Everyday Magic – 25

Weekly Intention: [still no prioritized list.] This is my last week before I take a small amount of time off, so my intention this week is to focus really hard on work and button up as many things as I can so that I feel like I am at a good place to leave.

This month’s intention is: Big Magic: And here’s summer. Time to go big again. Add some magic to your days with your kids and husband. Take trips, add wonder and awe. If you’re going to go big once this year, this is the time. This is the week in between two pieces of magic.

One way I will show up this week:  motivated, driven, focused.

One magic I will make this week: get really organized both with my todo list and plan for the people.

This week, I will pay attention to: what needs to get done. where I can empower others more.

This week, I will be kinder to: everyone around me.

This week, I will focus on pleasing: all of the todo list items!

One new thing I will learn this week: a little bit about each of my team members and a solid understanding of what there is to do.

I am looking forward to: getting a lot done (crossing fingers!!)

This week’s challenges: Just a lot to do before I leave town.

Top Goals: 

  • Work: tokyo, get my todo list done, start personal plans
  • Personal: daily drawing, exercise, journal (!!), and restart yoga, sleep.
  • Family:  love and hug my people. make a summer plan for N. pack.

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: love for all my todo list.
  • Learn: learn how to be better organized.
  • Peace: with not being all perfect yet.
  • Service: to all the todo list still .
  • Gratitude: for having things to do.

This week, I want to remember: how excited I feel about stretching my boundaries.


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

Weekly Reflection 2019 – 24

Magic I Saw this Week: There was so much magic this week. I started my week by traveling to Santa Cruz for a 3-day leadership course and it was at this magical place surrounded by beautiful evergreen trees and wonderful yoga and an infinity pool. Delicious, fresh food and time reserved for me to think about my career. It’s such a luxury to get to have all this and I am incredibly grateful for it. It was truly magical. Then I came home and worked hard and I’m so super excited about my work and all the ways in which I hope to grow.

Magic I Made this Week: I made time to go to this class which was amazing. I also went climbing twice with my family this week which was such magic, too. When I was in Santa Cruz, I met up with my friend Lori whom I hadn’t seen in years and years and we had a wonderful time together. I went in the pool even though I was uncomfortable with the idea of it. I went to yoga even though I was tired. I also kept drawing every day.

Magic of Me that I explored Week: hmmm i guess not much qualifies but there actually was a lot of this in my class this week.

Top Goals Review:  

  • Work: i spent a lot of time thinking about my career goals, i started working with new teams to get organized but have a long way to go, i also began making a plan for settling org but also really really early.
  • Personal: did daily drawing, did exercise, did not journal (!!), and did not restart yoga, slept pretty poorly all week. no bath tub at hotel.
  • Family:  loved and hugged my people. did not make a summer plan.

I celebrate: taking time to do this course.

I am grateful for: my new adventures at work. i feel grateful and excited.

This week, I exercised: i went climbing on monday and thursday, to yoga on Tuesday.

Self-care this week: i went in the pool! I met up with my friend.

I showed up for: myself this week.

I said yes to: some awesome challenges at work.

I said no to: working while I was in the class.

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Embrace:  i am embracing my new setup. here’s to doing the best I can.
  • Alive: the class made me feel alive and focused.
  • Lighter: i feel lighter as we approach our vacation.
  • Kinder: kinder to myself this week, i needed it.
  • Surrender: surrendering to doing the best i can with what i have

What I tolerated this week: sleeping poorly every night.

My mood this week was: vulnerable and open and tired.

I am proud of: being open.

I forgive myself for: feeling how i felt at the end.

Here’s what I learned this week: everyone has their own story and personal path.

What I love right now: being home for a bit before we leave.


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

Joy of Art – 23

beauty comes in all shapes. welcome it all into your life.

These are small pieces I do at work or at home at night to help remind me why I love doing art. 


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 – 24

This was a meh reading week, for me. 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.


A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World (3 stars): “Better a brain than a fist. A brain can hold anything, from giant things, like distant stars and planets, to tiny things we can’t see, like germs. A brain can even hold things that aren’t and never were, like hobbits. A brain can hold the whole universe, a fist just holds what little it can grab. Or hits what it can’t.” There are so many beautiful bits in this book, and yet, for me, it mostly dragged. I just couldn’t get into the story and didn’t ever really connect with the main character. In a book where the main character is alone 60+% of the time, this was a major issue.

