Category Archives: Books/Reading

4 Easy Ways to Restore Your Soul

Motherhood is not easy. The early years can be especially tiring and isolating. As a stay-at-home Mom I live this weird oximoron where I’m never alone, yet always lonely. I’ve gone through periods that have been exhausting and overwhelming. Sometimes, in those hard weeks I start to go a little crazy, I lose my temper quicker than normal and pick fights with Nick. I’ve recently discovered, the best way to combat my bad moods is to make time for myself.

I’m not talking about a weekend getaway, with two little babies that’s definitely off the table. It’s more about finding small amounts of time throughout the day where I can be alone and restore my spirit. Sometimes I feel guilty doing something for me instead of doing dishes or washing the sheets, but ultimately if I don’t take care of me I can’t take care of everyone else. Here are some of my favorite ways to spend my time alone.

Read- I’ve always loved reading. Having kids makes it increasingly difficult, but setting a goal to read three pages a day is manageable. I like to read at night after both kids have gone to bed. It really helps me unwind and prepare for the next day. Right now I’m reading a book about Danish parenting and I really love it.

Listen to Podcasts- This is especially helpful on days when the kids don’t cooperate and I get no time to actually be alone. I will turn them on and listen while Eloise has tummy time. I also listen to them when I’m driving and the kids have fallen asleep. It really helps stimulate my brain, and I need that right now. Some of my favorite are The Dave Ramsey Show, The Robcast, Pod Save America, The Dollop, and Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations.

Take a Bath- When I was pregnant with Eloise I would put Emerson to sleep around 8:00 and take a bath every single night. I would use that time to be alone with my thoughts, or I’d take my laptop in and watch netflix.

Go to your favorite store/coffee shop- I’m trying to implement this in my house right now. Nick has committed to watching the kids for two hours a week so I can truly get away. Today was my first time leaving the house by myself and it was SO WEIRD. I didn’t really know what to do, but I sat at Starbucks for a while then walked through Home Goods. I know as the weeks go by I’ll get more comfortable being alone.

What are your favorite things to do when you get some alone time? Comment and give me more ideas!!

Six Secrets to Raising a Bookworm

six secrets

Growing up I remember my mom reading to me before bed every night. It started when I was a baby, she would read books like Hop on Pop and Goodnight Moon. As I grew up, the stories evolved into chapter books and we would take turns reading together. Now, as an adult, I love to read and the same is true for both of my siblings. Since I want Emerson to grow up loving books as much as I do I’ve come up with six easy things you can do as a parent to raise a booklover.

Start Early: Give your child early memories of reading. Fill their nursery with bright colored books and let them explore and play with them. Some of my favorite baby books are Dr. Suess, Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things are, and Brown Bear Brown Bear.

Read Together: Try to get on a schedule, if you can, make it a nightly thing. Not only will it help your child learn to love reading it will help them sleep better when they have a nightly routine.

Lead by Example: Reading together is great, but you also want your child to witness you reading on your own. As they get older they should start reading on their own as well.

Let Them Choose: Give your child the opportunity to choose the books you read together, this gives them a sense of pride and ownership. Emerson is only six months old, but already he will reach out for the books he wants to play with.

Go to the Library: Make it a fun monthly trip you take as a family. They can browse through the children’s section and find new books to explore. It’s also a great free activity to get you and your child out of the house.

Talk About What You’re Reading: You can use the reading time to talk about topics that come up in the book. You’ll be surprised at how easily this opens up your lines of communication. This will also show your child that they can come to you when they have questions.

Remember some children will struggle with reading and there can be many reasons for delays. Every child learns at their own pace so don’t worry if they don’t get it right away. The most important thing you can do is stay relaxed and make it fun!

Is reading important in your family? What are some things you did to instill a love of reading in your child?

Book Themed Baby Shower

Hello blog world! I took a little break last week to celebrate my birthday, I don;t have any pictures to share, but we all had a good time. My best friend from San Diego came into town to surprise me and then a group of friends got together and we went to a local bar that has dueling pianos. The best part about my weekend though was the baby show and aunt and grandma hosted for a cousin of mine! SHe is expecting twin girls, so you can imagine all the pink we used to decorate! Instead of having people brings cards with their gifts she asked everyone to bring a baby book weather it is new or used so she can start their library. The shower was a huge success and everyone had a great time. Here are some of the pictures of the decorations!

