Be Kind

It was an ordinary day just like any other. As usual, I was struggling with hard questions like, “What’s my purpose?”, “What am I going to do if this business idea really works?” and “What in the world am I going to fix for dinner?” and so on. Suddenly, without warning, I was swept up with this overwhelming understanding to “Be Kind.”

Honestly, I felt a bit like Kevin Costner in the movie “Field of Dreams”.

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Heaven aka Iowa

Believe it or not, amidst my use of four letter words, toilet humor and the affinity for my wife’s cleavage, I’m a deep thinker. I’m in my head thinking A LOT. OCD takes on many forms. Rationalizing, calculating and weighing options (among others) are all OCD tendencies of mine (and making sure the doors are locked about 500 times before we leave the house). So, it’s hard to define anything that pops into my mind. I’ve had the thought before, I’m sure we all have, but this time it just felt different. I can’t say I heard a voice in my head, but I can’t say I didn’t either.

“God?” I questioned audibly.

“No.” It said, “It’s Rod Roddy! C’Mon DOWN!!! You’re the next contestant on the Price is Right!!!”

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Well done good & faithful servant, YOU JUST WON A NEW CAR!!!

Just kidding.

There was no Rod Roddy. I hope God is nothing like Rod Roddy.

Anyway, all I heard, felt and understood was nothing more than to “Be Kind”. But what exactly does it mean to “Be Kind” and in what capacity? It would have been nice to have a follow-up voice to clarify things a little better but Kevin Costner didn’t either so I guess I have to go with my gut. Fortunately, “The Voice” was a little less cryptic with me. I know a little about being kind so let’s just say I can start by holding the door for someone, saying “thank you” more often or sharing my bucket of cheese balls with you.

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Moments before gagging

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted – Aesop

Simple acts of kindness like these in and of themselves won’t change the world but as a collective if we could all just “Be kind” can you imagine what world we would live in? It’s a pipe dream at best but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for it! We live in a world now where people are consumed with themselves. Looking out for “Number One” is the upmost priority and everyone else better get outta the way! While being kind may go more unnoticed, it is planting the seeds of kindness that will reap you the reward of happiness. This is a gift you can give yourself that has far more value than money, possessions or economic status.

A tree is known by it’s fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love – Saint Basil

So, why me? Why am I being asked by “The Voice” to be kind? I feel as though I’m already pretty kind as it is! Perhaps it was more of a simple idea placed into my head because YOU need to know to be kind. Maybe it wasn’t meant for me. Maybe it was meant for me to pass along to you!

I’ve always been open to where Holy Idea Tees leads me. I quit my corporate job over three years ago to pursue where I felt I was being called. It may be a little strange to think that T-shirts, vintage or otherwise, would be a place where you’re being called but sometimes you trust that things will be laid out for you. So far, after years of waiting, they slowly seem to be. As Holy Idea Tees grows and momentum builds, I’m realizing I should no longer hold back what I FEEL in my heart you NEED TO KNOW. You need to know that the world cannot survive without kindness and love. You need to know that a random act of kindness can change EVERYTHING. You need to know that sometimes it’s something as unassuming as a blog post that speaks volumes to you.

Sometimes… maybe it’s just T-shirts that can teach you to “Be Kind”. I’ve been given this platform so I intend to use it.

Stay tuned.

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness – Dalai Lama

 

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Fear

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The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” – Exodus 4 vs 11-12

I’ve been going back on this verse from time to time because I feel like Holy Idea Tees and myself are here for something more. I mentioned previously my desire to print my own tees but I’m hit from all directions with fear of the unknown. I have a tendency to do this, it’s nothing new. Almost a decade ago I had to overcome my fear of being a bad dad. It was horrible. I was so wrought with pain at not knowing what was going on or what to do with my emotions (and a tiny baby) that I was rendered almost motionless. I desired to be a father but once it happened I wondered why I had wanted it. The responsibility was overwhelming and the guilt of second-guessing myself was crippling. Fortunately, with some professional help and self reflection, I came to understand myself better. Learning how to process my thoughts and fears became vital to my success as a father at that point. As she nears the age of ten, I look back and say, “Man, I wish I had the tools I have now back then.” If I did, I could’ve enjoyed more moments instead of being wound up so tight you couldn’t stick a greased BB up my butt.

