2016 Favorite Everything List

favorite-everything

Raise your hand if you love a good favorites list.

That’s what I thought. I love them too! In the spirit of fun, reflection, and simplicity {just the top 3 faves in each category}, I bring you my 2016 Favorite Everything List.  

Here we go.

BOOKS

Sadly, I don’t read as many books in a year as I want to. {I start way more than I finish.} And this was one of those years where I loved almost everything I read. But in the end, these three very different books jumped out at me:

All the Pretty Things: The Story of a Southern Girl Who Went Through Fire to Find Her Way Home by Edie Wadsworth

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I read Edie’s memoir in one day and it stunned me. Writing about hard things and difficult people with grace and compassion is a complicated task but Edie does it beautifully and the world is better for it. This book made my heart swell with love for Edie and for her family. It also gave me hope for my own relationships and complicated story.

 

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile

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This is the third book I’ve read on the Enneagram over the years. If you’ve never heard of the Enneagram but you’d like to, this is the book to begin with. I’m a bit of an Enneagram junkie {my friends call me the Ennea-vangelist}, but I fully admit that it can feel tricky and overwhelming at first. Numbers! Arrows! Wings!

This book is a primer for real people and we needed it. I love it so much and feel like I’ve already sold a thousand copies through my word-of-mouth endorsement of it.

 

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

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I know. This one may not appeal to those of you who aren’t writers but I loved it so, so much and have gone back to it since my first reading. {Always a good sign.}

Because I’m not a fan of horror or Sci-Fi, this is the only Stephen King book I’ve ever actually read. And even though he’s a fiction writer and I’m not, so much of what he teaches — through his life story and witty, direct instruction — applied to my own writing in a powerful way.

This is a book about his personal life — as a son, a creative soul, a husband, a father, an alcoholic. But it’s told through the lens of his writing life. It’s really a beautiful story and I came away with boatloads of respect for him as a writer and a human being.

FYI: Since 2009, I’ve kept a running list of most of the books I’ve read. Click here to check it out.

 

TV Shows

tv

I just rigged up a tiny TV in my newly-painted office and I never want to leave.

Per usual, I’m late to the party on each of these shows. I was too busy having babies and surviving the toddler years when these came out on actual television and watching TV was HARD back then! There was no instant streaming and binge-watching. There was setting the VCR or the TiVo {if you had one} or renting entire seasons from the library and then paying a fortune when you forget to return them on time.

My kids don’t know how we ever survived.

But sometimes it’s nice to do things later. I waited to read Harry Potter until I read them to my kids and it was so fun to experience the story together for the first time. The same has been true for all three of these shows. I’ve watched them with my daughter and it’s the stuff dreams are made of. {The Ministry of Netflix has been one of my favorite gifts / discoveries of 2016.}

Lost

The characters! The edge of your seats storyline! The moving back and forth between present, past, and future! The best.

Friday Night Lights

Again with the characters. They are so human and approachable. They make the worst decisions and you’re rooting for them anyway. It goes without saying that Eric and Tami Taylor are one of my favorite TV marriages ever. I’m crazy for this show.

Gilmore Girls

I mean, could I be any later to this one? We started watching it in October of 2015 and I’m not gonna lie, it took me a while to get into it. Lorelei and Rory use SO MANY WORDS and the plot moved painfully slow. But then the magic begin to fall from the sky like snow in Stars Hollow and we were All In. We’ve put all other shows on hold and are watching this one like it’s our job because we’re dying to get to the newly released season.

 

MOVIES

{I saw none of these in the theater. Shocker.}

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Spotlight

“A team of reporters and editors at the Boston Globe relentlessly investigate a shocking child molestation cover-up by the Catholic Church.” {from Netflix}

This movie made me want to quit my life, move to a big city, and become an investigative journalist. It was such a well-done film and covered a difficult topic without being gratuitous or sensationalist. And the acting was superb!

The Imitation Game

Benedict Cumberbatch + Keira Knightley + WW2 + code-breaking + drama. Yes please!  This one will both inspire you and break your heart.

Jane Eyre

I never actually read Jane Eyre though I do plan on it one day. And I usually don’t watch movies if I haven’t read the book. But I broke the rules for this one and I’m glad I did. It’s worth it for the cinematography alone.

 

FAVORITE DISCOVERIES

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source: voxer.com

Voxer

Again, nothing new about this. But I had to get the app because my Artists Bench friends {a group that began last spring} used it to communicate.

And then I wondered why I’d waited it so long! It’s a combination of text + voicemail + voice memo + ability to send pictures. When I try to explain it to people, they don’t see why it’s a big deal.

