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5 Reasons I Quit Magazines

i quit magazinesIn the spirit of following my 2017 mantra of “good enough is good enough,” I want to remove magazines from my life. I hope that I can return to them more mindfully in the future. While this won’t be a permanent life change, I wanted to take a break from them for a few reasons.

It was a waste of money.

Most of us don’t think twice about dropping $5 on a magazine every so often. However, if you read as many as I do, it can easily become a $50+/month habit. If you get into reading small-batch or international magazines, the cost can easily skyrocket. I reduced my spending a lot by using my local library’s free magazine app. However, they don’t carry everything I read, so I was still spending $10-15/month. I can’t justify spending that much on reading material anymore.

The other nasty side of magazines is that they’re almost entirely ads. Whether it’s a fashion magazine pushing the latest trends, or a health magazine pushing new supplements or exercise equipment, the pressure to spend after reading is too much as well. I don’t like being prey for advertisements. I know I’m being advertised to all the time, but any progress to remove them from my daily life is worth it to me.

It was a waste of space.

Even after reducing the number of magazines I buy on a regular basis, I still find they pile up quickly. Before our last move, I piled them up and found I collected over a dozen over the past few months alone. I don’t tend to re-read things, so after I read them they just sit around collecting dust. In an effort to reduce visual clutter and useless waste, I want to keep the magazines I do read in the future to digital copies only.

I felt too much pressure to keep up.

Anyone who has ever read a Martha Stewart magazine knows my pain. Home magazines in particular are a sore spot for me. I get stuck down the rabbit-hole of wanting to organize, clean, and plan my home into oblivion after reading them. I always feel guilty for not doing more or being good enough. Fashion and travel magazines just remind me that I don’t have to money to keep up with the young jet-setter they’re aimed at. So for now, I need to quit playing the comparison game and repeat to myself “good enough is good enough.” I don’t need to know how to organize my bathroom in 20 different ways – how I did it is already fine.

They still bear unfair and negative messages toward women.

While some publications improved on this, many merely became more covert in their demeaning messages toward women. Fashion magazines may promote diversity or body acceptance, but they still largely show women with unrealistic body types. They still tell us that being thin is glamorous, and being curvy is purely for sexual appeal. I appreciate the progress, but we have a long way to go.

Many women’s magazines also promote we have to be superwomen who run marathons, have insanely successful careers, travel the world, raise perfect children, volunteer every weekend, clean our homes obsessively, and cook restaurant-quality meals for our families each night. I can’t keep beating myself up over what I don’t do, so I need to just stop reading about it for now.

I want to focus my time on books.

Instead of focusing my reading time each night to the instantly gratifying, ad-filled magazine stack sitting on my iPad, I want to read more substantial stuff. Reading magazines always had an addictive quality to them. Getting a new issue was a rush. I pour through the pages with reckless zeal, only to feel a crash when I was done. I don’t know how they do it, but magazines are like a damn drug to me. For a long time, though, they were the only reading I could stomach.

After graduate school, I was burnt out on reading almost anything. Add to that a career grading essays for hours every day, and I was usually too mentally exhausted to pick up a book. So for years, I didn’t read for fun beyond magazines.

Now that I have more time and mental energy to devote to books, I’m getting back in the habit. I was surprised how rusty I became, to be honest. At first I got distracted all the time, and I found reading took longer. However, after a few books I’m mostly back to speed-reading my way through everything. I’m also focusing my attention on reading books by women and about women.

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So for as long as I can, I promised myself I would actively avoid reading magazines. It doesn’t mean I’ll stop reading them forever. I just need a break to find other things to occupy my time and mental space. I also want to find more publications that speak to what I want to read about. Being more mindful of what I read is important to me, and I know this “cleanse” of sorts will be a good first step!

What I Read Recently

what i read recently

(This was originally posted on Bloglovin’, using their direct-posting function, which does not link to Afternoon Glow. It has been updated to reflect more books I’ve read since the original post.)

Happy Tuesday!

I thought I’d start the day by sharing what I’ve been reading lately. One of my goals for 2017 is to read 50 books, and I’m already well on my way!

I also want to focus on reading more from our feminist history, as well as honoring amazing women writers. One area I didn’t explore much in college was women’s studies. I’m going to make up for that this year, hopefully. I’d also like to read more fiction, but man I am picky when it comes to fiction. Perhaps more Margaret Atwood? 😉

2017 Reading List (So Far):

1. The Feminist Mystique by Betty Friedan

2. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

3. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

4. Blue Nights by Joan Didion

5. How to Win at Feminism by Reductress

6. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

7. How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

8. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gray

There you have it!

Any suggestions for books I should pick up this year?

Friday Favorites: Fall is Here

Friday Favorites Fall

Happy Friday everyone!

