Official Review: West of Jesus

By: Steven Kotler

Even though I read this book a long time ago, it’s something that’s stuck with me for many years.

Out of nowhere, Steven Kotler got struck with Lyme disease which cost him everything. The sudden neurological damage was heartbreaking, as he had to write down simple instructions for how to live life…

Read the full review here


Official Review: Reunion by Bruce Simonian

This is the story of a high school love affair that is on its way to end tragically, but has a surprise twist at the end.

The main character, Gina, suddenly leaves her friends and family behind in Lake Tahoe to start a new life for herself and her daughter in Tulsa. Throughout the years, this story oscillates…

Read the full review here

A Day in Seattle

space needleTwo Octobers ago, I planned to enter a longboarding contest outside of Seattle. I booked my flight, planned to stay at an Air B&B, started planning out my car rental… But when the day came to leave, I missed my flight. Not leaving work in time, Reno traffic, getting stuck behind a semi, Delta Airlines being Delta Airlines, you-name-it…I guess I wasn’t meant to go.

So approaching last October, as my roundtrip flight to Seattle was about to expire, I decided to use my credit for a quick getaway back to Seattle and see everything I could see in a day. Here’s how it went:chihuly3

Oct. 24, 11pm: Flew into Seattle-Tacoma Intl Airport, took the Link Light Rail to downtown

midnight: Once reaching downtown, took a cab to the City Hostel and was greeted with a mummy hanging out front. Oh, yeah, Halloween is coming up. Passed out in a bunk bed in an empty room.

pike placeOct. 25, 8:30am: woke up, showered, enjoyed a free continental breakfast in a hostel full of people, started walking. It was surprisingly sunny!

9:40am: made it to Pike’s Place! Never saw a fish fly, but loved the Farmers Market feel. Tried a chocolate-covered cherry at Chukar’s and didn’t bother trying to get a coffee at Starbucks since the line was around the corner.

chihuly210:25am: walked to the Space Needle, enjoyed the panoramic view from the top and enjoyed a coffee there. It was starting to get overcast.

11am: was totally enamored with Chihuly Garden and Glass. Bought my favorite moms cool gifts and took lots of pictures.

12:30pm: walked through Olympic Sculpture Park along the water and admired the art

1pm: made it to Miner’s Landing and had an Anchor Steam and delicious crab sandwich overlooking the pier at the Crab Pot.

chihuly1:40pm: meandered over to Pioneer Square and in my travel found misprinted Christmas cards at Pike Street Press and an original Punch Out arcade game at Bon Voyage Vintage.

2:30pm: it started raining so I dipped into Cow Chips for a cookie.

3pm: went through Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour, one of the highlights of the trip. Entertaining, plus it was a way to get out of the rain and learn the history of Seattle.

rub w love4:30pm: walked back to the hostel and on the way window-shopped at kitche stores like Watson Kennedy Fine Home, Alki Arts, Finerie Colab (where they greet you with a truffle when you walk through the door)

6:40pm: had a seasoned sandwich at the Rub With Love Shack and a beer for dinner

9pm: back at the hostel, totally pooped and in bed

Oct. 26, 5am: grudgingly left the hostel and took a $20 shuttle to the airport

6am: flight out of Sea-Tec

11am: after a quick layover in SLC, I’m back in Reno by 11:20am

To follow my travels, find me on Instagram, Swarm or TripAdvisor

Official Review: Switch- “How to Change Things When Change is Hard”

By: Chip & Dan Heath

Listed one of the 5 business books to read this week by DailyWorth and a #1 New York Times bestseller, Switch is a great reference for how little things can create big changes.

The Heaths use this model to explain change: the Rider (the analytical side of us that sets goals and drive the energy), the Elephant (the energy behind the change) and…

Read the full review here


The Poor Man’s Guide to Food, Booze, Skiing, and More in North(east) Lake Tahoe

By: Kayla Anderson,

Author Note: This is a play off of Thrillist’s “The Poor Man’s Guide to Food, Booze, Skiing, and More In North Lake Tahoe” because that article should’ve been called “The Poor Man’s Guide to Food, Booze, Skiing, and More In West Shore Lake Tahoe”. C’mon, what about us on the Northeast end of the lake?


Village Ski Loft
Incline Village, NV
The Deal: $28 ski/snowboard rentals
The Lowdown: Located right on the main road across from the 76 gas station, Village Ski Loft has ski/snowboard equipment, clothing and merchandise to help you get all geared up before you hit the slopes. $28 for a ski or snowboard package is a steal.

Diamond Peak
Incline Village, NV
The Deal: $119 for 3 Beginner lesson packages and a free all-mountain lift ticket/ equipment rental upon completion.
The Lowdown: $200 for 2 days of lessons, lift tickets, and equipment rentals compared to $119 for 3 days of lessons, lift tickets, and equipment rentals at Diamond Peak? Hmmm, tough choice for the poor man…


Besides the tax breaks, another nice thing about being in Nevada is your William Hill app finally works and you can try your luck at the slot machines in the Raley’s grocery store and at 7-11. Who knows…your crumpled $1 bill that you were going to use for some shitty cappuccino may just turn into $200 if you play your video poker machine cards right.

