I've Learned SO MUCH from the By the Book Podcast!

I listen to numerous podcasts but one of my current favorites is the By the Book podcast! I discovered it earlier this year through an ad on the Freakanomics podcast (which my husband listens to obsessively) and was instantly HOOKED. I’ve listened to every episode since then (which is saying something since they have several seasons!

by the book.jpg

The premise of this podcast: The brilliant and hilarious Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer read through a self-help book for every episode and try to live by it for two weeks straight. They chronicle their adventures with wit and thoughtfulness and I’m pretty obsessed. I’ve learned so much from so many episodes! It’s also helped me to be a lot more careful about my own self-help reading and encouraged me to take a closer look at the authors and what they’re really saying.

For example: The Miracle Morning book has personally really helped me in the past. After getting my depression under control (FISHER-WALLACE STIMULATOR, SERIOUSLY Y’ALL), The Miracle Morning has changed my life more in the past year than anything else! Going through the SAVERS approach regularly (silence/meditation, affirmations, visualizations, exercise, reading, and scribing/journaling) helped me remember that I have ALWAYS wanted to be a writer and got me on track toward pursuing that path really seriously. However, the By the Book episode on Miracle Morning pointed out a lot of issues with the book and its author and helped me realize that I had been doing a lot of “take what I want and throw away the bad” in my own approach to it. Which is totally fine. I still use it sometimes. But a lot of the advice in the book is kind of victim-blamey and makes me uneasy when you actually look at closely. So now I’m more careful about how I suggest that book to friends; I include a lot more disclaimers and points about how I actually use it.

By the Book has also made some really significant changes to my life in the past year! It’s inspired me to make numerous changes.

Here’s what comes to mind now (I may add to this later as I remember things or add more!):

Things I do now or have done because of the By the Book podcast: (links go to the episode on Stitcher’s website)

Look! Plants I’ve somehow kept half alive, plus an old soda bottle I now use to water indoor and outdoor plants, and our compost pail!

Look! Plants I’ve somehow kept half alive, plus an old soda bottle I now use to water indoor and outdoor plants, and our compost pail!

  • We now plan out our family meals ahead of time and try to do all the grocery shopping once a week. John and I pick and make the recipes together and have found it makes our life WAY simpler when we actually know what we’re eating at night. (From the “America’s Cheapest Family” episode) 

  • I published a short story as an ebook on amazon. I had already written this story and submitted it to an anthology. When it was rejected, I thought - YOLO and decided to put it on Amazon as an experiment. It’s been fun! I’ve earned about $40 from it, which is cool. (From the “how to write an ebook that makes you money forever in 7-14 days” episode)

  • I’ve invited friends over to work at our house whenever they like. Not many people have taken me up on this, but I do love that as someone who teleworks full time and has a pretty big house, I can provide an escape for my student friends or other friends who work from home. (From “a girl’s guide to joining the resistance”)

  • I reuse and recycle more things, have started composting (blog post coming about this soon!), and make my own reusable wet wipes for cleaning. (“zero waste home”)

  • I focus on only saying nice and supportive things to myself. (“What to say when you talk to yourself”)

  • I try to use my phone less when I’m out and about (“bored and brilliant”)

  • I try to only check my email and social media twice a day. Honestly, I’m pretty bad about this, but just knowing it’s an option for days when I REALLY need to focus is good. I also now outsource time-consuming tasks i hate to people on Fiverr . I’ve found a cool personal assistant guy and have had him do some cost-comparison research tasks which have been really helpful! (“4 hour work week”)

  • So Kristen and Jolenta have only done one “diet” book and it had such a bad effect on Kristen that they don’t plan to do another one. This episode and a lot of their conversations in later episodes helped me come to grips with a lot of my disordered eating habits (I tend to either over-eat or under-eat, and neither is healthy) and develop a more healthy approach to my body. I don’t weigh myself any more and I don’t really plan to again; it’s highly triggering for me. Instead, I eat healthy most of the time, avoid too many processed foods, practice delaying my first meal until 12 pm or 1 pm (which effectively means I usually am intermittent fasting for 14 hours), and exercise regularly. And that’s enough for me. As long as I’m feeling healthy and happy with how I look, I don’t need to know my weight; it’s just not important. Thanks K&J for helping me realize that! (“French Women Don’t Get Fat”)

  • I’ve worked to define what types of clothing and accessories are and aren’t my style and have been donating or selling things that aren’t my style. If I go shopping now, I’m much less likely to impulse buy anything, as I know exactly what I like and what looks good on me and I’m not willing to spend money on things that don’t fit in those categories. (“curated closet”) 

A snippet of the pinterest board I made for the Curated Closet.

