Links I Love

It is impossible to read everything on the internet. Also, I would never want to read everything that is on the internet. Yikes, talk about terrifying. That’s why I like to share links I love each week on the blog – it’s a way to share fun, interesting, and informative finds that I’ve found over the past week.

Links I Love

Books Paired with Chocolate via Read It Forward
Because books + chocolate are the best pairing ever. Just in time for the post-Valentine’s Day chocolate sale!

Successful people share 11 ways to make 2017 your most productive year yet via Business Insider
I’m always looking for tips and hacks to be a bit more productive in my work and personal life.

Hillbilly Elegy’ made J.D. Vance the voice of the Rust Belt. But does he want that job? via the Washington Post
I read Hillbilly Elegy earlier this year. This is an interesting read on Vance as a person and his views, particularly his political views.

In other news…

I received a Stitch Fix this week. I ended up keeping one of the five items sent to me. I’ll post a picture later, because the shirt I kept is adorable!

A lot of my holds at the library came in this week. So, I’m going to reading a lot over the next two weeks (but what’s new!!). I am currently reading Commonwealth by Ann Patchett and cannot put it down. I’m looking forward to digging into my next book this weekend!

Library Books

What are your plans this weekend? Reading any good books?

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Favorite January Reads

I didn’t set a goal for how many books I want to read in 2017, however I must say I got off to a great start this year. In 2017, I finished 9 books, which is way above average. I’m not sure how I managed to read so much, but I’m proud of the progress I made. Plus I read some amazing books. I’m not going to recap every book I read (you can find the full list here), but wanted to share my five favorite January reads.

The Circle

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

I got this book through Book of the Month Club (which I adore) late last year. I held on to this book like an amazing piece of chocolate, waiting to read it until I could slowly read and enjoy it. It met every one of my expectations. The characters were well-developed, the plot was intriguing and complex, and I could not put it down. Plus, the writing is superb. I highly recommend this book. (And if you haven’t read Rules of Civility by the same author, do so. Now!).

Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance

After the events of the election in November, I bought this audiobook on the recommendation of everyone (well, NPR and the New York Times). I don’t think this book provides any sort of special insight into the mind of Americans. But, I still enjoyed it. The book, narrated by Vance, is a memoir, richly and intricately told, describing his life growing up in Kentucky and Ohio. The ending felt a bit rushed, but overall, I enjoyed this as an example of a life different from my own.

The Circle by David Eggers

I am on the Common Read Committee at the university I work at and this book is one of our contenders for 2018. I have not read any David Eggers prior to The Circle and had mixed expectations going in. It seems people either love or hate his work. I really enjoyed The Circle. It was an easily read, quick paced book that provided the reader a variety of questions to consider regarding the role technology plays in our lives. The ending was interesting – I think people will love or hate it – but I liked it for staying true to the narrative of the story overall.

So You've Been Publicly Shamed

You’ll Grow Out Of It by Jessi Klein

This audiobook was phenomenal. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for most books written by a celebrity talking about their lives. Many of these books, often but not always written by white comedians (Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Chelsea Handler, Mindy Kaling to name a few) provide a comedic view to the happenings of life. I enjoyed Jessi Klein’s book because I felt like I could relate to her stories. Her writing is accessible and humorous. She provided insights that weren’t repeated in similar types of books.

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

I also read this book as part of the Common Read Committee. Our focus is technology and this seemed like a clear contender. I enjoyed it and was honestly a bit horrified by it. The thought of having my life overturned by one bad decision is terrifying. One lapse in judgement, one joke that I think is funny but someone else doesn’t – well, there were too many examples in the book of people impacted by this. I think the point of the story is don’t be so quick to judge. Remember there is a person behind the tweet or the post, and they probably had a lapse in judgement. This was good and made me think about how I conduct myself online, consciously or unconsciously.

Looking for more recommendations? Head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy to see others participating in today’s Quick Lit!

What books are you reading that you’ve loved lately?

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Why I Read In The Morning

I have a bucket list of habits I would like to create, but to be honest, I have a hard time making any new habit stick. Maybe it’s my personality, or a lack of commitment, or something else entirely, but habits are just not my thing. That being said, there is one habit I started back in October that has stuck: I read in the morning.

While I studied for the GRE, one of the recommendations I received to prepare for the verbal section was to read. A lot. Read anything and everything to expose myself to a wider vocabulary. Since I spent my evenings diligently studying my GRE Prep Book and taking practice quizzes or tests, the only time I truly had to read was in the morning.

Read In The Morning

It turns out, I love reading in the morning. Each morning I wake up, shower, grab my cup of coffee, then head right back to bed. I snuggle under the covers with Hoss (who is an excellent morning reading companion) and I pick up whichever book I’m currently in the middle of. I typically read anywhere from 10-30 minutes, depending on what time it is. Then I close my book and continue on with my morning.

