Shared posts

29 Jul 15:21

three-ingredient summertime salsa

by deb

three ingredient summertime salsa

There’s nothing worth eating in Texas that Lisa Fain can’t teach you to make better in your own kitchen, from perfect, simple carnitas, kolaches, and chicken-fried steak to breakfast tacos, frito pie and peach buttermilk ice cream, plus two cookbooks worth of wonders (drool break for the buttermilk and bacon fat flour tortillas from her latest) but my favorite recipe of hers uses only three ingredients and is addictive enough to put on everything.

what you'll need + onion I add
getting ready for the broiler

Google offers windows into at least 3.8 million iterations of “perfect homemade salsa” — I mean, the red, spicy stuff we went through two jars a week of when I was a freshman in college — but I find most of them terrifyingly complicated. Many have nearly a dozen ingredients ranging from sugar to cumin, or call for very specific brands of tomatoes, like Ro-Tel, which isn’t particularly easy to find outside of Texas or well-stocked bodegas in NYC. Fain’s recipe shrugs at all this fussing, and tells you to go to the market when tomatoes are overflowing, halve a bunch on a tray along with a couple garlic cloves and jalapenos, broil them until they’re charred and blend them until you get your desired consistency and just forget about eating salsa another way ever again.

broiled until charred

... Read the rest of three-ingredient summertime salsa on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to three-ingredient summertime salsa | no comment to date | see more: Photo, Quick, Summer, Tex-Mex, Tomatoes, Vegetarian

29 Jul 15:40

"Write an entire monologue with your main character if you have to. Spend a chapter just exploring..."

by capitanoll
“Write an entire monologue with your main character if you have to. Spend a chapter just exploring the life story of an antagonist. They don’t have to be scenes in chronological order. They don’t even have to end up in your book. But they will help you to keep going.

Because you must keep going. Just a little more. You are stubborn. You are exhausted. You are determined. You are a Writer.”

- marielubooks, on making it through the dark swamp.
10 Jul 15:09

brownie ice cream sandwiches

by deb
Jessica Kendrick


brownie ice cream sandwiches

Within reason, I think if you’re craving something, you should go for it, although this theory is mostly born of my own poor logic. I’ve all too many times craved, say, a brownie but thought I shouldn’t eat a brownie and so instead snacked on (just for a completely random example) 12 almonds, 1 slice of cheese, half an apple, 1 banana and then, oops, a handful of chocolate chips, amounting roughly 3x the calories of a brownie, a brownie that I craved exactly as much as I did 500 calories ago. And so, when I really want a brownie, I make my favorite brownies and we each eat one and then I stash the rest in the freezer, so they are not out on the counter, calling to me that we haven’t been cut in a straight line and you should really even us out or we’re going to go bad soon and you don’t want us to go to waste or any of those things that brownies tell me when we’re alone together.

salt, chocolate, vanilla, eggs, butter, flour and sugar

[Hm, here I should probably interject some sort of "sure, okay, brownies talk to me but I'm not like crazy or anything; it's not weird. Brownies talk to everyone, right? Haha?" reassurance but I'm not going to. I'm going to make this as awkward as possible.]

melt the chocolate and butter

... Read the rest of brownie ice cream sandwiches on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to brownie ice cream sandwiches | 158 comments to date | see more: Chocolate, Ice Cream/Sorbet, Photo, Summer

17 Jul 15:36

grilled peach splits + news!

by deb

grilled peach splits

The problem, if there could be one, is that if a 30-something with a kid out of diapers ever says to a group of people, “I have news!” certain presumptions are made. So, to quell any wild ideas before they take off, no, this is not that kind of news. I’m sorry; we’re bummed too.

pecan sandies crumbles
tangy whipped cream

But I have other news, which means we are so overdue for a catch-up/tell-all/gossip session, so pull up a chair. I’ll go first:

oops, too dark!

... Read the rest of grilled peach splits + news! on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to grilled peach splits + news! | 235 comments to date | see more: Announcements, Grilling, Ice Cream/Sorbet, Peach, Summer

25 Jul 17:24

Garage Update: Outdoor Toy Organization

by Jennifer Jones
Jessica Kendrick

Organized garages are sexy. Hint hint Arthur.

This has been one of those projects that seems to drag on FOREVER.  I was looking up old posts and we started finishing our walls back in August of 2012 when we installed our sports station!  That is almost two years now that we have had a stack of beadboard paneling waiting to be installed on our walls and trimmed out.  Well, one wall is finally done!  I guess waiting two years makes the celebration process that much sweeter.

You can catch up on our garage story and progress here.  Long story short, the entire space is getting brand-spankin' new storage so that it is simple to maintain.  We built in boatloads of overhead storage which I will share when I finish painting it up.  That will get a lot of the larger items up and off the floor and tucked away out of sight.  All we want left out on the walls is the items we use daily, such as lawn toys / games, sports equipment and bikes.

As soon as hubby finished caulking up the last hole in the beadboard, I couldn't wait to get to work on the newly empty corner of our garage.  The corner previously held our gardening supplies, but we actually put our garden shed to use, and that left this corner as the ideal location for outdoor toys.  In fact, it is right near the opening of the garage, making it super simple for the boy's and their pals to access everything they need for a day of outdoor play.

After we had ripped out our previous walk-in closet a few years ago, we saved a few pieces of the track shelving system (which I believe was purchased at Menards back in the day).  It was the perfect solution for this nook, as it is durable and the open shelves prevent too much dust build up.  I also love that they are adjustable to allow us to customize each shelf to our needs.

Installation is simple and only requires locating the studs in the wall using a level to make sure the top rail is installed correctly.  It went up in a jif!

You may recall that in the chaos of the garage, I had dumped their items onto the front porch.  Then we cleaned that up and moved them to the backyard until storage day.  

Before filling up the shelves with all of the boy's belongings, I took inventory of everything and gathered bins and baskets from around the garage and home.  I began sorting everything down by type, and made a list of the labels that I needed to create.

For any bin or basket with a flat surface, I cut word labels with my Silhouette die cutting machine.  For everything else, I painted up some unfinished wooden tags, and affixed the vinyl lettering to those.  In typical Jen fashion, I went a little label crazy. 

My entire thought process was sticking with what has worked well for us in the past.  I break the toys down by type and put everything into portable bins.  This allows the boys to grab a bin to take out to the yard and easily return the bins and contents to the shelf when they are done. 

For outdoor storage, I always select finishes which are weather friendly.  Galvanized steel, plastic and outdoor rattan were all used for this project.  That way if anything is left in the rain, no worries.  These finishes also make for easy dusting and cleaning.

The teal and green plastic totes were purchased at the dollar store and are lightweight and portable, which is perfect for quick trips to the park.

The green metal pails are my favorite.  They are from IKEA and remind me of the adorable versions from PB Kids. 

For all of the random sized balls that are used for impromptu neighborhood dodge ball matches and kickball games, I found an oversized wire basket from Target.

Bike gear remained in a bin we were using previously in another area of the garage.  It just received a sweet new label.

Squirt guns, life jackets and other water gear is in a portable plastic tote which is ideal for day trips to the beach.  Didn't those labels turn out darling?  Happy sigh....

There is a step stool nearby for the boys should they need anything higher, and for the items we didn't want little hands to reach, they we placed in bins on the top shelf.

Sometimes it is the quick and easy projects that really motivate us to continue on with the less fun items; like installing the rest of the beadboard and trim and finishing up the painting of the overhead cabinets.  But oh the difference the beadboard walls are making to the entire garage.  It is like ten windows were installed with how open, clean and bright it feels.  And we also have plans to update the lighting, build a new step and paint the doors.  One day at a time my friends, one day at a time...

I couldn't even finish getting everything in bins and on the shelves before half the neighborhood kiddos were down grabbing things and playing in the yard with the boys.  I love that leaving everything out and easy to access really promotes instant play.  A total summer saver for sure!

Sandbox toys are stored in our outdoor bench in the backyard, you can check that out here.
23 Jul 16:02

13 Tips for Getting More Reading Done.

by (Gretchen Rubin)
Jessica Kendrick

Agree or disagree? What makes reading a super skill?

booksfromsideEvery Wednesday is Tip Day.
This Wednesday: 13 tips for reading more.

Of my hundreds of happiness-project resolutions, and of the habits I’ve tried to form, one of my very favorites is to Read more.

Reading is an essential part of my work. It forms an important part to my social life. And far more important, reading is my favorite thing to do, by a long shot. I’m not a well-rounded person.

But reading takes time, and there aren’t many days when I can read as much as I’d like. Here are some habits that I’ve adopted to help me get more good reading done.

1. Quit reading. I used to pride myself on finishing every book I started. No more. Life is short. There are too many wonderful books to read.

2. Read books you enjoy. When I’m reading a book I love—for example, I’m now reading Charles Portis’s True Grit — I’m astonished by how much time I find to read. Which is another reason to stop reading a book I don’t enjoy.

3. Watch recorded TV. It’s much more efficient to watch recorded shows, because you skip the commercials and control when you watch. Then you have more time to read.

4. Skim. Especially when reading newspapers and magazines, often I get as much from skimming as I do by a leisurely reading. I have to remind myself to skim, but when I do, I get through material much faster.

5. Get calm. I have a sticky note posted in our bedroom that says, “Quiet mind.” It’s sometimes hard for me to settle down with a book; I keep wanting to jump up and take care of some nagging task. But that’s no way to read. Incidentally, one of the main reasons I exercise is to help me sit still for reading and writing — if I don’t exercise, I’m too jumpy.

