POP Profile: Rachel Meeks of Small Notebook
There are some blogs that, in just from reading them, you feel like you’re able to take a step toward living your best life. For me, Small Notebook is definitely one of those. Rachel Meeks’ blog is inspiring without being aspirational; her advice never feels pat or oversimplified, but her focus on small, doable bits as well as the messy realities of real life keeps her blog firmly planted on the ground and leaves you feeling that simplifying, organizing, living well — whatever it is you’re after — you can do it.
Tell us about Small Notebook. What are the biggest challenges? The biggest surprise?
I’ve always loved journals that aren’t the “Dear Diary” sort. Small Notebook started as my online journal for my home life. I’m still surprised when I look and see that I have more than thirty readers. Of course it’s hard to manage the time it demands (and oh my, the email! I had no idea), but I’ve been learning how to craft articles in my head while I wash the dishes and ride in the car.
What’s your personal philosophy for achieving simplicity in daily life?
I just don’t want to own a bunch of stuff. I was trying to think of something better to say, but that’s really it. I don’t want my husband and I to spend our lives working for money to buy it. I don’t want to spend all my time taking care of it. I don’t want to limit our opportunities and experiences because we’re bogged down by it. It doesn’t satisfy me at all.
Simplicity isn’t our goal, but it does let me be free to think and dream, and to spend time with others.
My husband and I have a strategy: “less, but better,” and it helps us make better choices. We don’t own a lot of stuff, but we want the things we do have to be well-made. We don’t go out to eat very often, but when we do we’ll choose a nice place with good food. Then we really enjoy it.
It’s just like with food. I’d rather have one bag of ripe cherries in July than a dozen frozen party pizzas.
What’s on your life list of things you want to do in this life?
I don’t have a list, really. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing in six months. I want to be open to whatever God has for me, any place and any time. That’s one of the reasons I don’t want to acquire a bunch of things that would keep me tied down.
I do love how the internet can let someone work from anywhere in the world. Sometimes I think about opening up an Etsy shop, just because I think it would be fun to make things.
What’s your ideal day look like?
Waking up after a full night of sleep. Tea and chocolate chip cookies for breakfast. My husband could make bacon and hot eggs for 2nd breakfast. Maybe I would get to spent the morning sewing. And the Christmas tree and all the decorations would be up. (That was my Saturday in December last year, and all day long I knew it was the best day ever!) I’m a complete homebody these days.
What’s some of the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
When I was in college my close friend told me, “Sarcasm doesn’t suit you.” Those words made a huge difference in the way I communicate with other people. I want to be open, honest, and kind when I talk to people.
What’s on your bedside table right now?
Cookbooks. (Bittman, Ina, Martha… the usuals.) I love how cookbooks are focusing more now on simple, flavorful ingredients instead of trying to impress guests with fancy food. It seemed like cooking had become more about entertaining before, and most of us forgot (or never learned) how to cook just for ourselves. I’ve been reading to learn more cooking techniques, so I can graduate beyond following someone else’s recipes.
Last but not least: puppies or babies?
Babies, always. The top of my son’s head smells like honey and spices. I could not even make this up.