Tag Archives: life on a couch

Going Big: The Avocado Bacon Burger

By Guest Contributor: Mike Majlak

Life on a Couch

Congratulations, its a monster.

GET THESE THINGS
One pound 85/15 ground beef
One package thick cut hickory smoked bacon
One whole avocado
One head of romaine lettuce
One vine ripened tomato
One package Cheddar Jack cheese
Two potato rolls or hamburger buns
Montreal Steak seasoning
Mayonnaise (optional)

Moderation wasn’t something that ever came very easily to me. My mom always tried to warn me against having “too much of a good thing” but it generally fell upon deaf ears. I didn’t want one solid piece of art- I wanted Notorious BIG posters on every, single part of my bedroom wall. And even as an adult, this is still the way I am. I don’t have a halfway setting. I’m either going big- or I’m going to sleep.

The way I think about and prepare food follows this same pattern. So when it came time to write a post for Shawny and Life on a Couch, I wanted to do an over-the-top creation based on my favorite plate in life- the all-American beef cheeseburger.

Life on a Couch

Press your own fattie!

I started with some really fresh, not-so-lean 85/15 beef from the local market. The modern health craze we see before us everyday is great- just not for burgers. Every time I eat a “lean” burger I liken it to eating cardboard. Besides, my grandfather Pop-Pop ate 80/20 burgers all day and he made it to a ripe old 91. Eat what you want, just run a little more is my theory.

Anyways- I shaped the meat into some half-pound snowball patties. I like to leave ‘em a little fatter as opposed to squishing into true patties to keep that homestyle feel. I then gave the burgers a GENEROUS (read: anti-moderate) rub of my go-to Montreal Steak seasoning and stuck them under the broiler. I live in Connecticut and there’s no way I was going out to the grill. If you live somewhere where it’s super-warm right now: 1) use your grill and 2) I’m jealous and I don’t like you until May/June.

Life on a Couch

Don’t wimp out.

As the burgers broiled, I started thinking “How do we bring this thing to the next level?” And the answer was obvious- thick cut hickory bacon. Moderation would say two slices per burger, so I figured we would go with four. Broil up the bacon and put it to the side (you can even do this before the burger to get it over with).

Life on a Couch

No caption needed here.

Now how do we really step this up? I figured about 2-3 slices of really thick Pepper Jack Cheese (I used some from Cabot that was amazing) would be logical. And then right when you started to get overwhelmed- BOOM! Open up an avocado and cut it into not-so-modest slices. If you want this burger to be super-burly, chop up some lettuce, tomatoes and prep some mayo also.

When the burgers start to approach your desired temp (I hope you like medium-rare), toss the cheese on top and let the broiler start to do its work. Now grab a couple potato buns and toast them just a bit. This is the one place moderation IS a good thing. Nobody likes a burnt bun.

Life on a Couch

Prep now, smile later.

Check out the picture. Follow my stacking order OR choose a different way. The danger level on eating this thing is probably a 9/10 so maybe eat over a plate (don’t be a slob). Luckily for me, I ate the burger over my Sactionals which have machine-washable covers 🙂

Life on a  Couch

Like reverse Jenga, with food.

Hopefully this avocado bacon burger brings you some happy summer thoughts to brighten your mood. If you really wanna follow my no moderation lifestyle, pair this bad boy with some waffle fries and a chocolate shake. After all, it is the middle of winter. If you start to feel chubby, just put on some sweats and call it a day.

Life on a Couch

Mike Majlak in the Rockies.

Mike Majlak is a published food fanatic/adventurer/photo-junkie. Follow his antics on Instagram @heybigmike.

Did you give this thing a shot?! Let me know in the comments!

– Shawny

A Peek Inside the New Lovesac HQ!

Anyone who has had the pleasure (read: sarcasm) of visiting our original Stamford Lovesac offices on Canal Street could never accuse us of being frivolous. That Lovesac HQ was a space meant for 20, that held about 50 of us in the end. Having holed up in our first Stamford Lovesac office since 2007, our recent move to downtown Stamford was long overdue.

Lovesac Offices Entry

Welcome to Lovesac HQ!

To celebrate, let’s just say we tipped our hat to one of our favorite cult classic films, “Office Space,” and “took care of ” any equipment that we loved to hate in my backyard.

The aftermath - Lovesac Old HQ

Ode to “Office Space.” Pick your weapon, say goodbye to the old Lovesac HQ.

