Web Time Wasters

How was your week, friends? We were in Vermont for my birthday/our anniversary (it’s exactly as wholesome and picturesque as you’d think it is). This weekend we took the boys to a midnight showing of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure at The Riverview and helped our friends warm their new house.

Links for you!

As you probably know by now, I’m a HUGE champion of small to mid-sized cities and the affordable cost of living they offer. I’m super excited about the Cost Of Living Diaries interview series I’m doing with Livability. This month, we talked to Isabella who moved from Washington DC to rural New York state and went from a $1,850 rent payment to an $800 mortgage!

As we head into Labor Day sales, a reminder: Buying something we don’t need on sale doesn’t mean we ‘saved money.’ It means we spent slightly less money on something we didn’t need in the first place.

Related: How To Stop Buying Shit You Don’t Need.

How to build a life worth remembering.

One of my favorite things to do is read books set in upcoming travel destinations. I’m heading to Winnipeg in mid-September so I just requested this and this from the library. If you have any Winnipeg book recs, tell me in the comments!

I decided that I’d use the time between my birthday (last Wednesday!) and the mid-term elections to get SUPER serious about my political involvement. After a lot of thought, I decided to volunteer for Tim Walz’s Minnesota gubernatorial campaign. How will you get involved? If you’re not registered to vote in the midterms, here’s all the info you need!

Somewhat related: Does Stephan Miller have any friends? An investigation.
There is no “Personal Life” section on Miller’s Wikipedia page, the first place any hard-hitting journalist should go to for answers, presumably because he doesn’t have a fulfilling personal life. Since Miller is a “millennial” — he’s 32 — an easy way to determine whether he has friends is by looking at his social media accounts. He only follows 55 people on Twitter, many of whom are either his colleagues or accounts for various Trump properties around the world. He has not tweeted since 2016, an eternity in online years. Not being active on Twitter is not necessarily indicative of anti-social behavior; on the contrary, people who are too online are the ones you need to be worried about. It’s just kind of weird, is all I’m saying.


Have you ever noticed that 90% of design blog house tours are from NYC or LA? I loved this tour of a “charming home in the Ohio corn fields.”

15 fun things to do this Fall (not including a pumpkin patch)

GOD I LOVE A GOOD LISTICLE WITH A CATCHY HEADLINE! The Life-Changing Advice Of 100 Insanely Interesting People.

Cute! Rita Moreno on singing with muppets.

A reminder for all of us: go with your ‘hut’

I imagine this ‘parenting hack’ would work for, oh, EVERY HUMAN.

Hope you had a lovely weekend!



The Cost of Living Diaries is super interesting to me.
It’s funny (not even a little funny) how living in rural upstate NY where I live is incredibly unaffordable to rent but if I could just quit living in poverty and get approved for a loan, my mortgage payment would be pretty low. In the Ithaca area, we have the highest rent in the state outside of NYC.

(OK, checking out the other web time wasters now )


I also loved the Ohio house tour. I got so excited about it (coming from Indiana corn fields and now living in Cincinnati). I find it disheartening that most of the home tours featured on blogs are from LA, NYC, and SF…when there are plenty of us who live elsewhere and wouldn’t mind seeing people closer to home featured online.
There also aren’t many (any??) design blogs that aren’t IKEA-based. Nothing wrong with IKEA, but it’s pretty opposite of our house style. If anyone knows of any that are more traditional styles, can you please let me know!! 🙂

Also looking forward to keeping up with the Cost of Living Diaries. We’ve lived all over the country (LA, DC/MD, NC, IN, and OH) and the cost of living was dramatically different in all of those places. Surprisingly, it’s not as cheap as you’d think to live in Cincinnati – our rent for our 1900 sq ft house is twice as much as our 2200 sq ft townhouse in Indiana, and also twice as much for our 700 sq ft apartment in DC. Finance things are so weird!


Your time-wasters are the best! I’m going to felt this fall and that’s all on you!

