It’s time for year 12 of “Things I Learned”; let’s get into it!

Regular exercise—above and beyond daily dog walks—is the foundation of my healthy habits. It makes the other ones so much easier. When I’m exercising regularly I’m more likely to choose nutritious food, my focus improves, and I feel more capable.

Clean countertops are magic ✨

I really missed travelling and I’m very happy to be able to travel again.

Chicago; November 2023

On the flip side… I love being at home more than I ever have. I’m so happy in my space with my bed, my dog, my tea, my studio, and my comfy clothes.

The number of lessons that repeat on these lists each year is… telling…

It’s not stable until it’s stable in a clear jar or bottle.

Finding clarity can be extremely painful.

Listen to the whispers and murmurs of your intuition; they will turn to shouts and screams if you don’t.

Community is so important.

Curls & waves with Belinda (Love Your Suds) and Ariane (La Fille de la Mer) at the HSCG conference in Kansas City (May 2023).

When journalling, simply documenting what I did in a day isn’t all that helpful. My calendar could tell me that. Journalling is for feelings & thoughts—for exploring my emotions. That’s where the true value lies.

Every year I discover multiple formulation things that I was sure wouldn’t work… actually do (!!). Things I was so sure about that I hadn’t even considered trying them. And they ended up working. Mind blown. Keep trying things!

Sometimes I don’t need a break as in a vacation—I just need a break from a specific type of work. Taking time off from long-form videos to work on other things (like re-doing my free course and creating my first online workshop) has been amazing.

Also, I have no idea how I managed to do so much for so long. Some time off from long-form videos has shown me I’ve been teetering on the edge of burnout for a very long time. Now I need to figure out what ‘sustainable’ looks like for me going forward because I love what I do and want to be able to do it forever.

The human experience is incredibly broad and I absolutely will not be able to fully understand everyone’s experiences and the things those experiences lead them to do/feel/etc. I don’t need to fully understand to care, though. A stance of “I care about you and understand that this reaction stems from something I can’t understand, but I believe you aren’t trying to hurt me/anyone” goes a long way to fostering meaningful connections and relationships. A stance of “I don’t understand this/it doesn’t make sense to me/I’d never behave in this way… therefore you are wrong/harmful” is not helpful.

Lottie & I

My home seems to need cleaning about once every ten days. I schedule in time to clean every Saturday, and it is so tempting to say “pfft, it’s fine” seven days after my last clean… but if I wait 14 days it has been too long. So I really do need to just do it every seven days because there’s almost no chance I will do a full clean on a Wednesday… I will just wait until the following Saturday and wonder why I’m extra irritable until I do a thorough clean and realize the clutter was making me grumpy 🙈

… in the time since writing that last lesson I have tried doing a full clean on a weekday evening and that is so much better! I will no longer waste my precious Saturdays cleaning; those chores are now relegated to otherwise under-utilized weekday evenings.

Here are some books I read/listened to this year and loved:

I’ve started to trust myself more in the past few months—both future me and my body—and it has made me realize two huge things. The first is that I’d lost that trust in the first place (surely I must’ve had it at some point? I just can’t remember when…). The second is how incredibly heavy a lack of trust in oneself is. It weighed down my self esteem, my body image, my intuition, my confidence, and likely many other things I haven’t yet realized.

Using a motion detector to turn the lights on and off in my bathroom was not as good of an idea as it seemed 😅

Physio therapy actually works if you do all the exercises they tell you to do 🙈

One of the highlights of my year was going for an early morning run in NYC (May 2023).

Glute strength is SO important, holy moly. I’ve been aware that my glutes are/were weak for years and have been working on strengthening that area, but it came to a head (again… twice…) this year. It turns out I’ve been doing many lower body things improperly (walking, squatting, lunging…) for who knows how long, and it is all related to weak glutes and my body working to compensate for that in a variety of ways that have started to backfire as I’ve gotten older. I went to physio this year for knee and hip flexor pain; not only did it go away once I further strengthened my glutes, but I’ve noticed I’m actually starting to walk differently now that some “new” muscles are getting involved with my stride.

Getting stronger is incredibly empowering.

I’m definitely some sort of neuro-spicy.

I installed a peg board in my studio this year and why didn’t I do this sooner?! It’s great.

Peg boards are awesome!

Plugging my phone in for the night in the kitchen (and not next to my bed) is such an important habit.

