A Sunday in the mountains

Oct 28, 2014

The last few Sundays have been the kind of fall days that make you look around and think, "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is." We made a quick stop in Charlottesville last weekend to visit Ash Lawn-Highland, the home of former President James Monroe. The sun was shining, the leaves were crisp and crunchy under our feet and there were sheep! What more could you ask for in a Sunday? We skipped out on the formal house tour and just wandered around the grounds ourselves. It was the perfect way to spend an hour or two before getting back into the car for the trip home. I know October is almost over, but I could really use a few more Sundays like this one.

5 tips to improve your writing

Oct 27, 2014

I've been looking for ways to improve my writing lately. I feel as though I'm stuck in a rut with the way I write for this blog and for work projects. In college, there was always an editor to review my work and suggest revisions and edits. Now, it's up to me to find ways to improve and exercise my writing skills. No one is forcing me and there's not a homework deadline, but I want to. Isn't it funny how that works? So, in an effort to stretch myself as a writer, I've been trying a few different tips & tricks each week.  There have been so many good ones, I thought I would share. How sweet of me. I'm sure many people will just skip over this post -- grammar, ick! But I also know that there are people in this world who, like me, get excited over oxford comma debates and unique adjectives. So, here we go: five little tips to improve your writing this week.

Try this exercise: At the beginning of every day pick two or three words you want to use that day. Write them on post-it's and stick them on the wall in front of you, and find a way to use them in your writing that day. (via Forbes)

Read this article: The Most Annoying Writing Errors (and How to Avoid Them)

Use this new word: voluble (VOL-yuh-buhl) adjective: speaking incessantly or fluently

Learn this grammar rule: Continual typically means happening frequently with intervals in between. (The bus service has been disrupted with continual breakdowns.) Continuous refers to space, as well as time. (The development forms a continuous line along the coast.) (via Oxford Dictionaries)

Listen to this advice: Write down what you do know, build a skeleton that you can add to, and then research the rest later. Don't let a lack of immediate knowledge stop you. (via Forbes)

Weekend links 10.24.14

Oct 24, 2014

I love the idea of a soup bar. Sounds delicious!

The myth of the perfect wedding dress.

This was an interesting article to me as a social media manager: Why Copyblogger Is Killing Its Facebook Page.

Do you subscribe to newsletters? Here are a few to add to your list.

Hearing the word "thumb" and "finger" this many times in an article grossed me out a little, but my inner grammar nerd thought it was interesting! Is your thumb a finger?

This book is on my to-read list. Skimm described it as "Little House on the Prairie" meets "Modern Family" so of course I have to read it now.

An interesting article about author Laura Hillenbrand. I'm such a huge fan of both of her books!

Wanting to make these sweet & salty cookies and then balance it out by making this simple broccoli salad.

9 Productive Ways to Make a Slow Workday Fly By - some great pointers.

Made me laugh: This is why I stopped following you on Instagram.

What I'm Reading, Vol. Twenty-Seven

Oct 22, 2014

The Busy Trap (via The New York Times)
Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration -- it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.

Downsize: Pursuing the Intangible (via Darling Magazine)
Let's not allow those stacked recipe books we intended to cook from become the dinner we never made time for. Let's not let the wall art reminding us to "seize opportunities when they reveal themselves" or "be the change you wish to see in the world" become mere sentences we ignore on our way to another shopping spree. Let's aim to keep those pricey throw pillows from becoming cozy nights in we failed to create. Let's downsize where we dwell and make room for our dreams.

Stop Perfecting: Move Before You Are Ready (via 99u)
Move before you are ready...Most people wait too long to go into action, generally out of fear. They want more money or better circumstances. You must go the opposite direction and move before you think you are ready. It is as if you are making it a little more difficult for yourself, deliberately creating obstacles in your path. But it is a law of power that your energy will always rise to the appropriate level. When you feel that you must work harder to get to your goal because you are not quite prepared, you are more alert and inventive. This venture has to succeed and so it will.

What do you snack on?

Oct 21, 2014

Okay, guys, it's time to spill the beans. What do you snack on at work? I'm always looking for great ideas for quick, easy, no-mess snacks for that afternoon lull when there's still plenty of work to do, but your body is screaming for a nap. Having something close by to munch on is super helpful, but not always super healthy. I've learned to curb my tastes a little when it comes to work snacks. We can't all be that person who snacks on doughnuts and cheetos every afternoon. (Oh, but I can dream!)

A quick and easy solution that I have found is trail mix. Which is funny, because I used to be deathly against trail mix. "Squirrel food", I called it. Until I realized that it's a pretty handy thing to have around when you start nodding off at your desk in the afternoon. It's the perfect combination of sweet, salty, and crunchy!

Now that we're doing Whole30 this month, I've switched out the trail mix for plain almonds. Not as exciting, but they're still something to crunch on. Toss in some apple slices and we'll call it a pretty decent afternoon snack. Some other things I've fallen in love with lately are LĂ„RABARs. Have you heard of these little gems? They have no more than nine ingredients and each flavor is made from simple whole ingredients. Some of their flavors aren't Whole30 compliant, if you're concerned with that, but several of them are. Last, but not least, these roasted plantain chips are deee-licious! Plus, they have that added crunch that makes snacking so much more fun.

So, please, share. What's your semi-healthy, very tasty, power snack to eat at work? I'm listening.
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