Through our Reflections series we share nuggets of wisdom from our ongoing research for the Holstee Membership as well as personal experiences that have changed how we see the world.
November 19, 2017

Sunrises and surprises.

“An individual dies when he ceases to be surprised. I am surprised every morning that I see the sunshine again.” - Heschel

Abraham Joshua Heschel was a philosopher, activist and rabbi who was unafraid to challenge norms (even those within his faith).

He wastes no words making this point about gratitude.

In fairness, I can’t say I am surprised each time the sun rises. However, this quote got me thinking about the little things in life that I barely notice — but which make my life enjoyable and even possible.

Electricity is available to light up my home. Clean drinking water allows me to quench my thirst. Most remarkably, I have a body that just knows how to breathe in oxygen. I don’t even need to do anything for that one.

Each of these gifts allows my life to continue, day after day. And each of them I usually take for granted, if I’m being completely honest.

Applying Heschel’s mindset means allowing myself to imagine, if just for a moment, that I don’t have electricity or clean water running through my home. It makes me think about what would happen if the breath I am about to take was never actually promised.

The appreciation I experience might equal Heschel’s surprise at seeing the sunrise again. Or, building off his words, it’s this appreciation that allows me to truly live.

Mike Radparvar
Co-Founder, Holstee

P.S. You can learn more about the fascinating life of Heschel in this On Being conversation. You can also continue exploring the theme of Gratitude with us here.

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January 07, 2018

Life goals.

“Your audacious life goals are fabulous. We're proud of you for having them. But it's possible that those goals are designed to distract you from the thing that's really frightening you — the shift in daily habits that would mean a re–invention of how you see yourself.” - Seth Godin I was recently reflecting on what success looks like in my life. If I were to die in a week, a year, or a few decades, what would it take for me to be able to say, “Well, I did it — I accomplished everything I wanted. I lived a...


October 17, 2017


These days, I am finding myself wrapped up in the news — devastating tragedies, one after another.

My mind is filled with questions. Why would someone do this? How could it be possible? Why does it keep happening? What can be done now? The questions don’t seem to end.

I recently reached a point at which I was



October 03, 2017

Sandwich of the future.

I love sandwiches — both making and eating them. So when I heard that there was a famous man in Syracuse, Sicily, who makes just a few dozen sandwiches a day and has a constant line out the door, my interest peaked.

Turns out he doesn’t just make sandwiches but he



September 28, 2017

Wait till you see the flowers by the pool.

September 2015 was a big month for us.

I was about to get married, Dave was turning 30, and our third co-founder, Fabian, was about to start a new project after eight years of working with us on Holstee.

So at the very last minute, we decided to go on a combo bachelor-birthday-send-off weekend trip. We booked the only place we could find that was near nature and had availability that night. We borrowed a car and made our way north up Route 28 out of New York City.

When we arrived at the bungalow we’d booked, we looked around. Without saying anything, we knew exactly what one another was thinking



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