Sustainable Neighborhood Maker & Lover of Buffalo, NY.
I am an urban planner and building science geek. I work for City Dining Cards and own my own company, Buffalove Development. I want to make Buffalo the best place to live, work and play. I love seeing creative public spaces, talking about land use patterns and petting cats.
A year ago today, I had a feeling to go see my dad mid afternoon – something I never do. I picked some tomatoes from the garden, grabbed a couple of double double coffees from Sweetness and drove to NF where he has been in a nursing home under hospice care. When I arrived, he was awake and hanging out with my mom… alert and fairly happy.
We drank our coffees and asked me how the painting was coming on my house. I complained that I couldn’t finish painting the peak and railings because I was short and afraid of heights…. and he lost it! My dad (who wasn’t ever known for giving advice) loudly said I should never give in because of my size and that I just had to find the right tools. He told me to get a good ladder, a couple of extender polls and duct tape and make it work. “You’re a Radle”… is something he proudly said to me many times. He wasn’t a big guy but managed to paint houses, fix roofs, etc…all his life. He refused to let me give in. I agreed – he was right.
He passed away the next morning.
Once the dust settled down, I knew what I had to do. I bought myself a fancy ladder and better tools, gathered the courage needed and finished nearly all the hard painting this summer – except the peak. This time it wasn’t ignored or delayed by fear, it’s just been timing but no worries, I’ll get to it soon, I’m sure.
I miss him more than I ever thought I would but I’m thankful for being a “Radle”.
I challenged myself to a new routine of waking up early, being disciplined about my schedule and eating habits while surrounding myself with all kinds of inspiration to keep my day filled with focus and direction.
I’m going to keep this going to make it a routine!
Waking up early and getting to the office around 6:30am felt amazing. I felt more accomplished in two hours than I do in 8 on some days – which helped to maintain my control when randomness and stress crept in. In real estate and property management – the chaos is often what controls the day!
Protein in the morning! Why hasn’t anyone suggested this before? One protein smoothie and a banana will keep me going from 6am – noon. It helps keep my body energy feeling stable – the energy is consistent throughout the day. I also found that my favorite protein shake is the chocolate bolthouse one.
Writing down your goals every morning. This is a no brainer. Easy and effective!
Podcasts for inspiration… Inc.com has some awesome podcasts on entrepreneurs, start ups, business, etc. I love that website – it’s what started this whole #takingbackmymornings thing! I really enjoyed this new podcast called How I built it featuring the owner of Spanx. Man, she is amazing!
Afternoon meetings only. This is a great idea – why interrupt your morning when you’re the most productive?!
Afternoon caffeine only. This is tough but I liked how I felt after a few days. Coffee in the am is amazing but I do feel more hydrated and energetic with the protein shakes instead.
What didn’t work:
I can’t seem to wake up before 5:45. Some CEOs start at 5am?!. Also, early calls means less focus on my hair, which is fine because I love my top knot bun but you do have to plan ahead – lay out your clothes, do your hair in the am, etc.
Dinner fail. What should I do for dinner? I found myself eating garbage but wanting healthy without spending a ton of cash. Warning: I don’t cook.
6am starts… 6/7/8pm finishes = 12 to 14 hour days. I need to learn to get exercise in and leave a bit earlier, if possible. I worked 47.5 hours in 4 days. Although I felt great and I love doing what I’m doing, I do need to learn when to pull away.
Weekends in general really throw a wrench in discipline. But weekends are for sleeping in and relaxing, right?
Winter. What happens when you want to sleep in during the cold winter months?! I could easily see myself opting to snuggle in bed over work.
Let’s start with some inspiration… I like this article on building your personal brand – it’s definitely the world we live in!
Update: So, it’s Friday and I worked 47.5 hours in 4 days but instead of thinking I got nothing done because my head is spinning due to distractions – I feel energetic and on solid ground!
This new schedule and diet is working – the 6am work start with zero interruptions is crazy good. The protein shakes keep me full until noon. Today was filled with expected distractions but even when I was thrown a few large curveballs – I still handled it with ease.