You just have to use it. I feel like it’s talking on the phone for introverts. It’s convenient, you respond when the timing is right for you, and you can adjust the speed in which the person is talking. {Perfect for when you’re listening to me because I tend to ramble and talk too slow.}

 

If you swipe left on texts and hold, it shows the time.

I mentioned this in November on “What I Learned” but it bears repeating because I use it all the time.

My teenage daughter showed this tip to my husband and me. He and I were all “minds blown” and she was all “Um, everyone knows this.” Because of course.

Here’s a little tutorial that explains it better than I can.

text-time

 

Bullet Journaling

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source

I take a super slack approach to bullet-journaling because if something isn’t easy, I won’t do it. {A lesson I’ve learned 15 million times and always the hard way.}

I started mid-year with a $4 notebook from Walmart to try it out. It’s totally for me but only if I keep it as mind-numbingly simple as possible. I just ordered a legit bullet journal from bulletjournal.com and I’m so excited to begin a new year with it! If you haven’t heard of bullet journaling, I won’t try to explain. Instead I’ll point you to my favorite resources.

bulletjournal.com

How to Bullet Journal: The Absolute Ultimate Guide {The Lazy Genius Collective} 

Bullet Journaling Made Easy {Edie Wadsworth}

When I watched Edie’s video, I realized that I’d sort of been bullet journaling for years, minus the index approach. She gave me permission to be way more laid back about the whole thing and that’s what makes it work for me.

 

FAVORITE THINGS I USE {ALMOST} EVERY DAY

Mamuye Tote from Fashionable 

I talked about this purse in November but she deserves a place here too.

Over a year ago, I purchased this bag from Fashionable. For ages I’d been looking for a fabulous leather tote but I also loved the idea of purchasing with purpose. I’ve waited a full year before I talked about it because I wanted to see how it held up.

mamuye-tote

I’m happy to report that this Mamuye tote is going strong and gets better with age. It serves as my everyday purse {and I keep a clutch inside of it that I can grab in case I just want to run into the grocery store, sans tote bag.} It holds all my regular purse stuff + my bullet journal + work notebook + laptop + wadded up cardigan. Basically, it has the capacity of a piece of luggage but the lightweight-ness of a knapsack. It can rest flat on the floor without falling over but doesn’t have so much structure that it’s stiff.

It’s the best, is what I’m saying. But what’s really the best is that when I buy a bag, I’m creating jobs for heroic women in Ethiopia who are working their way toward opportunity, one stitch at a time.

Click here to learn more about my favorite bag and to scoop up something FashionABLE for yourself!

 

Non-stick slow cooker

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A while back my mom and I were at the flea market and a woman was selling a brand-new, in-the-box slow cooker. My old crock pot was so old that it had started cooking things fast instead of slow, resulting in disappointing pot roast and dinner that was ready by noon instead of 5:00.

So my mom treated me to a $20 slow cooker and it happened to be non-stick.

I will never, ever return to a regular slow cooker again. Because crock pots are awesome and make life easier…until you have to clean them. A non-stick pot is the best friend you didn’t know you needed.

The one pictured is the one I have but it looks like they don’t make it anymore! Womp womp. But I did some research and came up with this one.

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I’m sorry, it’s expensive but it does get fantastic reviews. Apparently non-stick slow cookers are super hard to find. Let me know if you find one and I’ll add the link!

 

L’oreal Colour Riche Balm

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It’s color that you can’t really mess up + balmy goodness. {I’ve purchased three of them because a certain 15-year-old in my house likes them too.}

Here’s an amazon link in case you’d like a tube and don’t want to leave your house, but you can also find them at your local drug store.

 

FAVORITE POSTS

How a 92-Year-Old Woman Taught Me the Real Value of My Right-Now Work

This post is a story, a confession, a wake-up call, and an invitation to trust. It’s one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever written and apparently it was one of yours too. {This is something I need to read on the regular.}

graveside-flowers

 

For the Overwhelmed Mom of Little Kids: 8 Things I Wish I’d Known

Inspired by a night of home movies from when my kids were little. If you have little ones or even big ones, there are 8 takeaways here for all of us.

for the overwhelmed mom

 

How I Almost Let a Horrible Light Fixture Ruin My Life

That time an Evil Light Fixture conspired to ruin everything. And by everything I mean a surprise weekend makeover of my daughter’s room.