This week has been so much better. I’m finally over being sick, the weather cooled off, and the leaves seemed to change overnight. Fall is officially here, and I’m excited to get out and enjoy it!

Since I haven’t done a Friday Favorites in a few weeks, I thought I’d share some things I’ve been loving online since then:

I’m looking forward to spending the weekend hiking, enjoying the cool weather and changing colors. It’s also football season, so I will hopefully get some time to read more too. There is nothing like getting cozy with a book, am I right?

What are your plans this weekend? How have you been ringing in fall where you live?

Reading Lately

Reading Lately

This has been a slow summer for reading. I’ve torn through several magazines, cookbooks, and home decor books, but I haven’t read a lot of books. I’m still trying to get through The Omnivore’s Dilemma too. It’s not the kind of book I can just chew through – it’s graduate-school level academic, which even today still feels like homework.

I have managed to read a few things I found noteworthy, though:

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I just got done reading this one last night. I originally bought it to take with me to Portland in May, but didn’t get around to reading it until last week. It’s the first fictional book I’ve read in a long time, but it came strongly recommended, so I gave it a shot. It was a great, quick read, and had a strong message about finding your path in life and deciding what’s important to you. While I’m not usually into those kinds of stories, this one was so well done I really did take a lot of lessons from it.

Women, Work & the Art of Savoir Faire by Mireille Guiliano

I’ve been a fan of Guiliano’s work since French Girls Don’t Get Fat, and I don’t know how I managed to miss reading this until now! I loved reading about her path to a successful career, balancing life and work, and how to be a great leader in the workplace. She’s a great inspiration to those of us who want great careers, but also want to help others have great careers too.

The Year of the Work by Kayley Vandenberg

Now, I know this isn’t a typical “book.” A few months ago, I subscribed to Kayley’s monthly letters. Each month has a different theme, and delve into a more personal side than we’ve seen from her online writing. I make a point of taking her letters somewhere special to me each month – last month, I ended up at my favorite beach. I haven’t felt confident enough to write her back yet (still kind of fan-girling out a little), but I will whenever I muster up the balls. It’s a great throwback to the old days of having pen pals, and I’m looking forward to my next letter very soon!

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I have a few books waiting on my shelf next…but for now, I’ve gotta get myself through that Pollan book before I forget what it’s all about!

2015 Year in Review: Life

2015 Year in Review: Life

Life in 2015 was…a mixed bag.

On the career end, things were frustrating. I’ve learned a lot over the past year about myself, my career wants and needs, and where I want to go in the next year. 2016 is going to be another life-changing year on the career front, and I’m looking forward to seeing where I end up.

As for the rest of it, I’d have to say 2015 was the year of working on myself. I spent a lot of time outside, enjoying the fresh air and amazing views. My pink sneakers show the wear and tear of a hundred hikes, runs, and walks through some of the nation’s most beautiful parks. While they won’t make it long into 2016, I am going to miss my bright neon pink shoes – they’ve come a long way!

2015 Year in Review: Life

Fall Reading List

I also had the chance to read…for fun…a lot this year. I’m pretty sure I read more books for pleasure in 2015 than I have in the past ten years. It wasn’t easy, but I’ve rediscovered my love of reading – and I am definitely going to keep that going next year. In fact, I have that Carrie Brownstein book waiting on a shelf for me (thanks to a very nice and thoughtful brother-in-law). 

2015 Year in Review: Life

PNW Parks: Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park / PNW Parks: Lake Sammamish State Park / PNW Parks: Seward Park / PNW Parks: Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park

One of my favorite features I did this year was my “PNW Parks” series. It was a great opportunity to explore the amazing parks in my area, and I can’t wait to share more with you next year! There are so many parks I want to check out, and I can’t wait for the weather to warm up a bit so I can get back out there!

So here’s to another amazing year of reading, hiking, and getting on with my career!

Friday Favorites: Thanksgiving Prep

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Happy Friday!

So I dropped the ball pretty hard this week on posting. Two entries never got posted, but honestly it was for good reasons! One reason is I chose to take advantage of the sun being out to do some hiking and thrifting. The other is our apartment complex doing some kind of “mandatory inspection” today, so I spent Wednesday and Thursday tidying up the place (since they said they need access to every nook and cranny of our apartment…for some unknown reason).

I’m stuck at home all day today waiting on this inspection thing, so hopefully I can get more work done to make up for last week!

Until then, enjoy some other things from the internet I’ve been enjoying over the past couple weeks!