I ended day 4 with a call that solidified my next large project – a co development endeavor which I’ll discuss soon. It’s an exciting one – one that will help lift me up where I need to be.
I set my alarm for 6:30am – I suppose I should sleep in on Saturdays? Hahah.
Anyhow, here is a pic of exactly how I feel. Next week I’m adding exercise into this schedule. XO!
Day 3 Recap: Awesome! Why? Because I got a lot done and for the first time in a long while, I had enough time to eat dinner and watch a movie with Drew. (We watched Brooklyn, it was good!)
6:15am at work – successfully had 2 hours of quiet time to knock work out. I’m starting to get used to waking up early! I wrote down my goals, drank a chocolate protein shake and worked through a lot of stuff. We had environmental testing all day at a building I have under contract to purchase so sticking with discipline and schedule wasn’t an option but I kept to my values / goals as much as I could. I left the office around 6pm.
Over the last week, I’ve found that the following routine keeps my energy steady all day. The ups and downs are nearly zero!
Water and a protein shake in the AM only.
A whole grain bagel with peanut butter for lunch.
Small snacks throughout the afternoon include yogurt, string cheese, a banana and a cliff bar.
Limiting caffeine to the afternoons, too (for the most part!).
Of course I had ETS for dinner …😳
Regardless, eating less seems to keep me at a steady, high energy all day. I don’t feel weighted down!
My Ideal schedule: I’ve read a lot about what business owners / entrepreneurs do to maximize time. This seems to be the ideal schedule based on what I’ve read… obviously this week has been me trying to see if it works for me and my body. So far I have no complaints!
6am – 10am: Focused work. No meetings. No distractions. High priority stuff. No email. Limited social media. Remember: output not input.
10am – 11am : work out of some sort (tbd) to refresh the mind after intense focus.
1pm – ? : meetings, emails, errands, etc. Moving ideas forward, emails back and forth, calls, etc. Get home or still have time to make up hours on some projects!
Important to mention: I have to start eating better dinners. Suggestions on protein shake making and / or exercises are welcome! And, I can’t forget to squeeze time in there for daily podcasts – I’ve really been into finding entrepreneur type podcasts…. It keeps me going!
Did you read the article I linked in the last post?
I’m calling it my #takingbackmymornings challenge.
I often wake up late, throw my hair in a bun, don’t eat until noon and live on coffee. I have found myself to be grumpy and stressed constantly. Expanding my business means I have little extra time and a life filled with good / bad / unexpected distractions …. So this is my attempt to use my mornings as a way to be hyper focused in order to get ahead, save myself some stress and get the next project in gear!
Here is the overall idea on how this works.
1. No meetings until after noon. Why? Mornings are about output – not input. It’s when your brain and body are more focused. I use brain music found at brain.fm to keep my mind focused – it’s ridiculous and amazing.
2. Get to the office early with a plant based protein shake in hand. Target goal: 6am. This gives me 3 hours to get work done and the protein helps keep hunger down and energy up!
3. Write down all my goals for the day / week. The first hour goes to something I never have time for but want to make time for. Things I’ve been pushing off – business card design, a PowerPoint for an upcoming conference, etc. The remaining 2 hours go to top priority work items that have to get done.
4. 10am break for exercise (still haven’t done this yet!).
5. No coffee or caffeine until afternoon.
6. Eliminate distractions: If you want to talk, it’s got to wait. Write it down in an email. No Facebook. No pop in meetings.
7. Afternoons are for email, meetings, calls, etc. all the distractions, chaos, etc… Feels better when you know you got a lot done earlier.
So how am I doing? Day 2:
I loved how much consistant energy I had yesterday (yay for protein!) so I went to wegmans at 6am to buy more. There are so many options! Many folks pointed out the high sugar count – noted but I am still going to try these.
My morning wasn’t as productive as yesterday’s but I did get a lot of stuff done today including reviewing two inspection reports and sending feedback before 8am, reviewing business cards, moving forward on a purchase of a building and more.
