Weekly Reflection 2019 – 33

Magic I Saw this Week: This week’s magic was seeing Jake’s family visit and having all the kids play together and watching my husband share his love of climbing with his family.

Magic I Made this Week: Since my last update Jake and I did two hikes. One to strenuous one in East Bay and one easy but longish one in Palo Alto. It was wonderful.

Magic of Me that I explored Week: hmm i did some fantastic work with my coach this week. some good learnings.

Top Goals Review:  

  • Work: did a small amount of work on next steps on tokyo and markets, i made some progress on figuring out culture d&i, i didn’t yet sort out the growing leadership stuff, i so did not stay on top of email.
  • Personal: i did do my daily drawing, i exercised , i journaled a bunch, i hiked, i did not really do one new thing daily, and i did do one yoga but no walking or other morning plan, i did make time to sleep.
  • Family:  we took family photos, we did not clean out kids’ closets, we did not get ready for school things, hugged kids.

I celebrate: starting hiking and my solid 5.9 climbs this week.

I am grateful for: the time we spent with Jake’s family.

This week, I exercised: i had a great week. i hiked on Sunday, did body pump on Monday and Wednesday, did yoga on Tuesday, went rock climbing on Thursday and hiked again on Friday. It was a good week.

Self-care this week: not super great on self care at the moment.

I showed up for: hiking.

I said yes to: working a bit longer days

I said no to: working more

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Embrace:  i am embracing this new hiking goal.
  • Alive: i feel so alive in nature.
  • Lighter: i will feel lighter when all my email is done.
  • Kinder: i am working on this so hard. i am working on rewriting my tapes.
  • Surrender: surrendering to having to work on the weekends

What I tolerated this week: soreness .

My mood this week was: positive.

I am proud of: all the working out this week. the climbing and hiking both!

I forgive myself for: not being in as good a shape as I wish I were.

Here’s what I learned this week: i learned that I have some tapes I wasn’t even aware of. I’m learning.

What I love right now: i love being out in nature.


Weekly Reflection is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2019 here.

Moments of Gratitude – 27

this is our vacation layout. all photos from ecuador and galapagos
i used one more page to add all the photos.

Here’s to Seeing more Magic in 2019.


Moments of Gratitude is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2019 here.

Joy of Art – 32

I’ve been doing art daily for the last few months, each of these pieces matches with a book I am reading. You can see them all daily in my instagram.


Joy of Art is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2019 here.

Books I Read This Week 2019 – 33

Thanks to travel, some awesome reading this week. Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


The Most Fun We Ever Had (4.5 stars): This is exactly the kind of book I love. It’s a long multi-generational family story so you get completely immersed in each of these characters. I loved each character and I also loved that the story goes back and forth in time so that their stories unveil piece by piece and there are moments the reader knows more than a particular character and other moments where you’re confused and wondering what happened in the past that made this characters be where they are in this present. As all the pieces came together, I had already fallen in love with each character and didn’t want the story to end. I loved this one. It’s the perfect book to immerse yourself in during a long day.


The Dutch House (4.5 stars): “Disappointment comes from expectation, and in those days I had no expectation that Andrea would get and thing less than what she wanted.”

Ann Patchett’s novels are always a journey and this one is no exception. This story starts with two siblings Maeve and Danny who live in a giant house with their family and some help. The mother leaves and the dad ends up marrying another woman who has two younger daughters of her own. Everything in the story winds backwards and forwards in time from there. 

This story told from the little boy, Danny’s, perspective takes the characters from their child years all the way to old age. There is so much here to talk about, but there were three most resonant themes for me. One is about the strong bond between the two siblings. The way their lives were completely intertwined with each other. The way they would drop anything at the drop of a hat and be there for each other. The way their love and support for each other was 100% unwavering and unconditional. It was palpable in the whole story.

“Mothers were the measure of safety, which meant that I was safer than Maeve. After our mother left, Maeve took up the job on my behalf but no one did the same for her.”

The second theme was of sacrifice. The theme of saints. Is a parent leaving her kids but then out there saving the world a good parent or a bad parent? What does it mean if she is helping those who need help but abandoning her kids in the process? So many questions that are hard to answer here.

“In the city of constant stimulation, we had failed to give them the opportunity to develop strong inner lives for those occasions when they would find themselves sitting through the second act of The Nutcracker

And finally, the theme that was most resonant for me: living your life in a particular way just out of spite. There’s so much in this book done out of spite. Done out of resentment and anger. When we carry all this with us, it shapes our whole life and then these terrible things people did to us end up continuing long after they are not in our life. And this book has such strong examples of what it looks like to live with all that.

