Monthly Archives: June 2013

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Thursday Thankful List

I jotted down a few little things I was thankful for earlier this week and wanted to share for today’s Thursday Thankful List. A few highlights: weekend trips, seeing my cousin Steve on Tuesday {it’s been a year and a half!},sunburns turned tan, pugs, home videos, laughter, green juice and majestic pink clouds that seem to fill the sky frequently these days.

What are you thankful for?

Advice on Life and Creativity from Bill Watterson

Some inspiring advice and excerpts from Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson’s speech at the 1990 Kenyon College graduation ceremony. Here’s my favorite parts; click here to read the full speech. xo!

If you ever want to find out just how uninteresting you really are, get a job where the quality and frequency of your thoughts determine your livelihood. I’ve found that the only way I can keep writing every day, year after year, is to let my mind wander into new territories. To do that, I’ve had to cultivate a kind of mental playfulness.

At school, new ideas are thrust at you every day. Out in the world, you’ll have to find the inner motivation to search for new ideas on your own. With any luck at all, you’ll never need to take an idea and squeeze a punchline out of it, but as bright, creative people, you’ll be called upon to generate ideas and solutions all your lives. Letting your mind play is the best way to solve problems.

A playful mind is inquisitive, and learning is fun. If you indulge your natural curiosity and retain a sense of fun in new experience, I think you’ll find it functions as a sort of shock absorber for the bumpy road ahead.

You will do well to cultivate the resources in yourself that bring you happiness outside of success or failure. The truth is, most of us discover where we are headed when we arrive. At that time, we turn around and say, yes, this is obviously where I was going all along. It’s a good idea to try to enjoy the scenery on the detours, because you’ll probably take a few.

Your preparation for the real world is not in the answers you’ve learned, but in the questions you’ve learned how to ask yourself.

Creativity Takes Courage

Article found on Brain Pickings; image via Carolyn Gavin

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Advice for today.

Brene Brown, you’re just fabulous. Thanks for this.

5 Tips for New Cities

Let me tell you something: moving to a new city can be SCARY. At the exact same time, it’s exciting, thrilling, nerve-wracking, chaotic and wonderful. I’ve come to believe that the best things – and decisions – in life are bittersweet. I was recently asked what are my top tips for living life in a new city, whether as a recent graduate, for a job move or just to start over in a new place. I thought about it and asked some of my most trusted friends for their opinion and here’s my top five tips. I’m in no way, shape or form an expert but I have done my fair share of packing up and starting over so I hope I can help you in some small way if you’re looking to move or start your life over in a new place. Enjoy!

1. Say Yes – say yes to coffee dates and boat rides and trips to the museum and drinks with coworkers you don’t really know yet and to church community group and wine tastings and dinner parties and walks through the park and any and every opportunity you can, say yes.

2. Remember bravery and courage are always rewarded – getting off the plane or out of the car and unpacking your boxes and suitcases is scary and weird and freaky. I remember immediately thinking “what am I doing here!?!” My lovely blogger-friend turned real-life friend Rayne picked me up from the airport when I first moved to San Francisco and could probably see the panic/excitement/nervousness in my face. Her advice is crystal clear in my head, even today. She told me that being brave with your life and making courageous choices is always rewarded. Moving to a new city is brave and stepping out into the unknown is courageous. I had no idea what to expect but I remember when the advice finally came full circle. I found out six months later that two of my best friends, Aimee and Courtney, got jobs in San Francisco and were moving and it clicked. THIS is my reward! I moved across the country knowing no one and it was scary and weird and courageous and I truly believe I was rewarded for this big decision by having the girls move here.

3. Explore – walk and bike and move around your new city as much as you can. You will learn the lay of the land much better and faster and find amazing gems along your adventures. Try to explore as much as possible whether you are new to a place thousands of miles from home or thirty minutes away.

4. Give your city more credit – you most likely moved to a new place for a job or for school or to start over or start a family. All of these things are good. I want to encourage you to remember the place you moved is so much more than that though. If you stay in the “I only moved here for [XYZ reason]” mindset, you’ll never be able to fully grasp and comprehend how wonderful the place you live really is. Find lots of reasons to enjoy your new place. One easy way to do this is to dedicate time to writing down five things you enjoy about where you live each week. It’s a great practice to be thankful for where you’re at – and awesome source to look back on in a few months or years.

5. Pick up a hobby – this advice comes from my friend Zach and I wholeheartedly agree with him. If you don’t already have a hobby, moving to a new place is a great time to start one. This allows you to do something you like, meet new people and overall, become a more interesting person. Did you play tennis in high school? Join a league. Want to try out ceramics? Visit your local community center or art workshop galleries and sign up for a class. Trying to run a half marathon in a few months? There’s a running club for that – I guarantee it. Discover new hobbies or cultivate old ones in your new place – I promise that it will bring you joy and make you feel more at home in your new spot.

