Weekly Reflection 2019 – 49

Magic I Saw this Week: This was a really tough week and culminated in an exceptionally tough Friday. So I will say I had a hard time seeing much magic. But I had friends who listened and were so kind to me and I am incredibly grateful for that.

Magic I Made this Week: I finally bought some christmas presents. I went climbing with Jake several times and watched a lot of climbing with him, too.

Magic of Me that I explored Week: not very much this week.

Top Goals Review:  

  • Work: I did clean out dec but not jan calendar. I setup 2 meetings for nbu. stayed on top of email. did not fully plan for team meetings.
  • Personal: i did daily drawing, exercised, did not journal, made time to sleep. did not come up with a whitney plan. did not restart meal plan. started 2020 plan.
  • Family:  took family photos, hugged kids. did not have date night with jake but we did go and climb.

I celebrate: doing all the 5.8s in the gym in one shot. Only fell a tiny handful of times. worked super hard.

I am grateful for: my manager always being kind

This week, I exercised: I went rock climbing twice times this week, pretty hard, did not do my PT, but went twice to body pump

Self-care this week: taking this weekend off was my self care.

I showed up for: hmm no one really

I said yes to: speaking up

I said no to: being yelled at

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Embrace:  trying to embrace what is
  • Alive: i felt pretty tired and worn out this week
  • Lighter: i am not feeling light 🙁
  • Kinder: trying to be kinder to myself
  • Surrender: surrendering to what id

What I tolerated this week: much so much rain and sadness

My mood this week was: very sad.

I am proud of: all the climbing

I forgive myself for: not doing my PT

Here’s what I learned this week: i have to stop. it’s not really all worth it.

What I love right now: time spent with family is always worth it.


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

Moments of Gratitude – 43

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.

Books I Read This Week 2019 – 49

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.


Where to Begin (5 stars): This super, super fast read but it’s full of heart and, for me, it was one of those books that makes me stop in my tracks and think about why I am here and how I want to live my life. I loved Cleo Wade’s Heart Talk and I loved Where to Begin. I am so glad writers like her exist and put their thoughts and feelings out into the world. We are all so much better off thanks to their willingness to do that.


Call Down the Hawk (4 stars): Ever since I read the Shiver series many, many years ago, I’ve been a huge fan of the multi-talented Maggie Stiefvater. She is not just the weaver of the best types of stories but her characters jump out of the page and grab me. They are colorful, rich with personality, and full of life. Ronan was my favorite of all the characters of the Raven Cycle so a series dedicated to Ronan was bound to be awesome. But by the time book four came along, I thought I might be done with the series and the characters.

I was wrong.

The Lynch family are just as awesome as I remembered and this story was crazy and chaotic and awe-inspiring in just the way only Maggie’s books can be. I loved my time with it. I am so grateful that Stiefvater is so prolific and continues to don our world with such colorful characters and weaves the most engaging stories.


Verity (3 stars): I put this book on my to-read list way back in January when everyone was raving about it. I bought it both on audio and on book form and then it sat on my ipad for months and months as other library books came and went, taking priority over this book that I owned. In mid-November I finally decided it was time to read all the books I bought this year so I am finally starting to go through the list, this was at the very top due to all the “OMG” reviews.

Alas.

I think because I knew there was going to be a giant twist, I kept waiting for it to happen. I was cautious believing anything in the book. The comparisons to Gone Girl made me suspicious of every character the whole time. And when the twist came, it fell so flat for me. I was like “that’s it?!” I also will say I didn’t actually think the writing was great, the book starts with a gratuitously violent scene and it wasn’t at all relevant. The characters aren’t well developed enough so much of what we know about Jeremy is either from the discovered manuscript or from Lowen gushing over him. For me, the characters did not stand on their own.

It was a good story and I am not sad I read it but maybe the hype really ruined it for me. Maybe if I had read it knowing nothing I, too, would have found it to be awesome. A good reminder to not read reviews before reading a novel.


Where the Forest Meets the Stars (4 stars): Like, Verity, this was another book I bought way back in January because of all the hype around it and didn’t read it all year. But, unlike Verity, I loved this book. I thought the characters were well developed, the story was touching and real and beautiful even if you had to suspend disbelief a little bit about how no one came looking for this little girl (which I felt was explained by the end.)