Every character in this book is 3-dimensional and you can feel them moving in the story. The house itself is definitely another character and looms over the story just like many of the paintings mentioned. It shapes everything. I loved every page of this book even if the ending wasn’t all I wished it were. 

Thank you to netgalley and HarperCollins Publishers for an advanced copy in return for an honest review.


Notes to Self (3.5 stars): These essays were raw and honest. Even though the author and I have very little in common in the paths we’ve taken, choices we’ve made, and misfortunes we’ve encountered, what I appreciate the most here is that she’s willing to write openly about subjects we usually are not “supposed to” talk about. She is willing to be vulnerable and real about some of the toughest moments of our lives. There are things that happen to us and things that we chose to do and in both of these categories, our worthiness gets revisited again and again. This collection is a reminder to me that one of the ways we heal is by choosing to talk about such things. We make it less of a mystery, we release the shame associated with it, and most importantly, we feel less alone. Any book that makes me feel less alone in the world is a gift.


Has Anyone Seen the President? (3 stars): This is a super-super short read. It’s a tiny glimpse into one day in Lewis’ life where he gets to go to Washington and spends the day with Bannon. Nothing new here at this point. I have his longer book, too, which I assume will not be very different but might at least have a bit more depth. I always enjoy a Michael Lewis article so it was still a worthwhile read.


Searching for Sylvie Lee (3 stars): While I read this whole book in one breath and enjoyed it very much, I didn’t end up connecting with any of the characters and I also didn’t feel like I had enough context, depth, or development of character for the resolution of the story to feel satisfying. Having said that, I really loved the juxtaposition of all the different cultures in this story and I enjoyed the fact that it alternated between the two sisters. I loved many of the details that highlighted the cultural choices the characters were making. It’s a story about family, betrayal, and love but I think above all, it’s a story about how things are not how they seem and how we don’t know much about even the people we’re closest to in our lives. And how secrets can be so damaging to our relationships, our lives, and our perspective.


On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (3.5 stars): The language in this novel was wonderful. Lyrical and visual. The story was also an amazing read but it was so sad and so tough that I had a hard time reading it. I had to put it down several times. This book covers many issues from immigration, race, gender, identity, language and grief. It has parts that are graphic and some really heart-wrenching scenes. I am glad I read it but it was a hard read and I didn’t find myself connecting to it. Still really glad I read it.


Limitless Mind (5 stars): “In every moment of our lives our brains have opportunities to make connections, to strengthen pathways, and form new pathways.”

I’ve highlighted almost every page of this book. None of the concepts around growth mindset were new to me. I took a course by the amazing teachers at Stanford almost 5 years ago when my son was in elementary school and the concepts resonated with me then. I believed in it and wanted to encourage my kids to think this way.

“This approach illustrates a key takeaway – when you hit a barrier, it is advantageous to develop a new approach and come at the problem from a new perspective.”

But none of it brought it home the way this book did, for me. Even though parts of it were repetitive, I needed that repetition, I needed to hear the ideas again and again so I could internalize them in the right way. I’ve been taught the opposite messages my whole life, it’s going to take a long time to unlearn and repetitive exposure to these ideas and examples is a start.

“The difference between positive and negative interactions frequently depends on three aspects of being unlocked: having an open mind, asking analytical questions, and embracing uncertainty.”

There are parts of a growth mindset that I think I already do naturally. I am not afraid to ask questions, try new approaches, and I will often work on having an open mind. But uncertainty is almost never my friend. And yet, even there, I have many examples in my life when I’ve taken a big uncertain risk and have learned more in the process.

“If you settle into routines and do the same thing everyday, it is unlikely that your brain will grow new pathways and connections.”

This one was hard on me, I am a person of routine. I do so much of the same thing every day. So it’s a reminder for me to try one new thing every day. However small or big, it means I am growing and creating new connections in my brain. 

“So my final advice for you is to embrace struggle and failure, take risks, and don’t let people obstruct your pathways. If a barrier or roadblock is put in your way, find a way around it, take a different approach…Do not accept a life with limits. Instead of looking back on things that have gone badly, look forward and be positive about opportunities for learning and improvement. See others as collaborators, with whom you can grow and learn. Share uncertainty with them and be open to different ways of thinking.”

