atlanta buildings

I’ve got questions; you’ve got answers

In the past two weeks or so, I’ve learned that many of you have been reading this blog since its beginning in 2008, while some others of you have been reading for a few days because some friend or neighbor recently passed it along (thanks for that, by the way, friend-slash-neighbor).

I’ve also learned that a lot of you have kids around my kids’ ages, that your babies are awfully cute, that some of your kids are grown and out of the house, and some others of you aren’t parents at all.

You work from home, you work out of the home, you homeschool, public, and private school. You’re military, you’re an entrepreneur, you move every eighteen months, and you’ve lived in the same city your whole life.

Basically, these reader meetups have taught me that, true as it seems here online: you all are a seriously diverse group. And I couldn’t be happier about that. I learned this last year when I did our survey, but it’s still been so fun to learn it in the flesh, right in front of you.

atlanta meetup

charlotte meetup

dc meetup

dc meetup

Seriously, these reader meetups have been the most fun I’ve had in quite awhile.

I can hardly believe that it’s been a whole year since I last asked y’all questions in a survey—and since I learned so much last time, I think I’m going to make this an annual thing. It helps me adjust the rudders on this ship we’re sailing, because this blog is here mostly for YOU. And I want it to benefit you.

Comments have been way down the past twelve months around here, yet I take solace that it sounds like this is a blogosphere-wide issue. More and more of you would rather chat on social media, and while I’d never hold anyone’s feet to the flame and make them comment (heck, I hardly leave comments on blogs I read!), it does make it a little trickier to know what posts you love and which ones you find sorta “meh.”

So a survey is a great way for me to really hear from you, because I want to make this space one you love, and because I want to make the Internet a better place—not just one more voice shouting in an echo chamber.

Please head here to take this year’s short reader survey—it really will help us so much. Plus, answering questions anonymously—tell me you can’t think of a better way to spend a few minutes. I know I can’t.

Thanks, all!

A few tidbits:

We’ve got a new podcast episode! This one is with Stephanie Langford, recorded a few weeks ago when she was still in Australia. She and her family have just returned from their round-the-world, year-long trip… sound familiar? So from where she sits in a noisy Melbourne coffee shop, I ask her all sorts of questions about their journey—what they’ve learned, what they packed, how they did school, and what were their favorite places. It’s a really fun one!

The next reader meetup is in New York City! Sunday, February 23, 5:00-6:30 p.m. Head here for more details—all are welcome, even kids! Bring your books if you’d like them signed.

Take The Art of Simple's annual reader survey

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. Always more cowbell!

  2. I love a survey! I think that I’ve barely got time to sit down during the day but there’s always a free minutes for a survey. Priorities and all that 🙂

  3. Love seeing The Art of Simple pop up in my Feedly! The first blog I started following and still the favourite 🙂

  4. I just took the survey & knew I was forgetting a bog- it’s Lisa-Jo’s! I love her words of empathy & encouragement. 🙂

  5. I really should comment more often because this is one of the few blogs I check daily. I am always finding inspiration here. Thank you for all that you share!

  6. I rarely comment because I’m working hard to cut down my online time. I’m also on facebook less and I cleared out my RSS readers to about half the blogs to follow. I read Art Of Simple each time it comes through the RSS reader. I’m heading over to fill out the survey now!

  7. What does “more cowbell” mean?

    • Here and here. 🙂

      • I didn’t think I had deep feelings about Pirates vs Ninjas, but when I sat down to do the survey I just knew ‘ninja’ was my answer. I assume I’m not missing something deep here?! (I live in a houseful of boys, so Ninjas/Pirates are now my territory.)

        x Natasha, (Mum of 2 small Ninjas, and one grown up-ish one, Bath, England). Hey Tsh – saw Bath got a mention in the book!
        ps – have just overheard my 7 year old say he’s drawing a lego ninja so it appears my gut answer was right on for our little gang.

  8. I’m blessed by this blog 🙂 Have been for years.

    Be encouraged by that!

