Joy of Art – 11

it is ok to let the universe and the wind lead you where it may.

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 – 11

Another solid reading week this week and quite a variety.  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 Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper (3.5 stars): This sweet book is about an older man who discovers a charm bracelet that his deceased wife owned (that he knew nothing about.) This discovery starts a journey for him to find out the story of each charm and through those, bits and pieces of his wife’s life before him, and through that journey him examining the bits and pieces of who he is and reconnecting with the people around him.

It’s a lovely story with touching bits, real-life bits, and covers some serious topics alongside some very funny moments. It was the perfect read for a long and arduous week.


Wingspan (3 stars):  This is a very short play that takes place during a transatlantic flight to London. There are two flight attendants, one veteran and one for whom this is the first transatlantic flight. The latter is also afraid of flying. We get to hear their conversation as the plane takes off and endures several bouts of turbulence.

I don’t want to describe much of the plot because it’s so short that there’s no way to tell it without really giving it away. I will say I was surprised at the content compared to what the blurb says and if you’re easily triggered, it might be sensitive. There isn’t much detail and the conversation stays reasonably on the surface, which I found to be so unlike Chris Bohjalian’s usual style. What I usually like about his books is how deep they are willing to go into emotional impacts of the consequences of his characters’ choices/lives.

I’m still thinking about it, pondering what the author was trying to tell with this particular story. And a story that stays with you is always a good story for me.

[i received an arc of this in exchange for an honest review.]


The Unhoneymooners (4 stars):  I have read several of Christina Lauren‘s standalone books in the last few years (as a side note, was i the last person on earth who didn’t know this is two people and not one?! How super awesome is that?!) Ok back to the book, I’ve read and enjoyed several of their books so I was looking forward to digging into this one.

And it charmed me from page two. The characters, the dialogue, the scenes in this book are funny, touching, vivid and joyful. It’s the kind of book that effortlessly transports you into a little world the authors have created and keeps you in this lovely cocoon that you don’t want to leave.

I really enjoyed the characters in this book and laughed out loud quite a few times. I loved that some parts were predictable and others not as much. This book delivered what I’ve come to expect from the authors and what I’ve come to love about them, too. For me, these are the best kind of romance books because they don’t feel fluffy and cookie-cutter. I grow to care for the characters, they are not two dimensional or thrown in there for the sake of plot. Maybe Dane is the only one where I would have liked to see a bit more balance because most of us are many layers but in this case it didn’t bother me.

I expected this book to be a lot of fun and it delivered on that 100%.

Thank you to netgalley and Gallery Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


Brave Love (4 stars): I read this book without stopping. I’ve known Lisa Leonard and her jewelry for quite some time. Back in 2008, she designed a beautiful piece of jewelry for a creative site I used to host. I only talked to her online briefly and she was very kind and generous. I’ve also bought quite a few of her necklaces. But it had been almost ten years since I’ve followed her career since then. Kids, life, work got in the way.

When I saw she had a book out, I was excited to read because I knew it would likely be touching and true as most of her jewelry feels to me. It was all that and more. The book starts honest and real but gets deeper and more raw and more truth telling with her kind and gentle and loving tone.

Lisa is excellent at putting words around the struggles of finding oneself after we’ve regularly made the choice to give up who we are to serve others around us. So much of her book, her thoughts, her struggles resonated with me. So much of what she wrote are reminders I will have to repeat daily so I can remove some of the tapes in my own head so I can take up space and have my very own red bowl.

Thank you Lisa, for your honesty and reminder that we all deserve love. May we all love bravely.


Girl, Stop Apologizing (3 stars):  I have lots of mixed feelings about this book.

On the one hand, parts of this book speak to me and the part of me that likes to get things done. I am inspired by Rachel Hollis’s determination and bottomless drive and energy to reach her goals. She worked hard, she had big goals, and she achieved many of them. I don’t think that’s deniable. I think if this book was a memoir, I could read all of it as a path that worked for her and a path that is inspiring for others, too.

But where it gets a bit stickier for me is that this is a book to help others how to achieve their goals. And it’s supposed to be shame-free and yet, there are some very specific recommendations she makes. Not to figure out what works for you but to do what she tells you to do. Every single story is about her life experience. The path she walked. The choices that worked for her. So if you’ve done this and it doesn’t work for you, or if, for whatever reason you can’t/won’t do it, then what? There isn’t enough variety or research here that can help adapt some of these ideas.

