I f you’ve been following this blog for awhile or if you’ve ever glanced at my Instagram, you’ve probably picked up on my love of writing on objects and leaving them in public spaces. For the past couple years, that’s involved writing on leaves.

There’s something extra delightful about creating a piece of art, writing a message to a stranger, and sending it out into the world to be stumbled upon by a passerby. It’s kind of similar to sending out a message in a bottle without the shards of glass to worry about.

During my senior year of college, I was SUPER invested in this idea I’d come up with called “Post for Peace.” I wanted to create a movement of people writing messages of hope for one another on post-it notes. I envisioned this wonderful army of strangers, scribbling on post-it notes, doing humorous doodles, writing love notes, copying down their favorite quotes – whatever struck their fancy – and then leaving those notes for others to find. Under windshields, on library shelves, stuck to the gas pump, in a random shoebox at Payless. You get the drift.

We’re all connected but it’s easy to forget sometimes. Maybe a little post-it reminder could serve to wake us up a bit and recapture that sense of belonging.

While studying abroad through Semester at Sea, I started putting my vision into action. I created post-it art and left them in various countries – on bus windows and at train stops, at cafes in Morocco and markets in Thailand. Post for Peace! It was going to be a thing!

I created a whole slew of post-its with my sister that year. We wanted to have them ready to go at a moment’s notice. Here’s one from 2009…you can tell the authenticity because of the date AND the water stains from languishing in a storage unit for the past 3 years. This post-it note is a relic!

But shortly after having this genius idea that was going to create a peace and happiness revolution, I started teaching in New Orleans. My entire brain space was taken over by learning the art of classroom management and teaching 6 year-olds how to read and be responsible little humans. Post for Peace took a backseat.

This past week, while going through craft supplies and boxes to prepare for our upcoming move for the summer golf season, I stumbled across a giant stack of these post-it notes that Leah and I created 8 years ago. I was smitten. The whole dream of Post for Peace came tumbling back to me.

(That sibling post-it was created by Leah. I can say, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that she is one of the coolest people I know.)

I picked out my favorite post-its that weren’t too damaged and worn. I wrapped a rubber band around them and tucked them in my purse. I’m ready to start Post for Peace again. (In fact, I’m writing this at one of my favorite coffee shops right now and intend to leave one behind on the table.)

Of course, any modern day movement needs a hashtag. It looks like #postforpeace has already been used by others on Instagram but only a total of 134 times which is NOTHING in the giant world of social media…so I’m going to start using it and flood the hashtag with a cohesive idea: post-its with art and quotes and messages that are left in random places. A small but meaningful attempt to make life lighter for those who find the notes. A whimsical way to connect with the world around us. Won’t you join me?

You simply have to get a stack of post-its and write or draw on them. However the spirit moves you. You can write wise words or funny musings or reminders to “call your mother” or a portrait of your cat. The sky’s the limit. On the back of the post-it, write the hashtag #postforpeace.

It’ll be fun. I promise.

A s of today, I have listened to 1,034 hours and 1 minute of podcasts. I know because my Stitcher podcast app told me so when I hopped on this morning to listen to the latest interview Anne Lamott gave regarding her upcoming book Hallelujah Anyway.

Seeing as I spend a LOT of time alone most days – painting, doing mail art, cleaning, cooking, working out, walking Graham – podcasts are a constant companion for me.

(I pressed and framed this leaf for my brother as a gift last Christmas. He’s also a huge podcast fan so he obviously took it as a huge compliment because he knows that podcasts are pretty darn great. ;)

The other day, Bobby and I were at a fundraiser-type cocktail party and dinner. I found myself talking with this wonderful woman and I ended up dropping in references to podcasts no fewer than 3 times. That’s a lot for a casual chit chat. I literally can’t help myself.

Here’s a list of 11 Podcasts I simply love love love. Some of them are wildly popular – so if you’re a podcast fanatic like me, you’ve likely already tuned in (I mean, I guess there’s a reason popular things are popular). And if you’ve yet to tune into a podcast, may I suggest you give it a try with one of these?

Here are my 11 top favorites, in no particular order, with some honorable mentions at the end.

*S-Town. This new podcast is getting so much hype and for good reason. It’s a fascinating story about an eccentric man from a small town in Alabama who absolutely hates where he lives. It was produced by the same team behind Serial (which I couldn’t listen to because it struck a wrong chord with me and my anxiety) and This American Life (which I listen to religiously, along with every other American). Bobby and I binge-listened to this in two days. We literally laid in bed finishing it last night and just looked at each other and said, “WHOA” after hearing the final sentence of the final episode. The entire thing is gripping with brilliant storytelling. It has given me so much to think about.

