Guys, Mondays are hard.
Even the best Mondays seem tortuous to get through, which is a bit of a conundrum to me—Monday's the beginning of a new week, a fresh start, a time to seize the day and run with it!
. . . that is, until you get to your desk, see dozens of blinking, unread e-mails, get buried under a mountain of paperwork and tasks, and feel general discontent that your beautiful weekend is already gone.
At the end of your work day, even though your home to-do list grows exponentially, the only energy you can muster is to sit on the couch with the TV blaring and your eyes gazing listlessly at the screen.
Sound familiar? We've all been there. And considering it's Monday night, some of us are still there.
But here's the question: how do we recover so that the rest of our bright, shiny week doesn't end in the same sad state of despair and laziness?
With this post, I mean to say one thing: you are important. The work you do is important. The energy you bring to this world is even more important. So, if you can do what you can to make your place a little brighter, a little more comfortable, then what are you waiting for?
Hope you all had a great week! It's a chilly Sunday here in Minnesota, perfect for lounging about with sweatpants, a good book, and warm coffee. I'm getting ready to make a pumpkin pie and settle in for the day, but before that, here's the new installment of the Sunday Link Roundup!
Food for Thought
In an incredibly surprising study, 90% of millennials said they would choose good credit over social media. Maybe we're not all self-absorbed brats after all.
This article from Greatist is a great reminder that maybe you don't have to have it all figured out by the time you're 30.
PSA: most people don't pay attention to every gross thing in your house when they visit; however, here's what they do notice.
Marriage isn't always a walk in the park. This essay from The Art of Simple reminds us that it's perfectly okay.
These no-show, knee-high socks seem perfect for my ballet flats that I refuse to stop wearing, even when snow hits the ground.
I love to add kale to stir fry, soups, and eggs, but it's such a pain to remove the leaves from the stems. Thanks, inventors of the world, for making my life a little easier with this fun gadget.
Things I Want to Eat
Tator tots are wonderful. Taco seasoning is delicious. How have I made it this long in life and never thought to combine the two?
French onion soup is one of my favorite comfort foods, and I love The Kitchn's fun twist on it with their French Onion Soup Casserole. YUM.
I stumbled upon the recipe for this Creamy Garlic Parmesan Macaroni and Cheese earlier this week, and made it for some of my friends. It may have been one of the best decisions I've ever made. Make it now.
Just for Fun
Are you an obsessive pet parent (like me) and a Harry Potter fan? If you're still in need of Halloween costume ideas for Fido, take a look at this collection of Harry Potter dog costumes. You can thank me later.
As their time in the Oval Office draws to a close, it's time to fondly reflect on the bromance of Obama and Joe Biden. This collection of tweets seems to do it justice.
From what I hear, parenting is hard. I literally laughed out loud at this Buzzfeed list of tweets from dads struggling to keep it together.
In Case You Missed It
Catch up on this week's posts--7 Ways to Find Yourself When You're a Bit Lost, Poem: The Witch, and Thoughts on Believing in Yourself.
Line of the Week
"Sometimes I think my papa is an accordion. When he looks at me and smiles and breathes, I hear the notes." - Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
(Today is my wonderful father's birthday, so the Line of the Week is for him. Happy birthday, Dad!)
Hey, you. It’s a Saturday morning, and I’m sitting here with a cup of coffee, my pup snuggled on my lap. And as I often do when surrounded by Cosmo cuddles, quiet, and warm beverages, I’m thinking.
I’m thinking about the novel I should write, all the research I need to do for it, the book of poetry I need to keep working on, and the list goes on and on. There are so many boxes to check off in my “Writer’s To-Do List.”
Whatever it takes to accomplish that dream, right?
But before my coffee grows cold, here’s my main thought of the day for you to consider:
We all have goals and dreams in this life—aspirations and passions that keep us chugging along when the minutiae of it all threatens to drag us down.
Not only that, this world is trying so hard to make you fail. It doesn’t matter if you’re a singer, writer, artist—there are so many people out there, doing the same thing you do, probably just as well, and they’re all trying just as hard to achieve success. Plus, on top of working to meet your goal and rise to the top of the crowd, we have families, work responsibilities, and the hard work of simply staying alive on a day-to-day basis.
How do we rise to the top of a sea that never settles, constantly threatening to toss us overboard?
It’s simple--believe in yourself. It’s half the battle.
C.S. Lewis once said, “We are what we believe we are.”
We can’t control the actions of everyone else trying to be better than you, nor can we control the context in which you’re attempting to thrive—life has its own agenda. But you can control your own circumstances and attitudes.
If you want to be a writer, you need to say you’re a writer. Dream about it, declare it, write constantly, and wear that title on your sleeve. You want to be a great parent? Do you what you need to do to live up to your own guidance of that. This works in literally every situation. If you believe you’re amazing, then you’re just one step closer to actually being there.
