I hardly ever share pictures from around the house, and that's mainly because there's only about one hour each day where the natural light shines through well enough for quality shots. Most evenings are spent chilling out with candles lit and a book in hand or a movie on the big screen (usually both at the same time because I love background noise),

In an effort to share some simple, everyday moments, I took a few pictures of what 7pm in the Active Spirit household usually looks like and am posting them here - in all their grainy and fuzzy glory.
I'm not a person who chooses a word for the year, but if I were, this year it'd be REST. Lately I've been read so much goodness about work and rest and how they should often operate in tandem. I haven't been seeking out this content; it's been finding me. Today's roundup includes two lengthy pieces from Atlantic, and a book.


I've started and deleted this post a couple times because I'm not even sure it's worth sharing because it's really not that deep, but this is a blog, not a literary journal, so I'm just going to post it anyway.

For the most part, J and I are both mindful spenders. I'm the more frugal one in the relationship, but over the years, making money moves together helped us become super intentional about where each dollar goes. We still splurge. We still travel. We still make room for fun, and there are some weeks where we lose track of the budget altogether. But we make sure to never be in a position where our money is seemingly disappearing and we have nothing to show for it.

December was a heavy spending month. Christmas shopping, unexpected car maintenance, unexpected vet bills, and extra commuting around town all added up. After Christmas, I looked at our bank account and decided we needed to hit the reset button for 2020. On New Year's Eve, both agreed to a no-spend January. I popped a bottle of Prosecco from Trader Joes, and we stood in the kitchen hashing out the terms while making dinner.

The Rules

We called it "no-spend" month, but really we just significantly cut back on all miscellaneous spending. Here's everything we could buy without a second thought:

I brushed the dust off my old Nikon camera and took it for a spin around the house this week. While the gear itself is probably worth very little money, my D3100 will always have sentimental value. It's the first camera that ever made me excited to take pictures, and even though it's considered ancient and inferior by today's standards, it still takes decent snaps! Granted, it does struggle with indoor lighting. Unless the sun is shining bright through the windows, the images come out grainy or blurry (or both), depending on the settings. So, out of 30 pictures, only two are worth keeping.

I think that's what's so frustrating about creative endeavors. You can work on something for hours and barely have anything to show for it, but success is still measured by the numbers. Over the years, I've had the chance to rent, buy, and otherwise fiddle with higher quality cameras, and it's humbling to see what kind of magic you can create despite the limitations. It can (surprisingly) be a solid source of inspiration.

That being said, I'm sharing some things that help me out of a creative rut:

March will mark eight whole years of blogging for me. EIGHT. YEARS.

I started The Active Spirit (TAS) as a creative outlet (more details in this post), and now it feels more like an online journal than a creative hideaway. The hobby took off as an actual career for many people in the mid-2010s, and everyone left blogger/blogspot for the likes of Wordpress and Squarespace. I'm still here hanging out on Blogger, and I have no plans to leave any time soon. Here's why:

I was doing a digital declutter of my phone files recently, and I came across my baby names list from when I was still pregnant. It was a very short list, and I deleted it without a second thought, but then I thought maybe I'd share the names we'd brainstormed before Gabriel made his grand entrance.

Oddly enough, the name Gabriel wasn't even on the list. I had thrown it out there once, but I don't think either one of us cared enough to actually write it down. I had always maintained a stance about seeing my baby before giving him/her a name. When I was holding him in the hospital, he was looking up at me with those big, wide eyes like a perfect little angel. He was my Gabriel; I just knew it, and J agreed.

Here are some other baby names we considered:

I haven't read a good book in a while. I have, however, been reading articles and think pieces left and right. It's my favorite way to find a break in the day. Instead of scrolling mindlessly, I'll grab something from my pocket queue for a quick, meaty piece of content to consume. I'm not usually a fan of non-fiction works, but thanks to so many good reads lately, I'm opening my heart for the likes of Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino (a couple of her articles are below) and To Hell with the Hustle by Jefferson Bethke.

In the past, my recently read posts were focussed on the books I've read, and the articles roundup appeared in a filter the fluff post. There's really no good reason to split the two. Whether it's a book, magazine or online article, it's all getting read! So... it's all going in one place from now on.

Okay, that's a long enough intro. Let's get to it. This one's for all my working women out there.
© the active spirit. Design by FCD.