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I’m just wrapping up a rare six day, summer vacation back home in Niagara Falls. It is unusual that I’m home for six days, period and especially so before the middle of July. But, it’s not every year that I not only have the opportunity to stand in a wedding, but serve as the best man. I had the pleasure of doing just that on Saturday, as my best friend Anthony married his fiancé Vincenza.
Especially lately, it seems that every time I return home I am just showered with well-wishes. I can’t really put in to words how much this means to me. From longtime friends and family to friends of family and complete strangers – I’m constantly approached by people who offer words of congratulations and encouragement. To be honest, it’s a little awkward for me at times because I really don’t allow myself to think that I’ve accomplished anything, and there are still so many feats I want to tackle in my career. Regardless, I am certainly in the process of living out my dream in the world’s greatest city, and I am so appreciative of the support I receive from back home. I am proud to be a Niagara Falls, New York native and I will never forget where I came from.

Back to this past week – certainly the wedding provided a number of unforgettable moments. I wrote a little note about it on Facebook, which you can read below. A big congrats to my big bro Anth, and welcome to the family Vincenza!

Back in February, while talking about baseball, Train lead singer Pat Monahan told me he was done singing the National Anthem at sporting events because of how stressful it is.

You could imagine my surprise when I saw Monahan on national television belting out the anthem, a cappella, before Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous as that one, and I sang at the AFC Championship game two years ago in New England,” Monahan said after I played him the clip of us speaking earlier this year. “That was stressful, but nothing like Game 1 in Oakland.

The singer explained why the moment is filled with so much pressure.

“There’s a thing that happens, up until, ‘and the rockets’ red glare,’ all the way up until then, there’s a vast chance of you forgetting all of the words that would just disappear,” he said. “I don’t know why, but I’m so scared for that 48 seconds that it takes years off of my life.”

Monahan agreed to sing the anthem at the urging of his manager. With connections in the Bay Area along with Seattle and Western Pennsylvania, the front man has a number of rooting interests in sports, including the Golden State Warriors.

When I caught up with Pat, it was in a much-more relaxed setting. He and I chatted backstage before the band headlined Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. Our interview was for Mohegan Sun’s Facebook page and broadcasted live on it as we talked in Monahan’s dressing room.

“There are songs that we play every night that I had no idea that they would get the reaction that they’re getting,” the lead singer told me. “There’s a song called “Working Girl” and it goes pretty bananas out there every night.”

Monahan is mixing in the newest from the band’s “A Girl, a Bottle, a Boat” with the classics as well; one in the latter category is his favorite to perform every night.

“’Drops of Jupiter’ will always be the song that has heart for me,” he said in response to a fan question about his favorites on the set list. “Play That Song,” Train’s lead single from its latest LP, also received an honorable mention.

As far as other set list specifics, the band switches out two songs every night. They also pay tribute to Chris Cornell and Gregg Allman, neither of whom had passed away before the “Play That Song Tour” commenced.

The tour, which features support from Natasha Bedingfield and O.A.R., runs through mid-July before Train takes off for the “Fuji Rock Festival” in Niigata, Japan.

The duo Korbee, consisting of husband-and-wife Tom and Jenn, stopped by to chat about their single “Hey Child,” touring as a couple and their allegiances when it comes to Football Sunday.
korbee

Tom and Jenn also hopped on my Facebook Live to perform “Hey Child” A Capella – check it out below!

When I signed off the radio Friday night, I felt like I was in a bit of a funk. Why? Well, nothing really of significance bothered me; I think I was yearning to just unwind for a few days. For the weekend, I thought the perfect way to accomplish this would be by “unplugging” – staying off of my phone and social networks for 48 hours, beginning at Saturday morning at midnight.

The only exception I made was to periodically check the networks (only Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for direct messages, in case something was urgent. I did monitor email on my laptop but didn’t respond to anything. Of course, I also turned on my phone occasionally to see if I had any voicemails or text messages, Heaven forbid there be an emergency.

Thankfully, there was not. The plan worked flawlessly and here are 10 things that happened directly because of my absence from social media and text messaging this weekend.

– I ran seven miles.

Now from one perspective, I have to admit that I probably would have run seven miles anyways. But on the other hand, I definitely enjoyed running outside in the park a little more because it was one of the few times I escaped my apartment this weekend. Also, I ran Sunday evening despite a late start, one that could have been prolonged even more had I fallen in to a hole on one of the various social networks.