*Happier with Gretchen Rubin. A podcast with discussions about tools and techniques for making your life a little happier. I love the rapport between Gretchen (the famed author of The Happiness Project, among other bestsellers) and her sister Elizabeth Craft.  I’m honestly tickled every time I listen and have picked up some great advice. (One of my favorite episodes: Podcast 56: Schedule a Time to Worry.)

*Building a Story Brand with Donald Miller. The entrepreneur in me gets so much out of the podcast. The interviews tend to be relatively short and sweet with lots of gems for building a successful small business. The host, Donald Miller, has this really friendly presence that makes you feel like you just joined him for a cup of coffee. (A favorite episode of mine: Episode 8: Secrets of Insanely Good Customer Service.)

*Reply All. I’m completely enamored with the two hosts of this podcast. One of them, PJ Vogt, has a laugh that is the best I’ve ever heard. (I’m not alone on this, either – there is a Reddit thread titled, “PJ Vogt’s laugh is my favorite laugh.”) If that isn’t enticing enough to make you listen though, you should definitely listen for the utterly fascinating stories they do about weird and wacky things on the internet. Their reporting is so dang good and fresh and fun. (Hard to pick a favorite episode, but if I were absolutely forced to do so it would be: #56: Zardulu.)

*Missing Richard Simmons. Another new podcast that is totally fascinating and displays brilliant storytelling about the complete disappearance of Richard Simmons from the public eye. I wasn’t aware of the drama surrounding Richard’s exodus until I started listening, which shows how out of the loop I am when it comes to celebrities. After listening to the first episode, though, I immediately texted my brother and sister and was like, “You HAVE to listen to this.” There is a good amount of controversy about this podcast and whether it’s voyeuristic/exploitive. I think we’ll continue to wrestle with those questions about the ethics of podcasts and storytelling the longer this medium is around. (Favorite episode: the entire thing.)

*Side Hustle School. Yet another newcomer to the podcast party. Side Hustle school has daily episodes that are bite-sized, highlighting stories of entrepreneurs who have developed successful side hustles. It makes me want to go out there and develop multiple streams of income. Bobby and I love listening to these episodes together and are constantly joking around about potential side hustles we could start. One of these days, we’ll come up with something that’s actually legit. (A delightful and intriguing episode: Episode 2: British Man Earns $700/Month Writing Fish Tank Reviews.)

*StartUp. Another business podcast! (Can you tell I love this genre?!) StartUp has multiple seasons out and they each focus on the realities of trying to get a business up and running. Start fresh from Season One. You won’t regret it. (The latest season about ousted American Apparel CEO Dov Charney was fascinating; it was the podcast equivalent of a page turner – but really, every season they’ve put out is incredible.)

*Heavyweight. Oh GOODNESS do I love this show. The host, Jonathan Goldstein, has done stories on This American Life so you know he’s a winner. I’ve heard this podcast described as being a sort of time machine with Goldstein as a therapist who helps people go back to certain moments of their lives and somehow change what was and what is. I realize this description might make you feel like you just imbibed some foreign substance. It’s just SO HARD to describe how unique and great this show is without you giving it a listen firsthand. (It’s near-impossible for me to choose just one favorite episode so you get two this time: Episode 2 – Gregor and Episode 4 – Tony.)

*Dear Sugar. I know, I know, Cheryl Strayed has practically become a household name at this point. Her book, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Life and Love from Dear Sugar, is a favorite of mine and I think her ability to empathize and give solid advice is off the charts. In this podcast, she joins her good friend and fellow author Steve Almond to deliver advice and “radical empathy for the lost, lonely, and heartsick.” I don’t always agree with the advice but I’m consistently impressed with Cheryl and Steve’s ability to talk through sticky, tough questions week after week and offer their best advice. (Favorite episode: My Best Friend’s Wedding. I have referenced this particular episode an abundance of times in various conversations. It gets at the heart of friendship, love, disagreeing with a friend’s decisions, how we all can fall into that category of “know it all” and wanting to control other people’s choices because we OBVIOUSLY know best…it’s just great.)

*On Being with Krista Tippett. Interviews with thoughtful, influential, thinkers about spirituality and the things that matter most. Krista Tippett has a voice like honey and makes my soul feel like it’s found a place to land. She’s a master interviewer. This podcast fills me up spiritually and intellectually. It has depth and soul. (Favorite episode: Alain de Botton – The True Hard Work of Love and Relationships. I’m making a list of podcast episodes I want to revisit periodically because they made my heart jump up and down in one way or another. This interview with Alain de Botton is definitely on that list. Read it if you’re in a relationship, want to be in one, are married, thinking about being married, are single and counsel/listen to friends who are in relationships…basically if you’re a human. It’s so good.)