6. Don’t fight my inclinations. Sometimes I feel like I should be reading one book when I actually feel like reading something entirely different. Now I let myself read what I want, because otherwise I end up reading much less.

7. Always have something to read. Never go anywhere empty-handed. I almost always read actual ye olde print books, but I travel with e-books, too, so I know I’ll never be caught without something to read. It’s a great comfort.

8. Maintain a big stack. I find that I read much more when I have a pile waiting for me. Right now, I have to admit, my stack is so big that it’s a bit alarming, but I’ll get it down to a more reasonable size before too long.

9. Choose my own books. Books make wonderful gifts – both to receive and to give – but I try not to let myself feel pressured to read a book just because someone has given it to me. I always give a gift book a try, but I no longer keep reading if I don’t want to.

10. Set aside time to read taxing books. For Better Than Before, my book about habit-formation, I tried a new reading habit, “Study.” Every weekend, I spend time in “study” reading — which covers books that I find fascinating, but that are demanding, and that I might put down and neglect to pick up again. The kind of book that I really do want to read, but somehow keep putting off for months, even years. Right now, my Study book is E. H. Gombrich’s Art and Illusion: a Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation.

And finally, some tips from great writers and readers:

11. Randall Jarrell: “Read at whim! Read at whim!

12. Henry David Thoreau: “Read the best books first, otherwise you’ll find you do not have time.

13. Samuel Johnson: “What we read with inclination makes a much stronger impression. If we read without inclination, half the mind is employed in fixing the attention; so there is but one half to be employed on what we read.”

Maybe you don’t love to read, so finding more time to read isn’t a challenge for you. The larger point is to make sure you’re finding time to do whatever it is that you find fun. Having fun is important to having a happy life, yet it’s all too easy for fun to get pushed aside by other priorities. I have to be careful to make time for reading, or, even though I love to read, I might neglect it.

Also, having fun makes it easy to follow good habits; when we give more to ourselves, we can ask more of ourselves. If reading is a treat for you, it’s a good idea to make time for it. To hear when my habits book goes on sale, sign up here.

If this list appeals to you, check out Daniel Pennac’s The 10 Inalienable Rights of the Reader.

Have you found any good strategies to find more time to read – or to do whatever it is you find fun?

24 Jul 15:47

Battling Clichés & Tired, Old Tropes: Foreigners as Food

by ollintern
Jessica Kendrick

I've never thought about this.


It’s an age-old writers’ question: What do I do about clichés and well-worn tropes? This month, we’ve asked authors about the clichés and tropes they find themselves falling back on, and how they fix, invert, or embrace them. Today, Mitali Perkins, author and editor of , discusses the problem of using food as a descriptor:

CLICHÉ: Using food to describe a character’s skin color or race

Have you noticed how writers sometimes describe the physical appearances of non-white characters? A default strategy is to use food-related metaphors and similes. Does your Chinese character have almond-shaped eyes? Does your Nigerian love interest have skin like dark chocolate or espresso? If so, you may have fallen into the dreaded “Foreigner as Food” trope. (If all your characters are white, you’ve probably managed to avoid this particular trap, but consider asking if your setting and plot truly demands that sort of cast—but wait, that’s not my beef here. Even though my skin is the color of a well-done burger.) 

I have no idea why we default to food when we describe the skin, eyes, and hair of people who aren’t white. And believe me, white writers are not the only ones who do this without thinking. It affects all of us who grew up reading fiction mostly featuring white characters. Maybe we have good subconscious intentions. The edible stuff we use to describe nonwhite appearances typically is familiar and tasty—maybe we’re trying to help our readers feel closer to marginalized characters. Now they are neither strange nor foreign! They are yummy!

Our English-language capability for describing the physical characteristics of white characters has deeper roots: English is an Anglo-Saxon language by origin, and the Western literary tradition has long been used to describe those of European descent. But times are a’changing, and so is this amazing language. It keeps accepting new words from other lands and generations, setting a great example of mutability and flexibility for writers.

The eyes of our white characters are rarely described by a comparison to food. They’re as blue as the Scottish sea, or the summer sky, or the jays that wake you with their song. Alternatively, they’re emeralds, or sage, or moss, or—well, you get the picture. Why aren’t non-white characters compared to this wider range of beauty?

Writers, here’s the challenge: let’s create fresh ways to describe the appearances of God’s children. Let’s leave behind the kitchen and grocery store for a while to see—really see—all the colors of our beautiful planet. Let’s commit to using the fast-changing breadth and width and depth of the English language to describe a diversity of characters with integrity and imagination.

Are you in? Good, because I want to see those milky, chocolate, or caramel fingers flying across your keyboards … Oh, shoot. Do as I say, friends. Do as I say.

imageMitali Perkins has written nine novels for young readers, including Rickshaw Girl (chosen by the New York Public Library as one of the top 100 books for children in the past 100 years) and Bamboo PeopleMitali graduated from Stanford University in Political Science and received her Masters in Public Policy from U.C. Berkeley. After spending the last 13 winters in Boston, Mitali now lives and writes in the San Francisco Bay Area.
15 Jul 21:35

Video: For Habits, the Strategy of First Steps.

by (Gretchen Rubin)
Jessica Kendrick

I normally dont watch her videos but for whatever reason I did and this one makes a really interesting point. Stopping is a habit. I've never thought about stopping as a habit!

I’m doing a video series in which I discuss the various strategies that we can use for habit-formation.

Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life, and a significant element of happiness. If we have habits that work for us, we’re much more likely to be happy, healthy, productive, and creative. My forthcoming book, Better Than Before, describes the multiple strategies we can exploit to change our habits. To hear when it goes on sale, sign up here.

I identify four strategies that are so essential that I call them the “Pillars of Habits”: Monitoring, Accountability, Scheduling, and Foundation.

Today I’m going to talk about the Strategy of First Steps, which is one of the three Strategies that relate to “The Best Time to Begin.” (Here’s a complete list of the Strategies.)


Want to read more about some of the ideas I mention in the video?

I mention “tomorrow logic,” which is related to the ever-popular Tomorrow Loophole. The fact is, once we’re ready to begin, the best time to start is now.

I also mention that some people do better when they start small; others, when they start big. This is a key distinction to understand about yourself, one which I cover in the Strategy of Distinctions.

I suggest that we should be wary of stopping. There are many reasons for this, and one is the danger of the finish line.

Finally, I refer to the “don’t break the chain” approach to habit-formation. Many people find this very useful.

How about you? Have you found First Steps to be a particularly important phase in your habit-formation?

If you’re reading this post through the daily email, click here to join the conversation. And if you’d like to get the daily blog post by email, sign up here. You can ignore that RSS business.

16 Jul 11:00

Wardrobe Wednesday - Stitch Fix Review

by Megan // Honey We're Home
Jessica Kendrick

Honestly this seems like the best idea in the world.

I'm so excited to share a fun and new (to me) clothing find- Stitch Fix!  One of my favorite mom's at my son's school told me about it a few months ago.  I signed up, but wanted to see how it went before sharing it here with y'all in case I didn't like it.  I've been a member for awhile now and I'm pretty hooked on it!  

With Stitch Fix, you fill out a personal style profile, including info about your size (height, weight, bra size, how you like things to fit, etc.), and then they send you five pieces of clothing to try on in the privacy of your own home as often as you want (I get mine once a month, but you can get them every 2-3 weeks or every other month).  You can keep everything or return it all if you don't like it.  I've found the prices are pretty reasonable too (in the $30 - $80 dollar range).  

Have y'all heard of Stitch Fix or tried it?  I swear, I must be living under a rock sometimes . . .   If you try it out now and use my referral link, I'll get $25 in Stitch Fix credit.  You'll get a referral link to share if you sign up too.  I'm so curious to see what other people get in their fixes.  Please feel free to share with me!

Here are some of my Stitch Fix items I've received in the last few months.  This dress is something I might have passed up in the store- I wasn't sure how the colors would look on me, but I liked the pattern.  As soon as I tried it on, I knew I was keeping it.  The fit was so good and it's made of a lightweight cotton material that is perfect for this time of year.  It's hard to tell in this picture, but it zips in the back.

I'm wearing the dress with my Sam Edelman Alva sandals (they sold out at Nordstrom, but are currently on sale at Zappos).  One of the things I like about Stitch Fix is that, when they send you your box of items, they include a wardrobe card that gives you several outfit options using the things they sent you.  This gives you lots of ideas for how to get the most mileage out of your clothes.  I don't think they suggested pairing this dress with a denim vest from Marshall's, but I threw it on and I like how it looks!  

This lace top from Stitch Fix is awesome!  Again, I was a little iffy about how it would look on, but it ended up fitting perfectly.  The cut is great and it has two small slits in the back that give it more charm.  I wore it in Dallas at the Haven conference and would also wear it out to dinner or to church and brunch.  It came with a white stretchy tank top to wear underneath too.   The necklace is the Stella & Dot Avalon- one of my go-to's.

The jeans are Stitch Fix too.  They are slightly distressed (not too much) and really comfortable.  I love it when I don't have to alter jeans!  This same outfit would look good with boots and a scarf when the weather gets a little cooler.  And add a blazer.  Nice, new outfit!

Here's another Stitch Fix top (navy and white stripes) that I wore in Dallas recently.  It's so easy to wear and would also look great with denim or white jeans.  I like the way it's cut in the back too.  The strawberry necklace was a gift from one of my close friends years ago.  The shorts are Express and I've worn those Nine West wedges forever! 

