How To Have Deeper Connections

How to Have Deeper Connections

Over on the podcast this week, Laura and I are talking about having deeper connections and more meaningful conversations with people.

The episode was inspired by this article about changing small talk into smart conversations, and this article on how to be polite. I for one, absolutely hate small talk. I’d much rather be in a corner somewhere reading my book than have to grasp at straws for conversation topics or talk about the weather. When I meet people that I can sense are kindred spirits, I’m usually a bit too enthusiastic to start talking to them about heartier topics.

In first year when I first met one of my closest friends, I’d only known her a few days before I sat down on her bed and asked her what she thought the meaning of life was. It’s a bit embarrassing now, but at the time all I knew was that my brain was starved of meaningful conversations after days of nothing but small talk, so the question just came out without me even thinking. Of course, she took it in stride and we’ve had plenty of deep (and shallow) conversations since.

I’m just like that – for better or for worse, I always try to take things to a deeper level. Sometimes it can get heavy, but most of the time it’s just comforting to talk about real feelings and hopes and goals with people that I trust. I don’t have a huge number of friends, but I am so lucky in that I know I could call any of the ones I do have right now and launch into some deep conversation and they’d be right there with me the whole time. The people I’m blessed to know have depth and layers and are able to really engage.

Since coming to Korea, it’s been great to know that I can form meaningful friendships on my own outside of university. That might seem like a “duh” statement, but to me it never felt like a sure thing. But being here, I’ve made some really true friends I’m able to talk to as if I’ve known them forever. It’s a pretty beautiful thing.

In the episode we talk about how to have more meaningful conversations, how to foster deeper connections with strangers, and how to take your friendships to another level. You can listen to the episode and find out more here.

Posted in Getting Happy, Growing Up, Podcast | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Favourite Tool for Reading More Books (For Free)

How to Read More Books For Free

If you follow my blog, you probably know that I like to read, a lot. It’s easily my favourite activity, and definitely the one I’ve been doing the longest. Reading, for me, is the easiest way to learn more, challenge myself, become a more interesting person, grow, understand other people and the world better, and feel like my days are longer and richer. It’s also the simplest, cheapest way I know to do all those things.

That being said, books can be expensive, which is why I think our greatest achievement of human history has been the library. What else in our society do we offer people for free!? I find it nothing short of amazing that the institution of the library has stuck around this long, especially since we now charge money for absolutely everything else. I am so proud that we humans have recognized the power and beauty of books and decided to offer them to anyone, anywhere, for free.

I am also so excited that libraries have moved with us into the digital age. Sure, the idea of a “digital library” seems a bit silly at first, since I guess we could easily make thousands of digital copies and give one to anyone who wants one, but I think somehow that would be bad for the business of books and authors. I personally don’t mind the current digital format of having a few weeks to read a book before it has to go back to the “library”. It feels normal and it makes perfect sense to me: even though it’s a digital file, it’s still a library, and the books are only to borrow.

How to Read More Books For Free

So for anyone wondering how on earth I manage to read 75 books a year and still pay my bills every month, Overdrive + my library cards are the answer. Overdrive is an app available for iPad, Android, Kindle, and computers that allows you to access the digital collections of your library, for free.

I currently hold two library cards – one in Oakville where I’m from, and one in Montreal where I went to school. Each library has its own digital collection and they choose which new books to buy like at any library, so my two libraries are slightly different in their content. Often one has a book that the other doesn’t, so I’m grateful to still hold both cards at the moment.

Whenever I add a new book to my never-ending to-read list, I check and see if one of my two libraries has it. More often than not, they do, and I either borrow it right away or put it on hold. Getting emails saying I have a book on hold that is ready to be borrowed is like Christmas! I absolutely love it when I’m able to read a book I’d been hearing so much hype about for free. Also, the digital libraries are getting better and better all the time, and it’s exciting to see that they usually have hot new books available if you’re willing to wait a few days. If the library doesn’t have a book, I choose to read something different (there’s always something else to read!), buy it on Amazon, or look for it at a bookstore.

Digital libraries are perfect for me because I live in a foreign country right now and don’t have access to many English books. I usually read on my iPad mini, which I realize is a privilege I am lucky to have. However I will say that before I had my tablet, I used to read the occasional book on my computer (not the most convenient, but it gets the job done!), and I’ve started downloading audiobooks through the app to listen to from my phone when I’m running or otherwise on the go. So there are other ways to access this content if you’re interested but don’t have a device like an iPad or Kindle.

If you love to read as much as I do, Overdrive might change your life the way it changed mine. It’s completely free and very easy to use, and I absolutely love having so much amazing content right at my fingertips. If you’re interested but not sure how to get started, they have an awesome Help section with several informative videos.

By the way if you’re a reader, let’s become friends on Goodreads! I love seeing what other people are reading and what they think of books. Happy reading!