I loved the characters the most. I got attached to each of them for different reasons and the way they were each broken in their own way by something in their past and they were struggling to live their lives and figure out a path forward felt so real. I loved how they came together and helped each other and added meaning to each other’s lives which is exactly what the power of human connection has the potential to be.

If you’ve been putting it off like me, maybe it’s time to pick it up. I loved this touching, sweet story.


We Are the Luckiest (4 stars): “And here is the thing we must know about our things if we are ever going to survive them: We believe we can bury them, when the truth is, they’re burying us. They will always bury us, eventually.”

I don’t drink.

I never really have. I don’t like the taste of alcohol and I don’t like the idea of losing control and not remembering what I said or did. I also don’t like the way it makes me feel in my body. It’s never been a struggle to not drink for me since I dislike it enough. So alcohol isn’t my thing.

But I have my own list of things. And while my list is not full of things that cause me to black out and not remember chunks of my life, its full of things that are mine and that need to be acknowledged and conquered because they are burying me.

“Not because I was committed to forever, but because I finally realized the future was built on a bunch of nows, and that was it.”

While I was reading this beautifully written, raw, and honest novel, a part of me was thinking, “Well my ‘flaws’, my ‘addictions’ are nowhere near that bad. they don’t harm anyone. they don’t make it so I can’t live my day to day life. They are harmless compared to all this.”

Which is the way we fool ourselves, isn’t it? Life isn’t a comparison game. It’s not about whose stories are the most awful, or who really deserves the biggest shame. It’s not even about the stories we hold on to so that we can stay in the places we are, the places that don’t serve us but are so hard to walk away from. I am not as bad as that, so I can keep doing what I do to numb my feelings, my life, my nows.

“It’s supposed to be difficult. It’s supposed to take everything you have. It’s supposed to take longer than you want and to change you, completely. This often won’t feel good when it’s happening, but nothing worth having ever does.”

When you are high functioning in your day-to-day life, it’s easy to write off these ‘things’ that get in the way, because they are not ‘really’ getting in the way after all. They aren’t causing harm to others and why does it matter if it’s not hurting anyone else?

“But you can decide—by no longer allowing the circumstances of your life to victimize you—that none of it owns you anymore. You can say, Now, I know better. Now, I know different. I am not helpless anymore. And then you can go about doing the hard work of healing. This is the singular, hard truth I come up against every day: I am the only one responsible for my experience.”

And the fact is, life is not about other people. Even if it might seem so. Other people can’t break me, and other people can’t make me. I have to show up, I have to put in the work, and I have to build the life I want for myself.

Even though this book was about McKowen’s journey with alcohol and going sober, it’s about so much more than that. It’s a reminder that if we want life to be a certain way, we don’t get to run away from things. That the only way out is through. That our lives are our own and we get to decide how they go. That it’s hard work to build the life you want. It’s excruciating work. But then you get to have the biggest gift of all: the life you choose.

“To have a direct experience of life. To know its depths completely. To be enraptured in the mystery. To be the hero of my own great adventure.”

This is the kind of book that reminds you that the work of life is always hard and always, always worth it.

With huge gratitude to the author, New World Library and edelweiss for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


Whiskey and Ribbons (4 stars): I enjoyed this sweet story. The characters are well developed, and I found myself rooting for each of them at different parts of the story. It’s heartbreaking, honest, and a perfect read for a cozy winter day. Even though the reader knows what’s going to happen, the three characters telling their stories all weave in and out together and each have their own beautiful storyline. If you like quiet, poignant, and character-driven stories, you will love this one.


Belonging (3 stars): This was a complicated book for me to read. I am not sure how I missed it but I had no idea what the book was about until I started it. And once I started, I wanted to keep going. The format of this book is really interesting and in my opinion makes it a lot more engaging. I generally avoid reading works around WWII so I am not sure what compelled me to keep reading this, but I am glad I did. I liked the honesty Krug displays as she grapples with her family’s history and as she tries to figure out their role during the war. Alas, I am not sure I could move into the space of empathy mostly due to my own background but it’s still important to have books like this and I am glad I spent time with it.


