Top 10 Things I Love Right Now

Today happens to be the two year anniversary of my first post on this blog! It doesn’t seem like that long. Two years ago I was a wee 23 year old living in the big city (just kidding, it was a suburb only pretending) with two lowish-paying jobs each pulling one of my strings apart like a mini Babybel. I like to think things have improved a bit since then. Except I don’t have underground covered parking anymore–that sucks.

Anyhoozles, I’m in a good mood because we had an all staff training day today and meetings and interacting with people from other libraries are like candy to me. Plus I had a lot of actual candy. In honor of my sunshine-y outlook (it’ll stick as long as I don’t actually look outside), I’m going to share ten things that make me happy in this moment (in no particular order):

  1. Flights: As in beer, wine, whiskey, and mimosa, not MSP to LAX (but please let that be a flight I take soon). They are perfect for people like me who can’t make up our minds and can only drink half a beer before we forget it’s even in front of us and don’t finish it. So basically, indecisive lightweights with short attention spans. Or ILSAS for short. You can join us for our weekly Wednesday support group (Not to be confused with ELSAS, the weekly meeting where we dress up in flowing blue dresses and belt out “Let it Go” while onlookers watch in utter devastation).

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2. American Eagle Jeggings: I splurged for them 15 years ago (well, it was probably the mythical “boot cut” back then), went on a hiatus while I became snooty and tried trendier, more expensive brands, and then reverted back when the things I paid more for weren’t as comfy and fell apart faster. Plus, there’s the bonus fun of all the 14 year-olds rolling their eyes at you in the AE store while they buy crop tops and shorts so vertically-challenged the pockets are longer than the actual shorts. I promise it will make you feel happy fuzzy about growing up instead of insanely terrified like usual.

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3. Vacuum Cleaners: I used to hate them. I used to hide in a corner with the dog and cry while I could only assume all of my earthly possessions were being sucked up by this angry beast of a machine. No one was safe! Over the years they have slowly gained my trust, and now I can call myself a fan. Except those huge heavy rolling suckers that suck up a speck of lint and shut down from exhaustion. Those ones can go to hell.

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4. Himalayan Dog Chews: Or really anything that occupies my dog that isn’t the cat or my favorite pairs of shoes. Himalayan chews are nice though, because they’re more digestible than rawhides. They’re made of compressed yak cheese or something weird and awesome like that, but they don’t smell, I promise.

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5. Lucky Brand Flats: Speaking of my favorite shoes, you know it’s love when you actually shell out to buy replacements after the dog eats all your pairs. I perhaps went a little overboard…

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6. Egg Salad Sandwiches: I don’t know guys, I used to hate eggs and the ground they rolled on, but now when the weather gets warm, they are all I want. I see a hard boiled egg and I get so excited that bystanders assume it has money stuffed inside (like Easter, except our eggs were filled with nasty jelly beans). Egg salad reminds me of a fun drive to a tree-lined park and eating on a bench while indulging in an Ally Carter book among the laughter of nearby children (forgive that horribly constructed sentence). It’s a sandwich of sunshine. Also, protein.

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7. Agatha Christie: I’ve had a lot of love for ol’ Agatha since the first time I saw a wonderfully quirky Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode several years ago. I watched through the entire Poirot series (David Suchet is a god with a cane and a mustache) and just recently through the newer adaptations of Miss Marple (FYI, if I made a top 10 list of cat names, which I just might, Miss Marple would probably be #1). If you haven’t ever indulged, I recommend both series. I also hadn’t actually read an Agatha Christie (BUT YOU WORK IN A LIBRARY!!! I know, I know…) until Erik and I stayed at the St. James Hotel a couple weeks ago. It seemed just the sort of place an Agatha Christie murder might happen, so I brought along a copy of And Then There Were None and then preceded to stay up all night with the light on, quaking in fear that a ghost and/or murderer would leap out at me from behind the tastefully eccentric wallpaper.

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8. Grass: I’ve only seen brief glimpses of this beautiful specter since November. Every time I think it’s come to stay for awhile, it ditches me and snow trots in instead. It’s like thinking you’re going to get Emma Watson for a houseguest and instead it’s that stupid kid from growing up who called you out for picking your nose on the bus and is the main reason you never had friends in 4th grade (well that and the fact you were a horrid know-it-all and generally exhausting to be around).

