It’s great to be back in your inbox! We’re a few weeks into the year, but I’m happy to report that Chief of Stuff is entering 2022 with renewed energy and vigor. It’s been a moment since we last connected 👋🏽 , but I’ve been quietly planning some exciting STUFF - including a quarterly “magazine” coming up in March!
Over the coming months, you can expect to see an increase in articles and a wide range of interesting and relevant topics. PLUS added insights from experts, conversations with friends, curiosities uncovered, and a bit of extra ✨ sparkle ✨! If you haven’t already, add Chief of Stuff to your contacts so you don’t miss an issue.
I’m pretty excited for what’s ahead and have set a couple of goals for Chief of Stuff. One of them is to continue to expand who’s part of “The Company.” According to my CMO (that would be me), Word of Mouth is the most effective way to grow - so please share Chief of Stuff with family, friends, neighbors, classmates, coworkers - really anyone that falls into “Your Network.” You can also send me their emails directly and I’ll make sure our Head of Community (also me) gets them signed up!
Instead of making resolutions, I decided to do an Annual Review (aka Year in Review) at the suggestion of my friend Connor. He’s a skilled leadership and development coach and has a newsletter One Percent Wisdom that offers simple and practical solutions to help you not only survive, but also thrive.
Creating your own Annual Review is easy and comprised of four parts:
A review of what went well last year
What did not go well
What you want to focus on next year
Other highlights from the past year that you want to remember.
Much like a Year in Review for a company, you can break down your Annual Review by category (health, relationships, work, travel, etc) and reflect on the areas that you value most. I’m still working on mine, but to give you an idea, Connor has generously published his Annual Review here.
“Whereas setting goals and resolutions for the new year keeps me thinking about what I don’t have yet, this Annual Review provides a chance to be grateful for all the things that have already happened.” - Connor Swenson
One thing that I did do last year was establish and maintain healthier habits. It sounds simple, but I found that I was the most successful when I made it fun/easy on myself. To enhance my daily writing practice I’ve created playlists, try out new coffee shops, and even have my favorite comfy outfits.
Your mind is extremely powerful, but if you’re struggling to make changes or are curious about the science behind developing a habit, I’d suggest reading Atomic Habits by James Clear. Alternatively, you can listen to him on Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead podcast here. Also, I discovered a new app called Tally, which is a great way to not only keep yourself accountable but also see how much progress you’ve made. It’s true that small steps add up to big changes over time. You just have to get started!
Sip, Sip, Hooray!
Raise your hand if you’re participating in Dry January 🙋♀️. Nice job! Giving up alcohol can feel like a monumental task and a month feels like such a long time. Not to mention that after all the revelry of the holidays, January is already a bit of a downer. How do you socialize properly? What can you drink besides water? Can you even have fun and enjoy yourself? Don’t fret. I’ve been there and I can say with complete confidence - you can do it!
I stopped drinking almost two years ago. I wasn’t planning on it, but my health post-Covid required me to. At first, I thought I would have major fomo - this gal loves her old fashions, rosé all day, mai tai time, and a delish pinot with dinner! It felt really boring to drink water, so I actively sought out replacements. Once I began researching, I was surprised to find that there’s actually a bevy of amazing options! Seedlip is a great alternative to gin, TRIP is infused with CBD and takes the edge off, and grapefruit juice with sparkling water and a splash of lime is just as refreshing as a glass of rosé.
I’d like to think I was ahead of the trend, but I’m definitely not alone. According to the Bacardi Cocktail Trends Report for 2022 58% of global consumers are drinking more non-alcoholic and low-ABV cocktails (NoLo) than a year ago and the NoLo category of beverages is rapidly expanding. In the spirit of Dry Jan, this month a number of brands have released a flurry of new non-alcoholic options - there’s WhistlePig’s 100% Rye Aged Non-Whiskey, Heineken 0.0 Hawaii Dry-O beer, Recess’s limited-edition margarita, and Surely’s non-alcoholic cabernet sauvignon just to name a few.
Right now I’m in LA, the mecca for health and wellness, and am having the best time experimenting with new botanical elixirs and social tonics. My new favorites are Kin Euphorics, Hiyo, and Athletic Brewing.
