On Bored and Brilliant and Fostering Creativity

For a while now, I’ve been meaning to write a post about ways to jump-start creative thinking and generate new ideas. I just finished reading Manoush Zomorodi’s book Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self, and it got me thinking about this topic again.

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Have a Happier, Less-Stressed Holiday

Red poinsettia

This time of year is often described as stressful. Ask a friend or neighbor how she’s doing during the month of December, and her response is likely to include the word “busy.” But the holidays are only as stressful and busy as we make them. Today, in case you feel you need it, I’d like to give you permission to relax.  Read more

7 Ways to Combat the Winter Blues

Cherub garden statue looking forlorned, sitting in a snowy woods

Winter has always been my least favorite season.  I do not enjoy being cold, and the short days and darkness really get to me.  I tend to want to hibernate in the winter — I stay inside, sleep more, exercise less, feel less motivated, and don’t make as much of an effort to socialize.  While a seasonal change of pace isn’t inherently bad, all of these things can lead to a general feeling of blah-ness.  Over the past few weeks, the cold, gray weather has set in here, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about the ways in which I try to make winter a little more bearable.   Read more

12 Tips to Reduce Waste at the Holidays

Gift wrapping items: wrapping paper, gift bags, boxes, and bow

Americans produce a staggering amount of waste. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, in 2013, we collectively produced 254 million tons of trash, an average of about 4.4 pounds per person per day.  (That’s much higher than the global average, though other wealthy, developed countries aren’t far behind.) The upside is that we recycled and composted about 34% of that waste, but that still left a lot of trash headed to landfills or scattered as litter. There are about 2,000 active landfills in the US, and simple math leads to the conclusion that we will at some point run out of space for all of our trash. In addition, properly managing municipal waste is expensive, and both landfills and incineration can pose serious environmental and health concerns. Moreover, think about all the resources we are wasting by throwing so many things away rather than using them to their fullest potential.

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7 Things I Learned from My First 7 Jobs

Still life painting with vases, flowers, and table card holder
Table No. 4, 2016. Oil on canvas, 16” x 20”, framed. Available for purchase.

About a year and a half ago, the hashtag #1st7jobs (or #firstsevenjobs) began making its way around Twitter as celebrities and others shared lists of their early work experiences.  The idea, I think, was to show that where you begin does not dictate where you end up, and it takes hard work and trial and error to build the career and life you want.  While there are certainly critics of that narrative, I found the hashtag to be an interesting exercise, and one worthy of further exploration than Twitter’s character limit would allow.

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