Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Book Review: Spark Joy

Marie Kondo's follow up/companion to her best selling book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, both expands and refines her tidying message and methods.

The book is broken down into three sections: KonMari Master Tips, The Tidying Encyclopedia and Life Changing Magic. The first section touches upon expansion of her message; how to find that "joy spark" when none of your possessions do at first glance, how to keep going through the work, adding joy back into your house ("It's far more important to adorn your home with things you love than to keep it so bare it lacks anything that brings you joy") and life after you finish purging and storage tips and techniques.

One of the useful tips she includes is about tools;

"A simple design that puts you at ease, a high degree of functionality that makes life simpler, a sense of rightness, or the recognition that a possession is useful in our daily lives--these, too, indicate joy."

As someone who was just recently gifted a very well crafted hammer after years of using one that was duct taped together, I completely agree with this sentiment.

The second section is how to tidy or store those items that don't often spring to mind (ski poles, bulky sweaters, cell phone charger cables, etc) but she also includes step by step instructions with diagrams for the every day items. And rather than worry about doing it 'the right way', Kondo expresses throughout the book the idea of taking her message and honing it to work for you.

An interesting point that I hadn't considered fully that she explains, is "the more textual information you have in your environment, the more you home becomes filled with noise." And she means labels on the laundry detergent, bright labels on your bathroom supplies, etc.

The third section is the shortest, but like her first book, so gentle and touching. Kondo reiterates her original message but elaborates on the finer details. She wants the reader to enjoy their life and she knows that many people can't because they are bogged down, literally in some cases (she has one client who has a staircase of books that Kondo must gingerly climb up), with stuff that they don't love. Part of why tidying works, Kondo says, is because "tidying up means confronting yourself". It's easier to bury emotional baggage that you don't want to confront in cute stuff around the house.

One of the most touching passages in the book is toward the very end:
"Recently, an expression that keeps coming to mind as I work with my clients is mono no aware. This Japanese terms, which literally means 'pathos of things,' describes the deep emotion that is evoked when we are touched by nature, art, or the lives of others with an awareness of their transience." We only have but so long on this planet. Why not spend our days with the things and people that we love? That is the message Kondo wants to impart upon her readers and clients, "what really brings joy to our lives is savoring daily life, instead of taking it for granted."

A worthy idea indeed.

(Image credit:

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Snippets: Work Trip

I flew out on Thursday and won't fly back until early dark thirty tomorrow. But! This overtime check is going to knock out my first student loan. Which is what I will keep telling myself through 17 hour days.

Way to go Churchill Ya racist douche

Formation Shutdown of Lake Shore Drive in Chicago

Poet Elizabeth Acevedo nails the hypocrisy of anti-choice advocates

Sandra Bland’s Mother Speaks At Congressional Caucus On Black Women & Girls

Republicans burn their voter ID cards to protest Trump

If you need a kitty in San Fran

What It's Like to Live With Only Bottled Water

The only thing city water is good for, Gail says, making an observation I heard from several people I spoke to, “is flushing the toilet.”

This poor guy Trying to do the right thing.

Utter jackass Christian, my foot.

Much better version

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Love List

Haven't done one in a while and thought why not?

  • Picture of the top of my new (to me) desk. My mom is downsizing and I got the table she used as a nightstand.
  • My utter addiction I have loved thrift stores since I was a tween and now online consignment? I've gotten four new dresses, a pair of jeans and a gorgeous polka dot button up.

  • Speaking of polka dots....

  • We got anniversary shots taken for our sixth wedding anniversary last month. Our photographer, aka awesome badass Abby Grace shot this one. We are eagerly awaiting the rest because she also shot film (be still my I should have minored in photography in college heart).
  • Saying goodbye to debt. By my 30th birthday, we will have knocked off three more debts, including my first student loan!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Why Do I Continue to Watch TV Shows That Break My Heart: My Memoirs

There have been two shows in the last years that started wonderfully, but have broken my heart. No, The Walking Dead isn't one of them because I will probably watch that show until the wheels fall off, if only for Richonne. The moment either of them die, I'm gone.

