Books I Read This Week 2019 – 02

So here we go, hello to 2019. Since I’ve spent the first week of this year at home, I’ve had a lot of time to read and have had some wonderful reads. Since I am using Good Reads here now thanks to Gypsy, I will go ahead and link to and copy my reviews here which means there will be a lot more writing per book. 

Ikigai (2 stars): I bought this book back in February of 2018. I had just heard about Ikigai and wanted to learn more about it. At the time I bought this one on audio and Awakening Your Ikigai for my kindle. I was in Sydney for a work trip and decided to read the print book first. I loved it. Even though the book didn’t really tell me all that I wanted, I highlighted so much of it.

So I was looking forward to starting 2019 with a reminder on what I love so much about the concept. Alas, this book didn’t do it for me. If you’ve never read any books around the topics mentioned here, this book might appeal to you but as someone who’d already read Man’s Search for Meaning and already familiar with concepts of Flow, there wasn’t much in this book for me. It felt like it jumped back and forth and it even managed to annoy me in certain places. 

Depending on where you are in your journey this book might work for you but if you’re going to read one book on this topic, I’d recommend Awakening Your Ikigai over this one. 

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell (4 stars):  I should have started with this as my first read of 2019. This moving story was spectacular. I loved the characters, the plot that circles back in on itself, and the sentiment of the novel. I listened to the author’s note at the end, too, and I love the fact that this novel was inspired by his own mother’s fight for his brother. To me, what makes or breaks a novel has everything to do with how the characters come alive and stay with you. I know these will stay with me for a long while.

I will say a few bits that might matter: 
– the women in the novel are more one-dimensional than one might like. Especially the secondary characters. ordinarily this would bother me a lot, but in this case it didn’t. i can’t tell you why.
– this is not a deep, literary novel, in my opinion, it’s a feel good story about the unbounded love of a mother and thus things fall into place in the ways in which they do in such novels.
– there is a strong religious component to the story as the mother is very religious. that didn’t bother me but i know it might bother some.

I bounce around in my reading. I will be in the mood for something educational, something sad, something light, something serious, something weird, something thought-provoking and sometimes something uplifting. Each of these books have their own types of formulas. I know that going into the story (and sometimes the book surprises me, of course, but that happens relatively rarely.)

This is the uplifting kind. And on that note, it delivers beautifully.

Born a Crime (4 stars): I finally finally got around to reading this book. It’s been in my audible pile forever but I kept prioritizing my library checkouts so this one has been sitting quietly waiting for me to be ready for it and today was the day.

I had heard so much praise about this book that it was going to be hard for the book to live up to the hype. But it didn’t disappoint. 

I’ve stopped watching The Daily Show since Jon Stewart stopped hosting it so I knew nothing at all about Trevor Noah. I also knew almost nothing about growing up in South Africa and so much of what he talks about in this book. I think this is one of the reasons why this book is such a success: he talks about topics most of us don’t know about and manages to make the reader feel the horror at the same time as making the reader laugh. There are moments of terrible tragedies in this book and yet it doesn’t feel didactic in the least.

And, of course, the biggest joy is seeing where he came from and where he ended up. The kind of story that gives you hope, reminds you much is possible in this life, and makes you feel another level of respect for Trevor Noah.

The Library Book (3 stars):  I have mixed feelings about this book. 

I checked it out of the library several times before I finally decided to tackle it today. Often times, there’s a reason I end up putting the book off but sometimes a book I’ve checked out six times ends up being one of my favorites and I regret not having read it sooner. I’ve liked Susan Orlean’s previous novel and I love libraries so I had reasons to read this one. When I saw it was the Reese bookclub pick for January, I decided it was a nudge from the universe (or Reese?) to finally read it.

The book is told sort of in alternating chapters. There’s the story of the fire which I found fascinating and then there are stories about the author’s childhood around libraries and also about the history of the library which I found less interesting. In my experience, many non-fiction novels end up stretching their subject too much in an effort to make a book out of it when it could be a really intriguing long article. This felt a little like that. Like there was a lot of filler. And the book, in my opinion, didn’t fare better for it.

I did enjoy several of the stories and especially the little mention of Overdrive which I love and use multiple times a day. But there were too many side stories, too much of the history, and too much back and forth for my liking.

I am still glad I read it.

The Art of the Good Life (2.5 stars): It’s always tricky to write a book on “how to be.” I know this book isn’t titled as if it’s telling you what to do/who to be but it’s trying to do exactly that, in my opinion. Even though I agreed with some of his ideas, learned new ideas, and disagreed with some of what he said, the part of the book that put me off the most was the tone in which it was written.

Maybe it’s necessary to be “authoritative” when writing a book on how to live, but I would have been more open to his ideas if the author took some of his own advice and was more humble and argued the opposite of his ideas more often. Presenting alternate ways of thinking is most valuable to me when you give me both sides of the coin and I can make my own choices with what I’ve learned. But then again maybe that’s an altogether different book and this one is the author having done his homework and telling me the choices he’s come to after having done his homework. 