I am going to print this quote and frame it both at home and at my desk at work. I don’t want a life with limits. I want to grow and learn and thrive every single day of my life in every area of my life. I am eternally grateful to Jo Boaler for the reminder of the mindset I need to practice to ensure my life can be limitless.

with gratitude to netgalley and harper collins for an early copy in return for an honest review.


Do the Work: Unf*ck Yourself Workbook (4 stars): “When you’re in a constant conversation about why you’re stuck, you’ll embolden and embellish it. It will become the altar at which you’ll sacrifice your entire life experience.”

Gary Bishop’s no nonsense approach works for me. There’s nothing he says that I don’t know deep down or haven’t heard before. But he cuts to the chase and gives it to you straight. I don’t mind the cursing, in fact, it helps me get to the point faster.

“You have to hold yourself to account for your own purpose; no one is coming to save you or lift you up or inspire you. That’s your fucking job.”

No one. I do the work, or it doesn’t get done. I keep having to learn this again and again.

“You are a space for life to happen, a wild and wondrous environment for miracles and hardships and everything in between. You are a moment, a loud bang in a burst of time that trails to a whisper and then disappears into the abyss.”

In the end, this is the truth that matters most. No one is coming to save me and I can’t save anyone else. I owe it to me to live my best life because I only get one. And I am here for a moment, I want to make that moment as magical as it can be. I don’t want to waste it with anxiety or worrying about how I look to others or all the other noise in my head. I want to feel alive and I want to breathe every one of those moments I get.

“Do the work.”

And here I go. Off to do the work.

Thank you, Gary, thank you edelweiss and HarperOne for the advanced copy.


And there we go, a good week of reading. Here’s to a great week next week.


Books I Read this Week 2019 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2019 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Stories from 2019 – 33

david winning prizes at science fair
david working hard!
self-care practices
passover dinner
climbing more!

Here are more stories from my 2019 album. The content for these comes from Ali Edwards Story Kits.


Stories from 2019 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2019 here. Everything on the pages is from Ali’s Story Kits unless mentioned otherwise.

Everyday Magic – 33

Weekly Intention: Ok this is the last week of summer for us. Next Monday David starts high school. Still can’t believe I am writing these words. Nathaniel has one more week but David starts early because he has a camp before school starts. So this is our last week enjoying summer. My plan is to spend a bit of extra time in the evenings with the kids. And for work, I want to spend the first hour I’m home cleaning email, doing work so that I can then not work all night.

This month’s intention is: Work Your Magic: Time to get organized again, transitions are coming, big ones this time. Get organized, plan, prepare and do what you need to do. Yes it’s time to buy the school supplies, get the clothes sorted, and get everyone ready for the school year.

One way I will show up this week:  focused, open, curious.

One magic I will make this week: go hiking with Jake.

This week, I will pay attention to: my mindset when i approach people

This week, I will be kinder to: my kids

This week, I will focus on pleasing: hmmm i think i will just focus on one person at a time.

One new thing I will learn this week: this week i am going to see if i can do one new thing each day, i will make a list and share.

I am looking forward to: having one more week of summer.

This week’s challenges: i am hoping to take things one day at a time this week.

Top Goals: 

  • Work: get next steps on tokyo and markets, figure out culture d&i, sort out the growing leadership stuff, stay on top of email.
  • Personal: daily drawing, exercise, journal, hike, do one new thing daily, and restart yoga or walking or some other morning plan, make time to sleep.
  • Family:  family photos, clean out kids’ closets, get ready for school things, hugs kids.

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: love for learning and growing
  • Learn: one new thing each day
  • Peace: how long it takes to learn
  • Service: to all around me
  • Gratitude: for feeling better.

This week, I want to remember: that my mind is limitless.


Everyday Magic is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2019 here.

Weekly Reflection 2019 – 32

Magic I Saw this Week: This whole week was magic. The water, the lush forests, Jake pushing himself so hard, reading, resting, drawing, sleeping hard. All of it was magic.

Magic I Made this Week: I made this holiday possible. I also found the awesome hike we went on on our last day which was the biggest highlight of my vacation. Super magical.

Magic of Me that I explored Week: lots and lots of journaling and progress this week thanks to the Do the Work workbook. yay!!

Top Goals Review:  

  • Work: kept up with email enough to not stress when i return.
  • Personal: did daily drawing, exercised a bit by hiking twice, journaled, walked a bunch, and did not restart yoga, but did get some awesome sleep.
  • Family:  hugged my kids, went on adventures with my hubby

I celebrate: our awesome vacation

I am grateful for: being able to afford the money and the time to have such magical moments in my life.