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Pictured: Ball of stress

Holy Idea Tees is three years old, the same age my daughter was when my stress and fear hit its peak. What I’ve come to find out lately is success in business and success in fatherhood have many similarities: both keep me up at night, both keep me second-guessing and both motivate me to keep going. Much like my daughter has become an extension of myself, so has my business. However, while my time is running out on helping form her into a strong, well-grounded woman who will be able to tackle life with confidence, the TIME IS NOW to start giving my business what it needs to make it through its grade school years.

However, unlike a child, I cannot physically comfort, love and tell my business everything is going to be okay. How do I give it what it needs to succeed? It’s simple really. It’s all up to me. I just have to stop being afraid.

That’s easier said than done.

If there’s a poster model for fear of the unknown, it’s me. I fear failing. I fear succeeding. I fear not being in control. I am so good at fearing things that if there is LITERALLY NOTHING to fear, I can create it from out of nowhere.

My fear can be found in the same cracked foundation my confidence is built upon. I’ve always had fear no matter how safe or how good I was. I seem to have always been great at talking myself out of things because I am my own worst enemy. I’ve never felt worthy and always felt guilty. It’s a terrible place to dwell in. I wouldn’t recommend it.

But why? What is it that makes me this way? I don’t think I could ever explain it. I don’t know that I even fully understand. However, what I do know, is that fear is bullshit. Whether its a fear of failure or a fear of success (because I have both) the base of both is FEAR and FEAR is simply an emotion that causes me to believe these things will cause me pain.

Is it possible for me to use the same tools I gained when learning how to navigate fatherhood? Yes, I believe it is. If history has taught me anything, I want to be on the precipice of Holy Idea Tees‘ 10 year anniversary and look back saying to myself, “What was I so worried about?”




 

And now, some quotes on fear that really speak to me:

The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear.
Gandhi

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
Dale Carnegie

 

Purpose

When I left the corporate world, amidst all the static in my head, my intention was to change the world with my own printed T-shirts. I didn’t know exactly how I was gonna do that, but I trusted the path would be laid out for me if my heart was in the right place and I kept love as my purpose.

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Now, over three years later, the static has begun to clear and I think I’m finally ready to start making my own. These last three years have been a necessity for finding out the intricacies of running a business as well as developing a comfort zone for someone like myself who needs to know EVERYTHING before jumping all in.

So what will be the purpose of printing my own tees? As simple as it sounds, I want to spread love. I want positive messages with a humorous and creative tilt and tees are a great way to express that. They are a simple medium, however, they are one of the biggest forms of expression today. They’re kind of like wearing a billboard on your chest!

Currently, in a world full of hate and vitriol, love is something we’re currently lacking. In fact, some people say it’s the answer to everything. I tend to agree. If there’s one thing we can always use more of… it’s love.

I hope I can help fill the world with a little more of it.


All the commandments: You shall not commit adultery, you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, and so on, are summed up in this single command: You must love your neighbor as yourself. – Jesus Christ

We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another – Jonathan Swift

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend – Martin Luther King Jr. 


Stay tuned to my Instagram, Facebook and right here on the blog for updates 🙂

If you’re the praying type, please send a few my way 🙂

 

 

I Love Being A Turtle

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Not For Sale

Once upon a time, I lived for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I was ten years old and my family had just moved to back to Oklahoma from Norway. It was a culture shock to say the least. I had trouble fitting in with the kids at my new school and I seemed to be out of the loop on what was “cool”.

However, I wasn’t exactly “cool” myself (check out the Hammer Pants).

When we moved back to the states, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were just starting to make waves in Europe and were my new favorite toy of choice (sorry Rock Lords). However, while the Turtles were new in Norway, they were already OLD NEWS in the States.

So many memories in these toys

So many memories in these toys

My initial conversations with new classmates went something like this (condensed for effect):

“Hey guys! Do you like Ninja Turtles?”

“No. Go play with Zach. He’s a dork like you.”

Zach was my only friend in fourth grade. He had severe ADHD. However, back then, it was just called “being hyperactive”. The only thing we had in common was we liked the Ninja Turtles. That was enough for me to want to hang out with him (for a little while anyway). When we played Turtles at his house, he generally wound up eating too many fruity pebbles which turned him into an uncontrollable flailing lunatic. I think I saw his eyes roll into the back of his head a few times. This would prompt his mom to come in and give him a good dose of Kick In The Ribs. This would bring him down long enough to have April O’Neil’s action figure make out with Shredder, only to lose his sanity again to the fruity pebbles.