Tahoe Biltmore
Crystal Bay, NV
The Deal: Single deck blackjack table for $5 per hand
The Lowdown: The only place on the North Shore that has single deck blackjack, totally increasing your odds. And if you’re there on a Saturday night you may be able to hear some live music in The Breeze without having to pay.

Grand Casino Lodge (Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe)
Incline Village, NV
The Deal: Free Slot Tournaments on Thursdays
The Lowdown: Who says that broke people shouldn’t gamble? At the Hyatt’s casino, you can enter a FREE Thursday slot tournament for a chance to win some cold-hard cash. Then you can reinvest your winnings at the Sports Book.

Crystal Bay Club
Crystal Bay, NV
The Deal: A bottle of wine when you get a blackjack
The Lowdown: So you lost all your money at the blackjack table. At least you have that bottle of wine to share with your lady friend for that one Jack/Queen you beat the dealer with!


Alibi Brewery
Incline Village, NV
The Deal: $6 REAL 16oz. pints, $2 mix and match tasters
The Lowdown: A cool new brewery (actually the only brewery on this side of the lake) with a modern vibe and excellent craft beer. Grab a $10 32oz growler and enjoy random music on some nights.

Wild Bill’s BBQ
Incline Village, NV
The Deal: Local’s Lunch- 2 hours of skiing and a $10 food voucher for $25 midweek
The Lowdown: Get a slow-cooked ½ chicken and side dish at the new BBQ joint on the base lodge deck of Diamond Peak for around $10. Fridays are the day to go because then you can take advantage of the Local’s Lunch deal- use your $10 lunch voucher at Wild Bill’s and get a couple hours of skiing in.

The Grid
Kings Beach, CA
The Deal: $5.99 for a burger, fries & Rolling Rock
The Lowdown: This is the local dive for Kings Beach ruffians. They have late night munchies galore and 8 kinds of burgers that you can get for only $5.99 Monday-Friday.

Jason’s Beachside Grille
Kings Beach, CA
The Deal: All-You-Can-Eat Salad Bar for $9.95
The Lowdown: For the vegan, gluten-free cheapskates out there, Jason’s Beachside Grille is the best place to be right on the water and load up on mixed greens, veggies and bean salads.

Incline Village, NV
The Deal: $5 white/red wines, $3-$4 beers, and 40% off select menu items
The Lowdown: Bite has a nice lounge-ish vibe and serves up delicious American tapas and sliders. However, portions tend to be small so it’s best to go during Happy Hour to pay a little less and have more stuff to share.

Crosby’s Pub
Incline Village, NV
The Deal: Daily Specials like meatloaf, pork chops, sloppy joes, and battered catfish
The Lowdown:  Crosby’s is like the bar in Cheers where everyone knows your name. Find friendly faces all over the place with a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu and fresh-squeezed cocktails.

Fredrick’s Fusion Bistro
Incline Village, NV
The Deal: Ladies Night on Wednesdays- $5 Lavender Lemon drops, $5 small plates
The Lowdown: I went here when my roommate won $2400 off the poker slots at Crosby’s and just indulged. We got surf & turf, Moscow mules, a deep-fried Snickers bar, and lavender lemon drops to start with. It’s all good.

Bar Bar Bar
Incline Village, NV
The Deal: $5 daily lunch pizza special
The Lowdown: Two slices of pizza with two toppings for only $5. This is a locals place with cheap beer and excellent pizza. Plus, Bridget the redhead is the best bartender in town.

Hacienda de la Sierra
Incline Village, NV
The Deal:  Mon-Fri Happy Hour from 4pm-6pm: $1 drafts, $3.75 margaritas, $2 tacos/nachos
The Lowdown: This place has at least 10 different kinds of margaritas and something going on pretty much every day of the week (ex. Sunday Seafood Fest and 2-for-1 Taco Tuesdays). Get the melon margarita for a bit more alcohol and then try to win your margaritas back at the video poker machines.

The Loft Bar
Incline Village, NV
The Deal: $8 Build-Your-Own Bloody on Sundays
The Lowdown: Located up at Diamond Peak Ski Resort, the Loft Bar is a great place to wind down after a day on the slopes. The daily Happy Hour starts at 4pm with $4 Lakeview brews/Rolling Rocks and appetizers including pulled pork sliders, mac & cheese bites, taquitos, and more.

Koi Sushi
Incline Village, NV
The Deal: $29.95 for All-You-Can-Eat sushi
The Lowdown: Pretty reasonable prices for sushi and a decent all-you-can-eat special. The quality of service is sporadic, but it is the only sushi restaurant in town to get your fix.

Indu’s Asian
Incline Village, NV
The Deal: $7.99 Sri Lankan Soup
The Lowdown: If I tried to make this soup myself it would cost $40 and take me 12 hours. I don’t know how they do it.

