Life is a journey and is best spent living wonderfully. From rock ‘n’ roll to fine watches, tomatoes picked at the perfect ripeness or beautifully oaked Chardonnays, at Shop Mr. Wonderful you have an inside look at what I think living life to its fullest is all about. Journey with me and unveil the wonder in your world.
Let’s call them what they really are: timepieces. A watch is what I do when I’m checking the stock market over my morning coffee. Timepieces are small, gorgeous, personal, and portable pieces of art crafted at précis moments in time to make huge statements — yes and to tell time — with flair, elegance, and panache.
I have dozens and dozens of timepieces in my colección (accent, please) because quite simply I don’t just buy “watches” I truly covet and collect them for both personal enjoyment and as a distinct class of assets in my greater portfolio. Even though their origin was more utilitarian and often helped to literally keep whole industries running on time – thus minimizing and/or preventing accidents, disruptions, and other setbacks – the early makers were absolutely craftsmen who understood that a watch not only needed to be well-constructed enough to endure the rigors of being in the field (or in a war) but that they could also make a statement about the makers themselves. Why else put your name right on the face and give them such unique dials, bezels, and looks? They were proud of what they did!
On the other hand (no pun intended!) I think people instantly understood the value of a watch well beyond its ability to tell time and that’s why there are so many watchmaking companies that have been in business so long. I challenge you to find another sector with as many companies over 100 years old that are still in business.
Like a good wine, a good watch can exude everything from the terroir from where it was crafted to the spirit of the makers. It’s like Pinocchio. I fully believe that a part of the heart and soul of the timepiece maker goes into every piece and that a well-made, handcrafted timepiece comes to life when it goes out into the world.
People spend millions and millions on art that hangs on your wall. How boring! The only time you can see it is when you’re at home standing in front of it. Buy a nice timepiece and voila! You have a piece of art you can take anywhere and show off with the flick of your wrist.
Okay, like any investment you have to be pretty obsessive about the market and the makers, you need to do your homework, and you should be passionate about it. If you know me at all you know I’m obsessive about my colección for a few reasons: 1) I’m beyond passionate about them (some call it geeking out and I’m fine with that); and 2) heck yeah, they’re an incredible investment that can appreciate quite quickly and hold their value for decades if not longer.
2Writing Investments. Pens
We absolutely would not be a modern society without pens. Period. The first person who put pen to paper – or bamboo reed to papyrus – changed history forever. And yes, part of the joy of collecting pens is that until only a few decades ago when the computer was invented, all history was made with the stroke of a pen! Think about that. Everything you know is because someone in ancient Mesopotamia figured out how to take a reed, fill it with ink, and start writing stuff down!
Anyway, I don’t own any reeds and a top-notch fountain pen can run you upwards of ten thousand bucks, but every time I pick one up and write with it, I’m frankly a bit mesmerized by the beautiful simplicity and functionality. As you know by now, I started and ran a hugely successful software company and I’m now into cryptocurrency, but pens! Side note: for you younger entrepreneurs out there, please do yourself a favor and start writing with a pen. It’s great for your brain. There’s nothing like translating your dark matter to paper the old-fashioned way.
Seriously, pens are a rather unique asset class very much like timepieces. They’re both utilitarian and flamboyant; utterly useful and dizzyingly decadent. And quite frankly, pretty sexy. I love pens because of the care and craftsmanship that goes into something that most people take for granted and because as an investor, they’re a fun, binge-worthy and conversation-worthy thing to have around. Like watches, they’re mobile pieces of art that you can show off. And they can appreciate like crazy. Nothing like watching your wealth grow just by checking the inside pocket of your suit jacket!
3Hendrix. Slash. Zappa. Angus. Satriani. B.B. Chuck Berry. Joe Perry. Eric Clapton.
Come on! Is there anything cooler than a screaming electric guitar?
Yes. Owning one that’s worth $100,000. Okay, so you probably know that I also play the guitar (not even close to any of the above) and have an incredible passion for music. And both of these things – playing and passion – coupled with the fact that guitars are yet another awesome, inspiring, life-affirming asset class help me indulge myself with the equally relentless pursuit of finding and investing in cool, unique axes (that’s slang for guitars for everyone buried in their trading screens).
Music has always been an integral part of my life. That’s why I don’t just store my guitars in a musty garage and let them appreciate. I play them as much as possible. Like my timepieces (watches) and pens, I travel with one or two as often as I can. Why worry about playing a $100,000 guitar let alone lugging it halfway across the world? Why not? It’s all part of living wonderfully – and sonically, if I may add.
I don’t go all Pete Townsend on them but finding assets that you can actually enjoy makes them even sweeter to have. It’s hard to entertain your friends at a party by jumping off the stage with a balance sheet in your hands, right? Playing the guitar is also a wonderful outlet for the stress, joy, challenges, victories, and creative ideas I get daily and weekly.
Just like I can appreciate a wide range of guitarists and bands, I don’t limit myself to one brand or style of guitar. Like every person who plays one, guitars are unique and varied and can be completely personalized to your desired sound. And that’s what is also cool – you can have a guitar that reflects you. Or a collection of them!
Of course, you don’t have to be jazzed on guitars as an investor, but hopefully, you can find something you’re equally passionate about (beyond money!) that you can also talk about and show off to friends and family. Why else are you making money than to have the freedom to strap on a six-string, crank up the amp, and live like it means something!
