Stacey Loscalzo

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Mar 04

This Week’s Favorite Reads

by Stacey

 

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I love other people’s Friday tradition of curating their week’s favorite reads from around the internet so I thought I’d give it a try myself.

Here are some of the pieces that got me thinking this week…

Misty Copeland Channels Edgar Degas. I am so glad that I saw this on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Links I Love. I can’t wait to show it to Katherine!

Chocolate Chip Cookies by Macho Tweens. I’m not sure that she intended for there to be tears but my friend Vanessa’s post about her son and his friend’s chocolate chip cookies made me a little teary eyed.

Conversion Stories: Books That Made Us Love Audio Books. I have been trying to get in to audio books for years. I am listening to John’s Krakauer’s Missoula now and it is a fascinating story. Hoping this list might keep me listening.

I’d love to know who here is an audiobook listener. Love them? Hate them? Recommendations?

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Mar 02

Great New Books: My Name is Lucy Barton

by Stacey

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As I have written in this space before, I would like to be Ann Patchett when I grow up. Therefore, when I learned that her bookstore, Parnassus Books, offered a book subscription service, I signed up immediately. My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout was the first Parnassus First Edition Club selection to land on my doorstep. I did not read Olive Kitteridgeor Burgess Boys, Strout’s earlier works, so I probably would not have picked up Lucy Barton on my own. And that would have been a terrible mistake.

Please go to Great New Books to read the rest of my review.

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Feb 26

This Week’s Favorite Reads

by Stacey

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I love other people’s Friday tradition of curating their week’s favorite reads from around the internet so I thought I’d give it a try myself.

Here are some of the pieces that got me thinking this week…

There seems to a be a theme this week. Technology, social media, girls, me. How does it all fit together?  How does it work? How do we possibly do it ‘right?’ Caroline got a SnapChat account recently and this is the first time that I am truly baffled by what she is doing on-line. Texting and Instagram, I get. I enjoy them both as forms of communication myself. But this one put me over the edge. Perhaps this explains why all the links I saved for this post center on a similar topic.

Tech Addiction: A Parent’s Biggest Fear. This piece is written by Michelle Ciulla Lipkin, the wisest media literacy expert I know. And I feel truly lucky to actually know her. I think I need to put her on speed dial. Or speed snap or whatever…

How Social Media is Destroying the Lives of Teen Girls. If that title doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will. Yikes.

How I Quit My Smartphone and Really Started Living. Worth a try, right? Or maybe not? Or wow, I really have no idea.

I would love to hear your thoughts on all this. Social media and technology have obviously been on my mind lately. Let’s talk about it.

 

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Feb 22

I am an Extroverted Introvert

by Stacey

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For years, I have taken personality quizzes and been dissatisfied with the results. The results never really rang true.

I love to be with people but I get really grumpy if I don’t have time alone.

I love to speak in public and at times can be a pretty bad listener because I am thinking about what I am going to say next. That said, I love to talk with people one or one and can enjoy that kind of interaction more than large group interactions.

I find large parties really overwhelming. When I am in big groups, my eyes can glass over and I really shut off.

If I spend too much time by myself, I get really fidgeting and anxious and need to get out and about.

If I don’t talk to people for a few hours, I could talk non-stop to the first person that does engage me in conversation.

You can see my problem, right? I am equal parts introvert and extrovert but have never really known that this was a thing. I thought maybe I didn’t really understand myself all that well. Do I re-charge by being alone or being with people? This is the true differentiation between introverts and extroverts and darn, if knew the answer to the question.

So imagine how happy I was to discover the following article on a friend’s Facebook wall.

How Extroverted Introverts Interact Differently With the World

When I clicked through and read the description of an extroverted introvert, I wondered why in the world I had never thought of this distinction before. Of course, a person doesn’t have to be one or the others. There can be shades of grey and in my case, there most certainly are.

How about you? I’d love to know if I know any other extroverted introverts…

 

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Feb 19

This Week’s Favorite Reads

by Stacey

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I love other people’s Friday tradition of curating their week’s favorite reads from around the internet so I thought I’d give it a try myself.

Here are some of the pieces that got me thinking this week…

I love Book Riot for their podcasts and for their posts about all things books. This week, I was drawn to a link that highlighted a strategy to read more. Turns out the strategy is not to read the whole book. Huh? Maybe this is the secret of all the people who are able to read scores and scores of books each year.

So I don’t talk about politics here and I will continue to stand by that practice but this op-ed, All in the Family, is an interesting one. I did forward this on to some of the people with whom I break the ‘never talk politics’ rule.

