6.26.2015

Online Weekend Reading (OWR): Travel, Stand Up, Design

I had all these links ready to go last week, and then last week happened, so they went on hold and now here we are - Happy Friday! 


This is an odd one coming from me, I know, but the Hubs and I find ourselves asking the same question whenever we hit the roads: why can't anyone drive any more?? People making bad judgement calls with a 2-ton vehicle, people posting on Facebook WHILE DRIVING, people who slow to a crawl because it's RAINING - and that's just for a start. Though this study focused specifically on newly licensed drivers, it's indicative of what we've experienced on our own roads - from drivers of all ages. Do not read this article while you are driving (but do read it)! http://fleetowner.com/blog/diagnosis-drivers-bedeviled-inexperience-lack-skills

  • Favorite Takeaway: "... researchers also noted that previous studies of newly licensed teenage drivers indicate that they exit their 'learner period' with significant skill deficits, leading to a much higher risk of crashing compared with more experienced drivers. Their most common types of crashes? Left turns, rear-end events, and running off the road."

It's summer, which means it's time for many people to hit the road on a family vacation. Not us this year, sadly, but that doesn't mean we don't dream about returning to our once-home, always favorite city of Boston. If you don't vacation because you don't think you can afford it, Vanessa's post might change your mind. Bottom line: 2 days, Boston, meals out - including lobster, for just $200. While I won't be booking a hostel bunk in the foreseeable future, there are still a lot of helpful tips for saving money in Beantown: http://www.turnipseedtravel.com/blog/200-challenge-boston

  • Favorite Quote: "I think it's fair to say I've never eaten so well on a $200 Challenge and I never thought that lobster and value travel could go hand in hand!"

It's no secret - I love Paris. In theory - Paris was the place where people go to find love. In reality - I didn't expect to fall in love with the city itself (nor did the Hubs), but that's exactly what happened. Now, I'm not dumb enough to think that living there would be the same as spending a week in a perfectly placed apartment on vacation, but the fact of the matter is, I certainly wouldn't mind giving it a try. If you ever get the chance to go, I highly recommend it - and bookmark this "Must Do" list from Girls Guide to Paris: http://girlsguidetoparis.com/girls-guide-faves/must-dos-paris/

  • Personal Recommendations: I can vouch for #1 and #9. We stumbled upon #1 by accident (and I left with two books and a cloth shopping bag), and #9 was sought out and worth the walk.


By now you've probably picked up that I work from home (freelance editor, social media specialist, and book launch pro), and that means I spend a lot of my day sitting at a desk. In fact, I can go for hours at a time and forget to stand up, and this has caused a number of back and neck issues for me. Last week, I pulled out a lap tray with legs and an old keyboard and hacked myself a standing desk that still works when I need to sit. This article from Mashable backs up my own experience - it's time to stand up! http://mashable.com/2015/06/02/sitting-study-office-workers/

  • Key Takeaway: "... the hazards of sitting too much have been compared to those of smoking, with research suggesting people who spend most of their days seated are more likely to be fat, have heart problems, cancer and even die earlier."

Within 24 hours of buying our house (built: 1940), Peter put a hole through the kitchen/dining room wall and our life as perpetual renovators started. In the 14 years that we've owned our home we have torn apart, demolished, or completely gutted, replaced, or added on to every room in our house, including a total revamp of our "updated in the 60's" kitchen. We love all the changes, but it's our kitchen that everyone walks in and comments on, and I blame that on the wall of widows - let there be light, indeed! This light kitchen (highlighted by The Inspired Room) is worth looking at for inspiration: http://theinspiredroom.net/2015/06/08/small-space-remodeling-tip-kitchen/

  • Favorite Quote: "...the interior window allows the kitchen to still feel like a separate (and quieter) space if you want it to, while removing the visual barrier of a full wall. Light is so important in a kitchen, and in a small house more light will mean feeling less closed off or claustrophobic."

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What are YOU reading (online or off)?

6.19.2015

Weekend Reading and Prayer

In view of the recent events, I'm skipping the Online Weekend Reading post and recommending that we dwell, instead, on this promise from Jesus, found in John 16:33...


This weekend, I'm spending time in prayer for those affected by the tragic events in Charleston, and for the response of the Church. In this world, we will have trouble. But if we know Jesus as our Savior, we also know the One who has overcome - and we have Hope and Light and Life to share with a world who is searching for answers. This is not a gift you want to keep hidden - be bold!

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Speaking of prayer and those seeking, this week Muslims all over the world entered into the season of Ramadan. My prayer from now through July 17th  is for the Lord to reveal Himself through visions and dreams to those who are seeking Allah. 

If you haven't read, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Dr. Nabeel Qureshi, I would encourage you to pick up a copy and read it during the next month. As you read it, remember to pray for those who are searching and fasting - not as your political or religious enemies, but as souls for whom Christ died, asking God to grant us eternal perspective and a heart for the lost. 

