January 26, 2018

Hey everybody, what a week! As I’m writing this I’m cold and dried out like a scaled creature and if you are too, drink and lotion up! If the world has you down, please see above photo of my dog’s perfect foot to boost your spirits before you get back out there.

  1. Octavia Butler’s intentions, written on the back of a notebook. “So be it! See to it!” It’s some amazing goal-setting.
  2. How to Rescue Your Dry and Cracked Winter Skin, Lifehacker. I’m taking furious notes on the guidance here, but I’ll add a shoutout to my favorite “my hands are wrecked someone send help” products – for greasy intense moisture I use Bag Balm (this does have lanolin, so watch out if you’re allergic), and for an everyday lotion that restores my skin but doesn’t make me an oil slick, I use Lumiere de Vie Intensive Hand Cream which is a little expensive but feels like velvet.
  3. 10 Must-Try Beauty DIYs, the Crafted Life. I really want to try making my own perfume, that sounds like so much fun (and like a much better use for vodka)! I’ve tried handmade lip balms before, but the rest of these are going on my Spring Projects list.
  4. I’m So Jealous of My Friend, Captain Awkward. One of the all-star Captain Awkward responses, about someone struggling to get over a friend’s success in the same field. The Captain shares some practical advice for focusing on your craft and re-framing how you feel when you compare yourself to successful people. I treasure these words.
  5. You’re Distracted. This Professor Can Help, The Chronicle of Higher Ed. This article might be behind a paywall for you, but I read it this week in my research on mindfulness and the college library and there are a few things that stuck with me. “…multitasking is actually rapid task switching, since the human brain does just one thing at a time…Mr. Mayr offers the example of watching television while doing homework from a textbook. While you’re trying to follow a story on television, you won’t be doing your homework, he says, and while doing your homework, you won’t get the TV story. Simple as that. What’s more, he says, you pay a price for switching—with moments of mental “dead time” unproductive for either task. For every activity, your brain must reconfigure itself to do a constellation of things required for the type of task.“ Ahh! Everything is telling me to stop multitasking and to show up for one thing at a time. I hope I’m getting better at it, day by day.

Here’s one more cool thing about basketball players moving in perfect synchronization.


January 19, 2018

Hi folks! The new semester is in full swing already (I had my first class come to the library yesterday!), and there’s a real January feeling over everything – that is, a bit chapped, full of reunions and clean slates. This week’s reads:

  1. 10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Blogging, Joy the Baker. I benefited from this advice as someone new to blogging (or rather, someone new to public blogging), and of course I appreciate the emphasis on being nice and being authentic. Both of those traits go a long way in any field.
  2. What if 2018 was your startup?, Graceless. Ok I just learned about Graceless, an “anti-aspirational” site that features writing for women who are “tired of the Supposed To and Should Have, and ready to Just Be.” I really liked this piece, the first I’ve read from them, about approaching a new year with a purpose, rather than with a checklist of things you wish you had the willpower to do. You may still end up with a list of goals and a meticulous list of steps to achieve them (or is that just me?), but they will be fueled by the “Why.” And remembering the why is what gets us through the toughest and dullest parts of reaching our goals.
  3. Why You Need “White Space” in Your Daily Routine. This read introduced me to the term “time scarcity,” (the idea of being chronically overscheduled) and how that inhibits our mental capacity. When I was in high school, I remember being frustrated that my parents maintained “margins” in their and my schedule – a little bit of time between each commitment, and at least one night a week with no commitments outside the home. But I am very grateful to that model of living now, when the pace of American culture has only gotten faster.
  4. Following Directions: A Metaphor for Something. Jennifer Peepas is one of my favorite writers (Captain Awkward). This is a good short one about struggling to be heard, coming from a thoughtful writer who dedicates a lot of her advice column to helping people find their voices. 
  5. Elevator Etiquette in Japan, Medium. A little late to this story but WOW. I love a good, if unofficial, post on etiquette. (One of these days I should dedicate a Friday5 to my favorite etiquette resources, or tips on manners…)