Watercolor the Easy Way (4 stars): I love watercolors and I love making small sketches with watercolors so this book is my happy place. If you’ve never ever touched watercolors before or if you’ve dabbled a little but haven’t really done much, this is the book for you.

The author starts with a few very simple watercolor tips and tricks, some color theory and then it’s all about the specific tutorials. She has a drawing you can copy for each motif and then walks you through how she’s coloring it both highlighting the specific colors she uses, and showing which steps she does first and how she layers.

There are a wide range of motifs: a lot of beautiful flowers, some fun animals, and ordinary things like bikes and food, etc. This is a great book for you to sit with and try a handful of examples at a time. It’s simple, rewarding, quick and enjoyable.

huge thanks to netgalley and Better Day Books for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.


Creative Journaling (4 stars): This fun book has many different examples of dot journaling, junk journaling, mixed media journaling and travel journaling. You also can mix up each of the techniques she mentions and the best part is that most of them are simple and relatively easy to recreate. Sometimes books like these have the potential to be eye candy where they are super stunning but impossible to recreate (which is also fine if that’s all you’re looking for.) whereas in this book, I felt there were layouts that were really pretty and also really doable. For me, that’s my happy place. If you’re into any of these types of journaling, I’d recommend you give this book a try.

with gratitude to netgalley and Quarto Publishing Group for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


What if there’s Nothing Wrong with You? (3 stars): “Now I ask you: what if there IS nothing wrong with you? Think about this question for a moment. For now, I’m not saying there ISN’T, simply asking what if there isn’t? How could that realization change your relationship with yourself? How could it change your relationship with others? Would you have more confidence and courage to do something you are secretly passionate about?”

I loved the idea of this book. The concept behind practicing the idea that there’s nothing wrong with me sounds really powerful to me. I understand that this might not be a thing for everyone but it most decidedly is for me which is why i bought this book after reading about it in a different book. And it’s not a bad book. It’s just that it’s small and doesn’t really have enough depth for me. Maybe that’s really because like most things, I have to put in the work and be willing to do what it takes. It reminded me of Byron Katie’s The Work a bit but I felt that was so much more powerful for me and it’s closer to what I guess I was seeking.

It was still good to read because I enjoy reminders that I have to keep these questions front and center.

And here’s the most amazing, all too true, Ram Dass quote from the book:
“When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight … And you look at the tree and you allow it. … You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You’re too this, or I’m too this.’ That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.” – Ram Dass


And there we go, a bunch of reading this week, ending my week is 360 reads for the year. Here’s to another 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.

Everyday Magic – 49

Weekly Intention: There are two weeks left in my work year if I can pull off taking the week of the 16th off (which I am trying hard to do.) So my intention is to get clear on what I want to spend that time on at work.

This month’s intention is:  Celebrate the Magic:  And finally time to rest and relax and bask in the magic of life again. You’ve come a long way. It’s time to celebrate. Honor. Be grateful. Thank 2019 for all that it gave you. Fully bask in it’s magic so you can bid it farewell. Oh yes. time to celebrate.

One way I will show up this week:  open

One magic I will make this week: setup a few meetings.

This week, I will pay attention to: slowing down.

This week, I will be kinder to: myself.

This week, I will focus on pleasing: everyone.

One new thing I will learn this week: hmmm maybe i’ll make plans

I am looking forward to: getting a bit of work done

This week’s challenges: not a huge amount

Top Goals: 

  • Work: clean out dec + jan calendar. setup 3 meetings for nbu. stay on top of email. plan for team meetings.
  • Personal: daily drawing, exercise, journal, make time to sleep. come up with a whitney plan. restart meal plan. make 2020 plan.
  • Family:  family photos, hug kids. date night with jake. hike. climb.

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: love for people i love.
  • Learn: learn to feel open.
  • Peace: with trying new things.
  • Service: to work.
  • Gratitude: for quietness.

This week, I want to remember: there is a lot of time. i am not in a hurry.


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

Weekly Reflection 2019 – 48

Magic I Saw this Week: This was a lovely week with a quiet work week of only two days, I got to see so much of the outdoors and so much of my family. It was really magical.