Back in London, there’s a new concept store in the Anya Village called the Dry Drinker that’s dedicated to no and low alcohol options. Since I can’t explore it myself, I enlisted the help of Izzy and Kaitlyn to check it out. Here are their notes from the field:
We took the opportunity to visit fashion designer, Anya Hindmarch's pop-up off-license, and we were not disappointed. Located in West London's Village Hall, the temporary shop has a wide range of alcoholic alternatives. Whether you're coming home from work, planning an outing with friends, or simply fancy a refreshing beverage, you can visit until February 10th. The transport links surrounding the West London spot are convenient, being a short five minutes from Knightsbridge Station, and nine minutes from Sloane Square Station. The luminous neon lights of the shop were inviting, likewise to the friendly cashier. We discussed with her the best-sellers, and if she had any favorites herself. They had a variety of sparkling wine and Spritzer alternatives. 'Belle & Co Sparkling Wine' is said to be popular due its fizzy and fresh taste. No alcohol, low in sugar, and low price of £5.99, this wine alternative is undoubtedly worth a try on your way home.
Whilst we continued browsing for 15 minutes or so, we picked up 4 drinks before we left. We initially found they had a great myriad of alcohol-free beers, so we decided to try the 'Surfers Summer Ale Insel’. The ale was very smooth with a light taste, which would go down great in the summer. It was a worthy replica of an alcoholic ale and Surfers even won gold at the London's World Beer Awards! We also wanted to try non-alcoholic sparkling wine. We sampled ‘Lyre’s Classico non-alcoholic Sparkling’. We were able to get a small can which was perfect as we weren't sure whether we would like it enough to finish a large bottle. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite compare to alcoholic sparkling wine, however, it was fairly dry and didn’t have a sweet aftertaste, unlike many other alcohol-free wine alternatives we have tried.
One thing that didn’t disappoint were our personal favorites; the ‘Dutchess’ spritzers. One was a Rosé alternative, the 'Duchess Berry Rose Wine Spritzer'. Slightly dry, yet very refreshing. Fruity, but not too sweet; we will likely try this wine again! The 'Duchess Wine Spritzer Elderflower' was less sweet than a standard soft drink and had a slight grape undertone to it, making it a nice alternative to wine. This one is perfect for a summer's day! We were pleasantly surprised by the diverse selection that they curated at the Dry Drinker. We were anticipating a few boring spins on classic drinks, yet we were met with a fun variety of beverages.
The perception that there are limited alternatives to alcohol besides sweet soft drinks is outdated, particularly in the UK, which is proving non-alcoholic drinks can be just as flavourful and give you the same boost that alcohol provides. This movement is clear as companies are producing great, tasty beverages suitable for all. Gone are the days of Shloer or Martinelli’s! Whilst you still can, we urge you to check out the Belgravia off-license and help challenge the misconception that there aren’t many good alcohol alternatives on the market!
Mix Things Up
In addition to purchasing delicious drinks, I also love testing out new recipes. Recently, cocktail pioneer Derek Brown released Mindful Mixology, a cocktail book dedicated to only no and low alcohol recipes that I’m looking forward to trying.
Last week I stayed at The Surfrider in Malibu and their botanical elixir was the perfect companion to sunset. I loved it so much that they shared the recipe with me, which is: amass riverine non-alcoholic botanical spirit, grapefruit & lime juice, tonic water, blood orange, thyme, and basil. YUM! 🍹
Another delicious mocktail to replicate is the popular Pornstar Martini. The combination of pineapple, passion fruit, and vanilla makes it the perfect beverage for a girl’s night out or paired with Mexican or Thai food.
When it comes to not drinking alcohol, the options truly are flowing. Whether you’re exploring your relationship to alcohol, sober-curious, or interested in mindful drinking - here are some additional resources:
Happy Hour - Join Club Soda to find events, recipes, and mindful drinkers in your area.
Team Effort - Join the Tempest, an innovative program to help you rethink or quit drinking.
It surprised me actually, how much I’ve enjoyed not drinking. Sure I miss the occasional glass here or there, but overall I’m totally content with staying alcohol-free for as long as I need to. If you give yourself the chance, you’ll be amazed by how alert, rested, and good you’ll feel.
Whatever choices you make this year, I hope they lead to a happier, healthier you! Now that’s something that I’d drink to!