Lots of moving goodness in these blog posts:
My “I’m moving across the country in one week” post here
My first San Francisco post here
My “one year in San Francisco!” post here
My “two years in San Francisco!” post here

Love Where You Live

Image via Sycamore Street Press

Thursday Thankful List

Happiest of Thursdays to you! This is the 70th Thursday Thankful List post on my blog. That’s crazy and super exciting to me. It’s truly a reminder to me that the more you focus on and count your blessings, the more blessings will overwhelm your life. This quote from Shauna Niequist’s book Cold Tangerines is on my mind today: “When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.” There is always a time to be thankful and there is always something to thankful for.

Here’s a few things I’m thankful for this week. Now it’s your turn: what are you thankful for?

Sleeping through an entire flight
Learning something new
Peony season
Highlighter markers
A perfect pedicure
Laughter so deep I feel it in my stomach
A bowl of peaches and blueberries
Sore muscles
Afternoon pastries {this is from Abraco Cafe in NYC}
Thursday Thankful Lis
Super friendly people
JJ Heller’s music
When the not-quite-day meets the not-quite-night
Spiked lemonade
Watching old family movies
Jumping on a trampoline
Hand holding
An impromptu tapas dinner
Appreciating good friends – and learning to be one:
Be a good friend
Extra long yoga classes
Putting on my pajamas
Singing at the top of my lungs
Coffee dates turned lunch dates
Crossing items off my to-do list
Group texts with my sisters
Celebrating dad
Quiet mornings spent with my mom
Getting to meet Trotter recently!
Trotter
Giving away clothes
Waking up and feeling refreshed and reinvigorated
Enjoying a good book {here’s one book I’m reading}
Writing with a good pencil
Sending surprise cookies in the mail
Walking barefoot
Breakfast tacos
Anticipation
Seeing the Lumineers live a few weeks ago {they left the stage to play in the crowd. Just. too. cool.}
The Lumineers

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Thanks for this one, Jenna.

My lovely friend Jenna sent me this New York Times article recently and I have reread it three times since she sent the email three hours ago. It’s such a beautiful and “slap in the face” reminder to be present and aware and attentive. The article reminded of this blog post I wrote almost two years ago. In the blog post I shared: “Don’t allow this online world to rule the beautiful, glorious, exciting, simple, dazzling adventurous, eternally blessed physical world we live in.” It’s important to be aware and awake in our daily lives – and not to miss out on opportunities to be compassionate, loving and supportive to those around us. I’ve been catching myself way too often scrolling through my phone for no good reason when I could be listening to a story my sister is telling me or sparking up a conversation with the person next to me on the bus. Spending all of our time glued to technology doesn’t put us in community with others – it allows us to catch up on their lives in quick, bite-sized portions. Life is too short to be alone – and I don’t want to miss out on deep and real and wide relationships and conversations because I’m reorganizing my contact list or scrolling through Twitter.

So a huge thank you to Jenna for sending and for the much needed reminder.

My favorite excerpts from the piece are below the image but I highly recommended reading the full article here. You won’t be disappointed. xo!

Pay attention

It is harder to intervene than not to, but it is vastly harder to choose to do either than to retreat into the scrolling names of one’s contact list, or whatever one’s favorite iDistraction happens to be. Technology celebrates connectedness, but encourages retreat. The phone didn’t make me avoid the human connection, but it did make ignoring her easier in that moment, and more likely, by comfortably encouraging me to forget my choice to do so. My daily use of technological communication has been shaping me into someone more likely to forget others.

Simone Weil wrote, “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” By this definition, our relationships to the world, and to one another, and to ourselves, are becoming increasingly miserly.

[Technology was] not created to be an improvement upon face-to-face communication, but a declension of acceptable, if diminished, substitute for it.

But then a funny thing happened: we began to prefer the diminished substitutes. It’s easier to make a phone call than to schlep to see someone in person. Leaving a message on someone’s machine is easier than having a phone conversation — you can say what you need to say without a response; hard news is easier to leave; it’s easier to check in without becoming entangled. So we began calling when we knew no one would pick up.

The problem with accepting — with preferring — diminished substitutes is that over time, we, too, become diminished substitutes. People who become used to saying little become used to feeling little.

We often use technology to save time, but increasingly, it either takes the saved time along with it, or makes the saved time less present, intimate and rich. I worry that the closer the world gets to our fingertips, the further it gets from our hearts. It’s not an either/or — being “anti-technology” is perhaps the only thing more foolish than being unquestioningly “pro-technology” — but a question of balance that our lives hang upon.

Most of the time, most people are not crying in public, but everyone is always in need of something that another person can give, be it undivided attention, a kind word or deep empathy. There is no better use of a life than to be attentive to such needs. There are as many ways to do this as there are kinds of loneliness, but all of them require attentiveness, all of them require the hard work of emotional computation and corporeal compassion.

[Being attentive] can be messy, and painful, and almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die.

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This quote.