I didn’t take any meetings but did go get paper at 10am. (Big mistake! What a time suck! Amazon prime next time.)
My afternoon was fairly shot due to someone deciding to use my credit card to go on a buying spree – so that took up some time (fixed, don’t worry!) but all in all, lots on the list I outlined in the early am got accomplished! ✔️✔️✔️!
I even spent time listening to inspiration… I loved this podcast featuring the founder of Nasty Gal. Her hustle and story is a solid one that I can relate to!
So what’s in for day 3? My goal tomorrow is to my office by 6am. Waking up at 5am is tough!!’ I’m breaking my new rules tomorrow – we’re doing an 8am inspection of a building… But that decision was out of my control. I need 2 hours today and tomorrow to nail my ppt for next weeks speaking gigs. In general – my hope is this becomes a pattern so I can get up easier, get things done and discipline myself to a point where I’m running at max efficiency so I can take on more while being healthy about it all.
If you have suggestions on food choices, podcasts, etc … Bring it on.
I came across this article on Inc.com this weekend that basically said that if I did a certain type of schedule, I would save up to 20 hours a week in time. 20 hours?!! I’m in!
The articles entire focus is surrounded by the idea of “taking back the morning”…citing that the early mornings are when you’re the most energetic and can do the most work however it often tends to be a time when there are the most distractions. It gives lots of great advice on how to eliminate distraction, maximize time and keep your body and brain motivated. Mornings are for output, not input (I love that!) meaning wake up early, eat right, don’t schedule meetings before noon, focus on your biggest priorities, eliminate distraction wherever possible, listen to brain music to stay focused… and more… so I decided to try out their suggestions. Why not, right?
Total number of hours worked: 13.5
I woke up at 6 AM. I was at the grocery store by 630 to grab healthy supplies and at my office by 7 AM with a plant based protein shake in hand. Being at Wegmans that early when no one is around is definitely strange. I was sleepy because I’m not the easiest early riser… that is for sure. I avoided Facebook and Instagram like the article suggested, too. Once I got to my office, I wrote down all of my goals for the day, outlining even the smallest ones on the list. Based on the articles suggestions, I started on the list – starting with the most important.
Boy was I surprised! Between 7 AM and 930AM, I was shooting out emails left and right, checking items on my list and felt very focused. The brain.fm music really helped me maintain my focus. I made an exception to their rule by taking a meeting at 10 AM with the landscaper returned back to my work quickly.… but left all my other meetings for the afternoon – which worked out great!
I didn’t take a break like it suggested between 9 and 11 AM for exercise which I should have… exercise gives you a much-needed boost. But I do plan to incorporate this into the schedule at some point this week. I did however follow a very good meal regimen… The protein shake allowed me to last until noon, I had a banana and a bagel with peanut buttern for lunch, an ice coffee and a hearty granola bar around 3 PM and a small soup for dinner around 8:30pm. I didn’t eat that much – I couldn’t believe how much my body maintained steady energy all day!
Overall, I was able to get 90% of the work done today and finish working at 8:30 PM. It was a long day (13.5 hours!) filled with hundreds of tasks however, even as I write this 11:44 PM, I just don’t feel nearly as exhausted as I normally do!
Anyhow, day one feels awesome. Tomorrow I’m challenging myself to wake up a little bit earlier… 5:30 AM! The catch of all this is to see if it really sticks… waking up early isn’t easy and knowing me I want to snuggle in bed… Lol.
Btw, This was the only photo I took the entire day. I guess I was crazy focused! This is one of our recent renovations… It’s a beauty!
Ahhh! It has been a month without a post! How can that be?
March is by far the busiest month I have had in a very long time. I’m being fueled by PB&J’s and coffee… and my friends, wonderful boyfriend and family have come to my rescue many times. It has gotten so crazy that I have stripped my outfits down to one shoe / one coat style for the week and each outfit is washed, folded and ready to go for the entire week! The clothes effort is a big one – keeping things quality over quantity, sexy yet functional and stylish while maintaining a small, simple wardrobe is very hard but always something I strive for. It is hard when you go from construction to business to casual during your traditional work week… but I always like the challenge. If you’re looking for fashion / style inspiration, look no further to my newest favorite fashion icon, Garance Dore’.