I also know it can be a lose-lose situation where if she doesn’t make specific recommendations, the readers will say “there’s nothing tangible here” but then when she recommends something, there’s the potential that her recommendation only works for a segment of people.

So I did what I always do with these books: I took what works for me, and left the rest. There are parts of her story I don’t connect with at all and parts of it that resonate with me. Some of her ideas inspired me. Some of her story made me want to get up and write my own story. I took those parts and let them really excite me. (And I ignored the rest.)

There’s no one advice book out there that works for me. This book has lots of ideas from people I’ve already read and sometimes hearing it again helped and at other times it felt repetitive. That’s ok, I am not looking for a 100% here. I am looking for something small, something that inspires me even if just a little bit.

On that note, for me, this book delivered.


Daisy Jones and the Six (4.5 stars):  This book had so much marketing that I approached it with a lot of trepidation. I am a firm believer that expectations built around a book impacts your experience with it. While I had read and liked Taylor Jenkins Reid‘s previous book, I didn’t understand why there was so much hype around this new one. Her writing is good, her story telling is strong and her characters are generally interesting and well developed but I still wasn’t sure if a book could live up to the amount of hype that seemed to surround this one.

I listened to this on audio and almost immediately felt captivated by the story. I will say that I am not one of those people who is into bands. I didn’t have any posters on my walls as a kid. I like music but I don’t spend too much time thinking about the musicians themselves. So I wasn’t even sure if this story would be appealing.

But it was. Because while this book is about music and musicians, it’s about so much more. It’s about connection, love, striving, addiction, family, what it means to give second (and third and fourth) chances, what it means to let people down. It’s about dreams and having them come true and feeling empty anyway. Just like her previous book, it’s about the journey the characters are taking and the thing that’s wonderful about her books is that the characters grow, learn, do better. They also fail, falter and are just imperfect.

I did end up loving this book. It was different, well-told, interesting and I felt connected to many of the characters even if I shared values with almost none of them. When you have characters so different from me and yet I can care about them so much, I feel like you’ve done a fantastic job as an author.

I will say that I still don’t know if all the hype is deserved. This is a good book. It’s not the best book I’ve read. Not even the best book I’ve read this year. But it’s a really good book. And I am really glad I read it.


Factfulness (4 stars):  This book is a fascinating read.

At a high level, it’s very accessible and easy to read. When I first started reading the book, it quickly shifted my perspective of my understanding of the world and helped me realize how off I was (which is pretty much the point of the book since he spends much of the book repeating how most people, just like me, have an incorrect view of the world.)

The rest of the book is highlighting the different ways in which we make assumptions/mistakes that cause this disparity between truth and our knowledge.

There are a lot of interesting and valuable insights and anecdotes in this book. There’s a section where he highlights how the sizes of monuments in Vietnam put things in proportion. Wars with China lasted on and off for 2000 years vs the French occupation which was 200 years vs Vietnam War (which they call “resistance war against america”) lasted 20. This reminded me how we each hold such engrained perspectives that we often don’t even realize it’s a perspective and assume it’s the “truth.” There’s also a story around a company that was able to charge a low price for a bid (lower than raw materials) because they (instead of being a scam) actually came up with an innovative approach. That story really stuck with me as well (in this case it was about generalizing due to the innovative company being “pharma”.)

I don’t think this is the perfect book, there are details it’s defining and there are cases of repetition that makes you roll your eyes. But, what it does accomplish is make you take a big step back and revisit your perspective of the world. It helps remind you that things are moving in a positive direction. It helps remind you that you should seek data from its source. That you should not assume things. It gives specific examples of pitfalls to avoid.

All of this is tangibly helpful. It spurred a lot of discussion in my household and helped me revisit a lot of my thinking. Any book that does that is a win.


The Cassandra (2 stars):  I was so looking forward to reading this book. I will openly admit to not knowing very much about the Cassandra myth except for the very basics about her having visions and about people not believing her. I didn’t even know the myth has a brutal rape in it, if I did I might have not chosen to read the book.

Nonetheless, taking that concept to working in a Research Center in the 1940s in what ends up being the atom bomb sounded very interesting.

And yet.

