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Learning

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A Few Favorite TED Talks

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While I'm always looking for ways to learn and be inspired, it seems as though we've hit a saturation point of sorts. There is such an incredible level of content availability thanks to the web and I'll be the first to admit, it can be tough to sift through. We all have favorite buckets of content that keep us thinking and moving forward—from books, magazines and television to websites, radio and apps—but none of it matters unless we do something with that information, right?

So, I've compiled a few TED Talks that have made me stop, think and take action in my everyday life:


Temple Grandin: The world needs all kinds of minds (Watch on TED.com)

This brilliant talk about the way people learn and see the world is fascinating. If you want to expand your own mind a bit, watch this video. It's made me really appreciate the way others learn, conduct themselves in business and view everyday circumstances. Bottom line? Our differences are a GOOD THING.


Drew Dudley: Everyday leadership (Watch on TED.com)

I absolutely love the ideas discussed in this TED talk. The concept that we all lead and make a difference every single day is incredibly refreshing. It certainly has me adjusting my thoughts about leadership and the ways in which I can be an agent for change.


Ben Saunders: Why bother leaving the house? (Watch on TED.com)

While Ben Saunders has taken the term "adventure" to the extreme (he walked alone—and unsupported—across the Arctic Ocean in 2004), you can't miss the message in this video: whether your adventure brings you to the edge or just outside your front door, why wouldn't you step out and experience life?


Curating a list of inspirational finds is easy, my friends. Doing something with the information you've gleaned and lessons you've learned is another. Even if the action is small, I figure it's a step in the right direction. Don't you think? 

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So tell me: what inspires you to take action of even the smallest kind? 


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Road Tripping is For Lovers

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Is it, though? I mean really

Admittedly, my husband and I prefer the open road to the confines of a cramped flight, but we have been known to let our true colors shine right on through from time to time. 

We've argued over where to go, when to go, when to stop, where to stop, whether or not our GPS is correct (I swear I'm smarter than that woman. Spoiler alert: I'm not.), what music to listen to and the temperature at which air conditioning is necessary. 

That said, we love a good adventure. We'll be packing up to drive to Glacier National Park in Montana soon and I can't help but think back to our past trips together. While there's always a chance for disagreements on the road, we've truly enjoyed more hours talking, laughing, singing (me, mostly) and marveling at the sights than we've spent bickering. 

We've learned that we're both fairly opinionated (okay, we've actually known that for over 10 years) and that compromise is key. We pack snacks so I don't get hangry (shut up... it's a real thing) and we compile playlists from both of our music collections. I give fair warning well before I have to stop to use the restroom and he gets control of the GPS.

I've found that learning about one another is the best side effect of traveling as a couple. Road tripping, in particular, allows for a slower pace and more time to both listen and speak. We've chatted about things that would have never come up if we weren't traveling. It's as though the open road leads to a more open mind.

So, I say yes: road tripping is for lovers. It's for friends and family. It's for those who don't mind alternate routes and cheesy road-side attractions. It's for people who can navigate around the occasional disagreement. Best of all: it's an incredible opportunity for long chats, the sharing of ideas and a whole lot of laughter.

You can see more of our Montana road tripping adventures here and here.

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Anyone out there have a favorite road trip story to share? What about the open road makes your true colors come right on out and shine?


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Writing Magazine Pitches with Skillshare

I have a confession to make: I may be addicted to Skillshare. I would take all of the classes and learn all of the things, if only I had the time. Have you heard of it? I recently enrolled in what looks to be an interesting class on "How to Write a Killer Magazine Article Pitch," which starts tomorrow. If you're at all interested learning how to write pitches, you should join me!

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The class is taught by reporter, Grace Bello who has worked for media outlets such as The Atlantic, Publishers Weekly and NBCNews.com. While I have pitched several story ideas and had a few pitches lead to published articles, I am beyond ready to sharpen my skills.

