Everyday Magic – 29

Weekly Intention: I have training for two days at work this week which makes the other three days quite a challenge. So my intention this week is: be at work, stay on top of email and then disconnect as much as i can so i can be with my family. and for the class, be really present.

This month’s intention is: Be the Magic: Settle into the summer, see the magic around you and connect with it. Step into it. Honor it. Bask in it. my intention this week is to pick one and start incorporating.

One way I will show up this week:  open.

One magic I will make this week: I will see if I can start walking again. ( i didn’t do this last week and i really want to.)

This week, I will pay attention to: how i can adjust my calendar going forward

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

This week, I will focus on pleasing: my class and its asks of me.

One new thing I will learn this week: how to be a good manager hopefully

I am looking forward to: my class.

This week’s challenges: squishing all the work into the other days

Top Goals: 

  • Work: move tokyo forward, get nbu meetings on a roll, do class, get all other meetings on cal, summarize learnings from D.
  • Personal: daily drawing, exercise, journal, walk, and restart yoga, sleep.
  • Family:  spend time with kids @night.

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: love for the long days.
  • Learn: learn how to be a good manager.
  • Peace: the new norm
  • Service: to my calendar?
  • Gratitude: for learning, growing, expanding.

This week, I want to remember: i have time, i do not have to rush it all.


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

Weekly Reflection 2019 – 28

Magic I Saw this Week: This was a long week with a lot of back to back meetings but the most magical part was Monday night when I came home early-ish and decided to just work offline so I read a book for work, spent some time organizing and journaling and really managed to slow down. And then on Friday, I ended up getting a ton of work done so that also felt magical. Outside of that, N enjoying his camp feels magical and D running so much is also magical.

Magic I Made this Week: Not a ton this week as it was a pretty busy week but I continued to draw daily and finished the 100day project. Pretty awesome.

Magic of Me that I explored Week: a bit more journaling so far this week.

Top Goals Review:  

  • Work: did move tokyo forward a bit but hopefully more this week, did not get nbu meetings on a roll yet but on it, did not really start a new cadence but coming soon.
    Personal: did daily drawing, exercised very little, journaled a bit, walked twice, and did not restart yoga, but did sleep a lot.
    Family:  i tried to be present for the kids and give jake some relief.

I celebrate: a productive week

I am grateful for: my new coach at work

This week, I exercised: only one body pump and one walking this week, not the best week.

Self-care this week: focused harder on sleep this week

I showed up for: work this week

I said yes to: taking monday afternoon offline

I said no to: working saturday morning since i worked friday night

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Embrace:  i am embracing my new calendar for a bit, it’s pretty terrifying
  • Alive: loving the summer days and light so so much.
  • Lighter: just accepting what is.
  • Kinder: still working on this one.
  • Surrender: surrendering to my new calendar

What I tolerated this week: lot lot lot of meetings and piling up email.

My mood this week was: tired and worn out.

I am proud of: progress and patience.

I forgive myself for: being who i am.

Here’s what I learned this week: i got this, i can do this, i want to do this.

What I love right now: the long days make me exceptionally happy.


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

Moments of Gratitude – 22

this week is my nephew’s visit and hanging out together and Google IO
and feedback from david’s family in spain.

Here’s to Seeing more Magic in 2019.


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

Joy of Art – 27

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


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

Books I Read This Week 2019 – 28

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


Fix Her Up (3 stars): This is a fast and cute read. If romance is your cup of tea and you can overlook some of the shortcuts the author takes on behalf of the characters, you will enjoy this sweet novel. Fair warning that this is much steamier than the many of the similar looking romance novels that are popping up. I wasn’t a huge fan of the main character being a clown, it just seemed unnecessary and distracted from the story in my opinion but otherwise, I was perfectly happy reading this one. Light, easy and fun.


One Strategy (3.5 stars):  I read this book at the recommendation of someone at work and I knew it wouldn’t be a light read but, for some reason, the first part felt exceptionally dry to me. I didn’t connect with the content until the second part where the ideas were laid out more clearly with a combination of idea and then application (blog post) example. When he started talking about planning specifically, I finally connected with the book and was fascinated. I with it had been sooner than 36% into the book. The last 60+% went fast, was enjoyable and interesting and thought provoking. In fact, I likely could have just started there and still gotten most of the value out of this book. 


This is Home (3 stars): This story managed to both be light and still cover some serious topics. I enjoyed the variety of characters in the story even though I felt like there wasn’t enough depth in any of them. I still liked seeing them come together, form a community of their own and help each other. It’s not a story that will likely stay with me for a long time, but I still enjoyed reading it.


