7 things I learned in August, from the significant to the not-so-much.
1. How not to pack light.
I veer towards minimalist in my packing, because I’d rather err on the side of under-prepared than over-laden.
But when we went to the beach for ten days earlier this month for summer vacation I only packed two swimsuits—without realizing the elastic was almost shot on one.
I believe in packing light. And two suits could have been fine for a week at the beach. I could have made it with one! But of all the things to leave at home, my perfectly good swimsuits that weigh very little and only take up a teeny amount of suitcase space were not the ones to choose.
2. Some hotels work better for our family than others.
When we travel as a family, we usually look for a workable combination of convenience, price, and quality (plus an indoor pool). We have a large family, and while we’ve found some places to work better than others, we’ve never been particularly loyal to any one hotel chain.
That might be changing. In August we spent two different nights in two different Marriott establishments, one a Fairfield Inn and Suites, the other a Springhill Suites. Our hotel rooms in both places were huge, and each had two queens plus a full-size pull-out sofa bed. These rooms worked really well for our family—enough so that next time we travel I think we’ll be looking for one of these places on purpose.
3. How to watch Youtube videos at 1.5x speed.
Have you ever watched a video online and wished you could speed it up, the same way you can speed up audiobooks and podcasts? It turns out you can if you use my new favorite Chrome extension, Video Speed Controller. With it you can speed or slow down playback of any video.
4. Like box wine, but for coffee.
You know what box wine is, right? Instead of coming in bottles, it comes in an airtight plastic bag packed inside a box for easy storage, with a little spigot you can use to pour a glass.
This month I discovered Grady’s Cold Brew, and my brew bags just happened to come with a “pour and store” pouch. You steep the coffee overnight inside the pouch, remove the bags in the morning, squeeze any excess air out, and stick the bag back in the fridge.
Then when you’re ready for coffee, you use the spigot to dispense it, add an equal amount of water, and you’re done. It stays fresh for two weeks in the fridge. It’s not the cheapest iced coffee option but it was easy and tasty, and the bag didn’t leak a drop.
5. Take a walk.
I’m adjusting to a new fall routine and haven’t quite gotten the hang of it yet. It still feels busy, and not in a good way. I’ve felt too busy to stop and take a walk.
But this week I was determined to actually hit my daily step count goal, so I did it anyway. And it seemed like every time I stepped out the door—with no headphones and no agenda—I’d get a rush of good ideas.
6. Apparently I’m a Cons girl.
I didn’t think I was a cons-and-no-socks kind of girl but these have been my go-tos lately. They’re actually my husband’s. (We wear the same shoe size, because his feet are normal-ish and mine are huge.) They’re flat and comfortable and go with pretty much everything.
When it’s not these Cons, it’s these gold Tieks. I used to think these were polar opposite shoe choices but now they seem oddly similar: they’re both easy, practical, go with everything, and don’t kill your feet.
7. My reading stuff may deserve its own bullet journal.
I love the bullet journal because it holds all my ideas, to-dos, and important lists in one place. But because I’m jamming all this stuff into one place, my journal is filling up a little more quickly than I’d like to.
I already have a fair amount of bookish info in my bullet journal (books I’ve read, books I want to read, books I want to blog about, etc.) But recently, it’s been filling up with my literary matchmaking notes for my podcast What Should I Read Next. I use a full page of my bullet journal to record what every guest loves, hates, and is reading now, so I can take it all in, draw connections, and make recommendations.
I love having this information in my bullet journal, but I’m starting to think I’d be better off with a separate journal for literary matchmaking. It sounds like a good idea to me, but new systems kind of freak me out. Wish me luck?
What did YOU learn in August?