I feel the author did not much with it. The beginning was compulsively readable but each of the characters were pretty much 2 dimensional and there to serve a purpose. They never grew/learned/changed. The story got darker and darker and the main character became harder and harder to connect with (for me.)

By the end, I didn’t much care and couldn’t get myself to invest in the ending. What a missed opportunity.


The River (4 stars):  I am a big fan of Peter Heller. I’ve read The Dog StarsThe PainterCeline and have loved all of them. There’s a big range and variety in subject matter amongst his books but at the core of each of these, for me, is his ability to write beautiful descriptions and the depth of his characters.

This book is no exception. The descriptions of nature, especially in the first part are beautiful. Even later with the fire, he is so good at putting words into details and the feeling those details inspire.

But the best part of any novel, for me, is always the characters. I love 3-dimensional, deep, complicated characters with back stories and Peter Heller never disappoints when it comes to that. The two main characters at the heart of this novel are unique, well-developed and characters I’m thinking about long after I am done.

I am really glad I discovered this author and I am looking forward to reading more of his beautiful novels.


And there we go, a week of reading. Here’s to another good 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 – 12

This story is about how 2018 has been a tough year and how i am trying to allow it all to be there.

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

This one is about halloween and the one and only photo i seem to have this year.

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 – 12

Weekly Intention: This is a relatively quiet week at work and not many evening commitments so my intention this week is to do a few of the longer, deeper work items I have on my list. And then to finish off some personal items too like taxes, summer plans etc.

This month’s intention is: Personal Magic:  Time to slow down again and be intentional. This month think about yourself, what you have to offer to the world, what makes you, you. What’s unique and personal. Show up as your best self. This month is not about improving but owning. From February, on my plate still is: spring break, Nathaniel’s birthday trip, summer vacation, and the taxes. I still haven’t done enough work here.

One way I will show up this week:  i will go slow this week.

One magic I will make this week: i am going to try to see my friend evelyn and a colleague at work whom i haven’t seen in a long time.

This week, I will pay attention to: my presence. my triggers. my already always listening conversations.

This week, I will be kinder to: everyone i can.

This week, I will focus on pleasing: myself still. i need it. but also my family.

One new thing I will learn this week: how i am listening.

I am looking forward to: finishing perf still since i haven’t.

This week’s challenges:we will hear some news this week and i am hoping it will be positive.

Top Goals: 

  • Work: perf + write two of the docs.
  • Personal: daily drawing, journal, yoga, and do a hike?
  • Family:  math with N, cook dinner, work with D. Lots of time with love of my life.

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: love for the parts of me that are struggling.
  • Learn: how do draw a bit better.
  • Peace: peace with my work this week. i think i am getting closer actually.
  • Service: my boys.
  • Gratitude: gratitude for my family, my parents. my nephews who call me often. my sister whom i miss so much.

This week, I want to remember: that life goes by too quickly and i need to do a better job remembering that.


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

Weekly Reflection 2019 – 11

Magic I Saw this Week: I consciously tried to make this week quieter than last week. Much of the magic i saw this week was just ordinary life. Sunshine daily was magical. Even though the time change was hard, leaving work and having it be super bright and sunny was magical. Seeing just our daily ordinary life was also pretty magical for me. We are so lucky even though we spend a lot of our time working hard and not paying attention to it, there’s a lot of magic in our lives.

Magic I Made this Week: This week’s magic started with getting Nathaniel to the Tech museum and seeing his whole team test their hovercraft. There was a lot of yoga this week. A lot of leaving work early to be home before the kids. A lot of art. And i went to book club, too. For an uneventful week, it was pretty great.

Magic of Me that I explored Week: Still spending a bit of time on self awareness here. Not enough this week but it’s still closer to top of mind for me.

Top Goals Review:  

  • Work: totally did not do perf + it took 3 hours but I did empty out most of my email
    Personal: i did daily drawing, i didn’t journal at all, i did daily yoga, and we did not do a hike.
    Family:  did not do math with N, cook dinner once, did not work with D. I spent a little bit of time with love of my life.

I celebrate: going to book club after such a long hiatus.

I am grateful for: taxes being almost done even though it’s another check i have to write.

This week, I exercised: i did yoga every day, twice on Tuesday and Thursday and then I did body pump on Monday and Wednesday.