This Stitch Fix drapey light-coral top is so good!  It's really soft and the blousy nature of it is pretty forgiving in the waist.  I probably would have passed this up in the store because it doesn't look so good on the hanger.  And that's the Stella & Dot Rebel Pendant necklace- super popular.  The white jeans are old from Express.  

It's pretty fun to get a surprise package in the mail and see what's inside. My first "fix" I kept two of the five things, and returned the other three.  (They give you a return envelope with pre-paid shipping for you to drop off at any USPS location within three days of receiving the package).

One of the things I returned was a heavy sweater and on the feedback you can provide, I made sure to tell them that I live in Houston and it's hot here, so no sweater necessary right now (was a couple months ago).  Had it been Fall, I would've kept it because it was really cute (rust colored asymmetrical with a zipper).  I also returned a black and gold cuff bracelet in a chevron pattern because I figured I have enough accessories.  And it was $35.  I figured I could probably find something similar cheaper.   

The two items I kept were a black and white striped lightweight long-sleeve top and the pair of jeans above.  The top has become one of my favorite things in my closet.  It has a bit of a frayed edge seam at the neck and cuff.  Those small details are part of what I like with the Stitch Fix clothes.

When my friend was initially telling me about Stitch Fix, we were excited about it because we both find it difficult to get to a store to try things on and sometimes we just want someone to suggest things for us!  I shop mostly online and often order two sizes, in case one doesn't fit.  Most everything I've gotten from Stitch Fix fits, I just have to determine if I like the item enough to keep it and if the price is right.  

When you fill out your style profile, they try to get a read on what kinds of things you like by asking if you you like/don't like/love a specific type of look and how often you're dressing for work, casual, cocktails, etc.  But, you can provide feedback and I pointed them to my Fashion Pinterest board too. 

Have y'all heard of Stitch Fix or tried it?  I swear, I must be living under a rock sometimes . . . My next fix is scheduled to arrive on Friday, July 18!  I'll Instagram what's inside so you can see how the shipments come and what I keep/return!  


On Honey We're Healthy: Healthy Meal Prep

27 Jun 18:33

ISIS Execution Site Located

The photos and satellite images from Tikrit provide strong evidence of a horrible war crime that needs further investigation. ISIS apparently executed at the very least 160 people in Tikrit.

Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director

(Baghdad) – Analysis of photographs and satellite imagery strongly indicates that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) conducted mass executions in Tikrit after seizing control of the city on June 11, 2014.

The analysis suggests that ISIS killed between 160 and 190 men in at least two locations between June 11 and 14. The number of victims may well be much higher, but the difficulty of locating bodies and accessing the area has prevented a full investigation, Human Rights Watch said.

On June 12, ISIS claimed to have executed 1,700 “Shi’a members of the army” in Tikrit. Two days later, it posted to a website photographs with groups of apparently executed men. On June 22, Iraq’s human rights minister announced that ISIS had executed 175 Iraqi Air Force recruits in Tikrit.

“The photos and satellite images from Tikrit provide strong evidence of a horrible war crime that needs further investigation,” said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director. “ISIS apparently executed at the very least 160 people in Tikrit.”

On June 12, ISIS first announced on its now-closed Twitter feed that it had “exterminated” 1,700 Iraqi troops. The same day, the group posted videos of hundreds of captured men in civilian clothes, who it claimed had surrendered at the nearby Iraqi Speiker military base. On June 14, ISIS posted roughly 60 photographs, some of which show masked ISIS fighters loading captives in civilian clothes onto trucks and forcing them to lie in three shallow trenches with their hands bound behind their backs. Some of the images show masked gunmen pointing and firing their weapons at these men.

By comparing ground features and landmarks in the photographs released by ISIS, Human Rights Watch established that two of the trenches were at the same location. By comparing these photographs with satellite imagery from 2013 and publicly available photographs from Tikrit taken earlier, Human Rights Watch located the site in a field about 100 meters north of the Water Palace in Tikrit – a former palace of Saddam Hussein next to the Tigris River. The location of the third trench has not been identified.

Human Rights Watch also reviewed satellite imagery of the area recorded on the morning of June 16. The imagery does not reveal evidence of bodies at the site with the two trenches, but does show indications of recent vehicle activity and surface movement of earth that is consistent with the two shallow trenches visible in the ISIS photos. Without visiting the site it is impossible to know if bodies are buried there or were moved.

On June 22, the Iraqi human rights minister, Mohamed Shia Sudani, said at a news conference that the bodies of some of the 175 air force recruits who had been killed were thrown into the Tigris River and that others were buried in a mass grave. A spokesman for the minister confirmed that statement to Human Rights Watch on June 23.

An Iraqi security official said that as many as 11 bodies of the executed recruits had been recovered from the Tigris River downstream from the execution site.

The execution photographs that ISIS distributed suggest that gunmen killed the men at the site in at least three groups. The photographs show one group of men lying in one trench and a second group of men lying on top of the first. A third group of men is seen lying in a second trench.

Based on a count of the bodies visible in the available photographs, Human Rights Watch estimates that ISIS killed between 90 and 110 men in the first trench and between 35 and 40 men in the second.

A preliminary review of the shadow length and angle in the photographs suggests the two groups of men in the first trench were possibly executed around 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. The men in the second trench were possibly executed around 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Photographs from ISIS show a fourth group of approximately 30 to 40 prisoners on, and later next to, one of the two transport trucks on the main road between the execution site and the Water Palace. The photos were probably taken later that day, between 4 and 5 p.m.

One of the photographs that ISIS distributed suggests that the group killed prisoners at a second site around the same time, but Human Rights Watch has been unable to locate that site. That photograph shows a large trench with between 35 and 40 prisoners being shot by at least 8 ISIS fighters. Based on the shadow length and angle, the photograph was probably taken between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. One of the ISIS gunmen visible at that site was also visible in photographs from the killing site with the two trenches near the Water Palace.

The photographs and satellite imagery strongly suggest that ISIS transported its captives by trucks to the two killing sites. Human Rights Watch identified the same ISIS fighters and captured men in multiple photographs, including captives who were photographed in trucks and then again being unloaded from the same trucks next to the execution site at the Water Palace.

Human Rights Watch spoke with one man who said he fled Tikrit after the killings. The man said he watched from the rooftop of his home in the Hay al-Qadsia neighborhood in the late afternoon just after ISIS arrived as armed members of ISIS loaded hundreds of captured men onto trucks and drove them away:

I saw them with my own eyes. It was late afternoon. It was a long line. I saw about 10 armed gunmen with their guns pointed at the line of men, walking them to military trucks. Some of the gunmen had masks and others showed their faces. The [captured] men were not handcuffed. They wore civilian clothes.

The man said he did not know where the men took their captives and could not remember the exact date. Tikrit residents told him later they saw bodies floating in the Tigris, he said.

During an armed conflict, the murder of anyone not taking an active part in hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those in detention, is a war crime. Murder, when systematic or widespread and committed as part of a deliberate policy of an organized group, can be a crime against humanity. Both war crimes and crimes against humanity are considered international crimes, with criminal liability attaching to those who commit or order the crime, but also those who assist, and commanders who should have known of the crime but fail to prevent it.

Human Rights Watch has previously documented serious crimes by ISIS in other areas of Iraq and Syria, including car and suicide bomb attacks in civilian areas, summary executions, torture in detention, discrimination against women, and destruction of religious property. The evidence documented by Human Rights Watch strongly suggests that some of these acts may amount to crimes against humanity.

“ISIS is committing mass murder, and advertising it as well,” Bouckaert said. “They and other abusive forces should know that the eyes of Iraqis and the world are watching.”

17 Jun 17:44

what we eat

by Chelsea
Jessica Kendrick

I would love to be this efficient and healthy in the way that I eat.

I grew up eating pretty healthy, and I liked cooking healthy and had been for a while.  Audrey's eczema has been awful for a long time, so in November(ish) I decided to cut way back on dairy.  Then I read a bunch of nutrition books in January, and continued to make changes to our diet. I eliminated the majority of the processed food that we eat.  I never cooked with a lot of meat, but now I see it as a 2-3 times a week, as a side or cut up in a dish instead of a main meal.  I also tried to really ramp up the amount of vegetables that we were eating, and limit the amount of gluten in case it made a difference for Audrey's eczema.  We went out of town for a month, and we don't have a "family rule" about our nutrition so it's not like we are "perfect" at any set "diet", but we have decided that we are a family with a healthy lifestyle, which includes nutritious eating and active living.  We enjoy the abundance of the earth.

Recently I finished a book about Autism and various factors that can influence it, and I have found out that since the 80s parents of children with Autism have found a gluten and casein free diet makes enormous differences in behavior, theoretically because of a leaky-gut syndrom which causes peptides in them to have an opium like effect on the brain.  I don't know if Audrey even has Autism really, or has the "leaky-gut syndrome", and she tested negative for celiacs, but she continues to have bad eczema which I am sure is contributing to her short attention span and making her feel crazy, so I have tried to be better at limiting gluten (I don't use gluten-free oats, and we will periodically have a sandwich or something else, but trying to really cut back) and she's been dairy free for months now.  But I do feel like avoiding dairy and gluten has made a bit of difference.

I also for myself have really enjoyed cutting completely back on sugar and salt.  I hardly salt anything (but we do sometimes have processed salsa, or canned beans which contain salt).  And it has been really interesting getting rid of the sugar in our house.  I don't even have sugar in my pantry, and so I resort to using things like fruit, especially bananas, or carrots to sweeten things.  It has taken some getting used to but now I like it.