A snippet of the pinterest board I made for the Curated Closet.

Look at these plants I’ve managed not to kill yet!

Look at these plants I’ve managed not to kill yet!

  • I actually let myself actually watch TV without doing work sometimes. I mean, not all the time, I usually am working on some craft or blog post or something if I watch TV, but sometimes! (“Pantsdrunk”)

  • I’ve really tried to walk outdoors more and keep my house plants alive more consistently. I re-planted our dead herb garden and have managed to keep 4/5 plants alive for the last few months! (“nature fix”) 

  • I’ve let go of some project ideas that were GOOD but just not for me. This book specifically talks about letting go of the ideas that aren’t a match for you so they can go “find someone else” they’re better suited for. This was how I finally let go of the idea of writing a non-fiction book about marital surnames. It still fascinates me and I think it needs to be written about, but I just don’t have the passion to pursue that myself. I prefer my fiction writing. (“Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear”)

  • I had actually already “konmari-ed” several parts of our house but this episode has helped me retain some of the ideas - specifically, does this item give me joy? If not, I should donate it and let someone else enjoy it. (“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”)

Easy No Heat Hair Styling For Fine-Haired Girls

Half dry hair in low buns at top, lower left shows the hair immediately after several hours drying in the low buns. lower right shows the final look after it’s all dried post-makeup.

Half dry hair in low buns at top, lower left shows the hair immediately after several hours drying in the low buns. lower right shows the final look after it’s all dried post-makeup.

Since I bleach my hair before i dye it all the colors of the wind, I try to really baby it at other times.

I rarely use heat styling on my hair- maybe once a month I’ll use a curling iron and a blowdryer maybe once every two months. But my hair tends to lie rather flat if I don’t do /anything/ with it, so I use a lot of no heat styling tricks. Usually, I just style it by waiting until it’s half dry after a shower, and then putting it into one of a few hair styles so it can gain some shape and texture as it dries the rest of the way. This doesn’t work on everyone, but if you have naturally straight hair with a similar medium-fine hair diameter like I do, it works great! (If you’re not certain what type of hair you have, this article on Headcurve can be really helpful! I have a 1b hair type, meaning it’s fine and generally straight, but not so fine that you would see a lot of scalp showing through.)

My current favorite no heat style is two low buns in the back. I specifically also twist the hair as I’m putting it into the bun. I then either sleep on it or chill for a few hours while I’m working.

Once I take it out- voila! Fun curls and texture. As you can see in the picture, it’s still just a little damp when I take it out, so I finger comb it and zhush it a little. By the time I’m done with my makeup, it’s all dry and looks great! It’s really simple and I quite like it. :)

I personally don’t tend to use a lot of product on my hair unless it’s absolutely necessary. I don’t even usually use frizz free serum on my hair, as it can look greasy really quickly. I’ll often just put a little lotion on my hands at the end of my prep, rub it in, and any small amount that’s left, i’l just lightly finger comb through my hair - ends first, than just a very light hand on my roots.

I'm a ChildFree MomFriend and That's Just Fine With Me.

I used to think I really wanted kids, but over time, as I grew up and realized that I didn’t have to want the same things as everyone else, I determined that it was a lot more complicated than that.

Now, I’m not anti-kids at all.My nieces are one of the best parts of my life and I really enjoy talking to children. They’re hilarious. But I also really enjoy handing them back to the parents at the end of the day and going home with my husband to a quiet house. I totally support any of my friends who want to have kids and will cheer them on and give their kids stuffed animals and personalized onesies galore, but it’s just not for me. And John agrees as well!

Me as a kid, with my dad. I was a handful, can you tell? And let’s just be honest, if John and I procreated, our child would be way too smart and mischievous for anyone’s good.