This incredibly dedicated Lovesac crew deserves only the best and they’ve put up with a lot as we’ve built this together from scraps. As a furniture and design brand, we did our best to consciously create a space that would be not only Lovesac-comfortable, but inspiring, and uplifting.

As a growing company that bootstrapped its way into existence, we did it for a fraction of the cost for offices of the same capabilities. And as masochists we endeavored to do much of it ourselves. We designed and built every seat, every the table, all of the AV systems, and ultimately created a very non-traditional office plan all with our in-house talent.

We’d love to know what you think about our concept, so please “reply” and let us know what you think in the comments below!

The Landing Pad: This comfy spot will change each season along with our stores. Take a seat–we’ll be right with you! Floor-to-ceiling seasonal high-rez graphic, Supersac, Sactionals, on-season paint and even fully merchandised store-shelves. (Truth is, this entry makes a great place to go get some work done, or even have a team meeting). Welcome to Lovesac!

Lovesac HQ Lobby

No receptionist here. Answer your own damn phone!

Customer Love: Call us. Live-chat us. Invite us to come out and help you re-cover your Sactionals if necessary—this is the team whose only goal is to become your new best friend.

Lovesac offices customer love

Our truly open seating plan–no offices for anyone–but lots of nooks to go take a call.

Fabric Library: The Lovesac Customer Love crew will gladly send you any requested samples from our massive Lovesac cover fabric swatch library with hundreds to choose from. They’ll even help you design your room!

Lovesac Fabric Library

Express yourself.

Changing the Workplace Game: Humans have worked from proper desks for thousands of years. Laptops and mobile phones have only been with us for a few of those. Realizing that we often get more done at home, working from a laptop on a couch, than we do at the office for the new Lovesac HQ we chose to challenge the entire notion of how we work—let’s live and work on the couch!

Sactionals workstation by Lovesac

Most of us don’t even need a landline anymore–there’s one in every meeting room.

Sactionals Workstations: These are the same Sactionals Base Pieces we sell but they are clamped to a tall Side in back, for privacy, and custom wingback Sides to aid in noise reduction (no–you can’t buy them yet). They’re all washable and changeable covers, and just like we offer to our customers, everyone at Lovesac chooses their own custom fabric combination as an expression of their own individuality.

The Functional Coffee Table: The coffee-table-desk aligns perfectly with the height of our custom wingback Sactionals Sides for stability in multiple working positions. Each has a locking file-drawer, removable pencil trays and convenient power supply with multiple cord pass-through cavities—another Lovesac original design.

Lovesac Offices Desk

Super functional.

The Great Room: Coffee bars at the window double as standing desks. Our counter-high 12’ long table was a real joy to get into the building, and is another Lovesac original design, with massive tuck-under benches making it as much of a standing big-project table as a place to eat for a crew of ten. And what great room is complete without Sactionals and a furry Moviesac to escape to. This office encourages you to leave your “spot,” go mobile, work by the window, on a Sac, in a quiet nook, or in a group. Change your seat, change your perspective.

The Great Room, Lovesac HQ

Most offices have a kitchen, we have a great room.

Mission Control: Twice a week everyone at HQ gathers for a mid-day “rally” where we meet new faces, recognize outsized effort, collaborate and coordinate. The DJ table spins real vinyl from our growing collection, and is complete with open Spotify and Pandora accounts on the iPad for all to change as they like.  The Nintendo Wii, karaoke capabilities and the 10′ pull-down screen behind it facilitates any kind of meeting, party, screening or impromptu dance-off that needs to happen.

Lovesac offices DJ table.

Wireless laptop control. 10′ screen. CD. DVD. Pandora. Spotify. Netflix. Nintendo Wii. Karaoke mic. 1500 watts.

The War Room: Comfort is king at Lovesac, but Lovesac offices need to also be extremely functional.  Glass boards are incredibly useful and far more durable than typical whiteboards–but also way more expensive. Here’s a good hack: Find a local glass shop and order 1/4″ tempered glass with drilled holes for stainless steel “standoffs.” = Sexy looking glass boards at a fraction of the cost!

Lovesac Offices War Room

No offices! Get a room.