But don’t doubt yourself, don’t knock yourself down, don’t believe you’re capable of anything short of greatness.
The rest of the world will do enough of that for you.
If you believe in yourself and the quality of your work, everything else comes more easily.
It’s a hard battle, full of obstacles and doubt, but it’s necessary to realize the best version of you possible.
For what it’s worth, I believe in you, too. Now go out there and make something beautiful.
Halloween is by far my favorite holiday. I love the fantasy, horror movies, and tales that set your nerves on edge—the whole thing.
In honor of Halloween's impending arrival, I'm changing things up with today's poem—it's a little creepier and has a few more cobwebs hanging from the rafters. Stay spooky, friends!
I'm here to let you in on a little secret: this world doesn't want you to be yourself.
We live in a confusing, change-encouraging society. In the midst of chaos, surging emotions, tense political battles, and the like, it's far too easy to forget who we are—to lose our grounding on a shaky sea.
And in this hurricane, I'm sometimes left shivering and wondering: who the hell am I?
Maybe you're like me and sometimes forget the things that make you you--your goals, what you find funny, the silly bits that enjoys watching cat videos for hours on end, your idiosyncrasies, and so on.
Just calm down, take a breath, and use these seven tricks to try to reconnect with You:
Above all else, remember this: when you lose yourself and all feels hopeless, you will always be there. You might be hiding in the very crevices of your soul, but all of your hopes, desires, and dreams remain.
And there's nobody better than you, you authentic, wonderful thing.
Often when you hear people discuss physical things, they throw around the phrase "quality over quantity"—the expensive, well-made shoes are worth more in the long run than the eight pairs of cheap sneakers in your closet, the subject matter of the books in your collection holds more weight than the number of stacks, and so on.
But less often do you hear the concept applied to people—living, breathing things with personalities that are harder to quantify or appraise.
Let me tell you about my dear friend, Becky. Inseparable in college, we practically finished each other's thoughts and spent every possible second together for years; then, as it often does, life happened. She graduated and moved to grad school across the country. Devastated doesn't seem correct for the way I felt the day she left; as we described it earlier today, I felt as though my tribe abandoned me.
We keep in touch as well as we can via e-mail, texts, and phone calls, but coordinating time to connect in the midst of marriages, careers, and differing time zones proves difficult. Even though we communicate less, I always feel that she walks by my side during every big event and every time I doubt myself.
Being separated by so many miles, Becky and I rarely get to see each other in person (usually only once every year or so). I treasure every minute of that time. We laugh, cry, and babble philosophically as though we never parted.
And why am I telling you this?
Today, I had the distinct pleasure of spending the afternoon with my Becky, and it was another one of those moments—the move never happened, the miles didn't exist, the talking never stopped.
Relationships, too, boil down to quality vs. quantity.
I may not get to spend several days a week with my friends that I love so much, or my family that lives across the state, but when I do, I make sure that those moments count.
I've discussed the importance of being present and enjoying the best times of your life while you're in them; this is a concept with which I continue to struggle. But as I sat there, laughing over a glass of wine with a friend who's been through so much with me, I didn't want to be any place other than that moment in time.
You may have a lot of friends, and if you do, that's great—I hope you cherish them and make sure they know how much you appreciate them. But if you're like me, keep your small crew of friends close and squeeze them with so much love that they'll never doubt your affection.
Record each moment in your personal happiness book and appreciate every second. You may never have that moment with those people ever again.
And so today, I say thank you to my friends—thank you for your love, thank you for your loyalty, thank you for always being there when I needed a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen.
But most importantly, thank you for being quality.
Cosmo and I went on a walk today, just like we do any other day. It's been a while since we needed to bundle up, but the biting Fall air felt a little more like early Winter. Against his will, I zippered the pup up in his jacket, outfitted myself in a hat and mittens, and headed out the door.
After about 30 minutes in the chilly but beautiful outdoors, with the sun fading into the skyline, we migrated back inside to the warmth of our house.
As I removed our excessive layers and Cosmo attempted to shake off the imaginary water rolling down his back, I looked around and took in the view.
Our home isn't anything special—a standard 1970s-era split-level in a cul-de-sac. There's far too much paneling in the basement and carpet too old to ever be considered fashionable. The ceilings sparkle with the artificial popcorn spray that invades many suburban homes. There's so many projects to be done to this place, so many things that could be improved.
But I wouldn't change a thing.
Our home isn't anything special, but it's just that—home.
The entryway where I stand is where I drunkenly asked Evan if he was going to kiss me for the first time. When I look in the living room, I'm reminded of the sparse setting for one of our first dates: a big-screen TV, nothing on the walls, Evan's hand-me-down floral sofa, and Seinfeld filling the room. When I walk down to the basement, I see the fireplace where he proposed to me on Valentine's Day almost three years ago. The kitchen emits the scent of the meals we've made together, the wine consumed, the birthdays celebrated. The walls are full of wedding pictures, family photos, and souvenirs of great times.