A few great things about Skillshare classes:

  • Many classes are set up so you can go at your own pace.
  • You can get some great feedback on your work from industry professionals. 
  • The classes are reasonably priced.
  • Learning from fellow classmates is a huge bonus.

Speaking of bonuses: if you are new to Skillshare and sign up using this link, you can get $10 off on your first class! Not bad, right?

Hope to see you in class! 


Let's hang out: Twitter |  Instagram | Pinterest | Bloglovin


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My Mighty {fine} Life List

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So, here's the deal: I make lists regularly. I love ticking boxes and putting lines through items I've accomplished. For some reason, however, I found it difficult to finish my Mighty {fine} Life List. Created by the amazing Maggie Mason of Mighty Girl, the lists (and the movement that surrounds them) are meant to capture 100 things you'd like to do before you go.

The premise behind the popular life lists is pretty great. You simply list out your goals - both big and small - and act upon them. The lists can change as we grow, which is key. Maybe an opportunity comes up that you could have never imagined... put it on the list and cross it off! Maybe you decide one of your goals is no longer as important as you once thought... remove it!

I started my own list years ago - long before I started blogging - and just let it sit unfinished. Well, not anymore! I finally took the time to write it all out and get it ready for public consumption. I feel like putting this out to the universe (well, at least to you lovely people who read this blog!) will help motivate me to really seek out new experiences and make sure they come to fruition.

Without further ado, I'd like to present:

My Mighty {fine} Life List

(Note: Accomplished items are in bold.)

