my brother challenged me to read 100 books...

Reading challenge_edited-1

At the end of last October, I got a text from my little brother, offering up the challenge that we should both read 100 books in a year's time. By the end of December, we each had read approximately 1.5 books, so we considered those two months a head start. I can't say that 2017 is on pace to meet the 100 book goal by end-Dec, but I'm certainly not giving up yet! What I've read so far...

Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality - I really wanted to like this book, but found it arrogant and somewhat boring. 

Everything We Keep - This was a fun vacation read. Look at me, reading fiction!

Conversations that Matter: Insights & Distinctions - Landmark Essays, Vol 2 - An excellent way to stay connected to the distinctions & learnings of The Forum. I read an essay or two a day. 

The Book of EST - Super interesting! This is a portrayal of the The Forum before it became The Forum, when Landmark was EST. 

How to Travel the World on $50 a Day - A few interesting tidbits, but mostly geared toward a younger/bolder traveler. I've also come to the place where I want some ease & comfort in travel...and I'm willing to pay for it. 

The Cozy Life: Rediscover the Joys of the Simple Life Through the Danish Concept of Hygge - Hygge is trendy. This book is terrible. Save your $0.99. 

How to Live a Good Life - I listened to this one as an audiobook...and kinda wish that I'd bought the Kindle or paperback instead. Day-by-day instructions and bulleted lists just don't translate well into audio. That said, I really enjoy Jonathan Fields' writing. 

Getting Noticed: A No-Nonsense Guide to Standing Out & Selling More for Mompreneurs Who 'Ain't Got Time for That' - a FABULOUS read. Lindsay's style is fun & authentic. This is a must-read for anyone starting out in a side hustle (y'know like Young Living). Lindsay has made serious bank in a short period of time, and she shares openly about how she did it. 

Only 92 books to go!! 


fall weekending.

It was a rainy, chilly weekend we focused on indoor fun. 

Library Collage

We love the library! We came home with about a dozen books. Standouts - Walter the Farting Dog, and The Three Little Tamales. 

Cupcakes Collage

There is a cupcake shop just across the street from the library, so we've established a tradition/reward for positive behavior. If we use our inside voices at the library, and are mindful of our actions...we get mini-cupcakes! And when it is chilly & rainy, we get hot chocolate & hot apple cider, too.

We did a lot of Halloween decorating, a little donut making, and some (reluctant) room cleaning before wrapping up the Littles portion of the weekend. Time always flies too quickly! 

Peter Mulvey

Dan & I closed out the weekend with a FABULOUS house concert hosted by one of our neighbors. If you haven't heard of Peter Mulvey before (confession...I hadn't)...I highly recommend that you look him up. Super talented.

Hope your weekend was awesome!

fall reads : october 2016

Fall books

I've been reading & listening quite a bit this month. I've still got titles from my Summer reading list waiting for attention...but I chose to simply go where my attention led me. 

French Kids Eat Everything - I picked up the Kindle edition on sale after a few conversations about our frustrations with the Littles' eating habits. Too much snacking, too much complaining, too much whining. French customs around food are fascinating! We've started to incorporate a few of the practices from the book...less snacking, more real food. 

Love Warrior - So much YES to this. Spoiler alert: Glennon & her husband separated again just as this book launched. They continue to practice forgiveness, grace, and authenticity. I'd really like to have a coffee with her. Y'know, when she's not hanging out with Oprah & all...

Present Over Perfect - I adore Shauna's writing, and I adore listening to her this audio book was definitely a fave. “I'm learning that both body and soul require more tenderness and attentiveness than I had imagined.” A hearty HELLS YES to that. 

In addition to books, I've been listening to a new-to-me podcast - The Living Experiment. So good!! 

What's the last book that you read or listened to? 

the universe has your back : gabrielle bernstein

UniversehasyourbackI've been a Gabby Bernstein fan since I read her first book, Add More Ing to Your Life: A Hip Guide to Happiness. I've even traveled to see her speak & had one of her books signed. It's fair to say that her books were instrumental in me surviving the first few pre-&-post divorce years. Her latest book releases today. I was fortunate to receive an advanced digital copy in exchange for an honest review, so here goes...

what I loved: I have Gabby quotes tucked pretty much everywhere. I added to that collection with this book. Quick mantras to repeat either while sitting or while simply taking a few deep breaths...