Alas that was my favorite part of the book, all the stories throughout and the appendix which is full of his sources, other thinkers that he quotes throughout, etc. The author clearly did his work. He’s well read, he spent the time thinking about what matters to him, what he thinks should matter to me, etc. But I guess I didn’t end up as big a fan of how he distilled it all. He brought together several different thoughts of school, wrapped it in a nice bow for me and ta-da! I have my present on how to life my life well.

I guess, for me, part of living a good life is learning what that means for me. What my definition looks like and what are the pieces that contribute to it. So a book that’s wrapped up this neatly was never going to get me there.

Having said all of that, I’ve highlighted a bunch of this book and it gave me a lot of ideas to think about and of course a lot of sources on who else to read to go deeper, to learn more, to think more. Hence the stars. 

Here are a few of the ideas that stuck with me:
– First pay, then enjoy. I don’t like to spend money, especially on myself. When I buy things, I like to pay cash because, at that moment, I made up my mind and I am ok to spend it and generally I get an immediate satisfaction (of whatever I bought in return.) With a credit card, I get the bill in the mail later and I have to “re-pay” that bill. I have to relive the decision to spend that money. It makes me unhappy all over again. The downside to paying with cash is that it’s very hard to track where your money goes which is why I now usually use credit cards. The author here talks about how he pays for the hotel at the beginning of his vacation so he can really enjoy it and end it on a high note since we know endings matter so much. So this made me think about how I can incorporate more of that into my life. Maybe I can get a prepaid credit card where I put X amount of money up front into it and then use it. This way I have the “records” of what I spent it on but I am not paying again at the end of the month. (In this same chapter, I think, he talks about how the duration of the vacation is less important than how it ends, which gave me a lot of food for thought on how to spend our vacations, too. this one is still forming.)

– It’s easier to do it 100% of the time: I believe in this wholeheartedly. Gretchen Rubin has a saying that what you do everyday matters more than what you do occasionally. I find that it’s easier for me to commit to something every single day than it is to do it X times a week etc. If it’s everyday, there’s no question or bargaining around it. I am doing it. 

– Don’t pick a side. When we pick a side, we look for proof that our perspective is right, that our story is the correct one and we keep feeding it so it gets more and more solid. I like the author’s idea of a “too complicated” bucket. Saying “I don’t know” helps reaffirm the truth that I don’t actually know.

– Don’t assume the things/people you’ve accumulated in life are due to some credit to what you’ve done to deserve it. So much of life is chance. The part of this thought that resonated with me the most was this “The best attitude to have is that all of them are on loan to you, and may be taken away at any time.” I love this. Not just for the non-attachment part but as a reminder for me to really pay attention to what I have and how lucky I am. Not sure the author meant it that way but it doesn’t matter to me. 

– The idea of pre-mortem was not new to me in this book but it’s a good reminder to help avoid potential circumstances I can avoid and also help pinpoint sources of my own anxiety around a decision.

– I wildly disagreed with reading only a handful of books of course. The fact that I don’t remember much of what I read doesn’t bother me and doesn’t detract from the experience of reading it and feeling what I feel at the moment. Maybe it’s a way to honor my experiencing self 🙂

– I liked the idea of mental subtraction but I have to read about it more to really understand it better. 

– I liked the idea of applying Sturgeon’s law to my thoughts too. 90% of what I think is garbage. It helps me not take myself so seriously.

A bunch of food for thought. I’d really give this 2.5 stars but somehow it doesn’t feel right rounding up to 3. Maybe in a few weeks, I’ll come back and change it.

Uprooted (4.5 stars): I started this book yesterday thinking is was going to be slow and long but I had three more days before I had to go back to work. Having read Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver I should have known better.

The moment I started this book, I was lost in Novik’s world. I am not usually a fantasy lover. The more complicated the world building, the sooner you might lose me. I am not super patient and have no appetite for unusual creatures. But if you give me flawed, interesting, funny and three-dimensional characters, you pretty much have me. Novik’s characters never disappoint. Her twisty, dark, rich plot is just icing on the cake. The fact that her main character is a strong female character is the bonus that just makes her one of my favorite fantasy writers ever.

Not to say that the book is perfect. I think if I had read this first, I would have given it five stars because discovering an author this talented comes with a halo effect. But since this is my second one, I think a bit of that has worn off. This book definitely could have been edited down a bit; there were parts that I would have likely glazed over had I not been on audio. I’d say this is a 4.5 star book, for me, but not enough to tip over to 5. 

Having said that, I couldn’t stop listening to it all day, and it took me less than 24 hours to finish this ~18-hour book, even at 2x, you can do the math that I pretty much read it the whole time I was awake. On a side note, the audio narrator is excellent and aligns with the feel of the story perfectly.

If you haven’t read any of Novik’s books and like Fantasy, I say it’s time to grab one of her novels. Just make sure you have nothing else to do all day.

And there we go, a reasonably solid start to 2019. I am now reading book number 7 and loving it. Here’s to wonderful books in 2019.

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!

Stories from 2019 – 1

This story is about how I love buying flowers for myself.

