Thursday, July 31, 2014

Field Notes: July 2014

Inspired by a Hannah Brencher post, we want these field notes to be a place where we can share our favorite awesome posts, music, videos, ideas, sites, and general miscellany that we've come across during the month.

Always thought that crowns braids were too difficult for me to try, but I can actually do this crown braid bun. Yay for youtube hair tutorials!

While we're on youtube...I thought I was over these videos, but then I saw the #HappyMS version of Pharrell's "Happy."

I've made this baked macaroni and cheese so many times this summer.

Finally watched Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe. Light-hearted, classic movie.

For a newer movie, try The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. You'll immediately be inspired to go out and do something incredible as soon as it finishes.

Have you heard of Amy Poehler's Smart Girls? It's definitely a movement worth getting behind.

Here's a thoughtful article about How to Encourage Without Comparing.

Learning a new language is fun, but it's hard to remember to practice consistently. I've been using duolingo to brush up on French.
My laptop's desktop is now pretty and function thanks to this desktop organizer. For those who always have to be organized.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Journaling Tips

Jennifer suggested I do a post on writing letters, but since I've written about letters before (this post a while ago), I thought I'd post about keeping a journal instead.

I love the idea of keeping thoughts, lists, memories, reflections, and inspiration in a journal, but my journal writing has always been sporadic. I'd write for a couple days only to forget to write again for months. However, I've finally managed to write consistently for the past year. Here are some tips for those of you who are interested in keeping a journal, too.
First, here's what your journal doesn't have to be. 
  • Boring
  • Perfect
  • Time consuming
 If you're worried about any of these problems, you shouldn't be. Your journal just needs to work for you. It may or may not look like mine or anyone else's.

Things to Consider Before Starting
  • What materials do you want to use? Are you a paper and pen/pencil writer? Or do you prefer a computer format? I personally like to use an unlined sketchbook and Sharpie Pens. My writing is a complete mess on the page, but no one sees it except for me. If you're artistic (unlike me), you can choose from a variety of mediums.
  •  When do you want to journal? First thing in the morning? Right before bed? During lunch? Making time to journal a part of your routine means you're more likely to remember to do it.
  • What do you want to include in your journal? Simply writing "I did this. Then, I did this." can be boring. While I do like to write about my day, I've also been using a set of prompts to keep things interesting. I look forward to writing about something new each day. Another idea is to choose a closing for each entry - like listing three good things about your day. It's your journal, so you can put anything - travel lists, quotes, even countdowns - in there.
Keeping a journal is a great way to get your thoughts out of your head, to relax, and to think.

If you need some more ideas check out our journal prompts.

If you've never kept a journal before,
start simple. Then, experiment.

If you keep a journal, 
are there any tips you'd like to share in the comments?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Brie and Fig Jam Toast

Sometimes you need a savory, sweet, and simple snack. Here's one of my favorites.

You will need:

A slice of your favorite whole grain bread
Fig and Orange Spread
Brie (room temperature)

First, toast your bread. While it's in the toaster, cut the rind off your brie. I use about two cuts of brie, but you can use as little or as much as you like.

Once the bread is toasted, spread a little fig jam on the bread. Because figs are so sweet I don't recommend spreading the jam in a thick layer. Next, place your brie on the bread. And just like that you're finished and you have yourself a satisfying snack! Enjoy!

Tell us what you think. What are your favorite toast combinations?

Book Review: Zero Waste Home

A few years ago, through the media I heard about a family who threw away only a quart of garbage per year. I had forgotten all about the story until I saw Bea Johnson's Zero Waste Home at the bookstore. I thought I might find a few tips on how to live a more environmentally friendly or green lifestyle, but the book turned out to be even better than I had expected.

Johnson reminds readers that having stuff does not equal happiness. She stresses that simplicity creates a "fuller and more meaningful life." She refutes the notion that the zero waste lifestyle is expensive by stating that her family spent 40% less on annual household costs during the first year that they made changes. In addition to the personal benefits of reducing consumption and waste, Johnson points out that the actions each person takes every day affect the world. In places like the United States, we may not see firsthand the effect that our junk has, but that doesn't mean someone else isn't having to deal with the problems.

I recommend this book specifically for the following reasons:
  • Johnson focuses on the 5 Rs - Refusing, Reducing, Reusing, Recycling, and Rotting (composting) as a way to prevent waste from reaching landfills.
  • She gives specific examples of changes to make rather than general tips. For example, instead of simply telling readers to use reusable bags at the grocery store, Johnson describes specifically what she takes and how she limits waste when grocery shopping.
  • The resources mentioned throughout the book and at the end are more than enough for anyone who is interested in finding ways to reduce their impact on the environment. Instead of spending hours looking for these resources, you can find them in one place.
  • Johnson categorizes areas and specific items that most people can eliminate from their lives. While individual needs may differ, her suggestions help the readers think about what they truly need rather than racing to fill their homes with stuff just because everyone else has it.
I'd recommend this book for anyone who is interested in making a change to a simpler lifestyle. While you may not be able to throw away only a quart of garbage per year, even smaller changes can be beneficial.  There are plenty of ideas for simple changes that save money, reduce stress, and improve your health. 


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