*Revisionist History. Malcolm Gladwell is a genius at delving deep into concepts and finding surprising takeaways. His books have been endlessly popular and he definitely did not disappoint with his venture into podcast land. With each episode, it’s as if Gladwell does a mic drop at the end. Episodes 4, 5, and 6 about the state of education and inequalities within our system hit me right in the gut. It’s truly fearless journalism. He cares so deeply about the truth that he’s not willing to sugarcoat or be diplomatic for the sake of not ruffling feathers – which is what so many talk-radio pundits claim to do but, in my humble opinion, do poorly at as they sprinkle in tons of unsubstantiated claims. Gladwell’s conclusions are well-researched, insanely intelligent, and articulated in a thoughtful way that puts him in an entirely different solar system from those talking heads. He’s brilliant and brave and insightful. I can’t wait for whatever he releases next.

Honorable mentions:

*Any podcast where Elizabeth Gilbert is interviewed. I love her views on life, spirituality, curiosity, art. She’s just a beautiful human being with a twinkle in her eye and a wicked sense of humor. Sure, she repeats some of the same things on these podcasts but I love listening to her again and again. I badly want to have a spirit like hers. Here are a few of my favorite podcast interviews with her:  You Made it Weird: Episode 283, On Being – Choosing Curiosity Over Fear, School of Greatness: Episode 341, and The RobCast: Episode 21.

*The Liturgists episode on The Enneagram (Episode 37). A good friend recommended this introduction to the Enneagram and I was hooked after the first few minutes. The Enneagram is a fascinating and ancient personality type system. I’d learned about it in bits and pieces before listening to this episode but this introduction grabbed me in a whole new way. I’m hooked – it is oh so illuminating. Plus, this podcast is really well done in general and has a polished production quality that clearly takes hours and hours of work.

*The Tim Ferriss Show. I don’t religiously listen to Tim’s podcast, but I’m usually glad when I do. He’s willing to go into exquisite depth with his guests – sometimes I love that, sometimes it’s a bit too in depth for my taste, depending on who the guest is and how interested I am in their expertise. Sometimes episodes are truly mind blowing though and I think about them for weeks afterward. An example of this would be Episode 166: How Creatives Should Negotiate and Episode 170 with Shay Carl. So many gems in there!

*The James Altucher Show. James is SUCH a character. He one of the most honest interviewers I’ve ever listened to – he’s willing to ask uncomfortable questions and isn’t bogged down by normal social conventions. He’s honest in a way that’s shocking and endearing. It’s really refreshing to listen to him. Some conversations are more fun for me than others – I especially loved Episode 217 with Tony Robbins. If you’re in any type of funk, listen to it IMMEDIATELY.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me the podcasts you can’t get enough of! I’m always on the search for new ones. Oh – and I love you more than podcasts. :)

C hia seeds are all the rage. I can remember the first time I experienced chia – it was in a kombucha drink that Bobby bought. He LOVED it from the get go. I was skeptical. Like many things in life, though, chia has grown on me. I’m glad it has because it’s stunningly good for you. There’s a reason it get so much hype. Check out this article about all the health benefits of this little magical seed and prepare to be amazed.

Awhile ago I stumbled upon this insanely easy recipe where chia seeds take center stage. It was SO easy and SO delicious and SO nutritious that I immediately shared it with my mom and siblings. But why should they be the only ones with the insider info? You deserve this recipe, too.

We’ve been making this recipe periodically over the past 6 months. It’s delicious every time. Sometimes (okay, most of the time) I just don’t feel like making a hullabaloo over breakfast. I truly enjoy cooking but when it comes to breakfast I’d rather skip the extensive prep work and just have something nutritious to dive into. This recipe fits the bill. Make it one night, cut up some fruit, and breakfast is taken care of for multiple days.

Bobby and I bought this giant 6 pound bag of chia on Amazon and it’s the best deal I’ve found (compare this to prices at Whole Foods and you’ll be doing a jig on the rooftop). It has lasted us for quite awhile. Chia for days!

Without further ado, here’s the recipe – slightly adapted from a recipe book I was glancing through at Barnes and Noble. (I failed to get the name of said recipe book. I feel badly about that because citing sources is something that every upstanding human should do regularly and consistently. Alas.)

Chia Seed Breakfast bowl
(Makes a nice tupperware full)

3 cups almond milk
1 cup chia seeds
2 tablespoons maple syrup (or to taste)
Cut up fruit of your choice (mango, blueberries, strawberries, you name it)

1. In a large bowl, whisk together almond milk, chia seeds, and maple syrup. Let sit for 5 minutes.
2. Whisk again.
3. Let mixture sit in fridge overnight. The seeds will hydrate and expand and turn into this wonderful gel-type pudding.
4. Scoop desired amount into a bowl, mix in a handful of chopped fruit, and breakfast is served!

As a bonus, this recipe is so dang pretty. It reminds me of a chia seed mosaic, particularly if you put it in some type of beautiful bowl.

Bon appetit!