Boston Brick & Stone - November 2019


2005 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103 | 626-296-7700 | | November 2019


From Blackbeard to Jack Sparrow, pop culture teems with pirates who frequented the ports of the Caribbean. And while these pirates are well-known for their (sometimes fictional) accomplishments, the most successful pirate in history terrorized the seas of China instead. Her name was Ching Shih. Ching Shih, who was born Shih Yang, was working in a Cantonese brothel when she met the pirate Zheng Yi. He came from a long family of notorious pirates and was impressed by Ching Shih’s cunning. They married in 1801 and built a pirate empire known as the Red Flag Fleet. When Zheng Yi passed away suddenly in 1807, Ching Shih strategically maneuvered her way into leadership, taking control of over 60,000 pirates. Historians describe Ching Shih as a brilliant military strategist, a skilled businesswoman, and a harsh disciplinarian. After taking control of the fleet, Ching Shih implemented a strict code of conduct. The code included rules for distributing booty, protecting female captives, and beheading anyone who disobeyed Ching Shih. Under her rule, the bloody crimes of piracy became a profitable business. The Red Flag Fleet would eventually

clash with the British Empire, the Portuguese Empire, and the Qing dynasty of China, but no one could topple the pirate queen.

After almost a decade of pillaging the high seas, Ching Shih decided piracy wasn’t the best retirement plan. In 1810, she walked into the office of a local governor-general, completely unarmed, and requested full pardons and government jobs for her entire crew — along with permission to keep all their stolen goods. In exchange, she promised to give up piracy for good. Thankful to be free of the Red Flag Fleet, the Chinese government agreed to her terms. Ching Shih’s second husband was even made an officer in the Chinese navy. Ching Shih returned to Canton with her vast wealth and spent the next 34 years living a life of comfort with her family and running a gambling den. In 1844, the legendary pirate queen passed away of old age at 69, a rare feat for pirates of her era.

-Dave Laverdiere |


Published by The Newsletter Pro •

3 Tips for Every Business Leader Execute Strateg y and Kill Stagnancy

“To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed ... Execution is worth millions.” –Steve Jobs

Anyone can take this advice to heart, whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Ideas are easy, but no one becomes successful because they had a great idea. Success comes from putting that idea into action. Being able to execute a plan is a skill every business leader needs. Here are three steps to help you improve your execution. 1. Ditch Perfection Have you ever watched a behind-the-scenes featurette of your favorite movie? Some of the most successful films were all but unrecognizable in their early phases. In fact, a lot of early concepts are terrible. Look up the original designs for Woody in “Toy Story” to see for yourself. Fortunately, rather than wait for the perfect script, creators executed their visions and make changes as needed. Putting off action in favor of creating the perfect plan or strategy leads to stagnant business. Successful people know that plans take many shapes before they reach their final form. Don’t jump into something without a clear plan, but don’t be afraid to define your strategy as you go. There’s a reason audiences won’t be flocking to theaters to watch the latest galactic adventures of Luke Starkiller this December.

2. Be Methodical While you shouldn’t wait for the perfect plan, you shouldn’t be flying in blind, either. You can be too energetic about execution. Make sure everyone involved in a plan knows their responsibilities. Confusion will torpedo any strategy faster than you can say, “Who was in charge of this?” The Harvard Business Review states, “Having the discipline to organize people, assemble resources, and then generate a plan that others can commit to will collectively improve execution.” 3. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate We’re not saying you should micromanage your team, but you do need to be checking in on a regular basis to evaluate progress on your plan. Schedule monthly or quarterly meetings to go over the strategy. This is where you look for any changes that need to be made and refine the strategy. A smart strategy feels reassuring, but learning to execute a plan is the only way to make progress. The best business plan in the world is worthless if you never follow through.

Rock-Solid Review


•Inspection •Restoration and repair •Construction •Sweeping


•Inspection, restoration, or repair of an existing structure •Installation or reconstruction of new structures

"Our house, built in 1927, had seen its share of earthquakes, rainstorms, and toasty Valley temperatures. While we'd re-stucco'd the exterior the previous year, we'd completely avoiding rebuilding the chimney, fearing the expense. From the outside it looked fine, but there were definitely issues internally. The BBS inspector ran a camera all the way through the chimney, looked things over, and came up with a great solution involving a special process that would re-coat the inside walls of the chimney. It was fantastic and way less money than we thought it would be. It's summer, and we've only lit a couple fires in the fireplace so far, but it's been at least 20 years since that fireplace was safe to use. Absolutely wonderful to find a company that does such great work so quickly." —Bru ce B.