The Panic Room: Not only is each room cleverly named to make calling meetings there fun, but each is functionally designed to be both comfy, productive, and most of all: usable! Too many offices have complicated AV systems that require IT to come over every time you want to hold a meeting. Each of our rooms has a bluetooth soundbar, playable right from your phone or computer. And each flatscreen includes a wireless USB device that allows any laptop to zap its screen and sound right to the big screen and sounder–no wires necessary. We even went so far as to put a remote control caddy in every room so those pesky remotes wouldn’t end up lost–and useless. Good design is in the details.

Lovesac Offices Panic Room

Super, ultra high-tech

The Vault: Nobody at Lovesac HQ has an office. From the CEO on down, we all have our spot on the floor, but we also all have access to a dozen rooms, large to tiny, where we can take a call, hold a meeting, or just go shut the door and do some work.

The Vault, Lovesac HQ

Our office-less office.

Grand Central: Lovesac’s version of a board room. Most of our big meetings (even board meetings) happen here. Have a seat and get comfy!

Lovesac Offices Grand Central

The right room for the right meeting.

Can I just live here?: No–but if you visit Lovesac HQ on any given weeknight, you’re likely to find a few people lingering long after hours tapping the keg, throwing some darts, or playing a little Mario Kart. Its all in the details.

Lovesac offices dartboard.

All work and no play makes any office lame.

The Floor: We’ve all got our spot and we all move around a lot. Moving around, trading spaces, and getting out of your comfort zone (only to get into another) encourages interaction and collaboration.

Lovesac Offices Floor

Love thy neighbor – or move to a different seat.

The Studio: This is where all of our product designers, graphic designers, architects, industrial designers, UX designers, web designers, copywriters, visual merchandisers and anyone else with a creative bone collaborate to create the future of furniture.

The Studio.

Get creative @Lovesac

The Library: Take a book. Leave a book. Borrow a book. We have stacks of many of our “required readings” here and we all have a desire to improve.

Lovesac Offices Library

“Desire to improve” is one of our “permission-to-play values” at Lovesac.

Sign in: Everyone who visits Lovesac HQ must sign in on our massive brand canvas. Take a minute to color-in the Lovesac logo using nothing but black pens. It may take years–but this is the brand we are building together.

Collective logo, Lovesac HQ

This is the brand we are building together

Magnet fetish: Someday we’ll have a whole wall of these. Bring us one! Add to the collection. Represent.

Refrigerator Magnets, Lovesac HQ

If you visit us at Lovesac HQ, bring us a refrigerator magnet!

A living history: Get your face on the wall of Sac’rs! Anyone at Lovesac can send an email to that electronic frame on the wall and add to our living history, in real time!

Lovesac Offices Wall

We are Lovesac

The Values: Rather than just writing words on the wall we try to live them. All of our Lovesac core values are embedded into this “Where’s Waldo” inspired graphic. Can you find them all?

Values Poster, Lovesac HQ

This poster will live in the back of every Lovesac store–its who we are.

The Culture: Every company has a culture, but many evolve by default. We’re trying our best to build a culture by design–not by default at the new Lovesac HQ–and it all starts with our values. You’ll find them on every door.

Values on the door - Lovesac HQ

We do our best to integrate and live to our values at Lovesac HQ

The vibe: Lovesac is more than foam and fabric. Lovesac is a lifestyle. We cannot expect to have a happy friendly vibe in our stores, or even on our website, if we don’t have it in our office. I believe that customers can just smell authenticity. I believe that culture needs to leak out of the seams and penetrate all areas of the company, our products, and our people. That starts here. It’s up to us to keep the vibe alive.

Lovesac Welcome Party

Sadly, we often spend more time at work than with our own families. It might as well not suck.

And the cherry on top: Plenty of beverages available to pour over the 170 pounds of chewable, crunchable, nugget ice that our in-house ice machine is able to crank out every day. I love it so much I take some home in a plastic bag at night. Game changer.

Nugget ice-maker, Lovesac HQ

Nugget ice — game changer.

Lovesac Headquarters Team

Lovesac Headquarters Team

I hope you enjoyed our tour of the new Lovesac HQ. You are welcome to come visit us–share a treat at the bar, challenge someone to a game of darts, run the DJ table, or simply add to our ridiculous collection of refrigerator magnets. But before you go, don’t forget to color in the collaborative logo, sign your name to prove you were here, and wish us well. Where we’re going, we need all the help and support we can get. #BigThingsInStore #Lovesac

— Shawny

PRESS / ARTICLES ABOUT THE NEW LOVESAC HQ:

http://m.stamfordadvocate.com/business/article/Lovesac-kicks-back-in-new-HQ-5976611.php

http://westfaironline.com/68149/stamfords-lovesac-reinvents-the-couch-and-prospers/

 

Gallery of Lovesac HQ and our launch party. Wish you were here!

