Designing Your Life is one of the most popular courses at Stanford. Taught by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, the class teaches how you can use design thinking and techniques to shape your life and career. Burnett and Evans just came out with a book based on the class, Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life.
“Busy is a decision… You don’t find the time to do things — you make the time to do things.”
On the shared humanity of the “impostor syndrome” most creative people feel:
The one common denominator [that great thinkers and creators] have shared with me over the years is that they all feel like they have to get up every day and do it again. They all feel like they may very well be discovered as phonies, they very well may never, ever achieve what they had hoped. The only two people in all the years that I’ve done this that have been different, that have had a different experience in articulating who they are and what they believe, are Milton Glaser and Massimo Vignelli. But I think the common denominator that they share is that they’re both in their eighties!
On our culture of entitled impatience and why we should “expect anything worthwhile to take a long time”:
I was doing a lecture for a group of students several months ago and I was talking about how long things can take… And a young woman raised her hand at the end of the lecture… and asked for some advice, because she had started a blog and she was hoping to get some pointers on how to get people to come to the blog, to read the blog, because she was feeling very discouraged — she’d been doing it for a while and people weren’t reading it. She wasn’t getting any traction. And so, of course, my first question was “How long have you been doing it?” And very sincerely, very earnestly, she said, “Six weeks.”
And this is, I think, a really unfortunate ramification from this 140-character culture — that people in their twenties, when they graduate from college, expect that they have to be successful. And if they’re not successful right out of the gate, then there’s something wrong with them. And then that builds into this real sense of hopelessness, because they haven’t achieved something quickly.
I saw this with my parents. After they had lied to me, lied about me, slandered Jordon, lied to Jordon and destroyed our relationship, they wanted to fix things over an email or a phone call and have everything normal again. It was really bizarre. They would always go, “what can we do to make things better now”. They never bothered to even try to have a relationship with Jordon and when I called them on it, my mom wrote this really weird email to him that she still points to.
I don’t think it is a millennial culture, I think there are people out there that just don’t like to work for anything and feel entitled to it.
On synthesizing our own happiness and making our own luck, and the importance of mental health care:
This is where we run into trouble in terms of being fulfilled… You have to make your own happiness, wherever you are. Your job isn’t going to make you happy, your spouse isn’t going to make you happy, the weather isn’t going to make you happy… You have to decide what you want, and you have to find that way of doing it, whether or not the outside circumstances are going to participate in your success… You have to be able to create your own happiness, period. And if you can’t, then you need to find a good shrink who can help you figure out what it’s going to take.
On how our actions, not our words, reveal our true priorities:
I’m a big proponent of “busy is a decision.” You decide what you want to do and the things that are important to you. And you don’t find the time to do things — you make the time to do things. And if you aren’t doing them because you’re “too busy,” it’s likely not as much of a priority as what you’re actually doing.
Again that was always my parents. They were always to busy to do things to make things better and always wanted their words to stand in instead. They never understood that words were cheap and that actions mattered more. Sadly I was never able to convince them of that… or I just had such little value to them that it actions weren’t worth it to them.
3. Become a Weather Warrior
As a culture, we are plagued with a “pandemic of inactivity,” says Louv, who argues that rain, sleet, heat, or snow are no reason to stay inside. Show your kids how to tap into the beauty of all the seasons. In winter, freeze sheets of black construction paper and use them to catch and examine falling snowflakes (they won’t melt on contact) with a small magnifier. Keep an “instant snowman” kit at the ready: rocks or black buttons for eyes; hats and scarves; a carrot nose; twig arms.When spring rains come, make a rain-gauge. In summer, plan family picnics in the park; come fall, hunt and gather leaves, acorns, seed pods, and other collections in a clear, glass “wonder bowl” on the kitchen counter.
4. Expand Perimeters
An acquaintance recently told me that when her son was high school, he used to get up at 5 a.m., fill two glass jugs with boiling water, and drive an hour across the Golden Gate Bridge with his friends into San Francisco to surf before class. When he was done, he’d rinse himself off with the hot water and drive to school in time for the first bell. I love this story because it reminds all of us that as children grow, their geographic boundaries will expand naturally. It’s our job as parents to allow this to happen. Keep little ones close at hand or within view outside but as they grow, encourage them to develop their own relationship with nature, whether it’s through finding their own contemplative “sit-spot” to quietly observe the plant and animal life and weather or, as they reach middle school and high school, exploring the neighborhood by bike, meeting friends for nature walks, or starting their own hiking clubs.