I have a few things up my sleeve which I can’t explain at the moment but will announce shortly. I will say that all of it is much needed and wildly exciting. Here is a secret… check Buffalove Development on instagram hints. All of it is so much fun, crazy, stressful that at times I just turn this song on and dance for the entire thing!
A few things for all of you… I am now on snapchat. All the cool kids are doing it! Username: berniceradle , American Rehab Buffalo is airing on DIY Network again in April , and we’re officially almost ready to kick off the first every Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists event in PGH, April 8,9, 10! You should come but if you can’t, you can follow our preservation shenanigans here.
I had the extreme pleasure of keynoting the Historic Kansas City Old Home Week Preservation Conference this past week!
Instead of flying, Drew and I drove my awesome new orange Subaru XV – spending six days on the road visiting all kinds of cities and friends along the way! We were fueled by random stops for biscuits, ice cream and coffee… we slept in the coolest places including a DIY style loft in downtown STL, in a tiny shotgun style brick house in Louisville, a historic inn in KCMO owned by two super sweet guys and a random airbnb with two cool cats… and we had the chance to meet up with preservationists across the rust belt including Sarah Marsom from Columbus, Michael Allen from STL and Kristine / Amanda / Julie and the rest of the KCMO crew.
About KCMO: With 20,000 people living downtown, a rich history of food and music and a brand new street car starter line rail system, KCMO is a pretty cool city! Kansas City is home to the sweet heat BBQ sauce that everyone loves. They also have shuttle cocks on the lawn of their art museum, an iconic historic plaza built by Nichols (who is also responsible for establishing red lining across America – ugh!), and a cornucopia of incredible parks and parkways laid out by Kessler – all which are extremely vast and well maintained. The KCMO architectural claim to fame may be the “shirt waist” style house that features local limestone on the porch and another 1.5 story above it (second floor and attic).
The KCMO preservation community was all up in arms about Nelle Peters, a grouping of historic tudor style apartment buildings right near the plaza. As you can guess, the owner was demolishing them without a plan. Everyone wanted them saved and I worked with the community to get a petition, heart bombs and Facebook group started… but I am extremely sad to report that I found out today that they have begun tearing them down. KCMO, I am very heartbroken for you tonight.
On a personal level, Drew and I had some great heart to heart conversations, listened to a ton of podcasts and some our favorite bands we listed to were Neon Indian, Tame Impala, Youth Lagoon, Mac Demarco and Tyco. Our trip cost less than two plane tickets, the lowest gas price we paid was $1.38 a gallon and Drew was going nuts over the mid western water towers. We want to badly go back to Louisville, too… it is like an older, slightly more hip Buffalo. I was thrilled to spend some quality time up with my Uncle Norman and Aunt Pauline in KCMO – they came to see me speak!! STL seemed to be our favorite stop – the arch was amazing and we had a delicious breakfast at the Mud House in the Cherokee Historic district! We had a ton of fun!
That wraps it all up!!
This airbnb cat… ha!!
A vacant “shirt waist” house in KCMO.
Love this mid century building in downtown KCMO with the Rocket on it!
New rail lines in downtown KCMO!!
The Nelle Peters Apartments… Very Sad.
The Gem Theatre.
BBQ! (The sweet heat is my favorite!)
Bernice speaking to the Historic Kansas City crew.
Downtown 18th & Vine
A little shotgun beauty in Louisville!
MICHAEL ALLEN, STL’s leading preservationist!
Drew drinking coffee in Louisville at “Please & Thank You”.
This is a very BUSY week. Join me in celebrating and helping to make positive change!
Thursday – 1/28 : Preservation Board Meeting at 3pm – City Hall RM. 901. This is a public hearing to voice your support for Crosby, the Bachelor and North Park Library. All three of these buildings are VERY important and historic. More info can be found here.