[gallery_bank type=”grid” format=”masonry” title=”true” desc=”false” responsive=”true” albums_in_row=”3″ animation_effect=”” album_title=”true”]

Explain it Like I’m Five: Thanksgiving Apple Pie

By Mike Majlak

Let me start off by saying- I don’t cook. I’m the classic man. If you gave me a few frozen burgers, I could grill ‘em up and they might just be edible. But if you put me in charge of say, a lasagna- things might not turn out too well.

That being said, the culinary craft is not lost in my family. My mom Robin (the same mom who brought you the ultimate Macaroni n Cheese walkthrough) is constantly trying to teach me a thing or two about her passion. She invited me back into her kitchen to showcase the perfect apple pie to gobble on right before you slump down into your favorite couch for your annual L-tryptophan sponsored sleep session.

Slice it up and enjoy!

First she sent me to the grocery store to pick up some ingredients. Between scrolling Instagram and text messaging, I was somehow able to grab them correctly on the first try:

Ingredients
4 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, and cored
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon to sprinkle on top
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Pie Crust (follow recipe below)
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Granny Smith!

apple pie recipe

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut each apple quarter in thirds crosswise and combine in a bowl with the zests, juices, 1/2 cup sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

apple pie recipe

apple pie recipe

apple pie recipe

Roll out half the pie dough and drape it over a 9- or 10-inch pie pan to extend about 1/2-inch over the rim. Don’t stretch the dough; if it’s too small, just put it back on the board and re-roll it.

apple pie recipe

Fill the pie with the apple mixture. Brush the edge of the bottom pie crust with the egg wash so the top crust will adhere. Top with the second crust and trim the edges to about 1-inch over the rim. Tuck the edge of the top crust under the edge of the bottom crust and crimp the 2 together with your fingers or a fork. Brush the entire top crust with the egg wash, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar, and cut 4 or 5 slits.

apple pie recipe

apple pie recipe

Place the pie on a sheet pan and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until the crust is browned and the juices begin to bubble out. Be sure to leave slits in crust exposed to allow moisture to vent out! Serve warm.

Pie Crust:

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening

6 to 8 tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) ice water

Pulse!

Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

apple pie recipe

Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece on a well-floured board into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn’t stick to the board. Fold the dough in half, place in a pie pan, and unfold to fit the pan. Repeat with the top crust.

Yield: 2 (10-inch) crusts (top and bottom)

I wish I could take some credit for the baking that was involved in this pie, but I really can’t. Instead I’ll take this time to personally thank all the beautiful mothers out there who make Thanksgiving dinner so easy on all us guys. Love ya mom!

Thanks to guest contributor Mike Majlak for sharing with us. Do you usually bake your own Thanksgiving Day dessert?! Let us know in the comments!

–Shawny, Founder of Lovesac & Life on a Couch

The Emotional Bond Between You and Your Couch Is Real.

By Casey Mullins

Four and half years ago I documented the history of the unsightly green couch I inherited when I married my husband. I thought it was ugly the first time I saw it and I still think it’s ugly every time I walk into my bedroom. “If it’s so ugly why don’t you get rid of it?” Because I’m emotionally attached to the ugly hunter green couch that leaks oil on my carpet and threatens to swallow you whole if you sit on it wrong. It’s where my husband and I had our first kiss, it’s where we sat for the first 10 years of our marriage and it’s been in every place we’ve called home since 2000.

Moosh in Indy

 

In my 14 years of marriage and 9 years of parenthood I’ve learned you must be very careful about what you bring into your life because there’s a very good chance you will end up with an emotional bond to it and find yourself struggling to separate yourself from the memories associated with it. The chair I’m sitting on this very moment is bright orange and hideous, but it belonged to my husband’s favorite grandma and it’s where I slept through both of my pregnancies when I couldn’t stand being in bed anymore. There’s no denying it’s ugly, but there’s also no denying how comfortable and well designed it is.