Self-care this week: leaving early and doing art daily and all the yoga are a win for me right now, and going to book club was awesome.

I showed up for: myself this week.

I said yes to: leaving work early. book club.

I said no to:  doing perf. working late nights.

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Embrace: i am embracing the yoga and i am proud of myself.
  • Alive: it felt really alive to go to book club.
  • Lighter: i feel lighter with my perspective at the moment.
  • Kinder: i am finding myself softening a bit, i really am grateful.
  • Surrender: yoga is helping with surrender.

What I tolerated this week: just feeling all my feelings still.

My mood this week was: ok. this was a quiet week.

I am proud of: my life.

I forgive myself for: how i’m still feeling.

Here’s what I learned this week: i am learning to be patient and to see things from so many perspectives. I am learning so much about myself.

What I love right now: our life is more hectic than i’d like but it also feels full in all the great ways.


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

Joy of Art – 10

Do the work. Show up. Participate.

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 – 10

Big reading week this week and quite a variety in both genres and author diversity.  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 Island of Sea Women (4 stars): I’ve read many Lisa See books over the years and she never disappoints. This wonderful novel is no exception.

At its core many of See’s novels have the same theme: female friendship. They are often overlaid against a historical background and the history is of course inextricably linked to the experiences the women are having and how their friendship evolves (gets impacted) by everything in their lives.

This book in its most basic has the same premise. It’s about two women who meet as girls and are as close as siblings from a young age. They are on the Korean island of Jeju and they are part of an all-female diving collective. This culture is characterized as matrifocal, which is, focused on females. The women do all the hard, dangerous work, earn the keep and the men cook and take care of the babies, etc.

The story takes place over a long tumultuous period, including Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, World War II, the Korean War and what follows, and then ends up in current day era, a few generations later. There are some horrible horrible things that happen in the book. I am sure much of it is historically accurate and it was tough to read. 

The overarching story, as always, is the friendship between the two women. What we keep from each other, even in our most trusted friendships. How we can destroy each other even as we’re trying to protect each other. How we can hold on to hatred and resentment for much longer than it serves us. And, of course, regret.

I am grateful for the time I spent with this book, to Lisa See for both teaching me about a time and place in history I knew little about and weaving a deep, touching and thought-provoking story into this time period to make it come even more alive for her readers. 

thanks to netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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


An Anonymous Girl (2.5 stars):  This was your run-of-the-mill psychological thriller, something reasonably rare in these days when all the books have to be filled with twists and turns and unreliable narrators. I didn’t love it but I also didn’t dislike it. I don’t think the characters were developed enough for me to care about them in any deep way. The plot moved fast enough that I kept listening to it without wanting to take a break, so that’s likely the best thing I can say about it.


I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening) (4 stars):  I have never heard of these authors, nor have I listened to their podcast but I always love the idea of grace-filled conversations in any area, let alone politics. I had a few friends mention this so I thought it would be a good read.

And it was. There are some thought provoking recommendations here specific to politics but the premise of adding nuance and not being extremist and not completely ruling out a person based on categories we put them into, being comfortable with the uncomfortable, exiting the echo chamber and getting curious are applicable in every area of being human. So we can all learn something from this book.

For those of you, like me, who have not listened to these authors before, I want to mention that there are references to religion and scripture in the book. I am not religious (and have a different religion than the authors) and this didn’t bother me or take away from the book in the least but I always think it’s important to mention so people are aware and don’t write off the whole book on account of that. 

It’s a well-organized, thought-provoking book and a very worthwhile read.


The Art of Visual Notetaking (5 stars): This book is fantastic! 

I am always fascinated by the videos and pictures of people taking visual notes as they listen to a lecture. I wish I were that talented and able to not only listen to, process but distill and visualize information so quickly and well.

This book breaks down the process for you step by step and highlights all the important factors in creating a visual representation. Emily makes sure to mention all the “basics” that are really the crucial aspects of where to sit, how to listen, how to prioritize and how to plan.

Then she talks about handwriting which she breaks down to simple steps and shows you exactly what you need to practice to get to a place that you like for yourself.

And then comes the part that I consider the hardest: the visuals. Here, too, Emily is fantastic at breaking it down and introducing a concept I’d never heard before called leveling it up where you start with the basics and keep adding to them in little bits to make it better and better. 

