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Creating To-Dos to Match Dreams

Time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful that you do not let other people spend it for you.—Carl Sandburg

This is me right now. Although Gizmo is sans bow tie and snoring versus looking up. And Belle is also curled up on my lap since Tim is out of town (that’s the only way I get her attention). Oh, and my hair is super frizzy from all the rain versus curled and, of course, I’m in that same outfit—aka, my uniform.

While hosting this month’s minimalism module for Year of Tranquility (YOT), I’m also engaging along with the group and this week’s practices focus on time and energy usage. Some ideas to protect our output include taking a Sabbath, creating MITs (most important tasks), trying the Pomodoro technique, and tracking time. The last one sheds light on whether our actions are currently in alignment with our values.

Tim left on Monday for a bike tour on the Katy Trail and I carefully crafted the week to rotate around daycare for Mookie, seeing clients, and juggling other appointments. I also penned a list of things I wanted to do while he was gone onto pink paper and stapled it into my planner. The list includes:

  • Make cauliflower wings {done!}
  • Practice hand lettering
  • Finish The Year of Less by Cait Flanders
  • Start The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
  • Work on my memoir proposal
  • Host a FB Live {that one has a question mark after it as it’s still TBD—you’ll be the first to know if I do schedule it}
  • Attend Poplar Spring’s Run for the Animals
  • Take 5 ballet classes
  • Work on editorial calendar
  • Have a declutter day {scheduled for Saturday}
  • Make a matcha latte
  • Update 24 Tools o’ Tranquility
  • Review budgets
  • Dabble in bullet journaling
  • Work on my Year of Tranquility journal
  • Brunch with a girlfriend
  • Peony picking with a girlfriend

Daily I find myself obsessively reviewing my to-dos and trying to knock things off. It’s a superpower (ahem, curse) of mine. The list above wasn’t part of my typical to-dos, but rather bigger things I wanted to try or practice. It’s a list that goes beyond scheduling appointments or everyday tasks and brings what’s percolating in the back of my mind to the forefront.

For example, Tim does the cooking and I’m obsessed with his cauliflower wings so I wanted to give it a go. Last night I got home at 9 after seeing clients and picking up Mookie from daycare and read through his how-to text message. 75 minutest later I was popping crispy florets of cauliflower smothered in buffalo wing sauce into my belly. During the process I wrote a confessional text to him that I think it was my first time ever chopping cauliflower. Now I feel empowered and will be making more tonight.

A few of the items above are creativity related—hand lettering, YOT journal, bullet journaling, ballet, and memoir writing. Often times these are the projects that will fall by the wayside if I focus on checking off the typical to-dos. Although I already had the ballet classes in my schedule, I liked noting that I’d take five. It sounds dedicated, no?!

I share all this as a reminder of what we already know, and Annie Dillard tells us, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” If we value creativity, reading, writing, healthy eating, and relationships and yet those items aren’t showing up in our daily lives, this serves as a wake up call to make some shifts.

If you created a pink list to staple into your planner, what would go onto it? What isn’t a typical to-do, but rather something bigger picture that taps into a deeper longing? Guard your time and energy as your most precious resources. Because, well, they are. Bisous. x

Penning in Paris

I’m delighted to announce that registration for Penning in Paris is now open!

Creating and running this retreat the past few years has been a dream. Sharing my favorite experiences in the world’s most inspiring city (yes, I’m biased) while offering the space to nurture creative sparks is an honor.

Here’s what one participant had to say:

I highly recommend Penning in Paris. It was a lovely experience in a beautiful city. Kimberly is the perfect host. She helped me find the inspiration, direction, and motivation to become a better writer. I appreciated her guidance on finding my voice. It was great to write and share with a group of supportive, like-minded women. I now have the courage to start my own blog. I would do this retreat again!

Below is all the scoop on our July retreat, along with a discount through November 30. Hope to see you in Paris! You won’t regret it. Bisous. x

Paris is always a good idea.—Audrey Hepburn

Spend five days exploring the City of Light through led writing workshops July 23-27, 2018. This year’s jaunt coincides with The Hemingway Society’s annual conference. The city will be filled with literary love!

Each day will include a leisurely breakfast followed by morning workshops and free time to explore the City of Light. Afternoons or evenings will include outings such as a picnic at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, yoga in Luxembourg Gardens, savory lunch and tea at Ladurée (bonjour rose macarons), jaunts to favorite English bookstores, a champagne cruise on the Seine, meditation in the oldest church in Paris, and additional sensory surprises.

Picture yourself writing in cafés where Hemingway and de Beauvoir wrote, sharing your literary dreams, and deepening your commitment to a writing project. In our workshops you’ll learn writing tools, tips to find your voice, ways to structure your prose, how to share your writing through social media, and more. We’ll also explore writing prompts and the science behind using writing to heal and deepen self-awareness.

There will be daily unscheduled space for exploring the city on your own by tiptoeing through the Tuileries, window shopping along the Champs Élysées, visiting Mona Lisa at the Louvre (or a favorite Monet at Musée d’Orsay), and sipping a cup of café au lait at a sidewalk café.

Our boutique hotel is perfectly located near Luxembourg gardens and, upon arrival, you’ll find a customized goody bag filled with writing and nourishing accoutrements for our journey.

This adventure is for newbies to journalers to published writers—anyone longing to connect with their creative spark and explore an inspiring city with a like-hearted, intimate group of women.

Early registration encouraged due to limited openings. Only 10 spots available.

Investment: $2395, {$2245 through 11/30}

Tranquility du Jour #407: The Writing Process

The Writing Process with Kim Manganelli. In this week’s edition of Tranquility du Jour, we chat about her journey to becoming a lit professor, work with the Amherst Writers & Artists method, creation of Wisteria (formerly Wildflower) writing workshops, plus writing struggles and advice.

Tranquility du Jour #407: The Writing Process with Kim Manganelli


Direct download: Tranquility du Jour #407: The Writing Process

Upcoming Events

Daybook + Playbook Pre-sale: through October 20

Shape Soirée Talk in Richmond: October 20

Writing in the Woods in West Virginia: October 27-29 {1 spot left}

Yoga + Mindfulness Mini Retreat in DC: December 31

Yoga, Mindfulness + Creativity in Costa Rica: February 17-24

Yoga + Art in West Virginia: May, 2018 TBA

Featured Guest: Kim Manganelli

Kim Manganelli is an Associate Professor of nineteenth-century literature at Clemson University and a novelist in progress. She is a Certified Leader of the Amherst Writers and Artists method whose Wisteria Writing Workshops give writers of all levels of education and experience a safe and playful space to get their words out of their heads and onto the page. She currently lives in Greenville, SC but is always dreaming of Paris. Visit her online at


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