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9. The Color Mauve: I know, I know, not the color of Grandma’s chairs/wallpaper/butterfly figurines/carpet/church shoes/fake gums! You guys, I can’t help it, mauve is having a hot moment in my closet right now. Also probably at least partially influenced by all those Miss Marple episodes I watched and that wall paper at the St. James Hotel. Something about mauve makes me feel like a wise British woman from the 1930’s who can really pull off a hat.

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10. Check Lists: Mostly because I love to stare longingly at them while I don’t actually do anything on them. And then copping out by adding something easy like “put socks on” or “eat daily cupcake” or “remember to breathe” just so I get to check it off and feel like I’m trucking in the right direction.

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All right, that’s it folks, have a swell Wednesday! If it’s not feeling swell, go get an egg salad sandwich and add “eat sandwich” to your to-do list. It will make you feel better.

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I’m Baaaaaaack…

So yes, I dropped off the face of the earth last summer. Life got a wee bit crazy and unfortunately I dropped one of the things I really enjoy doing in favor of other not so fun things. More on that later. I’ve been pining for my blog for awhile now, but for some reason it’s hard for me to just start up again like nothing ever happened. Probably because almost a whole year happened… So I’m just going to dip my toes in the water today and give a little update on what’s happened in the last year.

Let’s see:

  1. I got a new job (well, more like a promotion). It came with a $10 increase per hour and, most importantly, my own office space (no more hiding in the bathroom or the far corner of the Nonfiction section when I need to be alone!).
  2. My boyfriend and I couldn’t stay where we were renting so we decided to buy a house. It seemed like an impossible goal, but actually, the whole process ended up being fairly easy.
  3. After a week of looking, our offer got accepted on a house we loved! Then they decided they didn’t actually want to sell and we lost the house (and I had a slight breakdown).
  4. I went on a nice little road trip with my parents and my boyfriend to the Great Smoky Mountains and watched the eclipse in Tennessee.
  5. After a lot more searching, a lot of unaccepted offers, and a lot (understatement) of frustration, we bought a house in September.
  6. We spent most of the fall (and winter, and spring) updating the house. Luckily, we were mostly working with a blank slate, which is why I wanted the house in the first place.
  7. Right before Thanksgiving, we adopted our dog, Henry, from the Animal Humane Society. He got really sick the first week and we spent Thanksgiving week taking multiple trips to the vet and watching our new pup being hooked up to an IV. He got better quickly, though and now he’s as hyper and annoying as ever.
  8. My Grandmother died the week before Christmas.
  9. I gained back a lot of the 25 pounds I lost last year (and lost all of the muscle I gained), due to my laziness and the longest winter in the history of the world (at least that’s how it felt. Jon Snow would probably argue with me, but eff that beautiful bastard. Also, he’s not real). Our daily walks stopped due to -25 degree wind chill and snow storms and that fun stuff and it seems like all I crave in the winter is Pizza Hut, go figure.
  10. I went from vegetarian to pescatarian on New Year’s Day, and it has opened up a whole new world of food. I feel weird about it, but I wasn’t being healthy as a vegetarian and eating salmon and tuna has helped me eat more balanced meals. Though I would be lying if I said it wasn’t partially because I wanted to be able to eat fast food again. Best reason to make a life choice, I know. Those fish sandwiches and fried shrimp though…
  11. I watched A LOT of Grey’s Anatomy. About 14 seasons worth…
  12. Speaking of TV, I FINALLY watched (and read) Game of Thrones. Though I still have to close my eyes and hum 1980’s pop hits during the more grisly sequences.
  13. I started writing a lot of poetry again, for awhile at least. I even subscribed to a bunch of literary magazines and narrowed down which ones I’d like to submit to in the coming months. It’s been a little bit since I’ve written now, but that’s mostly due to being sick and and going straight from work to supper to bed. I am not planning on posting any more poems on my blog, because I learned (too late), that once you post something on a blog, it’s ineligible to be published in literary magazines. Whoops.
  14. We adopted our cat, Dragon, from the Animal Humane Society. Henry loves her, but she thinks he’s the devil and treats him like a bomb about to  go off at any second. They’re acclimating.
  15. I turned a quarter of a century old. My birthday is usually one of my favorite times of the year, but I was very sick this year and couldn’t even enjoy it. Plus, snowstorms in April…. (grrrr) My boyfriend and I did go away for a night to stay at the St. James Hotel in Red Wing (because it was nonrefundable so I just enjoyed my NyQuil in a hotel bed instead of my own).

