A List of Things That I Want and Am Not Buying


I have resolved not to buy anything that I don’t need in order to survive during the month of January. We are halfway through and I’m really enjoying the process. I think through every purchase with so much more consideration than before. The official rule of a spending diet is no shopping- like, no window shopping or internet browsing. I kind of like exercising the power or look but don’t touch here. So here is a list of totally frivolous, unnecessary things that have tempted me.


This mug


This fabric for a quilt or dress that I want to make eventually…

614ak67O76L._SX522_.jpgFile under “unnecessary but fun,” or “emergency sleepover kit:” this set of 11 food-inspired face masks.

THIS SHIRT. Why do I want this shirt so badly?


Chelsea boots.



These stoneware meets tinware mugs! It’s like camping in your kitchen!



Ugh. How luxurious. Rose gold makes everything more… dignified.



I would really like this linen/cotton duvet for the spring. Especially with the bed frame I’m eyeing.


I really want either/or/both this keyring and wrist strap.

The Best of August on The Wonder Of

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On travel

Backpacking in Banff National Park

Lake Agnes Teahouse Hike

Hiking in Jasper National Park

Vacations: Good, Bad, and Beautiful

In the City



Book Lists

Unexpected Party Playlist

5 Podcasts to Listen to on Your Roadtrip (Or Right Now!)

Books I Read This Summer

Every Movie I Watched this Summer

I’ve Never Played Poker Before

Ten Best Album Covers of Summer 2017


Outer Space

Space is my Jam

Eclipse Experiences in 5 Regions

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Professionals Series

5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Applying for Jobs

10 Ways to Get Ahead and Get the Job

Dress for Success: The Professional



On Ritual

Changing Mindset

True Crime

Weekend Getaway




Every Movie I Watched this Summer

Here is a list, in no particular order (other than the order I remembered them) of all the movies I watched this summer. Some were rented, some were at the theatre, some were my suggestion, some weren’t!

40 Year Old Virgin
I know. How did I make it this long without seeing this?

Get Out
If you haven’t seen this yet, do it.

Westworld (the original movie!)
This was SO GOOD. We especially enjoyed it because we had watched the new Westworld series. It was very cool to see the original plot, and the concepts of future technology as predicted in 1973!

Planet of the Apes
My siblings and I watched the old Plant of the Apes movie a lot. I don’t really know why… I think it was the only kid-friendly live-action movie we owned? Anyway, we really like it. This surprisingly made me cry… more than once. I really felt for the apes.

Witches of Eastwick
So good and way way raunchy! We loved Cher’s original nose, the bawdy humor, and of course, the magic. Expect to see this again on the Halloween watchlist.

Entire Jurassic Park Series
How are these 90’s films so much more female-friendly than the 2015 Jurassic World? It is so great to see women represented as strong, leading scientists and researchers. I wish we saw more of that.

The Circle
There were a lot of big names for such a bad movie. Emma, Tom: this is the only time you’ve ever let me down.

A Wrinkle in Time
You know how you watch movies with your parents when you are little, and drift in and out of them? My memory has distorted and spliced these films, and I remembered A Wrinkle in Time a little bit wrong. We still enjoyed it! Kind of 1984ish for children. Plus alternate time dimensions.

Wonder Woman
Strong women in lead roles inspiring strong girls everywhere. I loved it.

American Hustle
This is very well made. It is artsy and realistic, not like it reminds you of real life, but you could imagine it as it would happen in real life.


NYC Goals

We’re headed to New York City today! Here are 5 goals for our visit.

1. Rent a CitiBike and ride everywhere!

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2. Take an NBC studio tour and try to get standby tickets for the Tonight Show!


3. See a free concert in the parks!


4. Go to Amateur Night at the Apollo Theatre.


5. Hang out at the Seinfeld Diner!!!

What We Read on Vacation

The 9 books read by 6 people during an 11 day vacation.

Kristy packed New Lanark in Search of Utopia, a book about important historical figures from her hometown. She was busy on this trip and didn’t have much chance to read.

Kurt listened to music in his downtime, and didn’t pack a book.

Anthony read Mingus: A Critical Biography, about the great jazz bassist Charles Mingus.

Thor normally out-reads us all, but I didn’t see him touch the copy of Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties that Mom gave him. Instead of reading, during his downtime he wrote.