This is all really just for our family record, but I wanted to write down just a few of the foods that we are enjoying these days.

"Larabar cookies".  I found a recipe for homemade larabars, and have modified them and rolled them into balls and call them cookies.  Marketing, I tell you!  Audrey loves them and the babies usually do, Elijah is a bit more hit-or-miss.  Now I just do any nuts in the food processor with any dried fruit, sometimes with cinnamon.

These kids LOVE broccoli.  I steam a frozen bag and they eat it in no time.  Even Elijah!

Another frequent snack is cucumbers, bell peppers, and/or carrots dipped into HUMMUS.  They LOVE hummus.  I have tried to make it my own, but still haven't found a recipe I love, so usually just buy it.  I should keep working on it.

Our default breakfast for years now has been oatmeal.  I make some good oatmeal!  In the microwave I do oats with any combination of fun things like flaxseed, Chia seeds, sliced bananas, frozen berries, apples or applesauce, raisins, any other dried fruit, any type of nuts, cinnamon, ginger, almond milk, orange juice, or water, sometimes I'll stir in an egg or two to add a bit more protein.  Once it's been in the microwave a few minutes I scoop it into many little plastic bowls and everyone digs in.  All the kids have multiple bowlfuls every morning.  Audrey loves sensory input so she usually ends up dumping hers out and running her fingers through it, but the babies usually feed themselves really well with their little spoons.  Sometimes they get impatient and then they start eating by the fistful, and by the end of breakfast there usually are oats everywhere, but it's a nice filling meal that everyone enjoys.  (Except Ryan.)  

Smoothies.  I still make them quite often.  I try and do more fruit than veggies, but I almost always have carrots, spinach, avocado, in as well as any number of fruits.  The littles can say "Smoothie" which is too cute!

Another default snack are rice cakes.  On the go we have them plain.  At home we do PBJ on rice cake instead of regular bread.

I weaned the littles to water, but in the last month or two I've been worried about getting enough calcium (although there is a lot in broccoli and other veggies) so I will sometimes do almond milk or coconut milk, or fortified orange juice.   Periodically I buy whole milk and just keep Audrey away, but for the most part we do almond milk.

A favorite breakfast for special occasions is a 3-ingredient pancake I found on pinterest.  Eggs, peanut butter, and bananas.  Of course since I can never leave good-enough alone, I usually add flaxseeds and/or chia seeds, cinnamon, sometimes ginger or cloves, applesauce, ground up oats, etc.

These kids love "quesadillas"  (again, marketing.  They don't have any cheese!)  I bought a tortilla press (about $15 on amazon) and we have been making our own corn tortillas!  I didn't like the preservatives in most corn tortilla, and it is another nice gluten-free alternative.  It is not hard.  I make the dough, press it out, put it on the stove, and when I flip it over to cook the other side I usually put refried beans and avocados, salsa and spinach on it, then fold it in half and it's done.  Its time consuming to do many, but for our crew it's not bad.

I have a lot of dinners that I love, but few that are family (hm, kid) favorites.  Let's just say that these kids definitely eat breakfast like kings and dinner like paupers.  By their choice, of course.

One other thing for the record, it has been about 10 weeks now that I have been making a weekly meal plan.  For a few years I have been doing a weekly planning session going through what to do that week, but it always took so long to do meals that I usually let that part slide.  These 10 weeks I have been planning not just dinners but also breakfasts, lunches, and snacks.  The first few times took me forever, but I have been diligent and now it has gotten a ton easier and actually enjoyable when I can look and see what I'm supposed to be making, and I can go grocery shopping and know every last thing that I need.  So, if I ever get out of the habit, this is a reminder, Mrs Chelsea Ann, that I just have to stick with it a few weeks and it will continue to get easier.

That's just a little glimpse into our kitchen!

11 Jun 00:00

WWII Films

by xkcd
Jessica Kendrick

Wait what about the war of the roses? Or the 100 years war? Or the Roman Empire which can be argued as a series of wars?

WWII Films

Did WWII last longer than the total length of movies about WWII? For that matter, which war has the highest movie time:war time ratio?


World War II was longer than the movies about it.

To tally up World War II movies, you could start with Wikipedia. The site lists about 400 unique titles across their various lists of World War II films.

Wikipedia is often the best place to find obsessive list-makers and categorizers. However, in the area of movie categorization, they have nothing on the people who tag plots on IMDb.

Before we finish answering Becky's question, let's take a brief side trip into the strange IMDb tagging world.

IMDb categorizes films with plot keywords. These words (or phrases) can be extremely specific, and cover a bizarre range of topics. For example, say you want to find all movies whose plot contains the following elements: "Nun", "laser", "binoculars", "electric shock", and "shot in the chest".

IMDb will tell you that there is one movie whose plot contains all those elements: The 2009 Steve Martin film The Pink Panther 2. To find other strange combinations, try clicking on a tag, then scrolling down to the "Refine by Keyword" section at the column on the right. Have fun.

Often, the people tagging articles aren't exactly, um, disinterested scholars. Skimming the other keywords for any innocuous search makes it pretty clear that many people are using the database to catalog every movie containing a scene that satisfies their particular prurient fascination.[1]There's nothing new about this, although the internet makes it easier; quicksand enthusiasts, for example, have been cataloging movies containing quicksand scenes since the VHS days.

But IMDb is more than just a fetish database.[citation needed] Other obsessed people—like history buffs—have contributed their own sets of IMDb tags. The end result is a staggeringly comprehensive database of plot elements—which brings us back to Becky's question.

IMDb lists 4,893 films tagged with "world-war-two". The list contains full-length movies, TV episodes, short films, and the occasional miniseries. I downloaded a random sample of these entries and found that the average run time was 95 minutes, which means the entire collection probably has a combined length of a little over 300 days. World War II lasted six years, for a war:film ratio of about 7:1.

This ratio is hard to beat; no other multi-year war has been the subject of nearly as many films. This is understandable; we're talking about bloodiest conflict in human history right in the middle of the golden age of Hollywood.

However, some very short wars come close to beating it. The Six Day War—fought in 1967 between Israel and a coalition comprising Egypt, Syria, Jordan—is a good candidate. IMDb lists 13 films tagged with "six day war", and the Israeli film database EDB lists an additional four. However, the Six Day War movies are heavy on short TV episodes, so their war:film ratio doesn't quite edge out World War II based on these lists.

It's probably impossible to prove conclusively which war has the higher ratio. There no doubt exist other films about the Six Day War in various regional collections which I couldn't find—and the same is certainly true of World War II.

There are other wars which might score even higher on Becky's scale. The Indo-Pakistani War in 1971 is a good candidate; it was a short war (13 days) in the middle of a conflict heavily covered by India's film industry. IMDb lists five films about the related 1971 Bangladesh war, and it's likely that many of the Bollywood films about the broader India-Pakistan conflict touch on it. My guess is that the 1971 war probably has a higher film:war ratio than World War II, but I wasn't able to find specific data to support this.

Maybe the most interesting potential answer to Becky's question is the Anglo-Zanzibar War. This one-sided colonial war, fought between the British Empire and the Sultinate of Zanzibar, lasted only 38 minutes.[2]The short version is that Zanzibar's sultan died and his nephew, Khalid bin Bargash, moved into the palace. The British, who had a more pro-British candidate in mind for the position, sent warships and demanded Khalid step down. He refused, so the British warships bombarded the island, killed hundreds of Zanzibaris, and set the palace on fire. Khalid fled and the British installed a puppet government. Only 38 minutes passed between the start of the shooting and the British capture of the palace. Given how short it was, it would only take a single film about it to make it the undisputed champion.

However, I couldn't find any films about this war. I'm sure one exists somewhere; if you can find it, feel free to tag it on IMDb. There's nothing there at the time of this writing, but maybe there will be soon.

Alternately, if Becky can find a historic site with some link to Zanzibar, has a cell phone camera which can record for more than 10 minutes, and feels like making an independent film ...

... she can answer her own question once and for all.

11 Jun 00:38

Neighbourhood Watch – Un street artist détourne les panneaux de surveillance du voisinage…

by ufunk
Jessica Kendrick

Even though this post is in French, you get the gist: awesome.

Neighbourhood Watch“, ou quand le street artist canadien Andrew Lamb s’amuse à détourner les panneaux de surveillance du voisinage de la ville de Toronto avec des collages des icônes des années 80 issues des films, des séries ou des dessins animés et des jeux vidéo… De Robocop à X-Files en passant par la famille Ingalls ou encore Mario et Ghosbusters, qui appellerez vous ?





























Images © Andrew Lamb

12 Jun 16:05

found-liquorstore-and-drank-itt: ohmykarma: miscreantive: only...





Giant Gummi Bear dropped into boiling Potassium Chlorate


I love his reaction

like, “Yeah bitches we gonna do some sciOH SHIT TOO MUCH SCIENCE ABORT ABORT FUCK”


12 Jun 01:32


10 Jun 21:56

Morning scenes by early risers

by Arnold Chao

At the break of dawn, many of you are already up and busy shooting landscapes bathed in dramatic sunlight. There’s a staggering abundance of exceptional pictures from a “morning landscape” image search, and we can only highlight a portion of the ones we appreciate, including a few captions from the photographers:

Dockey Wood Morning Light
Damian_WardDockey Wood Morning Light

“I’m lucky enough to live about 30 minutes away from Dockey Wood, which is well regarded as on of the finest bluebell woods in England. As part of the Ashridge Estate, it is owned and managed by the National Trust and offers clean and uncomplicated woodland views full of bluebells.” – Damian Ward


“A classic spot at Lake Constance. The Turmhof castle in Steckborn, Thurgau, Switzerland” – Philipp Häfeli


“This morning I finally managed to get back out there and experience the odd euphoria of having made it to the top of a hill at 5am as the sun rises, knowing that a world of more sensible people are still asleep. Bit of a mixed bag of conditions today so I didn’t quite get what I wanted, although this little burst of early light through the mist was kind of spectacular for a few minutes.”

