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Ashland, Oregon is a 45-minute drive from my home in Yreka, CA, and I love visiting this cute university town. I especially adore Ashland’s plentiful selection of café’s because they are perfect for writing! Working from home has lots of advantages, but I can only spend so many days in my tiny home office—with cute and whiney cats—before I get cabin fever. When cabin fever strikes, I take a day trip to another community near my home and I set-up my writing station in a coffee shop.

In A Writer’s Paris Eric Maisel said:

“The café is the writer’s home. You can write at your desk, you can write at your cubicle at work, you can write—if you are a writer—anywhere. But café’s are your heaven. For the price of a cup of coffee, you get a table upon which to write, a lively scene to watch, and a thousand years of humanist tradition … a café is for creating. It exists for you and even because of you, as who else is free morning and afternoon to occupy its tables?”

Maisel goes on to say:

“Café’s are a profound—even an essential—element of the writing life. If you have none nearby, it may be time to move.”

I love working at cafés for all the reasons Maisel pointed out, and it’s much cheaper than renting a traditional office space.

Below is a list of my favorite cafés in Ashland. They are sweet writing spots. Plus you’ll find delicious coffee and baked goods at each location.

— CASE Coffee is across from Southern Oregon University (SOU). I love the vibe in this little cafe. Whenever I write at CASE, it’s packed with students who seem to have all the energy! Then again, they might be jacked up on caffeine. Also, CASE offers free refills on their drip coffee! I’m also a fan of their vegan donuts and homemade granola.

— MIX Bakeshop is in downtown Ashland, OR. They serve Stumptown Coffee (one of my favorites), and their pastries, ice cream, and other assorted baked goods are incredible! Yesterday, I spent a few hours at MIX with a good friend and picked up Valentine’s Day sweets for my hubby. My coffee of choice at MIX is a pour over.

— NW Raw Organic Juice Bar serves juice, delicious food, and coffee. I love RAW’s cappuccino with their signature nut milk! They also have a fireplace which makes the bar cozy on cold winter days.

I’ll share a post about my favorite writing haunts in Yreka, CA (my hometown) soon. In the meantime, cheers to writing and good coffee!

Thanks for reading!

With gratitude,

Last week, I shared the following news with my patrons:

Elaina rebounded after her surgery and cancer diagnosis. She’s eating wet food and drinking water from the faucet. Sadly, she can’t eat kibble, treats, and has trouble drinking water from a bowl. The vet suspects that Elaina’s teeth could be sore because of the cancer or she has nerve damage from the removal of the tumor on her tongue. Thankfully, I work from home and can feed and water Elaina all the time. She’s alert, happy, and she’s sleeping with me at night; all good signs. Our hospice plan seems to be working! 

I forgot to mention in my note that Elaina has been waking me up 2 to 5 times every night since her surgery. When she wakes me, I get up and give her food or water. Logan sleeps through the meowing and dish clanking (most of the time). I’m jealous of his ability to sleep deeply! Since Elaina can’t eat kibble, she’s been feasting on wet food at all hours!

Also, Logan is recovering from a cold, so between Elaina’s meowing and Logan’s nightly coughing fits, I’m worn down and grumpy. Sleep deprivation is not good for my body or mind!

Usually, when I’m tired, a long walk or CrossFit recharges my energy. Other times, like today, slow activities are better for my body and mind. I won’t be taking an epic hike today. Instead, I perused my landscape photo archive because it’s a mood booster. I also foresee a lunchtime nap in my future.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, I recommend reading Arianna Huffington’s book, The Sleep Revolution because it’s filled with helpful information. Also, if expansive landscape photos help you relax, here’s a roundup of my favorite shots.

Make it a great day!

With gratitude,

If you put a plate of chocolate chip cookies in front of me, there’s a strong possibility that I’ll eat all the cookies. I read books in a similar fashion; very quickly. Life is short, and there are hundreds of books I want to read, and there are so many cookies to eat!