Did Evil triumph? Or did my hot glue gun and yarn get the last word? You’ll have to read on to find out. : )

light fixture header pic

FAVORITE SERIES

Okay, so it was my only series, but it’s a series that includes some of my favorite posts {that are some of your favorite posts too.} Of all the creative work I did this year, these posts were my favorite. Living in the tension between our right-now lives and our hoped-for work is a topic I long to explore more in the coming year. I invite you to join me.

How to Pursue Your Hoped-For Work in the Midst of Your Right-Now Life

Click here or on the picture for a list of all 8 posts in the series. The new year is a great time to Begin Again. Again. {And I am 100% talking to myself here.}

right now work header

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At the end of another year, I want to say I’m grateful for each of you. Thank you for making space in your day and room in your inbox. At some point I’d love to do an official reader’s survey but that doesn’t mean I can’t do an informal ask now.

What would you love to see more of? Less of?

Favorite topics?

New topics?

Questions I can answer? 

I’m all ears. You can reply in the comments or hit reply to this e-mail {if you’e reading as an e-mail.} Or e-mail me directly: marianvischer @ gmail dot com.

We can also connect on Facebook, Twitter, or {my FAVORITE} Instagram.

insta collage

Happy New Year, friends. I’d love to know some of your favorite things from 2016!

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New here? I’m all about helping you recapture the possibility of your right-now life.

If that sounds like something you need, sign up in the box below to receive fresh hope and possibility delivered to your inbox no more than a couple of times a week.

And I have a gift for subscribers:

school made simple freebie header

If you’re overwhelmed by the many educational options for your kids, if you’re curious about the most important questions to ask, I have a FREE resource created just for you!

 

*Some affiliate links are used in this post. Thanks for kindly supporting this little corner of the internet!

 

8 Things I’ve Learned This Fall

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The “Let’s Share What We Learned” posts are hosted by Emily Freeman as a “monthly community link-up to share the fascinating, ridiculous, sacred, or small.” I love these posts so much.

If you’d like to join in, just head over to Emily’s and link up.

In no particular order, here are 8 things I’ve learned this Fall.

1. If you swipe left on texts and hold, it shows the time.

My teenage daughter showed this tip to my husband and me. He and I were all “minds blown” and she was all “Um, everyone knows this.” Because of course.

Here’s a little tutorial that explains it better than I can.

text-time

source

 

2. If you use the navigation app, Waze, you can change the setting to Madea’s voice.

I can’t type this without smiling from ear to ear because it makes me so happy! I feel safe with Madea as my co-pilot. “Don’t worry, I gotcha, Boo.” Yes, she says this.

 

3. We’ve all been pronouncing Roald Dahl’s name wrong.

British novelist Roald Dahl (1916 - 1990), UK, 10th December 1971. (Photo by Ronald Dumont/Daily Express/Getty Images)

British novelist Roald Dahl (1916 – 1990), UK, 10th December 1971. (Photo by Ronald Dumont/Daily Express/Getty Images)

Mr. Dahl was one of my favorite authors as a kid. He still is. My middle son received a boxed set of his books for Christmas several years ago and he still reads them over and over. My youngest and I recently finished The BFG and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory {possibly the favorite book of my childhood.} Which is why it’s crazy that we’ve been pronouncing our beloved author’s name incorrectly all these years.

So how do you pronounce it?

“ROO-ALL.” Don’t believe me? Hear it for yourself on this video in which he says his own name.

 

4. My phone autocorrects “wowzers” to “wieners.”

I don’t know what to tell you about this. It also corrects “thrifting” to “thrusting.” Apparently my autocorrect has her mind a teensy bit in the gutter.

 

5. Nestle makes sugar cookie dough sheets.

cookie-sheets

Christmas just got more awesome didn’t it? I posted this fun fact on Instagram and a friend of mine thanked me for saving Christmas. Just doing my job.

 

6. A digital Sabbath is good for the soul.

I wrote about this as one of the ways I hope to stay merry and bright through the holiday season. But it’s become a practice that I now crave every week. Our weary souls need a break from all the input. And from all the output.

 

7. Every now and then, it’s fruitful to find your own people so you feel less like a weirdo.

Recently I attended the Hope*Writers workshop in Charlotte. I learned so much. But one of the greatest takeaways wasn’t taught in a workshop session. Rather, I felt it in the gathering of kindred spirits.

hope-writers

Sometimes I think life would be so much easier if I could just be normal. Be a wife and mom and manager of my home. Work my day job. Live in community with others. The end.

But I have to complicate everything by pursuing the writing life on top of all that. I have things to say, words that {I hope} matter. It’s hard to live in the tension between the non-negotiables of my right-now life and the tug of my hoped-for writing work. Regularly I wonder if I should pack up my words and my blog, tuck them inside a box, and place them on a shelf until the timing is better.

