January/February Book Reviews

Jan_Feb Book Report

Some days I can get so crazy stressed with that feeling that I just don’t have enough time in the day to do everything.  And yet . . . I make time for reading.  I don’t think there’s ever been a time where I’ve been stressed while I’m reading for pleasure.  It’s such a happy place to be in.  My reading times are sporadic . . . while cooking dinner, while driving (as a passenger ;-) somewhere, waiting for laundry, weekend mornings, before bed, while eating . . .) which is why I tend to take a book with me everywhere I go.  Honestly, I don’t mind if I look a little bookworm :-)
Yes, Please by Amy Poehler
After hearing so much buzz about this book, I was completely ready to dive in too!  I’m a fan of Amy Poehler I was really eager to read about how she got to where she is today.  This memoir has many laugh out loud moments, but it’s also very real and doesn’t try make light of serious situations.  Poehler doesn’t try to sugarcoat her life experiences but she also doesn’t play up experiences to add drama.  She’s candid about her life and very open about her flaws. I really appreciated this look into the life of such a strong woman whose made a successful career for herself in doing what she loves..  This book is a fun ride (and if you see the format that the book is written in you’ll see what I mean!)
The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan
 I usually avoid books full of short stories/essays.  In truth, I’ve probably missed out on reading some great literature because of this, but I feel like it takes me at least 10 pages to get into a good story and with a short story it’s already over in 10 pages! The real life story surrounding this book is very tragic- the author was killed in a car accident a few years ago at the age of 23.  This book is compiled of a bunch of short stories that she wrote while in college.  As I read this book I got a peek at how talented this young woman was. The stories she wrote (both fiction and nonfiction) were sometimes haunting given the truth of what would happen in her life.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
 I might be a little weird for loving this book . . . but I can see I’m not alone when I read the Amazon reviews!  Some of the ideas of this book were a little far out for me (I don’t really think inanimate household objects have feelings) yet I can understand the author’s point of appreciating and taking care of the things we have and love.  She discusses the ways to do a complete tidying home transformation with the basic principle of only keeping objects that “spark joy.”  She also has some great organizational tips (one simple clothing storage tip has changed my life!  Seriously . . . try storing the clothing in your drawers vertically instead of using the stacking method and you’ll be smiling from ear to ear). This book totally spoke to my tidying tendencies . . . now if you’ll excuse me- I’ll be working on tossing out at least half the items I own.
Currently reading Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.  What have you been reading lately?
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Valentine’s Day Happy Mail!

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Are you into Valentine’s Day in a big way?  I wouldn’t say that I am, but one thing that I do love about the upcoming special day is it gives me an excuse to send out cute cards, eat candy and cupcakes, and not feel bad about making O watch a cheesy chick flick (ha! Just kidding . . . sort of ;-)
I remember when I was a little girl my Dad would buy a little box of those hard candy conversation hearts for me and my sister.  I was never really a fan of the candies (I’m a total chocolate lover) but just the fact that I got a special little box meant the world to me!  This year, in the spirit of doing something small but special I decided to send out happy mail to a few amazing friends.
These packages were so fun to make.  I included a handmade card, some conversation hearts, candy corn, gum balls, and some sticker confetti.
I wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day this Saturday!  Whether you’re spending the day with your significant other, friend, or by yourself, may you have a day full of chocolate and happiness!

Our Wedding Album

IMG_5123 IMG_5126 IMG_5127 IMG_5128 IMG_5134IMG_5131It may have taken me a year and two months to put our wedding book together, but I finally made it happen!  Our photographer gave us over 500 photos from our special day and it was quite a feat to select, resize, and organize some of our favorites into a memory book.  I hope one day our kids stumble across this book in a similar way that I stumbled across my parents’ wedding album when I was a little girl.  I remember that moment feeling completely magical- like I had found some secret treasure where I could visit that day and imagine what it must have been like.  I know that’s totally the romantic side of me talking, but how can you not get a little over sentimental when you’re talking about weddings and love? Gah! ;-)

I used Artifact Uprising to pull this book together.  I loved how easy the website was to use, how personal the whole experience of using this company felt, and of course how the end product turned out.  My completely honest opinion- two thumbs up!

Zion National Park

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There are many things to love about Zion National Park.  I love the fact that one can get an overall sense of the park and see a lot of the scenery by just spending an hour in the car driving through.  However, if you’re more of an adventurer, there are also many areas to explore on foot by way of trails.   Omar and I had read that the traffic and parking within the park can get pretty horrible (there’s only one lane with very few pullouts) which is why they have a tram to take you into the park.  We found that traffic was minimal during the early morning hours in the off season.  It’s pretty cold, but still bearable ;-)

On our short trip we tried to do a little bit of everything.  We took a drive into the park before sunrise so we could watch the sky change colors against the massive canyon walls (fyi- it’s really hard to find a good place to watch the sun come up when you’re in a canyon! Ha!). Then we took some time to drive through the whole canyon, stopping along the way to take pictures and touch the canyon walls.  We also went on a hike after getting some advice from a local shop clerk (and avid hiker!) as to where the “if you could only hike one trail in the park it would be  ___” trail was.   

Taking a trip through Zion is a really fun experience.  The natural setting is eye candy and you just might see a deer on the side of the road if you’re lucky :-)

You Got This!

IMG_5102Cheers to this Monday morning, when I’m celebrating the fact that I have a new laptop power cord and trying to forget the fact that I missed out on a day’s worth of work because my computer couldn’t charge.  Cheers to writing a real time blog post because I didn’t have something ready to go this morning due to previously said fact.  Cheers to waking up at 5:30am and celebrating with a girlscout cookie.  Cheers to being okay that life is never a smooth course, but you can learn to kick butt at taking on the bumps . . . that sounds like a quote I read somewhere.  I think everyone needs their own personal cheerleader on Monday morning saying, “it’s Monday, but you got this!”  Let’s find little ways to celebrate this Monday.   You got this!