This week, I exercised: we went on two hikes together.

Self-care this week: all of this week was self-care.

I showed up for: my kids and my husband.

I said yes to: hiking when i didn’t want to.

I said no to: going out when i really wanted to sit by the pool.

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Embrace:  i am embracing nature so much
  • Alive: i felt the most alive i’ve felt in years when we went to the waterfall.
  • Lighter: i feel so so much lighter now.
  • Kinder: i am going to try to be kinder to myself, to my kids, to jake and to every single person i know. i will collaborate.
  • Surrender: surrendering to the magic of life

What I tolerated this week: suburn.

My mood this week was: grateful.

I am proud of: the hiking we did to get to the waterfall

I forgive myself for: all the noise in my head

Here’s what I learned this week: i learned so much about growth mindset this week.

What I love right now: i love my one and only magical life.


Weekly Reflection is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2019 here.

Moments of Gratitude – 26

this week is my polaris class at work and starting our galapagos trip.
and the name tag again as well as our typhoid medication

Here’s to Seeing more Magic in 2019.


Moments of Gratitude is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2019 here.

Joy of Art – 31

I’ve been doing art daily for the last few months, each of these pieces matches with a book I am reading. You can see them all daily in my instagram.


Joy of Art is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2019 here.

Books I Read This Week 2019 – 32

Solid reading this week. Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


Callings (4 stars): I have never heard of StoryCorps but I loved the title of this book when it showed up at my library so I knew I wanted to read it. It turned out to be a total gem. It’s full of very short stories from real people’s lives and how they ended up or chose with the career they love. It’s very touching and very real. There’s a section specifically for the military as well. I loved each of the stories in their unique way. The variety is what makes this collection even more of a joy to read because you can tell it’s not trying to impart a perspective or a lesson. It’s just giving you glimpses into real people and their real moments. It was exceptionally lovely on audio.


The Wedding Party (3 stars): I enjoy Guillory’s novels and know that they will be funny, a bit sarcastic and land squarely on sweet. I felt this one was lighter (or maybe more predictable) than usual so I started and stopped it a few times but once I got into it, it was a fun ride for the few hours it took me to read it. If you’ve read the other two, you’ll likely also enjoy the cameo.


The Confession Club (4 stars): “It’s all well and good to congratulate someone on something good that they did, or to acknowledge what’s wonderful or exceptional about them. And we should do that; we should never be spiritually stingy. But to say out loud our missteps or inadequacies – to _confess_ in an honest way and to be lovingly heard – well, that’s the kind of redemption we need on a regular basis.”

Elizabeth Berg’s novels are a joy to read. They are quiet and sweet and kind and wind their way through your heart and soul. Her characters are richly layered and multi-dimensional and human. They have flaws, fears, delights and everything in between.

“Apparently, sometimes when you feel yourself done with something, you’re not done with it at all.”

This lovely story is just like what we’ve come to expect from Berg, it’s about women aged 20 to 70 who meet regularly for “confession club” where they confess to something they feel bad about. Something they are ashamed of or embarrassed to admit out loud. There are a wide range of confessions, from funny to sad to serious but they all have a lot of heart, of course.

“She envies Nola for the way she is always in a rush to do everything, the way she rises so quickly to the possibility of joy. Most of all, she envies Nola her default setting of goodwill toward man, beast, or weather.”

It’s also about a homeless Vietnam Vet who is finding his way through and meets one of the main characters in the novel. I found him to be a great addition to the story, and really enjoyed his chapters, his journey, and his struggles.

“There are quite a few design flaws in us humans, you know. More than in animals and plants. And I guess we have to cope with them. Don’t have to like them, just have to cope with them.”

There is some plot in this story but really it’s about people, it’s about getting old, it’s about being lonely, it’s about navigating life or marriage or motherhood or friendship. It’s about what it means to be human.

“That’s what life is, at its best. A confession club: people admitting to doubts, fears and failures.”

I am always left with a deep feeling of gratitude when I read Berg’s novels. This one is no exception. They make me feel less alone, softer and kinder.

“We forget how ready people are to help. You can talk all you want about the evil spirit of man. But I don’t think it’s true. I think most of us are just dying to be good. And one way we can do that is to forgive the bad in others as well as in ourselves.”

