December 2016: what’s on my radar this month?

I’ve been consuming quite a bit of content lately, something I was looking forward to and have been enjoying about my time here in Buenos Aires. So I thought I’d pull some of what’s inspiring me into a post. Here goes!

What am I reading?
I brought very few books with me to Argentina — with the intention of getting more, and then letting them go, while I’m here. Last week, I finished The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield and started Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t by the same author. Both are written in short, digestible chapters, and my copy of The War of Art now has a bunch of pages turned in, little reminders to revisit when creating gets tough as it inevitably does.

For my upcoming holiday travels, I’m looking for less practical, more entertaining reads, either nonfiction or fiction. Any recommendations? Let me know in the comments below.

What am I listening to?
Since I spend a significant amount of time walking around in Buenos Aires, I like that I have substantial time to listen to, learn from and be inspired by podcasts. Something I always wanted to do in Berkeley, but for me, a 10-minute commute didn’t lend itself to in-depth listening time. Now, I usually turn a podcast on for my 40-minute walks to and from Spanish class. The city is waking up, the streets are still relatively quiet and the morning light is magical. Even though the sun is rising early here — earlier than I can ever remember it rising back in the U.S., even on Summer Solstice — it takes a while for it to fully come out from behind the tall buildings.

One of my favorite listening sessions this month has been “How Casey Neistat Gets Away With Murder” on The Tim Ferriss Show. I’m missing Casey’s daily vlogs — he’s a master storyteller — so this was a great way to hear his voice again and gain some more insight and inspiration from him. The guy is smart, and I love the way nothing is off-limits for him.

Here’s one of my favorite Casey quotes from the episode: “The truth is, the harder I work, the more successful I am. And moreover, you realize that you will never, you will never be the best-looking person in the room; you’ll never be the smartest person in the room; you’ll never be the most educated, the best well-versed. You can never compete on those levels. You’ll never be able to compete on those levels. But what you can always compete on, the true like egalitarian aspect to success, is hard work. You can always work harder than the next guy. And if you’re willing to work harder than the next guy, you will succeed … I know what hard work can yield, and I know just how meaningful hard work can be.”

This month, I’m also listening to …

  • STORY Podcast
  • The Unmistakable Creative
  • Unemployable with Brian Clark
  • Secrets of Story Podcast — featuring my cousin James Kennedy

What am I watching?
I went to a storytelling conference, called STORY, in September. The conference organizers recently released author Hannah Brencher’s talk from the conference — one of my favorites — and I am reliving every piece of its magic. Hannah is so insightful, honest and humorous. I fell in love with Hannah and her voice at STORY, and as I rewatch her talk, I find myself learning something new, jotting down even more quotes the second time around.

Here’s one of my favorite Hannah quotes from this talk: “Developing your voice takes time. It takes writing a lot of words; it takes getting honest and getting real with yourself and your readers. Your voice develops in secret places where you scribble on yellow notepads for hours. Your voice develops when you pay attention to how your friends think and speak and act when they are nervous or when they are falling in love. Your voice isn’t something you find, it is something you birth … Your voice is a combination of thoughts and feelings and places you’ve gone … That’s how you make your voice yours and only yours in this world. You live, and then you write it down. You go out there, you live and then you write it down.”

Last week, I also watched Neil Gaiman’s 2012 commencement speech at The University of the Arts. Neil is so eloquent and provides sound advice and inspiration for artists, and people, of all types.

I’m also watching a few cat v. Christmas tree videos … because they’re hilarious and it’s the holidays. Who doesn’t love a good cat video with a side of laughter?

Where am I spending my time?

  • Malvon: I love this vintage-y little cafe. It has some incredibly tasty pudding french toast. Lemon poppyseed bread with lemon curd on top. It’s devilishly rich and oh-so delicious! I’ve found that french toast is not served with syrup here. But when you have lemon curd on top, who needs syrup?
  • Sheldon: this is a bar in Palermo Soho with an open roof and a wonderful garden-like atmosphere. I went one evening for drinks and live music with one of my new roommates and his friends. I missed the first band, but the second was a female trio. They performed cover songs, sounded amazing and had a hypnotizing stage presence. I loved their energy, strong sound and feel-good vibes. They were having so much fun performing together!
  • Libros del Pasaje: a cafe within a bookstore in Palermo Soho. I love being surrounded by books, even if they’re all in a language that’s still foreign to me. Pure magic. The cafe con leche wasn’t great, but the atmosphere was on point.
  • Ecological Reserve, Puerto Madero: I spent a Saturday afternoon with a friend walking around Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires’ newest neighborhood, and the ecological reserve that sits right on the river, which is very brown and doesn’t look inviting in any way. It was nice to get away from the sights and sounds of the city for a few hours.

This is where I’ve “been” the first half of December. I also moved. You can read about it here. More to come, including a bit of travel, in the weeks ahead!

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