Over the last four years the history of our green couch has grown, it supported me through another pregnancy, became my favorite place to nurse my new baby and continues to be a staple piece of furniture we rotate around as we go throughout our daily lives. The brown couch we chose for downstairs has its own budding history as well. We have over three thousand square feet and a dozen rooms in our home but on any given night you will find all four of us piled up downstairs on the couch (six if you count the cats.) We were sitting on the couch when we told our oldest I was pregnant and we’ve all taken turns being various levels of sick, injured, sad, happy, or bored on it.

Moosh in Indy

 

We spend a lot of time visiting historic places throughout our travels, pausing for a moment to remember the momentous occasions that happened there and wondering what these historic monuments would say if they could talk. More than ever, our couches are a central part to our story as a family and as silly as it sounds, we’ve started to regard them as the overstuffed sentinels they are. Not a day goes by that one of our couches goes unused, even when we’re out of town we always return to evidence of the cats making full use of them in our absence.

Moosh in Indy

 

Have you ever stopped to think about an important couch in your own life? Who has sat there, what stories has it heard, or what grand life events has it been witness to? What did it feel like, smell like, or sound like when you sat on it?

Think about it for a minute, I can promise you’ll think of something. It’s a great question to ask loved ones as you’re traveling around this holiday season, you may learn bit of new family history and begin to regard grandma’s plastic wrapped floral couch in a whole new way.

Moosh in Indy Moosh in Indy

 

8 Strange Candies You Won’t See Trick-Or-Treating

By Mike Majlak

We all remember the excitement that built up around Halloween when we were kids. Trying on costumes, carving pumpkins, maybe even a haunted hayride- all added to the anticipation surrounding many children’s favorite holiday. Now as adults, much of that excitement comes from “manning” the door and handing out candy to children that might remind us of a time when life was just a little more carefree than it is now.

Happy Halloween!

Carving pumpkins is just so hot right now.

The night of Halloween itself, when most kids go trick-or-treating, holds the highest level of tradition, ritual, and intrigue. Every time the doorbell rings and we must pry ourselves off the beloved couch, we feel just a little bit of that youthful energy so freely exhibited one crisp night each and every autumn.

Much of the excitement for adults on Halloween comes along with choosing which candy we will hand out to the kids of the neighborhood. We all remember being kids and how we loved Old Miss Winters for giving out King Size Snickers bars- or how we skipped right past the next-door neighbor Frank’s house because he just gave out those stupid Smarties that nobody could possibly like. There have always been the Halloween mainstays- the Snickers bars, the candy corn, the Sweet Tarts. But here are 8 strange candies that you may not have ever seen- and maybe for good reason…

8. Sigmund Freud Head Pops
Lollipops shaped to look just like Sigmund Freud and taste like watermelon- but operate free of any of those pesky copays or sticky coinsurance situations.

Come lay on the couch!

Sigmund Freud Lollipops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Chicken Sucker Candy
A lollipop in the shape of a rotisserie chicken that has a very strange orange flavor and eerily offers none of the same protein advantages as your normal chicken breast.

Wait, is this cooked thoroughly?

Chicken Sucker Candy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Forked Eyeball Suckers
Not really sure who’s idea this one was, but it’s pretty gruesome. Cherry and raspberry flavored eyeballs on the end of a popular kitchen utensil begs the question- “What the fork?!”

Hey man, you got something in your eye. It's a fork.

Forked Eyeballs Candy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Idaho Spud

Ok, so this one really isn’t that strange. A chunk of chocolate filled with marshmallow and sprinkled with coconut. I could actually go for one of these right now…

IMG_5644

Idaho Spud Chocolate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Zombie Food Chocolates
Small morsels of milk chocolate molded in the shape of human brains, feet, and anatomically correct hearts that ooze red caramel when bitten into. These are sure to satisfy the Walking Dead fan in the family.

FEED ME BRAINS!!!

Zombie Food Chocolates

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Box of Boogers Gummies
A terrifyingly disgusting box of gummies that pushes the envelope of what is even edible. They even feature three distinct flavors: Snottermelon, Sour Green Boogy, and Lemon Loogy. If you somehow have these for Halloween, you picked a real winner!

This is just downright disgusting.

Box of Boogers Gummies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Gummy Flesh Fries
Watermelon flavored gummies made to resemble sawed-off human fingers. You may want someone to offer you a “hand” with eating these. I guess that’s not really that funny. Whatever.