And that brings us to today! Today is the first day I feel mostly over the sickness that has dominated my April and well enough to do more than just watch Shonda Rhimes TV and eat clam chowder (I’m actually watching How to Get Away with Murder as I write this, but don’t judge. Small steps). I will go more in depth into some of these things in subsequent posts, but for now, it just feels great to actually be typing again.

That’s it for now, but I’ll be back! Until then, take care everybody.

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

I was going to do my fiction post on The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney since that one has been extremely popular at the library, but I got halfway through it and had to skim the rest. It was just weeeeeeird. There was an irritating sprinkling of Fifty Shades, infuriating protagonists, and just way too many things happening with the storyline. I have no qualms about tossing it aside.

Into the Water was written by Paula Hawkins, who also wrote The Girl on the Train. Now, I had every intention of reading that one given all the mixed hype and 500 person waitlist it garnered at the library, but I’ve seen the movie and I hated it, so I probably never will. In any case, I thought I’d give Into the Water a try. The book rotates between different narrators in a variety of POVs, and takes place in a small town beside a river. At the time the book opens, a woman has been found in the river and it is presumed to be suicide. The strange thing is, she isn’t the first one. In fact, over the course of the towns history, several “troublesome” women have been found in the part of the river they call the “drowning pool” (for obvious reasons). The book follows several characters learning what led the woman to this point, as well piecing in the past and uncovering secrets that may suggest she didn’t jump voluntarily at all.

What I liked about it:

  1. The Pacing: I actually finished this one fairly quickly without skipping ahead to read the ending, so the pace of the novel was all right; it kept me going, in any case.
  2. The Prose: I noticed some lovely prose scattered about the novel. Paula Hawkins definitely has a way with words that I respect.
  3. The Plot: I found the general plot interesting, though there were some things I thought should have been delved into a bit more, and other things I thought were brought up too much.

What I didn’t like about it:

  1. There were just too many damn narrators and a couple of them were completely unnecessary characters.
  2. It was predictable. I knew everything that was going to happen 100 pages before it did. I kept reading because I was hoping something would happen that would shock me, but it just never did.
  3. Overall just MEH. Just not crazy about this one. It will be interesting to see if it gets any hype.

It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever read, but I wouldn’t recommend it. I apologize if you loved the Girl on the Train and were dying to get your hands on this one, but I’d grab something else instead. If you’re into mystery with strong female characters, try something by Ruth Ware or Emily Littlejohn.

Okay, now I’m going to take a hiatus from the library and start reading down my bookshelf. I’ve got over 300 titles there waiting to be read, which is absolutely insane. I should have never kept adding books when I already had a ton to read. Anyway, I’m giving myself a year to read the books on my shelves (and donate the ones I don’t absolutely love), otherwise I’m going to be a hard ass and make myself DONATE THEM ALL. They don’t do any good sitting on the shelf making me feel guilty all day.

 

Simplify Your Stuff

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Welcome to the first #PrettySimpleSunday of many! Today we’re going to have a lovely discussion of simplifying your stuff. Basically just a general term for all the crap scattered about your home or collecting dust and bat turds in the attic, or, god forbid, piled high in a storage unit you never visit.

I’ve decided to start with an all-encompassing stuff post, because that’s really a great place to start when you’re feeling overwhelmed with your life in general. For me, it was necessary to tackle the stuff before I could tackle my health, work, relationships, and whatever else was feeling cluttered or off. Okay, maybe it isn’t actually the best place to start, but it’s definitely the easiest. It builds up your confidence to tackle other aspects of your life.

