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Photo by Tammy Strobel; Mt. Shasta.

Y’all, I can’t believe it’s June! Spring has been lovely, and I’m looking forward to summer. I never thought I’d utter those words because summer isn’t my favorite season. However, it was a long and cold winter, and I’m determined not to complain about the hot days that are ahead.

In addition to basking in the nice weather, here’s what I’m focusing on as spring ends and summer begins:

1. During August, Logan and I will be in The Netherlands for a few weeks. We’re going to stay in Amsterdam, Leiden, and take plenty of day trips to other communities via bike and train. I’m EXCITED to see the country and to connect with friends. Also, I’ll be hosting a reader meet-up while I’m in The Netherlands. Stay tuned for details.

2. I’m trying to write another book. Currently, I’m working on the book proposal, which is a beast to write. So far, I’ve rewritten the overview at least fifteen times. With luck, I’ll finish the proposal by the end of summer. If the concept is good, my agent will pitch the idea to publishers. If you’re curious about the publishing process, I highly recommend reading How to Publish Your Book by David Fugate.

3. I’m collaborating with the Women’s Business Center at JEDI. We’re hosting a FREE webinar on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, from 12–1 p.m. Pacific Time, called The Art & Discipline of Blogging.

Update: You can listen to the webinar here.

4. And last but not least, gratitude is on my mind. I can’t express how grateful I am for good health. The immense joy and happiness I’ve experienced over the last year is the result of tiny action steps taken over a sustained period. Some of those steps included working with a counselor to deal with grief, starting CrossFit, eating healthy food, and more.

In a recent Instagram post, Laura McKowen talked about how important it is to acknowledge all the good in our lives. She said:

“It’s taken me a long time to trust feeling good. I’m slowly starting to relax into it without wondering when the other shoe will drop, or if I’ll explode it, or how close pain is tracking my heels. I’ve learned I can accept the good. That I deserve it as much as anything else. That it’ll come and go, just like the darkness. You’re allowed to feel joy. You can be really, truly in love with your life. For me, I had to stop pouring wine all over everything to be able to feel all the way through anything: sadness, guilt, excitement, and yes – joy. It’s a slower build, but so much deeper, so much more sustaining.”

I couldn’t agree more. It feels good to feel good! Wishing you a gratitude-filled week.

Tammy

{This month: Language & life, magic, becoming a badass, and more.}

Photo by Tammy Strobel

Below are ten happy links that inspired me this month. I hope you enjoy them, too!

1. A Stitch of Time: The Year a Brain Injury Changed My Language and Life by Lauren Marks is an incredible memoir about language, life, loss, and love.

2. If you like magical books that include werewolves, witches, and other awesome characters, I highly recommend reading The Outlier Prophecies series by Tina Gower. In early May, I finished reading Book 6 and it was fantastic!

3. Jen Sincero’s books You Are a Badass at Making Money and You Are a Badass are highly motivating.

4. This looks so cool: Goodnewspaper – A printed newspaper full of good news.

5. A touching interview: Resilience After Unimaginable Loss.

6. Truth: The True Hard Work of Love and Relationships.

7. YES: It’s Time to Embrace Slow Technology.

8. Lucy Kalanithi on what makes life worth living in the face of death.

9. The latest Tiny House Magazine was released a few weeks ago. Check it out!

10. I’m collaborating with the Women’s Business Center at JEDI. We’re hosting a FREE webinar on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, called The Art & Discipline of Blogging. Sign-up here.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed my link roundup, please share this post with a friend or buy a book.

With gratitude,
Tammy

driving to camp

My desire to see new places, meet new people, and travel continues to grow as I grow older. And speaking of getting older, I can’t believe I’m more than halfway through my 38th year on the planet. I don’t know how my life will unfold in the future, but I do know this: I want to travel when I’m healthy.

Last week was full of work and travel adventures in Northern California. I spent a few days in Red Bluff shuttling my mom to and from a doctor’s appointment. (Don’t worry, she’s doing great.) Every time I visit my mom, there is less stuff in her house. Recently, a friend helped her clean the shed in the backyard. They took 500 pounds of paper to the dump and other odds and ends that have been collecting dust and spiders for the last two decades.

During the clean-up process, my mom found my old Ducky Blanket which was like my second appendage until I was six. My mom had to take the blanket away from me because I kept kneading the blanket like a cat. In addition to letting go of old baby clothes and blankets, she’s sold and given away furniture, cleaned out both garages (yes, she has two), and she’s given away most of my dad’s belongings.

After hanging out with my mom—and her crazy dog, Henry—for a few days, I visited my friend Bea in Sacramento, CA. Anytime I visit the Davis/Sacramento area, good memories resurface. We lived in the area from 2003 to 2010, and during that time, we began to simplify our lives. For example, we moved into a 400-square-foot apartment, went car free, did the 100 Thing Challenge, and started to save for a tiny house on wheels.

Also, in 2007 I started a new job in Sacramento, and my friend Bea was hired shortly afterward. We met on the job and became fast friends. I hadn’t seen Bea in over a year, so our visit was long overdue. Bea is a wonderful human, and I’m looking forward to spending more time with her this year. We committed to organizing a girl’s weekend every quarter. Our next play date will be in July—hopefully by the ocean.