Being with other likeminded artists reassured me that I’m not alone and that there’s no one right way to do this. Lots of us are living in the tension and writing our words, messy lives and all. My friend Emily Freeman reminded me that “movement is not the opposite of waiting. We can move and wait at the same time.”

I write quietly in my journals. I tap out thoughts in Notes on my phone. And I offer words for you in this online space. This is how I intentionally move in the right-now, even as I patiently anticipate the hoped-for.

 

8. A good bag is worth the investment.

Over a year ago, I purchased this bag from Fashionable. For years I’d been saving my pennies for a fabulous leather tote but I also loved the idea of purchasing with purpose. I’ve waited a full year before I talked about it because I wanted to see how it held up.

mamuye-tote

I’m happy to report that this Mamuye tote is going strong and gets better with age. It serves as my everyday purse {and I keep a clutch inside of it that I can grab in case I just want to run into the grocery store, sans tote bag.} It holds all my regular purse stuff + my bullet journal + work notebook + laptop + wadded up cardigan. Basically, it has the capacity of a piece of luggage but the lightweight-ness of a knapsack. It can rest flat on the floor without falling over but doesn’t have so much structure that it’s stiff.

It’s the best, is what I’m saying. But what’s really the best is that when I buy a bag, I’m creating jobs for heroic women in Ethiopia who are working their way toward opportunity, one stitch at a time.

Click here to learn more about my favorite bag and to scoop up something FashionABLE for yourself!

Your turn. What have you learned lately? You can share in the comments or join in over at Emily’s

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New here? I’m all about helping you recapture the possibility of your right-now life.

If that sounds like something you need, sign up in the box below to receive fresh hope and possibility delivered to your inbox no more than a couple of times a week.

And I have a gift for subscribers:

school made simple freebie header
If you’re overwhelmed by the many educational options for your kids, if you’re curious about the most important questions to ask, I have a FREE resource created just for you!

*Some affiliate links are used. Thanks for kindly supporting this little corner of the internet!

Treat Yourself / Weekend Links: November Edition

14997015_10153913047722056_565957436_n This week, y’all.

I think our minds and hearts are all a bit battered.

I’ve stayed off the internet since the day after the election, but these posts rose to the surface in the initial aftermath of Tuesday. They helped me breathe, encouraged me to move forward in love, and reminded me to find comfort and purpose in the right-now rhythms of my everyday life. I hope they’ll do the same for you.

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Edie’s Chipotle Pumpkin Soup {with barley and chicken}

Part of loving your people well means feeding them. My friend made me this soup a couple of weeks ago and it might be my favorite soup of all time. It is the epitome of comfort food. {We can’t quit Edie’s soups.}

pumpkinchipotle

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Watching, Reading, Listening

brothers
  • I watched The Great Gatsby last night {the new one} with my daughter and it was just okay for me. Baz Luhrmann’s films sometimes make me feel more stressed than enchanted. But the acting is wonderful and the costuming is on point. Plus Carey Mulligan plays Daisy and I adore her.
  • This Is Us, a new show on NBC. I love, love, love it. I think I’ve cried in every episode, so be warned.
  • {Currently reading} The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. We’ll talk more about the Enneagram later but I’m loving this book and I’ve listened to all of their podcasts. I got into the Enneagram about 7 years ago and it changed my life. The framework and self-awareness impacts how I think about myself and how I think about others every. single. day. Next to the Gospel, the Enneagram has been the second most game-changing lens of my life.
  • After listening to all their podcasts, I read Jesus, My Father, and the CIA: A Memoir…of Sorts, also by Ian Morgan Cron. I love a good memoir and I highly recommend this one. I couldn’t put it down.

 

The blog has been quiet in November but I did pen this post, the day after The Election That Shall Not Be Named:

Every vote has a story behind it. If we don’t make space in our minds and hearts to understand this, we will continue to be marked by division instead of connection.

Wherever this weekend takes you, may you find hope and possibility, right where you are. Happy weekend, friends!

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New here? I’m all about helping you recapture the possibility of your right-now life.

If that sounds like something you need, sign up in the box below to receive fresh hope and possibility delivered to your inbox no more than a couple of times a week.

And I have a gift for subscribers:

If you’re overwhelmed by the many educational options for your kids, if you’re curious about the most important questions to ask, I have a FREE resource created just for you!

school made simple freebie header

*P.S. Amazon links are affiliates and help keep the lights on in this little corner of the internet. Thanks for your kind support!