Can I have some ketchup please?

Flesh Fries Gummies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Meatball Bubble Gum
And coming in at the number one spot is bubble gum that tastes like bubble gum- but looks like meatballs. Yes, like meatballs.

Just like mom used to make!

Meatball Bubble Gum

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to guest contributor Mike Majlak for bringing these ridiculous candies to Lifeonacouch.org. Would you ever try any of these? Let us know!

–Shawny
Founder, Lovesac & Life on a Couch

 

The Coziest Way to Change Your Couch…and Your Life

Each season Lovesac puts out a new seasonal collection of fabrics, in the form of changeable covers for Sacs and Sactionals. I am, of course, very proud of each collection. From futuristic robots to mid-century suits, every line is inspired from design elements both current and classic. This year the collection is called, “Woodsy.” It is the best we’ve ever created.

Our best line yet.

Our best line yet.

So what?

Who cares?

Who’s watching?

Who even “gets” the idea that you can change not just your décor, but actually change your couch or sectional each season just by changing some covers? The Woodsy line even offers some REVERSIBLE Phur Covers, so you just need to flip your covers for a whole new couch!  But even if they do “get” it, who actually behaves this way?

Start with this...

Lovesac Sactionals with Carmel Chenille Covers

The exciting part is: someone does! The evidence of this is not only found in the obvious fact that Lovesac sells far more Sactionals Covers than it does Sactionals Pieces (and we sell a lot of pieces). I believe that people are really “getting it” more and more, as by the fact that they’re buying furry couches!

What other company even offers a furry couch? None. Lovesac sells thousands of furry couches. The reason, I believe, is pretty obvious: Because couches are a big investment and in most people’s minds, they need to last and last, and (hopefully) still be in-style even years later. With Sactionals, you are freed from this constraint. Get whatever covers you like—better, get the ones you LOVE—the ones that make you want to climb on, curl up, and take a nap.

Owoooooooo! (That's a wolf)

An entire room decked out in Wolf Phur.

This is a quiet, but meaningful revolution in furniture design and also consumer behavior. There will come a day where an unchangeable couch is just old news—in fact, an unchangeable couch will someday even seem a little gross.

While it is may be unlikely that most people will go to the trouble or expense to change their furniture with us each season, I can speak from experience and say that it is shocking how, with a new set of covers, it doesn’t just feel like a new couch again—it feels like a new life.

"Cozy" doesn't even fully describe it!

Woodsy Phur Blankets and Slippers

I do realize that I’m kind of biased—so if you haven’t seen Woodsy, check it out for yourself. You be the judge. Comment here and let me know what you think!

— Shawny
Founder, Lovesac & Life on a Couch

Get Off the Couch!

A Shawn Nelson entrepreneur & motivational speaking event; Long Beach Convention Center, October 2014. Congrats to Jason Knight of Fredericksburg, VA, for winning a brand new Lovesac Supersac upon joining the Lifeonacouch.org email list!

I got to spend this past weekend in Orange County, California—one of my favorite places on the planet (having lived in Huntington Beach, opening up Lovesac stores circa 2002). I’m flattered to have been invited there to deliver a speech to the NGLV (Next Generation Laser Focused Visionaries) a group of young entrepreneurs, some of who are already making six-figure incomes while still in their teens!

Speaking in Long Beach at the NGLV gathering.

Speaking in Long Beach at the NGLV gathering.

I call this speech, “Get Off the Couch.” This is because I believe that the big divide—the major difference between entrepreneurs and people who wish they had their own business is that entrepreneurs actually get off the couch, usually right then, and go make something happen. Entrepreneurs do this over and over again in business and in life. They’re always (actually) doing something—not just talking about it. I typically incorporate a whole slew of “Shawnisms” into the telling of “my Lovesac story” with the purpose of making the entrepreneurial journey real and actionable for everybody. I think that the Lovesac story really resonates with just about anyone because it is so simple. I am not a computer programmer or even industrial engineer. I just thought it would be funny to make a really big beanbag, and I did it. Anyone can do that.

I’ll spare you all of the Shawnisms that I preach and live by—you can find them in the book (someday). But I will offer up my two summary pieces of advice that, in my mind, are the key to success for any would-be entrepreneur in any field:

1. Read, Read Read (see my post from last week!)

2. Network!

I know that this advice perhaps seems vague and not specific enough. But every business, every industry, every person, every idea and every situation is so different that the actual strategies and tactics that worked for me are very unlikely to work for you.