Me as a kid, with my dad. I was a handful, can you tell? And let’s just be honest, if John and I procreated, our child would be way too smart and mischievous for anyone’s good.

I DO have some very maternal qualities, and I really enjoy taking care of other people. A friend labeled me “a momfriend” not too long ago, and I loved it. I want to check in on my friends and make sure they’re doing okay; I definitely worry about them and try to help them whenever I can. I love having a house that my friends feel comfortable in and I hope they realize that they can always come over if they need to get away from their parents or roommates or boyfriends or whatever. I like feeding people! I also adore my cats and mother them ferociously. But just because I have those qualities doesn’t mean I want to be an actual parent.

First, I have lots of medical issues, y’all. Chronic neck pain from osteoarthritis, clinical depression (which is controlled and generally stable now, but still exists and is a real concern in my life), ADHD, the New Fun Unnamed Chronic Pain is still rearing its ugly head pretty regularly, bad allergies, plantar fascitis (so my feet hurt all the time, yay), occasional tendinitis in my wrists, and now I have this deviated septum thing that needs to be fixed. Have I mentioned I also have a bicuspid aortic heart valve? I literally have a valve in my heart that’s SUPPOSED to be 3-sided but is actually 2-sided. This doesn’t generally cause a problem, but it does make me more prone to infections and such. And I’m 31! Like - who knows what else is wrong with me that I just haven’t discovered yet? I may develop something new tomorrow. And pregnancy and a baby would literally make all of those issues worse. It wouldn’t improve /any/ of them.

Second, partly because of said medical issues, partly because of…just my own personal feelings, pregnancy is like one of the most terrifying things in the world to me. My body does PLENTY of things on its own already that I don’t want it to do; the thought of actually losing it to another being is really unpleasant. Every time I hear about someone’s pregnancy or what it does to them, I just….ugh, no. It sounds awful. No, thank you. I’ve already firmly decided that if I ever DO change my mind and want a child (not likely), adoption is the way we’re going. I know it’s expensive and not easy, but pregnancy is just not a thing I’m ever willing to go through. My feelings might rise to the level of an actual phobia of pregnancy, honestly; it’s called tokophobia! It sounds like it’s hellish for people who WANT kids but are terrified of pregnancy/childbirth; I feel lucky that that’s not my situation.

I did almost buy this father’s day card for John and sign it from the cats, but I just sent him a picture to save $5 instead, lol. (He HATES the entire concept of calling pets your children, hah).

I did almost buy this father’s day card for John and sign it from the cats, but I just sent him a picture to save $5 instead, lol. (He HATES the entire concept of calling pets your children, hah).

Third, from a purely practical standpoint, life is expensive and my husband and I are often struggling even just with us two. And we’re lawyers! We’re better paid than many! But our house has lots of issues that still need to be fixed and my body persists in developing new problems that require lots of money, so money is still a serious concern. I can’t even comprehend the idea of trying to fit a kid into our budget.

Finally, I just really like my life the way it is. I enjoy having time to spend with my husband and with my friends. I like being able to participate in community theater. I love that my day job is flexible enough that I can also fit in writing on this blog and creative writing! I want to travel the world and see everything out there. These things are all certainly possible with children, but they are certainly much more difficult. And it should be! I value children enough to know that having them shouldn’t be a default or an afterthought. I don’t want to have kids unless I KNOW I really want them and am wiling to put in the time and money and effort needed to being the best parent I can be for that kid (not in a pinterest perfect way but in a “I need to help this tiny human become a decent person” way). And I’m not willing to do that, so - nope! No thanks. I’ll spoil my family’s kids and friends’ kids instead. :)

DIY Traction for Cowboy Boots!

I’ve had these pink cowboy boots for years now; they were somewhat of an impulse buy shortly after I started my first full time job post college. I had very few bills then and lots of savings (ah, what a time), so I splurged on ridiculous boots. I don’t wear them too often these days, but sometimes they’re just exactly what I need to spice up an outfit .

public.jpg

I’m acting in a community theater production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale this weekend. I’m in a line dance in one sheep shearing festival scene! It’s super fun, although I’ve been pretty nervous about it throughout the rehearsal process because I haven’t danced in a show since....2012? But overall it’s delightful. And i get to wear my pink cowboy boots for it!