  1. Visit all 50 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
  2. Take photos of iconic bridges in all 50 states
  3. Really understand the settings on my digital camera
  4. Run (and finish) a marathon
  5. Visit all 59 National Parks in the US: Acadia, American Samoa, Arches, Badlands, Big Bend, Biscayne, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Carlsbad Caverns, Channel Islands, Congaree, Crater Lake, Cuyahoga Valley, Death Valley, Denali, Dry Tortugas, Everglades, Gates of the Arctic, Glacier, Glacier Bay, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Great Basin, Great Sand Dunes, Great Smokey Mountains, Guadalupe Mountains, Haleakala, Hawaii Volcanoes, Hot Springs, Isle Royale, Joshua Tree, Katmai, Kenai Fjords, Kings Canyon, Kobuk Valley, Lake Clark, Lassen Volcanic, Mammoth Cave, Mesa Verde, Mount Rainier, North Cascades, Olympic, Petrified Forest, Pinnacles, Redwood, Rocky Mountain, Saguaro, Sequoia, Shenandoah, Theodore Roosevelt, Virgin Islands, Voyageurs, Wind Cave, Wrangell Saint Elias, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion
  6. Take singing lessons
  7. Get on stage and sing again (even if it’s just karaoke)
  8. Take snowboarding lessons
  9. Live in a state other than California
  10. Start practicing yoga
  11. Teach a class on any subject (or be a mentor)
  12. Meet the President of the United States (it doesn’t matter who it is at the time)
  13. Go to a concert and hang out with the band backstage
  14. Go ice fishing in Alaska
  15. Let go of the material things cluttering up my life
  16. Go snowshoeing
  17. Figure out what it takes to do voice-over work and do it
  18. Take an extended (months-long) trip to anywhere
  19. Go back to England to visit family and re-visit places important to my family history
  20. Write a book
  21. See a moose (in the wild)
  22. See a grizzly bear (also in the wild, preferably from far away!)
  23. Road trip through Canada
  24. Sing at a wedding
  25. Become a tour guide
  26. Create a photo book of all of my favorite bridges
  27. Make my health a priority
  28. Foster a puppy dog
  29. Hire a stylist to tell me – once and for all – what not to wear
  30. Join a book group
  31. Be an extra in a show/movie
  32. Attend a Beastie Boys concert (Keeping it on the list. You never know. RIP Adam Yauch)
  33. Go to a grown-up summer camp like this one
  34. Travel somewhere beautiful by train
  35. Spend an entire day reading a good book on a tropical beach (without feeling guilty…like I should be doing something)
  36. “Pay it forward” at the coffee shop by paying for a stranger’s morning fix
  37. Experience the Aurora Borealis
  38. Go back to D.C. to re-visit the monuments/museums/etc.
  39. Write an article/story for a large print publication
  40. Learn more about creating and editing beautiful videos
  41. Visit Greece
  42. Visit Croatia
  43. Go glamping in the Swiss Alps
  44. Create a road trip around the world's largest everything (see unfinished Pinterest board here). Take said road trip.
  45. Eat baklava in Turkey
  46. Spend a week in a rental house with my best friends in Cape Cod
  47. Own an Airstream (and maybe live out of it for a bit)
  48. Join a CSA
  49. Take a backpacking trip
  50. Start painting again
  51. Skinny dip
  52. Travel through the Amazon rain forest
  53. Attend an awards show (preferably the Grammys)
  54. Go to Australia
  55. Visit New York City
  56. Learn another language
  57. Take a European road trip
  58. Take a Northern California road trip to experience the super cool things I usually just drive right past
  59. Sleep in a tree house or lookout station
  60. Spend hours wandering the High Line
  61. Take a Chicago girls trip
  62. Remove all of the grass from our property and replace it with a more sustainable ground cover
  63. Go geoducking
  64. Cook through an entire cookbook
  65. Find a reason to go to Antarctica
  66. Be present when my nephews experience something incredible in nature
  67. Re-vamp my print shop business model to better showcase my photography work
  68. Star gaze in the middle of nowhere with my husband
  69. Tour the White House
  70. Take a soak in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland
  71. Go hot air ballooning
  72. See Machu Picchu
  73. Change out all of the boring doorknobs in my house and replace them with beautiful ones
  74. Travel on a private plane
  75. Experience Germany’s Oktoberfest at least once
  76. Take a bicycle trip through Holland (tulip fields + windmills, please!)
  77. Attend Camp Mighty
  78. Cook lobster at home
  79. Take a road trip to see the fall colors
  80. Attend Sundance Film Festival
  81. Go sailing
  82. Be brave enough to cut my hair super short
  83. Take a helicopter ride
  84. Visit the San Juan Islands
  85. Go canoeing/kayaking somewhere beautiful
  86. Be an artist in residence in a national park (like this)
  87. Successfully grow fruit trees in our backyard
  88. Live outside of the U.S., at least for a short while
  89. Renew our wedding vows
  90. Travel to Easter Island
  91. Have dinner (and dessert, of course) with Nigella Lawson
  92. Visit Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore
  93. Learn to can fruits and vegetables
  94. Go hunting with my husband
  95. Visit the Bonneville Salt Flats during Speed Week
  96. Photograph a ghost town at sunset
  97. Make pasta from scratch
  98. Feel the mist from Niagara Falls on my face
  99. Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower
  100. Take a photo trip to the Galápagos Islands

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Anyone else have a life list they want to share? Feel free to link up in the comment section. I'd love to see how your lists are shaping up!

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Creating Your Own Path

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So much has been written about the path to success. Just head to your local book store or type "career" into an online search field. You will come across hundreds of books about how to be career-oriented and have it all -- all while mastering a healthy work/life balance.

As we know, the quest for the perfect career doesn't begin in our 20s or 30s. From a young age we're often herded into one corral over the other. "Suzy loves her science classes, so we'll tick that box on the 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' form. Billy, on the other hand, can't keep his nose out of books, so let's assume that he'll be a teacher someday."

It seems as though things have changed since I walked into my high school counselor's office to decide on a career before I had even taken my driver's license test. I'm coming across more and more people who are learning to create their own career path. Many haven't necessarily followed the dotted line they set in motion at the ripe old age of 16 and most would argue that they're better for it.

Everyone I've encountered has an amazing story to tell. Because these innovative, brilliant beings inspire me on a regular basis, I'd like to share their stories with you all.

Yes, there's a new series in the works, my friends.

Stay tuned.

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Tag: Creating Your Own Path

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