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Marshmallow baby rattles

IMG_2438The very hungry caterpillar fruit tray

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Three little pigs in a blanket

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Mason jars with pink straws for the pink lemonade

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Since I am in love with pink a baby girl’s baby shower is like a dream come true!

5 books for the working woman

This was originally posted on Lot 48. 5 books
I started with my company just over a year ago and have worked hard to move into management. I work for a large financial institution and recent transferred over from out credit card division to a supervisor position within our student loans division. In order to prepare myself for this role I read business books nonstop, as I still do. I wanted to share my top 5 with you guys!!

Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead By Sheryl Sandberg – I really can’t say enough about this book. Sandberg is the COO of Facebook and is using this book to encourage more women to seek out those top executive positions. She talks about the differences in men and women and some things women can do to stand out and move up in their company.

Nice Girls Don’t get the Corner Office By Lois P. Frankel – Similar to Lean In, this book points out some things that may hinder women’s chances of getting promotions. The book begins with a survey that pin points areas of opportunity.

Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies From a Life at Disney By Lee Cockerll – Not specifically for women, but one of the best business books I’ve read in a long time. Cockerll challenges you to look at your workplace from a different perspective and take initiative. He gives examples from his life working for both Disney and Marriott as a top executive.

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Resolving Broken Promises, Violated Expectations, and Bad Behavior By Patterson, Kerry, Grenny, Joseph, McMillan, Ron, and Switzler – I was given this book by a mentor at work and it helped develop my ability to have ‘tough conversations.’ It examines managers and employees from hundreds of different companies and talks about the best way to hold people accountable.

How Remarkable Women Lead: The Breakthrough Model for Work and Life By Joanna Barsh – A business book based off of years of research that offers a different perspective on leadership styles and includes personal stories. It focuses on the 5 elements of centered leadership- meaning, framing, connecting, engaging and energizing, and explains how these can help you succeed both in your career and in your life.

 

What are your favorite business books? I’m always looking for more to add to my reading list!

January Book Review

january book review

A Storm of Swords- Book #3 in A Song of Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin. I think it would take 3 pages just to write a review of this book. Obviously, if you are a Game of Thrones fan, I would suggest reading this book series.
The Book of Joe- Jonathon Tropper is my favorite author right now and this book did not disappoint. Tropper’s book follows the life of Joe, a best selling author, who made his fortune by writing a book that made fun of everyone in his small town. Now, due to a family tragedy, he is forced to return to the town where everyone hates him.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight- By Jennifer E Smith. When Hadley misses her flight to London, she thought her luck couldn’t get any worse. While waiting for her new flight, she meets Oliver and discovers they will be on the same flight across the Atlantic. The Statistical Probability of Love at First sight is a perfect vacation book, and I would highly recommend it.
One Last Thing Before I Go- Another Tropper book, but unfortunately not my favorite. It was funny, but a little too depressing for my taste. Silver is a washed up drummer who had one hit song with a band and now spends his night playing at weddings and bar mitzvahs. Estranged from most of his family and with serious health problems he is forced to take a look at what his life has become, and what it might have been.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian- By Sherman Alexie- This hilarious story follows the actual events in Alexie’s life growing up on an Indian Reservation. It was a cute story, not the best book I’ve ever read, but not the worst.

Make sure to check out my 2015 reading list to see what I’ll be reading next. What books did you read this month? Comment and let me know, I’m always looking for new books to add to my reading list!

20 Books to Read in 2015

2015

January means looking through my reading list to decide what makes it to the next year, and what I should give up on. So here is my list of must reads for 2015. I have not read any of these books yet, so if they’re terrible it’s not my fault.