“Squint and you can just make out Firle Tower amidst the furthest clump of trees, a squat little castle turret folly that was built as a gamekeepers watchtower in the 1800s. I think its now a house.” – Finn Hopson


Sunrise in Taiwan.

Crummock Water bathed in Light
VemsterooCrummock Water bathed in Light

“After I took the long way from Buttermere to Crummock which involved scrabbling up the hillside to escape a herd of cows and calves who were unimpressed with my presence (cows can be scary), I finally emerged by Crummock Water as the morning light began to catch, revealing the ridges and rolls of the landscape, almost flowing down the hillside.” – Vemsteroo

Carillion - Canberra, ACT
Rowland CainCarillion – Canberra, ACT

National Carillon tower, Canberra, Australia.

The Morning After
jactollThe Morning After

“A day after my last post … couldn’t resist shooting again because of the denser layer of river mist.” – David Dean

“Last shot from the series I took a few weekends ago from the South Downs on a beautiful misty Spring morning.” – Richard Paterson

Morning mist in Gloucestershire, England.

Morning Sun
Dave-B2012Morning Sun

“Cranes along the River Thames during sunrise.” – Dave Banbury

See, and share, more photography in the Morning light gallery and Morning Glory group.

12 Jun 15:46

Good Badlands: Dry Terrain of the American West Captured in a Brief Moment of Color by Guy Tal

by Christopher Jobson

Good Badlands: Dry Terrain of the American West Captured in a Brief Moment of Color by Guy Tal nature landscapes flowers deserts

Good Badlands: Dry Terrain of the American West Captured in a Brief Moment of Color by Guy Tal nature landscapes flowers deserts

Good Badlands: Dry Terrain of the American West Captured in a Brief Moment of Color by Guy Tal nature landscapes flowers deserts

Good Badlands: Dry Terrain of the American West Captured in a Brief Moment of Color by Guy Tal nature landscapes flowers deserts

Good Badlands: Dry Terrain of the American West Captured in a Brief Moment of Color by Guy Tal nature landscapes flowers deserts

Good Badlands: Dry Terrain of the American West Captured in a Brief Moment of Color by Guy Tal nature landscapes flowers deserts

Good Badlands: Dry Terrain of the American West Captured in a Brief Moment of Color by Guy Tal nature landscapes flowers deserts

The Badlands are a type of parched, sunbaked terrain characterized by jagged rock, cracked earth and, of course, minimal vegetation. It’s a harsh environment of lifeless wasteland but there is also good news to be found in the badlands. For the patient observer, like photographer Guy Tal, there is a delicate beauty that reveals itself only so often. “On rare years,” says Tal, describing his series of photos taken in the American West, “wildflowers burst into stunning display of color, transforming the desert into a veritable garden for just few precious days.” The reason, apparently, is that vegetation in the region has adapted to the climate. With just a tiny bit of moisture the desert can transform into a colorful garden of bright purple and yellow. You can see more photos on Tal’s website, or purchase his book More Than a Rock. (via Bored Panda)

Update: According to @happyhillers these are Scorpionweed and Beeplant flowers.

11 Jun 15:23

The New ‘Inspiration Pad’ Turns the Conventional Blue-Lined Notebook Upside Down

by Christopher Jobson

The New Inspiration Pad Turns the Conventional Blue Lined Notebook Upside Down creativity

The New Inspiration Pad Turns the Conventional Blue Lined Notebook Upside Down creativity

The New Inspiration Pad Turns the Conventional Blue Lined Notebook Upside Down creativity

The New Inspiration Pad Turns the Conventional Blue Lined Notebook Upside Down creativity

The New Inspiration Pad Turns the Conventional Blue Lined Notebook Upside Down creativity

The New Inspiration Pad Turns the Conventional Blue Lined Notebook Upside Down creativity

The New Inspiration Pad Turns the Conventional Blue Lined Notebook Upside Down creativity

The New Inspiration Pad Turns the Conventional Blue Lined Notebook Upside Down creativity

The New Inspiration Pad Turns the Conventional Blue Lined Notebook Upside Down creativity

Brussels-based design and advertising firm TM led by Marc Thomasset, just released the second edition of their wildly popular Inspiration Pad. The ruled notebook plays with the traditional red and blue-lined design of notebooks, turning each spread into a different layout to “inspire people to unleash their own creativity.” The 48-page notebook is printed on sustainable paper and is available here. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

13 Jun 11:07

A Secret to Good Habits and Happiness? Know Your Zone.

by (Gretchen Rubin)

thezoneI needed to set a meeting time with someone, and she said, “I know my zone. Let’s meet at 11:00.”

I was instantly intrigued by this phrase, “know my zone,” and I asked, “Why 11:00? Why is that ‘your zone?’”

She said, “I know from experience that if something’s important, I should schedule for 11:00. Any earlier, and I might be late or feel rushed. I have to drop off my sons at school, commute into the city, all that. I need a big margin. Plus, by 11:00 I’m wide awake and in the swing of my day. If I schedule something after lunch, I’m more tired and distracted. I get a lot of work done, but I use the 11:00 slot for what’s most important.”

By chance, I was talking to a writer friend about his habits, and he told me, “I never write before noon.” Now, this is interesting, because one of the most popular pieces of advice about good habits — and specifically about the habit of writing — is to write first thing in the day, because your mind is clearer, you have more energy, etc. This is certainly true for me. So I asked him why he doesn’t write before noon.

“I’m foggy,” he said. “It takes me a while to get going. By noon I’m ready.”

These exchanges reminded me of one of the most important things I’ve learned about habits, as I’ve been writing my new book: there’s no magic, one-size-fits-all solution. (Want to hear when this masterpiece goes on sale? Sign up here.)

Some people — maybe most people — do better when they schedule important habits for the morning, but that’s not true for everyone. Along the same lines, some people do better when they start small; others when they start big. Some people like a lot of activity and stimulation; others prefer quiet and simplicity.

We don’t make ourselves more creative and productive by copying other people’s habits; we must know our own nature, and what habits serve us best.

Each of us needs to figure out our zone. Self-knowledge! Everything in habits and happiness comes down to self-knowledge.

Do you know your zone? I’m a morning person, and I know that very well about myself.

If you’re reading this post through the daily email, click here to join the conversation. And if you’d like to get the daily blog post by email, sign up here. You can ignore that RSS business.

08 Jun 12:47

“Anxiety and Ennui Are the Scylla and Charybdis on Which the Bark of Human Happiness Is Most Often Wrecked.”

by (Gretchen Rubin)
Jessica Kendrick

sometimes I wish I talked like this.

ScyllaCharybdis“Anxiety and Ennui are the Scylla and Charybdis on which the bark of human happiness is most often wrecked.”

– William Edward Hartpole Lecky, The Map of Life

According to myth, “Scylla and Charybdis” are two sea hazards that blocked the Strait of Messina — a rock shoal with a monster on one side , and a sea monster/whirlpool on the other.

Using this phrase is the same as saying “between a rock and a hard place” or “out of frying pan into the fire.” So Lecky’s point is that to be happy, we must steer between anxiety and ennui, and not allow ourselves to be wrecked by either.

Agree, disagree?

If you’re reading this post through the daily email, click here to join the conversation. And if you’d like to get the daily blog post by email, sign up here. You can ignore that RSS business.

04 Jun 18:22

Frank Lloyd Wright’s 10-Point Manifesto for His Apprentices.

by (Gretchen Rubin)

taliesinEvery Wednesday is Tip Day — or List Day.
This Wednesday: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Manifesto for His Apprentices.

I’ve posted this before, but I’m posting it again, because I love personal manifestos — for instance, on the home pages of their blogs, Bob Sutton includes his 17 Things I Believe about work and Madame X lists My Rules about money (look in the right-hand column).

I read Frank Lloyd Wright’s Autobiography and found it very thought-provoking. In it, he includes a list of the “Fellowship Assets” that he outlined for the architecture apprentices he worked with at Taliesin, his summer home, studio, and school.

1. An honest ego in a healthy body.
2. An eye to see nature
3. A heart to feel nature
4. Courage to follow nature
5. The sense of proportion (humor)
6. Appreciation of work as idea and idea as work
7. Fertility of imagination
8. Capacity for faith and rebellion
9. Disregard for commonplace (inorganic) elegance
10. Instinctive cooperation

This list was interesting to me, because although it’s quite short, it packs in a lot of big ideas and strongly held views. It really started me thinking — to ask, “What does Wright mean by ‘inorganic’ or even ‘nature’?” “What’s an ‘honest ego’?” I particularly loved #5 — the inclusion of humor on this list, and the tying of humor to a sense of proportion. I’d never thought of humor as an expression of a sense of proportion, but I think that’s one reason that humor can be so helpful at difficult moments.

Writing a personal manifesto is a very interesting exercise; it really forces you to articulate your values. Have you ever written a manifesto for yourself? Was it a useful exercise?

