June Book Report

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I’m really proud of Evan for putting himself to sleep, and I’m proud of us for helping him get there, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t really miss reading books while he was cuddled and asleep in my arms. It is truly amazing how fast the seasons change in a baby, and how quickly they’re on to the next thing. I have a feeling this will surprise me about parenthood forever.

Books I read this month (all from iBooks):

Sharp Objects and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Sometimes a creepy, absorbing thriller is just the ticket. I read Gone Girl last year and liked it a lot, but hated the ending and I guess I kind of wrote Flynn off. I’m so glad I went back to read her older two books. Of the three, Sharp Objects is my favorite. It was just so terribly detailed and disturbing. I finished it with all the lights on in the living room and was still totally creeped out for a while afterward. That’s when you know you’ve found a good writer.

All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner

This was a pretty standard tale of entitled suburban overworked mom seeks a way out of her head and finds ____. In this case, it was pills. I finished this book because it wasn’t uninteresting, but it wasn’t worth paying full price. And it was fairly unforgettable.

What books are you loving right now?

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May Book Report

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Catching up on reading has always been one of my favorite things about summer, and I still love it just as much as I did as a child. Lately I’ve been relying heavily on iBooks because reading on my phone while E naps in my arms is about my favorite thing ever. I thought ebooks would hinder how much I read but I’ve found the opposite to be true.

In May I read…

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Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time

Looking for some tips and advice about how to strike a better balance between work/love/play, I thought this would be a good choice…but instead, this book is a well-researched account of how things are for women, vs. how they could be if we lived in, oh, Sweden. Overall, I learned a lot from this book (like, I have it pretty good at work) but the only major advice I took away was when both parents work, it can be useful to allow your child to pick and choose what you participate in at school. For example, John and I will never be able to attend every field trip, but we can allow Evan to choose who goes to what and when, and then make arrangements with work to make that a reality once or twice a school year.

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Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry

I wrote about this book in this post. Mostly, a good read to remind myself to slow down, savor the days, and take care of myself in order to be able to give my best to my family.

The Husbands Secret

This was a fun read. A little too chick-lit for my usual taste. A bit predictable. But all-in-all, not a total waste. I needed an “easy” read at the start of the summer and this did the trick.

Delancey

Molly Wizenberg seems so cool. I LOVED her first book, and felt like I waited forever for this one. And I just liked it. It went by too fast, and I wish she’d gone into having her daughter. It made me crave pizza more than usual. But overall, I was probably too excited about this book, and it let me down.

We Were Liars

YA fiction is so easy-breezy to read, and I really think it’s great there are so many books for teens now, especially when they’re smartly written and we can all enjoy them as adults, too. I heard a lot of hype about this book and am glad I read it. Not a blow-your-mind book or anything, but a solidly good read. I finished this without much effort in about two days.

Bittersweet

This book. Holy crap. I loved every creepy, sexy, odd minute of it. It’s going to be hard to beat this one for me this summer, but we’ll see!

What are you reading? I’d love some book recommendations!

Happy Mother’s Day

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I picked this book up after seeing it pop up on a few Instagram feeds recently.

While the title sounds overtly religious, the short essays are actually quite focused on Buddhist ideals of compassion, meditation, being present and surrender.

As a celebration for the mothers I know, and the journey I am on as a new mama, I thought I’d share a few quotes I really enjoyed from this book.

Happy Mother’s Day!

“Jon Kabat-Zinn, a meditation teacher who writes about mindful parenting, suggests we think of our children as Zen masters housed in small bodies, who come into our lives to push at all our fixed ideas. They are our best teachers, he says, and one way or another they will teach us whatever hard lessons we most need to learn” (87).

“In surrender, I clear a space in which something new can grow. I place my faith in something larger than me. I trust” (92).

“I needed to accept that in order to mother fully, I had to take care of myself, and that I could not meet my children’s demands 100 percent of the time. But I also discovered just what it is that they need more than anything else: me. My full attention. My face in front of their faces, making eye contact” (171-2).

“There will be years and years for baseball, but you can only dig your way to China when you’re five” (199).

“I know now that balance is not an achievement in itself, but a journey – and I am always on my way there, never fully arrived” (201).