Soon the girls were riding their scooters and roller skating down the corridor, Ms. Hawkins says. Walls were brightened with fresh white paint and new closets were built in all the rooms.
They bought a showroom kitchen from an ad on Kijiji and turned the former gym into a great room with the added perk of a stage for musical and theatrical performances.
Reya, Wini and Ruby each have a full-sized classroom for a bedroom. The former kindergarteners’ area has been repurposed as a mud room and the staff lounge has been turned into a guest kitchen.
“The community was great – they would send their excess.”
The school’s layout turned out to be ideal. Their B&B, called South in Milford, now has three suites open to guests in the summer months.
Two classrooms each have ensuite bathrooms, kitchenettes, sitting areas and doors to the outside. A massive two-bedroom suite combines the former library and offices.
Many inns in the county won’t accept guests with children or dogs, Ms. Hawkins says, so they accept families with both.
You can also read more about their adventures in their blog, Letters from the Lunchroom. It is a great read.
I just noticed that Jordon has finished posting all of the Christmas Gift Guides over on their sites. I’ll post links to them here as I analyze what he is recommending to see what I am getting for Christmas.
- Christmas and Holiday Gift Guide for the Important Women on Your Christmas Gift List
- Christmas and Holiday Gift Ideas for the Men in Your Life (I wrote this one)
- Christmas and Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Brother in Law (another one by me)
- Christmas and Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Teen
- Christmas and Holiday Gift Ideas for a 5-8 Year Old
- Christmas and Holiday Gift Ideas for the Explorer and Adventurer (this one is a lot of fun)
- Christmas and Holiday Gift Guide for the Foodie and Cook (posted on WendyCooper.org)
If you are shopping for a foodie this Christmas (or even if you are not) here is my broad guide to great Christmas gifts for the kitchen. It’s a series of things that I love that make life in the kitchen better from accessories to appliances and of course some cookbooks. If you have any comments on things that I have listed or have things that I have missed, leave them in the comments.
Adding air and slowing down the pour of your wine enhances flavour and bouquet. This unique aerator by slows the flow and gently adds oxygen into the wine by funnelling it through a series of channels inside.
Wondering if a wine aerator is worth the money and hassle? It depends on the kind of wines that you drink.
Red wines intended to have earthy flavors or age for years in a cellar (and often cost more than $10 or $15) can get to their optimal flavor faster with aeration. Inexpensive and fruity red wines are often fruitiest and most enjoyable directly from the bottle and either don’t improve or taste worse with aeration. White wines (especially fruity white wines) generally don’t improve with aeration.
Wonderbag is a simple but revolutionary non-electric, portable slow cooker. Wonderbag’s clever insulation allows food that has been brought to the boil to continue slow cooking or warm while in the bag. No plugs. No Fuss. No electricity required, so it’s worry-free.
To slow cook, simply bring food to a boil on a stove, let simmer (5 minutes for rice and grains, 15 minutes for root vegetables, meat or presoaked beans), then put the pot with lid into your Wonderbag, close tightly, and slow cook to perfection up to 12 hours. Because it is not on direct heat, it will never overcook or burn. Wonderbag is perfect for bringing delicious home cooked meals to potlucks, dinner parties, tailgating, or camping.
Don’t let melting ice water down your drinks. Instead use cold frozen soapstones to keep your whiskey cold and preserve it’s rich taste. Important if you plan to Drink Whiskey like a Sir.
Silicone’s is both flexible and things won’t stick to it. It’s ideal for rolling pastry and cookies. It not only makes things easier on you but it means you can use less flour, resulting in a more delicate and tender product which means everyone wins.
Nothing beats a plate of truly fresh pasta. And now it’s easy to roll out your own at home. Whether the craving is for spaghetti or fettuccine, this sturdy machine handles the job with efficiency and style. CuninaPro pasta maker looks great on the counter and is easy to use–there’s nothing to plug in as this is the tried-and-true hand-crank variety.
The easy-lock adjustable dough-dialer rolls thick or thin pasta, and it comes with spaghetti and fettuccine cutters. Cutters for tagliatelle, ravioli and angel hair pasta are available separately
It makes one of the best cups of coffee you’ll ever taste. This innovative uses the ideal water temperature and gentle air pressure brewing to produce coffee and espresso that has rich flavour with lower acidity and without bitterness. It makes 1 to 4 cups of coffee or espresso (enough for 1 or 2 mugs), features a micro filtered for grit free coffee, and takes just 1 minute to make coffee (actual press time takes only 20 seconds).
