Monthly Archives: December 2016

Hello 2017

I’ll be honest, this past year was tough. My nose was broken into a billion pieces, causing the worst recover from surgery, my car was the victim of a hit and run outside my house in the middle of the night, ‘You Know Who’ won the presidency in a heartbreaking and terrifying turn of events, and very worst of all my dear grandmother passed away. Despite the constant devastation and hurt I started a new job that I love, I now have a nose that breathes and looks better than before, I have a new car, I managed to get myself out of debt, I learned a lot about myself and my values, and I know my grandma is dancing in the streets of Heaven right where she has wanted to be for years.

Because of the distractions of 2016, I didn’t accomplish many of the goals I set for myself, but I did finish a few! I read 100 out of 100 books – so exhausting, but rewarding! I took a picture a day – except for about a week after my nose surgery. I made a point to brush my teeth and floss every day- except again for a couple days after my surgery and it was life changing. I ran through a field of sunflowers and made lasting memories with friends and family.

I needed this year. The bad mixed with the good. We understand the highs when we feel the lows. We know who we are and what we want the world to be when faced with the polar opposite. We grow stronger when we come out of the fire having learned and experienced. I have high hopes for 2017, not because one more turn of the earth means that anything has changed but because I have changed. I have grown in what I expect from myself and what I want to give to the world. I am excited for the opportunity to learn more and grow.

So without further ado, here are my goals for 2017!

  • Become more active with my faith
  • Create an in depth family tree with personal information about my ancestors
  • Apply to and be accepted in the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution)
  • Make a weekday meal plan- and eat healthier!
  • Get in shape, also take up yoga and meditation
  • Launch my new business
  • Check off another state to visit on my goal of 50 before 50 (I already hit 30 before 30)
  • Visit a museum I’ve not been to before
  • Enter Photography in the fair
  • Volunteer
  • Write and find a publisher for my book idea
  • Visit a trampoline park
  • Try every new Lush bath bomb
  • Get a makeup lesson
  • Learn how to curl (as in the Winter sport)
  • Bake more!
  • Create a photo a day for a year video
  • Draw every day for a year
  • Become a better leader and learn how to better manage my time at work and communicate effectively
  • Find my style
  • Buy a disposable camera and take an adventure
  • Practice self-care- when my bucket is full I can use it to help others
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December Book Reviews

One of my personal goals for the year was to challenge myself to read 100 books. I KNOCKED IT OUT this last month, and reached my goal! It was harder than I thought to reach this goal, but felt pretty great accomplishing it. Without further ado, here is a review of each of the books I’ve read this past month!

“Girl Online: Going Solo” by Zoe Sugg was a clever and heartwarming wrap up to her Girl Online trilogy. It is a story of friendship, love, overcoming fears and obstacles and being true to yourself. I for one hope she comes out with more novels, even if they aren’t in this Girl Online universe. Her writing is light and airy yet deep. It’s hard to explain, but easy to read and enjoy.

“Bloom: Navigating Life and Style” by Estee Lalonde was a lovely novel. It follows Lalonde’s life, but also focuses on giving the reader the confidence to live the life perfect for them. The novel feels a lot like one of her YouTube videos, crafted and designed well, and full of funny moments, sad moments and honesty. Loved it!

“The Magnolia Story” by Chip Gaines was so incredibly interesting. I imagine it would be more interesting for fans of their show ‘Fixer Upper’ on HGTV (which I am) but I think it would also appeal to someone who has no clue who they are. (If such a person exists). There are so many tidbits of their history and how they got to where they are now. Two thumbs up!

“Life Without Envy: Ego Management for Creative People” by Camille DeAngelis was self-indulgent and honestly pretty boring at times. It is meant to help creative people manage their egos, but I found that it regurgitated many common thoughts and the organization was jumpy and disjointed. Not worth a read- just stick to the other countless creativity based books in the same vein, they are generally better reads and not so yawn-inducing.

