy spices like fennel or thyme, go classic with fresh basil or arugula. Either way it will come out great, you’ll feel like you ate your veggies for the week, and you’ll look and smell good too.

photo 5Tech Specs

  • Compatibility: Vegan Friendly
  • Skill Level: Legibly Simple
  • Kinda Serves: 4 Plates
  • Prep: 30 Minutes

Materials

  • Sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin oil
  • 2 onions, quartered and sliced
  • 2 fennel bulbs, halved and sliced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can peeled Italian San Marzano tomatoes, drained
  • 4 garlic cloves, slide
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cups roughly chopped Swiss chard
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon (or lime)
  • 3/4 cup green olives, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 8 ounces whole wheat penne, recommended al dente

Just Do It

  • Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the bottom with a pinch of salt and heat for 1 minute. Add the oil and heat for 30 more seconds, being careful not to let it smoke. This will create a nonstick effect.
  • Add the onions and fennel and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, crushing each with your hand (literally crush crazy hard into pieces), along with the garlic, stock, wine, and chard. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the lemon juice and olives and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until the olives are tender. Fold in the tarragon, an dthyme, along with the hot pasta. Serve immediately.

Adapted form “The Conscious Cook” by Tal Ronnen

Business as Usual

As some have noticed or even since we spoke, I did not travel as planned. Unfortunately, my trip has been postponed. This was not an easy decision, and I am still hoping to take at least a week or two off later this year if possible.

This was a very ambitious trip (in spirit, in practice, emotionally, and financially. However after spending a few days in Mexico building homes the weekend before last, it became clear that I wasn’t ready.

I’m sharing this a few days late because the status wasn’t concrete cancelled until now. I wanted to personally thank everyone for their kind words on adventure, encouragement, and more these past few weeks in preparation.

A world trip is in the future, and I look forward to sharing more someday soon.

But for now, we’re business as usual. Carry onward.

Chris

World Trip 2014: To Infinity and Beyond

I’m spending the entire month of July traveling around the world… now it’s been shared. Let me step back now, and explain a little.

The great Buzz Lightyear once said, “Because of you, the future of this entire universe is in jeopardy!”… while that has absolutely nothing to do with my trip… yet, having his quote brings validity to the title. Allow me to continue.

One of the most significant surprises about myself in my adult life has been my unrelenting, and mostly uncontrollable, growing thirst for world culture and history. Some call it the travel bug, and now I have the “travel contagion”. It seems natural given my propensity to quote Wikipedia to anyone that listens, but for “that” of which could only be discovered by walking the shoreline of Cape Town, South Africa nearly 4 years ago was actually surprising to me in review. The internet has almost (technically almost) almost everything human kind has documented. A friend mentions a factoid over a craft beer about the the discovery of a buried war ship discovered under a hotel in downtown San Francisco, and the next thing I know I am reading off about other discoveries of the same nature all over SF.

So I feel the need to travel again and find adventure. However in humbling truth, some personal events late last year had changed my vision for that adventure. For months I had struggled with even the 2 short business trips… but recently I’ve started to remember just how much travel experience has shaped my life and direction.

With a small airline credit expiring soon, and some miles earned to make it worthwhile, I began to dream about traveling the world again. After a few days, the idea began to really take hold in my heart. My last personal trip of this caliber was 2 years ago in a previous “time” where I spent 3 weeks seeing Barcelona, lots of Belgium, Luxembourg and about nearby, and staying in Florence with someone close as she finished pastry school. Without anyone at the moment to share this again with, I considered that maybe this was my time to revisit the first 28 year of my life, and consider the next 28. (Having not stopped before that since starting my first company almost 7 years ago…)

Delta was incredibly generous, or simply inept to my technological crafty awesomeness, and within a week I built an itinerary that took me to Britain, Scotland, Amsterdam, Paris, Germany, and Australia via connections on a single ticket. The cost with the miles and credit, $130. I shared my idea with my right hand-man Nigel, who would have to brunt of the real day to day and manage our teams while I’d be away, and he advised me to go. While we have been growing the business rapidly, we’ve also been hard at work developing and preparing the launch of our biggest product release ever at Simple Phone Company later this fall. Also as timing would go, the schedule for my consulting company gave the month of July of the only conflict free multi-week time frame for such an adventure. So earlier this month I called Delta, and made it happen.

And so the plan emerged, and within days I had completed a complex schedule to backpack around the world via plane, train, and foot. I’ll stay and most time throughout Europe via train with a rail pass, but I’ve also booked mostly Airbnb reservations along the world for rest and laundry. My overnight stays include Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Geneva, Paris, Lyon, Rome, Venice, Florence, Sydney, and working plans for Dublin, Istanbul, and more…. I hope to take one of two day trips to the Mediterranean, and North and East Europe if possible… ending with three days in Sydney. This blog in part was created to document my adventure, and inspire others to do the same. I’ll add posts soon about the stays, schedule, Airbnb, and more… along with frequent Facebook updates, photos, Instagram, and more pointed back here.

So, if the universe is indeed in jeopardy someday, I hope I might discover the inspiration and solution while away to save us all. (Buzz was relevant…)

In completing my plans and sharing with my teams last week, I was reminded of why I started to love adventure and travel in the first the place. Like the reason to launch a start-up if you have an idea– this world we share is unbelievably small, and our time here is incurably short. We are afforded only so many opportunities to make a difference and to see this world, if we choose. The timing and place in my life makes this opportunity unique.

I have already setup my European mobile phone (details on Facebook), and would like to thank my teams to allowing me to work afar with them as we continue to charge ahead. Nigel and Frank, thank you for making this possible.

There will be a lot to share, and I hope you’ll enjoy.

Hi, I’m chrismeadows.

Obama comes to Laguna

This morning during my Saturday walk and hike I found this intriguing sign… Turns out, our president (who was scheduled to deliver the commencement speech for UCI) was also scheduled to attend a fundraiser in North Laguna. Needless to say, I checked in and he did not buy that toaster in the corner.

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Where to begin…

Hello friends. Wait, no, hello world. I’ve always seemed to be first in a lot of great places, and humbly late to many many more. So, here it I am, and right on-time.

Welcome to my view of my world with some form of organization and collection in blog format. Centered around my passions, interests, random facts, travel, technology, points of interest, start-up life, small business, and beach living– with a mission to document and share what I’ve so unfairly experienced in life in a not-caffeine-fueled (hopefully-spell-checked) form.

Who is chrismeadows? That’s a question I am also still trying to solve, but having now started here perhaps after a year or two we might be able to read about him. What I can tell you, is that he is lover of all things craft, story, fresh, fun, original, adventurous, and unique. We also know that he stays awake at night reading Wikipedia about the days discoveries, is a coffee and craft beer aficionado both locally and globally, a dreamer in the most random sense, a fan of many arts, and is known to favor minimalism and use of the word simple. It has been recorded that his favorite color is blue, that he tends to speak in third person, and that while Ranch is his favorite dressing for everything he greatly enjoys salads without dressing. While his business is in business, he favors and subscribes to all ideas and dreams enterpronuerial and inventive. To put it simply, he is a creature of abundant passion for many things, and he is here to share.

So, welcome. Read, shout, comment, and share.

Hi, i’m chrismeadows.