6 things I learned in February

6 things I learned in February

Taking Emily Freeman’s lead to share a handful of things I learned this month, from the (occasionally) significant to the (mostly) shallow.

1. What Scott Foley’s been up to.

Clearly we’re starting with the shallow, eh? Will and I started watching Scandal this winter because fictional politics sounded more palatable than actual politics these days. Now that we’re in it, I’m not sure it’s less stressful, but so far it’s definitely watchable (and occasionally horrifying). And then in season 2… Scott Foley shows up!

Felicity was one of my favorite shows of the pre-binge watching era; in college my girlfriends and I planned our week around watching new episodes on actual live tv. It’s nice to see Noel again. (When we’re done with Scandal, maybe I’ll convince Will to binge on Felicity.)

2. How to take care of green things, kind of. 

Readers, I can’t explain it (even to myself) but this year I’ve developed an obsession with growing things. Specifically, house plants. My track record with not killing things is, er, not great, so moving beyond the bounds of the plant shop’s “hard to kill” tags into more challenging realms (hello, fiddle leaf fig) is a big deal for me.

I haven’t killed anything—yet. But that still seems like a strong possibility.

Here’s what I’m learning: too much water is as bad as not enough (and often yields the same sad results). Visiting the plant shop can feel a lot like visiting the pediatrician. (Can you diagnose my leaf?) And my library has an impressive collection of indoor gardening books. (If you have a favorite book on house plants, would you tell me in comments?)

3. It’s easier to get into some Olympic events than others.

People have wildly differing opinions on Elizabeth Swaney’s Olympic appearance in the women’s skiing halfpipe competition: some say she scammed her way in (CBS’s word, not mine!), some say her story is about the value of persistence. I don’t have big feelings on this, but her experience definitely taught me more about how athletes qualify for the Olympics.

Here’s the thing: Swaney is a good skier, especially considering she started skiing not long ago, at age 25. But her Olympics performance was much more “basic” than one typically sees on the slopes at an event of this caliber, leaving many to wonder how she even qualified.

To do it, she competed in every World Cup, where the fields aren’t deep. Under the qualification requirements, finishing in the top 30 at these events is important—and easy to do if only twenty-something women are competing. Swaney consistently showed up, and earned her spot on Hungary’s team (through her maternal grandparents). (This piece goes into a little more detail on how she qualified.)

4. So much about being an Enneagram 9. 

I wrote a book about personality (that’s Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything), which—surprise?—doesn’t remotely mean I know everything there is to know about personality. But it does mean that I think about it all the time.

This month—thanks to seeing the world through the lens of personality—I’ve learned a ton, especially about the Enneagram. I am continually making discoveries about what that means in my life—the good, the bad, and the ugly. (In order: I’m great at understanding all sides of an issue, I hate telling people what to do, this drives them bananas.)

Hopping on the Typology podcast with Ian Cron to discuss 9-ness didn’t hurt this process a bit.

5. People are using Amazon accounts to do what?

To launder money, that’s what. Who knew, right? Have you ever seen an item on Amazon and thought, Why is that soooo expensive? Well, it just might be on purpose. This story is very weird, and explains why.

6. What books you all want to know more about.

Last week I shared my list of 50 contemporary books every woman’s gotta read, and it was so interesting—based on clicks alone—to see which titles you all want to know more about. The most-clicked title, by a mile? This one. (I can’t say I’m surprised. I hadn’t heard of it myself until you told me!)

I talked more about this on Instagram stories this week: follow me over there for future updates.

What did YOU learn in February?




  1. Joan Odean says:

    You may have recommended this book (in fact, that may be why I am reading it!), but I am enjoying The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas. I can’t believe this is her first novel!

  2. Abby says:

    ahahaha. I actually looked up that book at the library, to borrow, so it wasn’t on my purchase history. Alas, my library doesn’t carry it digitally or otherwise, and i don’t want to ask for it. But I’ve heard really good things about it!

    My daughter’s name is Felicity – not named after the show. But I have always thought Scott is incredibly handsome! I binged Scandal a couple of years ago, and there was a point in the show about 2 years ago (maybe season 4) where it got super crazy/had my daughter and she wouldn’t sit quietly for me to watch TV/accidentally lost all my shows when we switched from cable to Sling TV… and I just quit watching. But it was my absolute favorite show for a while!

  3. Lisamarie says:

    Good morning Anne!
    In February, I learned what Scott Foley is doing next…an ABC dramedy titled Whiskey Cavalier (his CIA-FBI code name). I can’t wait for for this show to air. I have a serious Scott Foley hangover now that Scandal is a wrap. I think you’re right, it’s time for a Felicity binge. We should see if it holds up to a re-watch. It was EVERYTHING all those years ago, wasn’t it?

