Stand Up

Standing desks are all the rage.

I just don’t get it.

I know- sitting is the new smoking so they say…and I’m not saying that sitting for eight hours a day is good for you, but really, is standing for eight hours a day any better?

I did not do scientific research about this- I’m sure there are thousands of articles and statistics that support standing desks, and I’m sure there are an equal amount of studies and stats the say the exact opposite. That’s the nature of anything- one group says A while another says Z. It’s not so much a right or wrong, just different studies and different ways to look at something…

But logically…

Shouldn’t everything be a balance?

If sitting all day isn’t good, is doing the exact opposite the right course of action?

From personal experience, my Dad had a job that made him be on his feet all day. You know what it did for him? Varicose veins, foot issues and heart issues. Standing put too much stress on his body. Sitting a bit might have been better for him.

What if you stand all day but have poor posture? Is that a plus or a minus?

Is good health about more than a decision to stand or sit?

If you stand all day but smoke, how healthy are you?

If you sit and take a five minute walk every hour, how unhealthy are you?

Stand and do no other exercise?

Sit but work out regularly with weights and separate cardio?

Isn’t healthy an all around life style?

What do you think about the standing desk phenomena? Do you think it’s a fad like those kneeling chairs? (remember those? It was supposed to be better to kneel when doing work)

Or do you think it’s an effective tool to use towards a healthy lifestyle?


Too Little Time

I had a conversation with someone recently. They talked about how they have all their groceries delivered. They buy almost everything off Amazon or via mail. And they routinely use that service that will pick things up for you.

I asked if this was a COVID thing. They replied No, that they were just “too busy” to do all that “normal” (their word not mine) stuff because there lives were just “so jam packed”. Then they asked, rather haughtily, why I didn’t have everything delivered off Amazon. (I won’t go into my long winded answer about dog walking, supporting local, liking to pick my own meat and produce, and time management with you)

To be fair, I don’t need to give an explanation as to how/why I shop the way I do. I don’t care that you wonder how I have the time to do “normal” things. Because frankly, the attempt to tell me that you’re so busy that you can’t take care of your life without the UPS guy makes me a little sad and a little angry.

I am not impressed by those who need to tell me how busy they are.

I am impressed by people who figure out what is and isn’t important in life, and live accordingly.

I like busy. I think people should have things on their plate because I think it keeps the mind stimulated and makes you happier. I like a sense of being mentally and physically challenged at the end of the day. (to be clear, physically challenged means I walked at least 12,000 steps and I did some stretching- I’m OK not training for a triathlon) I think one of the reasons that we have a problem with addiction is that people are bored, or that’s how it starts anyway.


I think when you can’t get a quart of milk, you don’t quite have your priorities straight… I also wonder how much of this talk is for show…How much of this “Oh everything is delivered to me” is supposed to be a sign of wealth and power?

Do people get awed by those that have their lives delivered?

Do people think those who are “sooooo busy” are better?

Is talking about how busy you are a common talking point?

Cause if it is, I will shock you and tell you that Friday afternoon I sat in my brown chair with the attempt to shred some documents, and Betty jumped up and went to sleep on my lap, and that began the end of my weekly productivity. After 2:50, it was TV, magazines and Facetime with the daughter. I ordered takeout because of an intense craving for Red Curry from my favorite Thai place- not because I was too “busy”.

I did ask this person if they wanted me to help them devise a planner system…and I think they were taken aback that I wasn’t impressed by their lifestyle…

If you want to impress me, show don’t tell. Show me your awesome series of lists that get you through the day. Show me your accomplishments. Show me your kindness and humanitarian efforts. Show me why you’re busy. I can respect hard work. I applaud anyone who has a goal and works towards it. But please don’t just say that you are sooooo busy….

Busy is not an accomplishment in itself…

Living a well balanced life is.

The Lifestyle

I am a huge fangirl of lifestyle books.  I like to read about capsule wardrobes, and unique organizing systems.  I love to read about how to make your home chic, and how to throw an amazing dinner party. I love to read about beauty routines, and how people pamper themselves.  I may not actively choose to do all these things, but the joy in reading about them…priceless.