Magic I Made this Week: I went climbing with Jake lots of times, watched a lot of climbing with him, too. We took a long hike, and we got to go away for the holidays. It was a good week.

Magic of Me that I explored Week: A bit more journaling this week.

Top Goals Review:  

  • Work: i did clean up email and got all my reading done and did not fully clean out my december calendar but started.
  • Personal: did daily drawing, exercised, journaled, made time to sleep. did not come up with a whitney plan. did not restart meal plan. started 2020 plan.
  • Family:  did family photos, did hug kids. had date night with jake. hiked.

I celebrate: being together for Thanksgiving

I am grateful for: a little time off work

This week, I exercised: I went rock climbing three times this week, pretty hard, did PT only once, and then went hiking

Self-care this week: took Wednesday off.

I showed up for: my family, Jake.

I said yes to: climbing so so much.

I said no to: inertia

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Embrace:  i love that i am embracing the climbing
  • Alive: i got to hike this week. it was fantastic.
  • Lighter: i am feeling lighter when i have a little time off
  • Kinder: trying to be kinder
  • Surrender: surrendering to the quiet time of year

What I tolerated this week: soreness

My mood this week was: good.

I am proud of: all the climbing

I forgive myself for: not doing my PT

Here’s what I learned this week: love comes first always.

What I love right now: the slowdown that happens this time of year


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

Moments of Gratitude – 42

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.

Books I Read This Week 2019 – 48

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.


If Only I Could Tell You (3 stars): This book covers many, many serious and heavy subjects and it’s about what secrets do to a family. How what we think we know about others (even our closest family members) can determine the course of our whole life and can also be completely wrong. As I was reading this, I felt like the author couldn’t decide whether this should be a serious book or more of a light one. There are a long list of very serious subject matter in this book including suicide, serious illness, miscarriage, and it covers deeply broken relationships between husband and wife and daughter-parent and siblings and yet, there topics aren’t really handled at depth (maybe in an effort not to have the book become too heavy?) which left me a bit unsatisfied. I still enjoyed reading the story quite a bit.


Permission to Feel (4 stars): “But the trigger is inside us, not out there. We have to take responsibility for our actions rather than shift the blame elsewhere. It may not have felt like a choice, but it surely was—we decide how we’ll respond to life’s provocations.”

I find it interesting that so many people are unhappy with the title of this book. The way I interpreted it was that if we really own the feelings we have, name them, and let ourselves feel them, we can then decide how to respond to them. To be able to get to the place of responding it’s really important to actually feel your feelings. Lack of awareness, lack of naming, are, in my opinion, all ways in which we don’t always give ourselves permission or space to feel the feelings. Maybe I misinterpreted what the title was trying to say but alas this interpretation made the title totally make sense for me.

I’ve seen Marc Brackett live before when he visited the elementary school my kids attended at the time, I’ve sent my kids to SEL-heavy schools all the way from elementary to high school. I believe strongly in Marc’s assertion that a high EQ is going to be crucial to one’s success in life. So I was already a primed audience for this book.

And it didn’t disappoint. I think the parts where the book shines are where the author shares his own journey and experiences. I wish there were more of that. I like the RULER framework: recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing and regulating. I’ve found journaling can really help me with the first three and I am constantly working on the latter two. 

It was painful to read the chapter on emotions at home and understanding how much of my learning comes from my own history and how much I am impacting my children’s story. I am grateful that there are opportunities to course-correct but I also am reminded how much more I have to work on this in my home (and in my work!) 

Even if the title makes you uncomfortable, or maybe especially then, I would recommend this read. IMHO, emotions are there whether we acknowledge them or not and they have the capacity to wreak havoc when we don’t.

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


The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae (3.5 stars): I liked this sweet novel about a girl who gets a heart transplant and is learning how to live on her own, make her own decisions, choose her path. Her relationship with her mom is the heart of this novel, in my opinion. Her grief, her hope, her resolve, her gratitude, and her learning how to navigate life are all the highlight of this sweet novel.