I really miss Jimmy Buffet 💔

I loved the opportunity to teach/share more in-depth with my shampoo bar workshop and I can’t wait to do more workshops!

I am so incredibly blessed (not a new lesson, but a continually deepening appreciation).

Appearing on the HBBG 2023 Conference “Experts Panel” (Feb 2023)

I did a “dry January” this year and that ended up turning into a mostly dry year (I had a beer at the end of February and didn’t love the sensation so I figured I’d try a dry rest-of-the-year and see how it went). I was surprised by how much better I felt as I wasn’t a big drinker, and I’m not planning on going back at this point.

I can do anything but I can’t do everything.

Sleeping in a cold room is divine.

Extended heat and I do not get along.

I need to prioritize protein intake to ensure I get enough.

Those foot peels that come as pairs of booties are really cool and also gross in the best way 😅

In the winter my sourdough starter needs two back-to-back feedings before it’ll make a nice, light loaf.

A major highlight of the year: flying to Bellingham to film with Bramble Berry!! (July 2023)

Get insurance through a broker so you’ve got someone with leverage who is on your side in the event you need to make a claim. I had to make a claim this year and after providing my insurance company everything they needed they just… stopped replying. After sending seven follow-up emails over the course of nearly two months (!!) I finally reached out to my broker about the situation. My broker contacted the insurance company and I had my payout in my bank account in less than a week.

I continue to be a big fan of calendar blocking for time management.

Notion continues to be amazing. Highly recommended.

Learning & discovery are my ikigai, but it is easy to get swept up in day-to-day life and find I haven’t done much of it recently. I need to schedule time for skill development, reading, and exploration because it is really important to my ongoing happiness and productivity.

A lesson from the dietician I’ve been working with: the effects of the food you eat can linger (and compound) for several days. I used to think “it can’t possibly be specific meal that is causing me distress because this is the third day in a row I’ve had it and I didn’t have any problems on day one or two!”, but it turns out it can absolutely be that specific meal. It could just be that you can happily eat it (or some ingredient in it) two days in a row, but not three days in a row. It turns out that this is me and cabbage; I can eat two spring rolls a day for two days in a row (which is not much cabbage at all, sigh), but if I do that three days in a row my body is not happy with me. So! If you live alone and tend to make one meal and eat it for several days in the row and find you are having digestive issues… this could be why!

If you love an app too much… you should probably let it go (aka delete it) 😅

This lovely handmade bag was a gift from my patron Carol ❤️ Thanks, Carol!

I love Costco more and more every year.

I’m embracing this moment as my “alone/solo” era, and loving it.

If you find yourself listening to a song and feeling mildly attacked/targeted by the lyrics in a “get out of my head” sort of way—pay attention. Dig into that. There’s probably something there. (This also applies to poetry, stories in books & movies, etc.)

Wherever and whenever possible, invest in prevention. Use it or lose it.

Pay attention to how certain things make you feel. I noticed I was constantly feeling awful after scrolling through Threads (I’ve never even posted anything there! I’d just doom scroll.), so I deleted it off my phone and that was 10000% the right call.

Continue practicing gratitude.

I don’t think I like jeans anymore. And I’m still searching for the perfect pair of sailor pants.

Wavy hair in progress; it’s not a linear process, but it is getting better and better!

It’s interesting—and sort of sad—to notice my love and excitement for certain things shift and diminish. A big, loud party that lasts until the wee hours of the morning used to sound like an amazing time to me, and now I would much rather stay in, go to bed early, and then get up and go for a morning run the following day. (See last year’s lesson of “I’m turning into my parents more and more every year.” 😅)

A lesson I learned from Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience by Brené Brown: I have a tendency to “live in disappointment” (to perpetually expect to be disappointed and avoid getting my hopes up) rather than risk “being disappointed” (actually get excited about something, risk it going sideways, and then feeling disappointed). When laid out like that, it’s a pretty sad way to live. I’m working on it.

When it comes to de-scaling a kettle, citric acid is superior to vinegar.

Regular haircuts are much more important now that I’m embracing my hair’s wavy-ness. If I’m having more bad hair days than not, I probably need a haircut.

Chicago (November 2023)

Having a pair of indoor sneakers is quite nice.

I’m nowhere near fit enough to walk & work all day with a walking desk 😅

Re-doing my DIY for beginners course is taking way longer than I thought it would…

Other “Things I Learned” posts:

What did you learn this year? ❤️