Coffee Date With Anthony Ongaro


Hi friends! In case you haven’t been following along on Instagram, I’m officially ten days into my road trip and things are going well so far. I’ve already visited six states, and am about to enter my seventh and eighth states later today. Aside from one crazy wind/rain storm, everything has gone smoothly… and guess what? I’ve only cried once! Somehow, that feels like a win. :)

There are so many things I want to tell you about the trip already, but for now I will just say that the highlight has been my time in Minnesota. On a particularly rough day of driving through South Dakota, I texted friends to say I couldn’t wait to arrive, because I had a feeling it was going to be a special part of this trip – and I was right. On top of seeing some long-time blogging friends, friends I met at WDS last year and even some new faces, I got to stay and spend quality time with Anthony and Amy Ongaro.

You might recognize Anthony’s name because he’s written not one but two guest posts for me in the past. He’s also the writer behind the blog Break the Twitch, where he talks about intentional living and creating a life that aligns with your values. Based on that sentence alone, you can probably imagine that we have a lot in common… and we do! But I didn’t know what to expect, because we had never met (other than on a few Skype calls) before this trip.

Now, after spending just a few days together, I am genuinely sad at the thought of not seeing Anthony and Amy again for a while. I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever felt so aligned with two people, in terms of our energy levels and interests. We spent most of our time together laughing, and turning our online relationships into true friendships. And they were the most amazing hosts. I truly couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

Before I left, I asked Anthony if he would mind answering some questions for the blog, so I could share more about him with all of you. Here’s what we pieced together. :)

Before we get started: how do you take your coffee? Or what would you order if we were at a coffee shop?

At home, I drink black coffee. I tend to switch it up every now and then, but I really enjoy cappuccinos and vanilla lattes when the time is right. But mostly, I’ll take whatever coffee someone hands me.

Now, talk to me about breakfast. What do you eat in the morning?

Breakfast usually revolves around a couple themes. It’s either slow-cooked oatmeal with nuts, flaxseed and half & half, or a couple eggs with avocado and a vegetable. Generally try to keep the sugar low and protein and healthy fats high. I really started avoiding high sugar foods in the last month or so and I’ve lost about 10 pounds without even trying so… probably going to keep that up.

Ok, now that we’ve taken care of the important stuff, what are you really excited about these days?

I am ridiculously excited about video, filmmaking, and YouTube. I feel like I’m about six years late to the YouTube party, but man, is it fun. Writing has always been a love/hate relationship for me, and then I got really into video. Recently my YouTube channel started growing faster than my actual website (for the first time since I started both) and it has me excited for the possibilities.

Why did you decide to start Break the Twitch?

Break the Twitch started out of an ‘Aha’ moment when I wanted some form of accountability in my intentional living journey. After pulling four years of spending history, I realized that I had been nickel and diming myself into a financial mess. I knew other people had similar problems and wanted to share the solutions to these impulses along the way.

What has been the toughest part of starting and maintaining a blog, your YouTube series, etc.?

Ironically, consistency has been difficult. I’m a slow writer, and I’m interested in so many different things and often want to talk about all of them. Break the Twitch is really about minimizing distractions, building good habits, and creating opportunities for a life well-lived. I’ve kept that intentionally broad, but I still feel like I’m constantly struggling to create enough content consistently every week.

What has been the best part? :)

I really enjoy having something that represents my thoughts, ideas, and vision in an online space. There is something really cool about having that 24 hours per day, whether I’m sleeping, showering, or eating. People can find me, understand where I’m coming from, and connect with me. It has allowed me to meet amazing people (you, for example) and provided a platform to share my ideas. If I had to start over from scratch, I’d do it all over again–it has been an incredibly valuable asset in my life.

What is your favourite social media platform right now, and why do you love it?

I’ve been considering this a lot recently as I just finished a contract running social media for a television show a few months ago. I was so deeply in social media that I felt that I had to take a detox afterwards. In terms of favorite social media platform, it depends on the context. Twitter is the best for making new friends, and Facebook is best for getting traffic to my website and other projects. I love how open Twitter is, anyone can join the conversation and that’s really cool.

As a fellow minimalist, I can’t help but ask: do you have a “uniform” – an outfit you wear most days each week?

My uniform looks a lot like jeans and a gray t-shirt. In the winter, throw a gray hoodie on top of that and call it a day. I like dressing up when the time is right, but despite already getting rid of 70% of my clothing, I still only wear about 30-40% of what I have. Probably time to reduce that down further.

If you could have an unlimited supply of anything, what would it be?

Electricity. I could shut down every carbon-based power plant in the world and provide clean energy to every part of earth. If that wasn’t possible, perhaps some superfood that I’d be able to distribute to anyone that was hungry and in need.

Who was one of your best friends growing up?

