Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

She’s on the C.A.S.E.: Guest Post by Dallas Wilt


How to describe my friend Dallas… Imagine Nancy Drew, she of the yellow 1970s hardbacks – earnest, wholesome, smart, with that twinkle in her eye. Add some Bewitched charm and sparkle. Reese Witherspoon class and style. Do you have a picture? Dallas is of course her own protagonist, her own heroine – living an energetic life, raising her daughters, taking care of Fleming, and making a difference in a variety of educational and philanthropic circles.

Also thinking about things. Trying to figure out how to be the best person she can be. While keeping everything in balance.

She inspired my thinking about a theme for 2019 (“Radical Acceptance”) – and I’m so delighted for her to stop in today to talk about hers.

From Dallas:

Jennifer mentioned that I like to go into every new year with a theme. For 2019, it’s “Less is More.”

Toward the end of 2018, I began making lists of things I wanted to do less of and things I wanted to do more of. As I made those lists, I realized that I’m already very good at more and don’t really need to do much more of anything. Excess has always been my strong suit. I realized that what I really needed to focus on in 2019 was doing less of almost everything.

In order to remember things, I usually have to come up with a mnemonic. I came up with C.A.S.E. and decided it would be easy for me to remember to “Stay on the C.A.S.E.”…

Consume less

Accumulate less

Stress less

Expect less

I recognize that those are extremely rudimentary, and yet I find each of them exceedingly difficult to do. By focusing on these “lesses,” I hope to enjoy the “mores” they will promote. Consuming less will hopefully lead to better health. Accumulating less (and getting rid of much that has already been accumulated) will hopefully lead to more freedom and peace of mind. Stressing less (about everything) will hopefully lead to more sleep, which will then circle back around to better health.

Expecting less will probably prove the most difficult for me. I have always had high expectations of myself and others. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized the quickest way to disappointment is to set your bar too high. So I’m granting myself and others a lot more grace these days, and I look forward to more of that in the new year. By expecting less, I’m hopeful to free myself to experience more joy, and I want to be able to spread some of that around!

Bottom line: I’m hoping that all these lesses will make me a better wife, mother, daughter and friend.

I’ll probably do a pretty good job with the first three items on the less list, at least in January and February, and if I am successful at the last one, I’ll easily forgive myself for not “Staying on the C.A.S.E.” for the remainder of the year, because, well, I just didn’t have such high expectations for myself.  Looks like it’s going to be a great year!

One thing that I definitely DON’T want to do less of in 2019 is read. Seriously, it was on the top of my more list before I abandoned it to focus on the lesses. One of my favorite quotes is “Think before you speak. Read before you think.” Two of the books I read last year that informed my thinking about less were “The Craving Brain” by Barbara Thompson and “the life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo. 

Two books I’m hoping to read in 2019 to help me “Stay on the C.A.S.E.” are “Clean” by Alejandro Junger and “Stumbling into Grace” by Lisa Harper.


I also found myself enjoying several books last year that focus on familial relationships…  

“I’m Supposed to Protect You from All This” – Nadja Spiegelman

“Reconstructing Amelia” – Kimberly McCreight

“Our Family Trouble” – Don Winston

“Southernmost” – Silas House

“All We Ever Wanted” – Emily Giffin

“News of the World” – Paulette Jiles

“The Alice Network” –Kate Quinn

“Imagine Me Gone” – Adam Haslett

On my nightstand in this genre is “Nest” by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney and I can’t wait to dive in. Surely all these lesses will create more time for reading, right?




  1. What a great post! I admire Dallas and always enjoy being with her. I shall think often of her C.A.S.E. It’s a great road map.
    I will be interested in what she thinks of Nest. I was disappointed but maybe I just didn’t like the characters.

  2. Thanks Jennifer. Once again I have my reading list for the next 6 months.
    (And I know Dallas).

  3. Could not agree more with this description of Dallas! She might have some Anne Shirley in her too! Anyway, admire Dallas and her reading list (I have read several of these – the Tidying Up book is transformative and then you give it away!)

  4. Thank you, Dallas, for the great and thoughtful post. I agree with you that Less is More— maybe once we reach a certain age we realize that by letting go of certain things, it actually frees up space for the things we truly care about and that enrich us. I now have less “bandwidth” to handle a million things but feel the freedom in that as it narrows the focus to what’s important.
    P.S. And the quinoa recipe in Clean (with mint) is terrific.

  5. Have always liked and admired Dallas and am tremendously impressed with her C.A,S.E. Objectives for 2019—values I emphatically want to embrace as well. Still another reason to admire and respect her.

  6. Have always liked and admired Dallas and am tremendously impressed with her C.A,S.E. Objectives for 2019—values I emphatically want to embrace as well. Still another reason to admire and respect her.

  7. If I know Dallas, I’m sure she is under-promising on her CASE plan and will surely over-deliver.

  8. Having met Dallas when we were 11, I watched Nancy Drew blossom into Reese Witherspoon. There is no one more delightful, or gracious, or impressive—then and now. And I’m honored to be on her reading list of (haunted) familial relationships. You’d better believe I’m taking her advice for 2019! Less starts today…

  9. Love this Dallas and Jennifer! Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Thank you Dallas for your refreshing goal of C.A.S.E for 2019! You’re a blessing in this community!

  11. Truly enjoyed this post. Love the book recs, and I think I may have to adopt the CASE lifestyle. Thanks Jennifer! And Dallas!

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