I wrote my manifesto, though I should probably update it. Scroll down; my manifesto is below some other manifestos. I love manifestos! If you have one, post it please. They’re so fascinating.

I need to write my habits manifesto. That will be fun. But first I need to finish the book. If you want to hear when my book about habit-formation goes on sale, sign up here.

If you’re reading this post through the daily email, click here to join the conversation. And if you’d like to get the daily blog post by email, sign up here. You can ignore that RSS business.

06 Jun 12:55

Why the Anniversary of D-Day Gave Me a Moment of Happiness.

by (Gretchen Rubin)
Jessica Kendrick

equally cool is cumberbatch reading the BBC's radio transcripts from D-day today. I'll try to find it and share it here.

d-dayMy husband and I sleep with all-news radio playing (which I’m sure is a very bad idea, but we do), and I woke this morning to the reminder that today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, when the Allied trips landed on the beaches of  Normandy.

I read a lot about D-Day when I was writing Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill, my biography of Churchill. What a subject! How I loved writing that book.

And one of my favorite moments in my research was when I read about what General Eisenhower did to prepare for the invasion.

In case the invasion failed, Eisenhower had prepared a statement, known as “In Case of Failure”:


Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.



This is a momentous example of one of the best pieces of advice that I’ve ever received, from my father. He said, “If you take the blame, when you deserve it, people will give you responsibility.” I’ve found that to be very true.

And this memory reminded me of another story that I love about Eisenhower. It illustrates one of my Secrets of Adulthood: Sometimes, words only diminish what we want to convey.

I love this story so much that I get choked up whenever I think about it. (If you want to see me tell the story, you can watch the video here.)

At the end of the war, in May 1945, the German military commanders had unconditionally surrendered, and the time came when they signed the surrender documents. Obviously this was a momentous, awe-inspiring event.

Afterwards, General Eisenhower needed to send a message to the combined Chiefs of Staff, to tell them that this had been done, and Eisenhower’s colleagues proposed various drafts of grand language for the victory message.

Eisenhower rejected all suggestions, and wrote:

“The mission of this Allied Force was fulfilled at 0241, local time, May 7th, 1945.”


So simple, so beautiful. Sometimes words can only diminish what we want to convey.

One of the most pure, satisfying sources of happiness is the feeling of transcendence. It can be difficult, in the crush of everyday life, to find moments of transcendence. Memories prompted by this D-Day anniversary brought me that feeling of awe.

If you’re reading this post through the daily email, click here to join the conversation. And if you’d like to get the daily blog post by email, sign up here. You can ignore that RSS business.

02 Jun 17:58

Are You Overlooking This Giant Influence on Your Habits?

by (Gretchen Rubin)
Jessica Kendrick

Arthur dear, please tell me we've only acquired each other's good habits.

contagiousIn Maxims and Reflections, Goethe wrote, “Tell me with whom you consort and I will tell you who you are; if I know how you spend your time, then I know what might become of you.”

As I was doing the initial research for my forthcoming masterpiece of a book, about habit-formation, I tended to focus on strategies that I use as an individual.

I realized, however, that while it’s easy to imagine myself operating in isolation,  in fact, other people’s actions and habits exert tremendous influence on me, as mine do on them.

All the strategies of habit-formation deserve to be—and have been—the subject of entire books, but the Strategy of Other People is the strategy that’s hardest to distill into a single chapter. Our influence on each other’s habits is a vast subject. And it’s one of the most powerful, sometimes almost irresistible, strategies.

For instance, my husband, in particular, makes a big difference to my habits. In a phenomenon known as “health concordance,” couples’ health habits and statuses tend to merge over time. One partner’s health behaviors—habits related to sleep, eating, exercise, doctor visits, use of alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana—influence those behaviors in a partner. If one partner has Type 2 diabetes, the other partner faces a significant increase in the risk of developing it, as well. If one partner gives up cigarettes or alcohol, the other is more likely to quit.

My husband’s unwavering commitment to exercise has helped me stay dedicated. I also caught his habit of reading multiple books at one time, and buying books even when I have a huge pile I haven’t read yet. (Before we were married, I read one book at a time, and never allowed myself to acquire more than five unread books).

Also, some of my habits bothered him so much that I gave them up. For some reason, he objected to my snacking in bed. The things we do for love.

To quote another great thinker, in Letters from a Stoic, Seneca advised, “Associate with people who are likely to improve you.” This turns out to be very effective, because we do so readily pick up habits — good and bad — from each other.

How about you? Can you think of times when you’ve caught a good or bad habit from someone around you? Or when someone has caught your habit? A few years ago, I dramatically changed my eating habits (that’s a story for another day, and an example of the Strategy of the Lightning Bolt,  but if you’re curious, check out Gary Taubes’s Why We Get Fat), and I’ve noticed that my change has led to changes in other people, as my habits rubbed off on them.

To hear when my book about habit-formation goes on sale, sign up here.

01 Jun 11:09

ancient and modern

by Jane Brocket


Blue Boar Quad at Christ Church

I've always liked the title Hymns Ancient and Modern and the way it brings together a whole world and history of hymn-singing which was something we did a lot of at primary school (it was probably one of the few ways to keep a class of forty children under control, and we had a fearsome piano-playing teacher who could turn you into stone with a stare if you giggled at words or someone else's out of tune singing). It came back to me yesterday as Simon and I went to look at a number of C20 buildings in various Oxford colleges on a C20 Society walking tour which could have had the title 'Buildings Ancient and Modern'. (There are a few photos on Instagram.)


Copper-covered Geography building

Led by a knowledgeable Oxford architect, we walked for hours and had privileged glimpses inside parts of colleges not normally open to the public (this kind of thing makes membership of the Society great value). We saw lots of concrete, masses of glass, plenty of Portland stone, and a mix of innovative, creative solutions, clever feats of engineering, and the occasional mistake and vanity project. It must be incredibly tricky to build in or close to some of the most beautiful ancient quads in the world, but some Sixties architects managed it, the best of whom I thought were Powell & Moya at Christ Church (here and here) and Arne Jacobsen at St Catherine's. 


Dining Hall, St Catherine's, Arne Jacobsen

But the whole ancient/modern theme ran deeper than the wonderful architecture, as I think this day was the day that we ourselves were classed officially as ancient by Alice and Phoebe who failed to see the appeal of the walk. It's been coming for a while with Tom and Alice going to university and now Phoebe not far off joining them, but it's only now really beginning to sink in that as from September (if all goes well), for much of the time we are going to be back in the situation we were in before we had children, only now we are 21 years older. The things we want to do and enjoy doing sound incredibly ancient to young ears and yet what's funny is that actually they are the same things we were doing pre-children - maybe we  have always been culturally ancient.


 Barbara Hepworth at St Catherine's

So the Now We Are Old list is growing all the time, and the best aspect of yesterday was the fact that we  still love doing stuff together.


One last thing on the theme: I was particularly enthralled by the wonderful, rigorous horizontal and vertical lines I saw in the C20 architecture, and the contrast between ancient and modern and how well they can work together was brought home by seeing Sean Scully extremely vertical/horizontal modern paintings  next to the Old Masters and medieval paintings in the beautiful, simple, classically influenced Christ Church Picture Gallery.

02 Jun 17:50

How We Save On Purchases For The Home

by Jennifer Jones
Jessica Kendrick

Good shopping resources for home stuff.

We all know that purchases for the home can quickly add up and it is always nice to save some extra cash on those purchases whenever we can.  There are times when we inherent home items for free from family or from a nearby curb, and times we splurge on the perfect piece of full price furniture.  There are definitely different levels of being "thrifty", and although I am sure we still have a lot to learn, I thought I would take a moment to share a few of the ways we have saved on some of our bigger home purchases over the years.


Wait for Holidays

I am not the most patient person in the world; I always ruin surprises and shake presents days before Christmas in my attempt to figure out the contents.  But if I know that we have a larger home purchase coming up, I always wait for a holiday to roll around.  It seems that many of the big retailers offer their best deals and sales around major holidays, such as President's Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day.  Black Friday is an obvious time to save and we always keep a small Black Friday fund which we have used to snag deals on our treadmill, our lower level TV, our desktop computer and our floor vac {we let ourselves make up to one home purchase on Black Friday per year based on our needs}.  By saving throughout the year and shopping the ads a day or two in advance to find the best deals, we have found that it is worth the wait.  We waited to purchase our sofa until a President's Day {50% off sale} and saved hundreds on our fridge by waiting until a big Labor Day sale at Lowes and purchasing a discontinued model.  Do I think that many of these "sales" are a little gimicky at times?  Absolutely.  It is important to keep an eye on prices throughout the year and be sure you really are saving when those holidays roll around.

Purchase Refurbished

I have never been against purchasing used when it comes to our vehicles, and major home purchases are no different.  In fact, some of our biggest savings have been on refurbished electronics, which we have been using and loving for years now.

For us, the key is purchasing from a trusted source.  I haven't had experience purchasing refurbished on auction sites out of hesitation, however, I have purchased a refurbished Dyson from Woot and my laptop from Apple.  My son also saved up and purchased his iPod refurbished from Mac and my husband purchased a tablet refurbished from Woot as well.  Each of those items have come to us in pristine condition, and I never would have even known that they were ever used or weren't brand new.

How do you know who to trust?  That is always the tricky part and when I am most grateful for online reviews.  Many online retailers have begun offering refurbished items, so I tend to search sites that I would trust for anything new and that has a good reputation and still stick with brands I trust.  Also, I look for "factory certified refurbished" descriptions and items that offer warranties.