– I felt less stressed.

There was less clutter in my brain, and I think this contributed to my stress level lowering. Especially with Twitter, I have a tendency to become caught up in every moment, whether that is needed from me or not. It was nice to just watch a sporting event and not feel the need to also watch it along with everyone who has a Smartphone. And contrary to what you may believe, managing personal or brand social networks can be both difficult and time consuming, so it was nice to relieve myself of that stress for the weekend.

– I valued human interaction more.

I broke the “no phone rule” once when I called my buddy Dan because there was a timely piece of information I needed to tell him. Technically the rule stayed intact because I called from my Google number on my laptop but regardless, the 48 hours from my social networks and phone gave me a new appreciation for talking and texting with my friends.

– I prepped my taxes.

This is always on the to-do list after the first of the year, and I finally completed it this weekend, in part because I was distraction free. It was a big undertaking but I’m all-set for my Tuesday appointment at good ‘ole H&R Block.

– I grocery shopped.

First of all, you need to understand that I love grocery shopping. Second of all, you should also know that on Saturday I grabbed items from all three places in the city that I normally use for food: Fairway because of its organic section and snacks, Westside Market which has the best hummus in the city and Amazon Prime Now for water, almond milk and other produce items.
food
– I cooked!

And while this follows grocery shopping, I actually did not use anything I bought Saturday for the meal I cooked Sunday; rather I had purchased some penne weeks ago and had a lovely red sauce from Marconi Hot Pots on the Upper East Side that I finally threw in a pan. My stove normally serves as the countertop for my Keurig because… single bachelor.
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– I barely drank.

This was a big one, especially after last weekend. I made a Bloody Mary while watching Syracuse Saturday, had a few beers while putting my tax materials together that evening and had a glass of wine with Sunday dinner. That’s it. No whiskey. No bar tabs. No late nights of drinking only to be followed by order a copious amount of gluttonous food from my bodega.

– I cleaned my apartment.

A person’s living space is definitely a reflection of their head space. And now that my taxes are prepped, the stray receipts on the coffee table and dresser are to a bare minimum, the clothes are folded and put away and the garbage is outside. Namaste.

– I played a fair amount of Playstation 4.

And I can finally beat the computer in NHL ’16 when playing on the pro level. I’m sure you were reading this whole article just for that piece of information.

– I didn’t miss it.

As I type this, I’m going on 50 hours of not checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. I haven’t texted a soul and sans one person, haven’t called anyone.

Am I curious to see why I have 50 notifications on Twitter? Do I have an urge to respond to some of the text messages I’ve received? Not really. It has nothing to do with the importance of those interactions, but rather the realization that sometimes there is more in life than refreshing Twitter every 2 minutes.

Besides, you should have seen the amount of clean laundry that piled up on my bed…

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Facebook announced a new feature today called “Graph Search.”

Social media expert Kevin Evanetski says while it’s a cool addition to the network, it won’t impact your privacy settings at all.

Evanetski founded Social Yeah, a boutique social media strategy firm based in Buffalo, NY.

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Facebook activated a new “Find Friends Nearby” feature, only to disable it last weekend.

Kevin Evanetski believes that while on the outset people may think the option could invite stalkers, there are advantages to the feature, such as the option to add a friend without having to search for him/her through Facebook’s massive database.

Evanetski founded Social Yeah, a boutique social media strategy firm based in Buffalo, NY.

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It was a big week for Facebook, from the company’s IPO to the marriage of Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan to Katy Perry’s incorporation of the Timeline in to her new lyric video for “Wide Awake.” But with Facebook growing in monetary status, age, and popularity – can users expect changes?

Kevin Evanetski says yes, and that the changes will be for the better. The social media expert believes Facebook’s next major improvements will come in its search features and mobile applications.

Evanetski founded Social Yeah, a boutique social media strategy firm based in Buffalo, NY.

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If your college or employer asked you for your Facebook password, would you give it up? Apparently, this is becoming an all-too-familiar scenario across the country.

Kevin Evanetski believes this is a blatant privacy violation. The social media expert does not feel that this is the beginning of a trend among organizations.

Evanetski founded Social Yeah, a boutique social media strategy firm based in Buffalo, NY.

Pretty self-explanatory… this is also my first Facebook video, holler.

If I Die is a Facebook application that will allow you to share a message with Facebook friends after you pass away.

Would you use it? Get at me on Facebook and let me know!