Here is how it works
Don’t get me wrong, I am lucky to live close to Christie’s Mayfair Bakery and The Night Oven, the two best bakeries in Saskatoon. I also want to bake better bread myself. That is why I love The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
Legendary baker Rose Levy Beranbaum is back with her most extensive “bible” yet. With all-new recipes for the best cakes, pies, tarts, cookies, candies, pastries, breads, and more, this magnum opus draws from Rose’s passion and expertise in every category of baking.
As is to be expected from the woman who’s been called “the most meticulous cook who ever lived,” each sumptuous recipe is truly foolproof—with detail-oriented instructions that eliminate guesswork, “plan-aheads,” ingenious tips, and highlights for success. From simple everyday crowd-pleasers (Coffee Crumb Cake Muffins, Gingersnaps, Gooseberry Crisp) to show-stopping stunners (Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Tart, Mango Bango Cheesecake, White Christmas Peppermint Cake) to bakery-style pastries developed for the home kitchen (the famous French Kouign Amann), every recipe proves that delicious perfection is within reach for any baker.
Enjoy delicious fluffy Belgian waffles with the Hamilton Beach Belgian Style Flip Waffle Maker. Made with easy to clean non-stick grids to bake the perfect waffle with deep pockets to hold butter and syrup. The indicator lights let you know just when to add the batter and the removable tray and grids make for easy clean-up.
- Purchase from Amazon | $35
If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in front of the stove at your own party, scrambling to get everything to the table at just the right moment, Ina is here to let you in on her secrets! Thanks to twenty years of running a specialty food store and fifteen years writing cookbooks, she has learned exactly which dishes you can prep, assemble, or cook ahead of time. Whether you’re hosting a party or simply making dinner on a hectic weeknight, Ina gives you lots of amazing recipes that taste just as good—or even better!—when they’re made in advance.
In Make It Ahead, each recipe includes clear instructions for what you can do ahead of time, and how far in advance, so you can cook with confidence and eliminate last-minute surprises. Make a pitcher of Summer Rosé Sangria filled with red berries, let it chill overnight for the flavors to develop, and you have a delicious drink to offer your friends the minute they arrive. Simmer a pot of Wild Mushroom & Farro Soup, enjoy a bowl for lunch, and freeze the rest for a chilly evening. You can prep the kale, Brussels sprouts, and lemon vinaigrette for Winter Slaw ahead of time and simply toss them together before serving. Assemble French Chicken Pot Pies filled with artichokes and fresh tarragon a day in advance and then pop them in the oven half an hour before dinner. And for dessert, everyone needs the recipe for Ina’s Decadent (gluten-free!) Chocolate Cake topped with Make-Ahead Whipped Cream. Ina also includes recipes for the biggest cooking day of the year—Thanksgiving! Her Ultimate Make-Ahead Roast Turkey and Gravy with Onions & Sage may just change your life.
With beautiful photographs and hundreds of invaluable make-ahead tips, this is your new go-to guide for preparing meals that are stress-free yet filled with those fabulously satisfying flavors that you have come to expect from the Barefoot Contessa.
Oxo Kitchen Scale
A scale is really necessary if you’re going to do serious cooking because wherever possible, you should measure your ingredients by weight, not by volume.
A given mass of flour can vary a lot in volume, depending on things like humidity, temperature, and how long it’s been sitting. A weight indicator shows the capacity left on the Scale before maximum capacity is reached. Press the zero button to offset the weight of a container or to set the weight back to zero to add additional ingredients. The display features large, easy-to-read numbers which measure in 1/8-ounce and 1-gram increments and the platform can be removed for cleaning. The Scale has a 5-pound capacity and two AAA batteries are included.
Yotam Ottolenghi”s owns four eponymous restaurants–each a patisserie, deli, restaurant, and bakery rolled into one– that are among London”s most popular culinary destinations. Now readers can recreate Ottolenghi”s famous dishes at home.
Don’t buy a cheap one–stick with Braun, Cuisinart, or KitchenAid. They aren’t cutting edge but if you don’t have one, you don’t know what you are missing. I use mine for my making Caesar Salad Dressing, mixing up packets of mix and pureeing soups
- Find it at Amazon | $35
With a stylish design and durable stainless steel carafe, this 8-cup coffeemaker is perfect for home, office or practically anywhere you want hot, fresh coffee at the touch of a button. All this, plus an easy-clean control panel and dishwasher-safe removable parts for effortless cleanup. The advantage of the carafe is that you won’t be stuck with hot burnt coffee in case you don’t get it off the maker in time. The coffee will be as hot and fresh later as it is right now.
