Infusing our Environments with Reminders of our Values

A painting of forsythia trimmings in a clear vase and a blue pitcher on a table
Still Life with Forsythia, Oil on Canvas, 2015. For purchase information, please contact Alexis.

You may have noticed that in each Monday’s Quote of the Week post, I usually include a link to an item bearing the selected quotation or other words of wisdom spoken or written by the same person.  I do this not because I want to encourage you to buy things (I am not compensated for these links), but because I like to surround myself with statements of my values and important lessons.  Read more

Quote of the Week

“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for . . . .”

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird 

Necklace or keychain available from LiteraryGiftsUK on Etsy

Stacked rocks along a beach

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On Books, and My Attempt to Read More of Them

Three shelves of books

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how I’ve cut back on the amount of time I spend scrolling through social media feeds and reading articles online in order to free up more time for writing in the mornings and evenings. I’m also attempting to replace mindless phone-checking throughout the day with other more meaningful tasks — things like mindful breathing, short bursts of physical activity, and reading books. My overarching goal is to use my time more deliberately instead of impulsively reacting to whatever is aiming to capture my attention. Time, after all, is a scarce and non-renewable resource. To riff off Annie Dillard, how we spend our minutes is how we spend our hours, how we spend our hours is how we spend our days, and how we spend our days is how we spend our lives.

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The Weekend Listen

A pair of wireless headphones for podcast listening

I listen to a lot of podcasts while driving, working out, and doing chores around the house. In this weekly feature, I’ll tell you about one episode I particularly enjoyed that week.

Note: This week’s podcast episode contains explicit language that may be objectionable to some listeners. 

I’m a little behind on my podcast listening, and this week’s selection is about two weeks old.  I’m posting it anyway because it serves as a nice follow-up to Sunday’s post on financial management.  On the Tim Ferriss Show, the author of The Four Hour Workweek interviews top performers in a variety of fields about their habits, beliefs, experiences, lifestyles, and how they do what they do.  Tim recently talked to “Mr. Money Mustache,” Pete Adeney, about how he retired at 30 and lives comfortably (with a family of three) on $25-27K of passive income per year.  I was not familiar with Mr. Money Mustache before this podcast, but I’m intrigued by his advice and plan to check out his website (which apparently has a cult following).

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Stuck, Tired, and In Need of Ideas? Lace Up Your Sneakers and Get Moving

Exercise equipment - sneakers and a yoga mat
Photo by Emilios

I am not a naturally athletic person. I was never one of the first kids picked for the team in gym class, and I dreaded the days in elementary school when we had to run a mile. Aside from one less-than-stellar summer of softball when I was eight, I didn’t play sports. In my early years, I was slow, clumsy, and had poor hand-eye coordination, and I felt terribly self-conscious on any kind of court.

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Let’s Talk About Money: My Journey Toward Financial Freedom

Money: a one dollar bill on top of a twenty dollar bill on top of a credit card

The topic of money management came up in a conversation with some friends recently, and I later realized that it was not a subject I’d ever previously discussed with my friends. Sure, we occasionally bemoan how expensive something is or lament our monthly student loan payments, but we never really talk about saving, planning, or investing. Money is one of those subjects that is seen as taboo, especially among women. We fear being perceived as greedy, and we don’t want to invite comparisons of salaries and financial well-being. But money really is power, and we need to be able to confront the topic without fear or intimidation. Good financial management brings freedom. Let’s break the silence.

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The Weekend Listen

I listen to a lot of podcasts while driving, working out, and doing chores around the house. In this weekly feature, I’ll tell you about one episode I particularly enjoyed that week.

Continuing this week’s love theme, Modern Love: the Podcast shares three of the most popular essays from the New York Times’s Modern Love column, read by well-known actors.  Colin Farrell reads Gary Presley’s “Would My Heart Outrun Its Pursuer?”, Gillian Jacobs reads Mandy Len Catron’s “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This,” and Tony Hale reads Steve Friedman’s “Just Friends? Let Me Read Between the Lines.”  You may already have read these essays, but they’re worth revisiting.

Happy listening!

Are you listening to a great podcast that I haven’t mentioned yet?  Please let us know in the comments!

A field of yellow flowers under a gray sky, the sun low and obscured by clouds

Friend Love: In Appreciation of My Tribe

Close-up painting of daffodils
Daffodils, 2015.

On Tuesday, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I wrote about my husband. While he’s amazing and I’m so grateful for the relationship we have, he isn’t the only source of love in my life. I firmly believe that we shouldn’t expect one person to satisfy all of our needs. Today, I want to show my gratitude for my friends.

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