I don’t have any Winnipeg suggestions – but I’m curious where people go to find books associated with a location. I guess there’s no central website? I alway do the same – or I get interested in a location and want to read books set there. Right now, I’m obsessed with Liane Moriarty’s books, and I’d like to read others set in Australia while I wait for her next to be released. And I can’t figure out where to to find them.

Sarah Von Bargen

Honestly, I just google “Books set in ________”! There’s usually a GoodReads section devoted to the answer 🙂

Heather Leask Armstrong

I think you would like the book, The Prairie Bridesmaid, by Daria Salamon. https://www.amazon.ca/Prairie-Bridesmaid-Novel-Daria-Salamon/dp/155470183X If you are looking for classics published in Manitoba, there is The Diviners by Margaret Laurence, Children of My Heart of The Tin Flute by Gabrielle Roy, The Stone Angel by Carol Shields, In Search of April Raintree by Beatrice Culleton and more. If you like fantasy, Guy Gavriel Kay is from here. Newest award winning Winnipeg and Manitoba award winning authors can be found here: https://www.mcnallyrobinson.com/editorial-5413/The-Manitoba-Book-Awards-2018-winners#.W4zNbOgzrIU McNally Robinson Booksellers is a place you should definitely visit when you are here. Their store at Grant Park is a must see as is their new shop at The Forks, also a must see along with the Manitoba Human Rights Museum. Here is a great book list from The Salvation of Yasch Siemens author Armin Wiebe http://www.arminwiebe.ca/Pages/%21books.htm There is also a great book about our fascinating Manitoba Legislature building https://www.frankalbo.com/the-book/, books about people who have sighted UFOs by Chris Rutowski https://ca.linkedin.com/in/chris-rutkowski-0b100634 and more. For recent reads I would recommend looking up the last five years nominees for the Manitoba Book Awards or perusing the Manitoba/local books section at McNally’s, an independent book store. We have some second hand shops as well. PM me for more suggestions and let me know when you will be in town. I run a library with tons of Manitoba books 🙂


I literally walked out of a bar the other day because we’d spent an hour trying to time everyone’s drinks to wrangle people into heading to the one we actually wanted to go to. I gave up and just walked out. A couple people followed me, and within half an hour, everyone had shown up at the place we wanted.


When you asked for book recommendations my mind immediately wen to Miriam Toews — nice to see that you already have one of her books on request, but if I may recommend another, it would be A Complicated Kindness. Though it’s not set in Winnipeg proper, it is set in Manitoba and the book is every bit as desolate and beautiful as the province itself. It also dives into Mennonite culture, which along with the dukhobors and I think the Amish, have a strong presence in the prairies. Also any books by First Nations authors would be great — I suggest North End Love Song by Katherena Vermette or The Break by the same author. Here’s a list of Canadian First Nation fiction, if You’re interested ! http://www.islandstrust.bc.ca/media/343724/first-nations-reading-list.pdf


Oh my goodness! What us bringing you up here? Winnipeg has so much to offer and hopefully we will have some gorgeous fall weather for you to enjoy! I would recommend some time at the Forks in the new food hall “the Comon” and then a walk across the bridge to the St. Boniface neighbourhood for some French flair and flavour!


What are you doing in Winnipeg? As a long time reader and life long winnipeg er I am curious if you are doing any events? In terms of books, an amazing one that is both heartbreaking but does offer a lot of insight into our indigenous culture is The Break, by Katherena Vermette. Hope you have a great time in the city.


That video. My first job was working as a temp in the local government’s newly founded parking department right when they started a massive overhaul of their parking system to make it paid. Now whenever I deal with a customer service person when I’m unhappy, I always make sure to say “I know it’s not your fault that x occurred but…”. It really helps me 1- feel like not an asshole and 2- have a productive interaction. When you’re more understanding about the restraints of someone’s job, they’re more willing to go above and beyond to make it right as best they can, especially if it means bending those rules a bit. Plus, something that small can often literally make their day when they’re in a really difficult job.


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