Shiny Things

August 2015 — Hydration, Love Songs, Traveling, and Magic Lessons

Moonrise in Albuquerque, NM, 2016

As a child (and adolescent … and still to this day) catching a glimpse of something shiny out of the corner of my eye would grab my attention. Much to my parents’ dismay, I was incessantly picking up rocks, feathers, coins, gum wrappers, and found objects of all shapes and sizes. My affinity for shiny things hasn’t waned, but with access to the Internet and a network of intelligent, curious friends, my attention is now drawn toward articles, audio, books, and websites. These are the things that pique my interest, tickle my fancy, and change my world a little bit at a time.

Dear friends,

It’s time for another installment of Shiny Things! A newsletter for my friends, sharing the things I am thinking about and loving right now. The first list sparked some great conversations… thank you! Connecting with friends is so important to my wellbeing and general happiness :)

ps. I am still collecting your “small steps to happiness”. I’ve received some beautiful ones so far. If you have any pearls of wisdom to share for the small steps to happiness manifesto, send them my way!

Here are this month’s Shiny Things!

Drinking SO MUCH water

Hear me out. I’ve been drinking so much water recently and it is amazing. I think water is the miracle drug/superfood of the century. I start my day with 16oz of water right after waking up (I keep it by my bed). Then two cups of hot black tea (lavender and bergamot tea, delicious) before heading to work. At the office, I have a 20z water bottle that I keep with me throughout the day, and I drink 3–4 of those (added benefit: frequent trips to the bathroom mean I am getting up from my desk at regular intervals!). And then I end the end with 1 or 2 cups of hot tea, for a grand total of 8 containers (of varying sizes) of water. I promise you, my skin is clearer, my mind is clearer, my body feels lighter, and I just generally feel like a superhero. Try it.

Brandi Carlile — “I Belong to You”

I got to see Brandi live recently and the performance was just as powerful and beautiful as ever. She introduced this song by saying it was her attempt at a love song and joking that she writes some pretty dark stuff (she does!). I just love this song, I’ve listened to it every day recently.

What Happy People Know by Dan Baker

I read a lot of self-improvement and psychology books. It’s probably not a good thing, I could really use some more fiction in my life. This book is an easy read that weaves science, research, and case studies together to help explain what happiness is, where it comes from, and how we can live lives full of it.

Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert

A potent combination of my favorite things: podcasts, Elizabeth Gilbert, and deep conversations about life, happiness, and creativity. Liz calls fans that have written to her with some sort of creative block and speaks beautifully about how to re-frame challenges and overcome barriers. Pulling from her own experience, from inspirational friends (like Cheryl Strayed and Rob Bell!), and various other quotes and magical tidbits, each episode weaves together one guest’s personal creative challenges with great insights and actionable advice that can apply to anyone. In fact, after listening to one of the episodes, I decided that I am going to start hosting a creator’s workshop to bring my amazing and talented friends together to share whatever we are writing/singing/designing. I haven’t actually hosted the first one yet, but you better believe there will be an update about it when I do, because it will be grand.


I hope you’ve heard of this site. I’ve used it three times recently to create wonderful memories with friends. Next time you travel, consider booking an apartment or house instead of a hotel room J

  • A cabin in Woodstock, IL. I spent a weekend there with 7 friends. Said cabin was equipped with one stove of questionable functionality, 3 ponies out back, and no air conditioning… but plenty of beds! Sitting out on the deck under the stars and singing songs until 2am (while drinking way too much red wine) are memories I will cherish for a long time.
  • A modern home in Charleston, SC. Everything in this house was high tech. From the blue tooth enabled front door deadbolt right down to the motion sensing trash cans. Having a literal home base for Carlene to cook amazing meals to sustain us for the weekend made the experience so enjoyable. Not to mention the fact that we could unwind by watching a recording of the GOP Presidential Debates … which provided great fodder for conversation.
  • An industrial loft in downtown St. Louis. The kitchen was, again, my favorite feature. I so prefer being able to make my own meals while traveling! We shared the two bedroom loft and spent a lot of time lounging on the huge couch in between all of the activities (dinner, Cardinals game, random sight seeing excursions).

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