Nonfictional Thoughts: Lykke and HTBUWYP

I recently finished reading two nonfiction books (that were, in my opinion, very good); The Little Book of Lykke and How to Break Up with Your Phone.

I wanted to give some details about them and some of my thoughts, in case my random recommendation doesn’t carry enough weight.

The Little Book of Lykke: In The Little Book of Lykke, Meik identifies the six factors that explain the majority of differences in happiness across the world—togetherness, money, health, freedom, trust, and kindness—and explores what actions we can take to become happier. As he reveals, we can deepen our blissfulness and contentment with little adjustments in our behavior, whether it’s eating like the French (sitting around a table and savoring our time) or dancing the tango like Argentinians in Buenos Aires.

  • I really enjoyed the case studies sprinkled throughout the book, detailing how specific people or communities had made a change for the better/happier in their lives.  Like Michelle’s No Spend Year- to learn how to live well for less, put yourself out there, and remember that buying belongings won’t bring you the perfect life.  because it’s about experiences!
  • Apps like Kamino and Field Trip will give you the scenic route, rather than the fastest.
  • The Mappiness Project in the UK seems super cool- by mapping happiness around the world, researchers aim to understand how happiness is affected by the local environment.  You can sign up to participate.  And, no surprise: participants tend to be significantly and substantially happier outdoors.
  • The Parental Happiness Gap has a whole damn lot to do with the policies in place to support working families.  The US and Papua New Guinea are the only two countries in the world that do not have a policy in place to give mothers paid time off after having a baby.
  • Cooperation versus competition.  I’ve always been a humongous fan of musical chairs, but why are so many kids games competitive rather than cooperative?  What if a game were played where no kids were out but a chair was taken away every round- leading to all of the kids piling into one chair at the very end.  Sounds just as giddy and prone to accident.
  • Become a RAKTIVIST, a kind of Random Act of Kindness ninja/hitman. You can sign up on the website http://www.randomactsofkindness.org.

This next is a little harder because I’ve already returned the book though I finished it more recently- so this will be a bit shorter.

How to Break Up With Your Phone: Award-winning journalist Catherine Price presents a practical, hands-on plan to break up—and then make up—with your phone. The goal? A long-term relationship that actually feels good.  You’ll discover how phones and apps are designed to be addictive, and learn how the time we spend on them damages our abilities to focus, think deeply, and form new memories. You’ll then make customized changes to your settings, apps, environment, and mindset that will ultimately enable you to take back control of your life.

  • Disclosure: I don’t have much of a phone addiction, and I mostly read this book applying what I was learning to laptop time- particularly after I was hit with a particularly strong Spider Solitaire addiction a few months ago as a result of university stress (I can’t explain).
  • Apps, smartphones, websites, etc. are designed to keep interested, often in pretty sinister ways.  Not only do they tap into your dopamine circuits, but likes are pretty much designed to take advantage of peoples’ competitive natures and need to belong and have social approval.  And frequently you as a user are not alerted of likes in real time- platforms alert you of them when research/empirical evidence shows that it will have the biggest impact on users and encourage users to continue the most.
  • In 2007, when the first smartphones were released, many demographic trends changed sharply.
  • Among other data, the incidence of depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders, especially among younger people, increased significantly.
  • So now I’m trying to ask myself before I pop open my laptop or phone- 1) What could I be doing instead right now?, 2) What am I using this device for? (so that I can make sure I have a purpose rather than just ‘because’), 3) How am I feeling? (Am I using my phone or computer to relieve stress?).
  • I’m going to schedule a no screen weekend. I might cheat and do it when I go away for Independence Day. To an area that has no internet and no reception.
  • Streamline your phone. Make it harder to open the apps you tend to get lost in.  If things are less convenient to access, you’re less likely to access them ‘unconsciously’.
  • Engage in tech fasts. Sounds like fun.
  • All in all, I really liked how the data was set out initially and followed by a proposed 30 day detox plan- which wasn’t super applicable to me because mI’m more irritated by my somewhat extensive laptop time, but there were lots of great ideas I took away (and I’ve been using my laptop less!)
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Links on a Monday

My links are 3 days late and I haven’t been posting but GUESS WHY !
I’ve been on a field trip.

More details coming soon.