The Family Upstairs (3 stars): I didn’t read all the reviews of this book until after I was done. I am not sure if that would have deterred me from reading it but it probably would have helped me get a sneak peek into how totally messed up the plot is. I loved the way the seemingly unrelated characters came together in this super twisted story. It was a great little escape if you’re looking for a quick, fast-paced read that has twists and turns as long as you don’t mind the relatively creepy subject matter.


A Warning (3 stars): Not even sure why I read this. There was nothing new here and while it was a short, quick read, it towed the line between trying to be preachy, sensationalist, and informative. For me, it ended up being none of them and mostly just a waste of time. 


The Starless Sea (3 stars): I can’t even begin to explain how excited I was to read this book. The Night Circus was one of my favorite reads (and an amazing listen) and I was beyond excited that the author had a new book coming. Alas, this one didn’t end up working as well for me. So much so that I took a long break to see if I would get into it more if I walked away for a bit. 

There are many, many fantastic and glowing reviews of this book so I know that your experience might be very different. The language and writing are beautiful, the characters are interesting, and this author just knows how to weave stories together. While I didn’t love this particular one, I will continue to read anything Erin Morgenstern writes for as long as she continues to write.


And there we go, a bunch of reading this week, ending my week is 360 reads for the year. Here’s to another 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.

Everyday Magic – 48

Weekly Intention: This week is a light week. I will be working Monday/Tuesday (which I now regret and wish I hadn’t set myself up for but I will make the best of it.) and then we will be taking hikes on Wednesday/Thursday and I plan to be relaxing on Friday-Sunday. My intention this week is to go out more, to move more, to make some plans that inspire me. I feel stuck a bit.

This month’s intention is:  Magic Touch: you’re making it happen. Don’t stop now. The year is almost over. What’s one area that can still benefit from your magical touch? Give love and attention there this month. You can do this. I did lean into PT a little but definitely not enough. So more of that , more moving, more nutrition.

One way I will show up this week:  kind

One magic I will make this week: hopefully some hiking.

This week, I will pay attention to: my family.

This week, I will be kinder to: my inlaws.

This week, I will focus on pleasing: my whole family.

One new thing I will learn this week: maybe i can finally try to make some plans?

I am looking forward to: a quiet week

This week’s challenges: not enough alone time

Top Goals: 

  • Work: i am going to try to clean up email and see if i can get a bit of reading done and clean out my december calendar. that’s it.
  • Personal: daily drawing, exercise, journal, make time to sleep. come up with a whitney plan. restart meal plan. make 2020 plan.
  • Family:  family photos, hug kids. date night with jake. hike.

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: love for people i love.
  • Learn: learn to feel expansive.
  • Peace: not being alone.
  • Service: to family.
  • Gratitude: for togetherness.

This week, I want to remember: where there is love, nothing is too much trouble and there is always time.


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

Weekly Reflection 2019 – 47

Magic I Saw this Week: I was in Venice Beach, California for most of this week for a leadership class at work. It was all magic: the water, the sunshine, the beach, even the rain. It was magic to see strong women be open and vulnerable and thoughtful and helpful and kind. Magic all around.

Magic I Made this Week: I ended up doing a bunch of my 2020 planning. and I also went to a yoga class that was awesome.

Magic of Me that I explored Week: A lot of journaling this week.

Top Goals Review:  

  • Work: stayed on top of email. did not yet clean up calendar aggressively. did not make 6-mo plan or come up with team plan. did finish doing most of the reading and did not schedule meetings.
  • Personal: did daily drawing, exercised, journaled, did not really make time to sleep. did not come up with a whitney plan. did not restart meal plan. started to make 2020 plan.
  • Family:  did not do family photos, hugged kids a lot. did not have date night with jake. did not hike.

I celebrate: taking time to think about my life

I am grateful for: getting to take this course and taking time off work to be able to do it.

This week, I exercised: I did PT, yoga, and rock climbing

Self-care this week: took rest time this week.

I showed up for: the class.

I said yes to: taking time for myself, drawing boundaries where I needed to.

I said no to: working at night when i was emotionally spent.

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Embrace:  that i care most about life
  • Alive: i would love to find a routine that keeps me outside more.
  • Lighter: i am feeling lighter when i remember what i value the most.
  • Kinder: where can i still be kinder?
  • Surrender: i felt a touch of surrender this week

What I tolerated this week: a lot of emotional work

My mood this week was: spent.