While there is indeed a twist toward the end of this book, I couldn’t decide if the twist was at all necessary. I couldn’t decide if it added to the story in any way. Sometimes the twist makes you go back and revisit everything you held to be true while you were reading a story. In rare cases where that’s executed perfectly, that’s great. In most cases it’s just a disaster, in my opinion, where the author just assumes the reader is dumb and they can drop a huge twist with no hints along the way that just makes the first half of the story completely unimportant. I hate those. In this case, though, I felt it was neither. It didn’t do much to serve the story, and I think I would have enjoyed the end of the story just as much without the twist being presented in such a twisty way. 

I did enjoy the end of the story but I am not sure it made up for the whole time I invested in this one. If you like beautiful writing, dystopia, or twists, this might be your cup of tea.


Exhalation (4 stars):  I read Ted Chiang’s previous book after I’d already seen the movie Arrival. While I enjoyed the writing, I couldn’t get into the stories. I figured it was my inability to focus at the time so when this new collection came out, I was looking forward to it but also a bit apprehensive. I don’t usually read short story collections, so that only added to my overall worry that I wouldn’t like this book.

Alas, my worries were unfounded. If you’re a fan of science fiction and good writing, you will find something to treasure here. There are a wide range of stories and one of the best parts is the author’s note at the end of each story, telling you about how the idea came to be and what area of science it was based on. To me, that was icing on the cake. 

I loved many of the stories but for me the first and the last stories (“The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” and “Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom”) were the best. I also loved “Omphalos” and chatted about it at length with my fourteen year old. Even his titles make me smile.

So glad I decided to tackle this one.


The Unpassing (3 stars): “It was a kind of violence, what my father had done. He had brought us to a place we didn’t belong, and taken us from a place we did. Now we yearned for all places and found peace in none.”

This is a story about grief told from the perspective of a young boy of an immigrant family from Taiwan. The boy gets meningitis and is in a coma, when he wakes up, he finds out that his sister also got it and died. The story is about all the ways in which the family grieves the girl on top of the struggles they have as an immigrant family in Alaska. Things do not get better and there’s a lot of sadness in this character-driven story. 

The news from the time (80s) are also incorporated into the story, things like Challenger explosion, etc. The themes around grief, immigration, racism, bullying are all covered. The book is slow and grim but also has beautiful prose. 

If character-driven stories are your cup of tea, you will appreciate this one.


Rules for Visiting (3 stars): This is a very quiet novel and not much happens in it. But in a sweet, wonderful way. This book doesn’t focus on what’s going on but more about what does it mean for us to be human, what does friendship mean, and how do we make or keep friends. What does it mean to foster relationships in your life. 

I am more like the main character in this book than not, I have friends but i don’t really do the work to foster them too much. I prefer to be alone with my books. Unlike the main character I have a family so when I feel the need to connect, I have my wonderful family which makes it even less likely for me to try to foster and grow friendships. This book made me think a lot and I made a list of all the people who’ve been in my life that I’d rather have a closer relationship with so that I can also work on growing those relationships over the coming months. 

Any book that makes me more intentional about my life is a good book, for me.


Everything is F*cked (2 stars): I try to never ever give low ratings because I know that a lot of effort and care and blood and sweat goes into writing a book. And who am I to judge a book and say it was bad. But then again, these are just my opinions and I find that when I am looking around picking a book to read, the variety of opinions matter to me so I think it’s important to be honest about how I felt about reading a book so that other people can make choices that work for them.

I’ll say that I read and really liked Mason’s first book so I was very much looking forward to this one and hoping it would be more of the direct and honest style I’ve appreciated from him. And this book had some of that but it attempted to be so philosophical, so high level that I didn’t at all feel the personal connection to it like I did in the first book. It was all over the place and much less organized than the first book. 

It had some interesting and thought provoking ideas but many of them were from other books I’d already read, so not new to me. I did like much of his philosophical points and historical examples but it just didn’t really coalesce into a solid delivery in my opinion. 

I will still read more books by Manson and look forward to his next one, this one just wasn’t a home run for me.


Noble Heart (5 stars): I am a huge fan of Pema Chodron and this is a very comprehensive set of lectures. This was likely a recording at a retreat so the format is: lessons/learnings and then meditation over multiple days. It’s not ideal for listening to in one shot while running errands, etc. But to be honest, I can and will listen to Pema anytime, anywhere, under any condition. 

Her ability to take concepts and make them human, add a layer of humor and a layer of personal touch is unparalleled. She is such a good teacher because she’s fallible and the audience can relate to her so well because it’s clear she understands why we all seek these learnings because she clearly does, too. 