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This week, a "hero of the faith" went home to be with Jesus. Elisabeth Elliot departed her earthly body, entering eternity with her Savior. I'm not sure how Heaven will work - we like to throw around the idea that we'll be reunited with our loved ones, though I have to wonder if, when we find ourselves in the presence of the Creator of the Universe, we will care who else is there! However, if we are given that opportunity, I can only imagine what her reunion with Jim must have been like this week!

As a young teenager, God brought me to a crossroads and Mrs. Elliot's books made a deep impact on me during that time. If you have any young women (or young men) in your life, I'd recommend providing them with copies of Passion and Purity and Quest for Love. A year or so after the crossroads decision had been made (and I was engaged to Peter), I had the privilege of hearing Mrs. Elliot speak at my college just outside of Boston, and I left with a picture for the scrapbook. May we all live in such a way that when God calls us home, people remember His work in our lives, and not our achievements!    


6.12.2015

Online Weekend Reading: Introverts, Businesswomen, Lists

Happy Friday! I found so many fun/interesting links this week that I already have next week's post filled up! I love weeks like that, when there's so much to learn. It hasn't all been fun/uplifting news online this week, but that's why I want to share what I've found that's good. Enjoy your weekend!


I've always known I was an introvert (who can fake extrovert of a period of time before needing to remove myself from humanity to recharge), so this article by Jessica Hullinger was SPOT. ON. If you work with an introvert, live with an introvert, or are an introvert - especially if you find yourself in a job where you need to network - read it. http://theweek.com/articles/540698/introverts-guide-conference-networking

  • Favorite Quote: "Want to make an introvert cringe? Tell them they're going to a business conference. Introverts thrive on alone time. So what could be more stressful than being stuck in a hotel with hundreds of strangers with whom you're expected to interact?"

What I love about Laura Vanderkam's writing is that she isn't all, "Women should focus on a career and skip the family" (she has 4 kids), nor is she, "You're a mom, stick with raising kids and forget your old life" (she's written 3 books). She's finding a happy medium, and sharing the stories of successful women who have done the same in her new book, I Know How She Does It, and this article on Fortune (dads - this one's for you too!): http://fortune.com/2015/06/06/women-with-big-jobs-and-big-families-balancing-really-isnt-that-hard

  • Favorite Quote: "Once you acknowledge that it’s physically impossible to be everywhere, you release yourself from that script, and instead embrace one that allows you to be where it’s most important for you to be, at work and at home."

And since I'm on a Laura kick, yes, this next article is covering the ideas in I Know How She Does It as well, but it's worth the read because the tips are different, and applicable to anyone who is trying to find a work/family/life balance. http://www.bustle.com/articles/88417-13-ways-to-find-work-life-balance-without-going-totally-insane-while-realizing-you-had-more-free

  • Favorite Quote: "You don’t win points in the game of life for working through vacation and personal days if you wind up burned out as a result."

It seems like everyone is sharing their list of recommended reading this summer, including Ann Mah, one of the authors I read for the first time in 2014. Since I enjoyed the books she wrote (particularly Mastering the Art of French Eating), several of these titles are now waiting their turn on my nightstand. http://annmah.net/2015/05/27/summer-book-list

  • Favorite Quote: "Any of them would be the perfect companion for a lazy afternoon."

And finally, next week is our 15th wedding anniversary, and we've often talked about how no one should be allowed to register for wedding gifts until their 5th wedding anniversary - people have NO idea what they're going to actually use, ourselves included. This is a fun post for anyone who's registering now, or for those of us who look back and think, "Was I really deluded enough to think I would make pasta from scratch?!" http://www.thekitchn.com/the-5-kitchen-wedding-registry-gifts-we-still-use-10-years-later-and-those-we-dont-life-in-the-kitchen-219902

  • Favorite Quote: "Tastes change."

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Question: what would  you register for again - or skip?

6.05.2015

OWR: Books, Uniforms, Saving

Happy Friday! If you find yourself with a desire to read about something less controversial than politics or what members of large TV families have done, or gender changes (none of which I'm touching with a 10 foot pole), welcome, friend! And hey, if you've found something interesting you think I should know about - leave a link in the comments!


