Welcome to My Favorites, the remix.
I have revamped the format of these posts to allow for a shift in perspective that I find encouraging instead of draining. I love the My Favorites posts, but recently I found myself weighed down by them. The joy that they brought me in the beginning was waning, and more times than not, I would find myself scurrying at the last minute to come up with things to add to the list of favorites. It felt false.
One of my daily practices is to list five things for which I am grateful every morning. Tiny things. Little moments. Small pieces of my day that made me smile. This practice ushers in a tone of gratitude at the beginning of each day, and also cultivates in me the practice of being on the look out for things to put on my list each morning. I am constantly expecting to see things for which I can be grateful, which over time has an effect on the way I approach my daily life.
Going forward, My Favorites is going to follow this same pattern. Some of my monthly favorites will be things, tangible and available online. But some of them will be moments or memories or something new I discovered. I want to find lovely along the the way, and I hope these posts will inspire you to do the same.
I love to read, and in January, the two books I loved the most were The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger and Profit First by Mike Michalowicz.
The Ride of a Lifetime tells the story of Disney CEO Robert Iker’s professional career. I don’t think I would have given this book a second look if it had not come highly recommended by sources I trust. It did not disappoint. Once I began, I could not put it down. I love origin stories, particularly the kind that tell the how an individual created and built their business. This book is written in a very comfortable voice, with a lot of behind-the-scenes insights from the man who ran and created the largest media company in the world.
Profit First is less of an entertaining read, and more a handbook I wish I had known about when I started my business. If you own a business or are thinking about owning a business, I would consider this book mandatory reading. I won’t go into all of the details of the Profit First system, but in the two months since I began putting the practice into action, it has transformed the financial face of my business.
A FUN FIND.
In October of last year, I decided I wanted to build and launch a hospitality membership site called The Table. I had an idea of what it might look like, but honestly, I was kind of riding blindly. Elizabeth, who works with me at Hurley House, told me she was a member of a site for artists and offered to let me take a look at the site so that I could see how it works and functions. The site she belongs to is called The Collective, and is created by Emily Jeffords who is an artist, mother, educator, and entrepreneur. Seeing The Collective was very helpful, but discovering Emily Jeffords and her work was inspiring. I am not an artist, but I love following her on Instagram, watching her stories, listening to her soothing voice. As a creative, I find her message encouraging, authentic, and inspiring.
A TIP, TRICK, OR TECHNIQUE.
In January I learned how to chop and store lettuce without it turning brown! This small but significant discovery is changing my salad game! The trick is to store it between layers of paper towels to absorb any excess moisture. The lettuce, once chopped and stored, will stay crisp and green for the better part of a week.
A MOMENT OR MEMORY.
My son Jake can play any instrument you give him. For Christmas, he added to his collection by asking for a banjo. By mid-day Christmas afternoon, he was already plunking away, picking out chords and melodies. The sound of a banjo brings back a very strong childhood memory. Do you remember the song “Rainbow Connection?” Oh my gosh I loved that song as a child. I remember the melody making me cry, I thought it was so beautiful. I told Jake I would love for him to learn that song. In January, he sat down with me at the kitchen table, told me he had learned a new song, and proceeded to play a perfect rendition of “Rainbow Connection.” It was almost too much for me to handle.
A NEW THING I LEARNED.
What makes a rodent a rodent? What is the distinguishing characteristic between rabbits, squirrels, and mice that sets them apart from other mammals? Do you know? I did not, but now I do. Rodents are distinguished by their two front teeth that grow continually, hence requiring them to chew and gnaw on things to keep them filed down. The more you know!
I made White Chicken Chili for our small group in January. This is one of those recipes that really doesn’t sound that great, but every time I eat it, I am reminded how special it is. My version has a secret ingredient, and the ease at which it comes together (and can freeze beautifully) makes it a seasonal favorite.
”The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.”
Thomas Moore said these words, and they speak to me. The idea of ordinary arts, practiced daily in the context of our home feeding our soul perfectly puts into words one of the components of hospitality. This doesn’t imply that we have to spend our entire day at home, but the tiny ways we establish practices based around our routines do indeed pour life into our souls over time.
January is my reset month, known as Gentle January. In it I allow myself time to rest and recharge on the heels of the holiday and busiest quarter at work. It’s really nice. And now, with January winding down, I want and need to get back into some habits that have slid away slowly. At the top of my list is a renewed commitment to move my body with intention every day. I hate the words “work out,” because I already work a lot and the idea of adding one more work-related thing to my list sounds overwhelming. Moving my body with intention can be a lot of things, but my primary goal is to keep my body strong, stable, healthy by moving it. I am eager to bring back this practice and feel the benefits.
These are my favorite ways I found lovely along the way this past January. What are your favorite moments? Where are you seeing moments worth remembers, learning and growing, discovering challenges and uncovering new paths? I want to hear your favorites. Thank you for reading mine.