So many good reminders in this story, about taking risks, giving people chances, giving ourselves chances, and most of all about forgiveness. So grateful for writers like Berg.

Huge thanks to netgalley and Random House for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


The More or Less Definitive Guide to Self-Care (4 stars): Self-care can be (and has been) defined many different ways. Many of the resources I’ve seen over the course of the last year have all been focusing on the “pampering” aspect of self-care. Things like taking baths, getting a pedicure, etc. I’ve also seen examples around practicing gratitude, journaling, etc. What’s great about this book is that is has both and then so much more. I think it’s relatively true to its title in that it’s pretty exhaustive.

“The goal of self-care is an ever-morphing target, so concentrate on getting to know yourself and your needs instead of thinking in terms of cures and fixes, solutions and antidotes.”

This book doesn’t pass judgement on how to define self-care and what’s acceptable and what’s not. It casts a wide net and gives you so many options that you feel empowered to pick what works for you at different times in your journey.

There are so many awesome ideas in this book that I can’t imagine there won’t be one that speaks to you. I’ve read several books and hundreds of articles on self-care in the last few years and there were several new-to-me ideas in this book. Many of which I was excited to try immediately.

If self-care is an area where you’re interested in exploring or if it’s an area where you’ve explored for a while and would like fresh ideas, I think you will love this book.

thank you to netgalley and the experiment for an advanced copy in return for an honest review.


The Gifted School (3 stars): My children attend a “gifted” school so I was both curious and reluctant to read this. I finally got myself mentally and emotionally prepared and then…. well and then it was a bit of a letdown. I feel like the book could have been (and tried to be, at parts) about the ramifications on bringing a public gifted school into a community and whether that’s a good idea or not (from the perspective of educational policy, using tax dollar money, etc.) I get that, it might have made the book less salacious but it would have been more thoughtful and interesting, in my opinion. The book does have some of that but, especially towards the end, it devolves into the increasingly poor decisions made by the parents and shocking revelations in their community, etc.

In the end it’s a book about how people can be backbiting even if they are “best” friends when they perceive a situation to be competition between their kids and someone else’s kids. If there’s a way to stack rank our kids or put barriers, then people can make really poor decisions morally. I didn’t find this at all to be surprising (maybe because i’ve seen it first hand?) so the plot of the book sort of fell apart for me as it became more soap opera and less an interesting take on the impact on community, etc.


The Lager Queen of Minnesota (4 stars): I read Strada’s previous novel Kitchens of the Great Midwest and loved it so I was not surprised that I loved this one, too. This novel has a fantastic blend of 3-dimensional, interesting, quirky-but-real characters with a plot that circles back in to itself, just like real life does. It’s full of heart, joy, and hope. It’s about real people, in real life situations, who show resilience, support, and strength for each other. I loved every single moment I spent with this book and cannot wait to read more from this author.


And there we go, an okay week of reading. Here’s to a great week next week.


Books I Read this Week 2019 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2019 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Stories from 2019 – 32

Work Offsite.

Here are more stories from my 2019 album. The content for these comes from the new pieces kit and then leftovers from all my previous kits.

science fairs and stem fairs
tech challenge 2019!
going to the movies with the kids and laughing!!
nathaniel being awesome

Stories from 2019 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2019 here. Everything on the pages is from Ali’s Story Kits unless mentioned otherwise.

Everyday Magic – 32

Weekly Intention: This is vacation week! The intention this week is to rest and relax as much as possible and let my family relax the way they prefer to.

This month’s intention is: Work Your Magic: Time to get organized again, transitions are coming, big ones this time. Get organized, plan, prepare and do what you need to do. Not just yet. I give myself one more week off.

One way I will show up this week:  present and quiet.

One magic I will make this week: letting my family do whatever they want

This week, I will pay attention to: my family

This week, I will be kinder to: my family

This week, I will focus on pleasing: my family 🙂

One new thing I will learn this week: just relaxing and reading and journaling this week

I am looking forward to: having a few days off.

This week’s challenges: just catching up on all the work will be challenging.

Top Goals: 

  • Work: keep up with email enough to not stress when i return.
  • Personal: daily drawing, exercise, journal, walk, and restart yoga, sleep.
  • Family:  hug my kids, go on adventures with my hubby

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: love for vacations
  • Learn: to relax and be present
  • Peace: for time off
  • Service: to family this week
  • Gratitude: for getting to go on wonderful vacations.

This week, I want to remember: to enjoy every moment


Everyday Magic is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2019 here.