Peep zee magnifique vintage French home goods collection from Relique

By on Jul 25th

Little known fact about me: I used to be a Francophile. So much so that my entire apartment in college was decorated, floor to ceiling, with all things French. French fabric, French art, even my food canisters were labeled with French words (much like that Vintage French Toleware Nesting Canister Set). You name it, I had the French version of it.

That's why I'm like "where was this special sale on all things French from Relique when I was in college!?"

Remember when we introduced you to our sponsor Relique — the online shop that offers one-of-a-kind vintage finds? I found so many awesome vintage and repurposed items that I wanted to share with you. This time let's talk about zee French collection discount from Relique, and peep a few of my favorite things…

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How can I survive hot-desking in an open-plan windowless office?

By on Jul 25th

This is not MelRuth's desk, but it is a good example of "hot desking." Photo by: Simon BrunningCC BY 2.0

I have recently started a new job. And while I love the work itself, the working environment is new to me and causing me to regret taking the job. I now work in an open-plan office without any natural light, and I am hot-desking.

This is not the first time I have worked in a space without natural light, but it is the first time I have ever hot-desked, or worked in an open-plan office.

What can I do to make the environment nicer, and more of a productive area to work in? -MelRuth

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Down the rabbit hole of über-Christian marriage advice: Do I really have to be spiritual to have a strong connection to my partner?

Guestpost by Zoë on Jul 24th

Etsy seller CosmicLibrary says, "This unusual book has a wonderfully skewed view on love and matrimony – it was authored by a reverend well over 100 years ago."

Wedding porn is fun. I like it. But it's everywhere, and you know what I crave more of? Marriage advice. I want to read inspiring things about how to have a happy relationship.

Relationships are something I'm interested in, and I like to think about mine. And it makes me feel appreciative of my partner. But, come to find out, a lot of marriage and relationship advice is religious — which is one thing I am not.

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Muse luring and raw word counts: Why I refuse to meditate

Guestpost by Lydia Bengtson on Jul 23rd

NOPE NOPE NOPE (Photo by: Nickolai KashirinCC BY 2.0)

I am thoughtful, open-minded person who believes in the values of calm and stillness, who understands the neuroscientific studies on the way meditation massages our grey-matter, and who really wanted to be a Jedi when I grew up.

And I refuse to meditate.

The core of most meditation, part of its intrinsic value, is to calm the mind down and then step outside your emotions by fixating on your sensations. The quiet mind is free to simply experience existence without the running commentary of consciousness. (The "dish of mold" as described in I ♥ Huckabees.) There's easily dozens — if not hundreds — of techniques for reaching this state, all of which ask for patience as the practitioner learns how to operate their brain in a new way.

Much of meditation asks the practitioners to bear witness to their emotions as feelings manifest through their bodies. By understanding what anger, fear, sorrow, and joy feel like, and knowing where their edges are, the practitioner can gain a new level of emotional control. It's a way of training the self to understand that a fleeting state of grief is finite and will move on, that the hot pulse of anger is that pressure in your jaw — right there, no, up a little bit and back, there — but it's not the world-blurring threat it seems to be. These lessons are valuable and in some cases, life-altering.

All of meditation seeks to wipe out those chaotic little thoughts: I need to start a meal plan for next week. Maybe hummus. Oh wait, the kiddo won't eat that yet. When did I start eating hummus? Man, that kid in third grade was so weird. Did he always have ringworm? I think he did…

Meditation, like many things that resonate so beautifully with virtues Obi-Wan or Yoda would extol, can be a powerful tool. And it's a tool that does not belong in my hands.

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Italian chicken slow cooker tastiness in under fifteen minutes

Guestpost by Laura on Jul 23rd

Italian chicken in the  slow cooker ingredients-2

I happened to check the time before I started making this Italian chicken slow cooker recipe and — starting with a clean kitchen all the way through putting the cutting board into the dishwasher and the slow cooker into the fridge for the night — it took me thirteen minutes to make this. If I skipped the onion chopping and rosemary I could probably get it under ten. Then just a few minutes the next day for the rolls and we had a delicious dinner.

Perfect for those days when you have too many things to do and not enough time — or for when you don't have time to waste in the kitchen because you need to catch up on Game of Thrones.

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How I learned to care less about my family and more about myself

Guestpost by Amy Stewart on Jul 22nd

Sometimes caring about yourself means taking time for banana smoothies. (Photo is not the author. By: essieCC BY 2.0)

My morning routine is very much the same every morning, which becomes aggravating at times because I'm the only person awake to do it. I'm typically up at 5 AM, when I proceed to feed all of the animals, take the dogs out for a walk, shower, pack my daughter's lunch, wake her up, make her breakfast, and maybe finish a couple of smaller tasks that didn't get completed the night before, like putting away folded laundry or cleaning the smelly litter boxes. I do this every morning, weekends included.

If you noticed, nothing in that routine was about me with the exception of un-stinking myself — but that's really for the pleasure of other people, as I consider showers to be a real waste of time on most days. My morning routine revolves entirely around my family. Most days I don't bother eating breakfast, or making lunch for myself to take to work, because I am too focused on taking care of everyone else.

While putting everyone before me can be considered a commendable trait, there is a part of me that realizes that there is a real issue with never allowing myself the opportunity to be important.

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