A letter to my neighbor (who stole my Christmas present)

I returned home a wonderful week visiting friends and family for the holidays. I found some mail waiting for me in my apartment lobby – which had been opened for me.

My aunt mailed a Christmas present to me aaaand….it got stolen.

Here was my reply:

Dear Neighbor, 

I’m guessing you like presents….

Since you opened my mail and took items that were sent to me, you seem like the type 😉 From what I understand, my Aunt Linda sent me a card, a gag gift, and a check. Well, the check was cancelled, the card was for me, and the gag gift probably didn’t mean much to you. 

To compensate, these are for you 

-A gift card to Old Navy (It can’t be cancelled! 😉 ) 

-A Chicago Cubs shirt (Hope you’re a medium) 

-An opened Mp3-Mp4 Digital Audio Player (I’ve had this thing for ever – thought you might want it more than me. Oh, and sorry I didn’t wrap it…) 

Here’s the thing, neighbor – I don’t condone stealing. But I also don’t condone hate. I hope these gifts bring you joy and hope. Apparently this reaction isn’t common – so just know that the next person you take from might not respond this way. 

Happy New Year Neighbor, 

Tony (Unit 14) 

PS – Grab these quick. It would suck if someone stole them before you could get what was delivered to you. (See what I did there? 😉 Sorry….but seriously grab ‘em!)

I shared this letter in a Facebook Live video. I asked friends to share it. So far, we’re up to 800 views and 22 shares. Why is this awesome? Because it’s telling the world that #LoveWins. 

I’d be sad if anyone’s takeaway from this message is, “What the hell?! Why would anyone do that?!” Because asking “Why is _______ so terrible?” or “Why does ______ always happen?” are both very, very disempowering questions.

My hope is that this message gets shared. My hope is that it gets shared over and over until eventually this type of reaction isn’t different or odd….it becomes the norm.

So….help me share it? 


Thanks friends.

Let’s go get ’em.

Other links you might like: 

My youtube channel!

A replay of my follow up video 🙂


Why a date on a calendar is poor for resolutions

Remember all the blogs I wrote about during the summer on being your best self? Neither do I. They never got written. I stopped updating when I lost motivation

We don’t need more motivation. We don’t need more willpower. They’re fleeting and useless when life throws us curveballs or simply gets busy.

I started writing again after some initial motivation. Then it developed into a routine. I keep writing now because I believe this blog needs to be read. There’s a friend out there who hasn’t heard this message. There’s a student who got my business card and has no idea that personal development is a thing.

I figured out why I want to write. And that’s what keeps me going.

When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breath

Need an ongoing dose for motivation?  The “Thank God It’s Monday!” series from Eric Thomas was a a great one. I’ve watched ’em all =) 

You have to have a why

In February of 2014, I bought the 21 Day Fix. It made nutrition simpler and easier to understand than anything I ever tried. I was finally seeing the toning results I was looking for.

…those usually got erased a couple times a month. Even though I knew what to do, I didn’t have a good reason for why I was doing it. I knew I wanted to look good. But that didn’t stop me from eating when I was stressed. (Or just bored.)

Ten months later, I found a deep why. My nutrition has been great ever since. And I still get to have my treats.


The dessert spread at my Aunt’s house on Christmas. You never would have known that I’m a healthy eater after…

Your why has to be deep

If it’s a surface level answer, it’s not deep enough. Go deeper.

Why do you want to eat better? (Because I want abs.) Why do you want abs? (Because I want to look good.) Why do you want to look good? (Because I feel better about myself when I look good.) Why do you want to feel better? (Because when I feel better, I do my best and most efficient work towards living my crazy awesome life.) Why do you want to live a crazy awesome life? (Because I can literally cry thinking about it. And I can also literally cry after submitting to a bunch of jobs that I know I don’t want to go to.)

Find your why that makes you cry.

You have to be willing to fail

There’s a myth out there that says if we’ve failed, there’s something wrong with us.

There is nothing wrong with you.

Failure is feedback. Without it, we don’t get better. Tell your ego to chill and go out there and fall a few times.


falling darren daily

Highly recommend subscribing to www.darrendaily.com for gems like this one each day


When all else fails, remember this: There are others waiting for you to live your crazy awesome life. It’s going to help them. Whether that’s because your dream job involves it, or because you’ll be happier and have a stronger relationship with your significant other, friends and family. There are others counting on you.

How’s that for a strong why?

Have a killer 2016. I’ll see you after a couple of stumbles. I know they’re in store for me too.

Go get ‘em.

How To Avoid A Letdown For New Year’s Eve


Okay. You know the drill. When there’s a big event you’re excited for, you have the date circled on your calendar. You put in lots of time and energy just thinking about it. Then there’s planning, lots of messaging back and forth with friends, plus the “Oh my god, what on earth am I going to wear?”(We can’t show up looking like a jackass…)

I experienced something similar last week. It was Christmas morning. Not only was it my first Christmas with family in five years, but it was also my first Christmas with anyone in five years. (Don’t feel bad –it was my own choice). I decided last minute that this this had to be a good Christmas.

It started off great. I even got my workout in while my parents went to church.

2014-12-25 10.15.39

I may or may not have brought my laptop and workout DVDs with me…

When they got back, Dad mentioned he was hungry. “Perfect!” It’s Christmas! Why not make this morning special and grab something food and cocktails (emphasis on cocktails) before meeting up with the others?

2014-12-25 14.22.22

In my head, this was a glass of champagne and a pastry. We settled for Andy’s Diner. I had a slice of scrapple (It’s a Pennsylvania thing) and a Hurricane.

While the rest of the day went well, it was rather low key. I still wanted that extra “oomph” to really make it a day. I had a few ideas:

-Drinks at the hotel bar before bed.

-Room service (not nearly as fancy/expensive as you’d think) with drinks while watching “Love, Actually” (best Christmas movie of all time).

-No other ideas. This idea of a “perfect Christmas” just clicked into my head earlier and clearly one of these would work. 

…..neither worked. Everything at the hotel was closed. And I let it ruin my evening.

A few issues here: I didn’t plan ahead. I didn’t allow myself any other options. And I also didn’t allow the idea of that “perfect ending” to take place another night. (You can totally still watch “Love, Actually” before January 1st, even though it’s a Christmas movie.)

Ultimately for big and special events, we tend to set the bar pretty high without giving ourselves “breathing room” to let the evening go where it wants to go. Things come up. Places are closed. Some crucial aspect to your party don’t get there in time. (How are the ice sculptures coming for our party, by the way?)

On New Year’s Eve, focus on how you want to feel during the evening. Be aware it might not be “perfect.” Focus on what you can control. Personally, I want to have fun among friends I love, drink champagne at midnight, and laugh. A lot. I don’t want to feel stressed, and I definitely don’t want to feel like things “aren’t as good as they should be.”

Have fun tomorrow! Go out, get crazy. Or don’t. Do something low key. Whatever you decide on, make it fun and make it special.

Stress Free Holiday Tip

Talk to ya next year, friends.