The Ruin (4 stars): Loved this book. This author is new to me but the reviews indicated that this would be a character-driven mystery novel which was spot on. I really enjoyed reading it despite some of the dark content. The story and character development was rich, the pacing was fantastic and unwinding all the lies and deceit and the flawed characters in this story made it a fascinating read. 

I really enjoyed that every single character was flawed in some way, which made them all so 3-dimensional and real to me. The dialogue and writing were also fantastic. I look forward to reading more of this series and author.


Celestial Watercolor (3 stars): This book has beautiful paintings and a lot of information on each of the zodiac signs. It is a light and quick read, and worthwhile if you’re interested in zodiac constellations. While it has a lot of paintings and some quick steps, I would say it’s pretty light on the instructions on how to paint so if you’re looking for step by steps, this is not the ideal book for you. If you’re mostly looking for inspiration, this is your cup of tea.

Thank you to netgalley and Quarto Publishing Group for an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.


How Not to Die Alone (3 stars): I think the cover of this book led me to think it was different than it was. Not in a good or bad way just somehow I thought it would either be much more serious or much much lighter. Instead, it was somewhat in the middle. The story was relatively light with serious undertones and it was sweet. I enjoyed reading it but I am not sure any of the characters or the plot will stick with me for a long time, which is perfectly fine.


Own Your Everyday (3 stars): I had never heard of this author. Apparently she has quite the following online and she’s a Christian author. I picked this book randomly from the library and liked the title and the cover. Once I started reading it, I liked the author’s voice and her down to earth style. Much of this book is not amazing new findings or a completely different perspective. I’ve read a lot on subjects like these so I wasn’t expecting it to blow my mind but it was touching and honest and open. It reinforced many of the ideas I am working on and I really appreciated reading it. 

The part that will stick with me the most is this one quote: “one can’t be 99% free and call it freedom.” This really rang true for me and made me think about all the areas of my life where I am still not choosing freedom over other possibilities.


The Friend Zone (3 stars): Hmm ok, let’s talk about this one. On the surface, this is another cute romance story like many others that have come out for the summer of 2019. In some ways, it’s more than that. The characters are more complex and there are serious issues being discussed and addressed in this book. They are not addressed deeply but they are there and make the lives of the characters more 3-dimensional and less like a glossy magazine. Some really sad things happen in the story. I liked the characters, I loved their chemistry, I enjoyed reading about their stories, their interactions and especially the main female character being both a little fragile and a lot sassy.

And. It had all that and, it also had a few trite tropes I wish weren’t there. I am trying to not give away any spoilers so I will say it has a few literary devices that are common to how people shift their thinking and make change in their lives. More significantly there are some serious issues in this book that are then handled as if by magic they are less serious. This, to me, is a big no no. I don’t want to say too much but I am absolutely not ok when a writer takes a serious subject and swings a magic wand all over it. You do not have to handle serious topics in your book, but if you choose to, please give them the respect they deserve.

Other than that, I really enjoyed my time with this novel and I am looking forward to her next book, hoping is has a little less of what I didn’t love and more of what I did.


For the Love of Books (3.5 stars): As a person who loves reading and books, I knew there was no chance this book would not be enjoyable for me. In my family, we have books that we like to keep in the car because they are perfect books for reading in snippets and it gives us the joy of having an option in case we find ourselves stuck somewhere and with nothing to read. This is a perfect car book. 

This book is organized by themes and each theme has lots and lots of snippets of stories about different books or authors. Each story is about a paragraph or a page. It’s not an essay collection, it’s not the author’s feelings or thoughts about these stories, it’s the stories themselves. For me, this was perfect. 

I was reading my book over 4th of July and had family visiting. There were so many fascinating bits in here that I couldn’t stop quoting them out loud to my family. If you’re a book nerd and like reading about authors, the stories behind the books or the characters, I have no doubt that you’ll find something to treasure in this book.

Thank you to netgalley and Skyhorse Publishing for an advanced copy in return for an honest review.


Dawn (3.5 stars): I don’t usually read short story collections. Since my preference lies in character-driven plots, I generally don’t find short stories as satisfying. But I wanted to make an exception here because of my own roots even though I knew nothing about this author except what I found out from the blurbs. I knew the collection was short and decided to give it a try.

I really liked the first story, the symbolism, the strength and the writing. But then the second story was so over the top that I worried I made a mistake. Not sure why I kept going, maybe it’s because the stories are very short and compelling enough that I was willing to continue even if I didn’t care for one or two of them. There’s a good mix of optimism and tragedy in the stories. 