I recently read “Living Forever Chic: Frenchwomen’s Timeless Secrets for Everyday Elegance, Gracious Entertaining, and Enduring Allure” by Tish Jett (2018- Rizzoli). I want to be elegant everyday!  I want to enduringly alluring! I don’t want to entertain, but I can skim that…. So you see- I went into this book with certain expectations. I went into page 1 as a lump of clay, and I expected to come out as a beautiful and unique sculpture. And I as sit here writing in my bathrobe and fluffy slippers- I don’t know if I’ve succeeded…

L’art de vivre is loosely translated as the art of living. But can you teach someone the art of living? And more importantly, do people need to be taught how to live?

I get sucked into the philosophy of these books because I am always trying to live my life more minimally and simply. And this book does do a certain extent. The capsule wardrobe is explored- have ten or twenty great pieces and manipulate them to form many different looks and outfits.  Buy quality over quantity.  Alter clothes so they fit perfectly. Stick with a neutral color palette.  Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize. This is truly my goal: I want to own no more than ten articles of clothing per season, and just be able to take five minutes to pick out an outfit, yet look fabulous.

Yet, here’s where they start to lose me: the author advocates always being “dressed”.  She writes in slacks and loafers.  She puts an apron on over her good, expensive clothes when cooking.  I just don’t think this is practical. I write in my bathrobe, or in my gym clothes, or in sweats and a t shirt. When I begin to cook dinner I change into a gross t shirt (I am not the neatest cook in the world). I am a true believer in comfortable, junky clothes. If I’m watching TV at night, I don’t want to be in slacks and a blouse… So does this mean I’m not effortlessly elegant?

And let’s delve into the household aspect for a second.  I do not iron my 8000 thread count sheets and spritz them with lavender water. I know.  You’re wagging your finger at me, asking me how I can exist like this….here’s a secret- I own very nice sheets but they are by no means the equivalent cost of a mortgage payment… I wash my sheets…I put them back on the bed…I sleep fine.  But I guess not elegantly.

I also do not have an armoire filled with table linens and different baskets and things that can be used as a centerpiece on my tablescape.  I have a vase that I fill with flowers. For Thanksgiving I throw a couple of gourds in the middle of the table.  At Easter I put some plastic eggs…You’re beginning to get the idea of how I entertain…Elegant? Not even a bit…

I don’t make my own potpourri. Apparently, there is no way I can master l’art de vivre without drying petals…Here’s the thing: I am all for a simple, sophisticated lifestyle. But once I need to start making my own potpourri, I’ve lost the simple. It starts to veer off into territory I don’t want to explore…

Then there’s the charm part.  I am not Princess Charming.  I am Queen Sarcasm. I don’t know how to “small talk”. I do not know how to start conversations with strangers.  I am great with people that I know- I can talk to them for hours.  But put me at a cocktail party with people I don’t know….I freeze. I revert to “Wow- can you believe how windy it was today?” I can read books about how to talk to people, but that doesn’t mean I can actually do it…Elegance….fail.


Am I more elegant or alluring since I read this book? No.  Probably not.

Did I enjoy parts of this book? Yes.  Very much so.

Did some parts of the book make me want to throw my ipad across the room.  Yes.

And I guess that’s the thing about lifestyle books: we read the parts that are important to us, and we skim over what doesn’t work. No one lifestyle book is going to work for anyone because we are al unique people: we are not one size fit all.  We all have things that work for us, and we shouldn’t change it just because a book, or website or blog says that we should.  The art of living is when you figure out a way of life that fits you, brings out the best in you, makes you feel confident and at ease. It makes you internally elegant and alluring. So write your own art of living book, even if it’s just for you.