Bones, I haven't watched in five years. I ranted about the last episode I watched here. I loved that show for the first three seasons and even some of the fourth season. The pilot starts out with the main female character demonstrating how much of a bad ass she is; smart as hell, tough but still vulnerable (ie, women can be well rounded) and not afraid to take a bat to someone who needs it.

But by the beginning of Season 6, they have the same female lead saying things like, "I had to rescue myself because you weren't there to save me."

(Image credit:

I was gobsmacked. They completely watered down her character and pretty much the only coming out of her mouth after that were cliches and awkward stereotypes, not to mention evidence of shoddy character development.


Again, an amazing female lead. The show may be called Castle, but everyone who watches knows that Kate Beckett is actually the star. Again, smart, tough, human! Even better, when she ends up with the male lead, she still retains her sense of self, including one episode at the end of Season 6, where a major story line is resolved. She is wonderful to watch in that episode.

And her partner is wonderful for the first few season; a dedicated father to his daughter (so many touching and REAL moments there), a friend and a son.

Season 7 was iffy but I was willing to go with it.

And then Season 8 happened. I knew they were getting new writers, but I didn't think it would go down in flames like it did. Poorly rehashed storylines that had been resolved wonderfully already, stupid character decisions that made no damn sense, etc.

And now Stana Katic (Kate Beckett) wasn't brought back for Season 9, nor was her best friend, Lainey (also kick ass woman in the show).


And that goes for both tv/movie and books. Don't make me, as a fan, invest in something and then royally fuck it up.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Book Review: The Feminist Activity Book

The Feminist Activity Book capitalizes on the latest adult coloring craze in the best way possible. I mean, where else could you do this?

I, for one, loathe the period commercials with the blue liquid. Helpful PSA: If blue liquid is actually flowing from your nether regions, seek medical attention.

Who doesn't love a good word find? Especially when searching for misogyny?

What about pro-noun badges?

Or trading cards with bell hooks' face?

The activities cover a variety of topics and people: the Bechdel test, feminist literature, gender identity definitions, Audre Lorde and Malala Yousafzai as trading cards, riddles and even Bingo!

There are tons of great activities in this book for varying age ranges. A fun book to curl up with on the beach with a cup of coloring pencils or crayons.

(Image Credit: Front cover-Seal Press, Pages-Taken by author)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Adventures in Homeownership: This and That


As a follow up to the bedroom post, here are our curtains finally hung up. We accidentally hung them higher than before but we both like how it adds depth and we aren't tripping over the bottoms any longer.

Justin likes to leave piles of clothes on the ground and I loathe it, so as a compromise, I hung hooks on the back of our door.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Fast Fashion

(From Erin Boyle's Awwwesome book; hint my review of it is here.)

I've been shopping in thrift stores since I was a teenager but sadly got away from it in college and immediately thereafter. I happened to have a therapy appointment in the same shopping center as an Old Navy so I wandered in while killing time for my bus. And walked out with their credit card. To be fair, I did find some good items there; dress pants that served me well for four years, comfy sweaters, etc. But lately, I've been tired of it. I've wanted to cut my wardrobe down further and clean up the cards in my wallet.

A coworker had recommended ThredUp about a day before Erin Boyle of Reading My Tea Leaves did. I tried it out and while it did take me four tries to find a pair of jeans that fit (PEOPLE. WOMEN COME IN A VARIETY OF SIZES. NEWS AT ELEVEN), OMG, why haven't I used this before? Prices are astonishingly reasonable, you can get two day shipping and the variety is great. I have four packages still coming as of this writing; two dresses, a pair of shoes and a pair of jeans.

They also have a service where they ship you a prepaid bag, you clean out your closet and boom, money and a cleaner closet.

(Filled. This. Thing. Up!)

And so once I make the final payment on my Old Navy card this month, I'm calling to cancel it. And I can't wait.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Cherry Blossoms!

I sadly missed the blossoms last year because I unknowingly tried to take the Metro on their peak day...on a Saturday. The line just to get a Metro card was winding out to the parking lot.

But this year! Took the afternoon off work and went down a day or two before peak.

Rest are here!