I am proud of: showing up and doing the work

I forgive myself for: not getting evening work done

Here’s what I learned this week: i always have to do life first. that’s what makes me happy.

What I love right now: i love that i am back home with my boys


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

Moments of Gratitude – 41

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.

Books I Read This Week 2019 – 47

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.


Love Lettering (4 stars): I really enjoyed my time with this sweet story. The blurb tells you most of the plot of the book. Meg’s a letterer and Reid and his wife-to-be are her clients. A year later, Reid finds her and asks about the message she’d hidden in their wedding announcements. 

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot since there is a bit of a twist towards the end of the book (which I guessed somehow) but this isn’t a mystery novel so it’s not really about the plot. The characters are fun and each uniquely interesting and the main character was developed enough to make the story enjoyable for me. In many romances, the characters seem to be cardboard versions of themselves, with the author not feeling the need to develop the characters fully in favor of developing the romance/electricity. In this novel, I felt both of the characters were developed enough that they felt real to me. Even the secondary characters like Meg’s roommate, the client Lark, and the women at the store were all fun additions to the story without seeming completely one-dimensional.

I love lettering and I love numbers so the extra layers of Meg’s job and Reid’s job were an added bonus for me. If romance is your genre, I am pretty sure you’ll enjoy this one.

thank you to netgalley and Kensington Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

ps: this book also has the honor of being my 100th netgalley read this year 🙂


The Man Who Solved the Market (3.5 stars): This was an easy, interesting read. The author states from the very beginning that the ex- and current employees don’t like to talk about the company and Simons didn’t want him to write the book. It’s clear that while there’s a bunch of research, the book, to me, didn’t come alive the way some of the similar books in the genre do. The characters didn’t seem 3-dimensional and the story didn’t have the spark it needed to move from a research project to a compelling book. It didn’t really come alive off the page the way I had hoped it might. The reader is left with some interesting tidbits about Simons and Renaissance but not the real essence of what made them tick. Still found it to be quite readable and enjoyed my time with it.


After the End (4 stars): I put off reading this book for a long time because I was worried that the plot would make me too sad. And it really did. Deciding whether to pull the plug on your child’s life support would easily wreck any parent, let alone when the two parents disagree. These types of experiences strain a marriage so much and that’s partially the focus of this story. Many people wrote in the reviews that they didn’t like the second half of the novel where the narrative splits in half and you get a Sliding Doors like experience of finding out how each choice would have turned out. 

But I loved it. 

I didn’t necessarily find each of the narratives super-engaging but what I loved was the way it highlighted how there’s no “right” choice in this scenario and how regardless of what path they had chosen, their relationship would still have taken the intolerable tax of losing a child. To me, this demonstrated how impossible the choice was. It was a great example of showing and not telling.


The Color of Style (3 stars): I’ll be really honest here, I hate shopping. I would have never picked this book up if it weren’t for a work friend who said she had a meeting with Zyla and raved about him. In fact, I am absolutely sure he’s fantastic in person. The problem, in my opinion, is that his unique and very personal talent is hard to translate into a book. Finding these very unique colors that will suit you perfectly is something that requires a really keen eye for subtle differences. It’s hard for an ordinary person to do it, in my opinion. I loved much of the advice here and found myself wishing that I had already had a personal appointment and knew my colors so I could read this book and figure out how to start turning over my closet. It does have good tips for people who don’t like shopping and how to build it out slowly. As with most things, there’s no easy magic bullet here, you can’t replace a personal experience with a book. It was still enjoyable to read.


I Will Never See the World Again (3.5 stars): I was born and raised in Turkey so when my childhood friend who lives in London recommended I read this book, I added it to my list. It took several more months for it to come to the United States but I finally got it from the library this week. Like Dawn, the author of this book is also in jail. Unlike Dawn, this is a non-fiction novel and not stories. 

I don’t know enough about the politics and truth behind so much of what happened during the coup and this particular author’s part (or lack thereof) in it. So I can’t really speak to that, but I can say that this book is powerful and full of beautiful imagery and gives you a glimpse of how inconsistent and nonsensical the legal process (or lack thereof) can be.