If you haven’t been to Sacramento, I highly recommend visiting the city. It’s bike-friendly, walkable, lined with gorgeous trees, and there are many yummy restaurants and cafés.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite places in the city:

When I drove home early Monday morning, I felt incredibly grateful, happy, and loved. Wishing y’all a lovely weekend!

With gratitude,
Tammy

Photo by Tammy Strobel

Last weekend made my heart happy because it was filled with everyday adventures. Below are a few highlights and photos:

  • On Friday night, Logan and I had a slumber party at the tiny house. We were stoked to be in the house because we missed it. But we don’t miss it enough to move back into the space full-time. We love our little apartment in town.
  • While we were at the tiny house, we took down the jungle (see the photos below). Well, Logan took down the jungle with my in-law’s brush mower. The grass was up to Logan’s waist! We also did other odds and ends around the house. Our tiny house is tiny, but it still needs love and care. In between all of this, my favorite dog managed to crawl through a relatively small irrigation pipe (how is that possible?), then she rolled in poo and rubbed the poo on me while doing her best lip curl Elvis impression (she’s got that nailed.)
  • On Sunday, a staff writer from The Asahi Shimbun GLOBE—one of Japan’s largest newspapers—interviewed me for an article about American minimalists. After the interview, I gave him a tour of our small apartment and the tiny house. I’m honored that he interviewed me, and I’m continually amazed by how the Internet brings people together. I’ll let y’all know when the story is posted.
  • Finally, we ate all the food last weekend. The food party started on Friday at my father-in-law’s 70th birthday dinner. The following evening, we made a steak dinner for my mother-in-law, and we closed off Mother’s Day weekend with a giant dinner at a local restaurant. The family was out in full force (there were roughly 17 of us at dinner). My mom joined the fun, too.

I hope you had a lovely weekend! Enjoy the photos, friends.

If you’re reading this via email or in a feed reader, visit RowdyKittens.com to view my photo gallery.

Before you go:

  • If you purchased Everyday Adventures, THANK YOU! Also, I have a favor to ask. Would you consider rating my journal on Amazon? Readers rely heavily on reviews before purchasing a new product, so the more reviews, the better!

Journaling & Coffee: A Daily Practice

Hi all,

I’m teaching my online journaling course—Write to Flourish: A Beginner’s Guide to Journaling—in May. Registration closes at noon on Sunday, May 14, 2017. Read the course description and register here.

If you’d like to take the class and it isn’t a good time, please sign up here to be notified when the course opens again.

With gratitude,
Tammy

Photo by Tammy Strobel

In March, I wrote an article about how we’re slaying our food and dining bill. Recently, a few readers asked me to post a status update about the idea. Today, I’ll share an informal update and a few observations about the project.

With that, let’s get started!

At the end of February, we started to plan our meals carefully, and we began to closely track our spending on food and dining. Doing so impacted our habits and spending.

Check out the difference in our food and dining spending over the past four months:

  • January 2017 — $1081
  • February 2017 — $970
  • March 2017 — $637
  • April 2017 — $700

The figures above include groceries for our home (the bulk of the totals), dining at restaurants, cafe stops, coffee and tea for our house, and alcohol.

Other observations about this project include:

1. Ideally, we’d like to spend $400 a month on food and dining. I hope we can make that happen by June. We need to tweak our budget and do a better job at meal planning and preparation to make that goal a reality. Instead of being hard on myself or trying to be perfect, I’m having fun with the process. Changing my habits takes time, and that’s okay!

2. I’m spending additional time in the kitchen cleaning and doing dishes because we don’t have a dish washer. When I’m in cleanup mode, I listen to podcasts, think about writing projects, or zone out. Also, I’m learning to let my dishes sit in the sink if I’m tired. There is no rule that says my kitchen needs to be spotless all of the time. Plus, letting things get messy is an excellent way to let go of my perfectionist tendencies.

3. When we lived in the tiny house full-time, I shopped for fresh food every few days because our refrigerator was very small. In our apartment, we have a large refrigerator, a freezer, and additional cabinet space in the kitchen. This enables us to shop once a week for food. Eating well in our tiny house wasn’t a problem. However, it’s nice to have a little more space in our cupboards. And speaking of storage, we’re purchasing more food in bulk (like almonds, walnuts, dried fruit, protein bars, etc.) because it’s less expensive. Hopefully, these purchases will lead to a reduction in our spending over time.

Are you trying to spend less on food and dining? If yes, what have you learned from the experience? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

With gratitude,
Tammy

Photo by Tammy Strobel

Today, I have a photo round-up to share with you! If you’re reading this via email or in a feed reader, visit RowdyKittens.com to view my photo gallery.

In other news:

—I’m collaborating with the Women’s Business Center at JEDI. We’re hosting a FREE webinar on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 called The Art & Discipline of Blogging. Sign-up here.

—Registration for Write to Flourish is open! The next session starts on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. When you purchase the course, you’ll receive a free PDF copy of my new interactive journal—Everyday Adventures: Tiny Quests to Spark Your Creative Life.

