Mighty Life List
Apr 30 2014

Mother’s Day Gifts that Are Not Stupid

“Mom, you set the bar on parenting.” See how I wrote your card for you there? That’s service. Rose gold bar necklace ($16).

In lieu of flowers, fill a Tourne Berry Bowl ($32) with the first berries of the season, and wrap it in a linen bento bag ($38 for three) that’s meant to sub in for the plastic bags you use for produce. The next farmer’s market will be just lovely.

“Two can play the guilt game, Mummy. Bwahahaha. Besides, grandma hasn’t heard from you in days.” Pair a Call Your Mother Coffee Mug with a wooden coffee clip/scoop ($9), some excellent Bluebottle coffee ($19), and an assurance that you got a matching mug for yourself.

You could send 300 emails to arrange a family portrait, or you could have the whole family done up as custom paper dolls ($35).

Make her a yarn pom-pom bookmark (DIY), and pair it with your most recent favorite read in hardback. Don’t forget the inscription.

Fill the Eena Garden Tote ($60) with fresh veggies.

Your mom never loses her sunglasses, which is why she’s been wearing the same pair since 1985. Give her an update with an appropriate pair of Warby Parker sunglasses ($95 for all styles), and let her know that your purchase helps buy a pair of reading glasses for someone in need. Someone raised you right.

Apr 24 2014

Humin Beta

Update: I’m out of invites, but if you’d like to join the beta you can request an invite direct from Humin.

My friend Lane Wood, who spoke at Camp Mighty last year, is helping make an app I think you’ll want. It’s called Humin, and it takes the contacts section of your phone and adds some of the info and functionality of a social media platform. So now my contacts look like this:

Humin pulls down a photo, employment background, any meetings you have on your calendar with this person, mutual friends, work experience and common friends at those companies, and educational background. I’ve learned a lot I didn’t know about friends, just by opening my phone to call them, and Humin has even alerted me a couple of times when friends are in from out of town. So neat.

I’ve found it indispensable enough that I replaced my contacts app with Humin, so now I make all my texts and calls through the app. It’s exponentially more useful, and frankly prettier, than my old contacts.

If you’d like to try it, request an invitation to the beta right here, and I’ll email you one. Let me know what you think.

Apr 22 2014

How Grieving is Shifting in the Face of Technology

Do any of you remember when Twitter was young and John Mayer was one of the first celebrities to sign up? I followed him for the hell of it, and then freaked a little when I realized I’d started to care about him. I know it’s morbid, but one of the first things I thought was that it was going to be weird when he died.

For years, I’ve wondered what it’s going to be like when these thousands of people to whom we’re connected start to age. Not only will the rate of deaths increase, we’ll have so much material to review to keep those memories alive. It feels to me like the first generation of Web natives might be headed toward a grief overload.

I wrote up an essay about it on Medium: Grief Capacity, Mourning in the New Century. Have a look and tell me if you think the idea of grief overload is nutty, or whether it’s something you’ve thought about too.

Apr 17 2014

Campfire Boyfriend Sweater

After an evening by a campfire, I’m reluctant to wash my hair. I want the whole world to smell like a sweater borrowed from an Eagle Scout boyfriend. I am quite serious about it.

I looked years for fragrances to help me achieve this effect. When I found them, I was very excited about finally smelling like me, so I got cagey when blogger friends asked me how I was doing it. You cannot tell the Internet, I said. Because I wanted all the smokey stuff for myself! Mine! The bonfire delicious!

But that was dumb. So! If you want everything you own to smell like a Campfire Boyfriend Sweater too, these are the three things you must own. I have put in the time on this, so trust:

Victory Wolf perfume by OLO, $45

OLO is a Portland-based perfume line created by Heather Sielaff, who is a genius. Almost everything she makes is unique, but Victory Wolf is unlike anything else I’ve smelled. It actually makes me salivate. Taxi drivers, elevator companions, people in checkout lines, strangers stop me everywhere to ask what it is. After I’d just reapplied one day, a guy stopped in front of the patio where I was having tea and shouted, “Someone over there smells amazing!” Aw yeah.

When I first bought it, I asked the woman at the counter about it, and she was similarly agog. “I shouldn’t say this to a customer,” she said, “but when my friend tried it, he said, ‘It makes you want to eat something or f**k something.'” Whoa. And truth.