Emily also talks about adding color, creating a visual library, headers, containers, correcting mistakes, using metaphors and other parts of your visual notetaking journey. Like with all the other chapters, she builds it up in a very consumable, practical way that makes it look achievable.

Like everything else, the only way to really get good at this is by lots and lots of practice which she makes a point of mentioning and giving lots of examples of her progression so you know what pace to expect and she also has exercises at the end of each chapter so you can practice what you just learned. 

I know she makes it look much easier than it is and it will take a lot lot lot of practice but this book is inspiring and informative and encouraging in all the right ways. If you’re even remotely interested in this area I cannot recommend it enough.

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


The Happiness Diary (4 stars):  I’m a big fan of living with intention. To me, this means being clear about many different areas of my life and aware of the choices I am making and paying attention to the way those choices impact me both day to day and cumulatively.

Being happy is something that doesn’t come as naturally to me as it might to others. My natural state is lower than average and I have a tendency to remember the negative more strongly than the positive. So this is an area where I make a lot of extra effort to be even more intentional.

This book is the perfect tool to do that with. This is not a “reading” book, it is a “working” book. You have to work with it, live with it, think and take the time to really be intentional. It has eight different sections from definition to focusing on present moment to changing your brain to capturing the small things, etc. There are future looking exercises, ones that encourage repetition, ones that you revisit in intervals of time, etc.

Some of the exercises encourage introspection and you can do them in one sitting. There are others that are about making future commitments. And then there are ones that are about remembering the past or the present. Ones that encourage practicing new behavior and ones that encourage practicing new ways of thinking. 

There is a wide variety in this book and while my digital copy didn’t allow me to take advantage of the beautiful way this book is laid out for writing, the prompts and exercises are all easily transferable into your own journal. It’s not about the looks (though it’s so pretty too) it’s about the content. 

This book will be my close companion all throughout 2019 encouraging me to be intentional and thoughtful about my life so I can welcome more happiness (or be more aware of the happiness that’s already there.)

with gratitude to netgalley and the publisher for an arc in exchange for an honest review.


Where Reasons End (4 stars):  What an unusual book. This short book is an imaginary dialogue between a mom and her son who committed suicide. They talk about ordinary things: her writing, the world, poetry, etc. So I know some of the negative rates think there’s no emotion in this book when it’s clearly such a horrible emotional tragedy but I actually felt like there was a lot of emotion there. It was subtle and more acute in small moments but it still felt really sad to me. (Maybe because I listened to it on audio.)

I’m still not fully sure how I feel about the book but I am glad I read it.


The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls (4.5 stars):  This is one of the few cases where I felt like the blurbs that quoted The Mothers and An American Marriage did a little bit of justice to what this book feels like as opposed to just throwing titles on there to encourage readers to buy and then sorely disappoint them because of the lack of actual resemblance. Even though I’d say The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls is not like either of them, it does have the same feel as both of them in some ways.

This book is about a couple who go to jail for embezzling from their charity and the siblings of the mom, as well as their two teenage kids. The chapters shift perspective mostly among the three adult siblings but there are a few chapters with the dad, too, but not as many. While much of the book is the impact of the incarceration on the kids (and the adult siblings), it gets intermixed with the history of each sibling going back in the past and revisiting abuse in their own childhood, dealing with the scars of that and in some cases working hard to make peace with things. In fact, I’d say each character is on his/her own path to peace in this book. And there are varying levels of getting to it, just like in the real world. 

This book was very well written, the characters are deeply developed and there is a wide range of issues raised that are so real and told with such honesty that it’s hard not to connect with the characters. 

This is definitely up there as one of my favorite reads of 2019 so far.


Territory of Light (3.5 stars):  This small, quiet novel takes place during the year after the narrator separates from her husband and lives with her young daughter in an apartment. What I liked so much about this novel is that it’s told in little vignettes and moments from their lives. 

There is the sorrow, loneliness, and journey of the mom overlaid with the wonder, joy, and sometimes agony of the little girl. There is a lot of detail of simple every day things, the small pleasures, the small things that cause us deep sadness.

One of my favorite scenes happens pretty early on in the story when the water tank in the building has a leak and water floods everywhere and the two of them sneak out at night and go play in the water. There are so many little scenes like that. 