- Available from Amazon for $57
Responding to their thousands of ardent fans, Jeff and Zoë returned to their test kitchens to whip up more delicious baking recipes. They’ve also included a gluten-free chapter, forty all-new gorgeous color photos, and one hundred informative black-and-white how-to photos. They’ve made the “Tips and Techniques” and “Ingredients” chapters bigger and better than ever before, and included readers’ Frequently Asked Questions.
This revised edition also includes more than thirty brand-new recipes for Beer-Cheese Bread, Crock-Pot Bread, Panini, Pretzel Buns, Apple-Stuffed French Toast, and many more. There’s nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread to fill a kitchen with warmth, eager appetites, and endless praise. Now, using Jeff and Zoë’s innovative technique, you can create bread that rivals those of the finest bakers in the world in just five minutes of active preparation time.
For centuries, whiskies have been aged in wooden kegs. The charring on the inside of the keg helps to filter the beverage from impurities while also giving whiskey its unique, brown color.
- Measures 19 by 10-1/4 by 8-1/4-inch; limited lifetime warranty.
- 2 Adjustable heights temper cooking speed; wash by hand
- Draft door regulates heat; coals accessible behind flip-down door
- Cooking grate measures 17-1/4 by 9-inch; seasoned and ready to use
- Rugged, charcoal, hibachi-style grill made of durable cast iron
Gjelina is Los Angeles’s most talked-about restaurant, lauded by critics from London to New York to San Francisco and beloved by stars, locals, and out-of-towners alike for its seductive simplicity and eclectic Cal-Med menu from talented chef Travis Lett. This standout cookbook features 125 of the rustic and utterly delicious salads, toasts, pizzas, vegetable and grain dishes, pastas, fish and meat mains, and desserts that have had fans clamoring for a table since the restaurant burst onto the scene. More than 150 color photographs from acclaimed photographer Michael Graydon and stylist Nikole Herriott, plus a tactile, artisanal package, evoke the vibe of Venice Beach and the Gjelina (the G’s silent) aesthetic, and showcase the beautiful plated food of Lett’s ingredient-based, vegetable-centric cooking. This is the cookbook for the way we want to cook and eat now.
A lovely way to brew tea to your exact preference, the Bodum Shin Cha tea press combines elegant shaping with crafty functionality. The spherical glass pot features a stainless-steel plunge infuser inside and a stainless-steel lid. Fill the infuser with loose leaf or tea bags, add hot water, wait the desired amount of steeping time, then plunge. The plunger pushes the tea below the infuser holes, so brewing stops on a dime and tea does not over steep to the point of bitterness. To clean up, the unit goes safely in the dishwasher. With its glass spout, body, and handle, the Shin Cha showcases tea colors beautifully but does require somewhat careful handling.
For grinding larger quantities of coffee beans for a coffee-drinking crowd, Capresso’s commercial-grade Infinity grinder handles 8-1/2 ounces of beans at a time. Sixteen different settings–four each in the four categories of extra fine, fine, regular, and coarse–let you adjust the grind to the specific blend of coffee and method of brewing. The finest setting is ideal for preparing Turkish coffee, which is a rare feature to find in a grinder.
A built-in timer sets the grind for anywhere between 5 and 60 seconds so you can walk away without having to constantly press a button to continue the grinding process. The Infinity has an advanced conical burr design made of steel that is usually only found on commercial grinders. This burr design slows down the gears and reduces the amount of friction and heat to preserve coffee’s flavour and aroma. The coffee container holds up to 4 ounces of grounds and remains sealed during grinding. For safety, the bean container also needs to be locked into place for the Infinity to operate. For easy cleaning, the bean container and upper burr lift off so you can clean the grinding chamber with the included brush and wipe down the exterior housing.
Yes you have a George Forman grill but this is so much more than that. The Cuisinart Griddler is actually five appliances in one. A hinged, floating cover and one set of removable and reversible cooking plates turn the Griddler into a contact grill, panini press, full grill, full griddle, or half grill/half griddle. Dual temperature controls and indicator lights make this product easy to use.
