December 2016 archive

Start With ‘I Love You’

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It can be hard to be patient, compassionate, and loving, but these are all qualities I think we could use more of, especially during the holiday season.

I’ve set a goal (that I borrowed from comedian Whitney Cummings), that when dealing with anyone this week, I’ll say ‘I love you’ in my head before engaging in conversation with them. According to Cummings (and common sense), your interaction will go much better as a result.

We’ll see how it goes, and I encourage you to do the same.

Since it’s the holidays, and memes that say things like ‘It’s been lovely, but I have to scream now’ can be found on social media more than usual, I thought this tip might be helpful for surviving extra time with family members, and maybe this will even make it onto your list of goals for the new year.

Happy living, loving, and learning!

(Special Note: I actually look forward to spending my winter vacation with my family every year, otherwise I would pull a Four Christmases and come up with an excuse to opt out. However, I wrote the post above after reading about Whitney Cummings’ successes in Tools of Titans, and I agree that having love for family and those around you is generally a good rule of thumb!)

Holiday Quotes That Should Be Remembered Year-Round

I love meaningful quotes, and for the first time I’ve stumbled upon some holiday quotes that are not only appropriate for the season, but should be remembered all year. Here’s your short and sweet reminder to live simply and be happy every single day.

Happy living!

Favorite Christmas quotes this season:

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale

Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving, make every day a holiday and celebrate just living! ~Amanda Bradley

Love the giver more than the gift. ~Brigham Young

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3 Recently Released Books to Read During Winter Vacation

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When I went to check my jam-packed mailbox today, amidst all the bills and Christmas cards from friends, there were two thick bubble-wrapped packages that all book lovers recognize- yay for new books! Naturally, after opening them up, I realized my winter reading plan might make for a good blog post.

This winter as I unwind at my family’s North Carolina cabin, I plan to finally indulge in these two recently released books, plus another work of nonfiction from 2016 that I’ve had my eye on (warning: I haven’t actually read any of these yet, but they have great Amazon reviews and are written by trusted authors!):

Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything

by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

As a kid and through my teen years I wanted to be a sitcom writer; I grew up with Seinfeld, SNL (Tina Fey was my hero back when she was known for writing, not acting), and all the classic 90’s shows that made us millennials addicted to TV, but also heightened our curiosity about the action behind the scenes. That’s why I didn’t think twice about purchasing Seinfeldia. I’m not interested in hearing about the actors’ lives, but I’m told that this book focused on the writers and the unconventional approach that Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David took to creating a sitcom that broke all the rules. This winter, I hope to get a taste of the sitcom writing life that might have been.

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World Class Performers
by Tim Ferriss

In this phase of life, I’m not interested in taking on new routines and challenges because a book tells me to (not at the moment, anyway). However, I enjoy Tim Ferriss’s books, and after flipping through Tools of Titans at Barnes and Noble recently, I realized that I’m interested in this book for reasons beyond the content it includes. It’s almost formatted like the best encyclopedia or textbook you could imagine, with bolded words and boxes of interesting text on each page, which is not how bestselling authors typically organize their work. Because of the unique formatting (maybe it’s something I’ll try in the future..), and also because it had some great ‘get to sleep faster’ tips, I’m pretty excited to take a highlighter to the pages of this new release.

From Student to Professional: An Essential Communication Soft Skills Guide for Aspiring STEM Professionals
by Gino Perrotte

This one might be best suited to professors, students, recent graduates, or those looking to advance their career, but it was a surprise in the mail from one of my instructor friends, and I was just thrilled to see it in print and hold it in my hands. For all you teachers out there, grab this paperback and help prepare your future students for the real world with the valuable insights from Perrotte’s easy read.

Happy reading, learning, and living.

5 Office Essentials Everyone Needs When Working from Home


You can go online and look up lists of essential items you might need when working from home (like I’ve done in the past), but I can honestly tell you that different things work for different people.

Having said that, here are my general suggestions for anyone working from home, with some advice for making it fit your own distinct personality and situation:

  1. The best laptop that works for you

I’ve looked at a few different lists of ‘Best Laptops for Working from Home,’ only to realize that the number #1 choice was actually my husband’s current laptop (which I hate using). So instead taking someone else’s advice (and when it comes to computers, everyone has an opinion), consider your own personal style and preferences when deciding which laptop would be best for you.

  1.  Reliable smartphone

I chose to include the word ‘reliable’ here because I used my own iPhone 5 well past when I should have (including the last year of it’s life when it didn’t hold a charge, so I could only use it when plugged into my laptop or a portable battery); it probably wasn’t the best idea for someone whose business relies on being connected. If your career and livelihood depend on responding to texts, emails, and taking notes on your smartphone, splurge for the new model when you need one.

  1. Portable laptop speaker and/or headphones

You won’t always be able to control your environment, or the volume of YouTube tutorials or other videos you may need to watch (or in my case, student speech videos), so I recommend having a good, portable laptop speaker, and a few good pairs of headphones scattered around when you need them- in your home office, kitchen, purse, car, next to your bed, etc.

  1. A makeshift (or real) office

You’ll need some sort of quiet space (or a few) where you can take your work seriously. Over the past year I feel that I’ve turned a few random workspaces into offices- my kitchen, living room, actual office in my home, and some quiet corners of the local Panera and public library. If I didn’t feel that I could comfortably get some solid work done in these spots, the whole ‘work from home’ thing would be a disaster at this point.

  1. ‘Work’ clothes

Depending on your personality and situation, you might prefer to work in sweatpants and a big sweatshirt (like I do from time to time), or athleisure wear (which I upgraded to when I started feeling like a slob in my sweats), or maybe just a comfortable pair of jeans, a cardigan, and high end ballet flats (my trusty Michael Kors flats have never let me down) when working from the coffee shop.

Good luck to all you you location independent workers. Happy working!