I listened to the audio version which was narrated by two Turkish narrators because they clearly knew how to pronounce all the names and places properly which was great. However, there were also many, many turns of phrase in the book that were clearly transliterated instead of being translated properly. For example, in Turkish we have something called bird language which a lot of kids use to talk to each other. It’s made up by adding an extra syllable between syllables of a word so it sounds like gibberish but is not. The author refers to this in the first story as how he can still remember it and understand the birds in the story. This concept doesn’t really exist in America. Kids here have something similar in called pig latin which does a similar play on words by “transferring the initial consonant or consonant cluster of each word to the end of the word and adding a vocalic syllable.” Even though the concept is similar, clearly what they call it here has nothing to do with birds. A proper translation would have referred to it as pig latin so it makes sense to the local audience but then the whole correlation to the birds would have fallen apart. Hence the conundrum I assume.

This is one example but there are many examples in the book where I could clearly tell that the translation was a turn of phrase that makes sense in Turkish but doesn’t really translate and thus its power is lost in translation. 

For me, this didn’t take away much from the powerful stories since I could switch back to Turkish in my head. Many of these stories are thought-provoking and profound and enjoyable. Despite the handful that I really didn’t connect with, I am glad I read this collection. 


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 – 28

This story is about all the habits I am trying to cultivate at the moment.

Here are more 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 how Nathaniel has such a learner’s mindset and how he loves learning and doing new things.
David’s 14th birthday. i love this boy madly.
And David’s birthday party at home with his friends.
Our goals to go hiking more often!

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 – 28

Weekly Intention: This is my first full week back since before we left for vacation. The week after this I have a class for 2 days and the week after that I have a summit for 3 days and the week after that I am on vacation again. So my intention this week is to focus hard at work and get things on a roll. Let’s see how effective I can be. My intentions at home is to keep our routine and get the kids being intentional, too.

This month’s intention is: Be the Magic: Settle into the summer, see the magic around you and connect with it. Step into it. Honor it. Bask in it. I’ve been doing a lot of journaling for my goals for the second half. Let’s see what I can do here.

One way I will show up this week:  present.

One magic I will make this week: I will see if I can start walking again.

This week, I will pay attention to: what I am still trying to cultivate in my life.

This week, I will be kinder to: my husband who is carrying a big load over the summer.

This week, I will focus on pleasing: my todo list.

One new thing I will learn this week: a bunch of manager training this week.

I am looking forward to: getting work started.

This week’s challenges: just trying to get work done in between meetings

Top Goals: 

  • Work: move tokyo forward, get nbu meetings on a roll, start new cadence.
  • Personal: daily drawing, exercise, journal, walk, and restart yoga, sleep.
  • Family:  be present for the kids and give jake some relief.

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: love for the summer lull.
  • Learn: learn how to be a good manager.
  • Peace: with all the changes
  • Service: to myself for a bit.
  • Gratitude: for having meaningful work to do.

This week, I want to remember: step by step, we will get there.


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

Weekly Reflection 2019 – 27

Magic I Saw this Week: The best part of this week was that it was a 3-day work week. I don’t even mind working 5 days in a row but i do wish we had 4-day weekends each weekend. I love the luxury of the feeling of having so many days to rest and refuel. The kids have been running and working hard and having a really good summer. 4th of July was magical thanks to Jake and having my nephew here is also magical for me!

Magic I Made this Week: Mostly just going to work and resting this week. A lot of scrapping, photo printing, telling our stories, catching up to life.

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

Top Goals Review:  

  • Work: i did many of the todo list items and cleaned email.
  • Personal: did daily drawing, exercised, journaled, but did not restart yoga, and sleept soso.
  • Family:  did not make summer plans for either kid.

I celebrate: a nice 4-day weekend

I am grateful for: resting

This week, I exercised: two body pumps only this week.

Self-care this week: a lot of resting and taking care of my personal goals this weekend.

I showed up for: our fun 4th of july events!

I said yes to: giving myself permission to rest this weekend

I said no to: filling the weekend up

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Embrace:  i am embracing all the work i have because i am excited to do it.
  • Alive: still on the high from vacation.
  • Lighter: now that i’ve caught up to so much.
  • Kinder: working on this one.
  • Surrender: surrendering so much each day

What I tolerated this week: lot lot lot of catch up.

My mood this week was: excited.

I am proud of: all my new work.

I forgive myself for: taking longer than ideal to get up to speed.

