Hi SE readers! I’m excited I get to write another guest post. Mr. SE shared his favorite things a few months ago and asked me to do the same. So, here is a list of some items that bring joy to my life. I believe these are things that I will always enjoy no matter what stage of life I am in, and I think you may enjoy them too.
Freshly Ground Peanut Butter
I love peanut butter and always have. I’m one of those people who can just eat it by the spoonful. I used to get the processed stuff, but then I decided it might be better to get something with less added sugar if I am going to be eating it everyday. I used to buy it from the market already ground, but now I make it conveniently at home anytime I have the urge. Just put some unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts in the food processor, give it a little wiz, and there you go. Awesome, delicious peanut butter ready to eat! You can do this with any other nuts as well, but peanuts seem to work best.
Nike Tempo Shorts
Probably any girl from the age of 12-35 will tell you these shorts are amazing. Not only trendy, they are great for working out, going to class, running errands, or lounging around the house. They come in any color you can imagine whether you want neon, your school colors, or to go with that favorite t-shirt. And they have built-in underwear and elastic band for the perfect fit! Continue reading
Before I decided to jump in and join the writer’s crowd, I spent years reading posts from a wide variety of authors. My life and perspective have been thoroughly challenged and changed from the words written by many of the authors who write weekly to an audience around the world. At first, this post was going to be a shout out to all the other bloggers that I enjoy and that have helped me on my way. But I’ve made it a little more specific and retained only the blogs that I actually read. Ones where I read every post right after they hit my feed. Here are the blogs I enjoy.
Zen Habits - Written by Leo Babauta who is a self described minimalist and habit creator. His material covers a healthy lifestyle, habit formation, parenting, and focus. He has been writing for several years and his content remains epic. One of the few old school bloggers that still writes consistently.
Great Post: A Brief Guide to Life
Mr. Money Mustache – The best face punching, entertaining financial literacy author writing right now. A wealthy early retiree who maintains a low impact lifestyle. A must read for anyone who is working toward living a more efficient life. I’ve already written about his best posts; but I’m impressed he keeps the new material coming each week.
Great Post: Is it Convenient? Would I Enjoy it? Wrong Question Continue reading
‘Tis the season. The big marketing push for people to go out and buy lots of plastic things with plastic money for people they wish they could spend more time with. I like Christmas. I enjoy Thanksgiving. I love spending time with my friends, eating delicious food, and relaxing with my family. I like the festivities and excitement this season brings. And this year, thanks to the help of Josh and Ryan, I’m looking forward to a more meaningful holiday season. However, each year, it seems marketers are taking their game to a higher level. In an effort to out-duel one another, the creep of spending and buying expands. It seems quantity, consumption, and the volume of stuff is getting the upper hand. Now that I am more aware of its effects, especially on children, I start to question the excess of disposable toys and plastic waste that has captured giving.
The ultimate irony is that I truly enjoy giving. I like to support people and organizations. I like to give great gifts to my wife, friends, and family. I think many people get stimulation from the buying process and the actual giving part. I’m working toward enjoyment of the utilization of the gifts and implementation instead of the process itself. I don’t mean this essay to specifically be a tresses against plastic toys; but merely to start a discussion about the disposable excess that permeates western culture and specifically manifests itself during the holiday season. And honestly, my push back to the giving season is based in its implementation. The combination of expectations and marketing that now are such an excessive part of the experience that it can diminish the joy of quality time and simple generosity. Continue reading
The Simple Economics Series is a collection of information that explains, in plain English, the fundamentals of economics. I remember thinking in high school exactly how much I hated economics and wondered why I was forced to sit though the most boring class of all time. Fast forward 15 years later and I’m finishing up my PhD in Financial Planning and Consumer Economics. Who knew? Economics doesn’t have to be boring and it actually quite useful in our everyday lives.
Economics, at its core, it about making choices with the time and money we have. It is extremely practical at we can leverage the principles to live a happier, healthier, and more efficient life. I’ll put my own spin on the subject matter I call Personal Economics. Basically, anything that I find useful or interesting in personal economics, I’ll work to make it understandable to anyone- even without an advanced degree in boringness. If there is a specific concept that you would like to know more about just send me an email or leave a message in the comments. Continue reading
I enjoy reading and I spend as much time as I can reading non-fiction. My favorite books tend to be ones that make me think or create action in my life. I’ve already written about five books that have changed my life but there are plenty more that I enjoy. I primary read on my Kindle but I often give away paper books as gifts (my favorite thing to give people). So, without further ado, here is the list (in no particular order) of my favorite nonfiction books:
Walden – Thoreau
1854 called and told you to get off your computer and get out in the woods. The classic, which can be read for free, describes social experiment and spiritual journey of Henry David Thoreau. The book outlines the life of Thoreau and the challenges and observations made while spending two years in a small cabin in the woods of Massachusetts.
Simple Guide to A Minimalist Life – Leo Babauta
A short read that explains the basic tenants of minimalism, but, more importantly gives practical advice on how we can design our life and our habits. Even if minimalism sounds awful to you, the advice is great for prioritizing your life and work. I try and read this book at least once a year. Continue reading
Someday I’ll be rich. Someday I’ll finish school. Someday my kids will be able use the bathroom on their own. Someday I’ll be able to quit my job. Someday my blog will have a million readers. Someday.