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April O’Neil. What a babe.

Needless to say I couldn’t bear the thought of staying friends with Zach even though we shared this love of the Turtles.

So, I became a lone wolf. I was that kid sitting in the middle of the playground playing a game I called “Throwing Tiny Pebbles At Other Tiny Pebbles” to pass the time. In retrospect, as silly as this may sound, the Turtles were perhaps the “friends” I needed to push through that transitional time.

Donatello was my favorite. I think because a makeshift bo staff was more readily available than twin katanas or nunchucks. We lived on a 300 acre farm so I could find a long stick, journey into the woods around my house, pretend I was Donatello and imagine countless scenarios where trees were foot soldiers and I was kicking the shit out of them.

I loved being a Turtle. It was my escape from the trials of being a kid transitioning into a new country, a new life and new asshole kids who wouldn’t accept me because I liked something they didn’t.

This story reminds me of why I LOVE what I do. It’s the memories associated with T-shirts that make me reminiscent and melancholy. Sometimes the memories are good and sometimes they aren’t so good. But they are mine and hold a special place in my DNA makeup. They’ve made me who I am today.

Which is why I love this vintage Donatello T-shirt:

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It reminds me of a different time. A time before my hot wife and beautiful daughter, when I wasn’t sure what would become of me. Would I be okay? Would I ever make friends? Would I make it through recess without breaking into tears? Life is a journey and in some roundabout way, T-shirts remind me of that.

Which brings me to one more point: Don’t let your kids be little assholes. Little assholes grow up to be big assholes. I remind my daughter all the time to be nice to everyone. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t remind her to be kind. You never know what effect your words and actions have on other people. Thankfully, through strong faith and an undying desire to do good, I moved past the negativity in small part to the Ninja Turtles. The funny thing about life is, you never know what’s gonna pull you through.

I love being a Turtle.

 

Turning A Negative Into A Positive

Getting negative reviews S-U-C-K. I don’t get too many. Mainly because I put a lot of work into making sure I DON’T get negative reviews. This includes a complete description of what they’re buying, one-day shipping, a well packaged product and hassle-free returns. But, if anyone who provides a service to the public knows, you’re gonna have people who can’t be denied:

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In all reality, the item was EXACTLY what she ordered. She was upset because it didn’t fit (despite my complete tutorial on measurements).  She could’ve sent it back. She could have asked for a refund. Both options I would have gladly accepted. She just decided to leave a negative comment instead. It’s a free country, I guess she has that right. Thankfully, eBay gives sellers the opportunity to reply to feedback (as shown above). This is a HUGE opportunity to show the consumer community that you care about what buyers think (whether you like it or not).

What you may not know is that it is possible to get a negative review retracted. I just recently did this. It’s a little time consuming but if you’re completely OCD about your feedback score like me, it’s worth it.

First, all you gotta do is screw up somehow. In this instance. I accidentally sent the wrong item to a buyer:

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Can you tell the difference between them? In my haste to ship the item, I didn’t. What can I say? I’m not perfect.

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Unlike some negative comments that are unwarranted, this one was completely legit. This was a mistake I had to make right so I picked up the tab on shipping and sent the quick-to-judge buyer the correct item within hours of finding out my mistake.

Once the smoke cleared and the buyer received their correct item, I sent them a feedback revision request and was granted a reversal from unhappy-to-satisfied buyer:

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While negative reviews suck, they are a way to prove you are different from the rest of the sellers out there. While the initial reaction may be to strike back, the correct reaction is provide excellent customer service and always put the customer first. The benefit of the former far outweigh those of the latter.

It won’t go unnoticed.

 

The One Million Dollar T-Shirt

You know that scene in Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory when Charlie Bucket finds the last ticket?

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Wowzers!

That’s kinda how I felt when I found this tee the other day:

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Click photo to view in store

I’ve found quarters in the street, $20 bills flitting through the air and even a diamond ring once but I’ve never found a T-shirt worth a million dollars! It would suffice to say that THIS tee is the Holy Grail of all vintage T-shirts. You may have an original Rolling Stones tee worn by Mick Jagger at their first show or any number of other rare and collectible tees and it wouldn’t come close to a million bucks.