This year, I’m changing my reading routine. Instead of trying to read all the books, I want to read slowly. Hopefully, I’ll retain and remember more of the articles and books that I read.

Here’s what my year of reading slowly will include:

  • Taking detailed reading notes
  • Sharing inspiring quotes and links on the blog
  • Talking about the books I’ve read with friends and Logan (this helps me remember information)
  • Rereading books

Last week, I started rereading A Writer’s Paris by Eric Maisel, and I’m uncovering nuggets of wisdom I missed the first time around.

For example, Maisel said:

“Taking the bad with the good is a principle that writers need to learn. The victims of endless advertising, we have been brainwashed into fully misunderstanding basic ideas like good and bad. As one example of this malady, we are taught to expect only the best, What does only the best mean? It means that we feel we are entitled to something like perfection in our goods and services, that it is unseemly to talk about the failures and mistakes that were part of the process, and that things get our stamp of approval based almost entirely on how they appear.”

Maisel goes on to say:

“In order to create, you must take the bad with the good. You are bound to write many bad paragraphs along with the good ones. That is the eternal law. You can get rid of those bad paragraphs later, but first you must write them. Otherwise, you won’t write anything. If you try to write only the good paragraphs, you will paralyze yourself. You will fall victim to perfectionism, even if you aren’t consciously trying to be perfect. Understand that the good requires the bad, that getting to the good is a process that includes mistakes and messes.”

Maisel’s reminders came at the perfect time because I’m trying to let go of my inner perfectionist; especially when it comes to writing. I’m happy that I decided to read this little book again!

Cheers to a year of reading deeply and slowly!

With gratitude,

“The main question is: Will you give it a shot? Will you incorporate two or three annual writing stints into your writing life?”
A Writer’s Paris by Eric Maisel 

In 2014, I listened to an interview with Rolf Potts on Tim Ferriss’s podcast. Potts’s is the author of Vagabonding—one of my favorite books! During the conversation, Potts mentioned his month-long Creative Writing Workshop at the Paris American Academy. As he described the workshop, I immediately wanted to attend the program!

After listening to the Interview, I read about the program and seriously thought about attending. Then my inter critic started to go wild, and I talked myself out of applying because of the cost. In truth, I didn’t have enough confidence to apply because I was scared.

Fast forward to 2017

In June 2017, I serendipitously stumbled on Ferriss and Potts’s conversation again and tuned into the interview. After listening to the interview again, I talked to Logan (my husband) about my desire to attend the Paris American Academy. He encouraged me to apply, so I got to work on my application!

On Wednesday, July 19, 2017, I submitted my application to the academy, and on July 31st I received my acceptance letter! Tuition is paid, and I’ll buy my plane ticket this week. This adventure is beginning to feel very real!

As a bonus, Logan is going to meet me in Paris in mid-July. The timing for the trip is serendipitous because we’ll celebrate fifteen years of marriage on July 12, 2018. Celebrating our love and commitment in The City of Light is fitting and in line with one of our core values: invest in experiences, not stuff.

I learned the hard way that buying stuff doesn’t lead to personal happiness or fulfillment. Instead, investing in adventures like traveling, education, delicious food and coffee, and more have imbued an immense feeling of joy in my daily life.

Learning about the craft of writing at the Paris American Academy will be an incredible adventure! I’m grateful for the opportunity, and I’m looking forward to improving my writing skills and connecting with fellow students and teachers in Paris.

I’ll leave you with a quote from A Writer’s Paris by Eric Maisel:

“…a degree in Paris is more important than a degree in creative writing. Paris is a physical place defined by its beauty and its openness to strolling. It is home to the entire intellectual history of the West, the place where modern art, modern writing, and modern philosophy were born. Paris is a place where artists gather, where a Czech filmmaker, a Russian choreographer, an African painter, and a poet from Providence are most likely to collide. Paris is a place of associations: It moves the mind, stirs the heart, and resonates forever. More importantly, Paris is the place you go when you mean to put your creative life first.”