Although we developed some serious discipline in order to pay off our house in 2012, Hubs and I have let things slip over the last 3 years - but not any longer! We're back on the budget bandwagon and Jessica @ Life as MOM has a great article about ways to cut your grocery budget: http://lifeasmom.com/2014/06/5-small-ways-to-save-on-food-costs.html
  • Favorite Takeaway: "Beans and rice make a great meal. [On this, we totally agree!] Cooking beans from dried instead of buying cans is much cheaper." [Jessica shares how she cooks dried beans at her other blog, Good Cheap Eats]
I've written before about my habit of wearing a uniform [HERE and HERE], and since writing those posts my summer "uniform" has evolved yet again. Still, the idea is one that I can embrace and now, so is Modern Mrs. Darcy: http://modernmrsdarcy.com/2015/06/my-summer-uniform/
  • Favorite Takeaway: "This look is easy to put on, easy to wear, and easy to dress up (nicer pants, blazer) or dress down (tank, necklace, sandals). Everything goes with everything else; I could get dressed in the dark." [NOTE: Our tastes are different - the idea is the same.]
Speaking of Modern Mrs. Darcy - Anne recently returned from BookExpo America, which is now on my "Tentative Calendar" for next year, when it's hosted in Chicago. As a blogger, bookworm, and professional book promoter (yeah, the paid job), this looks like something right up my alley. In case there's anyone else out there who might be interested, I thought I'd share: http://www.bookexpoamerica.com/Home/
  • Favorite Takeaway: Well, Anne got me with "free books" [Read about her experience], but I like the idea of learning more - not only as a professional promoter, but also as a self-published author; "BEA Content & Digital Conference featuring fresh sessions where you’ll learn about the latest book trends, developments, and technologies affecting the publishing industry."
While I'm mentioning the whole "self-published" thing, it's been a while since I've done any kind of self-promotion for the book we wrote in 2010. This week a friend from junior high posted a lovely review on her personal Facebook page that reminded me that I should tell you all: Hey, we wrote a book for kids! http://amzn.to/1APkX6L
  • Favorite Takeaway: A picture is worth a thousand words, and I hope she doesn't mind that I'm sharing. I did remove last names and full names of her kids "to protect the innocent", but it meant a lot that our book is teaching her boys to read. That's music to my bookworm ears!

If you happen to have a garden (we don't), or you're thinking about starting one (we might be) and aren't sure which tomato plants to select, this article will help you - but only if you plan to make homemade salsa. And if you do, and you don't have ripe tomatoes yet, bookmark this Bon App├ętit link and thank me at the end of tomato season! http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/common-mistakes/article/homemade-salsa
  • Favorite Takeaway: "Oregano is optional; cilantro is a must (unless you’re one of those folks whose taste buds identify cilantro as soapy tasting [I don't understand you - if this is you!]. In that case, science gives you a pass). But please promise us this: You’ll use fresh, never dried, herbs. Save the jar of dried, flaked herbs for your next soup or stew."

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What are YOU reading online that I should know about?


5.29.2015

Online Weekend Reading (OWR): Minimalism, Closets, Exercise

Happy Friday! If you've got some free time on your hands this weekend, I have a few online articles that I recommend you bookmark and visit at your leisure. And hey, if you've found something interesting you think I should know about - leave a link in the comments!


For those feeling overwhelmed with your kids toys and clutter, I recommend reading this (short) article from Real Simple: http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/family/kids-parenting/reform-child-hoarder 
  • Favorite Takeaway: "Make a rule. If the items aren’t used by one month from today, then we’re going to recycle them. Or make a tradition out of it—schedule a regular clean-out day for the entire family."
Self-discipline in the realms of physical exercise and spiritual growth can be two of the toughest areas to gain traction. I know - I've been there. This past December my spiritual life got a much needed revamp (that's a post for another day), and now The Hubs and I are working on our physical (exercise) discipline, which is probably why I enjoyed this post from Jonathan so much: http://www.jonathanbriehl.com/2015/05/21/going-for-a-run/ 
  • Favorite Takeaway: "By the simple act of obediently studying His Word, the Holy Spirit has began to transform who I am."
Ever stood in your closet wondering what to wear to a special event or job interview? Real Simple is helping you out there as well with their colorful infographic: http://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/clothing/wardrobe-basics/what-to-wear  
  • Favorite Takeaway: It's visual. 
"Biblical Minimalism" - don't let the title or idea turn you off before you read this post from South African pastor, Clint Archer: http://thecripplegate.com/fifty-shades-of-khaki-biblical-minimalism/ (H/T to Jonathan Briehl for pointing me in the direction of this post after I blogged about my closet guidelines this week)  
  • Favorite Takeaway: "The one-bag exercise is a therapeutic routine to remind myself that what I need is exponentially less than what I own."
There must be something in the air (I blame the age-old idea of "spring cleaning"), because Anne also wrote about clearing the closet clutter this week. While I don't focus on keeping my wardrobe down to a certain number, for some folks, this idea might be just what they need to keep from being overwhelmed: http://modernmrsdarcy.com/2015/05/ten-item-wardrobe/  
  • Favorite Takeaway: "Some people might think this topic is superficial, but we all have to get dressed. If you put some thought and organization into this daily task, you can completely change your life."
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What are YOU reading that you think I should check out?

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