Palo Santo Wood, $10 for 10-15 sticks

A friend of mine bought this as a gift. “I feel sort of stupid giving you a stick of wood,” she said, “but it reminded me of your perfume.” Palo Santo, or holy wood, works like incense. You light it on fire and wave the smoke around to make everything smell sweet and campfire-y. Here’s a video how to, which contains some aura and healing talk, but the first 30 seconds shows you how it works to just make your house smell good. I keep mine in my bathroom in a pretty ceramic container filled with rice, so the rice definitively snuffs the embers when I’m done waving it around.

(Image via Cool Hunting, which has a more thorough explanation of Palo Santo’s history.)

Woodfire Candle by Illume, $15-$36

Ms. Chao told me about this most recent discovery. If you’re looking for something a little more dinner-party ready than waving a burning stick around, Illume’s Woodfire candle. Woof.

It apparently started as a holiday thing that then gained a cult following. This is what finally made my apartment smell like campfire full time, because the candle smells even when you’re not burning it. Plus, the votive has a pretty etched pattern on it and is nice and heavy. This is a thing for me because I plan to clean the containers out and use them as large lowball glasses for sipping bourbon around the campfire at the cabin. Full circle.

If you’re a smokey perfume person, please overcome your reluctance to share product recs in comments. Love, Maggie.

If you liked this post, you might also like:
What’s in My Dopp Kit
My Everyday Purse Kit
Vintage Perfume Bottle

Apr 10 2014

The Best Parts of Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath

I found Strengths Finder and its online component very useful. The book introduction outlines an overall philosophy on effort, and then has a chapter covering thirty-four strengths they’ve identified through research. Each chapter gives an overview of the strengths and then offers ideas for action.

You can read the whole book, like I did, or take an online quiz to show which strengths are yours so you can focus on those.

Overarching points:

“…people have several times more potential for growth when they invest energy in developing their strengths instead of correcting their deficiencies.”

“The key to human development is building on who you already are.”

“Most successful people start with a dominant talent — and then add skills, knowledge, and practice to the mix. When they do this, the raw talent actually serves as a multiplier.”

Sample text from a strengths chapter:


Sample information: “If you like to travel, it is because each new location offers novel artifacts and facts. These can be acquired and then stored away… who knows when they might become useful?”

Sample action item: “As you gather and absorb information, be aware of the individuals and groups that can most benefit from your knowledge, and be intentional about sharing with them.”

I found the book valuable mostly because some of the best decisions I’ve made have come from following what felt like the path of least resistance. But that can also feel like a cop out, because I have a lot of internal voices saying, “Overcome your weaknesses! Be a better you!” And so forth. The truth is, the you you’ve got is just fine. Work with those raw materials instead of fighting your nature, and you make more progress.

I have a friend who makes hiring decisions based on the philosophies in this book. I’m curious about whether any of you have done it, and whether you found it useful.

Apr 10 2014

How to Build a Creative Brand

Have you heard of Creative Bug? They make beautiful craft classes and video workshops, and their team made that crazy CRUSH yarn wall at our Go Mighty ALT party:

I know lots of you are small business owners, and right now Creative Bug is offering a 5-week course on Building a Creative Brand. It features coursework by Heather Ross and Lisa Congdon, who spoke at the first Camp Mighty, among others.

The class is regularly $175, but you can get it for $125:

Enter the code BRAND
And boom, $50 off.


This post is in partnership with Creativebug, which was built by people I like. Hi, guys.

Apr 9 2014

True or Falsie

OK, here’s the stuff I bought at the last Alameda Flea Market:

Festive Hat! Festive Hat is my new favorite. My Aussie friend Clarko says the poms are to keep flies off your face. I like them because they make me want to bob my head around to watch them dance. And so I will be adding pom poms to everything I own. And a rick-rack chin strap. Why else do I own a glue gun?

Technically, I bought this cashmere sweater at the last Flea, the one that rained out, but let’s talk about it. You can get cashmere so cheap at the Flea (like $10-$30 per sweater), it almost doesn’t make sense. You never see it at garage sales and thrift stores. Where is the secret baby-soft sweater pipeline? Let’s find out so we can stand naked at the spigot.

I also bought a vintage fencing mask for $25, because I needed it. I’ve been looking for one since I found a vintage fencing uniform a year ago. Now I can be an old-timey fencer for Halloween, because it’s what I want. Until then, it will look pretty cool on a shelf.