      • Goop shared their annual gift guides with readers – which included an under-$50 list that’s perfect for the office Secret Santa (or your own office), and a list with some wacky ideas that are both affordable (like a $55 home vagina steamer, if you like your vagina…steamy) and not so much (who is going to pay $125,000 for a pair of gold dumbells?).
      • Jon Stewart’s retirement was (rather predictably) short-lived – he’s heading over to HBO! It’s still unclear exactly what he’ll be doing, I’m sure whatever it is we’ll all be glued to our televisions.
      • I was admittedly a little bummed when Alexa Chung’s documentary series with British Vogue ended. Apparently I wasn’t alone because Chung announced she’s going to continue the series. If you’ve ever wondered what working in fashion is really like, check these out!
      • Sourdough is something I’m still a bit intimidated by, but this recipe for Sourdough Everything Pretzels from Joy the Baker might get me to try it out!
      • I’ve been on a bit of a “preppy” kick lately, and I’m looking forward to tearing through True Prep: It’s a Whole New Old World this weekend! I couldn’t find a copy of The Official Preppy Handbook through our local library (and they’re pricey online), but the book I got is by the same author, and promises to be a great “update” to the original. I can’t wait to dive into it!

Well, now I’m off to wait on our apartment inspection, and getting ready for what I hope will be a nice, relaxing weekend!

Fall Reading List

Fall Reading List

Welcome to November!

I read a LOT of books in October.

I should be more specific – I attempted to read a lot of books in October.

It’s a rarity for me to pick up a book and not finish it. I’m not sure where that comes from, but I’ve tortured myself through many books I found boring or dumb. Since I’ve been trying to be kinder to myself lately, I actually sent two books back to the library before I finished them. This is major for me.

The first one was The Happiness Project – which I got about three chapters into before quitting. It was excruciatingly boring, and the more I read, the less I found it applied to my own life. I don’t have a clutter problem, my marriage is fine, and I don’t have children or a job. Based on what little of the book I read, I should already be an incredibly happy person, I guess?

The second book I quit reading was The Lost Art of Dress, which I do feel a twinge of guilt about. It read way too much like a graduate school textbook for me to stay awake. If I’m going to read before bed, I don’t want to feel like I should be taking notes for a later research paper.

Anyway, on to the things I did manage to read – and a few I’m hoping to read in the next month!

October Reads

it by Alexa Chung

After tearing through Chung’s YouTube series with British Vogue on the current state of the fashion industry (click the link to watch the entire series in one video), I was tempted to check out her book. I enjoy her writing style, related to a lot of her experiences growing up, and the photos were fun to look at. It was a nice, easy read for a relaxed evening. I remember dreaming of working in the fashion industry when I was a kid, but never thought I could because I sucked at sewing and drawing. Maybe I can weasel my way in there someday, and it’s nice to see someone is out there telling young students that you don’t have to be a designer or model to work there (which would have been nice to hear when I was in high school).

I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

I didn’t know anything about this book or the author when I picked it up. I’ve seen it in bookstores, and often recommended by people online, so I checked it out. The book is a series of essays by Crosley that share some triumphant, embarrassing, and funny stories of her everyday life. She starts off by asking readers what their family would think if they suddenly died, and their parents now had to go through their apartment – then offers up a cautionary tale of hidden secrets, lost loves, and a kitchen sink horse collection. I quite enjoyed this book, and any woman who has struggled with work, love, and growing into “real” adulthood will relate.

Martha Stewart’s Cakes by Martha Stewart

Of course, I couldn’t do a post about what I’ve been reading lately without a cookbook – especially one by Martha! I didn’t end up having this book for long (someone else had it on hold, so I couldn’t renew it), and it’s one I might go out and buy anyway. I wanted to make damn near everything in that book. I have a serious problem with cakes, in that I love eating them but I’m not great at baking them (unless it’s a boxed mix, which is just cheating).

November Reads (Hopefully)

There were a few books I didn’t get to last month, and some I have on my wish list for the near future, so I thought I’d share those too!

Elements of Style: Designing a Home & a Life by Erin Gates

I just picked this book up at the library, which was a pleasant surprise because I didn’t know my local library carried stuff like this. I’m excited to read it tonight or tomorrow with a comfy blanket and a hot apple cider. Then I’ll probably spend the rest of the evening bemoaning how lame and ugly our own home decor really is. Seriously, it’s not great.

The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee by Sarah Silverman

I’ve been wanting to read this one for a long time, and just never got around to it. Silverman is one of the funniest people alive, and I can’t wait to dig into this one! I’m planning to read this after Gates’ book makes me think I have made too many huge mistakes in my life (like not wearing enough stripes).

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir by Carrie Brownstein

Everyone and their mom wants to read this book. I’m currently number 150 or something on the waitlist at the library, so we’ll see how long I hold out before buying it instead. I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about Brownstein outside of watching her on Portlandia, so I’m looking forward to this one big time!

Well, now I’m off to dig into some bread that just got done baking, and maybe a book too!