Tiffany and I with Branson on Necker Island.

Tiffany and I with Branson on Necker Island.

But, there has been so much written on the subject (hence my “Read, read, read” advice from last week) and there are so many accomplished people in this world who have done “it” before, that I truly believe: if entrepreneurs would just do these two things, religiously, they will most likely find success—or at least avoid so many mistakes and so much heartache.

As for networking, a good friend of mine wrote the book on that one. Check out “Up Your Game,” by David Bradford. But put simply, I recommend that you find someone smart, everyday, to take to lunch and learn from. Through this process you will find yourself a mentor or two…and mentors will change your life. To be totally honest, I have always been very bad at the networking part of things. I am classically too self-reliant. I am too headstrong. Some might call me cocky. Because of this I have a hard time asking for help. I recognize this, and at this point I almost force myself to reach out, ask for lunches and seek out people who are smart and successful.

Branson!

Richard Branson and my ridiculous hair.

One of the most influential mentors in my own life, of course, is Richard Branson. Having spent two months with him, traveling around the world filming The Rebel Billionaire, and then a few more months as President of Virgin, Worldwide, I got to know Richard pretty well. In fact, at the time, I don’t think that I realized how rare it was to spend so much time with him. I wish I would have appreciated it more. Speaking to this group of young entrepreneurs, I couldn’t help but wonder who among them might make the effort to connect with me, and try to learn whatever they might from all of (the many) mistakes I have made. In case your wondering: How does it make someone like me feel to have young or inexperienced people pump me for information, or try to connect with me? The answer is—I’m always flattered, and I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t support them. I’ll always go out of my way to take a phone call, an email, or make a personal connection with anyone who is truly ambitious. So thank you to tall of you in attendance and thank you to The Dillons at NGLV for having me out! I had a great time and I always learn just as much from these experiences as I might have to share.

Deep thought on Necker Island.

Deep thought on Necker Island.

In the end, the reason that these two basic principles are the absolute best and most comprehensive advice I can give to entrepreneurs is because they are all-encompassing. Between the best books and the best people are all of the advice and answers you will ever need. No matter what the industry or what the situation, elements of it have all been done before and it is simply cheaper to learn from other’s mistakes instead of your own.

Make it happen!

— Shawny

My Top 10 Business Books of All Time (so far)

As an entrepreneur I get asked all of the time for advice, or words of wisdom—how did I do it? I have a lot to say about what I think for business, leadership and design…but what is the single best piece of advice I can give prospective entrepreneurs? Drumroll please…

…Read. Read from the best books. Read from the best business books. The next time you sit on your couch to watch some TV or play a game—read instead.

"Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson

“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

Ugh. What a buzz-kill. It almost seems like a cop-out right? But, in all honesty, business is complicated. It is multi-faceted and requires a lot of different skills and abilities to navigate. It is also very different from industry to industry and there is really just no getting around that. But believe it or not, there is very little that is new. There are very few things that people haven’t done—in one form or another, and then gone on to write about it. Apply this one piece of advice, and you will certainly have enough information and even motivation at your fingertips to build something great, and even avoid many of the pitfalls that would otherwise beset you—as they have those who have gone before you i.e.: ‘Tis noble to suffer the slings and arrows oneself…but the wisest of all avoids them by learning from the mistakes (and successes) of others instead.’

So on with it. Shawn Nelson’s top 10 book list:

  • 10. Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson
  • 9.   Ben Franklin, by Walter Isaacson
  • 8.   How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
  • 7.   Influence, by Robert B. Cialdini
  • 6.   Switch, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  • 5.   Good Strategy, Bad Strategy, by Richard P. Rumelt
  • 4.   22 Immutable Laws of Branding, by Al Ries
  • 3.   Purple Cow, by Seth Godin
  • 2.   The Advantage, by Patrick Lencioni
  • 1.   Good to Great, by Jim Collins
Good to Great by Jim Collins

Shawn Nelson’s favorite business book of all time

Honestly, I could probably create 10 different “Top 10” lists of my favorite books depending on which industry we are talking about. But I feel that this list is my most general one. Reading (and applying) the wisdom found within the books on the above list will be game-changing to anyone in business, entrepreneurship, leadership, or management in any capacity.