  • “We all harbor the knowledge, however covertly, that we’re going to die, but when it comes to small talk, I am the angel of death.”- What to Say When You Meet the Angel of Death at a Party, by Kate Bowler (a woman struggling with Stage IV cancer)
  •  Game Over, Man looks terrible. But I kind of want to see it. ‘So bad it’s good’ potential?
  • Speaking of ‘So bad it’s good’, do I need to watch the Oscar-nominated Boss Baby? Wisecrack just did a video on it’s ‘accidental’ philosophy, which I found really interesting.
  • Some pretty jewelry– I’m particularly attracted to the thin gold chokers.
  • I Had to Break Up With My Career Coach
  • A hysterical survey of the problematic history of black actors dying (often first) onscreen. And congrats to LL Cool J!
  • There is no snack more appropriate for the Me Too Generation than a chip that tells women to eat more damn quietly. Good job, Doritos.
    Will there also be a super-crunchy ship so that we can all be alerted when a Real Man is eating?

Se Soigner

There isn’t even a pun to excuse my French title.
I’m just a pretentious elitist who thinks the French language is beautiful and kind of encompasses what I want to get across? Except of course it doesn’t really get it across because the majority of my readers (hypothetically, if I had readers- really I know it’s mainly Mom and dad out there- hi guys, how you doin’?) speak English, given that this blog is in English.

But whatever.

Given a few weeks for my resolutions to marinate, I’ve come up with some more concrete steps to take to care for myself. And it’s really necessary, given that I seem to have developed a forte for a) burning myself (I mean, I guess. That looks like a burn) and b) falling up/down stairs (is it still a shiner if it’s on your knee?)

So let’s do this!

  • Start flossing again. You know how flossing is essentially the first thing to go when you’re tired and/or stressed. Given that I’m tired and/or stressed the majority of the time (sigh, modern life), it’s been a while since I’ve been solidly on the daily oral hygiene bandwagon. On the same note- mouthwash?
  • Get a lighter. I have a candle (a beautiful beeswax one that my dad made me for Christmas (again, hi Dad!)  and I need to light its fire, as it were.  Can you imagine the self-soothing happiness and love from a softly glowing beeswax smell that reminds you of the love of a parental unit?
  • Stay hydrated. The world is a broken record when it comes to staying hydrated, but do any of us really listen? I don’t.
  • Take care of my feet. Now that I’m not a *competitive dancer* my feet aren’t necessarily a lost cause. In fact, they might even be resuscitated (resuscitable?). The problem is that it’s a bit chilly to not be wearing socks or slippers 24/7 and my feet want to breathe. I’ve noticed that I have some proprioception issues, so even when my feet are warm enough, I don’t tend to notice (which reminds me to take off my slippers now).
  • Take my vitamins/supplements again. It’s been years since I took my vitamins regularly, which as a vegan is a bit of a no no. Time to get back on the B12.
  • Listen to more music. Now that I’ve confirmed that my 10 year old ipod has not in fact been lost to the winds of time, my horizon of musical possibilities has been reopened.
  • Stretch more. Especially during our class breaks. Sitting and smelling from 9-5 gets a bit exhausting for the body. I always feel so much better after I’ve moved a bit.
  • Don’t skimp. I have a tendency toward self abnegation, which is a lot less now that I’m not anorexic. But there are still a few things I do that I only really realized recently are related to how I value myself.  So I’m going to really use my products for their purposes (i.e. definitely adequate amounts of moisturizer, replacing my contact solution daily, those kinds of luxurious/very necessary things).
  • Replace my mascara and eyeliner. My mascara is almost empty and I’m hitting my pan on my MAC pot, which I’ve had since 9th grade anyway (for reference, I’m in 17th grade now). I shouldn’t have that stuff so close to my eyeballs.
  • Listen to ASMR before bed if I want.

Friday Links 1/19

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Happy Friday! I have the day off, which is many kinds of wonderful (not least because I get to go out and buy a pastry and check some travel guide out from the library and maybe find a waterproof pair of boots.)
(You know, the real problem is that I just want these ten year old riding boots to be new again, or to find a pair of Chelsea boots that are pretty similar. But the Vogue right now seems to be for combat boots or boots that are combat-adjacent so I’m having some trouble).

Anyway, links!