Every inch of our home pulsates with memories. These are the places where we've lived, loved, and tried to grow up together (as hard as it proves at times).
Sure, it's often covered in piles of laundry, stacks of mail for sorting, and eight million books, but to me, it's perfect.
Whenever I look around, I'm reminded that a home isn't just a physical building. It's a place where not only your loved ones live, but where your love lives.
Coziness is basking in the incredible glow of that love, embracing it, and looking beyond its faults. Much like our house, our love isn't perfect. But I've never felt happier or warmer than I do when I'm snuggled up in this place, with this man, with this life.
Happy October, friends! 'Tis the season for apple cider, scary movies, and snuggles on the couch. (Cosmo and I are actively enjoying the last one now). While you lounge and plan out your Halloween costume, here's Issue #9 of the Sunday Link Roundup!
Food for Thought
Sometimes the youngest minds illuminate issues the best; this short video from SheKnows features kids reacting to the first 2016 Presidential Debate (wining line? "Just pay your taxes, dude.")
Elizabeth Gilbert is an expert on creativity and an inspiring force to be reckoned with. Here's a collection of some of her most noteworthy quips.
Also speaking of creative types, it's essential for creative writers, editors, artists, etc. to have an online portfolio to represent their work. This article from The Everygirl gives some great tips on how to build your portfolio.
I really enjoyed this article on The Simple Things about why Jerusalem Greer will not buy a FitBit because of our numbers-obsessed society.
If you follow me on Instagram, you might notice I'm a bit enamored with Gilmore Girls (have been since it originally aired on TV). While I'm waiting for the reboot to launch in November, I might need to pick up this cookbook and learn to Eat Like a Gilmore.
This adorable art print about Animal Professions is intended for a child's room, but I think I might want it for myself. So cute!
Things I Want to Eat
Slow cooker + cheese + pasta = win.
If you haven't had Eggs Florentine, you absolutely need to. It's a beautiful blend of Mornay sauce, poached eggs, and spinach. Here's a recipe in case you're craving breakfast foods all day long (like me).
As you all know, pumpkin is the King of Fall. Celebrate its reign with this gorgeous pumpkin pull-apart bread.
Just for Fun
It's a known fact that happy animals are the best ever. Look away at this collection and try not to smile.
Guys, voting is important. Will and Grace is important. Watch and bask in the glory of this moment in pop culture.
I'm anxiously waiting for The Girl on the Train movie to come out, since the book was so sensational. The Everygirl has our back and assembled a list of six thrillers to read while we wait.
In Case You Missed It
Catch up on this week's posts--Learning to Embrace Vulnerability and a Brief Commentary on Limits.
Also, I had an article on Thought Catalog this week! Check it out here.
Line of the Week
"I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was." - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs
While I'm working, I often pour myself a nice mug of tea—especially in the Fall, when I can indulge in delicious, warm flavors like cinnamon and licorice. (This one in particular is the best.)
Yesterday's editing involved a challenging client project that tested me both mentally and emotionally—and when I reached for my steaming hot tea specifically poured to calm me down, I noticed some writing on the tag, which said:
"You are unlimited."
Normally I agree with the little inspirational quips on the tea tags, but man, do I disagree with this.
Yes, you should believe in your potential. Yes, you should push yourself professionally, personally, and emotionally. But everything has its limits. Especially you.
I've written before about the importance of self-care; how can you take care of others when you aren't taking care of yourself?
Speaking from my experience, we try so hard to do everything: to have amazing careers, a flourishing side gig, beautiful homes, take care of picture-perfect families, and build watertight relationships with loved ones.
I'm going to say it: it's just too much.
On a weekly basis, I reach a breaking point and something has to give. Maybe the blog only gets one post that week instead of three. Maybe I let our house fall into a state of constant clutter for a while. Maybe Cosmo doesn't get an hour-long walk every day (sorry, buddy). And it's totally okay.
We can't think of ourselves as a constantly regenerating machine, ready to give to others endlessly. Your daily ability to keep going is finite—a tank that slowly loses its contents.
You can refill your tank by taking care of yourself; it's a simple concept, I know, but so many of us neglect it. Relax, read a book, eat some real food, exercise, or get some sleep. It's that easy.
Just for a moment, take a breath and remember that you need to take care of yourself and respect your limits. As productivity expert David Allen once said, "You can do anything, but not everything."
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to spend an entire weekend on the couch reading—not cleaning my messy house, not working on articles or editing, not feeling like I should do anything. And it's going to be beautiful.
Writer, editor, and storyteller living in the Twin Cities.