“The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway is a classic. I’ve heard that one either loves or hates it. Not having read it before I was most curious to see which side of the spectrum I would land on. I loved it. So poetic and sad, but so so beautiful at the same time.

“Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte is more than just a love story. It is the forming of a strong and independent female protagonist. One from the nineteenth century! She is forced to make her own way in life without the luxury of a rich male relative. She is a rebel. She sets out to have her own career in a male-dominated world, and refuses to let anyone rule her life. A must read.

“Margarita Wednesdays: Making a New Life by the Mexican Sea” was slow in the making, but that made the ending that much sweeter. I guess what they say about the journey being the adventure is true. Give this one a chance, it’s worth it. All the happy tears.

“My Story” by Elizabeth Smart was so emotional and raw. Again, a book I would not have easily gotten through if it were not for the joys of Audio books. Read by the author, and the woman who experienced this nightmare herself it is an incredible book to listen to. If you remember her story in the news like I did, give this book a listen, you’ll not regret it.

“The Giver” by Lois Lowry was another classic I’ve not ever read. It was pretty fantastic, although not exactly what I was expecting, having watched the 2014 movie of the same name. I have my own thoughts on what the ending means, what are yours?

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay” by J.K. Rowling was freaking incredible. I watched the movie before reading the screenplay, and let me just say- Rowling is a genius and this is the most amazing thing. It is exactly what the movie is. I can’t get over it. Can’t wait for the rest in the series of FIVE!!!

“The Peach Keeper” by Sarah Addison Allen was interesting, but definitely my least favorite by Sarah. I love her novels, they are so magical and come together in unexpected and lovely ways- except for this one. I found it fairly predictable and slightly rambling.

“Please Make This Look Nice: The Graphic Design Process” by Peter Ahlberg was an interesting read on multiple graphic artist’s thoughts on creativity, their profession and their work process, (if they have one). As an artist with a lower case ‘a’ myself, I found their interviews very interesting and in numerous locations similar to my experiences.

“On Living” by Kerry Egan was one of the best novels I’ve read all year. I actually listened to it on Audio book- read by the author it was inspiring, tear jerking, and hopeful. Egan is a hospice chaplain, and this novel is her compilation of stories from those who were dying or caring for the dying. I cannot recommend this book enough.

“Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days” by Jeanette Winterson was a big disappointment for all the fuss it has been creating. It is basically twelve ‘Christmas’ stories followed by a little personal story and recipe. Only a few of the stories I liked, and in general it was not very ‘Chrissmasy’ at all.

“Victoria” by Daisy Goodwin was a fantastic book, and I’m happy it was the one that got me to 100 this year! It is essentially a novel following Queen Victoria from a little before her coronation to just after she asks her husband to marry her. It is fiction, so of course Goodwin took liberties with the particulars, but the essentials seem (to me at least) match up with history. A page turner, this one!

That’s books 86 through 100!

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Click here to see my goals for 2016

You can also see my goals for 20152014, 2013, 2012 and my bucket list!

 

Lush : Error 404 Bath Bomb [ REVIEW ]

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One of my goals for 2016 is to test every Lush bath bomb and as many bubble bars as I can. As the great Leonardo da Vinci once said, ‘Every now and then go away and have a little relaxation. To remain constantly at work will diminish your judgement.” What is more relaxing close to home than a luxurious bath?  This year I will review products from my fav shop that makes fresh and handmade beauty goods, Lush! So draw up a bath, get a good book and a glass of wine, and relax!

 

Lush’s specialty bath bomb, ‘Error 404’ was so awesome I wish they would keep it around permanently. It smells gorgeously of vanilla absolute and gardenia extract. It starts out dissolving slowly, the water turning the most beautiful turquoise in plumes. As the bath bomb fizzes further it starts rocking, letting out waves of gorgeous blue which eventually turn the water a deep sparkling blue. Best of all? All profits support the Digital Fund, supporting AccessNow and grassroots digital activism. Because keeping the internet on can save lives. I signed the petition at AccessNow.org/KeepItOn to fight internet shutdowns and you can too! #keepiton

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*This post is not sponsored

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Click here to see my goals for 2016

You can also see my goals for 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and my bucket list!

