A Note on Anthony Bourdain

When I read the posts on Facebook I was confused and thinking, “What happened?”

I felt that something bad had happened.

Then I Googled his name, and saw.

Anthony Bourdain had comitted suicide.

Like other celebrity deaths, I was in disbelief. I didn’t want to believe what I was reading, but as I continued to see the headlines pop up on my screen, and when the news reported on it, reality set in.

The funny, straight-talking, adventurous chef was gone.

As I’m typing this a No Reservations marathon is playing in the background, and right now he’s in Spain. Prior to that Bourdain was eating his way through Rio.

I only knew Bourdain as a chef and TV host. I didn’t know that he was a writer, who had written multiple books, and–at least for his CNN show Parts Unknown–wrote the scripts. I always thought that he had hired a writer to put together his stories and narrations.

Now I’m more in awe with him, because I write.

I just placed an Amazon order for his book Kitchen Confidential.

Bourdain opened up my world to different cultures and foods. His distinctive voice drew me in to even the most boring subjects on Parts Unknown. He made me want to visit third world countries when I was adament to do so! That’s how powerful No Reservations and Parts Unknown were, not just to me, but for thousands of other people. Those who couldn’t afford to travel, were taken on a journey with him.

And wanderlust began.

RIP Anthony Bourdain.

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Self-Improvement

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jacobandreae.com

(Haven’t posted here since February?!?)

I’m sorry.

I’ve been on a self-improvement kick lately, reading self-help blogs and purchasing a few books on everything from career to life in general. It’s an exciting time for me!

One of the biggest hurdles in my life is my inability to handle stress, and be anxious and worried (I talked about this once or twice on the blog). My therapist has helped me compile a list of ways to handle these, and I coupled that with the book Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking. I highly recommend it to anyone who is a worrier like me, and/or has anxiety. Whenever I feel anxious, I pick up the book, flip to one of the many tags I placed on its pages, and try a strategy. Examples are meditation, deep breathing, and distracting yourself.

I’ve also been reading the blog zen habits.

What are some self-help books/blogs that you recommend? And have you put any of the teachings into practice? Did you notice a difference in your life?

Positive Feedback

I’ll tell friends good news when it happens, but I won’t go on and on about it. I’m not the bragging type, and take compliments with a bashful smile and “thank you.”

However, on the inside I feel empowered. Positive feedback makes me want to keep going, and get better at the task. The ones who gave me the praise will probably want to take back their comments if I messed up, right?

So, positive feedback can be good and bad, depending on how you look at it.

Don’t mind me. I’m rambling.

I’m a Work in Progress

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lonerwolf.com

Since my mid-twenties came and went, I’ve always looked for ways to improve, whether personally or professionally. I did (and still do) look at others and wonder, ‘How is this person so smart about (insert topic here)?’ or ‘I want to be as good at (some task) as him/her, but how?’ Comparing myself to people who were successful and who seemed to “have it all,” I felt insecure, but took that as an opportunity to change and better myself.

My new journey began two-fold: I realized that all of the bookmarks on my computer were full of “fluff” websites: sites that didn’t enrich my life in any way, but were entertaining to read. I came to the conclusion that there was no real value to anything that I was reading on these sites. The second was graduating college and entering the real world, a world that none of us never fully grasp and understand. I wanted to be better at everything that I was doing, and to continue learning new things, but I didn’t know how.

That’s when Google became my helper. I typed in ‘self improvement sites’ and hit ‘Enter.’ That search led me to Lifehacker, Tiny Buddha, and Ted Talks (I’m sure you know about that last one, right??) A sidenote on Ted Talks: It’s a good site if you don’t want to read, but watch someone give advice. Amy Cuddy’s Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are is one of my favorites. I found that video when I was in the middle of a long, stressful, and (oftentimes) frustrating job search. It helped me be more confident in interviews, and I believe that her advice is what landed me my current position as an agent assistant.

You never know what can happen to you if you practice what you learn.

But over the years my list of self-improvement sites changed, and recently I added a new one called Smarter Living, a newish section of The New York Times that’s full of practical articles in addition to more in-depth stories. The section is dedicated to helping readers live better lives, and if you have an open mind, you’ll find this site useful. I happen to like their Guides.

After reading a few articles, I signed up for the Smarter Living newsletter. Now I get useful information delivered to my email every week. I’m not a subscriber to The Times, so I’m still only allowed to read 9 articles a month, but I haven’t ruled out the option of doing so. It’s another valuable site that I’m grateful to have stumbled upon.

Growing and bettering yourself is what everyone should strive to do every day of their lives. But some people are fine with staying static. I hope that you don’t want that for yourself. Whether it’s learning how to cook better, or how to be a better employee, there are a lot of resources on the web waiting to be read and put into practice. It’s working for me, and it’ll work for you too.

What websites do you go on for advice and to better yourself?