I discovered during our first dress rehearsal that my boots are quite slippery! It was bad enough that it made me quite nervous that I’d fall over onstage in front of everyone. I needed a solution! Fortunately, the internet, as always, provided. 

This was a super easy fix and relatively cheap! I got one strip of traction tape for about $6.50 at Home Depot; part of it was reflective, but I didn’t need to use that bit.  I ended up with some left over as well, which I can use for other super slippery shoes!

Materials: 

public.jpeg
  • One strip of traction tape. This is the type of thing you use on ladder steps for safety reasons! 

  • Pen or pencil

  • Scissors

  • Boots! 

    1. Position boots on the paper side of the traction tape.

    2. Trace around the boots.

    3. Cut around the trace lines with the scissors. If the boots have heels, cut the tape portions in two so you can put them flat on each portion. 

    4. Stick the traction tape to the bottom of the boots and press it firmly onto it. 

    5. Check for any parts that are lifting away from the sole and trim them away. I found that I had to trim my tape back away from the thread outlining the sole for it to lay completely flat (pictured below).

public.jpeg

And there you go! This has worked well and has prevented me from slipping or falling since I added it. It should work for other shoes as well!

One quick caution, courtesy of my wood obsessed husband (seriously, our backyard is full of firewood and his workshop is full of lumber for building stuff?): this is NOT a good idea if you plan on walking or dancing in the boots on nice hardwood floors. The traction tape is quite rough and could easily scratch up wood. 

And a FINAL word of caution from me: Traction tape is rough enough that it can rub your thumb down just a little while you’re manipulating it. I haven’t been able to use the thumbprint capture feature on my iPhone since I added this tape to my boots! I’m sure my skin will renew quickly and I’ll have my easily readable print back soon, but it is slightly annoying. 

Feeding the Kitties + DIY Reusable Wet Wipes for Cleaning Up After Them

public.jpg

I currently have three cats residing in my house. Two are mine (Schrodinger and Ziggy Stardust) and one is a long term guest who’s hanging with us until his owners find a place to live where they can have him back (Martok).

Every morning, I feed them two cans of wet food (generally Friskies). One or more of them had some diarrhea issues earlier this year, so I now mix a scoop of probiotics into each can (I do all this prep work in the basement bathroom with the door closed so they don’t try to eat it while I’m serving it out!).

I then divide this food up into an automatic feeder (linked below) which goes off numerous times throughout the day and one extra bowl (so that they all don’t just scramble at one serving). I’ve been using this automatic feeder system for a few years now; it ensures they get some of their favorite food throughout the day at various times and also keeps them from associating me /too/ much with food. This has really helped reduce early morning wake up meows. I also take care not to feed them /immediately/ after I wake up.

public.jpeg

I should note that they literally always have some dry food so it’s not like they’re starving. I put a cup of dry food into their food tree every morning. The food tree (linked below) works really well for slowing down their eating and reducing “scarf and barf.” It also provides a bit of a challenge for them so they’re not just mindlessly eating all day.

Right after putting their wet food out, I put one of Schrody’s pill-pocket-and-capsule-covered-Prozac pills into whatever container he’s scarfing that day. I also put a squirt of salmon oil over his food, to help him with his senior cat joint pain.

As an ADHD cat owner, I’m not always the GREATEST at remembering to do things like, clean the cat bowls (they’re nowhere near the kitchen and I use them daily so it’s a little inconvenient to figure out when to do it). It’s much easier for me to remember chores when I make it super convenient and simple for me though, so for quite a while now, I’ve kept some wet wipes down stairs in the cat room to wipe out all the cat bowls and containers on a regular basis.

Recently though, I’ve been really trying to reduce the amount of waste in our house (thanks to the By the Book podcast episode on “Zero-Waste Home”), so I decided it was time to stop buying wet wipes. They’re really not good for the environment. Adam Ruins Everything did a segment at one point on why these “flushable” wet wipes are actually TOTALLY NOT flushable and how they wreck havoc on our plumbing systems. They also aren’t biodegradable.