As I mentioned in my Thursday post, I spent Father’s Day attempting to clear my parents’ attic of all my things that had accumulated there over the years. I ended up sorting through about 20 boxes and bins, as you can see below, and I didn’t even get halfway done. Not even close. I couldn’t believe things had gotten so bad. Over the years I’ve made attempts at decluttering and donating, and I’ve cleaned out a lot, but I ALWAYS got tired of it and started feeling too sentimental and would end up just piling most things back in bins and boxes and sticking them back in the attic. Why wouldn’t I want that outfit from 7th grade I sorta liked, even though that was one of the most awkward, awful times of my life? Why wouldn’t I keep the poorly constructed clay pots from 5th grade that only brought back bad memories? As I went through all of this stuff again, especially the boxes of stuff from my school days, I realized most of it didn’t even come with good memories. And what’s more, no matter what memory they came with, it’s important to remember the memories aren’t housed in the things themselves, but in our heads. I had so much momentum built up on Sunday to clear out the past, I didn’t even think twice about donating or throwing 90% of what I pulled from the attic. It felt amazing.

I’m going back on Wednesday in an attempt to finish the job, but it’s important to remember that it’s always going to be a process.

Now let’s focus on simplifying your stuff.

 First, pick a method.

1. Purge it all in one go. If you are like me, and find satisfaction in one giant clean out session, employing methods like Kon Mari are a good way to go. Block off a day or two (or a week depending on how much stuff you have) to take everything from the attic, basement, storage unit, and whatever, putt it in a giant pile in the yard or other large space, and go to town. If you have a lot of things, you can further employ the Kon Mari method by doing this in increments by what category your things fall under (furniture, clothes, books, etc.). If you’re like me, though, everything is jumbled together and that doesn’t really work.

However, if one giant purge isn’t possible with your schedule or makes you nauseous just thinking about it, there are other methods you can try.

2. Go Room by Room. One method that could work for some, is just taking it room by room and clearing out what can be donated, thrown, or perhaps moved to a different room. I employ this when I’m trying to maintain the order of my home, but it doesn’t work if your tackling something big like a storage unit or attic.

3. Make it a Game. A lot of games have been created to make decluttering more fun, if you get high off competition and feel like downsizing is too much of a chore. These games typically involve one or more partners, because any lifestyle change usually gets a little easier when you’re not doing it alone. One option from http://www.theminimalists.com is a 30 day challenge where each person gets rid of one thing the first day, two the second, three the third, and on and on. You “win” if you make it to the end. If that seems like a lot of decluttering and you wouldn’t have 30 things to get rid of the last day of the month, then you could augment the game to be just one or two things per day.

4. Utilize boxes for good and not evil. Another method is to employ using labeled boxes in your home marked DONATE, TRASH, MOVE TO OTHER ROOM, etc. The idea is that when you’re going about your daily business you can sort things out as you go along without taking much time to do so. I personally don’t seen much use for anything except the DONATE box, because if it’s trash, just throw it! If it should be moved to another room, just move it! A constant Donation box or bag kept around the house is quite useful. We have one in the corner of our bedroom almost always, and as soon as it gets filled, we take it straight to a donation center without looking back to dig through what we’ve put inside it.

5. Employ the Minimalists’ Packing Party idea. The Minimalists are also known for a method of decluttering known as a “Packing Party” (because throwing “party” at the end of something makes it automatically fun, right?). The idea is to pack everything in your home away, or if it’s a large piece of furniture, throw a sheet over it. EVERYTHING goes away. Then, you unpack or uncover things as you need them. It shows you what you actually use and what you really don’t. Though it certainly gets the job done, and you would already have everything packed in boxes to take to the donation center, it would be an inconvenient way to live for awhile. If you wish to explore it further you can here.

You’ve settled on a method, now what?

When you’re are actually in the process of getting rid of your things, here are ten questions to ask yourself that can help hurry along the process.

  1. Go Kon Mari and ask, Does this bring me joy?
  2. Have I used this in the past 30 (60, 90, whatever) days? Will I use it in the next 30 days?
  3. Would it be easy and cheap to replace?
  4. If I had to suddenly evacuate my home, would this be something I take with me?
  5. Am I only keeping this object out of guilt?
  6. Is it broken or beyond repair?
  7. Does it serve a purpose?
  8. Is it relevant to my lifestyle?
  9. Do I have more than one of these? Do I need more than one?
  10. If this object was stolen or lost in a fire, would I replace it?

All right folks, hopefully that’s enough to get you started! Sunday is a perfect day to start cleansing your unneeded stuff from your life, so get to it! I’ll be back next week with another #PrettySimpleSunday. Time for me to go to work, because for some reason, I work somewhere that’s open seven days a week and I have no idea what a day off is. Toodles! Oh God, where did toodles come from? It was High School Musical, wasn’t it? Oh, gross. If that’s on your DVD shelf right now, take this opportunity to get off your butt and throw it in the donation bin. Look at that, you’re on a roll!