I am really enjoying reading novels that are different in the rhythms and language they use and this was one of the ones I am really glad to have read.


And there we go, a small week of reading. Here’s to another good 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 – 11

This story is about an amazing birthday party Nathaniel was lucky to be invited to.

Here are two more stories from my 2018 album. The content for these comes from the learn and light kits. 

This one is this wonderful trip we took to Lake Tahoe with a whole bunch of Nathaniel and David’s school friends. Super serene and lovely.

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 – 11

Weekly Intention: I had a really tough experience at work last week and I am still reeling from it. My intention this week is to quiet down and go within and decide what I want to do about it. This week is hopefully mostly quiet so I will have time to center myself, calm down, and see how i’d like to proceed. In general my intention this week is to be quiet and go within.

This month’s intention is: Personal Magic:  Time to slow down again and be intentional. This month think about yourself, what you have to offer to the world, what makes you, you. What’s unique and personal. Show up as your best self. This month is not about improving but owning. From February, on my plate still is: spring break, Nathaniel’s birthday trip, summer vacation, and the taxes. Last week, more than any other, highlighted to me that this is something I really want to focus on. I don’t just want to do this, i need to.

One way I will show up this week:  i think i will reserve this week for myself. i might not be as open as usual but more looking in to understand how i’m affected by what’s going on around me.

One magic I will make this week: i might try to go to book club which i think would be magical.

This week, I will pay attention to: my feelings, my thoughts, my perspectives.

This week, I will be kinder to: myself, i really need it.

This week, I will focus on pleasing: my inner child. might sound woo woo but i don’t care.

One new thing I will learn this week: what’s triggering me?

I am looking forward to: finishing perf.

This week’s challenges: i think showing up to work and being present will be challenging after last week. making sure i am not triggered, reacting etc.

Top Goals: 

  • Work: perf + empty out email
  • Personal: daily drawing, journal, yoga, and do a hike?
  • Family:  math with N, cook dinner, work with D. Lots of time with love of my life.

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: love for who i already am this week.
  • Learn: understanding what triggers me is going to be big learning.
  • Peace: peace with me, i am still struggling so much with being ok to be me.
  • Service: to me this week.
  • Gratitude: gratitude for all the people who love and support me.

This week, I want to remember: that it’s ok to stand up for who i am and what i believe. it’s possible to listen and create dialogue without apologizing constantly.


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

Weekly Reflection 2019 – 10

Magic I Saw this Week: This was a crazy long week filled with a lot of highs and a lot of lows. I saw rainbows, I saw people working together, I saw my kids working hard, I saw people excited about our college and its future, I saw excited kids who accomplish so many amazing things. I saw that there’s so many small touches in my day to day life that are magical.

Magic I Made this Week: I did yoga every day except Friday. We hosted a friend of Jake’s monday night and it was lovely. We built a prosthetic arm at work and that was magical. Going to science fair was magical and david winning first place was also magical. going back to a school even with jake where we talked a bit about our college years was magical.

Magic of Me that I explored Week: i did a bit of work on this, this week. I got my hair done on Monday. I had a really really bad experience at work on Thursday so I took Friday off and had a mental health day and spent the day with my friend Kelly which was truly magical. I spent a bunch of time thinking about my life and who I am and what I am willing to do (and not willing to do.) and read a lot. Good day for me.

Top Goals Review:  

  • Work: done with offsite + did some of perf + emptied out email but it’s full again 🙂
  • Personal: did daily drawing, did not journal, did yoga, and did not do a hike, was totally sane till Thursday when i just had the last drop
  • Family:  did science fair, did not do math with N, did not cook dinner once , worked with D. Some time with love of my life.

I celebrate: David. He won first place in science fair.

I am grateful for: my friend kelly this week.

This week, I exercised: i did yoga every day except Friday, twice on Thursday and then I did body pump on Monday.

Self-care this week: mental health day for the win.

I showed up for: my manager and my son.

I said yes to: having something to do every single night.

I said no to:  working at the state i was in on Friday.

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Embrace: i am embracing that i have a lot of feelings and need more time to figure them out.
  • Alive: it felt really alive to be with a friend on Friday.
  • Lighter: i feel lighter with the offsite done.
  • Kinder: i let several people be kind to me this week. feels very vulnerable but i tried.
  • Surrender: still reminding myself to surrender daily. it’s helping.