So I made my own reusable wet wipes! It was super simple and they’ve worked really well as a replacement. In addition, the vinegar in it disinfects the bowls and helps keep the kitties healthy.

DIY Reusable Disinfecting Wet Wipes

Materials:

public.jpeg

Bambooee towels (we’ve actually used these for years now; they’re a great replacement for paper towels. John still insists on keeping power towels in the house for SUPER big messes, but we rarely use them at this point; our use has gone WAY down). OR Extra cloth rags
White vinegar
A container with a lid to keep them in.

  1. Use scissors to cut the bamboo towels/rags in half, so you have a nice little pile that’s approximately the size of your usual wet wipe.

  2. Stack the rags all in a Tupperware container.

  3. Pour white vinegar over them all. Ensure all the towels/rags are completely soaked. If there’s a bit of excess vinegar in the bottom of the container, it’s not a problem.

public.jpg

And that’s it! I’ve been using them for weeks. When they’re dirty, I just throw them in the laundry and then stack them up for the next time I need to make new ones. The cat bowls and containers do need to be properly cleaned in the dishwasher or with dish soap regularly, but this definitely helps reduce the mess in the meantime.

The vinegar wipes work great for wiping down general cat room messes, cat bowls, their food mats, and the floor around them, when they’re being particularly messy eaters. I have found that they’re not a good replacement for wet wipes for litter box or poop mess (I completely clean out the litter boxes once a week or more, but it can be useful to have these on hand for in-between time messes) so I still use paper towels for those occasionally, but I’ve /way/ cut down on my waste for this.

How I Get My Cranky Anxiety-Ridden Old Man Cat to Take His Damn Prozac

This is an older photo of us. My hair hasn’t looked like that in a while!

This is an older photo of us. My hair hasn’t looked like that in a while!

I’m starting to experiment with Amazon affiliate links, friends, so you’ll start to see links to products I personally use and love now. :)

Schrodinger Beethoven Dickson-Lorenzen is my first and most favorite kittyface. He purrs when he sees me, naps on my lap for hours while I’m working, and meows at me to turn on the bathroom faucet for him every night.

However, dude’s got some issues. He is pretty terrified of people and has a lot of anxiety. Now, some cats are shy naturally, but I don’t think that’s the case with Schrodes. He really loves people and loves being cuddled and pet, but he seems to be held back by his fears. He also still hisses at my husband John on a regular basis, although they’ve lived together for over two years now.

Based on my knowledge of his backstory before he was given up to PAWS (out in Chicago, they’re amazing) and his current emotional and physical health, here’s what I think probably happened. His previous owners got him declawed in his front legs. This resulted in his feet being really hurt by the cat litter, so he developed cat litter issues and ended up peeing basically everywhere else (the surrender papers were pretty awful to read). I’m guessing his previous owners got very frustrated by this and abused him in an effort to train him to stop doing it. He’s got one kidney that’s larger than the other, which probably means he was kicked at some point.

He stopped eating when he was at the main PAWS facility in Chicago, so they put him in a foster home with my bestie Holly. I met him through her and fell in love with him. For a long time, we had to put puppy pads in the litter box for him so he had a soft place to put his paws when he used the box. He hasn’t needed that in a couple years now, but it really helped him at the beginning when he was still recovering from the declawing and his previous owners’ abuse.

He was a pretty anxious cat who seemed lonely when I wasn’t around, so I adopted Ziggy Stardust pretty soon afterward so he’d have a friend. They’ve been great bros since and get along really well. He’s much happier now, but he’s definitely still got anxiety issues.So finally, last August, I went to the vet, explained the whole situation, and asked if we could get him on some anxiety meds. He’s been on daily Prozac ever since. He’s been on these meds for the past year now, but it took a LONG time to get him to take the meds regularly and consistently.

My Initial Attempts:

First, I just gave him the pills in his food. He quickly caught on within a week or so and refused to touch them.

Second, I put the pills in pill pockets, which i then hid in his food. I got a few weeks out of that before he refused to touch it anymore. :/ (I later discovered that he greatly prefers the tuna and cheese pill pockets to the salmon ones! Picky animal.).

