I like the end of the year. I love how the business world slows down a bit as we all scatter to our holiday family nests. My favorite way to spend these winter days is taking long walks with my mom and the family dogs, cooking special meals in the kitchen, deep sleeps in my childhood bed, and curled up by the fire reading.

I also love taking the end of the year as an opportunity to look back and reflect. I’m starting this reflection process with the best things I’ve read, heard and seen this year — through a variety of mediums.

To begin: the three online articles that most affected me in 2013… the ones I’ve gone back to for re-reading and deep thinking.

My Pursuit of the Art of Living by Leo Babuta on his blog ZenHabits

I first read this post at a time this year when I was feeling especially frustrated and scattered. It seemed like I was trying to do too many things at once, and somehow failing at all of them. The simplicity and beauty of this post really resonated with me.

I too have been trying lately to practice the art of living. Most difficult for me is patience and remaining present in the moment. But, as Leo points out, the most important is being okay with imperfection, to always aim for compassion and treasure curiosity. He acknowledges that when we try to be present, we need to accept failure as part of the process. That alone will make such a big difference.

How Real Do We Want to Be? by Andrea Scher on her blog Superhero Journal

Andrea’s writing is so personal and perfectly casual — I love her honesty and vulnerability in this post. This is pertinent to me as a businessperson (especially as my company’s “brand ambassador”) but also just as a person existing in the online universe. A good question to continue to ask myself as I put more and more of myself out into the world. How real can I be? How real do I want to be?

The Living Continuum by Kelsey Brown on her blog Happy Yolks

I don’t often have the opportunity to read articles written by my peers: women in their early twenties. Maybe that’s why I loved this post by Kelsey so much — I’ve read it several times a month every since I first came across it at the beginning of summer. I love how her writing reads like poetry, how she so perfectly merges food blog and personal writing, and how she really strikes at the heart of how it sometimes feels to be a woman.

More than anything, this post reminds me of something that I know in my heart but don’t always employ: that in times of stress, the best way to keep self-criticism at bay is to be in nature.

More of my Best Read this year coming tomorrow. Next up… Non-Fiction Books.