6 Things that Made Me Happy this Week (#ThankfulThursday)

  1. On Father’s Day I thought I’d give my dad a gift he’d actually appreciate (and I had no money or idea what to get him and I even forgot to buy a card) and I started cleaning all of my crap out of my parents’ attic. Now, you can maybe only appreciate the true significance of this if you saw my parent’s attic. An episode of Hoarders is like the cute little kitten to this attic’s bloodthirsty, genetically modified, skyscraper-tall tiger. I will talk more about this experience, among other things, during a new series I’m starting this weekend centered around simplifying your life. I’ve found I really like talking about this stuff, so I’m going to do it more. Here’s some of the piles of stuff I’m donating (and I still have a big chunk of the attic to go through!):

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2. I’ve been listening to The Minimalists’ podcasts during my long drives to work. I love listening to this because it keeps me motivated to move toward the life I want to live. Some of the stuff gets repetitive after a while and if you took a shot every time they said the word “value,” you’d be dead, but it’s still worth a listen.

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3. My #BookTalkTuesday book, which I didn’t get around to writing about, You CAN Buy Happiness (And it’s Cheap) by Tammy Strobel. I’ll just go into a mini book talk here.

Tammy Strobel started simplifying about a decade ago when she realized she wasn’t happy with her “successful” job. She and her husband moved slowly, initially downsizing to a smaller apartment, getting rid of one car, then both cars, moving into a smaller apartment, and eventually living in a tiny house. She started the blog “Rowdy Kittens” and now writes full time. This book was a quick read and another nice little reminder of the life I want for myself. Erik and I will be leaving our current residence soon. We rent from a friend here, and though it’s a duplex, it’s still too big of a house for us. We’re hoping to buy something this Fall quite a bit smaller. And if we can’t find something like that, we’re thinking of buying some land and  building our own little house (though certainly not as little as Tammy’s 128 square foot home).

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4. My clean kitchen. A beautiful rarity. Please disregard the unfinished countertops and the fact that only one of the cabinets has a knob on it. I don’t know the reasoning behind any of this. I just eat (and on a rare occasion clean) there.

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5. My garden has gotten OUT OF CONTROL. You see that Godzilla-like plant in the center, rising above the others and stealing all of their sunlight in an act of complete anarchy? For some reason when I bought the plants, I thought because cherry tomatoes are smaller, the plant would then be a smaller tomato plant. I am so hilariously stupid sometimes. Erik and I have to transplant that sucker before he takes over not only the garden, but probably the whole damn world. I feel like there’s a VeggieTales episode about this somewhere.

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6. I had an interview on Monday for one of the jobs I applied for. I think it went fairly terrible. Interviews are not my skillset, as I mostly just sit there turning red while trying to scramble around for the answers that fell out of my head and ran screaming out of the room the second I walked in the door. I have another interview a week from today for a job I’m even more excited about, and I’m determined to do a lot better at that one. Fingers, toes, eyes, and stars crossed.

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

Okay, it’s way past my bed time (I know, I know, it always is) and I’ve got lake water and Bud Light Limes filling my brain (isn’t that just Summer in a sentence?), so I’ve gotta get this done before I drift off into sweet, splendid slumberland.

Welcome to fiction week on #BookTalkTuesday! Today’s featured title is The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda. I gotta be honest, there’s going to be a trend here. I lean toward non-police-procedural mysteries with a strong female protagonist for my summer leisure reading. I’m definitely going to try to expand my horizons, but for now, that’s what I’ve got.

I highly recommend Megan Miranda for fans of Ruth Ware, who wrote In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. They both have the same kind of vibe to their books and their protagonists don’t drive me totally insane with their idiocy, the number 1 reason I toss aside a mystery without finishing it.

Premise:

The Perfect Stranger focuses on Leah Stevens, a recently ostracized journalist who took too big of a risk in a story, who now finds herself an English teacher in a small Pennsylvania town. She lives in a small cabin in the woods (you see why I picked up this book, now, don’t you?) with her roommate that she knew back in college. At the beginning of the book she happens upon a grisly crime scene of a woman who eerily resembles her and realizes her roommate is missing. What she doesn’t understand is the connection between the two and how it all leads back to her.