I am not going to get too much into thrifting because we all know the steels and deals that can be found at thrift stores and yard sales, but I did want to make sure to mention Craigslist for a moment.  It is definitely hit or miss but you can never go wrong checking in from time to time on home wish list items.  There is nothing you can't find on Craigslist; everything from dining tables to lamps to rugs and art.  Some things can be found in pristine condition and other items need some lovin'.  I just know we wouldn't have found our favorite piece of furniture if it wasn't for Craigslist, and we definitely wouldn't have found it at such a great price if we wouldn't have purchased it from a couple looking to downsize in a huge hurry.  And now that Craigslist shows images right within the search, it has gotten even easier to find that perfect item.

Poach it!

This is one of my new favorite ways to save.  Poach It helps you monitor the prices and coupon codes for your wish list items.  Shopping is always a gamble, isn't it?  Do you wait for the item to go on clearance and risk losing it forever or not being able to snag it in the right color or size?  Do you risk purchasing now, only to have the item go on sale in a few days or even weeks?  I always have a hard time paying full price for something that I know will eventually be on sale or clearance, and Poach it now watches my favorite items for me and notifies me when something on my list has a change in price!  How great is that?  All you have to do is add the "Poach it" button to your bookmark bar {just like the "Pin it" button for Pinterest}, and when you are doing your online shopping and find something you love, you click that button and it saves it to your profile.  Then, when the price changes because the item has gone on sale, you will receive an email notification.  No more daily check-ins, I just let Poach It do the work for me.


I signed up for Ebates last year, and now try to use it for all of our online purchases.  So far, I have saved over $200 just by using their free service, and I know that number would be higher if I would actually remember to use it every single time.  The process is simple, you just log into your Ebates account, search the retailer you are making an online purchase from, and it will pull up any sales/coupons for that retailer, as well as a cash back percentage.  Some of my favorite online retailers offer anywhere from 2-6% cash back on online purchases, and that definitely adds up over time!  And because there is no cost for using the service, it has been a sweet little bonus in our pockets.

Retail Me Not

I have shared this one in the past, but it is a long time favorite.  RetailMeNot is another online coupon code finder that I always rely on for both online and in store purchases.  Finding coupons for your favorite retailers is super simple, and what I love most is that they also have a smartphone app that allows you to use those coupons right within stores vs. online only.  I use this most frequently at JoAnn & Michaels on craft supplies, but I also often find coupons for clothing purchases and even some restaurants.

Daily Deal Sites

I don't always rely on daily deal sites because there is a risk of purchasing something impulsively because it is a "good deal" and not necessarily because I need it.  Caution is key with these sites, I tend to utilize them for very specific items and try to scroll past the rest.  For example, we have been looking for a small side table for the end of our sofa for almost two years now.  Knowing the specific dimensions and factors, I have been keeping my eyes peeled any time we are out and about, but also when new sales are released on my favorite daily deal sites.  I finally found one on Joss & Main by checking in frequently, and I love that I have never seen anything like it at any of the local mass retailers.  I tend to utilize Joss & Main the most, because not only do they offer a small savings on home decor pieces during their flash sales, but you can also earn credit to apply to those savings through referrals.  You do not have to be a blogger in order to earn credit, there are many ways for anyone to earn credits by sharing your favorite items or purchases on Facebook and Pinterest.  I tend to pin quite a few things I spot on Joss & Main because their sales rotate and many items come back on sale multiple times.  Therefore, if I see something I love, I can decide to save up for it and watch for it to return or I can use it as inspiration to DIY my own version, both which I have done in the past.  And if the sale does not come back on Joss, I can typically find the item at their sister site,  A few daily deal sites I utilize are Joss & Main, One Kings Lane {home decor and furnishings}, Zulily {kid's items, kitchen gadgets and home storage}, Woot {electronics and appliances}, Hautelook {furnishings and clothing/accessories} and GroopDealz {art prints, small gadgets and pillow covers}.

Google it!

Whenever I find an item that I am ready to pull the trigger on, I always paste it into my Google search and then click the "shopping" results link.  This will pull up multiple web results and retailers offering that item, as well as the selling price for that item.  This allows me to quickly determine if I am in fact, receiving the best price and provides me with alternative options I may not have considered.


This is not necessarily the biggest money saver, however, I do make quite a few purchases on  I love that I can receive free shipping on most everything {especially since upgrading to their Prime service}, that they stay fairly competitive pricing wise and that I can do a lot of my shopping all at once with their huge selection of items.  Amazon has helped me save a lot on my camera and photography equipment and even on some of my cleaning supplies!

My other "go to" sources for savings on home products:

Rugs:  Rugs can be incredibly expensive, especially once you start searching for larger options.  I have purchased rugs from quite a few retailers, however, RugsUSA seems to offer the best sale prices as well as frequent discount codes and free shipping.  They are definitely my first stop for over-sized options.

Fabric: has a huge selection and offers free shipping on orders over $35 as well as free shipping on all returns {which I LOVE}.  They also frequently have discounts and coupon codes. 

{rug from RugsUSA / fabric from}

Furniture: is a great place to check for discounted interior and exterior home items and furnishings.  I have only purchased from Overstock a few times, but I have been a happy customer every time.  And their return process is really quick and easy, and their selection ranges from rugs to lighting to bathroom fixtures.  We were recently shopping around for a new mattress and after finding a huge sale at a local mattress outlet, I found the same mattress for another $200 off at Overstock!  With free shipping, it was a huge win and an unexpected surprise.

Hardware:  I love Anthropologie hardware as much as the next person, but when looking for beautiful hardware on a budget, I turn to D. Lawless Hardware.  They have a huge selection of unique options, and even offer beautiful glass embellished hooks and beautiful label holders at great prices.

{Cabinet Hardware from D. Lawless}

I am sure there are more that I may be forgetting, so I will be sure to update the post as I find new ways to save a penny or two on items for the home.  And I would love to hear your savvy shopping secrets as well!  What are your favorite resources for interior products?  Where have you scored your biggest savings?

29 May 04:40

A reintroduction… wait is that a word?

by jlindzkendrick
Jessica Kendrick

I've started blogging again. Not sure what I'm doing here, but I think it's important enough that I share it.

Hello again internet.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written. I did the whole my thoughts are really important blog when I was single, and I did the-this is our life and we’re cool and blah blah blah blahg-spot blog for a bit too. And then things changed. Facebook went mobile. Instagram became the new thing. The kids started using tumblr. (I can’t tumblr. I just can’t. It’s too ADHD for me. I realize this makes me old.)

And between that and the real life changes in my life– job changes, baby changes, moving changes, friend changes– I lost that drive to write, to create. Maybe because my focus is all on creating life, concrete, hard, life-in-the-moment kind of life that to find that creative mental space is such a challenge now.

And yet, here I am again, blogging, at 11:30 in the evening. Perhaps this will keep me accountable.

The goal is to as the phrase goes, “hit my stride.” I’m not a runner, never have been, probably never will be. But a few times in my life, I’ve hit my stride, when all the pieces fell into place and I was able to manage life and create at the same time. It’s such a sure place, a comfortable place, it’s the place where I know I belong.

Join me as I find it?



27 May 16:30

Three Things to Simplify Now to Save Time Everyday

by Jennifer Jones
Jessica Kendrick

I'm loving on this post HARD. I feel like everything in my life needs a giant purge going on.

One of the glorious aspects of blogging, is connecting with people that you may never have been able to connect with otherwise.  I was recently virtually introduced to Emily of So Damn Domestic, and I realized that we fit together like peanut butter and jelly.  We both love finding ways to make our homes happier; and for us that usually involves simplifying, streamlining, organizing and finding cleaning shortcuts.  Emily shares her straight forward decluttering, organizing and cleaning advice on her blog, and I find her approach refreshing and exciting.  I invited her here today to share her top tips for simplifying now, which will save precious time everyday moving forward.

If you’ve been meaning to declutter and simplify, or if you’re on that path now, it’s probably because you’ve realized that excess is not just taking up space in your home.  Far from it.  It also sucks up any extra time you might have.  (And who really has “extra” time?  Not me.)

When you spend time washing extra things, moving things around to get to other items you need more, and organizing and reorganizing stuff you never have time to actually use, there’s not much time for anything else.

And I know you want that time back.

You don’t just want it back.  You need it back.  Because that’s the time you’re supposed to be using to make wonderful memories with your family, to pursue your dreams, to take care of yourself, and to engage in your favorite down-time activities.

So it’s time to pare down a bit.  Here are some things you can simplify NOW (whether it’s a block of time this weekend, or a little bit each day) so that you’ll be able to stop wasting time and have a few more hours for what’s really important in life.

Simplify NOW: Anything You Have to Launder

The Problem:  When we have more clothes, towels, sheets, cloth napkins, and anything else that needs laundering, it’s far easier to get behind on laundry.  And when that happens, it feels like we have piles of dirty clothes scolding us for not washing them, baskets of clean clothes guilting us for not folding them, and the machines beeping at us constantly.

The Solution: When we “edit” our collection to include only our favorite things and the essentials, we are forced to keep up with the laundry schedule.  And because our loads of laundry will be more frequent and smaller, they’ll be much easier and faster to fold and put away, too.

What to do NOW:  Go through your dresser and closet (and your kids’ clothes too) and toss the just-in-case stuff into a box for donation.  You know the stuff I mean.  This is the clothing you never really want to wear, given other choices, but you end up wearing now and then when you’re behind on laundry.  Don’t give yourself the opportunity to get behind.  Toss the insurance clothes.