There is such a density of content here that I can listen to it again and again and appreciate it deeply each time. So grateful for teachers like her.


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 – 24

This story is just about my boys. all the ways in which they are so themselves.

Here are two stories from my 2019 album. The content for these comes from the “habit” kit and then leftovers from all my previous kits. 

This one is about new years eve and how we were all together as a family.

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 – 24

Weekly Intention: I find it hilarious that I still didn’t do a prioritized list. Maybe this week while I am away I can do it. This week my intention is to be really open. To listen, learn, be honest and show up to receive.

This month’s intention is: Big Magic: And here’s summer. Time to go big again. Add some magic to your days with your kids and husband. Take trips, add wonder and awe. If you’re going to go big once this year, this is the time. Oooh here we go. My leadership course in Santa Cruz is this week and I am reading for the work and the awe. Let’s go big.

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

One magic I will make this week: i’d like to get a bit organized and be really present with my people.

This week, I will pay attention to: my career. my goals. that’s what the class is for.

This week, I will be kinder to: myself.

This week, I will focus on pleasing: my team and myself and my manager.

One new thing I will learn this week: i will get to learn about my career goals i hope.

I am looking forward to: the class

This week’s challenges: I am out of town Monday through Wednesday this week. It puts pressure on the other two days. And I will miss my family.

Top Goals: 

  • Work: think about my career goals, work with new teams to get organized, make a plan for settling org.
  • Personal: daily drawing, exercise, journal (!!), and restart yoga, sleep. baths at the hotel?
  • Family:  love and hug my people. make a summer plan.

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: love for my new teams.
  • Learn: learn to pay attention this week.
  • Peace: with not having the answers yet.
  • Service: to myself, my career and to my teams.
  • Gratitude: for my opportunities.

This week, I want to remember: that it’s going to be great.


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

Weekly Reflection 2019 – 23

Magic I Saw this Week: This was a crazy week. On Tuesday we announced a very large reorg in my department at the same time as starting the 120+ person summit I was organizing for months. The summit lasted two days and then there was a long Thursday where I had back to back meetings and then Friday was David’s graduation from middle school. Long, crazy days all week. but full of magic. Magic of helping people. Magic of becoming a manager again. Magic of my amazing children and magic of my incredible husband. Magic everywhere.

Magic I Made this Week: Well the summit counts. I took time to still do daily art amongst all this crazy. I am pretty proud of myself.

Magic of Me that I explored Week: nothing this week sadly 🙁

Top Goals Review:  

  • Work: met the new team, executed on summit, scheduled 1-1s with new team, and sort of got organized. have more to do here.
  • Personal: did daily drawing, exercised a bunch, did not journal, and did no yoga, sleept poorly.
    Family:  graduation done! submitted broadcom. loved and hugged my people. did not make a summer plan.

I celebrate: david’s end of middle school and nathaniel’s end of elementary school.

I am grateful for: my kids being so happy and healthy.

This week, I exercised: i went to body pump on monday, 20 mins of yoga on Tuesday, and climbing on Thursday.

Self-care this week: hmm not much.

I showed up for: my work and my kids.

I said yes to: taking on another team.

I said no to: being pessimistic this week.

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Embrace:  i am embracing being a manager again. bring it on.
  • Alive: all this new infusion of work makes me feel alive.
  • Lighter: i do feel lighter now that the giant summit is over.
  • Kinder: i am really trying to be kinder.
  • Surrender: surrendering to all the changes and being open to what they mean.

What I tolerated this week: super long days.

My mood this week was: tired but grateful.

I am proud of: the summit.

I forgive myself for: needing time to get organized.

Here’s what I learned this week: people show up even as they are struggling.

What I love right now: beautiful summer nights.


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

Joy of Art – 22

the best part of winter is getting to snuggle up with a book.

These are small pieces I do at work or at home at night to help remind me why I love doing art. 


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 – 23

This was a so-so reading week, for me. 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.


How to Draw and Write in Fountain Pen (4 stars): This book is a gem! if you like drawing and want to start simple and not buy a ton of art supplies, this is the book for you. 

It’s broken into three parts: basic drawing guidelines, a bunch of examples of things to draw, and several projects.

In the first section, the author breaks down fountain pens, how to hold one, how to make lines, what type of ink to get, etc. It’s simple, clear and organized.

The second part if chock full of simple drawings: food, clothes, plants, trees and so much more. Each drawing is broken down to three steps and feels very achievable. The book also has several alphabets.

The last section has several project ideas, things like cupcake toppers and gift tags, etc. All of them relatively simple and elegant and very useful.