Why it’s worth reading:

I didn’t anticipate all of the book’s twists and turns. It kept me guessing and kept me reading. The narrator, though a little naïve (they always seem to be), wasn’t annoying, and I enjoyed following her thoughts and perspective as the mystery developed. The book had a great pace, a nice setting, and was a good, fast read. I mean, it wasn’t the most amazing thing I’ve ever read, but it was a great book to read by the campfire before supper on a Saturday. I’m excited to see what Megan Miranda creates next.

Okay, time for sleepy sleeps. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

10 Things I’m Grateful For Today #ThankfulThursday

 

After my weekly 12 hour workday on Thursday, I could easily just come home, throw myself onto my laundry-covered unmade bed, and call it a night. In fact, that was my routine for about a year straight. I’m happy that even though I’m gone 8:30am-8:30pm, I finally started to make time for things I thought impossible on a Thursday. Here are the things I’m thankful for today:

  1. Getting to my 10,000 step goal! I only hit this about once every couple weeks, which I really need to fix. Seeing that “Highly Active” always makes me giggle a little bit. Obviously this app wasn’t watching me laying in bed watching Canadian TV and pretending the ice cream I was shoving into my mouth was healthy because it’s made from coconut milk.

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2. Having the energy to go for a sunset run with my boyfriend. Hell, just the fact that “run” is in my vocabulary. IMG_2440

3. That I came home to a clean house, because I sucked it up and cleaned earlier this week. Also, this room is about 15 degrees colder than the rest of the house which makes me even happier.IMG_2441

4. That my “office” is organized too. It’s an “office” because instead of actually working there I just go downstairs and gaze at it longingly for a bit before actually doing my writing at 11pm in bed while my boyfriend glares at me. Work hasn’t ever happened here.IMG_2442

5. This beautiful new dishwasher. During the intermittent failures of the previous dishwasher I was forced to hand wash dishes. I’m still having terrifying flashbacks. IMG_2443

6. The Sweet Pea plant my boyfriend got for my birthday is growing about an inch or two a day. It kind of creeps me out because the sprouts look like those weird eels on the ocean floor that chill out under the sand and then pop up and sway like seaweed. IMG_2437

7. Despite my long day I can come home and read a book I’ve been excited to read for a while. IMG_2436

8. And drink a lil bit (another lovely birthday present).IMG_2439

9. Repurposing tired leftovers into a vegetable noodle soup. I’ve never made soup before so we’ll see how this goes. Also it’s 90 degrees outside so why the hell did I make soup? You know what, just be happy that I’m cooking.IMG_2438

10. I submitted another application! Last one for a while, I think. $8 raise plus benefits here I come! Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 10.44.51 PM

 

All right I’m off to a sweltering slumber. If you’re reading this from the Minnesota metro area, be careful and don’t die in the heat this weekend. I’m going to be sleeping in a tent in 98 degree weather, so I might. Not excited.

Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki

Guess what, I’m here! Keeping up my schedule like a boss. I’ve decided to alternate each week with a fiction and nonfiction book, so because the last one was fiction, this week we’re going nonfiction.

I’m still loving that simple, authentic living is on trend, because I’ve always enjoyed reading about it and I fantasize leaving most of my possessions behind and starting fresh in a little cabin in the woods like every other second. And it feels really weird to call minimalist living a “trend,” since it’s a lifestyle, but whatever. Moving on.

Since I tend to snatch up anything I see at the libraries on tiny houses, minimalism, simple living, I saw Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki and figured it would be right up my alley (it was. I scarfed that book down almost in one sitting).

Premise:

Goodbye, Things is about the author’s personal journey with minimalism and also about guidance in becoming a minimalist yourself, whatever that may mean to you. To one person it means getting their possessions down to fit in a backpack, to another it may be to get possessions down to fit in a one bedroom apartment comfortably. All of the pictured examples at the beginning of the book were too extreme for my own life, but that’s okay. I’m never going to be a person who only has a futon and a cooking pot in their home. It’s fine that someone else is, but I personally need a few more things than that to feel comfortable and happy in my home.

The first part of the book asks the question “Why do we accumulate so much in the first place?” and suggests some answers supported by the author’s research. The next section includes 70 tips to “help you say goodbye to your things,” and the last part explains 12 ways that living a more minimal life has affected the author in a positive way.