The miracle isn't how well we avoid fear; the miracle is how quickly we return to love.

I focus my attention on the love that is around me, and I expect miracles.

I am love and miracles are natural. I welcome healing of the highest good.

Thank you, Universe, for transforming limitation and doubt into creative possibilities. 

Overall, this is classic Gabby - reminders & exercises to choose love over fear, and to accept the guidance of the Universe. There's a hint of older & wiser woven into her stories. She continues to make the teachings of A Course in Miracles accessible and more modern, which is awesome.

what I left: I've gotten a sense that Gabby has become a tad bit diva-ish as she has become more successful. I'm thrilled for her success, but found the vibe of privilege a bit off-putting at times. Along with a hint of older & wiser, I got a hint of contrived this time around. Perhaps that's b/c I'm much older (albeit not much wiser) than Gabby? Anyway, it's a minor "complaint." 

The Universe has Your Back on Amazon.

This book was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for this post.

summer reading : 2016

2016 summer reading

Those who know me well may gasp at this reading list, what with all the fiction. It honestly wasn't a conscious choice at first, but rather a reflection of the vibe of life right now. If I had to sum it up, I'd say it's less the frantic pace of improve, learn, grow and more a cadence of be present, enjoy, savor.

I culled these choices from a variety of places - my own Good Reads list, Modern Mrs. Darcy Kindle deals & summer reading guide, and my Net Galley queue. 

Up from the Blue | Life from Scratch | Euphoria | Modern Lovers | The Girls | It Was Me All Along | The Year We Turned Forty | The Universe Has Your Back

What are you reading this summer?

the more of less : joshua becker

ThemoreoflessDan and I don't live a completely minimalist lifestyle, but we do make a concerted effort to have less stuff. When we moved from a 2 bedroom apartment to a 4 bedroom house, we promised each other that we wouldn't fill every space. We're thoughtful about what we buy, and prioritize the experience of living over the materialism of living.

I've been a fan of Joshua Becker for quite a while...we actually met at a book signing (for another author) several years ago. I have always found his writing to be honest & approachable,and this book is consistent with his blog voice. I will admit that I don't recall as many religious references on the blog...but I do appreciate that Joshua is upfront about their inclusion in the book. This is a handy refresh of what minimalism is (and can be) about....

Check out Joshua's blog here, and his book here

And in the spirit of having less stuff, leave a comment if you'd like me to pass this book on to you! First come, first mailed. :)

I received this book through the Blogging for Books program. I was not compensated for this review, and all opinions expressed are my own.


the taco cleanse : prevent or reverse taco deficiency!

While most of the world was kicking off their NY resolutions to eat healthier, Dan & I were in Mexico enjoying all the eating & drinking, courtesy of our all-inclusive resort. Now that we're back to "real" life, we're returning to our salad & fish habits...with infrequent episodes of eating chocolate chips out of the bag, and finishing a bottle of wine on a Tuesday. Hey, we never said we were perfect. Perhaps it's time for some discipline in our lives?

Enter The Taco Cleanse.

This cookbook makes me smile. It's irreverent. It's kitschy. It's vegan. And it's about tacos. What more can you ask for? The authors write...

The Taco Cleanse is cheap, easy, and delicious. Its recipes are authentically Austin, and are sometimes even inspired by Mexico, where the taco was first created. Everything tastes better folded (exactly once) into a tortilla. Just eat one or more tacos at every meal, adding margaritas as necessary. It's that simple.

I'm partial to the Wake & Shake Scramble, the High Vibration Kale Chips, and the Tater Tot-cho Tacos. (book note...looks like Amazon is temporarily out of stock, which is super cool for the y'all might have to wait a bit to start your taco cleanse!)

