20-year marketing writer turned coach & strategist. On making emails that connect the heart of a simple, rewarding marketing plan: aripemango.com/easy-emails.
A child reading a story to her stuffed bear.
A child reading a story to her stuffed bear.
Photo licensed from Adobe Stock by author.

The act of minimizing, whether in your home or business practices, takes a boatload of time.

Many people ask, “Is it worth it?” Does it make life better?

For me…


How do you write at those times when your mind feels like mushy brown bananas, ready to get smashed with a fork and beaten into banana bread?

To ask the same question another way: How do you do anything productive on those days when you stop reading news articles only because you’ve literally read all the articles on your 4 favorite news platforms (not because you finally understand what the hell happened last week)?

I guess…you don’t write, until you just do. Not because you want to, and not because it provides a positive feeling, but because you committed to…


How to let go of a wished-for reality

Smiling woman wearing a green silk shirt.
Smiling woman wearing a green silk shirt.
Photo licensed from Adobe Stock by author.

We often hold on to things because of what we wish for them to be.

Like the green silk shirt that was once so beautiful and flattering on me. But it got a weird snag at the shoulder that ruined the whole look.

I wished for that shirt to be as beautiful as it once was, so it stayed in my closet for years.

Or the Kids in the Kitchen cookbook I got for my son, hoping it would solve 3 problems in one $20 gift: his not-eating issue, my desire to cook more, and my desire to be more…


Creatives of all ages — at least those from 4 to 37 — need the exact same message

Little girl coloring on the floor.
Little girl coloring on the floor.
Photo licensed from Adobe Stock by the author.

My four-year-old son sits next to me on the living room floor, doing one of his art “works” — coloring inside the lines of his stenciled rainbow. These works are always tough for him. His crayon slips just a little outside the edges of his rainbow, and he roars, “I can’t do this!”

His pre-school teacher has told us we’ll want to build up his finger strength and dexterity before kindergarten. …


#1: Actually respect them

Woman placing hands over her heart to signify good intentions.
Woman placing hands over her heart to signify good intentions.
Photo licensed from Adobe Stock by author.

Call me an email-ologist: I study marketing emails for a living.

I answer important, age-old questions like: Why did that subject line make me smile? Why are the ten links in this email so annoying? Hmm… I feel a disconnect between this email and their brand… Where’s that coming from?

From these questions, one sensation pops up repeatedly: respect. I feel respect — or, equally often, lack of respect — from big brands with big budgets and from tiny, well-intentioned, one- and two-person businesses just trying to find their place on the internet.

For email marketing to work for most…


Start with: Why are you trying to do it?

A graphic with a question with a screenshot of the question from a Facebook post.
A graphic with a question with a screenshot of the question from a Facebook post.

Do you have a cheat sheet for how to get started growing your Facebook page? I literally only have the posts that are copied over from my Instagram account, and I know that’s not enough, but I feel totally at a loss. I don’t even have a group yet. I’d just like to start using the page more. Any good websites or checklists you can link for me? Thank you!
- Laura

Hi, Laura,

First, TL;DR: Why do you want to grow a Facebook page in the first place. Is it FOMO?

If it’s not for FOMO, and growing a…


For more peace and simplicity, don’t try to change your entrenched habits. Purge!

A post-purging photo of the author’s minimalist living room that nevertheless has toys, books, and clothes strewn about.
A post-purging photo of the author’s minimalist living room that nevertheless has toys, books, and clothes strewn about.
Image of the author’s minimalist, yet messy, living room. Photo by the author.

I am a minimalist, and this has been our living room for the past 7 days.

Magna-tiles, corn cobs, 3 iPads (!), books, jackets, receipts, used Kleenex, a box of things to return to my neighbor, and checks and cash totaling $725, just laying around.

I want to blame this on my husband and 4-year-old — one supposedly doesn’t see mess and the other’s imagination revels in it. But a lot of that crap is mine.

I’m not a bad minimalist. I am, however, a natural-born lazy…


It’s the opposite of what you’d expect from a French place

A small, unpretentious restaurant table with the menu behind on a whiteboard.
A small, unpretentious restaurant table with the menu behind on a whiteboard.
As unpretentious as a restaurant can get. Photo is a screenshot the author took from a documentary about the restaurant.

A tiny French restaurant in Bloomington, Indiana, epitomizes everything I think small business can be — simple, down-to-earth, and focused on what matters. In this case, that’s delicious, homestyle French food and doing it their way.

I headed toward the dingy white building with green trim a block from Bloomington’s hippest street (if you’re from outside the Midwest, USA, that’s an oxymoron).

It didn’t feel like the place I remembered from the last time I’d been in Bloomington, a year before, when I’d discovered randomly fabulous crepes. But it also seemed unlikely there’d be two French restaurants in a four-block…


Image of woman brushing her teeth.
Image of woman brushing her teeth.
Photo licensed from Adobe Stock by author.

Brushbrushbrushbrushbrushbrushbrushbrush. spit. rinse. Then — whoa! — a revelation: I’m not capable of near as much as I’ve always thought.

I don’t often have out-of-body experiences while brushing my teeth, but I did last night. This observation, that I’m not capable of as much as I thought, made me go, “Huh. That’s interesting.”

I’ve typically taken on as much as I thought I could handle, as, you know, you do. As we all do. [*shrug*]

I always overestimated what I could manage, so I was perpetually behind, constantly “sorry for the delay,” catching up on nights and weekends. Plus, I…

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