    Scandal hits its stride with seasons 2-4 when Jake arrives on set, then Scott (we’re on a first name basis) becomes a minor character and the plots goes off the rails. I hope you don’t feel this is a spoiler. I wish I’d known in advance so I could temper my expectations and savor every minute of Captain Jake Ballard’s performance. I waited hopefully through seasons 5-7 for his triumphant return to the spotlight but alas, he remains in the background.

    Thanks for the fun post, as always.

  4. SMG says:

    This month I learned how to cross-country ski (yay!), including how to get up when I fell down (all the time :). I learned how to use a cable stitch needle for knitting (so exciting!) and the agony of having to unravel what I’d so diligently knit because I accidentally added a stitch & couldn’t find it, because it was a difficult enough pattern that it would have screwed it all up!

    And I learned something from your book Reading People – it finally came up in my queue at the public library, and I really enjoyed it. I am an ENFP (I used to test as an ENTP in college 30 years ago, but I think I thought I was a heady intellectual those days – each time I’ve tested in the years since just underscore that I am an ENFP4life)… I muddled over the cognitive stacks, and am still pondering those. I was amazed to learn about HSP before – I have a good friend who definitely is an HSP. I shared this revelation with her, and she is now in the process of discovering that all the things about her that she couldn’t seem to figure out are legitimately components of a larger framework that explains how she relates to the world. Not to put herself in a box, but to celebrate who she is & make contingency plans for coping with life (she’s about to get her teaching certificate). Wow!
    Thanks so much!!!

  5. Lindsey says:

    I just read on Mental Floss how you can email or text the expert at a plant shop in NYC (The Sill I think?) and he’ll diagnose your houseplant issues.

  6. Christina Erickson says:

    I loved Felicity too, as she went through college the same years that I did. Good ol’ Nole. I still have the DVDs although I’ve sold or gotten rid of all the other DVDs I’ve ever owned.

  7. Grace says:

    I love the book Come As You Are, and I was so excited to see it included in your list! Now I’m thrilled that so many more women clicked over to it. It really is an important read.

  8. Debra LaTerza says:

    There are tons and tons of indoor gardening books, as you know, but one I want to check out has actually been around for awhile but was recently the subject of one of my favorite podcasts (yours is also on my Top Five List), Still Growing Gardening Podcast. Author Barbara Pleasant was interviewed about her book, The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual. It sounds like one we should own!

  9. Susan says:

    I loved Felicity (the first 2 seasons anyway and some parts of the next 2) — I was more of a Ben fan but always happy to see any of the Felicity actors in other things!

  10. Darlene says:

    Hi! Love reading your blog as well as reading many of the books you recommend! Good for you for exploring plants and gardening! I know you have an adorable yellow lab and wanted to let you know that the ASPCA website has an extensive list of toxic plants. A family member lost a beloved pet from ingesting Sago Palm leaves in their backyard. I am always referring to this list now as I plant new beds and purchase indoor plants. So many of my favorites are toxic to dogs!

  11. Michelle K says:

    I have recently gotten into plants myself (especially succulents). I think that you might find D.G. Hessayon’s The House Plant Expert book useful. It is out of print now, but still pretty easy to find used. I would also recommend the On The Ledge podcast by Jane Perrone. It is funny, informative, and all about houseplants. She also gives great houseplant/gardening book recommendations.

  12. On the Olympics train…I learned that I do not enjoy watching figure skating as much as I used to as a kid. The scoring is so complicated that I can’t make heads or tails of who is doing well and I’m always confused when someone who falls beats someone who doesn’t. But, Tara and Johnny did make it slightly more palatable.

    Also – and I never thought I’d say this – I learned it is possible for me to get sick of watching the Olympics. I can’t see this happening with the Summer Games, though.

  13. Rachel says:

    Anne!! You did great on Ian’s podcast! As an Enneagram 9 it is really helpful to hear what other 9s struggle with. Great routines help me so much although I’m terrible at implementing them.

  14. Anna says:

    I totally thought you were going to say that you are not a 9! I misread it as, “So much for being an Enneagram 9”. And was thinking, is she a 3? Oops!

  15. Caylee says:

    Watering my houseplants from the bottom has changed my plant life! They can go in bowls or the tub and just let them soak up the water until the top of the soil is saturated! Then water again when they dry out. I learned this on a newish podcast called “Bloom and Grow Radio” 🙂

  16. Amy says:

    You can also enjoy Scott Foley in seasons 7 and 8 of Grey’s anatomy. 😊 Shonda likes to keep her fave actors working.

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