  1. Attachments– Rainbow Rowell
  2. Everything Changes– Jonathan Tropper
  3. Lane line– Rainbow Rowell
  4. One Last Thing Before I Go– Jonathan Tropper
  5. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight– Jennifer E Smith
  6. Maybe Someday– Colleen Hoover
  7. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian– Sherman Alexie
  8. Brain on Fire– Susannah Cahalan
  9. The Opposite of Loneliness– Marina Keegan
  10. The Beginning of Everything– Robyn Schneider
  11. Not That Kind of Girl– Lena Dunham
  12. The Chosen One– Carol Lynch Williams
  13. The Wolf of Wall Street– Jordan Belfort
  14. A Dance With Dragons– George R R Martin
  15. The Ruby Circle– Michelle Mead
  16. A Cup of Joe– Jonathan Tropper
  17. Yes Please– Amy Poehler
  18. The One and Only– Emily Griffin
  19. The Husband’s Secret– Liane Moriarty
  20. What Happens Next– Colleen Clayton

Comment and let me know what books made it to your reading list!

From the Page to the Screen

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It’s no secret that I love reading, so I’m always excited when I find out a book, or series, I like Is being made into a movie. However, immediately after I get nervous, because lets be honest, there is nothing worse that an amazing book being made into a crappy movie. I wanted to share some of the more memorable movie adaptations in my mind.

 

The Fault In Our Stars– Amazing, by far my favorite adaption. The characters worked so well on screen and I feel like the overall theme was perfectly captured. The Anne Frank voice-overs they used while they visited the house was my favorite addition. I think it added to the emotion in the scene, there were of course a few things missing, but you can never get every single word from the book to the movie.

 The Hunger Games– I was so impressed with the way this movie captured the seriousness and heaviness of the ‘games’ without glorifying the violence and making every scene a blood bath. I thought the first movie was perfection. I know some fans were upset because Katniss didn’t do any voice-overs therefore you were not able to hear her thoughts during the games, however I think the direction the movie went using the Capitol announcers to educate the viewers was both clever and fit the movie better. Personally I think voice-overs would have been cheesy in a movie like this so I stand by the director’s decisions.

 Divergent– Gosh, there are so many things I love about this movie. Disclaimer, out of all these books/movies this is my favorite story so I may be a bit biased. I thought the casting was perfect and I really enjoyed the costumes, character portrayals, and the set. That being said I felt like Tris and Four didn’t get their story told so much in the movie. In the book you can watch their friendship/ relationship as it progresses and I feel like the movie skipped some important conversations. The other disappointment for me was the ending. If you’ve read the book you know that they completely changed that around, I understand maybe the book ending wasn’t as action packed, but they added in a lot and I feel like their changes could definitely effect the second and even third movie.

Ella Enchanted– Biggest disappointment! I read Ella Enchanted back in 5th grade and fell in love, I have read the book probably over a dozen times in the past ten years and I never get tired of it. It is such a beautiful way to retell the Cinderella story. That being said the movie was probably the worst thing I have ever seen. I have only seen it once when it first came out and I refuse to see it again because I feel like it is such an injustice to such a powerful book. They basically kept the character names, added a plot, made it a silly musical and killed my soul along the way.

Flowers in the Attic– The Lifetime movie was so poorly done that I feel like I can’t talk about it. What was worse the fact that they took out major plot point or that the acting was so terrible I was laughing when I should have been crying? I honestly can’t say… It was such a creepy enticing novel made into a goofy made for TV movie.

 

Have you seen any of these adaptations? Make sure you comment and share your thoughts!

May Reading Wrap-up!

Hello everyone, I know I’ve taken a little break from posting, I just needed a little R&R, but I’m back and ready for another reading wrap-up! I read some amazing books this month and I am so excited to share them with you.

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The Golden Lily, The Indigo Spell and The Fiery Heart– Books number 2,3, and 4 in the Bloodlines series from Richelle Mead. I really enjoy anything written by this author, it is considered Young Adult, but I think it still is an interesting story line. This series is basically the sequel to the Vampire Academy series. The next book in the series is Silver Shadows and it set to be released in July of 2014, yes I’ve already preordered the book!

 It’s Kind of a Funny Story– I already wrote a mini review of this book a few weeks ago, but I’ll refresh everyone’s memory. The book written by Ned Vizzini is actually based on his life. It follows a week where Vizzini was hospitalized from his depression. It gives an honest look at depression and I highly recommend the book for anyone suffering from depression, or anyone who is interesting in fun awkward situations.