Simplify NOW: Any Kitchen Excess

The Problem:  When we go into the kitchen to make a meal or even just to get a drink of water, any time we have to move extra junk to get to what we need, we are wasting our time.  And when we have too many of something (like drinking glasses), we tend to use more than we really need to.  Which means we have more dishes to wash.

The Solution:  If there’s another tool we have that can do the job, we can get rid of the unnecessary duplicates (I recently got rid of my trivets when I realized I always use kitchen towels for that purpose anyway).  We can keep track of our glasses and mugs instead of getting a new one for every sip, and if we need to wash them right away to use them for a different beverage, it only takes a minute.  If something is rarely or never used, we won’t miss it when we declutter it.  But we will love how simple it is to operate in the kitchen each day.

What to do NOW:  Start with your cooking utensils.  How many whisks do you really need?  How many spatulas?  Wooden spoons?  Et cetera.  Keep only a couple of each, and get rid of your least favorites.

Simplify NOW: Downtime Stuff

The Problem:  We think of ourselves as readers, as crafters, as woodworkers, or as photographers.  And before we know it, we find we’re surrounded by the stuff of those hobbies.  Cases full of books, drawers and bins of craft supplies and works-in-progress, wood scraps that have no plan or intended future, photography props and rolls of seasonal backdrops.  But when we let ourselves acquire so many things, we are forced to spend time maintaining those things.  Cleaning them, organizing them, storing them and cleaning the storage containers, and so on.  And before we know it, we have very few hours to actually use for those hobbies we supposedly value.

The Solution:  We just need to focus on one thing at a time.  We can borrow a book from the library and read it until we’re finished with it, then borrow a new one.  If we’re working on a painting, it should be our main project until it’s complete and hanging on the wall.  If we’re knitting a sweater, we don’t need to buy yarn for future projects yet.  If we build a piece of furniture, we can let go of the scraps afterward, knowing that we’ll buy the exact materials we need for the next project, when it’s time to focus on another one.  And we can simplify our photography props by keeping the 20% of them we use 80% of the time anyway, and letting the rest go.

When we spend less time maintaining extra hobby items, and focus on one project at a time versus juggling (and finding places to store) multiple unfinished ones, we’ll have more time to actually do those projects we always say we prioritize in our lives.

What to do NOW:  Gather all of your scraps for donation to your local school’s art class or a similar group that will actually use them.  Bits of wood, partial skeins of yarn, small pieces of fabric, leftover scrapbooking paper, and so on.  Also collect neglected DVDs, CDs, video games, and books to give to your library, a local children’s home, or another nonprofit where they’ll be used and enjoyed.

What now?

Reading about simplifying is well and good, but it won’t change your life unless you actually get up, throw open your closets, cabinets, and storage bins (not all at one time though), and make it happen.

I know you’re busy.  But the thing is, if you want some of your time back so that you can be less busy soon, you have to find time to simplify NOW.

Are you ready to take that first step?

Emily Chapelle is an expert homemaker, having set up six different houses in seven years of military moves.  She’s also the mother of two adorable curly-haired kids, wife to a Navy fighter pilot, and a former teacher, childcare provider, and nanny.  Now she works from home to spread encouragement and inspiration to other homemakers with a no-nonsense attitude and lots of tough love.  She blogs at So Damn Domestic.  Get her free eBook, Finding the Awesome: 3 Steps to Doing More & Stressing Less for more inspiration and guided, broken-down exercises to find your Awesome.

28 May 11:00

Wardrobe Wednesday | Chambray & Lace Shorts

by Megan // Honey We're Home
Jessica Kendrick

I normally like the look of lace shorts and rue that they would look really dumb as a Bermuda or cropped short but the ones she's wearing are just fugly. And they aren't lined!

Hump day already! Feels good to be so close to the weekend again! I've been trying to wear more of my clothes in different ways to make the most of items already in my closet. My friend Trisa is great at this- she'll have one thing she wears a hundred different ways and I admire how many outfits she can create.  I always wear this chambray shirt with white skinny jeans, so I tried pairing it with shorts to give me another look.  I'm liking this chambray + lace shorts combo.  It's great here right now on days it's not too hot.

GAP 1969 Chambray One Pocket Shirt |  | Leopard Skinny Belt |  TJ Maxx Lace Shorts 

I've worn these shorts with a simple black tank too- better for when the temperatures rise. 

Since my shorts aren't available online, I found these cute options. 

:: shop the look :: 

Turn on your JavaScript to view content

*affiliate links used
24 May 09:03


by Jane Brocket
Jessica Kendrick

all of these pictures make me want to sleep in a bed of desserts forever.


jammy buns

Just to say


madeira cake

thank you very much 


hazelnut meringue cake

for your comments and emails, for having a look at my Facebook page and Instagram photos. 

Thank you. Have a good weekend, perhaps with cake and books and fresh air and flowers.

(all recipes in Vintage Cakes)

15 May 19:38

72 Lines to Jump-Start Your Brain.

by (Gretchen Rubin)
Jessica Kendrick

So many thoughts. These are gems. Why don't we say more of these?

marriageofheavenandhellI love paradoxes, koans, parables, proverbs, Secrets of Adulthood, and aphorisms. Last night, I started to think about poet William Blake’s Proverbs of Hell, from his book The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, so I went to re-read it.

I’d forgotten how much I loved it, so I’m re-posting it today.

Blake’s “Hell,” by the way, is not the traditional Hell, but a place of “unrepressed, somewhat Dionysian energy” (at least that’s what Wikipedia says).

These proverbs are thought-provoking. When I read them, I feel like I’ve had a jump-start to my brain — new, unexpected thoughts come to me.

I don’t agree with all of these proverbs, and I certainly don’t understand all of them, but I love reading them. I’ve put some of my favorites in bold:

In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.

Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. [Agree, disagree?]

Prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by Incapacity.

He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence.

The cut worm forgives the plow. 

Dip him in the river who loves water. [I love this but not sure exactly what it means]

A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.

He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star.

Eternity is in love with the productions of time.

The busy bee has no time for sorrow.

The hours of folly are measur’d by the clock, but of wisdom: no clock can measure.

All wholsom food is caught without a net or a trap.

Bring out number, weight & measure in a year of dearth.

No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.

A dead body, revenges not injuries.

The most sublime act is to set another before you.

If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.

Folly is the cloke of knavery.

Shame is Pride’s cloke.


Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion.

The pride of the peacock is the glory of God.

The lust of the goat is the bounty of God.

The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God.

The nakedness of woman is the work of God.

Excess of sorrow laughs. Excess of joy weeps.

The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the raging of the stormy sea, and the destructive sword, are portions of eternity too great for the eye of man.

The fox condemns the trap, not himself. [This one has a lot of significance for habits.]

Joys impregnate. Sorrows bring forth.

Let man wear the fell of the lion, woman the fleece of the sheep.

The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.

The selfish smiling fool, & the sullen frowning fool, shall be both thought wise, that they may be a rod.

What is now proved was once, only imagin’d.

The rat, the mouse, the fox, the rabbit: watch the roots; the lion, the tyger, the horse, the elephant, watch the fruits.

The cistern contains; the fountain overflows. [I looked it up: "cistern" is a tank for storing water]

One thought, fills immensity.

Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you.

Every thing possible to be believ’d is an image of truth.

The eagle never lost so much time, as when he submitted to learn of the crow.


The fox provides for himself, but God provides for the lion.

Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.

He who has suffer’d you to impose on him knows you.

As the plow follows words, so God rewards prayers.

The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Expect poison from the standing water.

You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.

Listen to the fools reproach! it is a kingly title!

The eyes of fire, the nostrils of air, the mouth of water, the beard of earth.

The weak in courage is strong in cunning.

The apple tree never asks the beech how he shall grow, nor the lion, the horse,  how he shall take his prey.

The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.

If others had not been foolish, we should be so.

The soul of sweet delight, can never be defil’d.

When thou seest an Eagle, thou seest a portion of Genius, lift up thy head!

As the caterpillar chooses the fairest leaves to lay her eggs on, so the priest lays his curse on the fairest joys.

To create a little flower is the labour of ages.

Damn, braces: Bless relaxes.

The best wine is the oldest, the best water the newest.

Prayers plow not! Praises reap not!

Joys laugh not! Sorrows weep not!


The head Sublime, the heart Pathos, the genitals Beauty, the hands &  feet Proportion.

As the air to a bird of the sea to a fish, so is contempt to the contemptible.

The crow wish’d every thing was black, the owl, that every thing was white.

Exuberance is Beauty. [this is my very favorite; I've loved this aphorism for a long time]

If the lion was advised by the fox, he would be cunning.

Improvement makes strait roads, but the crooked roads without Improvement,  are roads of Genius.

Sooner murder an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires.

Where man is not nature is barren.

Truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not be believ’d.

Enough! or Too much!

Which are your favorites? Or do you passionately disagree with some?

If you’re reading this post through the daily email, click here to join the conversation. And if you’d like to get the daily blog post by email, sign up here. You can ignore that RSS business.


Do you want to make some concrete, manageable changes in your life? I hope these Projects will be helpful.  They cover several topics that come up often as happiness challenges: Know myself better is in the most popular; then De-clutter my life; then Quit yelling at your kids; and Cope better with difficult people.



Intrigued? Of course you are! Learn more and sign up here.