Kendra started with The Kindness of Strangers, a Lonely Planet travel book and collection of short stories. The short stories were kind of hard for us to get into on this trip. What was not difficult to get into was the gripping The Woman in Cabin 10 which she knew must be good when I devoured half of it on a four hour plane ride. While she waited for me to finish the thriller, she read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and when she had finished all of these and realized she was bookless for a 6 hour car trip with the whole family and a 4 hour return flights, she picked up book one of A Game of Thrones which has kept her occupied during our many hours of transit back in Chicago. Kendra was definitely the most dedicated reader on this vacation!

Kelsey read over half of  The Woman in Cabin 10 on the plane. She tried to savor it and read less than a chapter a night, but Kendra new it must be good and rushed her so that she could read it. When Kelsey finished the book on day three of an eleven day trip, she went and bought A Man Called Ove, which she is also breezing through.


The Case for Going Off the Grid

Written with an appreciation for the irony of a blog post about going off-grid.

I recently spent time with a friend who lives most of his life almost entirely off-grid. When he’s at home, he lives in a modest home in the rural hills of Ireland. (I’ve never been there- he says it’s a small town. I assume it has hills?) There is no wifi, and electricity use is minimal. He has a smart phone without data as his “computer” when he’s around wifi, and a burner phone for calls and texts. As paranoid as this sounds, given the current debate and changes regarding America’s own policies towards net neutrality, and the variation in these rules in other countries, sometimes it is necessary to take extra measures in order to maintain privacy and secure identity. In addition to being exposed for identity theft, there also lies a risk of being exposed at a point in your life where it makes your career vulnerable. Consider the Hillary Clinton email scandals. The emails contained nothing incriminating, beyond their existence. Because she did not use the government-protect server exclusively, she was exposed to have been emailing the way our Mom’s do: gossiping about people using abbreviations and lots of emojis. Granted, the issue is more nuanced than that, but it only takes that much of personal behavior being exposed to affect the public’s perception of you as a professional.


I am really fascinated by a lifestyle where you can withdraw from the appeal of media and engage with reality. It’s a little crazy that we live in a world where we have to work to engage with reality. I accidentally disconnect all the time. I forget to charge my phone or pack an external battery, and I am off the grid for 3 days straight. When I have absolutely nothing to do. I will temporarily lose my phone and not think about it until… well, until I know I have something to do. A lot of times these device vacations leave me with a new sense of “shoot, I should’ve read that email two days ago,” or “I should have confirmed this event yesterday,” but the time away from the device brings me a deep sense of calm.

Let’s talk about FOMO: Fear of Missing Out. FOMO IS REAL. If you aren’t online, you might miss the next big thing that everyone is talking about, or miss an invite to a new place, or miss a friend’s big announcement.  …So what? So what if you miss the moment the news happens?? It will trickle down to you eventually, anyway, if it is even worth knowing. Something that I never hear talked about is the fear of missing out on the here and now. Right? How many meaningful conversations with our parents have we mm-hmmd scrolled through and can’t remember? How many opportunities have been missed to keep eye contact and make nuanced jokes during dinner with friends? I want to instill a little real life FOMO in my daily routine. As I catch myself scrolling while on my couch I should think… what if I was outside on a walk right now? I might make small talk with that nice lady, or see flowers blooming in the park. I should turn off my phone and go outside.

What in the world does my friend do in his free time? He said, “Since I don’t have a tv, or computer, I’ll often sip a drink while I play my instrument, or write (offline!), or read a book.” Brilliant. When he said this, I instantly thought of the thousands of hours I have spent with me, myself, and Netflix. I thought of the hours in that week alone that I was offline and in person, maybe 20 usually wasted hours were spent establishing deep and personal connections with wonderful musicians and artists from all over the world. Is there a way to make every day that purposeful?

Maybe. But there is merit to this technological plague, too. Room for personal growth within each career field. Towards the end of the week, I was hard at work on my computer, establishing an online community for watching concerts and supporting the musical organization for which we were working through digital viewerships and donations. The friend who lives off-grid came up and commented that it looked like important business was happening in this coffee shop, with my tech set-up and focused expression. I explained what I was doing, and made a (joking) comment that he wouldn’t know anything about this stuff, since he is off grid. He responded in a somber way, saying that he did recognize the merit of an online presence, and that by making the choices he makes to stay offline, he is also choosing to be disconnected from people he could otherwise be in touch with, and his once large following of musicians may lose touch with his work as he remains inactive on the world wide web. Like anything, being on-grid/ off-grid is all about striking a balance, and that balance is different for anyone. I do dream of a quiet, offline cabin-in-the-woods experience some day… but full time? I don’t think that’s for me. (Says the girl who spent an hour in front of the computer to bring you this post.)

Do you have a technology balance, or a goal to remediate your regular usage or lack there of?