pleasure junkie

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The class almost didn’t happen because the director didn’t think anyone would want to tinker with sentences for seven weeks.  To his surprise and my delight, Beautiful Sentences opened with a waiting-list 10 students long.

The writing class felt like a gathering of kindred spirits.  We introduced ourselves by sharing our favorite sentences, and then we played “who wrote it?”  The game involves, that’s right, guessing the author of various sentences.  For example, can you guess who wrote the following:

  • “I’m anything but fine. I feel like the sun has set and not risen for five days. I’m in perpetual night here”.”
  • “She talked all the time and at first it was about people and places.”

It’s a bit tricky, so I’ll give you the answers: the first sentence is EL James from 50 Shades of Grey, and the second is Ernst Hemingway from A Moveable Feast.  Surprisingly, the entire class thought the first sentences was ‘more beautiful’ than the second.

Is this post nerdy enough for you?  ‘Cause I’m about to go all out and confess that I belong to three book clubs.  That’s not a typo — I legit read and discuss three books a month.  I created a graphic of the top-rated books from my clubs:
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My nerdy-ness will cease after I tell you about a recent article in The WSJ that featured ‘the most popular books that no one reads.”  Interesting, right?

Researchers mined Kindle data to name books people quit after reading after 25%, 50% or 75% of the novel. Their findings? People rarely finish 50 Shades of Grey or The Great Gatsby, but they absolutely never finish Capital in the 21st Century.

Do you finish every book you start?  Are you learning a new skill this summer? Get geeky and tell me your favorite sentence.

 

dash of lovely

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A few weeks ago, a friend said that our actions between 5pm and 10pm reveal our priorities.  She rationalized that most people spend 9 to 5 working for a paycheck, but that we make our own schedules after we clock-out.  When I got home, I mapped out my weekly activities to see if there was a correlation between my priorities and my weekly agenda.
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My findings?  I devoted the majority of my week to The Big Three (faith, family, friends) and also spent significant time pursuing creative passions (writing, photography, design), community projects (volunteering), and physical goals (yoga and running). That’s all fine, of course, but it seemed like something was missing.  Can you guess what it was?
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No – it’s not the pillows.  I’ve been wanting to make the pillows for a while, and today I had the time (and the fabric) to sew some beauties for the couch.  The missing element, however, was a growth experience.  I’ve pursued the same passions for years and years, and I felt something was needed to inspire change and expand thinking.
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My conclusion?  Volunteer with a new organization (I now tutor every Wednesday afternoon), work on a skill (I’m taking a writing class at The Loft), and meet new people (I joined a women’s group at church).  I’m two weeks into the tutoring program, and I’m positive my student has taught me more about life than I’ve imparted about reading and writing .  And as for the church group?  Instant respect and admiration for the women I’ve met.  The writing class begins in two weeks, so I’ll keep you updated on that front.
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The activities align with my original ‘priority categories,’ yet also inspire new ways of thinking about the things that matter most.  Part of me wants to try something more radical – run a marathon or take a business class – but the little changes will work for now.

How do you prioritize your time?  Do you look for growth-opportunities?

Like that keyboard photo?  Check out http://deathtothestockphoto.com/.  Graphics made with the Rhonna Designs app. 🙂

enough is enough

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Spontaneity keeps conversation keen, and if you switch things up (just a bit!) there is a definish chance that everyone will want to chat over cronuts.  Okay, okay, everyone might be an exaggeration, but I promise I (yes me!) will appreciate the quirkisms in your banter.
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Maybe it’s just a silly rant, but I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.  No, kidding, that’s not my rant — I’ve just always wanted to use that expression.  I giggle when I hear it said on TV, and then I want to suggest the complainer sip some OJ and take a nap.  I mean, right? They’ll be healthier and rested in a nanno hour. Problem solved.
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My true rant rests with the common usage of ‘pretty please.’  Can I pretty please make it stop?  It’s not that I’m against politeness — no sir, no mam — I just wish please didn’t always have to be so pretty.  Does that make any sense?
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Is it too much to ask for please to be passionate, peaceful, proper or polite?  Pick your adjective witty writers, but stay away from the commonplace pretty, please?  Alright, rant aside, I created this ILY graphic yesterday at 2pm when someone explained the mysterious origins of the acronym.  Did you know ILY is ‘net slang for ‘i love you?’  Me either.  Time to read more Urban Dictionary, yes?
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As for these pictures, Jon and I have been making a point of exploring all the Minneapolis ‘hoods.  Our most recent excursion took us to Northeast, and we decided the Stone Arch Bridge wins the award for ‘best view of the city.’  We liked the view so much, in fact, that we stopped everything for a smoocher in the center.
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Wishing everyone a lovely weekend — enjoy that summer sun!

pulse and flow

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Whisper this, shout that, and make sure everyone hears the good news as quickly as possible.  Call it excitement, but whenever I hear something funny, touching, or honest, I’m anxious to share the announcement with my nearest and dearest. 

There is something oh-so soul-satisfying in sitting down (with coffee + macaroons) to ask: Did you know? If yes, what do you think? And, most importantly, what do we do about it?
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When Jon starts to snore and my mind is still racing, I watch TED to see musicians, chefs, entrepreneurs and other creatives talk about the issues closest to their heart.  I’ve seen hundreds of TED talks over the years, and it’s becoming increasingly rare that I’m inspired enough to wake Jon to see something I just watched.
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You can probably predict where this is going, but last night I saw Sarah Lewis speak about ‘the near win.’  Have you heard about the value of continuously coming in second, third, or even fourth place?

Sarah presents a compelling case for near-wins being more soul-satisfying than all-out victories.  When we pursue a task for the innate value of the activity, we’re more likely to appreciate process over product, ‘excitement over exterior labels,’ and learning over perfection.
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The near-win generates a mindset of flow and compulsion that drives us forward.  When we can see the finish line on the horizon, we’re more likely to sprint and push to make sure we get there.

A bit like the popular Sigmund Freud quote, “One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.”

swoon over the moon

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I go weak in the knees and swoon right over the moon when you say something I’ve never heard before. What could be better than using wordplay to create something entirely unique and perfectly you?
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For example: His last proposal was a lollapalooza, but this time around the Midwest man caused a hullabaloo with his imaginative ideas.
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The Wallstreet Journal reports on ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ events every year or so, but similarly unique moments occur regularly inside my journal.
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Where am I going with all this? Well, I felt a similar appreciation for the funky/quirky/extraordinary (pick your adjective) when we went to the Renaissance Festival today.
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Perhaps the most interesting part was how contemporary society merged and collided with Medieval culture. For example, have you ever watched someone record a jousting tournament on their I-Phone?
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Do you seek out unique moments or stick close to the familiar? Have you ever been to a historical festival?