January 2019 Reads

January 2019 Reads

Not only do I love to read, but I believe books are meant to be shared.

I always seem to be reading multiple books at once, and my stack of reads on my nightstand never seems to go down because once I finish one book I add another one to the queue. If you’re curious, here are my January 2019 reads:

  • Theres No Such Thing As Bad Weather: As a new mother, I need all the reminders/parenting advice I can get. Even though we don’t really have bad winters here in sunny Southern California, I was attracted to this book based on the premise that bad weather shouldn’t stop us from taking our children outside. The title of the book, along with the addition of “there’s only bad clothes,” just about sums up the entire message of this book. However, I also loved learning more about Scandanavian culture, including  fika (making time for friends and family to share a cup of coffee (or tea) and a little something to eat) and friluftsliv (open air life). Makes me want to visit Sweden!
  • A Place For Us: Ever since high school I have been a fan of Jhumpa Lahiri, so I was excited to learn about the author of this book, Fatima Farheen Mirza. Like Lahiri, Mirza writes about the Indian immigrant experience in America – which I always find fascinating. This book jumps back and forth between time periods and different family members’s points of views, adding a new layer to the family’s saga with each perspective. I found the book a little slow with no clear direction. I was about to give up on it but the concluding chapter, which finally adds the father’s heart wrenching narrative ties the preceding chapters together…and tugs at your heart.

Recent Reads

Recent Reads

Not only do I love to read, but I believe books are meant to be shared.

I always seem to be reading multiple books at once, and my stack of reads on my nightstand never seems to go down because once I finish one book I add another one to the queue. If you’re curious, here are some of my recent reads:

  • Like a MotherA refreshing look at pregnancy, Like a Mother unpacks not only the science behind pregnancy (The placenta is AMAZING! How your body produces breast milk to provide exactly what your baby needs is fascinating!) but also leaves the reader with the author’s honest perspective on the challenges, realities and intricacies of pregnancy and motherhood.
  • Great with Child: This book was recommended to me by a sweet friend, who is also a mama-to-be (and mama to a sweet toddler boy). This book connects with mamas and mamas-to-be by poetically penning common hopes, fears, wants and wishes. It’s a beautiful meditation on motherhood, and in my experience, best enjoyed slowly with a cup of coffee or tea.
  • Gift from the SeaI found this book on my bookshelf and wondered how long it had been sitting there unread and who gave it to me.  And after reading it, I wondered why I had never picked it up before. This small book is a quick read that offers reflections on love, solitude, marriage and contentment – common themes that are just as relevant today as they were were in 1955 when this sweet read was originally published.
  • Work Rules: This book was dense, and took me a while to read. In between some of the more instructional chapters on how to lead an effective organization, I took away some great nuggets that inspired me to be a better leader, manager and employee. Something that resonated with me the most? The reminder to always be a founder, no matter your role. “One of my hopes in writing this book is that anyone reading it starts thinking of themselves as a founder. Maybe not of an entire company, but the founder of a team, a family, a culture. The fundamental lesson from Google’s experience is that you must first choose whether you are a founder or an employee. It’s not a question of literal ownership. It’s a question of attitude.” BOOM.
  • The PearlRecently reread this Steinbeck classic, complete with the rips and tears and folds from first reading it during my junior year of high school. I remember writing an essay then about the female power in the book and how Kino’s wife knew all along what evil the pearl held. I have reread it a few different times over the years and I think more than anything I like Steinbeck’s storytelling and how the story serves as a good reminder of what is important in life.
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: I’ve been jonesing for a good new fiction read lately this one and this one definitely met my literary needs. It’s a story of a quirky young lady, Eleanor, and despite her social awkwardness and her often inept ability to have an adult conversation,  she becomes very likable to the reader (and hilarious without meaning to be). Her sad and heartbreaking past and lonely life will leave you examining how you can better help someone in your life who may be lonely or need or someone who cares.

See past monthly reading lists:

Wear the Coat

Anthropologie Coat

My favorite piece of clothing is a colorful coat from Anthropologie that I bought in 2012 on 5th avenue in New York City.

It was a sale purchase, but was still a splurge at the time. And to this day, it is my most coveted article of clothing. However, and maybe because I have deemed it as the most special, I have only worn it a handful of times in the last six years. And, only for special occasions.

But this morning, for no reason in particular, I decided to wear the coat to work. I had no meetings, no reason to use an extra ounce of flair, and no reason to don a colorful coat. But I wore it anyway.

In my greater effort to celebrate every day, wearing this coat today was a nod to just that. No day should be seen as mundane. Every day is an opportunity to leave your mark, drink a little champagne and if you have a choice…wear the damn coat.

Vegan Lemon Bars

When life gives you lemons, make vegan lemon bars!

I have a wonderful coworker who is known to bring in fresh produce to the office to share. This week she kindly brought in a bag of lemons and I promptly snatched a few up and immediately started looking for an easy lemon dessert recipe to try. When I found Bakerita’s No Bake Lemon Bars, I knew this was the recipe I had to try. A non-dairy, yet still creamy, treat that doesn’t require a long list of crazy ingredients is my type of dessert. And these lemon bars did not disappoint! I followed Bakerita’s recipe but took liberty with the measurements (More maple syrup? Sure! A couple more tablespoons of coconut oil? Of course!) and the end result was as delicious as I imagined.

Vegan Lemon Bars

Challenge Accepted

challenge accepted

I read about two books a month. And I’m happy with that number, but I recently read this article that concludes we have the capacity to read over 200 books a year. 200 books a year. That sounds like A LOT, especially since I work a full-time job and spend almost an hour commuting each day (in a non-driverless car). So where does all this time to read more (a lot more) books come from?