FanGirl- Written by Rainbow Rowell FanGIrl was probably my favorite read this month! It is a cute story following the main character Cath in her first year of college. Cath must juggle her family, school, and boys all while writing her very popular fan fiction. It is just an all around fun read. Perfect for a long plane ride or a day poolside.

ifIstayWhere She Went– The sequel to If I Stay by author Gayle Forman. Where she went takes place three years after Mia’s accident and is written from Adam’s point of view. I don’t want to give away too much for those of you who haven’t had a chance to read If I Stay yet, but I will say if you plan of reading these books make sure you have a full day free because you are not going to be able to put these books down.

 Orange is the New Black: My year in a Women’s Prison– Obviously this book by Piper Kerman was recently made into a T.V show and people are going nuts over it. I watched the first season before deciding to read the book, but personally I prefer the book. It is very honest and not as outlandish as the show is. Overall it was good, if you like the show and enjoy reading pick it up, but be warned it’s not the drama fest the show is.

The Glass Castle– A beautiful and hilarious memoir by Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle, recounts her life with her unorthodox parents. This is lovely heartfelt book; this is not a love story, or a scary story, it’s just Jeannette’s life, but it is definitely worth picking up next time you’re out and about.

dede460Reached– Reached is the third and final book in a series by Ally Condie. The first book Matched follows Cassia as she learns about her society, in Crossed the second book we hear Cassia’s point of view as well as Ky, one of her suitors, point of view. Lastly, Reached follows not only Cassia and Ky, but also Xander, Cassia’s other suitor. If you know me you know that I am not a huge fan of the love triangle. It was a good story and I think the books are well written. If you enjoy love triangles and oppressive societies than I highly suggest added Matched, Crossed and Reached to your summer reading list.

The month of June is dedicated to reading The Mortal Instruments series!

What books have you read this month? Be sure to send me your recommendations!

April Reading Wrap-up

Reading is by far my favorite hobby, so at the end of each month I like to do a monthly wrap-up. This month I read some amazing books and I can’t wait to share them with you! I tend to read mostly young adult and adult fiction. Some books do contain language, drugs and sexual content so I wouldn’t suggest these books to anyone younger than high school.

The Spectacular Now:
Tim Tharp

I have not seen this movie, but I’m a big believer in reading the book before the movie. This is a nice coming of age story following a high school senior as he tried to balance school, work, romance and home life. It’s a short read, I would recommend it to fans on young adult especially John Green fans.

 

Ketchup Clouds:
Annabel Pitcher

One of my new favorite books, Ketchup Clouds is about girl who decides to write to a prisoner on death row.  She retells the last year of her life and revels a big secret that has left her ridden with guilt. I’ve been slowly forcing everyone in my life to read this book because I fell in love with it immediately. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone.

 

Something Borrowed:
Emily Giffin

One of my all time favorite movies, I was so excited when I saw it on sale for $6 at Barnes and Noble. Although the movie wasn’t very true to the story, the general premise is still the same. It follows a lawyer who falls in love with her best friends’ fiancé. I love an author who can make you love a character even if they are doing something completely wrong. Around 300 pages of adult fiction I would recommend this to anyone who likes romantic comedies, or dramas.

 

If I Stay:
Gayle Forman

If I Stay is a powerful story of a young girl who must make a life altering decision. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say this is a wonderful, touching story. It is tearjerker so make sure you buy a box of tissues with the book! Like Ketchup Clouds I recommend this book to anyone and everyone!

 

Bloodlines:
Richelle Mead

This is the first book in the Bloodline series and is set in the same world of Vampire Academy (VA). If you read and enjoyed VA then I would suggest this book, it picks up at the end of the Last Sacrifice. Although the book follows Sydney, the alchemist , fans of the VA series will be happy to see Rose, Ian and some other favorites from the VA books.

Sharp Objects:
Gillian Flynn

Sharp Objects is a story about an average journalist in Chicago who gets sent back to her home town to cover the abductions and murders of two little girls. It is a psychological thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. This is not a book for the younger crowd and has a lot of adult material. I recommend this to fans of Law and Order: SVU or anyone who likes a good mystery.

 

Dark Places:
Gillian Flynn

By far the most gruesome book I have ever read. Dark Places is a mystery that follows a woman whose brother is in prison for slaughtering their mother and two sisters. The book changes between three points of view, it also moves between the present day and the day of the murders. Gillian is so talented and the character voices are so clear that there is never a question of who is speaking or thinking. This book is not for the faint of heart! It depicts the gory murders along with some satanic rituals.  I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes CSI, NCIS or Criminal Minds!