So find a nice couch to curl up on (I recommend one of mine) and read! Reading these days can come in many forms. I’m mostly a real book kind-of-guy. I like to underline and write notes. I like to collect them and fill shelves with them. And I am a painfully slow reader, by the way. But small flatscreen TVs are so cheap now that I bought one to mount at eye-level in front of my treadmill with my laptop connected, and I now can read at a full jog, no problem. Its amazing how quickly a workout goes when your mind is on something else. I am a TV and movie freak—but with a bit of discipline, I am always happier when I choose books instead. And if real books or Nooks aren’t your thing, then get the audio version and listen while flying, driving, or jogging. I do it all.

— Shawny

Family Couchday 2.0

Guest contributors Romy Raad and Natalie Neumann (Rad & Neu) are culinary adventurers who look at food the same way we look at the couch- as something that promotes happiness and brings us closer together. We are pumped to feature them here- head over to their blog for full version of this story (with recipes!) and a ton of other intriguing foodventures!

Shawny Nelson

We, Romy and Natalie from radandneu.com, were absolutely thrilled to spend a funday with Shawny and his family in his beautiful countryside farmhouse!

Couching n’ Snacking was the theme of the day – by joining forces we created a joyful family outdoor experience, featuring four of our healthy, kids-friendly radcipes and some fabulous Lovesac products.

Kids cooking Kids cooking Kids cooking Kids cooking

We prepared the snacks together with the kids, who discovered the fun of cooking as a team, while learning how each ingredient adds some magic to the plate.

Thanks to Shawny’s outdoor lounge area, a regular couch afternoon was turned into a beautiful and lively outdoor experience – enjoying delicious finger foods with a side of sea breeze.

Lovesac Outdoor Sactionals Lovesac Outdoor Sactionals Lovesac Outdoor Sactionals Lovesac Buddah Bowl

The detailed recipes for the healthy bites can be found on our blog www.radandneu.com alongside other rad&neu insights!

DIY Games for Parties

Hello! Darleen here from Darling Darleen! I’m a friend of Shawn and call his wife one of my dear friends, and I’m excited to contribute this month to Life on a Couch.

This past weekend, we had a house full of family from out of town. Every evening after we’d get kiddos to bed, we’d all congregate around the couch and laugh the night away with a good old-fashioned game night. We’ve got a cupboard full of board games, but many times we keep the laughs abundant by just playing card games or classic games like Pictionary or charades.

Let's play!

All the essentials to get the games going!

It’s good to have a little healthy competition between family members or even friends! DIY games are a great way to liven people up, lighten the mood and get people talking. So when I host game night, I like to serve up easy-to-eat finger foods or party nibbles to keep attention on the game. I tend to go for the parlor food route and serve a cheese and meat plate along with a variety of nuts. Don’t forget the drinks!

Charcuterie!

Don’t forget the meat and cheese!

Some of our favorite games are DIY games, or ones that we make up because we usually have a large group, or maybe we’ve played it somewhere before but they usually aren’t in the books.

That's half the fun!

Make up the rules as you go along!

Here are a few game suggestions that will get you and your party rolling on the couch in laughter.

Don't hog the cheese!

Friends, food, and fun!

Nertz Playing cards—this is a great card game with multiplayer and a combination of Speed and Solitaire. It’s fast pace and quite addicting!

Scrabble with teams—each team begins with 7 letter blocks and makes words in a crossword fashion. Once one team using up all their 7 letter blocks, they shout out take two tiles and everyone takes two tiles from the center pile of upside-down word tiles and then continues to add the letters to their crossword. When the first team has used up all their game pieces and there are no more to draw, the game is over.

Dictionary—similar to Balderdash but you use a real Dictionary instead!

Bunco—it’s not just for girl’s night! A fun dice game to play with a group of people.

Things—Everyone writes out a response like “things you wouldn’t do in front of Grandma…” or “things you wouldn’t do in high school….” Then put it in a hat and everyone guesses who said what. Fun to make up your own prompts!

Headbands—the adult version of Hedbanz. It’s a silly game and we like to make up our own cards and usually tape to the back of a person. Good to play this game…while playing another game!

Enjoy playing your next DIY game night with friends or family! I’ve included in this post a generic score sheet that you can download and use for your game night party! You can download it here.

It's all about teamwork!

Team Scrabble

What are your favorite games to play for game night?