Here’s what I learned this week: i love a 4-day weekend.

What I love right now: sitting in the backyard in the summer breeze.


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

Moments of Gratitude – 21

this week is my mother’s day 3-d print, david calling from spain, nathaniel’s crazy hair day, trip to san francisco, date night, and seeing a kitty on our walk.

Here’s to Seeing more Magic in 2019.


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

Joy of Art – 26

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


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

Books I Read This Week 2019 – 27

Between travel and vacation, I got a reasonable amount of reading done this week. A few good ones and a few mediocre ones. 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 Flatshare (4.5 stars): How I love love loved this book. Sometimes a book comes at the right time for the exact story that you need. From the moment I started this sweet story, I didn’t want it to finish, I just kept reading and reading so I could stay in their world a little bit longer. 

This story reminded me of the British movies like Four Weddings and a Funeral or Notting Hill etc. It’s sweet, quirky in all the good ways and puts a big big smile on your face even as it deals with serious life issues like abuse and wrongful imprisonment. It’s a romance story at its heart and it’s an absolute joy to read.

Definitely recommended. 


Stop Doing that Sh*t (3.5 stars):  I liked this book because while there’s nothing new in here for me, there’s so much good reminder and this is the kind of book I have to read every few months to knock some sense into myself. I find that a reminder that I get to charter my own path and that it should be influenced by the future I want to create and not the past I’ve had never comes at a bad time. This is my life, i’ve got only one that I get to live and I am in it right now. I get to decide how this goes. I get to build the life I want. This means making a million little choices every single moment in every single day. And I get to make every single one of them. And then they accumulate into the life I want for myself. Easy and difficult as that. 

I liked Bishop’s previous book for it’s no-nonsense tone and this one doesn’t hold anything back either.


The Scent Keeper (4 stars): I loved this beautiful book. The writing, the atmosphere, the characters all came together to create the kind of story I enjoy deeply.

For many, this might be a slow book, but I love these kids of books, especially when they can get both the atmosphere and the characters right and this one does both wonderfully. 

I discovered this book randomly through my library, so grateful for such lovely surprises.


City of Girls (4 stars): Elizabeth Gilbert’s books make me so happy. They are beautiful journeys into other worlds and deep, beautiful character studies. I go on their journeys with them and experience the ups and downs of the choices they make. I learn about new ways of living, perspectives, and find myself cheering for these amazing characters.

City of Girls was pure joy to read from beginning to end. I loved all of the characters and did not want the story to end. I loved all the color from the 40s of New York, the bits of history integrated into the story and the ways in which affects (and doesn’t affect) Vivian’s life. I loved all the variety in the characters and the journeys each of them took in their lives.

I will miss these characters so much and can’t wait until Gilbert gifts us with another story.


When We Found Home (3 stars): This is a sweet book about three step siblings who find each other later in life, two of them are grown ups and one’s twelve. The story is about what it means to become siblings, create a family and learn to trust. It’s sweet and kind and and easy read.


The Perfect Date (2 stars): Ok so this is the weirdest thing I’ve ever experienced in the over 400 books I’ve now read from all the different libraries in California. I checked out and thought I was reading a book called The History of Living Forever but alas once I started listening to the book it turned out to be this one instead. So I just kept reading instead of stopping when I should have. This book is fine if you like books that are not substantive and you don’t care about character development or even likable characters much. Each character is quite unlikeable in that they are not nice to each other at all. Plot is predictable and doesn’t really go anywhere imho. It’s a quick and easy read. Just not sure it’s worth the time.


Boy Meets Depression (4 stars): It is rare to read an honest and open book about depression. I hear this is based on a TED talk but I have never watched it nor have I heard of the author. Nonetheless I am grateful to have read this book and his perspective and learnings will stay with me as I go through my own light and darkness.


Magic for Liars (2.5 stars): I was really looking forward to this book. Magic is my word for 2019 and I thought this would be a great fiction story but alas it was too disjointed for me. 

The main character wasn’t likeable, in fact none of them really we’re except one or two. The world building didn’t really exist. Normally I don’t love books spending half the book world building but this one had no explanation at all and just felt like the magic bits were planted into a normal world with no explanation. 

The ending was totally weird and off. I didn’t even get what the author was trying to do. Quite a lot of serious subjects here and yet all are glossed over. Meh.

Still gave it a few stars for the unusual story and solid writing. Just wish it was more magical than that.


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 – 27

This story is about slowing down to snuggle with my kiddos.

Here are two more 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 my friend Evelyn and her new book launch. I love her so.

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.