•Backyard patios •Outdoor kitchens and barbecues •Outdoor steps, walkways, and paths •Retaining walls •Outdoor fireplaces •Driveways

HISTORICAL RESTORATION Our previous restoration work includes the following:

•Restoration of the main lobby chimney system of the El Tovar Hotel on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim •Repair and restoration of chimneys in 56 original historic cabins on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim •Historical chimney restoration for the lodge in Bryce Canyon National Park •Faithful restoration of the chimneys on the Nottingham and Arden properties in Beverly Hills


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Get Untangled for the Holidays

With 2019’s Hottest Wireless Earbuds

With the holiday shopping season right around the corner, we want to catch you up on one of the hottest tech items of 2019: wireless earbuds. Apple’s AirPods may have been one of the first to boast the convenience of no tangled wires or bulky headbands to flatten your hairdo, but this year’s many strong competitors have stepped up to the plate. Use this guide to find the right earbuds for the music lovers in your life. Do you have a loved one who uses words like “warmth,” “range,” and “crispness” when commenting on your home entertainment system? Well, if any pair of headphones is going to live up to their discerning ears, it’s Sennheiser’s elegant first entry into the world of wireless earbuds. With a $300 price tag, they are far from cheap, but Sennheiser has put every cent to good use. Not only do these high-end buds have a sound quality to rival the most expensive wired headphones, For the Connoisseur: Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless

but they also make use of the latest Bluetooth technology to deliver tunes with imperceptible latency.

For the Traveler: Cambridge Audio’s Melomania 1 At $130, Cambridge Audio’s Melomania 1 model is a competent

contender for its price range alone. The headphones deliver the best, most detailed sound quality in their class and boast an impressively stable Bluetooth connection. But what really makes these earbuds a steal is their outrageous battery life. A full charge will give you nine hours of uninterrupted music, which can be extended an extra 36 hours thanks to the Melomania 1’s portable charging case. Thus, these are the ideal headphones for long flights, camping trips, and any other excursion away from power outlets.

For the Gym Rat: Bose’s SoundSport Free For those who love blasting a motivating playlist while swinging kettlebells, look no further than the SoundSport Free wireless earbuds. For $200, Bose delivers the balanced sound they’ve built their brand on while adding some sporty features every jogger or lifter will appreciate. Their design makes for a comfortable fit, and earbud-mounted controls mean users don’t have to fish their phones out of their gym shorts.

Thanksgiving may be held on Thursday, but the food often lasts at least through the weekend. To make the best use of the excess, grill up some killer turkey sandwiches. The Best Leftover Turkey Sandwich



• 2 slices sourdough bread • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard • 2 slices Swiss cheese

• 2 tbsp leftover gravy • 1 tbsp butter, room temperature

• 1/3 cup shredded leftover turkey • 3 tbsp leftover cranberry sauce • 1/3 cup leftover dressing or stuffing

Note: Don’t worry if you don’t have all the leftovers required.


1. Coat inside of each bread slice with mustard and a slice of cheese. Place turkey and cranberry sauce on one slice and dressing and gravy on the other. 2. Combine sandwich and spread butter on both sides. 3. In a panini maker or large skillet, grill until crispy and golden brown. 4. Slice and serve.

Inspired by

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2005 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103 | 626-296-7700 |

History’s Most Successful Pirate INSIDE page 1

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Execution Is Greater Than Strateg y

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Rock-Solid Review

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2019’s Hottest Wireless Earbuds

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The Best Leftover Turkey Sandwich

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Stay in a Real Castle

CARCASSONNE The Real Magic Kingdom

Every year, tourists flock to Disney’s “Magic Kingdom” and marvel at Cinderella's iconic castle. As fun as it is to see this Florida-based attraction, it would be even more magical to step back in time and visit a real medieval citadel. What if you could walk the same ramparts as Roman legionnaires and climb the same towers as French kings? If this idea gives you goosebumps, pack your bags for Carcassonne, France. A four-hour train ride from Paris, towering above the rolling vineyards of southern France, you’ll find one of the most intact, accessible castles in Europe. With sweeping, concentric walls and 53 elegant towers, the Cité de Carcassonne is a breathtaking sight. Once an impenetrable border fortress between the kingdoms of France and Aragon, the gates now stand open to anyone curious enough to walk its cobblestone streets. In fact, you can stay in the ancient city yourself. The five-star Hotel de la Cité Carcassonne occupies a former bishop’s palace and overlooks the inner ramparts of the fortress. With medieval tapestries and gorgeous woodwork in the hotel’s interior, you’ll feel like you’re living

among French royalty. Of course, if you’d prefer lodging with the commoners, plenty of quaint bed-and-breakfasts exist just across the Aude river. With rustic cafes, fresh crepes, and bustling crowds making their way down the twisting cobblestone streets, the surface-level experience of Carcassonne would be enticing to anyone wanting to explore the French countryside. But for those who want to delve into the history of this storied castle, grand narratives await you. Just walking the walls of Carcassonne paints a picture of the past. While the outer fortifications were built by Louis IX and Phillip III, a section of the inner wall is far older. The red brick used in this part of the construction dates back to before the existence of France itself. Roman troops first fortified the hillside town around 100 BCE, giving every stone of this site a story to tell.

If you’ve ever dreamed of experiencing medieval life for yourself, your adventure awaits in Carcassonne.


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