With gratitude,
Tammy

{This month: Learning a new language, books, writing, and more.}

Photo by Tammy Strobel

Hi all,

Thanks for your well-wishes! Taking the time to rest and recover from the flu was important. I feel healthy and grateful that I’m back to work, CrossFitting, and more.

With that, below are 10 happy links that inspired me this month. I hope you enjoy them, too!

1. Duolingo—In August, Logan and I will be in The Netherlands. We’re really excited about the trip! Once I book our flights, I’ll let y’all know because I’m going to host a reader meet-up when we’re in Amsterdam. I’d love to meet some of my amazing Dutch readers! In the meantime, I’m learning Dutch. I started using Duolingo, and it’s helpful. Do you have any language learning tips (like books, courses to take, etc.)? Leave your recommendations in the comments section (or respond to this email).

2. Mindshift by Barbara Oakley inspired me to think differently about my career and to start learning Dutch. If you’re in a career or creativity rut, I highly recommend reading Oakley’s book.

3. Hourglass by Dani Shapiro is an incredible memoir. I love Shapiro’s writing, and her new book helped me reflect on a number of topics, including my amazing marriage, how I write, and how I view time.

4. Good Girl’s Guide to Talking Dirty by Alice Faris (my sister-in-law) is a fun romantic comedy. There some serious tones to the book, too. I really enjoyed it!

5. On treating your body like garbage & writing like you’re running out of time—a beautiful personal essay with so many good reminders.

6. How I’m Living Small in a Not-So-Tiny Home—a fantastic piece by Cait.

7. Exactly how I self-published my book, sold 180,000 copies, and nearly doubled my revenue—a helpful and real essay about self-publishing a book.

8. How to Be Creative Like a Motherf*cker with Cheryl Strayed.

9. Notes from Italy—I loved Austin’s travel essay.

10. KEDI—At the beginning of April, Logan and I watched KEDI, and we loved it! It’s a beautiful portrait of street cats and cat lovers in Istanbul, Turkey.

Before you go, I have a few bits of news to share:

—Registration for Write to Flourish is open! The next session starts on Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

— If you purchased Everyday Adventures, THANK YOU! Also, I have a favor to ask. Would you consider rating my journal on Amazon? Readers rely heavily on reviews before purchasing a new product, so the more reviews, the better!

Thanks for reading!

With gratitude,
Tammy

Photo by Tammy Strobel

I avoided the flu all winter, and last week it caught up with me. The good news is that I’m finally feeling better. Yesterday was a good day. I ate very well, felt less foggy, and felt more like myself. Today, I feel even better. I woke up with a little more energy and the motivation to get back to work. Also, after barely eating for seven days, I’m looking forward to eating all of the food in my refrigerator and gaining back the six pounds I lost.

A few lessons emerged from my experience with the flu.

1. I’m getting better at setting work boundaries. I canceled all my meetings and didn’t work while I was sick. This is a huge victory for me. In the past, I would have tried to push through my illness. As I get older, I’ve realized it’s better to rest and recover, rather than push, push, and push because resting helps me recover faster.

2. And speaking of pushing, I didn’t go to the gym while I was ill, and I probably won’t start CrossFitting until next week. I miss training, but I’m not willing to push my body too hard or fast (especially after being so ill). First, I need to start eating real food so I have the energy to work out. Also, over the next few days, I’m going to take a short walks and bike rides and gauge how my body feels. With luck, I’ll be ready to CrossFit next week (maybe sooner). I miss my coaches and gym buddies!

3. Writing gratitude lists is part of my daily life and focusing on gratitude is even more important when I’m ill. If I have too much time to think, my mind focuses on negative stories. Focusing on gratitude counteracts negativity. For example, I’m grateful for Logan, my sweet cats, and my doctor. They did a great job of taking care of me over the last eight days.

In other news:

~Registration for Write to Flourish is open! I’ll be teaching the next session in May. Details here.

~Have you purchased a copy of my new interactive journal—Everyday Adventures: Tiny Quests to Spark Your Creative Life? It’s available in print and PDF versions. You can see photos of the journal here.

~If you purchased Everyday Adventures, THANK YOU! Also, I have a favor to ask. Would you consider rating my journal on Amazon? Readers rely heavily on reviews before purchasing a new product, so the more reviews, the better!

With gratitude,
Tammy

Below are 3 images—paired with quotes—for you to download. Feel free to use the snapshots on your desktop, blog, refrigerator, or share them on social media. I hope the photographs remind you to take an adventure everyday.

Photo by Tammy Strobel

Photo by Tammy Strobel

Photo by Tammy Strobel

Download links:

1. “Write the part you know.” ―Cheryl Strayed

2. “ … adventure starts the moment I leave my door.” ―Gloria Steinem

3. “The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.” ―Joseph Campbell

With gratitude,
Tammy

Before you go …

If you purchased Everyday Adventures: Tiny Quests to Spark Your Creative Life, THANK YOU! Also, I have a favor to ask. Would you consider rating my journal on Amazon?

Readers rely heavily on reviews before purchasing a new product, so the more reviews the better!

Many thanks in advance!

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