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Issue #7  //  Out of Office 🌞👙

"Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you." 

- Anne Lamott 

From Gill:

In my experience, the days leading up to vacation are – without exception – pure madness. I think of it as the storm before the calm: a whirlwind of work and email and packing lists and reservations and plans.

I’ve arrived at many a destination bleary-eyed and cranky and not at all ready to enjoy my downtime. Before I can let myself relax, I have to be completely burnt out, right?

I’m self-employed and often have a hard time taking a laptop-free, out-of-office-reply-activated vacation. But I’m getting better at doing this at least a few times a year, especially when visiting a new place or spending time with family. I want to be fully present for those experiences – not glued to a screen.

I’m taking a couple weeks off for a family trip later this month, and I’m attempting to minimize my normal pre-vacation mayhem in a few ways:

  • Not feeling guilty about taking time off: Americans don’t have a great culture around getting and taking vacation days, and it’s not healthy. I’m trying to take a cue from the Europeans and think of vacation as a necessity. The world will keep spinning while I’m gone, and I’ll come back better for it. 
  • Using the deadline to my advantage: I get things done when I have a hard deadline, so I’m using my departure date as motivation to tie up loose ends – like refilling prescriptions and getting work projects approved – before I leave. 
  • Packing early: Leaving my suitcase for the last minute is perhaps my greatest source of stress before a trip (it was my Get It Together in Episode 2: How to Set Resolutions & Goals). This time, I’m taking our listener Margaret’s great tip of starting to pack gradually a week in advance. She wrote on our Facebook page: “Every time I see it, I get a little buzz of excitement at my upcoming escape, and I feed it with things that I think I'll need as I go.” 
  • Getting excited about the fun stuff: I’m going on a trip. That’s a good thing, and I’m grateful for it. I get to see people I love (including Melia!) very soon, which is a wonderful light at the end of the tunnel. I also have a list of books, bars, and restaurants I’m looking forward to checking out on my trip.

So get ready, vacation, I’m comin’ for you!

🎙 Latest Episode: #19 - The Year So Far

In January, we each came up with a list of 19 for 2019 goals – some small, some large, some one-offs, some ongoing – that we wanted to accomplish by the end of the year. Now that we're halfway through the year, we revisit our lists to check on our progress. doing a roundup of goals:

A) we’ve done very little on 

B) we get partial credit for OR 

C) we get big gold stars for

And we share common obstacles and strategies you can apply to any goal you're working on.

👉 Steal This Tip:  Pair a goal with another activity you enjoy.

You can work on your goal first and then reward yourself with a more pleasant activity. For example, meditate first thing in the morning and then catch up on your Instagram feed, or go for a walk and then watch your favorite TV show.


Episode #7: Tighten Up & Lighten Up🎙

Go back to the beginning of the year, when we reviewed our 2018 goals and discussed our 19 for 2019 lists. 

Gill’s big themes for the year were: Relationships, Travel, Creative Projects, Paid Work, and Health/Wellness. And Melia’s overall theme was “Tighten Up & Lighten Up,” covering Financial, Emotional, Intellectual, Focus and Creativity goals.

Listen to the episode

😄 Things We Text Each Other

From Melia: On the last episode of the podcast, I committed to hanging some pictures before we recorded the next episode, and I followed through! ⭐️🙌 

I love this San Francisco ABC’s print, which includes “North Beach Beatniks” and “Queens in Castro.” And looking at the photo of baby Avery and the wooden "A" that my friends thumbprinted during my baby shower gives me a daily boost of happiness.

😍 Stuff We Love Right Now

On the Interwebs  🖥

  • Pads and Pods  

    A group of 8th grade girls at Bronx Prep Middle School in New York won the first-ever NPR Student Podcast Challenge with Sssh! Periods, a podcast where they talk about periods and other normal things that girls are expected to keep hush-hush. It takes guts to have that kind of self-assurance at their age to normalize something that half of all humans experience, which has no business being taboo.

  • It's Never Too Late 

    As women who are still finding our own way, we’re always inspired by stories of people who accomplished their goals or found success later in life. We love this one: Trudy Smith had always dreamed of being a painter, but she didn’t pick up a paintbrush until she was 85, after her husband’s death. Now she’s 102 and has an exhibition at her senior center in Australia. “Sometimes in life you think shall I do something, shall I move, shall I get married, should I have another child?" she said. "Always when I have had that feeling of 'shall I?' The answer is 'yes.'"

  • Relationship Goals

    Jeff Bridges and his wife, Susan, have been married for more than 40 years, and he says it “gets better and better every year.” We love this sweet video showing highlights from their relationship. They met when he was filming a movie in Montana in 1975 and she was waiting tables to pay for college. He said it was love at first sight, but he had to overcome his own fear of commitment: "I can't let this woman go. You know, I had this vision of me as an old guy thinking, 'Yeah, god, there was that girl from Montana, man.’"

    In Our Ears  🎧

    • Oprah & Eckhart Tolle - A New Earth  

      From Melia: Oprah calls Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, the most important book she’s ever read. This 10-part podcast series is a conversation between Oprah and Tolle with listeners calling in to ask questions. I’m halfway through and am already better able to create space between what happens and how I react to it. Chapters 5 and 6 on what he calls “the pain-body” explained for me why some people struggle in life so much more than others. It's an accumulation of old emotional pain that feeds on suffering, but we can separate ourselves from it and stop feeding it with negative thoughts. 

    On Our Plates  🍽 

    • Flour Focaccia   

      From Gill: Our parents gave me Joanne Chang’s cookbook, Flour, Too, years ago for Christmas, and it’s one of the most well-used in my collection. Her focaccia recipe is fantastic. I use it to make hamburger buns for summer BBQs.

    • Freestyle Fruit Tart    

      From Melia: This is an easy, crowd-pleasing summer dessert recipe using store-bought pie crust. I used the peaches from our CSA and vanilla ice cream instead of Cool Whip.

    If you like the Semi-Together podcast, why not share pod with a friend who would enjoy it?

    Until next time! 


    Melia & Gill 😘😘

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