    Kate 🙂

  9. Hi! I’ve been reading this blog since it’s first days and love it. I took your quiz and left a few answers blank. If there has been a “none of the above” choice that’s what I would have picked. Just FYI. 🙂
    Wish you were coming to chilly Rochester, NY. Just promise me that you’ll explain to your kids that NYC is like its own world compared to the rest of NY state. 😉

    • library momma says:

      How funny, I am a Rochester NY native as well and was just thinking I would love for Tsh to be here!

      Tsh I also filled the survey out and did not add Lisa Jo’s Blog, but I read her as well!

  10. Had. Not has.

  11. Ninjas. No competition.

  12. Hi Tsh! It was great to meet you last night at Ebenezer’s! My daughter Emma, the ballerina, enjoyed learning that you took ballet for so many years. When you and I were talking last night, I totally should have told you about the conversation that transpired at my house as Emma and I were heading downtown yesterday. (Preface to this story: the book I read right before Notes from a Blue Bike was Bossypants by Tina Fey.) My other kids asked where Emma and I were going. I replied, “We’re going to meet the lady who wrote the book I just read.” My nine-year-old said, “You’re going to meet Tina Fey?” 🙂 Another kid said, “Well, it would be a really big deal to meet Tina Fey!” I thought that was hilarious, because the truth is that I would rather talk with you than Tina Fey any day. Thanks for taking time to chat with readers. It was fun!

  13. What about a pirate ninja???

  14. Tsh,
    For the New York meetup, is there an apartment number? Will the doorman be able to direct us to the right home if we just say we’re here for the Notes From A Blue Bike Meetup? Thanks! Safe travels.

  15. I hope you’re going to eventually tell us the percentage of readers who chose “more cowbell!”

  16. Loved, Loved “Notes From a Blue Bike”. Couldn’t put it down. Wish I would have had this as a guide when my kids were younger. Love your sensible approach to life.

  17. Took the survey! Also, I didn’t realize until I read Notes from a Blue Bike that I’ve been following this blog since its earliest days. I absolutely love it! I used to follow more blogs, but this has become one of the few. I love the variety of topics, contributors and links you provide. Thanks for all you do! You are an inspiration and this blog always offers a dose of encouragement. I rarely comment, but will try to more often as I see the fun and benefit of this online community 🙂

  18. Hi Tsh. I have been following your blog since 2008. I am a unschooling Dad to five year-old pigeon twins, and I run several businesses. Keep up the good work! Your blog is one of the few that I visit daily.

  19. Just took the survey – love this blog and your personal one – wanted to add that it would be great to have some posts on fitness!

  20. Hi Tsh! Long time reader, but I’ve never commented on a blog before:) I just listened to your podcast with Stephanie (LOVE your podcast btw!!!) and had to laugh when she talked about China. My husband and I have been in China for ten years. We came over as newlyweds to serve, and now we have three children ages 6, 4, and 1.5. I lived in the very city she was discussing, Kunming, for six and half years and consider it my home:) She’s right about the language. It is so tough here if you don’t speak Mandarin!!! Thankfully, I was forced to learn so I DO speak Mandarin, but it was not and is not easy!! We are also lovers of new cultures and travel. In 2013 we were in China, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Macau, and Hong Kong. My kids have become super travelers, and they just know that’s how we roll:) Anyway, love your site, podcast etc… I look forward to hearing about your family’s travel adventures in the future!

  21. I forgot to list Ann Voskamp and Shawn Groves as blogs I love to read.

  22. So fun meeting up in DC! I was seriously impressed with how well my Nadia and Finn shared the IPad that night! Ha! I now know she has the capacity to work together with others… Good to know. 🙂 #threeyearolds

  23. This was a great survey, but I wish there was a spot where I could add comments, because I feel like I need to clarify that the topics that I checked not wanting to read on your blog were not checked because I hate it so much when you write about them, just that I read other blogs for those things – it’s not what I come here for.

    There. I probably didn’t need to explain myself on a anonymous survey, but there you have it. 🙂

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