4The Glorious Gastronomy of Chef Wonderful
Okay, so this is a big, beautiful, mouth-watering, culture-spanning category to bite into. But I’m Mr. Wonderful – excuse me, Chef Wonderful – so yes, I can do it. Here’s why:
While I’m Mr. Wonderful on TV (and on YouTube and other media), I’m really Chef Wonderful at home and in real life. And I come by this in a very organic and personal way. Growing up, I had the fortune of living all over the world when my stepfather took a job with the United Nations. We moved to a new country every two years and I was immersed in unique, diverse, and incredibly tasty cultures from Cambodia to Tunisia, Ethiopia to Japan, England to Cypress.
And I can unequivocally say that there are three things that characterize every good dish: heart, soul, and good, fresh ingredients. There you go. That’s the secret to good food!
Okay, so there’s actually a secret behind that secret – and that’s having the right tools to craft good food to perfection. Whether it’s a wood-fired pizza oven or a sous-vide machine, a high-quality ceramic pan, proper knives, thermometer, or serving ware, your chef skills will increase exponentially by having the right tools at your service.
More than anything, the right tools make cooking fun! And that’s the secret behind the secret behind the secret: Cooking should be fun. At minimum, you probably eat three times a day, twenty-one times per week, 1,092 times per year — so you better enjoy your food! And that starts with enjoying the process of cooking it.
If you ask any chef (including your grandma who’s always humming as she bakes, right?), they will tell you that cooking is a joy and preparing a meal is often as satisfying as sitting down with loved ones to devour it. And any joyous chef will always be tinkering with the tools of their trade, right? Cake pans, sheet pans, crepe pans, you name it.
Thanks to my prime seat on Shark Tank, I recently came across Bertello home pizza ovens which are amazing, affordable, and a joy to cook with. You’ll feel like you’re chowing down on something right on the streets of Rome. It’s a wonderful tool of the trade that can make you look like an ace with very little effort. But don’t forget about those top-quality ingredients!
My advice is that if there’s anything you should be willing to pay a little more for its food items and cooking tools that are higher quality. If you’re able to grow your own herbs or have room for a garden, there’s absolutely nothing out there that rivals plucking food from your own home (unless you make really great wine in your garage!). Most of us don’t quite have the time or inclination or the ability to plant and harvest all year round, so I welcome you to continue to visit my Pantry section here at Shop Mr. Wonderful for an ongoing, constantly updated, curated list of amazing provisions, foodstuffs, and tools to have on hand.
5The Wonderful World of Wine
If you think that everything there is to say about wine has already been said... then you don’t know wine. Wine writes a new story every day. Every time you sip and share it. And that’s why it’s one of the most wonderful things in the world.
Scratch that: Wine IS the most wonderful thing in the world. It’s transformative, transportation, transcendental, and just plain terrific. Good wine, that is. We all know life’s too short to drink bad wine. And wine (good wine) is as much a part of my DNA and everyday life as the Dome of Desire which resides high atop my countenance.
Living in different parts of the world growing up (see more under Gastronomy) I got to experience the unique terroir, understand the great biodiversity in flora and fauna, and really get a sense for how the earth’s most beautiful fruit (grapes, a.k.a. wine!) can express so much and be so powerful an elixir of the wonderful life.
Ever since, wine has been a huge part of my life, helping me to acknowledge family events, business milestones, successes, setbacks, and, well, just about any day that ends in “y.” Why? Because wine is the ultimate combination of art and science. It’s alchemy in a bottle. And as I said, it helps write a new story every time you take a sip. It can be a reset button or like getting a deal on one of those pitch-your-idea shows (hint, hint).
People ask me if I have a favorite style or varietal, and the general answer is that there’s usually a perfect wine for any sort of occasion (dig deeper into Shop Mr. Wonderful for plenty of help discerning which to choose), but if I was locked on a desert island for more than a day, I would have to say Pinot noir. It’s exquisite complexion and incredible versatility in structure, depth, and flavor make it ripe for drinking anywhere (like a desert island, a ski slope, a fancy restaurant, or your holiday feast). I also choose it because Pinot grapes are extremely temperamental, feisty, and challenging to make properly so when it’s done well it’s simply masterful and awesome.
That’s not to say I only drink Pinot nor should you only have it on hand, certainly not by a long shot! It’s just often extra wonderful in a wonderful world full of amazing wines. That said, I don’t just have a bunch of wine around, I’ve built an entire cellar, carefully curated and orchestrated so that I do have a wine for every occasion on hand at all times. Think of a wine cellar as an investment in You.
I always have everything from “bubbly” (champagne from France, a.k.a. sparkling wine everywhere else) to rich, earthy, meaty Cabs; peppery, spicy Tempranillos; smooth, luscious Sangioveses; and beyond. Even as my personal taste in whites may lean towards crisp, mineral-laden, stone fruit-forward offerings, I have a full complement of palate-pleasing riches in my collection because sometimes it’s not all about me (rarely, but I do make the exception for exceptional company).
I could go on and on, but that’s why I created Shop Mr. Wonderful — so you could hear me expound upon many of my favorite wines across the spectrum. You can find more of my personal favorites and plenty that will suit your own tastes or that go with any occasion right here at Shop Mr. Wonderful, often at incredible prices. So, I say salud and enjoy!