I’m cheating a bit on this one because I’m borrowing it from Lindsey’s awesome blog A Design So Vast. I’m thrilled that she directed me to the book that will be my next non-fiction read for sure. Drama Queens is a short excerpt from the book, Untangled, that dives in to the inner world of the teenage girl.

Nina Badzin wrote a great blog post this week about her favorite food blogs. I am in a serious dinner rut so this post came at just the right time. As I type this, The Kitchn’s tikka masala is cooking in the crock pot. Fingers crossed we like as much as Nina’s family does.

So how about you? What did you read and love this week?

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Feb 17

There Is No Black & White

by Stacey

I read Gretchen Rubin‘s latest book, Better than Before, a few months ago and learned that I am an abstainer. Moderation is really, really tough for me. I learned that there are people who can eat sweets in moderation. I am so not one of this people. Same concept applies to french fries, cheese and sour patch kids. Who knew you didn’t have to eat them all?

It turns out there are also people who can volunteer a small bit of their time. They say yes to all the right things and no to the things that will drain them. Over the past few months, I have learned, that I am also not one of those people. If I made a list of all the organizations and people that I said yes to this school year, most of you would say that I had lost my mind. And I would agree. This year, I overextended myself in a way I never have before. And that is saying something. Along with all the smaller things that I am committed to this year, I am president of our middle school parent association and earlier this month, I co-chaired our elementary school’s auction.

Knowing what I know about moderation and abstinence, I am tempted to think that I need to go cold turkey in the volunteering world. Once I say yes to one thing, the floodgates open. I meet more people and I learn about more needs. And then the yeses begin.

Over the past few months, I have read less books, taken few pictures and written far fewer pages than I would like and than I usually do. When I am not doing these things, I get really cranky. Ask any member of my family and they will agree wholeheartedly with me on this one. I have missed my time on the page and behind the lens. I have missed connecting with people who read my words in this space. I have missed the community I had begun to grow at Instagram. And I have missed knowing what books to recommend when people have asked what they should read next.

I am determined to wriggle my way back in to these spaces and I am tempted to take the abstinence route with my volunteer commitments. The problem with this method is that it would negate all the great things that have come to me over the past few months. I definitely missed all my creative outlets. I missed time with my family. And with my friends.

But I gained an awful lot too.

I met people that I wouldn’t have known in any other way. I met woman who give of their time, their talents and their energies in amazing ways.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Moskovitz

 

I made friends with people that I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t said yes. I shared so many laughs and (a few tears!) that I wouldn’t have if we hadn’t all agreed to do this work together.

I learned how to do new things. I became (more) comfortable with Excel and Google Docs. I learned how to communicate more effectively with small and large groups of people. I learned how to encourage people to say yes too- to hard but rewarding work.

I learned that I am great planner but that I might bend a bit under pressure. Turns out that hiding in the bathroom can be a great strategy when the stress of an event becomes a bit too much.

I learned to ask the talented people in my life to help. I learned that when we pool our efforts and our talents, great things happen.

Photo courtesy of Patty Connelly

Photo courtesy of Patty Connelly

And I learned that while I need to be an abstainer when it comes to sugar, perhaps I don’t need to stop volunteering cold turkey. Perhaps I can say no a few more times while also saying yes now and then too.

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Jan 04

Welcome 2016

by Stacey

IMG_1279I haven’t blogged in close to a month. This is one of the longest stretches I’ve taken in a long time. As a result, I didn’t truly reflect on 2015 or make plans for 2016. I didn’t compile lists or choose One Little Word as I have in the past. In the midst of the holidays and vacations and planning for a large volunteer event, my daily creative rituals have fallen to the side. I know my schedule is going to remain full for a bit at the beginning of this year, but I want to try to bring this writing back. I miss it. I miss the act of writing and connecting with other writers and readers.

For now, that is all. Happy 2016. With hopes and plans to write more in the coming days.

 

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Dec 02

Why It Took Me Three Tries to Read “Addicted to Distraction”

by Stacey

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It took me three tries to get through Addicted to Distraction by Tony Schwartz. I wish I was kidding but I’m not.

If you haven’t seen this piece yet, take a bit of time and read it before continuing here. And if you aren’t able to get through the piece either, the gist of it is that, like sugar and alcohol, the internet can be addicting. I know this news isn’t new but my experience with the article was.