Third, I got fancy tuna-flavored liquid meds for him and tried putting it in his food, then just squirting it into his mouth. Each time, he caught on and struggled and fought against it even more.

I resorted to getting some flavorless gelatin capsules online to put his pills in (I bought a pack of 1,000 capsules on Amazon, which should last me a couple of years!). I do have to cut these down to a more cat friendly size, but it doesn’t take too long if i just do a whole bunch of them at once. I had to experiment with the best ways to use these capsules - for a while I actually was putting the capsules into a pill pocket and THEN covering it with tuna to get him to eat it, but I FINALLY FINALLY found a method that works. I’ve been getting him to take his medicine consistently in this way since April! HALLELUJAH.

It only took me NINE MONTHS to figure out a system that consistently works!

So. What I do.

My Foolproof Method of Getting Schrodinger to take his damn pills:

  1. Cut a flavorless gelatin capsule down to a cat friendly size.

  2. Put his pill into the capsule.

  3. Put the capsule into a tuna and cheese pill pocket, Schrody’s favorite.

    [I actually work in batches and put a ton of pill/capsule/pill pockets together at a time. I store them all together in a bag so the pill pockets don’t dry out. The capsules soften up a little within the pill pocket, but Schrody doesn’t seem to notice or care.]

  4. Once Schrodinger starts eating his morning wet food, I put the pill pocket into the food immediately next to where he’s scarfing, so he eats it up without even really noticing it. It works every time!

Just look how pleased he looks with himself.

Just look how pleased he looks with himself.

I’ve also started squirting a little salmon oil on the pill pocket lately, as he’s been walking stiffly lately and I’ve read that it can help relieve joint pain in senior cats (he hasn’t been taking it long enough for me to really tell if it’s working, but he does lap up EVERY BIT OF IT, so clearly it tastes good).

The pills combined with more exposure to friendly people on a regular basis (because of the theater troupe that’s been rehearsing in our basement all summer) have REALLY helped him. He’ll actually come out to greet my friends now! He seems much more relaxed and happier.

He still hates my husband John, but that seems to be pretty mutual. Not sure there’s anything I can do about that at this point! But

Don’t Lose Your Novel!: Responsible Computer Maintenance and Backups for Writers

Don't lose your novel! (3).png

So I have a tiny little Lenovo Yoga I use for all my writing. It’s kind of beaten-up, as I’m fairly clumsy and good at dropping things. It actually has tape covering some broken glass in the corner (I added a protective hard cover after I did that, lol). And my husband says it’s a computer for ants. But it works beautifully for my needs. It’s small and light so I can carry it around anywhere easily; this is particularly important because of my chronic neck pain issues.

I’m not great at remembering to maintain my laptop or backup my files (with ADHD, remembering any regular but not daily activities can be pretty hard for me!), but as a writer, I’ve REALLY got to get better about that. I keep my works in progress on my computer and it would be devastating if I lost all my work due to a computer crash. It also can be really frustrating when my computer is lagging during my precious writing time. So I took some time this morning to fix it up a bit.

Cleaning Up the Computer

disk cleanup snip.JPG

Since I have a Windows computer, I first launched Disk Cleanup and ran it to get rid of a lot of unnecessary files. This app offers numerous suggestions for what extraneous files to delete. This includes temporary files, things in the recycle bin, etc. I managed to get rid of several gigabites of excess files on my computer this morning! (I took this snip after I’d already run it). This should help my computer run quicker and more smoothly.

There are a LOT of computer cleaning apps and software out there, but my Google research indicates that they just aren’t necessary. As How To Geek says:

PC cleaning apps are digital snake oil. The web is full of ads for applications that want to “clean your PC” and “make it feel like new.” Don’t pull out your credit card — these apps are terrible and you don’t need them.

If you do want to “clean your PC,” you can do it for free. Windows includes built-in PC cleaning tools that can do almost all of what the average PC cleaning app will do for you.

That full article explains a lot about what Disk Cleanup actually does and why it’s just as good as add on softwares. It’s a good read if you’re interested in learning more.