What I tolerated this week: a lot of long long days and very low lows.

My mood this week was: ok until Thursday which completely destroyed me for a while.

I am proud of: my children.

I forgive myself for: how i flew off the handle and how much all this is getting to me.

Here’s what I learned this week: i need to figure out what’s going on with me.

What I love right now: being able to sit on the couch and read.


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

Joy of Art – 09

joy is around you.

This was the Lifebook class for week three or four, I can’t remember. I enjoyed making it and its 3-D nature. those are meant to be ranunculus 🙂

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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 – 09

After all that wonderful reading last week, I only got to read four books this week. It was a long work 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 Valedictorian of Being Dead (4.5stars): This is a powerful book. Despite a few jokes here and there, it’s not a funny book. It’s not your typical dooce stories. It’s an honest and raw book on the profound toll depression can take on your life and the lengths to which one might be willing to go to release themselves from the grip of it.

Back when my kids were in their toddler years, I used to read dooce and while I didn’t relate to many of her stories, her blog was compulsively readable. It was honest (maybe honest is not the right word since everyone writing online is presenting a version of themselves) and funny and it gave me something to do during those endless nights with little babies. I stopped reading it over the years and have maybe checked in on her site twice in the last ten years. 

Nonetheless, when I saw this ARC, I knew I wanted to read it. I have my own stories with depression and knowing how raw she can be, I wanted to read what she wrote. I knew it would be well written in her compulsively readable style.

This book was probably one of the rawest descriptions of depression I’ve ever read. The feelings and thoughts were articulated with such honesty that it hurt to read them. It was hard to get through much of this book, especially if you can connect with any of the feelings/thoughts. I found myself connecting with her mother and feeling such an overwhelming sadness of watching your kid go through all that and also such awe at her showing up for her daughter again and again.

It’s so easy to believe that the pieces of ourselves we share online (or even offline for that matter) are who we are. But they are far from it. The truth is always far from what we see. It’s layers and layers of complicated truths. And of course even with this book we won’t ever know the full story but I am still grateful Heather chose to write this story, chose to articulate what depression can feel like. We need more stories of the not-so-pretty but honest parts of life so all of us can feel less alone in our mess. So all of us can be more compassionate towards each other.

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


The Unwinding of the Miracle (4 stars):  Reading two really sad books back to back was maybe not the best idea. Two books about death that both also have bits that are really hopeful and both remind you to live life.

Like The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying and When Breath Becomes Air, this is a book about dying. The main character starts by telling you that they are dead by the time you read this. 

Much of the book comes out of the blog Julie had while she lived with colon cancer. It’s heart wrenching in bits, inspiring in others, and beautiful in yet others. What I really appreciated was the honesty she shares in its raw form in many, many parts of this book. The anger, the resentment, the frustration and the total unfairness of it all. 

The whole time I was reading this book I was thinking that I need to be more grateful for my life. I am not that far from the age Julie died. Life is unpredictable and it’s short and it can change on a dime. It’s hard but important for me to remember. 


The Last Romantics (4 stars):  I really enjoy stories about families and this one has all the bits I love. It’s about siblings who are deeply affected by their dad’s passing and the impact that has on their mom. Their journey over the years as they are close, get upset with each other, keep things from each other, support each other and all the other things siblings do.


Early Riser (2 stars): It’s clear I’m going to be the outlier here. As someone who has never read Jasper Fforde before, I am not exactly sure what compelled me to pick up this book in the first place. I do read a bunch of science fiction and I’ve read many dystopian novels and I can be a big fan of the absurd, clever humor. I’ve devoured and loved every book by Douglas Adams so I thought this might be fun.

But then I got lost almost immediately. One review I read said it might be fun to read this on audio but I am wondering if that’s what went wrong for me. If I should have just read it on paper instead. Or if I should have read it more in one long sitting, etc. I just kept getting disconnected from the story and never had any attachment to any of the characters. 

I thought of putting it down many many times throughout and in retrospect that’s exactly what I should have done. Midway through this would have been a 3-star read but by the end I was so tired and frustrated that I could not possibly give it that. 

There are many, many fans of the author and maybe one day I can pick up a different book and give it a shot but for now, I’ll move on.


And there we go, a small week of reading. Here’s to a better 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.