If you have wanted to venture into fountain pens, drawing, or fun little projects, this book is a great place to start.


The Algebra of Happiness (3.5 stars):  This was a very quick read. This author, while apparently famous in some worlds, was completely new to me. While the book wasn’t at all what I thought it was going to be (info/data/learnings) it was really enjoyable. I liked his style and mix of no nonsense strong opinions mixed with self-deprecation that he kept having. His focus on people you love, family and focusing on what matters is always a good reminder.


The Printed Letter Workshop (3 stars): It took me a while to get into this book. I’m not sure if that’s because it had sort of a slow start or if it’s because I was distracted. I listened to this on audio and in the beginning the three women didn’t have distinctive enough voices to differentiate which made it hard for me to develop any sort of interest and empathy. But over time, as their stories developed, I found myself rooting for each of them and getting to know each of them. I still wish they were developed even further because they were each women I’d like to have gotten to know more. The book was sweet, even if a bit predictable, and I never regret a story about books and bookstores.


Anywhere, Anytime Art: Illustration (4 stars): This is a great starter book on illustration. It starts with a section on materials, media, and different styles. It talks about color theory and why it’s important to be thoughtful about the color palette you choose to evoke different feelings. 

It then moves to a wide range of projects, some of which I loved like drawing your neighborhood or hand lettering a meaningful word/phrase and others didn’t speak to me as much but I still loved seeing what the author produced.

There’s some step by step in this book but it’s a combination of instruction and inspiration, generally staying on the simple/introductory side of things. If you’d like to experiment of illustration, I think you will love this book as a starting place.


It’s a Numberful World (5 stars): I am squarely in the target audience of this book! 

I loved every single page of it, underlined pretty much half this book and have had several long conversations with my family as I was read it in. In fact, while we were driving to the beach, I read parts of it out loud to my kids. This book is the perfect combination of math, fun, learning, fascination, and joy! 

This book is broken into chapters, most of which are not intercorrelated (with a few exceptions) where there’s a new mathematical concept covered in each chapter. It mentions all things math like fractals, algebra, chaos theory, graph theory, encryption and more. I knew many of these concepts and yet it was still delightful to reread what I knew and fascinating to read what I didn’t know. 

If you’re a fan of math or have someone in your life who might not appreciate how magical math is and how it’s a part of every single aspect of our life, I think this would make an excellent gift. I hope they will love this book as much as I did.


The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek (3.5 stars): Historical fiction is not usually my genre of choice. But when it’s done well, it can be my favorite genre. This novel is about a time and region in history that I know very little about. At first, I thought the author made up the “blue skinned people” but as the story progressed, I thought it’s an odd detail to make up in a book that is otherwise not at all science fiction. 

I really enjoyed reading all of this novel. I liked the main character and several of the secondary characters and I really appreciated learning all the details about the small town. The bigotry and judgement are both woven into the story in ways that absolutely break your heart. And it’s another book about books. I loved learning about this time in history and this wonderful book delivery project.

Really enjoyed this one. If historical fiction is your genre, I am sure you will love it.


When We Left Cuba (3 stars): I enjoyed reading this historical novel. I did not read the previous novel by Chanel Cleeton so I can’t compare the two. I know nearly nothing about the history of Cuba and very little about the political period in American history. So I enjoyed learning about that period. 

It took me a while to get into the novel. I almost abandoned it twice but I am glad I stuck with it. It was interesting and a worthwhile read. I also liked the questions around where one’s home is. The topic of allegiance and patriotism are a big part of this story.


Inward (5 stars):

i was never addicted 
to one thing;
i was addicted to filling 
a void
within myself
with things other
than my own love

This book is wonderful. It was what I needed, when I needed it. It will resonate with you if you’re you’re interested in topics around self-love, freedom, and peace. Many will call it not poetry, and many won’t like it. That’s totally okay. I loved it.


All That You Leave Behind (2 stars): I just didn’t connect with this book as much as I’d hoped I would. I enjoyed the lessons Erin’s learned from her dad and I also enjoyed hearing about their family story but I just felt disconnected about the story the whole time. Sometimes it’s just the right book at the wrong time.


This Song Will Save Your Life (5 stars): I loved this book. 

I have not read anything else by this writer and I knew very little going into this book except that it covered topics around suicide. The thing I loved about this book is that I think it’s a real representation of high school and what it feels like to feel different and like you will never belong. There was so much I could relate to in here and yet it was completely not melodramatic in my opinion. It was real, raw, and not over the top. 