I also went through and manually deleted several Chrome extensions I don’t use. While I was at it, I also reorganized the extensions I DO use to make sure they’re most visible, like my Pinterest button (which I use to post links to this blog) and the Honey button (which shows me when there are coupons to go with whatever website I’m on). There are some fun extensions I use that just don’t need to be visible all the time, like the one that turns all pictures of Trump into pictures of kittens (Make America Kittens Again). That’s great, but it works whether or not it’s showing up in the corner of my browser.

I also fixed up my bookmarks and organized them. This isn’t necessary for the computer to run well, but it makes the browser a lot nicer looking and also makes it much easier for me to find resources!

I have a tendency to have a ton of Chrome tabs open all the time, but that really does waste memory and results in some major lagging. As How to Geek says in yet another super useful article:

In Chrome, each tab opens in its own process on your PC. This is a good thing, because it keeps those tabs isolated from one another. A crash in one tab is not likely to bring down your whole browser. But, of course, each open tab uses up some resources, and when you have a lot of tabs open at once, it can slow things down.

The easiest way to fix this is just to close Chrome regularly and don’t keep 30 tabs open on your computer at once. That article also offers a few extensions that can fix this problem without closing the browser.


Backing Up the Computer

idrive snip.JPG

This is a simple but really important step! I’ve had a computer crash twice before without a backup and it really sucked. The first time was in 2009, and the computer had ALL my photos on it from my study abroad trip to Europe, so I ended up paying a recovery company way too much money to get my files off the hard drive. The second time was a few years ago when I got some ransomware via email. That time I just restored my computer completely and lost my files; I really didn’t want to pay someone $1,000 to get my own data back. Be wary of opening links in emails, friends, even if they come from your dad!

IDrive is running a deal currently where you pay $6.95 for a year of backups. I can set it up to automatically back up both my laptop and my phone as often as I like. I’ve personally got it running twice a week, but if you are really paranoid about your computer crashing, daily might be a better idea.

Figuring Out My Style with The Curated Closet

So my fave podcast By the Book covered The Curated Closet a while back. From what I’ve heard, the book really focuses on helping you define your own style. I don’t have the time to read the whole thing, alas, but I’m working through some of the tips on my own, bit by bit at time.

The first part is to actually look at your style and figure out what you like and don’t like. You can also come up with a descriptive name for your style, which I would love to do at some point, but I’m not quite there yet.

A snippet of my pinterest board.

A snippet of my pinterest board.

I made a Pinterest board of some of my favorite styles. I actually incorporated some of my own outfit selfies into it so I could get a better idea of what I actually wear and enjoy. That full board is here, if you’d like to check it out.

By looking through that and various articles on fashion styles and clothing articles, I’ve started making a “Style List” and a “Not my Style List.” It’s been really interesting scrolling through pictures and trying to figure out whether I like something or not and why.

Here’s a snippet of my lists so far. It’s becoming really illuminating!

curated closet lists.JPG

The next step is to go through my clothes and pull out anything that doesn’t fit into things I know I love. That part may take longer, because I don’t think I’m going to have time for that until at least this weekend, maybe next. So - to be continued!

DIY Cleaning Tip for Clogged Toilets (ew)

I learned this past weekend that there aren’t any drain cleaning chemicals approved for use with toilets. At least none in my local grocery store. Apparently they just burn through the pipes or something? I don’t know. But there was a toilet that I couldn’t manage to unclog with just a plunger, so I had to come up with SOMETHING to avoid hiring a plumber.

I ended up pouring a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar into the toilet and letting it sit overnight. The next morning - voila! Working Toilet!

It’s not glamorous, but dear god I’m just glad it worked and we don’t have to worry about that anymore!

Now here’s a photo of a cat to make everything happier.

Guest cat Martok very ferociously grabbed a bag of treats and ran away with it, with Ziggy chasing after him. I ended up having to enclose the bag in a Tupperware container to get him to stop. He was LESS than pleased with me and hissed when I took the treats away, but then forgave me and used me as a ladder to get to a windowsill two minutes later, so we’re good now.

Guest cat Martok very ferociously grabbed a bag of treats and ran away with it, with Ziggy chasing after him. I ended up having to enclose the bag in a Tupperware container to get him to stop. He was LESS than pleased with me and hissed when I took the treats away, but then forgave me and used me as a ladder to get to a windowsill two minutes later, so we’re good now.