“The boy who meets my gaze at the breakfast table is not the same one whose cheek I kissed the night before… To love them is to let them go, bit by bit, day by day” (217).

“Loving them, I grow. Growing, they learn to give love back” (219).

Podcast Love

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My drive to work is about an hour each way (usually 2-3 days a week) and I honestly don’t know what I did before I discovered podcasts.

It all started with This American Life.

Then a friend turned me on to The Jillian Michaels Show.

Then I listened to almost all of the back-episodes of Spilled Milk. (Can’t wait for Molly Wizenberg’s new book, Delancey, available on May 6th!)

And remembered Freakonomics Radio which was something I started a while back but somehow got away from. Now I listen weekly.

The Girl Next Door is one of the podcasts I love the most because between Instagram and their blogs, I feel like I could totally enjoy cocktails with Kelsey and Erica. They both seem like such smart, and fun women, and this podcast makes me miss my girlfriends just a little bit less. They also make me laugh out loud in my car, which is a major bonus.

I discovered The Lively Show from a post Elise shared from Ann-Marie Loves and it has quickly become the other podcast I just can’t wait to hear each week. Jess Lively hosts an excellent array of bloggers and despite that I am not a professional blogger, or have any hopes to be,  I take something useful away from each and every episode that I can apply to my career as well as my hobbies. As hosts go, Jess is classy and fresh. For being a new show, this is such a polished and awesome podcast and I cannot recommend it enough for other creative professionals.

Elise Gets Crafty is my newest edition. Only four episodes old, it’s a creative project from one of my favorite bloggers. I’ve been reading and inspired by Elise’s work for going on three years. I’ve read through her buying a house, getting pregnant, having a baby and starting new business ventures. And while I don’t think I’m the intended audience for this podcast, I’m finding it interesting to know more about handmade small business work. Like the Lively Show, much of the bigger picture discussion about business is something I do actually find useful in thinking about my own projects.

Do you have any favorites I should check out?

Friday Faves and Finds

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Currently…

Working on doing less “baby talk” and more real talk with E.

Getting super excited about something I ordered from Made By Layla.

Finally jumping on the Girls bandwagon thanks to a recommendation from a friend and am totally obsessed. Also, can’t get this song from “All Adventurous Girls Do” in season one out of my head – it makes me want to dance everywhere!

Cannot stop reading The Fault in Our Stars. I’ve been on the list for it at my library forever, but a finally downloaded it on my phone as part of the A Beautiful Mess book club. Not only is it just a deliciously well-written and entertaining book, but apparently reading on my iPhone is a super great way for me to accomplish any book at this time in life.

Starting to weed out the chemicals in my beauty products by switching brands. So far very pleased with Burt’s Bees facial wipes and Organix Keratin Oil shampoo and conditioner. Next up, lotions! If you have any favorites, I’d love suggestions.

Looking forward to seeing family this weekend. Enjoy yours, too!

Friday Faves and Finds

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I collect so many things I want to share throughout the week and inspired by Elise and Lauren, I thought I’d drop it all in one post.

Currently I am…

Thinking about how important it is to teach girls AND boys about healthy body image.

Looking forward to trying this fun workout with John.

Eating Honeybells (the best oranges of the season) from Harvey’s Groves.

About halfway done playing a really awesome PS4 game – kind of never thought I’d say that!

Reading this book and wishing I didn’t just want to finish it to finish it. (Have heard great things, but this one just isn’t for me.)

It’s so bad, but laughing out loud at this article from Cracked.

…And thinking about how awesome it’s going to be to share books like this one and this one with Evan.

Listening to Ane Brun (since that Chevy commercial during the Super Bowl).

Eating these overnight oats every single morning for about a month now (with blueberries), and still loving them.

Admiring these photographs – they deserve all the recognition. Especially the last one. If that’s not happiness, I don’t know what is.

Excitedly awaiting my best girlfriend and my godson who are visiting this weekend. The last time I saw them both I was six months pregnant!

Happy weekend!  🙂

Making My Month: January

This month, I am…
  • Watching True Detective. And getting so creeped out. This show is so amazingly well done, and I’m hooked.
  • Getting excited about using my Polar FT40 to more accurately track exercise calories.
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What’s making your month?