Everything I Learned from this Book:

I’ve read quite a few books with similar subject matter like Marie Kondo’s The Magical Art of Tidying Up and Francine Jay’s The Joy of Less (If you have also read and enjoyed these, I think you’ll really enjoy Goodbye, Things as well), so I was doubtful this book could tell me something I didn’t already know. And while it’s true that a lot of what Sasaki had to say was just a re-hashing of other advice I’d already read, there were a few points he had that stuck out to me. Also a lot of the book just served as a good reminder of the way I actually want to be living my life.

  1. Reducing your possessions to what actually makes you happy and what you need helps you to no longer suffer from caring what other people think. Sasaki mentions in the book that he used to have a massive collection of CDs and books in his apartment. When he started actually taking a good look at what he owned he realized that almost his entire collection of entertainment were things he bought only to extend a certain image of himself to visitors–that he was intelligent, creative, and interesting. That resonated with me because I used to do the exact same thing. I bought books I thought other people (usually people of the male variety who I had a crush on) would find impressive and listened to music I thought others would like, but I didn’t love any of it. I realized it’s actually rather discourteous to yourself to surround yourself with things you think other people would like, but nothing that you actually love. How could you ever feel happy in that setting?
  2. You seriously won’t regret anything you re-home. I always assume I’m going to instantly start pining for something I donate, but that has never happened. I’ve always been that person who throws the entire contents of my closet into a bin and shove it in my parents’ attic out of sight because I know I’ll of course need it someday. I’ll without a doubt come searching for that old birdhouse I painted and that wrinkled poster of the Jonas Brothers! But I don’t. I go up there a year later and say, “what the hell is all this shit?” and throw or donate it all anyway. So when I ask, “will I regret giving this away,” the answer will be no. Just effing toss the 20 button down shirts that don’t even fit over your boobs, Em. Don’t kid yourself, those honkers are NEVER getting smaller.
  3. Sasaki speaks a lot about the importance of being grateful for what you have, since people tend to get used to things so quickly that it’s not long before they want something new or different. It’s not innovative advice, for sure, but it really is a good reminder to just STOP once in a while and reflect on what you have and what is so amazing in your life. If you do that enough you realize you most likely have everything you need.
  4. One piece of advice that’s different from Marie Kondo’s all-in-one-go philosophy is starting out small to build up your discarding defenses. Say, start by tossing all your underwear with holes and expired food. Eventually you’re going to realize it just feels good to rid yourself of things you don’t need.
  5. Fight the urge to fill EVERY SINGLE EMPTY SPACE. Sometimes, a wall’s just gotta be blank. This is something I’m still trying to learn. Unless it makes you happy to fill a wall with 37 porcelain cat plates. Then go for it, I guess.
  6. Are you keeping a bunch of stuff because you like that reminder of who you used to be? Do you keep that weird crop AE sweatshirt because it reminds you of being 15 and not having a care in the world? Get rid of it, you’ll still remember, I promise. Plus if you’re pining this much for the past, I’m pretty damn sure you’re not doing much in the present.
  7. I like the way Sasaki advises to treat stores like “your personal warehouses.” They house everything you need, and they’ll always be there, so there’s no need to house everything you may ever need in the future in your own home. This kind of goes hand in hand with his advice to think of buying certain things as “renting.” Or actually just renting something when you need it. For a lot of occasions it really makes a hell of a lot more sense.
  8. Never accept ANYTHING just because it’s cheap or free. You’ll regret it and end up getting rid of it anyway.
  9. Apparently they have a lot of advice in Fight Club. I’ve never watched it, but I have a feeling that Sasaki has about 50 times. I get it, if it was my book, I’d fit in a Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings quote every chance I got.

If you’re anything like me, about halfway through this book you’re going to get really fired up to do a bit of spring cleaning. FOLLOW THAT INSTINCT. Put the book down and just do it while you have the motivation and energy. Otherwise you’ll make yourself finish the book first, be too tired to clean, and lay in front of the TV and marathon The Flash for 3 hours before passing out. I may be speaking from experience.

I hope eventually I actually have the courage to follow all the advice I love to read and only keep things that actually matter to me. Until then, my parent’s attic (and any of my closets) will forever look like the Room of Requirement via Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hollows before the fire burns it all up.