Now, I personally don’t wanna be walking around wearing this tee because people are crazy and I might just find myself mugged and shirtless outside of an estate sale one day. It needs to go to someone like Kanye West or Justin Bieber. Someone who has body guards who prevent T-shirt robberies from happening. Or it should go to an eclectic collector of things like this who would frame it above their mantle or put it in their safety deposit box for safe keeping. Maybe Sir Richard Branson would enjoy wearing this T-shirt as he sipped margaritas on the beach of Necker Island? I don’t know who deserves such a shirt, but I’m gonna find out who.

So, for the ridiculously low, low price of only $50,000 (and also because eBay won’t let me price it any higher) this MILLION DOLLAR T-shirt can be worn by YOU!! That’s a ridiculous reduction of 95% off the sticker price on this million dollar tee! I’ll even let you pay five monthly increments of $10,000 if that helps!

I will accept best price offers as well. But, don’t lowball me like this guy:

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So, start your new journey through life by buying this million dollar tee right now! Get it before it’s too late and Sir Richard Branson buys it!

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Only thing missing from this shot is a Million Dollar T-shirt

 

 

My Limp Bizkit Goatee

I love picking vintage tees because of the memories they bring along with them. Chances are certain T-shirts will invoke thoughts you hadn’t explored in a long time too. Take this particular story for instance:

Whilst I was out searching for my next grail the other day, I happened upon this Limp Bizkit tee:

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Click to see in eBay store

In another lifetime, I was a founding member of a fraternity at the college I attended. I loved to party and hang out.  If it involved cheap beer, sorority girls and general craziness I was in.  I was the fun-loving, happy party guy to hang out with.  I never started fights, lit bags of poop on fire on someones front doorstep or said hateful things to anyone. I lived the best overall college experience with no regrets.

Well… almost none.

I’d never been one to be overly fanatical about music, but at the time I was really into Limp Bizkit. For some reason, I REALLY liked them. Maybe it was all the Christian music I’d been forced to listen to growing up? Perhaps it was the rock/rap hybrid music? Or maybe Limp Bizkit’s front man Fred Durst and his penchant for cuss words and Playboy models was someone I wanted to be like because he seemed cool.

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He always wore his hat backwards, had pierced ears and was covered in tattoos. All things I was never allowed to have living with my parents. However, now that I was out on my own, I could do whatever I wanted! So, I wore my hat backwards, pierced my ears and started getting tattooed.

Now, I had a rather sad-looking goatee that more closely resembled a patch of pubic hair than anything else. Sorta like Fred Durst and his goatee. Being part of the college crowd and always looking for a way to differentiate myself, I thought it would be a good idea to color my chin pubes like Fred had done from time to time.

So I did:

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Here’s a little closer view:

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This is the only known photo in existence of my bleached goatee. RIP.

I’m sure Fred had his professionally done but I did mine all by myself with regular bleach. I wanted it WHITE so I bleached it about SIX times. Subsequently, I was successful in my pursuit of a white goatee but burnt the living shit out of the skin on my chin. With my chin pubes now white, these burns were clearly visible.

I managed to pull it off for a while until my roots started to grow out and my skin started to scab over. This resulted in a half black and white goatee complete with scabby undertones.  Eventually, I shaved it off and was forced to look like I’d slid down a gravel embankment with my chin.

It wasn’t until several years down the road when Fred pined after Britney Spears and sang with Christina Aguilera that I started to realize he wasn’t as cool as I’d thought he was.

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Poser

I don’t know how much stupider I could have felt for bleaching my goatee to a point of nearly burning it off but I can tell you that after Fred’s fall from being a tough guy to a teen bop fanboy, I was done. It was time to move on and finally chalk that mistake up to insecurity and just being a dumb college student.

However, I must admit, whenever “Break Stuff” by Limp Bizkit comes on in my car, I roll up the windows and blast it hard. It never gets old. Even without the bleached goatee.


 

What tees do you have that stir up particular memories?

And, as always, feel free to browse the current vintage tees I have any stock to see if any bring up any long forgotten memories: http://stores.ebay.com/Holy-Idea-Tees