A list of my favorite things from 2018 / by Evan La Ruffa

It’s funny how the calendar gets us thinking thematically or with an air of reflection. In doing so myself, I thought it would be fun to highlight some of my favorite businesses, products, or experiences from the past year.

Being a conduit is pretty essential to who I am, and if we hung out in person, you’d certainly end up hearing about one or more of the items in the list below.

Have an awesome year and stay in touch. I love hearing about the things you all are chewing on……..

Uma Fox La Ruffa - this year my wife Lindsey and I had our second child on March 2nd, 2018 in the comfort of our home. She’s perfect and adorable. I do what all parents do… post photos of their kids in Instagram. You can see how fantastic her cheeks are there.

This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See by Seth Godin - Seth is certainly one of my greatest teachers as a professional and we’ve never met in person. His books are all must-reads, and his continued wisdom and perspective which he offers through his daily blog is the greatest free gift you can give yourself. HIs latest book is more poignant than ever, showing how marketing is really about serving the people you care about, not spamming until folks succumb. Read this book if you care about being a better person and professional.

Whole 30 - we did Whole 30 twice in 2018 and plan on doing it again here in a few weeks. It’s a diet that focuses cutting out sugar, grain, dairy, alcohol, legumes, etc. It taught us a ton as far as learning to cook with new foods, creating new recipes, and making delicious food that hinges on great spices, quality protein, and tons of veggies. I lost 20 lbs the first month I did it and felt great. Digestion was tops. I think I need this diet a lot more regularly. This article tells you more about what you CAN eat on Whole 30.

Tinker Coffee Roasters - we discovered these guys on our drive down to Florida in late 2017 when we had their coffee at a local restaurant in Indianapolis. Super skillful stuff, and the last year has been good to them. They recently opened a roastery with an awesome new mural on the outside of it. We stopped by on our way to Florida a few weeks ago and the hospitality was great. A small business making the best stuff you can find in a town you’d probably never go to. We subscribe and get two bags of expertly roasted coffee delivered to our door monthly.

Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon - I set a big goal and did it!!! In July I ran all 13.1 miles of the Rock N Roll Half Marathon along Chicago’s lakefront. I’m doing it again in 2019. Join me.

Misfit Inc - for the majority of 2018, IPaintMyMind worked closely with the creative geniuses as Misfit Inc, a nomadic digital agency whose co-founders AJ and Melissa Leon committed to building IPMM a brand new website from the ground up. A huge, in-depth build that will launch soon. They run a foundation and a publishing house too… I’m convinced there are 3 of each of them. It’s been such a pleasure to work with professionals doing mission-aligned work and IPMM has been so grateful for their contribution to our mission.

The Dali Museum - Located in St. Petersburg, FL and home to over 90 original works by the master himself, if you are anywhere within a few hours of St. Pete, make the drive and get yourself a taste of mastery. The story behind why the collection is there is a hoot. Spend time to enjoy the audio tour and really let it the works sink in. It is a treasure. I call The Dali, my church.

Run Like Clockwork - if you run a business and feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, it’s because you need to revamp your operational efficiency, period. This book helps you get serious about moving beyond the ‘spinning your wheels’ vibes of being overly busy and not effective enough.

Cafe Integral - a great coffee shop in River North, located in the lobby of the Freehand Hotel on Ohio St. They only roast and serve Nicaraguan coffees and the lounge space in the back is perfect for working in a relaxed atmosphere.

Pod Save America - it gets me riled up, and that’s what it’s for. I know being endlessly tied into the news cycle is crazy, but being uninformed because of some general pessimism seems to be a more of a threat than anything else. Daily politics and analysis. Produced by former Obama aides.

Fellow Coffee Kettle - unparalleled gooseneck electric hot water kettle for pour over coffees.

Official 2018 World Cup Match Ball - bad soccer balls suck, and really nice ones are awesome. That’s why I wait until right after any large tournament to purchase the very high-quality official match ball… because it’s more than 50% off at that point. Winning! It lives in our living room, it keeps us nimble.

Hu Chocolate - this stuff is amazing. Out of NYC and run by a friend, I am a huge proponent of their ethos and products. Try the Orange Dream and Raspberry Jelly. Oooiiieeee!

Instapot - this thing is the bees knees. Make a meal that should take all day in 40 minutes. We make everything from hard boiled eggs to pot roasts and curries in this thing. It’s a very worthwhile kitchen gadget.

Slack - the chat client that most businesses are using so that email doesn’t take over. Works great on a laptop or your phone and helps keep teams connected and efficient.

Loba Pastry - an awesome bakery and coffee shop on Lincoln Ave (Chicago) doing some of the most creative pastries around. Serving Madcap Coffee, a super cute location, and awesome ownership.

Hewn Bakery - a lovely sourdough starter bakery on Main St. in Evanston, IL. Croissants, kouign-amann’s, brioches, and country loaves.

Green Bean Battery - heads up to any hybrid owners out there and some FYI to the rest of ya… you know how everyone always talks about the boogie man of needing to replace the main battery in a Prius or other hybrid vehicle? Sure, the dealer wants $3600, but Green Bean Battery will come install a reconditioned battery in your hybrid and give you a 5 year warranty for $1600. Our car has never run better.

The list goes on … but maybe we can do this again.

Be good and take care!