Maybe I should put down my phone more and find out. #ChallengeAccepted

 

We Are All Influencers

Influencers

Working in the world of marketing, the topic of influencers comes up a lot. From a marketing perspective I get it. Employ a person with a large social media following to help sell your product. These seemingly regular people, with large social media followings, have now become as big as billboards and sometimes as expensive as Super Bowl ads.

But I think there is a problem with that from a civil perspective. The issue is that categorizing only people with social klout as influencers takes the responsibility and capacity to influence away from the rest of us.

We are all influencers. Everyone is. We influence others with our actions. We make recommendations through the places we go and the companies we spend money on. We lead others with our words. We are influencers on social media and we are influencers in real life and whether you have 2 million Instagram followers or two hundred, we hold the ability to influence and impact others. And we can all make someone else’s day or do something nice for something else.

So go on, show the world your influence. We are all influencers.

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” – Mother Teresa

January Reading List

january reading list

Not only do I love to read, but I believe books are meant to be shared.

I always seem to be reading multiple books at once, and my stack of reads on my nightstand never seems to go down because once I finish one book I add another one to the queue. If you’re curious, here’s what I read in January:

  • The Soul of Money:  This is not your typical finance book. Instead, it reminds us of the power that money holds over us and the self-talk it creates in terms of sufficiency. While I didn’t love the storytelling part of this book, I came away with a huge mindset shift on how to think about money. I am learning to be much more intentional about the way I use money – from what companies I spend it on, what organizations I donate it to, what I am saving it for, what hobbies I spend my expendable money on, and how I look at the job that I make money at – because my relationship with money and where it is going is a direct reflection of my values.
  • Finding God in the Waves January was a month filled with celebration, love and deep loss. It was the type of month that led me to turn to the spirit world and really question the meaning of life. And for me, when I get introspective on life, God always pokes his head in and wants to be part of the conversation. And finally, FINALLY, a book helped me define who and what this God guy really is. This book articulated a belief system that I feel deeply but have not been able to put into words, and I recommend it to anyone who has ever felt the pull of faith without ever being able to understand it or always believe it.

See past monthly reading lists:

Celebrating 2017

celebrating 2017

In 2017, I hiked. I ran. A lot. I was humbled by the ocean and knocked down by waves. I danced. I danced with friends. I danced with my husband. I don’t claim to dance well, but I danced for many reasons and one of my favorite reasons was to dance as a form of celebration.

I grew in my career in 2017. At work, I was – and I am – challenged daily. But more importantly, I am given an opportunity each and every day to learn. To grow. To lead. To contribute. To collaborate. To be creative. To be inspired by those around me. I choose to celebrate this opportunity rather than focus on my shortcomings or things I can’t do.

In June of 2017, we traveled to Sayulita, Mexico where I had the honor of standing by my best friend as her maid of honor at her sweet wedding. Five days later we hopped on a plane to make a quick jaunt to celebrate another best friend’s 30th birthday in Santa Cruz. It has brought me so much joy this year to watch these two women, along with many other dear friends who crossed milestones, step into new seasons of their life with passion and purpose. Now, that’s definitely something to celebrate.

The cancer of 2017 was Brian’s dad diagnosis with Leukemia, but with the disease has come the most beautiful form of strength, resilience and fellowship. My father-in-law, Mark, is facing this trial with dignity and humor, and he inspires me every day. On top of that – as with many hardships – it has brought our family together even more and further connected me to my Gump brothers and sister. Together we celebrate life and kicking cancer’s butt.

As we get older it seems to get harder to get my family all together, and a last-minute idea to celebrate Thanksgiving in Colorado at my sister’s house was the best thing ever. Thanksgiving weekend was spent adventuring with my husband, hanging with my sisters and brother-in-laws, playing with my nieces and nephews, cooking with my mom and running with my dad. All of my favorite things and people packed into one long weekend filled with celebration and gratitude.

We ended the year with a quick trip to Yosemite and on the last day of 2017, with just hours until the new year, we hiked to a mountain peak and toasted to the new year. I don’t know what it was about being up there – maybe because the elevation is closer to God or nature or maybe it was the reward of the cold beer – but the reflection and resolutions felt extra celebratory this year.

It can’t go without note that this year started in the absolute best way possible, as I wed the love of my life on 1.7.17. Marrying Brian has been a life-changing event in more ways than I expected. Not only is he my partner and my person, but what I didn’t expect from marriage is how I would grow personally. He amplifies my positive attributes by bringing out my joy, humor, voice, spirituality, and drive. And at the same time he helps me find more patience, energy, acceptance and physical strength – things that come more naturally to him. He helps me sets goals and together we celebrate our successes.

We received a wedding gift from a dear friend that was a beautiful gold rimmed plate, delicately engraved with the words, “May there always be a reason to celebrate.” In short, that was my motto for 2017 and it’s a motto I will strive for every day and every year thereafter.

2018 – let’s continue the celebration.

 

A Holiday Reminder

Holiday reminder

I found this image on Instagram and it was a very timely reminder and something I needed to hear.

Holiday reminder

The hustle and bustle of the holidays gets to me every year. Shorter weeks at work. A never-ending to do list. Christmas gifts that won’t wrap themselves. Late nights. Early mornings. It just doesn’t seem to stop.

Stop.

This is the season to GIVE.  Give time. Give positivity. Patience. Joy. Calm. Give help. Give your presence. And of course, some gifts too.

What a message. And something I could use reminding of all year long. Lets keep spreading the happy and the merry rather than the stressed and the weary.