One of the reasons I love to read in the morning is because it calms everything down. For me, the morning always seems to be GO! GO! GO! Instead of worrying about running late or what I need to do before heading out the door, I get a small pocket of time that is just for me, where I get to do something I love. Some people meditate, others work out, and some do their morning pages. For me, morning reading is now an integral part of my morning.

The other reason that reading in the morning has become such an indulgent treat is because Jason works the early morning shift. So, morning is really the only time I have to myself in the house. This is an adjustment from our normal schedule and it’s taking some getting used to. As an introvert who truly treasures quiet time to myself, reading in the morning is also an activity I can do just for me, that contributes to my well-being and overall happiness.

Morning Reading

Find more morning reading pictures on my Instagram!

Besides starting my day off well, the other upside of beginning to read in the morning is I have increased the number of books I read overall. So far in 2017, I’ve finished 12 books and am in the middle of 3 of others. This is definitely ahead of how many books I finished as of this time of year in 2016! As someone who loves to track how many books I read and what those books are, this is a huge motivator to keep this habit up.

So this is my not-so-secret trick to starting off my day right and to read more. Even if reading may not be your go-to activity, I really recommend figuring out what you can do, even if just for 5 minutes, to start each day off in a positive and calming way.

Do you have any morning rituals that you must do each day?

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What’s Saving My Life Right Now

Today I’m sharing what’s saving my life right now. One of my favorite blogs is Modern Mrs. Darcy. I can’t explain how excited I was when I stumbled across a blog written by a fellow book lover last year. So when she posted what’s saving her life right now, I wanted to join in!

What’s Saving My Life Right Now

  1. Reading. It seems obvious given my interests, but January was an emotionally tolling month on myself and my family. Books have been such a great escape from life. I plowed through 9 books in January, which is unheard of for me, but that provided such a well-needed relief.
  2. My family. Jason and Hoss are my center. They provide my life with so much fullness, so much love, so much laughter, and just a little craziness. I love coming home to them everyday. They make my life better.
  3. Working out. I’ve recently gotten back to working out regularly. I’m doing the Master’s Hammer and Chisel workout plan. It’s tough and challenging, but I look forward to pushing myself to workout after work. It gives me 45 minutes to unwind and not think of anything else but what I’m being told to do. I feel better, physically and mentally, when I work out and I’m glad I was motivated to start again in January.
  4. Little bits of sunshine. This part of the year is rough. It’s cold (hello, Minnesota living) and cloudy and bleak. We’ve been blessed with a few instances of sunshine this week and I have relished those moments.

It’s usually the little things that save our lives. The small slices of everyday happiness that contribute overall to living a happier, more contented life. Here’s to February and getting a few steps closer to spring!

What’s saving your life right now?

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Grieving the Old, Welcoming the New

There is something quite freeing, yet terrifying about creating a new blog. Particularly in the first post; what do I write? How do I begin my introduction to this small corner of the internet? Luckily, this is not the first time I am doing this, but unfortunately, there’s no record of that.

From 2013-2016, I wrote a blog called Racing Bananas. Racing Bananas was a variety of things: a weight loss blog, evidence of my attempt to live a more healthy life, a document of how my life progressed and changed over a 3.5 year span. This blog was more than a blog to me; it became a visual and written expression of my life. I journal in real life, but through my blog, I discussed, tracked, and shared photographs that were also important to me. I also met some amazing internet-turned-real life friends through the blogging community.

During the summer of 2016, I decided I would switch my Racing Bananas hosting from Bluehost to our home server. As a result, I didn’t renew my contract with Bluehost. What I didn’t realize at this time is that if you do not renew your contract with Bluehost, you will lose your entire blog. I figured my blog would just “be out there.” I was wrong.

When I realized this and saw 3.5 years of work and documentation gone, I felt devastated. It may sound silly, but I felt as if I lost a part of me. I cried (ok, sobbed). It felt as if an entire portion of my life had disappeared.

I’ve come to terms with losing my Racing Bananas blog. I’m still bummed that I can’t refer to it. But there is a positive to losing everything. I thought long and hard about whether I wanted to start a new blog. Is it worth the time? Do I want to continue to share parts of my life on the internet? Ultimately (obviously) I decided yes. One thing I love about starting brand new, without a trace of Racing Bananas, is that I truly get a a fresh start. In the past, I had wanted to start a new blog but maintaining more than one blog was too much work. Now, I have a clean slate. My interests have changed and developed since 2013 and I have changed (hello, married with a dog, living in a different state). There is something exciting and hopeful about getting to start anew.

Thanks for stopping by! Leave me a comment saying hello and how you stumbled upon

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