life

A Letter Writer's Dream

April is National Card and Letter Writing Month and I couldn't be more excited. Colore finally managed to find a Post Office in Austin that had the special From Me to You so now we are all set to send out letters.

Even though there is a month dedicated to writing letters, I tend to send out a handful of cards and letters each month. After giving up Facebook in 2012, I wanted a way to keep in touch with a select group of people, and with my love of pens and paper, letter writing made the most sense. It's so nice to get a surprised text message from a friend when they get a letter, and sometimes they even write me back!

I've got a big stack of blank cards and paper and envelopes that I cannot wait to fill. If you'd like to get a card or letter from me, or want to send me one, email me at info@brucelayman.com or message me your address and I'll make sure to get one headed your way.

Happy Writing!

Guest Post: Brennan's EDC

My Every Day Carry post was inspired a lot by the daily texts and weekly phone calls that I have with my friend, and fellow Hendrix College alumnus, Brennan McGinn. We share the same, "buy less, buy better" philosophy, so our discussions tend toward how we can get the best quality product for our relatively modest, post-graduate, money. Our conversations and buying habits cover a wide range of topics, namely cycling, menswear, photography, and most recently, pens.

Although Brennan already had good taste in regular pens, I'm going to take full credit for his relatively recent love of fountain pens (sorry Hailey). I sent him a Kaweco Sport about a year ago as an introduction and since then his collection has grown considerably.

Brennan has been working on his EDC for about as long as I have, so I asked him to write about what he carries and why. Although he works in a bike shop, and I in an office, you'll notice a lot of overlap in what we carry. Without further ado, take it away Brennan.

I have known Bruce since sophomore year of college I guess. We knew of each other and were acquaintances for a bit, then everything snowballed as we started to discuss clothes, photography, cameras, and film. This continued with bicycles, watches, knives, shoes, etc. Bruce asked if I wanted to contribute a post, and of course I was willing.

Bruce and I probably discuss EDC items on a weekly basis - the big reason... it is relevant to everyday life for the two of us. There is a lot of similarity between what we carry because we have similar taste, and as Bruce stated, simple, well designed items are appealing.

So here is what it looks like.

Pilot Vanishing Point - Matte Black, Fine Nib I agree withBruce about this pen. The construction, knock, clip, and nib are all outstanding. I rotate blue black inks through this pen and use it as my daily writer at work and home.

Retro 51 Hex-O-Matic It’s my jotter. It lives in my back pocket and I love the hybrid Schmidt refill. I have been incredibly pleased with the feel of the pen in hand and writing quality of Retro 51. I have both a black and silver pen, and the mechanical pencil.

Notebook - Field Notes, Rhodia I carry a small pocket notebook for quick notes, but primarily use a range of larger notebooks for note taking and planning. I have become really fond of Rhodia No. 11 or 12 for the perforations and more fountain pen friendly paper despite the overall thickness (not as pocket friendly as the Field Notes).

Benchmade Mini Griptilian This is probably my favorite EDC blade. You can get a variation of blades and scales to meet specific needs. It is on the smaller side for some people, but it doesn’t take up much room in my pocket and fits my hands well.

Esee Candiru I carry this small fixed blade in my front pocket. I like the reliability of a fixed blade over a folder for certain uses. While it does not get as much use as the Mini Grip it is very handy to have.

Shop Keys You need them when you get to work early and stay late.

Corter Leather Copper Bottlehook There are a lot of ways to open a bottle and a lot of things I carry can open a bottle. But, a true bottle opener on a belt loop keeps my keys where I want them and is always handy.

Wedding Band 4mm Rose Gold band from a local jeweler. All day. Everyday.

Shinola Runwell 41mm I prefer checking the time on a watch to my phone. I have a few, but this is my go to watch for everyday wear.

BillyKirk N0. 92 Card Case Monogrammed and getting better with age. It is the perfect size to fit all my cards, and cash on rare occasions. I prefer a smaller wallet and this is a fantastic balance for front or back pocket use.

iPhone 5 Phone, text, email, social media.

Handkerchief Lip Balm Smith Dolen Chromapop

Thanks again to Brennan for the great write-up of his EDC. I love that blue Benchmade and the Shinola. If you want to check out more of what Brennan does, his Instagram is a great place for photos of his EDC in use and the kick-ass bikes that fill his life.

Mindfulness to Intention

mindfulness, intention, lettering, brush calligraphy

My 2014 started on a couch; a wet nose in my face, a faint champagne headache, and a word bouncing around my head.

After letting my friend's dog out and waiting for his family to rouse from their new year's hangovers, we sat in the living room of a rented house and watched 'The Today Show.' Somewhere between Matt Lauer and the other starters and Hoda and Kathy Lee's wine-soaked antics, some guy (whose name and religious affiliation escapes me) was on to talk about choosing a single word to help define how you live your life in 2014. It sounded silly at first. One word to dictate how you behave for a whole year? No way.

But, I kept thinking about it. After spending 2013 floundering in an attempt to figure out what the hell to do with my life (no real luck there), I wanted a way to focus on what I was doing and why. A number of my favorite writers, Patrick Rhone, Leo Babauta, and The Minimalists, write about being mindful. It seemed that mindfulness was the perfect word to shape my 2014.

I'm not entirely sure how to judge how mindful I was in 2014. I don't know if it's something you can truly measure. I fell short of being mindful quite a bit (I cannot tell you how many hours I lost to Threes! which you should check out). But in some instances , I made it out okay. I committed to training for, and ran my first half-marathon. I job hunted in a new city, a process that was an emotional roller coaster. I moved my life to Austin, Tx, but I brought along my lovely girlfriend, Colore' Grace.

I was more mindful with my time and my passions in 2014. I took a class with the amazing Lauren Essl of Blue Eye Brown Eye to follow a rekindled passion from childhood. I then took a second class to grow that skill and build some amazing friendships. I devoted my time to improving my calligraphy and lettering, and shared some of that on my Instagram account and my blog. Slowly, very slowly, I started sharing some of the writing that I fill my Field Notes with every day.

All of these new habits, I carried with me into 2015. With the new year though, I didn't just want to be mindful of what I am doing, I wanted to have a purpose. Despite it's newly minted status as the buzzword du jour, I wanted to live 2015 with intention. Instead of simply being aware or mindful of how I spend my time/attention/money, I want to do things with a purpose.

At this point, I'm two and a half months into living 2015 with intention. I'm spending more of my time doing the things I love with the people I care about, and I'm making the most of the time that isn't entirely mine (my commute for example). I've been reading more, listening to an insane number of podcasts, and lettering and shooting photos with Colore more than ever. There is no better way I could think of to spend my time.

Perhaps the biggest impact in intentional living has come from adopting the habit of meditation. I started using the amazing Headspace to guide the process. Those 10-15 minutes every day help immensely. It is helping me learn to settle my mind and be more calm reacting to change and the ups and downs of life. I'll write more about the meditation habit once I've been doing it for longer, but as of this moment, I have a 72 day streak and I have no plans on breaking it.

On a daily basis, I'm filling memo books and my Hobonici Techo with my thoughts and ideas. I'll be using those to report on my progress, and I'll be checking in here every month. What do you do to help keep your intentions top of mind?