 

Next month I will be reading The Golden Lily (Part two of the Bloodlines series) Fangirl, It’s Kind of a Funny Story plus any other books that catch my eye! Make sure you check out my library over here to view books I’ve read or plan on reading!

What books did you read this month? What books do you want to read? Comment and let me know!

6 reasons Divergent is the best YA series

divergent-trilogy
1. The Relationships are Relatable

Starting with the friendships, this story proves that no matter the circumstances you’re under, jealousy and the pressure to win are always finding their way into relationships, Tris, the hero of this story, struggles when her friends become jealous of her success. How is she supposed to react? Does she automatically ditch them and find new friends? Even if you’re not in a futuristic world competing for a small number of spots in your faction you can still relate to jealousy in a relationship and the hurt and pain it brings. I was also blown away by Roth’s capability to capture such a dynamic family unit. The unwavering love that Tris receives with her parents, but also the disappointment her father feels when she decided to leave them. Once Tris is gone she still is trying to gain their approval, even when she knows it doesn’t matter. I love how this played out because, psychologically, most children want their parents approval for the choices they make in life.

2. Complex Characters

Sorry Candor, but the characters in this book do not fit into your system, the characters aren’t black or white.  Al is the best example of the complexity of these characters. Is Al a protagonist or antagonist, or is he both? Al is a lovable guy at the beginning, but as he goes through stressful and fearful situations he changes. Even though he tried to hurt Tris and eventually ends his life, I don’t think he was ever a bad guy as much as a good guy who made a mistake. In the same sense you have Jeanine who most consider to be an antagonist, but she fully believes what she is doing is in the best interest of everyone. Obviously, further in the series you question if what she did was right or wrong, but the whole point is that it’s neither.  These characters can’t be put into a box, just like real people can’t be put into a box.

3. Tris and Four

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Tris and Four are my favorite fictional couple by a long shot. If you’ve read the book then you know they have some awkward encounters, and some lovely banter. In the real world people don’t fall in love without some silly conversations or laughter. I was a little disappointed because I truly felt the movie didn’t have time to give their romance justice. Plus, I love that the book doesn’t have them jump into to bed together right away. Young girls are reading these books and making decisions about their personal lives. It is refreshing to have a character like Tris who shows that taking a relationship slow is okay and is honestly the best thing to do. Tris has reservations about physical intimacy and that is something I think all girls and boys alike struggle with.

4. Realistic Progression in Physical Combat

Finally a movie that shows people training! Sometimes I watch movies and I’m baffled by the fact the hero in the story has never held a gun before and all the sudden they’re hitting target from 100ft away. I love that this book spends a lot of time in training and showing the realistic progression. Tris has problems with the kick when she first begins shooting, she gets her butt kicked when she first beings fighting and she actually gets sore from training. I love the not so pretty side of training. Somehow Roth does a good job of keeping you entertained while not over glorifying all the violence.

5. Even the Hero’s Struggle with Internal Doubts

Tris is not the typical hero, as readers we get the chance to see inside her mind and see her true doubts. Tris is constantly worried about doing the right thing, being the right person, and making her parents proud. She does have a tough exterior, and again the movie was fantastic, but you didn’t get to see the troubles she has finding the balance between being strong and forgiving. She blamed herself after Al’s death. That caused her to reevaluate some of the choices she had made, it is nice to know that even the strongest of people are still questioning their actions.

6. “Everyone is Afraid of Something”

I’m pretty sure this is one of the best quotes from the book. It just makes you think. Roth, giving Four such typical fears like heights and confinement gives the reader more of a connection to this heroic character. As someone who does not like small spaces it makes me feel like I could be as brave as Four. Roth really shows that any person can be brave. She isn’t making this a book about these super humans who are never afraid and can win every fight. These are average people who are working to be brave and trying their best to help their family and friends.

 

Now there are many other things I love about this series, but honestly I would never be done writing this post if I wrote down every thing I liked about it. Please let me know your favorite parts of the book, or things you didn’t like. I’d love to know your thoughts!