In the midst of massive move prep and decluttering, I’m focusing on a few little things that are bringing me pleasure and adding value to my life this month.


Products That Add Value:

Noli yoga pants. I have the Twilight, and I love them. They are soft, warm, just the right amount of stretchy, and I don’t have any concerns with coverage. They stay in place and have a fun style that offers a twist on the standard black pant. I’ve enjoyed wearing these to yoga but also around the house during these winter months.

jcoco Chocolate Arabica Cherry Espresso in Dark Chocolate. I’m always seeking quality chocolate, and these offer a delicious blend of dark chocolate, cherry, and just a bit of an espresso kick. I also love the package that gives you three perfect snack sizes within the bar. I’ve tried a few other jcoco flavors, but this is my favorite.

Content That Makes Me Think And Dream:

I participated in my first Instagram challenge this month, following along with Tammy Strobel/Rowdy Kittens’ #tinypleasures2017 experience. I really enjoyed the small focus this exercise brought to each day as I found an experience — either current or historic — and captured an associated photograph for that day’s prompt. The photo above, of a deserted Montana highway, is one of my favorites. Today, I publish a top 5 photo to complete the experience. I really enjoyed finding some new instagram friends and followers during the month, and will certainly do something like this again in the future.

Inspirational Happenings:

At the end of February, I had the chance to go and see V.E. Schwab, author of one of my top books of 2016, speak and promote her recent release of book three, A Conjuring of Light, one of my 2017 Reading Challenge selections. I’ve gone to see a number of authors speak over the years, and Schwab’s was one of the more engaging experiences. I enjoyed the way she structured the event, kicking it off with some moderated discussion, and then opening up for audience questions. I was able to ask her for her favorite reads in the past year, and she recommended Lab Girl (amazon | powells ), which is on my TBR; The View From the Cheap Seats (amazon | powells ), which I’m reading now (and now regret that I didn’t get on audio…); and Furiously Happy (amazon | powells ), which I  haven’t read. (I read the earlier book by Jenny Lawson, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (amazon | powells ) in 2012 and gave it a solid three stars.)

I scribbled down a few notes from Schwab’s comments, which I’ve paraphrased below, and ultimately walked away with some extra doses of writing motivation. I’m so happy I was able to squeeze this in during our final days before the move.

“If you write for yourself first, you will never be disappointed”

— talking about writing for diverse audiences and the capricious nature of the publishing world.

“You always have to write it wrong first.”

— I feel like I need to inscribe this in permanent marker on my laptop. One of the things I love about Schwab’s writing is her incredible use of the English language. (This also very much came through in her remarks; she’s very well spoken, witty, and demonstrates an excellent vocabulary.) In my early drafts and fiction efforts, I am always hung up on the language. Schwab’s encouragement to just write it – even if it’s messy and wrong and not at all pretty – is not the first time I’ve heard this advice, but it made an impression no less.

“Language teaches us the dynamics between characters.”

– talking again about the use of language and particularly original/created language in writing about and between characters. I just thought this was a very true but easily overlooked comment.

Ultimately, Schwab came across as likable and sharp in person as she does on the page, and I think she’d be a great person to get a drink with — whether tea or of the stronger variety.

What brought you joy, value, or inspiration this month? I’d love to hear about it!

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