My Parents’ Parenting

Line drawing of a mother embracing her young daughter

A friend who has two young children asked me to write about some positive things my parents did when I was a child that have shaped who I am today.  So many things contribute to why we are the way we are, from genetics to early friendships to traumatic experiences in our youth, but there’s no denying that our parents’ choices, behaviors, and attitudes have a significant impact on the people we become.  Reflecting on our childhoods is valuable for all of us, and it holds particular value for me at this moment, as I prepare to become a parent. Read more

Making Apologies

Pencil sketch of two people standing a few feet apart

The Grammar Girl podcast did a great show this week on how to write an apology.  For a while now, I’ve been meaning to write a post about making tough apologies, so I thought I’d piggyback on Grammar Girl’s discussion.  The show advised listeners to avoid four kinds of non-apologies (the “if” apology, the passive voice apology, the reverse apology, and the florid fauxpology) and to follow a formula for apologizing effectively:

  • Acknowledge the offense clearly
  • Explain it effectively
  • Restore the offended parties’ dignity
  • Assure them they’re safe from a repeat offense
  • Express shame and humility
  • Make appropriate reparation

(Credit to Dr. Aaron Lazare and his book On Apology.)

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Guest Post: My Journey Towards Minimalism

Today’s post was written by Courtney Miller. Courtney is a Financial Analyst from South Central Pennsylvania. In her free time, she is the Vice President of Internal Affairs for a local nonprofit, Animal Advocates of South Central PA. She also likes to travel and eat too much food. Thanks for sharing your story and tips with us, Courtney!

Decluttering, KonMari Method, tiny homes, capsule wardrobes… These terms have been trending lately, and with good reason. Actually, many good reasons. How often have you misplaced something and spent more time searching for it than you’d like to admit? Maybe you’ve looked “everywhere” and couldn’t find it. It got lost somewhere among your stuff. How much time have you spent organizing, dusting, and cleaning your stuff? Or bought something and had to “make room” for it?

How much stuff in our lives is necessary? How much of it do we actually use? Do you ever ask yourself, “Why do I even have this thing?” You’re not alone.

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Ask Alexis: Cruelty Free Personal Care and Cosmetics

Various cosmetic products arranged on a countertop

Reader L sent this question:

You wrote a while ago about switching to cosmetics that aren’t tested on animals. I’d like to make that switch, but I’m not sure where to start. It seems overwhelming to research all the beauty products on the market. What products do you use?

In case you missed it, I believe L is referring to this post.  I’m a little hesitant to post a full list of the products I use for fear of seeming high-maintenance (don’t judge!), but I did do a good bit of research on this topic, and I’m happy to share that research if it will help you make the switch to cruelty free products.  European readers don’t need to worry about this, as animal testing for cosmetic purposes is banned in the European Union.

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My On-Again, Off-Again Relationship with Decluttering and Tidying Up

A black metal filing cabinet with papers on top and folders learning against each side
My filing cabinet, surrounded by papers that have yet to be filed.

Yesterday, I spent some time tidying up my living room.  I hadn’t planned to spend my morning that way, but I came downstairs and saw the ever-growing pile of papers on the table that serves as a catch-all, and I just couldn’t bear to look at it anymore.  This is usually how cleaning goes for me.  I have no set schedule for it, no weekly cleaning routine; it happens in bursts when I feel the urge.

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How Can We Effectively Respond to this Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist Garbage?

In light of this weekend’s events in Charlottesville, I find it necessary to revisit the topic I addressed last weekend.  Like many Americans, I am horrified by the recent rise in white supremacist, neo-Nazi activity in the US.  Many people smarter than me have written eloquent pieces about what happened this weekend, and I do not pretend to have anything new or particularly insightful to say.  In case there is any doubt, let me be clear where I stand:  Hating, discriminating against, or threatening anyone on account of their race, ethnic heritage, sexual orientation, or gender is despicable and unacceptable.  Human is human, period.

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