It was my ongoing quest to read for pleasure that led me to the world of Chronicle Books. The publishing house has a wicked sense of wit, a quality evident in its unique titles. My first purchase: The Little Pleasures of Paris in 2018 as sustenance for my French soul. My second: Provence and the Cote d’Azur in 2020 for a friend on the brink of a solo trip to France. City Walks: London was a gift from former coworkers in 2013 to commemorate my move to London. These days, I’m savoring the remnants of summer with content that nourishes my artistic soul, and my recent visit to Chronicle Books’ online store presented new creative avenues. The company’s thought-provoking titles are ever-present in my perusal of museum shops, bookstores, and Amazon. They’re never out of sight, and consequently, never out of mind.
I recently reactivated my Audible membership after a very long hiatus. Even though I wasn’t a newcomer to the platform, I was able to take advantage of the 30-day free trial. I started with The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss and haven’t looked back. When my trial period came to an end at the beginning of July, I graduated to the most basic premium plus membership. Under this plan, I paid $14.95 for one audiobook credit per month. It became evident rather quickly that one wasn’t enough.
I’ve been listening to books on my walks, a pastime made even more appealing with my recently-purchased Apple watch. I decided to upgrade to the 24-credit premium plus membership, the highest tier. It’s $229.50 per year, which averages out to $9.56 per audiobook. Audible offers a selection of books in its plus catalog for free to members of every tier, but the books on my wish list don’t appear there. So far, I’ve read four more books after my initial one: The Magic of Thinking Big, Atomic Habits, Bella Figura, and How to Make $100,000 Per Year in Passive Income and Travel the World. Here are some audiobooks on my wish list.
A thrift shop is a treasure chest. You never know what you’re going to find, which is why it is best to visit frequently. I don’t go to secondhand shops as often as I would like. Thus, I have to remind myself to exercise a little restraint on trips like these. How do I shop intentionally in a store full of bargains?
First, I allow myself to pick up any and every item that speaks to me. If I bypass something that piques my interest, someone else might scoop it up (and we can’t have that). I see the other shoppers as my opponents, and from the moment I enter the store, I am competing with them for the best finds.
After hunting and gathering to my heart’s content, it’s time to edit. I’ve found it helpful to research products by brand name on my phone. On my last trip to Goodwill in May, I returned a set of teacups and saucers to the shelf when I discovered they contained lead.
After letting go of items that I don’t have any use for, it’s time to edit again. I hold each item and, à la Marie Kondo’s method, ask myself if it sparks joy. If I’m in possession of any excessive products at this point, I return them to their original places.
Finally, I evaluate how the item(s) I am left with will fit into my life. At the end of my last excursion to Goodwill, I walked away with a Sail to Sable dress for US$ 25. The original tag read $198, and even after paying $50 to get it tailored, I still consider the price a bargain. (The vertical, white inserts on the sides were added to allow for more hip room.) If I factor in cost per wear, the dress was practically free. I’ve been wearing it several times per week and intend to do so for the rest of the summer. It gets washed in a bucket and hung to dry between laundry loads.