With gratitude,

{This week: Anne Lamott, breakfast for dinner, getting unstuck, and more.}

Hi all,

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

1. Anne Lamott’s TED Talk is amazing: 12 truths I learned from life and writing.

2. Breakfast for dinner is always a good idea.

3. The Secret to Getting Unstuck with Mel Robbins.

4. LOVED this piece—am i anti-social?—by Paul Jarvis.

5. An excellent question: What motivates you to take action?

6. Checking in with death.

7. Great tips to deal with negative self-talk.

8. Morgan Jerkins on finding your voice, power, feminism, and more.

9. Get out of the cart.

10. I’m obsessed with these cookies: The Ultimate Healthy Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies!

Thanks for reading!

With gratitude,

Recently, a few readers asked me how I organize my iPhone apps. Rather than writing an essay, I decided to record a three-minute screencast to share my system with you. Enjoy!

I made a free desktop photo for you. Download the image here, and listen to the conversation that inspired this mini post here. It’s fantastic and helpful!

With gratitude,

Photo by Tammy Strobel

In A Beginner’s Guide to Backing Up Photos photographers, Ami Vitale and Terry Sullivan offered a variety of tips and tools to help readers organize and back-up their images.

Here’s one of my favorite tips from the article:

“Keep a folder of your favorite shots: Ms. Vitale recommends storing your best images in a folder on your computer’s desktop, and periodically, creating a special backup of just these images. But, she says, you’ll need to take a little time and edit your shots after each trip or event, and choose only your best shots.” 

I decided to follow Vitale’s advice and create a favorites folder in DropBox!

When I started going through my photo archive to find my best images, I was overwhelmed because I have so many pictures. Rather than trying to gather all of my most loved images at once, I started small and chose a tiny selection of my favorite morning views from the last year.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll add additional images to the folder.

And of course, I had to share some of my favorites with you. Enjoy the photo gallery!

With gratitude,

PS: If you’re curious about how I manage my photography workflow, read:

How I Take My Daily Photo

How I Culled Through 1,009 Travel Photos


In December 2017, a staff member at Flow Magazine emailed me and asked if they could buy one of my photos for their new special Dutch edition Het grote boek van minder which translates to The Big Book of Less.

Of course, I said yes!

Flow's Big Book of Less

I’m thrilled that Flow bought one of my tiny house photos to put on the cover of The Big Book of Less! I took the image in September 2012 when we moved from Portland, Oregon to Northern California with my iPhone 4S.

We no longer live in the tiny house full-time, and we finally decided to sell our wee abode in the spring of 2018. I’ll share details about why we’re selling the tiny house soon.

In the meantime, Flow’s new special The Big Book of Less is available (only in Dutch) to buy. Learn more here.

With gratitude,

Photo by Tammy Strobel

{This week: Pandas, walking, the power of blogging, and more.}

Hi all,

After a year hiatus, I decided to revive my weekly happy links series, with a caveat. If I don’t have interesting links to share, I won’t share my weekly link roundup, and if I only have a few good reads to share, I’ll only share a few good reads. I want this series to be playful, lighthearted, easy to create, and inspiring for you to read!

With that, below are ten happy links that inspired me this week. Enjoy!

1. The perfect antidote to sadness: Pandas Gone Wild.

2. So good: 3 quick thoughts about walking.

3. Please don’t kill the blogs.

4. In tech and media, you can’t remain neutral on a moving train.

5. Welcome back blogging?

6. A Week In Review: How to care less.

7. I’m obsessed with Farm Girl Flowers.

8. I’ve made Dana’s One-Pot Everyday Lentil Soup twice, and it’s delicious, healthy, and inexpensive! #obsessed

9. I enjoy Seth Godin’s short and powerful blog posts. Surfing vs. coal mining was spot on!

10. And last but not least, I’d love to hear about your favorite weekly reads in the comments section.

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely weekend!

With gratitude,