- Find it at Amazon | $80
Kitchenaid Convection Oven
- Purchase at Amazon | $130
Kitchenaid Stand Mixer
The Professional 600 TM has a powerful motor that is crafted for commercial-style performance, the direct drive, all-steel gear transmission delivers unyielding power for professional results. The mixer can effectively mix up to 14 cups of all-purpose flour per recipe and produce up to 8 pounds of mashed potatoes. The Soft Start mixing feature helps minimize ingredient splatter and flour puff with gentle acceleration to selected speed after start-up. Electronic Speed Sensor monitors operation to maintain precise mixer speed. Commercial-style motor protection automatically shuts off the mixer when overload is sensed to protect the motor. Durable all-steel gears provide reliable service. The mixer includes a 6-quart-capacity stainless-steel mixing bowl with a contoured handle, as well as a professional wire whip, a burnished flat beater, a spiral dough hook, and a one piece pouring shield. Its multipurpose attachment hub with a hinged hub cover flips open to allow for easy installation of attachments. The Professional 600 Series bowl-lift design raises the bowl into the mixing position, and its solid, truly seamless one-piece motor head design is easy to clean and comes in a variety of fashionable colors.
- Full tang extends the length of the knife, adding balance and strength
- Triple-riveted, ergonomic handle ensures comfort and control
- Satin-finish, stainless steel blade provides precise cutting, peeling and slicing
- 18 Pieces Forged Premio Knife Block. Set Includes 3 inches paring knife, 5 inches serrated utility knife, 6 inches utility knife, 7 inches santoku hollow edge, 8 inches chef’s knife, 9 inches sharpening steel, 8 inches bread knife, 5 inches boning knife, kitchen shears.Stamped Steak Knives (8 Pieces) Hardwood Block
Mennonite Girls Can Cook is a blog about recipes, hospitality, relationships, encouragement and helping the hungry-and now it’s a book, too! Like the blog, Mennonite Girls Can Cook-the book-is more than just recipes. It is about hospitality, versus entertaining; about blessing, versus impressing.
No matter which way you look at it, wonderful things happen when people are given the opportunity to gather around the table-a chance to nurture and build relationships, fellowship and encourage one another and create a place of refuge for those who have had a stressful day.
Add creativity and style to your meal with the Swissmar Börner V Power mandoline. It includes three inserts for ten different cuts: a 7mm blade, 3-1/2mm blade, and a thick/thin insert for meat, allowing the V Power to julienne, shred, cube, and create French fries. A patented push-button adjustment allows you to change the size or thickness of the cut without removing the insert. The blades are made from surgical-grade stainless steel and they cut from both angles. The plane has a safety position covering the V-blade when not in use. The frame is made from tough ABS plastic with slip-resistant rubber feet. An ambidextrous food safety holder requires little pressure and holds the food in place with prongs to guard your hands from the blades. The set also includes an insert holder that doubles as a drying rack.
Why does a cook need a labeller? Let me count the things I need to label in my own kitchen. Spice jars, left overs, kids lunches. The list goes on.
Simply cooking Grandma’s famous pasta sauce can bring you back to Sunday afternoons spent in an aromatic kitchen. Beautifully crafted from a sturdy slab of reclaimed timber that has been salvaged from old European buildings, this bold design is highlighted by industrial galvanized metal detail. A natural beeswax and mineral oil finish brings rich appeal the unique wood grain, while the ample shelf allows you to prop up cookbooks, iPads, or Grandma’s handwritten recipe. Made in Hungary.
If you are looking for more or past Christmas Gift Guides, check out my husbands excellent series of Christmas gift and idea guides that he posts each year on his website. If you think I am missing something, let me know in the comments below.
- 2015 Edition | Men in Your Life | Women In Your Life | Brother-in-law | Teens | 5-8 Year Old|Explorers and Adventurers | Cooks & Foodies
- 2014 Edition | Men in Your Life | Women in Your Life | Brother-in-law | Teens | 5-8 Year old | Cooks &Foodies | Adventurer
- 2013 Edition | Men in Your Life | Women In Your Life | Teens | Explorers and Adventurers | Cooks & Foodies
- 2012 Edition | Men in Your Life | Women In Your Life | Teens | Explorers and Adventurers
- 2011 Edition | Men in Your Life
- 2000 Edition | Sports Fan | Explorers and Adventurers | Women in Your Life | Really Smart People |Toddlers| Men in Your Life | Geeks & Gadgeteers | Road Warrior