Mountain High Sandwich Co.
Incline Village, NV
The Deal: $10.50 House Smoked Turkey Pesto Avocado (with humanely raised organic turkey and organic veggies) sandwich
The Lowdown: This place appeals to the conscious traveler. I know organic food doesn’t always equal cheap, but the wraps/sandwiches will definitely fill you up.

Cutthroat’s Saloon
Incline Village, NV
The Deal: $20 buckets of beer and live music on Saturdays
The Lowdown: Located inside the Hyatt, this is another great place to watch the game after placing your bets. They have signature habanero hot wings and crazy good deals on beer during football season.

Incline Village, NV
The Deal: Free popcorn (and sometimes free food on holidays)
The Lowdown: This is the #1 dive bar in Incline Village, even dive-ier than The Grid. Since it’s right across the street from Sierra Nevada College, you’ll find broke college kids munching on the free popcorn and playing darts. Be careful though, it’s dark inside, the drinks are cheap, and in Nevada the bars never close, so you can get sucked in ‘til the break of dawn like you were in Vegas.

Village Pub
Incline Village, NV
The Deal: Ping Pong, pool table, shuffleboard and cheap drinks
The Lowdown: This is the #2 dive bar in Incline Village with pretty good burgers and the only place with shuffleboard. Be careful of their CoCo Locos.


Incline Village, NV
The Deal: $5.99 breakfast before 11am; ½ price burgers on Tuesdays
The Lowdown: This is a good place to grab food late night after the bars in California close and watch people fall off the stripper pole.  (My roommate once broke his clavicle on that thing).


Java Hut
Kings Beach, CA
The Deal: Great breakfast sandwiches, chai lattes and it’s right on Lake Tahoe
The Lowdown: This Yelp review says it all- “Yeah, the guy with the dreads may or may not be high, but he was very friendly.”

IV Coffee Lab
Incline Village, NV
The Deal: $5 for a mocha
The Lowdown: This is the only locally-owned coffee joint in Incline Village to rival the Starbucks across the street. Their coffee always tastes fresh. I may whoop the owners in E League softball in the summer, but they can definitely whoop me year-round in making coffee.

Art’s Coffee House
The Deal: $6.99 for a kielbasa breakfast burrito (basically two meals in one)
The Lowdown: This is a small little coffee shop that’s inside the Village Market. Sit in the sun and watch people go in and out of the Post Office in the morning and then go back to Bar Bar Bar in the afternoon for the $5 lunch special.


Hostel Tahoe
Kings Beach, CA
The Deal: $35 dorm rooms
The Lowdown: This is the only hostel on the North Shore and they have discounts on lift tickets, transportation from the Reno-Tahoe Airport, free Wi-Fi, and free bike use and luggage storage. The best place to stay on the cheap.

Parkside Inn at Tahoe
Incline Village, NV
The Deal: $69-$87 for deluxe rooms
The Lowdown: These cozy little cabin rooms are right in walking distance to the Hacienda, the Paddlewheel, the Hyatt, and oh yeah, the lake. It’s also a 5-min. shuttle ride to Diamond Peak.

Tahoe Biltmore
Crystal Bay, NV
The Deal: $9.95 prime rib on Tuesdays, $2.22 Monday breakfast special, $1 beers during Happy Hour every day from 3-7pm and $49 rooms, valid non-holiday.
The Lowdown: Oh, and the $5 blackjack table.


Mt. Rose – Ski Tahoe
The Deal: Two ‘fer Tuesdays, $34 Ladies Day Thursdays
The Lowdown: Get two lift tickets for the price of one on Tuesdays, which is the best when a snowstorm rolls through on Mondays. Since they have the highest base elevation in Lake Tahoe, Mt. Rose tends to have the best snow. And hardcore lady skiers and snowboarders can take advantage of $34 lift tickets on Thursdays, which is a good enough reason for ladies to call in sick and ride The Chutes.

Diamond Peak Ski Resort
Incline Village, NV
The Deal: $35 lift ticket when you Bring Your Other Pass; $34 Last Tracks
The Lowdown: It’s easy to buy a season pass from a ski resort and then ski/ride at just that one spot all the time. But what about the days where you want to switch it up, try somewhere new? That’s where the BYOP deal is the best. Another way to enjoy the best views of Lake Tahoe is with Last Tracks: pay $34 for a lift ticket valid from 2-4pm, enjoy wine/beer tasting and appetizers from the mid-mountain Snowflake Lodge overlooking Lake Tahoe, and then ski/ride down a freshly groomed run down at sunset.


High Altitude Fitness
Incline Village, NV
The Deal:  $16 daily fee for the only rock climbing wall in North(east) Lake Tahoe
The Lowdown: Even the poorest of my friends seem to find their way to this rock climbing wall. HAF also has free weights, beer, and comfy chairs next to the fireplace.

Recreation Center
Incline Village, NV
The Deal: $15 daily fee for the only indoor swimming pool in North(east) Lake Tahoe
The Lowdown: Get full use of the gym, fitness center, swimming pool and special classes, including yoga and winter conditioning. As the website says, “whatever your favorite recreational activity, we hope to serve all of your needs”.