  • Collider (one of my favorite youtube channels on the film industry, frequently mentioned on the blog) doesn’t usually discuss anime, but Emma’s here to decode some common visual tropes and gags.
  • More things I’ve learned from my amazing and diverse ISIPCA classmates? Dan from Australia taught me about ‘Firehawk’ raptors, which spread bushfires to flush out their prey.
  • There’s a Star Wars-themed Creperie in Paris. The dishes are named after the planets by which they were inspired.  Not at all vegan-friendly, but I’m so amused.
  • I know I hate on GP’s goop, but this is actually a pretty good article about how our negativity is in many ways an adaptive strategy, a self-defense mechanism to protect us from past threats- and so a lot of negativity may no longer really be necessary (and may actually be counterproductive) to leading happy lives.  I know I sound super woo woo so I’ll stop, but it does resonate with a lot of what I’ve observed and thought re: my own negativity and cynicism.
    But yeah, no, I only skimmed the article.
  • What do I really want? Continuing to love Mari Andrew’s illustrations.
  • Also Poorly Drawn Lines’s send up of this classic Lion King scene.
  • Screen Junkies (another favorite youtube channel on the film industry) presents their annual Screens awards for the best and worst in movies and television.
  • Unforgettable movie style moments. Some (Keira Knightley’s green Atonement dress) would definitely be on my own list (which, hey, will maybe happen someday).
  • I hope you made it through Blue Monday (the most depressing day of the year, apparently) okay. If you’re still feeling a bit of residual down-ness, here are some lovely feel-good movie dance scenes. I still always listen to Dancing Queen when I need a boost. I have to say I think Moses Supposes from Singin’ in the Rain is actually more feel good than the title song, but whatever. Again, maybe this is a moment when a personal list is needed.
  • You’ve heard of the KonMari Method. Maybe you’ve even partaken in some Swedish death cleaning (I’m only 22 and I know I have. One needs to be prepared)- now t’s time for the hot decluttering trend of 2018: American Apocalypse Purging.
  • Another anticipated 2018 film (see earlier post): Love, Simon.
  • I watched I, Tonya and thought it was pretty good (Blades of Glory is still the best figure skating film), but you know what I’d love to see? A film about figure skating legend Surya Bonaly. Because a backflip is almost as difficult as the Iron Lotus.
  • The mindset of men and women re: sex and during sex itself, and how this influences the way women write about sex.  A really interesting read.
  • A very cogently written account of the issues with Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. It’s always brilliant when you find an article that explains your gut feelings. Beautiful film, serious problems.
  • There’s a Colette film coming! Keira Knightley’s going to star! I’m not sure those two go together! But I love both separately!
  • On Aziz Ansari and sexual assault vs sexual coercion: I don’t believe sexual coercion is sexual assault. But it’s not exactly enthusiastic consent either.  I don’t think it’s too much to ask men to interpret mixed signals, particularly when sexual violence against women is so common and fear of the consequences of refusal is so real.
  • If becoming a perfumer doesn’t work out, maybe I can go into gourmet ice cream.

Saturday Links (and an aside on pastry)

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I am indeed more sane today! It’s amazing what a Chipotle burrito can do to pull back together the resolute American spirit.

And as goes my stress- I had my favorite pastry and a beautiful pear for breakfast today, went to the pastel exhibit at Petit Palais that I was looking forward to, bought a few things that I’ve been searching for (for years), and have a classic financier tucked in my desk for breakfast tomorrow (with a persimmon and maybe some chocolate (?).
So what is a classic financier I hear you ask? The almond one. My bakery had a pistachio-chocolate one (half and half), the almond, and a cherry one.  How does one choose?
Well, I like fruit in pastry, but I usually have fresh fruit with my breakfast (I stole an excellent pear from my landlords today) and didn’t want to be outfruitied.  And then I was considering pistachio, but when I got there realized I wasn’t feeling chocolate.  It’s always best to start with the classic anyway.

So life is good.

Here are my links

Friday Links 5/19

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Hey my graduation is this weekend! (Except not really because I’m not going!).
Did you go to your graduation? Almost everyone I’ve talked to has been some combination of stunned or outraged to hear that I’m skipping it- which is a reaction that’s quite taken me by surprise.
Neither of my parents went to their graduations, so I think I just kind of grew up not thinking it was a big deal. My cousin Sean went to his graduation but sat with his family in the audience.  And I went to my high school one (but I was valedictorian *pats on back* so I kind of had to).  But there are so many things I’d rather do!
Namely: anything. Sitting around in a big group of people and listening to speeches just isn’t my thing and I know that makes me sound terribly unsentimental, except I’m also such a nostalgic person that I know that can’t be it. Continue reading “Friday Links 5/19”