I rec'd a copy of this book for review from The Experiment Publishing. No other compensation was rec'd, and opinions expressed are my own.

the surrender experiment : michael singer

What would happen if you met resistance with surrender? That's essentially the question that Michael Singer set out to answer in his real-life Surrender Experiment. As he explains, "This experiment would not be about dropping out of life; it would be about leaping into life to live in a place where we are no longer controlled by our personal fears and desires." 

What I lovedThe interplay of hippie/zen & everyday life. The way that Singer lived in seemingly opposing worlds - spiritual vs tech, for example - and was able to thrive in both. The honesty with which he wrote about times when resistance was the first reaction to pop up...a good reminder of the practice of surrendering. Most of all, the reminder that change, no matter how difficult (FBI raid, anyone?), is all about transformation. I didn't underline much in this book, but this passage sent me searching for a pen...

"Perhaps change only takes place when there is sufficient reason to overcome the inertia of everyday life. Challenging situations create the force needed to bring about change. The problem is that we generally use all the stirred-up energy intended to bring about change, to resist change."

What I left: Near the end of the book, I found myself skimming through the pages that detailed the medical services company & related FBI raid. I didn't need the play-by-play to "get it." Aside from that, I found Singer to be an simple & engaging writer. 

If you've read Singer's bestselling book, The Untethered Soul, I'd love to know what you thought. I enjoyed his writing, so I think that I'll put that book on my to-read list.

I received this book through the Blogging for Books program. I was not compensated for this review, and all opinions expressed are my own.

#summer15 reading list | still in process...

Summer 15 reading

I had the best of intentions. For reals. I thought that I'd spend a lot of time this summer reading by river, reading on planes, reading at the gym....and I just, well, didn't. I finished a couple of the above books - Light is the New Black and The ADHD Advantage. Neither really resonated with me - LITNB started strong, but lacked authenticity and The ADHD Advantage read as very one-sided (NO MEDS!). 

I may have mentioned that I started listening to Happiness for Beginners on Audible. I hated the narration (it's the only time that I've ever requested a refund for an audio book!)...I'll likely check this one out of the library. I'm reading Lessons from Madame Chic right now, along with finishing The Surrender Experiment and Rising Strong (which wasn't on the above list originally b/c it released in late Aug, but I ended up getting an early review copy). Boys in the Boat carries too much corporate energy for me right now (long story), Better than Before stares at me from my bookshelf, and The Art of Asking is on my library list. I started listening to For the Love on my commute, and should probably finish A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and Plan B (I started listening to each of them at some point this summer). I downloaded Essentialism to use up Audible credits, but who knows when I'll get around to listening to it! 

What's on your reading list?

Divorce the Divorce : Gloria Marie Pierson

Divorce the divorce

I’m going to cut to the chase on this one: if I had written a book nearly 3 years ago when I divorced, this book would be its twin. During the build-up and the aftermath, I had countless conversations with my best friends about doing the work. This book is all about that work. Even if you’re NOT divorced, and not planning to be divorced…you should still read this book (just explain it to your spouse ahead of time to prevent any misunderstanding).


What I loved: So much! Breaking down the work into weekly areas of focus is brilliant. Each chapter/week has a focus, an activity, and a mid-week “delight.” Two of my favorites (that were definitely a part of my post-divorce learnings)… Morning Rituals (Chapter 19) and Believe & Succeed in 30 Days (Chapter 42). The book explores meditation, gratitude, affirmations, vision boarding…all practices that were (and continue to be) central to the way that I rebuilt my life. Gloria’s style is friendly & honest. She shares her own experiences throughout the book, which brings an authenticity that was key for me.  


 What I left: really, nothing…I nodded my head in agreement throughout the entire book. The only thing that I’d suggest leaving is the belief that this book is only useful after a divorce (note - that's not the author's belief. I just think that many people will skip over this book b/c of the title). I think everyone can benefit from a 52 Step Journey to Create Unlimited Happiness.


Gloria, thank you so much for sharing this book with me!


You can find Gloria’s book here and her website here.


I received a digital copy of this book from the author. Opinions expressed are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.