This is a lovely website written by Gabrielle Blair, a - what else? - designer mom who has 6 kids, great taste, and a knack for living beautifully. Her site features candy-colored photography of her travels, projects, decor ideas, meals, and family, all of which regularly inspire me, a Pinterest skeptic and true believer in the commonality of blog fakery, to live up to the models she presents. Refreshingly, she acknowledges that “blogs are a show” that show only the good parts of life and “that’s why we like them so much” right up front in her FAQ’s. My favorite features on the blog are the “Living With Kids” home tours, which demonstrate that one can have both style AND children, and the kid-oriented projects filed under “Make Something.” It’s good, well-written, well-photographed, and well-designed stuff over there, and it gives me hope of being classy one day. One far, far away day...
I consider myself a Great American Hero for having schlepped my two kids down to the Oregon coast. Tsh Oxenreider gracefully plans and executes year-long family trips around the world. I have so, so much to learn. (Image Source)
It is absolutely no exaggeration that this website helped me transition into being a SAHM after I was laid off during my extended maternity leave and then further into embracing being a SAHM (NOT the same things by a long shot). Back when it was called Simple Mom, I would read Tsh Oxenreiders calming, supportive, practical, warm words and feel that this professional momming gig was, not only possible, but that it could also be fruitful and satisfying. As her website has changed names and expanded to include other regular writers, I still consult it regularly to get helpful ideas and thoughtful inspiration on how to keep this clownshow running. (What? You don't refer to your family life as a clownshow? You must be doing something better than I am.) Tsh is a real inspiration - she writes books! She maintains a growing website! SHE TRAVELED AROUND THE WORLD WITH HER FAMILY FOR A WHOLE YEAR! She makes me want to be a better man. Or, failing that, at least a better clownshow operator.
O.K. Before I begin, I want some indie-self-help-blog credit for reading Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project blog long before her first book was published and she launched into national prominence. Have we acknowledged how on the vanguard of awesome I am. Good. Let's proceed.
I have been a devotee of Gretchen Rubin's research and writing for years. She, like I, believes in well-researched, proven methods of self- and life-improvement. She, like I, takes a heuristic approach to living and treats her habits, behaviors, and relationships as a laboratory in which to experiment with best practices. She, like I, enjoys a good life hack and seeks to make what's good better whenever possible. And that is why we are best friends. Wait. No. That last part is a lie. But that is why I've gotten so much great advice and ideas from her writing over the years. Read the website, listen to the podcast she records with her sister Elizabeth Craft, study and highlight her books with wild abandon. However you get Gretchen Rubin and her devotion to making her - and your - life better, you'll be glad you did.
Here's John Gottman with his wife, co-author, and fellow researcher Julie Schwartz Gottman. Just based on this picture alone, I love them more than I love most people I actually know in real life. Awwwwwww! (Image Source)
Seriously, this guy and his co-authors wrote The Book - lots of The Books - on improving and enriching nearly every important relationship you'll ever share with another person. If you want to have warm, satisfying, functional relationships with the people you love and value, there's no better ally in that effort than John Gottman.
You should listen to these two. It's cheaper than therapy, and you can do it on the elliptical at the gym, sometimes without even falling down once! (Image Source)
I fell in love with Cheryl Strayed when I first read her work in Wild, just as so many of us did. Then my love deepened into deep gratitude upon discovering her contribution to the Dear Sugar advice column from The Rumpus collected into the perfect gem of a book, Tiny Beautiful Things. And when Breanne Boland told me to start listening to the Dear Sugar Podcast, featuring both Cheryl Strayed and the original Sugar, Steve Almond, I eagerly did as I was told. And, friends, it is amazing. These two sweet Sugars practice what Strayed calls "Radical Sincerity" and answer submitted letters with wisdom, compassion, empathy, and good humor. Listening to the podcast sometimes feels like Therapy Lite, with all the emotional satisfaction of a good and productive session, but without all the nasty personal vulnerability and hefty payment. I truly feel like I've learned a lot emotional intelligence, which Dr's Gottman would certainly approve of, from listening to this podcast weekly. It mines the deep, complicated, contradictory, ugly, primal, gorgeous, miraculous bedrock of what it means to be human to find small sparkles of preciousness - the tiny beautiful spark in each of us that makes us imperfectly exquisite.
So there you have it, Smarties! The end of my Resource recommendations! I hope you enjoy my favorite corners of the Web, but not nearly as much as you enjoy this one. Priorities, people. Smarties first, Smarties 4-eva!