All right I’m off for a run now (that actually wasn’t a joke so stop laughing). See you all Thursday!

Okay, So it Didn’t Happen This Week, a Belated #ThankfulThursday

Yeah, so #BookTalkTuesday and #ThankfulThursday were a no go this week. On Tuesday I was too busy getting out of my own way to apply for a couple jobs I was terrified of but wanted desperately. Yesterday I was occupied spending my time with some amazing people I don’t get to see nearly often enough. So I’m not sad I missed them; Tuesday and Thursday will come around again.

Anyway, today we’re going to pretend it’s Thursday (shhhh) so I can talk about what I’m thankful for. Despite all the stress and sleepless nights I had, there were some great moments.

So here we go:

1. Finally applying for full time work. We’ll see how it goes. I’m trying not to day dream too much about having my own basement cubicle. I could have a personal item you guys!  I could have a plant to kill! Cross your fingers.

2. Over memorial day weekend Erik and I hit up Frontenac State Park for a camping trip. We forgot about half of what we were supposed to pack with us, but that doesn’t surprise me at all. It was still a much needed weekend away. I loved Frontenac because the St. Croix River Valley is one of my favorite places, plus I’m a sucker for a good overlook:

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There were soooo many winding staircases:IMG_2417

Apparently this is an important rock… I guess it’s a nice rock, as far as rocks go:

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2. We finally bought plants and planted a “garden” (I really use that term loosely). So say hello to our new plants and wish them luck and life as I try not to murder them completely.

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We built our planter from an antique drawer from an old church, some fencing, and parts of old fence posts. It won’t last too long, but it was super easy and it looks cool. Also I got really overzealous and but way too many plants, so they’re a little cramped in there. Whoops.

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I also wanted an indoor plant that reminded me of warmer climates, so I bought this one, not realizing it’s supposed to grow into a full size coconut tree. I seriously hope I don’t kill it and it reaches the ceiling, that’d be so awesome. Also I googled how to take care of one indoors, and the website said you’d have to be an absolute nutter to buy an indoor coconut tree. Woot! I’m excited to see how this plays out.

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3. Spending my Thursday, not in a 12 hour work day, like I usually do, but with some of my favorite people on the planet, hiking toward a sunset:

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That’s all I’ve got for now. I hope everyone had a great week and hopefully you’ll actually be hearing from me on Tuesday!

10 Things I’m Grateful For #ThankfulThursday

Okay, I’m am typing on fumes here and simultaneously drafting up a new resume and creating a portfolio website, but I am going to get this post out when I promised to goddammit! It’s supposed to be everything I’m grateful for this past week, but since I’ve been absent from your browsers for so long, let’s throw it back about a month.

Here’s what I’m thankful for:

  1. I had my 24th anniversary of being a part of this planet. I also got to have a BBQ with family and I got two cakes, which is the most important thing of all.

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2. I went on my second backpacking trek and I lived to tell the tale. I’m also so happy it’s finally camping season! Tomorrow Erik and I will be off camping for three nights (and hopefully we actually remember to pack blankets this time so we don’t spend them in a freezing pile of sadness).

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3. I have the energy and ability to walk by this beautiful lake every morning. And how awesome is it that I live down the road from a lake??? I’ve seriously dreamed of that my whole life. Well, a lake or a funnel cake farm. But lakes actually exist.

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4. I can run to the top of these stairs now without collapsing in a heap of agony at the top and having an ambulance shovel my body off the sidewalk.

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5. The park has a great swing set. I really dig a good swing set.

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6. There’s wildlife here! I see so many deer on my daily walks and it makes me feel like I’m back in the north woods where I grew up. But then I don’t see any bears shoulders deep in my garbage cans when I get home, so I realize I’m in the suburbs again.

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7. TREES. I HAVE MISSED YOUR GREENNESS.

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8. The woods after a fresh rain and seeing the water droplets on all the leaves.

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9. THEY FINALLY TURNED ON THE WATER FOUNTAINS!!!!

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10. My room is sparse and clean and I LOVE IT. And you can almost tell I share it with a boy because I let him put tennis rackets on the wall. But that’s it.

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All right folks, I’m off to bed. Hopefully I’ll be writing again soon. Preferably at a more reasonable hour, this is getting ridiculous. I might oversleep until 8:00am tomorrow! THE HORROR.