January 11, 2018

I’ve been reading so much this week it’s hard to decide what to share with you! Here are some favorites:

  1. Why Dressing Sloppily at the Gym Helps My Self-Esteem, Man Repeller. I really like this, perhaps because I also like to dress for comfort and movement over style. “I gradually replaced them with looser, softer things that gave my body permission to move freely, to expand and contract and stretch and take up space. The extra room extended to my mind as well — room to enjoy the experience of being active without unwelcome thoughts competing for attention.”
  2. Stop Letting Strangers Dictate What You Do With Your Day. The best part was: “Shift from saying “I can’t do that” to “I don’t do that”. Language is powerful, and simple tweaks to the way that you say “no” can have an outsize impact on people’s perception of you. In a 2012 study recently recapped in New York Magazine, researchers found that it was easier for people to stick to resolutions if they said “don’t” instead of “can’t.” So, for instance, you might say, “I don’t answer emails on Saturday” instead of “I can’t answer emails on Saturday”. When you say you “can’t do” something, it conveys weakness and inadequacy—giving the sense that you might want to do the task, but aren’t actually able to. Whereas when you say you “don’t do” something, it conveys power and conviction, a feeling of a rule to which you are staunchly committed.”
  3. Benefits of Mindfulness at Work: The Role of Mindfulness in Emotion Regulation, Emotional Exhaustion, and Job Satisfaction, Hulsheger, et al., 2012. I’m doing some professional research on the role of mindfulness in the library, and finding some really interesting stuff! Something new to me is the concept of surface acting, where workers (particularly in care or service positions) have to put on a face or fake a pleasant demeanor even when they don’t feel it, for the sake of the customer or company culture. Studies show this long-term surface acting makes you feel less genuine and affects your job satisfaction, but mindful practices can help!
  4. 100 Trend Predictions for 2018, Pinterest. This is a fascinating way to see all the information a social network is collecting about us, but it also feels like a peek into what “the cool people” are gonna be into this year.
  5. 10 New Principles of Good Design, Fast Company. Yes! These are some great ethical principles to consider.

Have a great weekend, friends!


January 5, 2018

Hello, 2018! What are your goals for this year? Do you prefer the word “goals,” “resolutions,” or “intentions”? I think each has implications for how you intend to achieve what you want (I personally prefer “goals” but intentions has a nice ring to it). The week of Christmas and New Years was very busy, so here’s what I’ve managed to read:

  1. Giant Days series, John Allison. I first got into John Allison’s comics through Kate Beaton recommending Bad Machinery, but I think I’m enjoying the more grown up but still totally fun Giant Days college series even more. I read the most recent issues on the plane, using the public library’s app!
  2. This Divorced Couple’s Viral Christmas Proposal Video Is The Best Thing You’ll See Today, Buzzfeed. Ok, more of a watch than a read, but it’s so sweet.
  3. The Broken Earth Series, N.K. Jemisin. Another book series (hey, it’s cozy season! time for books, not thinkpieces), and while this end-of-the-world science fiction isn’t for everyone (some violence, some darkness that lingers over you), the mystery of what’s really going on has kept me hooked through the first book and a half so far. A rec for anyone who likes good worldbuilding, diverse representation in fantasy characters, and anyone interested in the theme of hope when all seems (is?) lost. 
  4. Black Farmers Are Sowing The Seeds Of Health And Empowerment, NPR. This is a really cool thing!

  5. Let’s All Stop Saying Bless You, Lifehacker. I’d love to discuss this idea with you all – what do you think of cutting out this politeness norm that isn’t actually so polite? Etiquette is kind of fascinating; the fundamental values might remain the same (respect, making people feel comfortable and honored), but the specific rules about how to have good manners are always changing.

Also, sidenote: I’m working my way through two 30ish-day practices (Whole30 and Yoga With Adriene’s new TRUE series), and would love to hear how you are spending your January, either in the question box or on Facebook!