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Monday, October 20, 2014

8 questions to ask a new babysitter

When Toby was a newborn, I felt totally overwhelmed by the process of finding a nanny. How do you even begin? I wondered. Thankfully, over the past four years, we've figured out how to find wonderful babysitters, including 8 questions to ask...

Friday, October 17, 2014

Have a great weekend.

What are you up to this weekend? Alex's mom is visiting, so we'll be showing her around our new neighborhood. Every building is draped in fake spider webs and glow-in-the-dark spiders; and the crisp air and fall foliage are bolstering. As Anne of Green Gables said, "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." Have a wonderful weekend, and here are a few fun links from around the web...

Can you spot the dog?

Drunk J.Crew models made me laugh.

How to chop onions without crying.

(Or you could wear these.)

Happiness tip: Buy experiences, not things.

10 words to ban from your emails.

The surprising clothing item you should stock up on this fall.

Life with a pet lion.

Crazy fact: If you rub garlic on your feet, you'll taste it thirty minutes later!

How to estimate when people will arrive at a party.

Made me laugh. I'm old!

The 70 Percent Rule—when to delegate.

We've baked these cookies THREE times in the past two weeks. Highly recommended.

(Photo of Diane Keaton and Al Pacino in The Godfather. Email words via Swissmiss)

Flower pun bouquets

My friend Erin just co-wrote an awesome craft book, Make & Give. A former art director for Martha Stewart Living and Esquire, Erin always has brilliant ideas. One of my favorite tutorials was these flower pun bouquets...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

12 words even smart people get wrong

Are you good at grammar? Even though we're grammar nerds, we've still found ourselves googling "stationery vs. stationary" on the sly. Here are twelve words that many people get wrong...

Advice from my mom

Back in high school, my friends would come to our house, sit at our kitchen table and ask my mom for advice. She gives warm down-to-earth feedback and is a genius at seeing the bigger picture. Now and again I've shared advice she's given me about things like pregnancyauthenticity, motherhood and relationships. She says things like, "Take gentle care of yourself," she's read every Jane Austen novel, and the only vocabulary word that ever stumped her was "friable."

So! I figured it could be fun to start an advice column, where you can ask my mom anything. If it's a real stumper, we can scout out experts to weigh in, or I'll offer some ideas or we can all leave comments with our thoughts. I love girl talk and figured this could be an awesome way to do it. Feel free to ask anything about relationships, friends, career, family, parenting, worries, fears, hopes, dreams...whatever is on your mind!

Just write to AskJeanAnything@gmail.com, if you'd like, and we'll choose a few to feature in the next week or two. Thank you so much! xoxo

P.S. A brilliant trick for worriers, and 15 career tips from smart women.

Funny mugs

Hilarious. That's all.

P.S. Funny T-shirts.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Great idea for walking around a museum

I like strolling around museums and absorbing the art. But a recent New York Times article, The Art of Slowing Down in a Museum, suggests slowing down—waaaaay down—while visiting a museum:

“When you go to the library,” said James O. Pawelski, the director of education for the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, “you don’t walk along the shelves looking at the spines of the books and on your way out tweet to your friends, ‘I read 100 books today!'” Yet that’s essentially how many people experience a museum...

Professor Pawelski...asks [his students] to spend at least 20 minutes in front of a single painting that speaks to them in some way. Twenty minutes these days is what three hours used to be, he noted. “But what happens, of course, is you actually begin to be able to see what you’re looking at,” he said...

For instance, if you have an hour he suggests wandering for 30 minutes, and then spending the next half-hour with a single compelling painting...

Professor Pawelski said it’s still a mystery why viewing art in this deliberately contemplative manner can increase well-being or what he calls flourishing...He theorized, however, that there is a connection to research on meditation and its beneficial biological effects. In a museum, though, you’re not just focusing on your breath, he said. “You’re focusing on the work of art.”
Thoughts? Would you do this? I've walked though many museums in my life, but I've never approached one like this. It makes me want to sneak off to the Met this weekend and see what strikes.

P.S. An art exhibit with swings, and the joy of taking a phone break.

(Photos by @museumbabes, @Beyonce and Guia Besana for the New York Times)

Dinner conversation

When you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, how do you begin a conversation? Well, artist Tucker Nichols designed these hilarious napkins to help spark a chat. His suggested topics made me laugh, including: What I know about cheese, mosquitos do/do not like to bite me, best fish tacos, how is everyone sleeping these days, food you used to like and for the last time how daylight saving works.
I would add: What trip you would take tomorrow if money were no object, childhood nicknames, the best meal you've ever had and everyone's top five books. What are your conversation starters?

P.S. What to say when there's an awkward silence.

Italian Apple Cake

This month, we're featuring baked snacks, and Skye of From My Dining Table, who grew up in Venice, Italy, has agreed to share her recipe for a delicious Italian apple cake she loved as a child...
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