I’ve always been told to write my goals down. That is what famous, rich people do with their dreams. The next step is to put your head down and work as hard as possible to attain your goal. Then, when you finally reach that goal- you write down a bigger one and start the process again.
I actually have goals. I write them down and obtain them frequently. However, one thing is missing from the traditional sense of progress. Something is missing when the end goal is all that matters. The notion of miserable sacrifice as a stepping stone to some lofty fictional finish line. Something else is important in life. Often, the process itself is just as valuable as the result. There are plenty of examples in real life where the ride is more fun or important than the journey’s end. In fact, we spend a lot more time in process than we ever will basking in the reflected glory of our final destination. I think it is time to step back, take a breath and enjoy the process of life. Continue reading
It is amazing how much time we spend striving for comfort. In fact, I would estimate that most Americans work for many extra years searching for the moving target of incrementally more comfort. Since we all recognize that luxury is just another weakness, it is important to understand that living the air conditioned hypoallergenic life is an effort in futility and we are better off getting outside and learning to embrace real life. I would also guess you could probably measure someone’s overall satisfaction with life by simply measuring how large a comfort zone they possess.
An air conditioned hypoallergenic life is one completely devoid of any discomfort. But more than that, it is classified as this unnecessary longing for perfection, excess and superfluity. It seems that Americans are particularly affected. The main complaint is that we simply spend too much time and energy concentrating on perfection while missing out on the messiness and beauty that is real life. So, get out of your extra large air conditioned SUV and hop on a bike and enjoy the fresh air of life. Take a little bit of time to try something new and instead of running from discomfort- embrace the expansion of your comfort zone. Continue reading
School, Neighborhoods, Houses, Communities and Companies are bought, built and sold over time. Although the question is most often used in relation to housing, we all have the opportunity to buy or build certain aspects of our life and our community. For the items that are most important in your life: Are you buying or building?
Companies, especially in the tech sector, are often faced with the dilemma of when to build out a product or simply acquire a smaller company that is already doing or making something similar. While Apple often develops its products in-house, occasionally it buys firms and uses their skills and tools to expedite the developmental process. Apple purchased Siri, Inc in 2010 to help develop their voice recognition software. Although Apple could have started competently from scratch, they chose to take Siri, Inc’s product and develop it into their own iOS operating system. In essence, they chose to buy instead of build their own solution.
As individuals, we are often faced with balancing the satisfaction and customization of building with the conveniences and immediacy of buying. We don’t have the time, will and ability to build everything. So we are forced to make choices on what we are willing to build. The advantages to building are simple: you get just what you want, better customization, often less expensive (especially if you DIY), greater flexibility, and ownership satisfaction. The advantages to buying are: things are typically ‘move-in-ready’, less effort, convenient and known. Continue reading
Boom. Pop. Shaking. Loss of Control. That awful feeling you get when you hear or know when your tire is going flat. A few months ago I was taking a short ride out to get a few groceries. I was biking along the road and somehow managed to ride over some pieces of a broken taillight hanging out in the bike lane. My tire was slightly punctured and was leaking slowly. I wasn’t too far from home so I kept going for a little bit. My once easy bike ride suddenly felt like I was peddling down the road with a four hundred pound gorilla on my back. Even the small hill seemed terrible, like trying to run in deep sand. Eventually I did make it home. I gave the tire a nice little inspection confirming my disbelief that the tinniest shard of plastic had slowed down my life that much.
The ironic part about a tire on a bike, car or plane, is that it is one of the least expensive, yet most vital parts of the vehicle. Of the thousands of parts that make up a car, a tire is often one of the simplest- yet, most crucial to its functioning. When it is not working- even though it is just a tiny part, it makes the entire vehicle almost inoperable. It doesn’t matter how nice the leather is or how big the engine, a car won’t go very fast or far on a flat tire. How about a multimillion dollar plane that can’t operate because it ran over some debris in the runway and punctured one of the tires? Or what about that bike in your garage with a flat tire waiting to not be ridden? Continue reading
Despite our best efforts- and our accumulation of lots of stuff, I’m not 100% sure Americans have it all figured out. We do most things really well. But from my experience it seems like most of my friends, coworkers and acquaintances are still unsatisfied in one area. For all that we are doing right in the U.S., one thing still feels like it is missing: Margin. Although margin often is used in the context of money, I’ll jump in and throw out the incredible and often overlooked concept that is Time Margin.
I spent the summer of my third year in college studying abroad in Australia and Fiji. It was a pretty epic trip and one of the most memorable times that I can remember. It truly whetted my appetite for travel and exposed me to new and different parts of the world that are completely unique. I’m sure I read a few books and did several projects but I’ll never forget the culture I was exposed to on that trip. The sights and sounds of Australia were great, but I think one of the most memorable nights that I can recall was during a village home-stay in Fiji. As students, we were paired up with a family and spent our time walking around the village, drinking kava, relaxing, eating and talking. Continue reading