Simply, Luxuriously, Minimal

Every January I get an urge to read self help books.  Now these self help tomes have a related theme:  they all revolve around living a simple yet elegant life.  I have a vision in my head of clean lines, clear surfaces and well chosen accent pieces.  Of a closet with a few thoughtfully chosen clothing.  Of a house that radiates refined elegance and calm. Of a mind that radiates elegance and calm.

So every January I read a few of these books.  I recently finished “Choosing the Simply Luxurious Life” by Shannon Ables.  I read through the wisdom of the author,  I find things I agree with, and things that I don’t.  But basically I try to find one or two  little tidbits of information that will make my life better.  The two tidbits I got out of this book were 1)the best way to lead a simple life is to be yourself, and get to know yourself, and 2) end each day with an exquisite chocolate truffle.   (Honestly don’t know how I never thought of number 2 before reading this book).  This assessment is not necessarily fair to the author- the book was quite good, but at this point I’m almost an expert on this subject.  She didn’t tell my anything I didn’t know.

So what are my issues?

How much time do you have?

I live in a small space.  We have things.  It’s hard to fit all the things in a very small space.  But the real question is, why do we need all the things.  So I am constantly on a quest to get rid of “things” in our home.  We adhere to a strict one in, one out rule, which just means we only buy something as a replacement, or if we need to have something, we need to get rid of something else.  I also make everyone donate/dump one item every week.  We are not a family that has a junk drawer with things we couldn’t list.  I could probably tell you the contents of every drawer and cabinet in the house.  We are not a house with pens that do not work- my family is well trained in throwing those out.  But we still have “stuff”.

And this stuff makes me agitated.  This stuff makes my not so calm self just a little bit crazier.

I have a strange battle with want vs need.  Do I need the cake stand where the top doesn’t affix to the bottom anymore?  No.  I do not need broken things  Yet why do I keep it? Well, in this case, it’s actually an expensive piece and I’m too lazy to sell it on ebay.  It was also a wedding present.  But yet it sits on display in my living room.  And it mocks me every time I look at it.

There are times I wish I could just throw everything out in my house and start fresh- buy items thoughtfully and individually based on what I actually needed and loved.  I did this with my wardrobe to a certain extent.  When I began using Stitchfix last fall, I basically got rid of every item of clothing in my wardrobe.  Other than athletic wear, I left myself with about 15 basic pieces that I either absolutely loved, or were perfect comfy writing clothes.  (yes- if I’m not in gym wear while writing I’m in the softest sweats and t shirt imaginable)

And it felt great.  It feels great.  It is nice to get dressed knowing that whatever I put on will make me feel great because I absolutely love it.  I like having very few items, because it makes my choices simple.  If I’m going on a date night with my Husband I have three outfits that I love- he doesn’t care if he’s seen me in them.  He’s happy that I feel great walking out the door.  Because that’s the point of clothing- to make you feel confident and beautiful.  No one wants to hang out with someone who doesn’t feel great.

I want the rest of my house to make me feel like I do about my closet/wardrobe.  I want to love every item.  I want to sit in my living room and find the peace and calm I need to combat my mind which is always on overdrive.

And every year I work on it a little bit more.  Every year I take a fresh look at the items that make up my space and decide if they are needed in the inventory of my life.  The statue my Father gave me for my 50th birthday?  I don’t really like it, but my Father never purchases things for me- this he went out and specifically bought for me.  i will keep this- because it’s special in other ways.  The vase I don’t even remember acquiring and I don’t really like?  Well, that gets ditched.  My Yurtle the Turtle book from when I was a child?  The one that made me a lifelong reader?  Hell no.  That’s not going anywhere.  But other books, well, unless they’re signed or written by my friends, they’re gone.  Pictures are a keep.  Bric a brac is a toss.

And every year my space gets a little closer to my ideal.   My desk is now perfect for me.  I spent the first two weeks of January making it my ideal space- it is a place I now look forward to going to every morning to write.  I’m sitting here now, and I look up and around me and my mind is at ease.  My mind is focused.  My mind is happy.  I am happy.

Every year I feel a little more peace in my mind.

Every year I feel a little bit better about myself.

Self help.

What a concept.