I am glad I read it.


The Bromance Book Club (4 stars): This book was super fun. After several heavy reads, I needed something light and quick. I didn’t really know what the plot was but it looked like it would be exactly what I needed and it totally was. I read the whole book in one breath. I loved the characters and the playful plot. I saw a review that said this was a feminist romance, I am not sure I’d qualify it that way but there are strong female characters in it which can sometimes be not common in a romance. It also was awesome that this is about romance within a marriage which is definitely rare. That last bit is what moved it from a 3.5 to a 4 star for me!


Saving Francesca (4 stars): And I hear nothing because it’s like the volume button has been turned down on our lives and nobody has anything to say anymore.

It took me a while to get into this novel. I had added this to my to-read list a while back and checked and rechecked it out of the library before I finally settled down to read it. Once I got about 30% of the way in, I didn’t want to do anything but keep reading this book. I thought about the characters the whole time and really wanted to know how the story turned out. 

The depression belongs to all of us. I think of the family down the road whose mother was having a baby and they went around the neighborhood saying, “We’re pregnant.” I want to go around the neighborhood saying, “We’re depressed.” If my mum can’t get out of bed in the morning, all of us feel the same. Her silence has become ours, and it’s eating us alive.

The story had a lot of flaws, in my opinion. the secondary characters weren’t well developed. The dad seemed a bit more cartoonish for most of the novel (except some fantastic sections) and while I felt like the descriptions of depression and its impact on the family were very realistic, acute and palpable in this novel, I felt like the ending and the story behind Francesca’s mom’s journey of how she got there was a bit cleaner than I would have liked. All this is messy and I wished the book had not resolved as much. Even though I also think that definitely does happen (it did to me.) I still wish it was a bit messier.

All in all, this was still a great book. The teenagers in the book were honestly portrayed and were richly developed. I loved reading it.


Once More We Saw Stars (3.5 stars): It was really interesting to read this book after I read After the End which was a fictional novel based on a true event that happened to the author. I don’t know why I thought it would be a good idea to read two novels around a kid dying in one week. The nonsensical nature of the death of their daughter makes this story so very heart-wrenching and such a terrible reminder that life is precarious and can change on you in a moment. The pain and heartache of this couple is so acute and so hard to read. 

And yet it’s also hopeful in so many ways. The couple stays together through this horrible experience that usually breaks most marriages. They have another baby and continue to honor their daughter and her memory. 

It broke my heart but I am glad I read it.


And there we go, a bunch of reading this week, ending my week is 360 reads for the year. Here’s to another 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.

Everyday Magic – 47

Weekly Intention: I am going to be in Venice, LA for work this week as a follow up to a class I took about five months ago. I am both looking forward to going and a bit dreading it. What I’d love to do is three things: focus really hard on the class when it’s on (be super present), work a handful of hours of reading/thinking everyday, and then read, draw, relax, journal, and plan2020 for my personal goals the rest of the time. I want to have it be a really productive few days. Let’s hope I can make it happen!

This month’s intention is:  Magic Touch: you’re making it happen. Don’t stop now. The year is almost over. What’s one area that can still benefit from your magical touch? Give love and attention there this month. You can do this. Ok this is it this week. Let’s lean into the PT, let’s start moving and eating well.

One way I will show up this week:  present & focused.

One magic I will make this week: getting some thinking done. resting.

This week, I will pay attention to: my career.

This week, I will be kinder to: my time.

This week, I will focus on pleasing: myself.

One new thing I will learn this week: ways to think about my career

I am looking forward to: a productive week

This week’s challenges: being away from home

Top Goals: 

  • Work: stay on top of email. clean up calendar aggressively. make 6-mo plan. come up with team plan. finish doing all the reading and schedule meetings.
  • Personal: daily drawing, exercise, journal, make time to sleep. come up with a whitney plan. restart meal plan. make 2020 plan.
  • Family:  family photos, hug kids. date night with jake. hike.

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: love for learning and growing.
  • Learn: learn to see differently.
  • Peace: with being away.
  • Service: to my career.
  • Gratitude: for the opportunity.

This week, I want to remember: that i have all the time in the world.


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