I sat down to read on Sunday morning over a cup of coffee. Then a child was ready for breakfast so I stopped reading and started cooking. I tried to read it again in the afternoon but then I heard the sauce bubbling so I stopped reading and started stirring. By the time I tried to read it again, Rob had taken the paper to the recycling bin. After looking for the article on Facebook (and finding a few other things on Facebook along the way), it was time to pick up Katherine from ballet rehearsal so I stopped reading and started driving. I finally sat down to read for a third time and had to go back to the beginning because I had forgotten how it all began. That last part is a joke but only sort of.

As I read, I acknowledged that I am fully addicted to the internet. I check my e-mail far more times a day than I would ever admit. I often forget to respond to e-mails because I don’t want to respond to them right away because then people would know how often I check. After a little bit of time has passed more e-mails have come in and I tend to forget the one that I ignored earlier. I am definitely caught in the ‘compulsion loop’ referenced in the article. When I open my e-mail, and see new information, I do a happy dance and when there are no new messages, I feel a bit sad. I have the same reaction on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I have a nearly constant need for new information.

As I said earlier, none of this is new. What I realized was that my addiction came as part of a perfect storm. The internet is there and it is addicting for sure. The distraction provided by the internet is real. What I also know is that my time is divided in to small bites of time perfect for surfing.

While I no longer have the demands of parenting small children, my medium sized children still take a lot of time. They ask a lot of important questions and they need help reaching things and I still don’t trust them with the stove and they can’t drive. My days are interrupted a lot to tend to the needs of the girls. When the girls aren’t home, I spend a lot of time with volunteer commitments. I go to meetings, make phone calls and answer e-mails. I run errands. I spend time with friends.

All of this is to stay that my days are full.

There are though probably dozens of times a day when I have ten minutes to spare. I can’t cook dinner in ten minutes. Or write a blog post. Or finish the photo books. But I can check my e-mail. Or get on Facebook. Or scroll through Instagram. So I do. And the compulsion loop begins. The next time I have ten minutes to spare, I wonder if there is any new information out there and guess what? There is. Every single time. Every time I check, the compulsion loop is fed because there is always new information. And there is always another awkward ten minutes to fill. I wonder if I had large swaths of time in my days if I could have avoided my internet addiction. I’d like to think I would have but I can’t say for sure.

Unfortunately, the author of Addicted to Distraction had a few suggestions to break the chain but nothing that felt like a simple solution. Sadly, I suppose he didn’t offer a simple solution because there isn’t one. Attention to the problem and hard work seem to the only fix. I suppose I will celebrate that I am half way there. Now on to the hard work part of the solution…

 

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Nov 30

What I Learned: November 2015 Edition

by Stacey

A community of writers create monthly posts highlighting what they have learned during the last thirty or so days. Each month, I wish I had remembered to join in but I tend to forget every single time.

Today though, I finally remembered so here goes!

This month I learned that…

I am happy when the weather stays crazy warm well in to the fall. We had the warmest October on record and I’m fairly sure that November is heading in the same direction. No complaints here.

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I’ve long believed in the expression that ‘Everyone is a reader. Some people just haven’t met their favorite book yet.’ and this month, I watched the expression come to life. Katherine has always read but not voraciously. This month, she read during the in between times and at breakfast. She started reading as soon as she finished her math homework and asked to keep the light on longer before going to sleep. The secret? Graphic novels. I have a lot to learn about this new-to-me genre but so far, so good.

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Bullet journaling might actually be the way for me to keep track of my life. I vacillate between a paper calendar and a google calendar and my world is covered by scraps of paper reminding me of what to do each day. Recently, I read a blog post that introduced me to the idea of bullet journaling and I just might be hooked.

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Thanksgiving must be hard on a dog. I’m pretty sure this was Daisy’s position the entire time we were at Rob’s parent’s house and we were there for a long, long time.

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No one was motivated the day after Thanksgiving but it was a gorgeous day and I was determined to get us all of the out the house. We gave the girls a few choices and they chose to go on a hike. It was super fun and we are excited to go back again soon.

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Old fashioned games are not dead. Katherine went to a birthday party at a new store and discovered a great game called Tapple. We’ve all been playing it. A lot. That said, notice the proximity of the iTouch. Electronics are playing way too big a role in all of our lives right now. I am worried but also feel paralyzed by it. I know limits are the answer and we are trying but not succeeding.

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Sisters are the best. When I was pregnant for the second time, I thought I wanted a boy. You know, the whole one of each thing. But I am so happy to have two girls. Of course, they fight but they also love each other so, so much.

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