I loved the character’s voice. Many of the secondary characters weren’t super well developed but in this case it made it stronger because it brought the reader in the same telescope place as the main character where we were really limited to her perspective and her knowledge of each of these characters (including the parents.)

This one was a good novel for the younger me who would have really benefited from so much of this. It will stay with me for a while.


And there we go, an 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 – 23

This story is about taking a moment at work and resting.

Here are two more stories from my 2018 album. The content for these comes from the “rest” kit and the “joy” kit.

This one is about the air hockey table we got the kids for christmas and what a hit it’s been.

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 – 23

Weekly Intention: soooo…i still didn’t do this: My intention this week is to make a prioritized list for the next two weeks. Five things I want to move forward in a major way at work and five things for me or home. Let’s make a list, let’s get it done. That’s the plan. Get out of the slump. yep i know it’s getting ridiculous but most days in the last week i’ve just survived and this is one of those thriving things. so this week here’s what we do: i show up, i am present and I do the best I can. This is a crazy week so I will just be present and have no extra expectations.

This month’s intention is: Big Magic: And here’s summer. Time to go big again. Add some magic to your days with your kids and husband. Take trips, add wonder and awe. If you’re going to go big once this year, this is the time. Oooh here we go. This month comes with David’s middle school graduation, a leadership course in Santa Cruz, and a family trip to the Galapagos. Let the magic begin. Super grateful.

One way I will show up this week:  calm.

One magic I will make this week: we will see if this summit is magical

This week, I will pay attention to: this seems like a good plan still: sleep and exercise since i plan to work hard.

This week, I will be kinder to: all the people being impacted by all the changes.

This week, I will focus on pleasing: peeps at work.

One new thing I will learn this week: i will get to learn a lot this week.

I am looking forward to: the summit and school being over 🙂

This week’s challenges: tuesday and wednesday will be very long. friday is graduation day so i expect that will be long, too.

Top Goals: 

  • Work: meet new team, execute on summit, schedule 1-1s with new team, and get organized.
  • Personal: daily drawing, exercise, journal, and yoga, sleep.
  • Family:  graduation! submit broadcom. love and hug my people. make a summer plan.

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: love for all the people who are going to be struggling.
  • Learn: learn to listen this week.
  • Peace: with the insanity this week.
  • Service: to all the PMs.
  • Gratitude: for my life.

This week, I want to remember: that the days are long but the years are so so short.


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

Weekly Reflection 2019 – 22

Magic I Saw this Week: So much magic this week. I was up at my kids’ school three times. Looking forward to what the kids are to expect next year at school and then going to 4th grade culmination. It is so much magic to see how they are growing up and becoming people i adore even more. Jake and my wedding anniversary was this week and it’s been magical 17 years. I can’t believe how quickly time passes. Magic to see sunshine every single day. Magic to see my friend Kelly this week even if briefly. I had a magic climbing session this week, too. Feeling so grateful.

Magic I Made this Week: The climbing this week was super magic i made, i feel proud of what I was able to climb.

Magic of Me that I explored Week: i did some reading and some journaling this week, not enough but a bunch.

Top Goals Review:  

  • Work: I pretty much got summit ready 100%, did not yet schedule 1-1s with new team, and have totally not gotten organized!
  • Personal: did daily drawing, only one exercise this week and a tiny bit of journaling, and no yoga, so-so sleep.
  • Family:  went to all the school events and hugged and supported kids. tried to help david decide about camp but I am not sure we made progress. helped a bit with broadcom but we have a bit more to do.

I celebrate: our wedding anniversary.

I am grateful for: another fantastic school year under our belt.

This week, I exercised: only once sadly. i expect next week to be much better hopefully.

Self-care this week: i got my hair and nails done, it was wonderful.

I showed up for: my kids.

I said yes to: doing what needed to be done this week.

I said no to: overthinking this week. trying to take it one day at a time.

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Embrace:  i am embracing the season and all the changes, and all the sunshine.
  • Alive: the sunshine really has a fantastic impact in my ability to feel alive.
  • Lighter: will feel lighter once the giant summit is over.
  • Kinder: working on this all the time.
  • Surrender: still surrendering pretty actively here.

What I tolerated this week: long days, especially Friday and no exercise.

My mood this week was: good.

I am proud of: the climbing, showing up for my kids, saying yes.

I forgive myself for: being tired, needing downtime, always being behind

Here’s what I learned this week: my kids are superstars. i love them so much.

What I love right now: that we’re about to start summer. change is hard for me but i adore summertime.


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