Posted in Books, Recommendations, Technology | 1 Comment

Inspiration | August 29

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Solid advice from 8 years of blogging.

Mondays are hard. This Monday was a doozy, so I liked this post from JTB about getting through Monday in one piece.

I discovered Kendi Everyday this week and I’m totally obsessed – an approachable style blog! I liked her series (part 1 here) on creating a working closet (a goal for me).

I absolutely love Olivia’s photography and this was a total beauty of a wedding.

David Mitchell was one of my favourite authors already, but this piece on him took my respect to a whole new level. I cannot wait for his new book to come out.

Great ideas and rules from Bon Appétit on dining out.

This month I donated to Compassionate Care ALS and the community of Ferguson, MO through The United Way of Greater St Louis. You can see all my donations so far this year over on this page.

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My brain is still stuck in late July/early August because it feels like we must still have at least a month of summer left. Where did the time go? I’ve had such an amazing summer, but it seems unbelievable how fast it’s gone. September on Monday?! 6 months since I’ve been in Korea?! Absurd. This weekend I’m hoping to do a little shopping and spend some time at the beach – hopefully surfing! There’s a little chill in the air, which makes me feel all kinds of feelings, mostly happy ones. Have an awesome weekend everyone!

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Lately | August

lately august

Frustrated about a knee injury that is throwing a wrench into my training plan.

Reconsidering the 10K race instead of a half marathon.

Annoyed that it would mean changing my goal BUT..

Listening to my body and trying not to be stubborn.

Voice memo-ing my friends back home like it’s my day job.

Giddy whenever I get a voice memo back.

Happy to be back on my schedule of working in the afternoons, but of course

Missing having my evenings free (can’t have it both ways though!).

Feeling a little chill in the air the past few days: it’s turning to Fall!

Drinking coffee twice a week this past month which is a very new development for me.

Loving to wear red lipstick when I go out.

Eating a lot of cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, peanut sauce on everything and Granny Smith apples.

Listening to Taylor’s new song and this hilarious Eminem Punjabi beats mashup. I never said I had good taste in music..

Excited to go surfing again this weekend!

Looking forward to my trip to Seoul next weekend to see the DMZ.

Sleeping better on my recently inherited bed.

Thrilled about making more money than ever from freelance endeavours this month.

Daydreaming quite a lot about the future after my time in Korea.

Itching to go shopping for a back-to-school wardrobe and school supplies despite the fact that this is the second September (second?!?! already?!) that I’m not going back to school.

Wishing I could spend the last gasp of summer in Toronto camping and going to the CNE with my fave people, but..

Making the most of my time here in Korea and I’m still very excited about everything yet to come.

Living in the now as much as I can.

Sending love to my loves back home.

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Instagram Tips: How To Add Line Breaks and Spaces to Your Captions and Bio

How to Add Line Breaks and Spaces to Your Instagram Captions and Bio

This has been bugging me for a long time, but I’ve finally discovered a way to create line breaks on Instagram. In my captions, I often find myself wishing I could insert a line break between thoughts, or after a quote, but I’ve never been able to find a consistent way to do so until now.

A lot of the online tutorials I’ve seen instruct you to use the Notepad app to write your desired caption or bio blurb, and then copy & paste it onto Instagram. I find this works for me less than half the time. If it works for you, carry on! It’s definitely worth a try.

How to Add Line Breaks and Spaces to Your Instagram Captions and Bio

For me, the surprising fix has been to use the Facebook app. It’s incredibly simple, too: open up the Facebook app and click on “Update Status”. On the screen that appears, shown in the photo above, write your caption. Remember to use the “Return” key on your keyboard to make sure the app is recording your line breaks.

How to Add Line Breaks and Spaces to Your Instagram Captions and Bio

Copy the whole thing, and paste it into your Instagram caption or bio. The apps should preserve your line breaks and when you post the photo the caption should be just the way you want it to look.

How to Add Line Breaks and Spaces to Your Instagram Captions and Bio

You can do the same thing for your Instagram bio, but I have noticed that it doesn’t preserve the full space between lines like in photo captions. For bios, it usually just jumps down directly to the next line as shown above.

I’d also encourage you to play around with it a bit! As you might have noticed, for the caption of the photo above, I had written in two full line breaks – one after the quote, and the other before the hashtags – yet on Instagram it only preserved the first one, and just put the hashtags directly on the next line. It’s hard to say why it did this for one but not the other, because it’s all a bit mysterious. It doesn’t even matter if I enter two “returns” on the Facebook app, sometimes it just gives me one line break or even just pushes the content to the very next line. Experiment and see what works for you.

Let me know in the comments below if this fix worked for you, or if you have any other tips or questions about Instagram.

You can follow me on Instagram @lifeinlimboblog to see photos of my travels.

Posted in How To, Instagram Tips, Technology | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment