This month, I read Tsh Oxenreider's memoir/manifesto Notes from a Blue Bike and I thought... if you like reading Shop Good, you might really like this book.
In one sense, I am loathe to point everyone to another writer who is like me, but much farther along, with many more resources, more wisdom, and a published book… But, Tsh is just that good!
The truth is, I don’t read blogs much. [I am all the more swelled with gratitude when anyone takes the precious time to read mine – seriously, THANK YOU. It means so much to me.] I create, I work, I cook, I clean (ha ha, no I don’t), and I do read. I love novels & memoirs, I read the Bible. I try to keep up marginally with news/world events by reading the New Yorker and (honestly, shameful as it is to admit this as a news source) scanning the Facebook trending stories. But regular, devoted blog reading just doesn’t make the cut.
So, all that to say, I am no expert in Tsh Oxenreider’s giant of a writing hub, The Art of Simple. I’ve read a number of articles over time, and I like it. I like her. The like her contributors. We are simpatico. So, when I saw her book, Notes from A Blue Bike, on the library shelf, I snapped it up and have been devouring it ever since.
Tsh's blog/community hub, The Art of Simple
The overall point of the book is summed up in its subtitle: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World.
She discusses food, work, education, travel, entertainment, & money all under the banner of intentional living. Good living, living the way you want your life to look, she argues, doesn’t just happen. You have to make it happen. And you can.
I’m about as non-extreme as they get, though I do find that friends are increasingly tagging me in the comments of "buy less" articles or forwarding me videos on sustainable products (those friends are right; I love it all).
Maybe I seem extreme to you! I hope I’ve documented the journey enough along the way, so that it is clear that my ramblings have been a result of no extraordinary eureka, but more of a very slow journey. Tsh has documented her journey, and is very relatable, though I would say she is a more radically committed pilgrim than I am.
Her life, and most of her examples, center around life with kids, babies through grade school. So, if you are in that era of life, you will probably be the most to benefit or find interest here. But, as with any wise & grounded piece of work, there are snippets & profundity here for everyone.
Give it a read & let me know what you think. Or, if you are already familiar with The Art of Simple, share the articles that you have found most interesting or impactful below in the comments!
Every month, we need to put a category in our personal budget for gifts. There is always an event or occasion that is calling for a gift: Christmas, anniversary, birthdays, retirements, graduation, sympathy, gratitude, and on. And, like most people, we want to make the gifts that we give count! So how do we choose a gift that will be meaningful to the recipient?
Giving a gift is, of course, a subjective exercise; there is no perfect formula that will help you reach the “perfect gift”. However, there are certain questions you can ask that will help you choose a meaningful gift for your gift recipient:
Let’s look at these questions, some common gift-giving mistakes, and, finally, some meaningful gift ideas!
Our production partner, Basha, began in one little office in Dhaka, Bangladesh — the most densely populated city in the world. Over the many years they have been in business, creating kantha textiles & jewelry, they have expanded: both in number of staff, and also locations.
It was helpful for some women to leave the norm of their old life environment, to get away, to start fresh in a new city. So, Basha created different offices in varied locations. They established a girls' home to safely house daughters & other vulnerable young women as they come of age.
As Basha has continued to identify the great need of women in Bangladesh, there is another area they have expanded: actively seeking women in brothels & whispering the potential of a new life.
As I was packing for our first family international flight (to London UK), I wanted to make sure that we had everything we needed to make our overnight journey the most comfortable. As you know, those flights can be a little chilly - so I wanted to bring blankets for all of us. Naturally, I wondered...
Can I bring a blanket onto a plane?
In short: YES! According to the TSA you are allowed to both check a blanket in your luggage and to bring a blanket on a plane within a carry-on (and this also includes electric blankets). You can even bring your own blanket in your arms as you would a jacket or hat, without it counting towards your carry-on or personal item limits or paying any extra fees.