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November Book Reviews

One of my personal goals for the year was to challenge myself to read 100 books. Even at the end of a crazy October I was only two books short of reading eleven for the month- so we’ll be kicking it up a notch for November! Without further ado, here is a review of each of the books I’ve read this past month!

“Holding Up the Universe” by Jennifer Niven has a really special story. It addresses what it is really like to love someone for who they are. When Libby Strout was younger she was so big that her house had to be literaIlly torn apart for her to be removed for help. Now that she is older she has worked really hard to loose weight and is ready to go back to school. Jack Masselin cannot see faces, but he can see- really see- her. It’s a story of love, friendship, family and the universal need to be understood. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s a great read- especially one on audio book.

“Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown is funny, actually pretty helpful in parts, and brutally honest in others. It’s probably best suited to individuals (mostly girls) just graduating high school through college, but it was interesting to read at 31 also.

“Mozart: A Life” by Peter Gay was chock full of information on Mozart’s life that I did not know before- not that I knew too much to begin with. It was interesting to listen to on audio book and concise. I only would wish for more information- and less guessing.

“Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by  Kendare Blake started out pretty rough. The plot is extremely dark. Three young women- triplets who grew up to a certain point together and then were separated into three different cities in their kingdom to prepare to fight one another to the death to become the next queen. I mean. Really. The reader gets a first hand account from all of them and can sympathize with them all. Just wait for the end- it makes me want to read the second novel in the trilogy when it comes out.

“Someday, Someday, Maybe” by Lauren Graham (Lorelai Gilmore!!) is actually really good! Was I surprised at that, coming from an actress? Yes, maybe a little. It’s about an actress trying to make it in the big city and all of the ordeals she goes through. Very interesting. Very entertaining. Two thumbs up!

“Fanny in France: With French Adventures and French Recipes” by Alice Waters had me in a French state of mind and I loved it! I was dreaming of shopping in markets, making French food from scratch, and beautiful sunshiny days. The story is great, the illustrations are gorgeous, and the recipes look like they would be a treat to test!

“My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business” by Dick Van Dyke was a glossy look at the fantastic actor’s bumpy yet still amazing life. His affair(s) and alcoholism are discussed frankly and without too much detail. Despite that – (and who can blame him), the peek into both his personal and professional life was very interesting and holds your attention.

“A Stolen Life” by Jaycee Dugard is terribly difficult to listen to on audio book because of the things that happened to Jaycee, the fact that she reads her book, and the degree to which she became dependent on her captors. I imagine it would be a tough read with a physical book in that it would be hard to keep going.

“Mid-Century Modern: Interiors, Furniture, Design Details” by Bradley Quinn is a fantastic overview of the design style/mentality that is Mid-Century Modern. There are lots of gorgeous pictures and it is an easy read.

“Frank Lloyd Wright” by Ada Louise Huxtable is a fantastic biography of the architect. It covers his ‘colorful’ and sometimes very tragic personal life, as well as his incredible career. A must read (or listen) in my case for anyone who is an architect or interested in the subject.

“Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race” by Margot Lee Shetterly is the book that the movie coming out in January is based on. The trailer for the movie looks fantastic- and parts of this book are also. It is mainly very rich in background and not so into the everyday stories of these women. I can only guess since I haven’t seen the movie yet, but it looks to me like they focused on a very small section of the book and built their story around that.

“Paris for One and Other Stories” by Jojo Moyes was absolutly fantastic and such a great read. I loved the story- it was sweet and romantic and just a really nice listen after all of the insane happenings this November. There are short stories after the main one which in general I don’t think need to be included – just because of what they are- but I enjoyed all of them as well!

That’s books 73 through 85! Stay tuned at the end of November for a wrap up of all of the novels I read in the next month! 15 more in 1 month!!

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Click here to see my goals for 2016

You can also see my goals for 20152014, 2013, 2012 and my bucket list!