I had a bunch of friends when I was really young, and have had a pretty rad squad of 5 chaps that have been with me since high school. My friend Isaac was my best man at my wedding and we’re still close 16 years later.

What were your favourite hobbies as a kid?

My parents had a big black trash bag of styrofoam egg cartons and those meat trays you’d get at the grocery store. I used to spend hours cutting those up, taping things together, building, pretending, and all kinds of stuff. I played soccer, went to the park, made art, and had fun. Man, those were good times.

When was the last time you tried something new?

Last week. I tried acro-yoga for the first time and it was a ton of fun and quite challenging. I think that life starts outside of our comfort zone, and the more time we spend outside of it, the slower time goes overall. Which I see as a plus these days.


What has been one of your most memorable vacations?

In March, my wife and I went to Bayahibe in the Dominican Republic. We went scuba diving (for the first time ever) and got to see one of my childhood friends that lives there now. We stayed in an Airbnb, explored the country, and worked from our apartment there. It was one of the best trips of my life.

How do you measure success?

This definition has shifted a lot over the last few years. When I was younger, I thought success meant having a blue BMW M3. Now, success looks a lot like having enough money to cover our basic expenses, and spending my life creating things that help people. Success is spending my time working on building something that matters to me, having a strong community of people I love, and doing whatever I can to leave the world better than I found it.

If you could magically gain one new quality or ability, what would it be?

The lame answer would be: I’d upgrade my brain so that I didn’t get motion sickness. If a plane gets bumpy for more than a few minutes, I start puking and it really sucks. That is seriously a sad answer, but it’s a reality. If a superpower, I’d gain teleportation. Especially if I have unlimited electricity (from question 9) teleportation would be really helpful in distributing it around the world.

Are you reading any good books right now (or have any old faves you want to share)?

I recently read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, and it’s a fascinating book about habit-change. I’d recommend anyone read it that wants to think deeply about why we do the things we do. It also calls into question the morality of various industries that leverage habitual users of their products.

What movies or TV shows could you watch again and again, without getting sick of them?

Chef’s Table is a Netflix series that I could watch forever. Check out the episode with Alex Atala, a Brazilian chef that is seriously one of the most captivating humans on the planet. Aziz Ansari’s show Master of None on Netflix is an incredible series that finally puts so many important things into perspective.

Tell me some of your favourite things to do, places to go, and restaurants to eat at in Minneapolis!

Minneapolis is an amazing place to be three seasons out of the year. What I love is that there is a sense of urgency about the summer, and people really dig in and take advantage of it. Bikes everywhere, festivals, patios, and cabins are mainstream tradition here. Some of my favorite restaurants are The Butcher & The Boar, The Birchwood Cafe, Riverview Pizza, and The Blue Door. We live really close to Minnehaha Falls, and also enjoy the inexpensive fish tacos at Sea Salt eatery there in the park.

What’s one of the best decisions you’ve made for yourself / your family, so far this year?

Now 30 days after I quit eating desserts and high-sugar foods all the time, I’ve lost 10 pounds and I’m not hungry all the time anymore, so that was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made. After that, quitting my job in February has opened up so many new possibilities, and I’ve met so many amazing people since then, but I’ll have to let you know whether that was a great decision or not towards the end of this year. Hah!

If you woke up tomorrow and had no plans and no work to do, how would you spend your day?

I’d pretty much do the same thing I do every day. Make breakfast with my wife, make some videos, go out to eat for dinner, lay in the hammock for a while, and get together with some friends for the evening. If there’s a few days available, I’d hop a flight and do all those same things somewhere else in the world, too.

  • I’ve been thinking that I need to read The Power of Habit, and this is the second time it’s come up this week. I think the universe is trying to tell me something. :)

  • Another great blog and interview. I’ve started writing Morning Pages and I think the Power of Habit would be good to read to keep me going. And to change some others! Safe travels Cait :)

  • Ugh, I need to jump on the no sugar bandwagon but chocolate keeps pulling me back in :) Love following you on Twitter to see your journey across the state. Happy driving!

  • Hey Cait. I just found your blog through Anthony and I’m glad I did! :) I’m in the process of starting an interview series for my own blog so whenever I read other people’s interviews it’s always with a critical eye to what they do well (or not!) I just wanted to say I think you nailed the art of interesting questions with this interview; so many people ask the same obvious questions over and over but yours were great and I think gave us a really genuine feel for your subject. Great blog, thank you!

  • I wondered about Chef’s Table and now I’m glad to have a specific episode to check out and look forward to.
    Thanks for the interview with Anthony. He’s quite an inspiring “chap”. I hope you have no more tears during the rest of your journey.

  • Acro-yoga sounds like it takes a lot of energy. I tried yoga (and man was it hard!) with P90X and have been wanting to get back into it to work on my flexibility and strength. Thanks for the interview, will look into following your blog :)

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