Midway through 2018 I decided to subscribe to Ali Edwards Story Kit to help make a travel album I was hoping to put together. I decided to buy a 6-month subscription thinking I could see if I used the contents for six months and subscribe longer if I did. I was hoping I could use a storytelling system similar to December Daily where I tell simple stories regularly and the sum of the parts would amount to magic like it does for DD. 

This story is about our evening kayaking adventure at night when we were trying to see the meteor shower. We didn’t get to see any meteors but we had a truly wonderful time together.

I was so right. As soon as I got my hands on these kits, I was completely inspired to tell stories again. I completed my 30-page travel journal and then made 44 other pages. I’ve loved how my book ended up. 

So my plan for 2019 is to share some of these 2018 pages with you and then make and share the 2019 ones as I receive the kit each month. These stories are a crucial part of my seeing the magic of our lives. 

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 – 02

Weekly Intention:  This promises to be a reasonably light week at work. My intention this week is to ease back into things. To be present, to be calm and grounded and to slowly get back into routine. 

This month’s intention is: Seeing the Magic: Pay attention to your life. Make note of all the magic around you. See the people who love, cherish, and honor you. Thank people, show them that you see them. I’ve started sending daily letters to my mom and exchanging weekly letters with my friend Kelly.  For January, I will continue to honor that.

One way I will show up this week:  I will listen more this week. Try not to commit to anything and stay in the place of collecting information.

One magic I will make this week: Let’s go with art. I will try to do art at least one night this week.

This week, I will pay attention to: my feelings. what sets me off, what triggers me.

This week, I will be kinder to: my husband. he is always so so kind to me, i want to make sure to pay it back.

This week, I will focus on pleasing: myself, i want to be able to extend myself grace through this transition. 

One new thing I will learn this week: i will pick an online class to take this week.

I am looking forward to:  transitioning back into routine.

This week’s challenges:  lol. transitioning back to routine 🙂

Top Goals: 

  • Work: align with my manager on our goals for 2019.
  • Personal: keep up with journaling + art + yoga and start going to gym.
  • Family: restart physics with david. do math with nathaniel. cook for Jake. family photos and celebrations.

I will focus on my values:

  • Love:  remember what i love about work, life, me.
  • Learn: pick something new and fun to learn. remember that learning is not about knowing or mastering.
  • Peace: peace with the fact that transitions are hard for me.
  • Service: service to my family.
  • Gratitude: gratitude for all i have. 

This week, I want to remember:  that getting another turn around the sun is such a blessing. i am soaking in my days.

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

Weekly Reflection 2019 – 01

Magic I Saw this Week:  This week started with the magic of spending New Year’s eve with my whole family. The first time in 26 years. It was quite magical. Later in the week, everyone flew to their homes and we settled in to a magical quiet. On Thursday, both my boys were happy to go back to school this week even though they weren’t looking forward to it. They came back smiling and happy. 

Magic I Made this Week: Jake and I started doing Yoga together. We start our mornings with Adriene doing her Dedicate series. It’s been really magical getting to do it with my wonderful husband. I’ve also done some art and a lot of journaling this week which was magical.

Magic of Me that I explored Week: As part of my homework for create.2019 I’ve listed all the wonderful moments in 2018 and in my life. It was quite the joyful and eye opening experience. 

Top Goals Review:  none for this week!

I celebrate: doing some art finally after a long, long break.

I am grateful for: this long and wonderful time off i’ve had from work, getting to connect with my family and grounding myself

This week, I exercised: I’ve done yoga every morning and I’ve also done 10 pushups a day minimum each day.

Self-care this week: I’ve done a lot of journaling this week and I’ve been resting a lot. I feel pretty grounded. 

I showed up for:  my son in helping him prepare for his high school application.

I said yes to:  spending time with my friend even though it was raining and I didn’t want to leave the house. I rarely want to leave the house 🙂

I said no to:  going to a high school event for David next week. I don’t need to be there and there’s really no reason to add stress this week.

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Embrace: i am embracing the fact that all my art muscles have atrophied and i have to start over.
  • Alive: the pushups are actually helping me feel alive.
  • Lighter: i feel lighter after I journal each day, i wish i could remember this more often.
  • Kinder: i am trying to be kinder to my kids, remembering to hug more and hold them tighter.
  • Surrender: i need to surrender to the feelings of anxiety around this quiet time ending. it’s going to be okay.

What I tolerated this week: my knee’s been hurting more than I’d like and I am hoping it will get better with regular exercise.

My mood this week was: Lethargic but peaceful.

I am proud of: How I started the year. Optimistic.

I forgive myself for: Not being as generous with my time as others might want me to be. I am honoring my boundaries.

Here’s what I learned this week: i said yes to keeping track of my books on good reads when gypsy asked me to even though i’d been asked before and didn’t feel like it. it turned out to be a blessing. i love tracking them there and taking the time to document my thoughts more deeply. we’ll see if i can keep it up but for now, i am really grateful. thank you gypsy.

What I love right now:  we’ve been putting on youtube videos of crackling fire on our tv and having that on in the background. I love love love it.

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

2019 – Plans and Projects

I had regular goals for my blog in 2018 and that worked well for me. Here’s some of what worked well and what worked less well:

  • Art projects: I didn’t have any specific art goals for 2018 and thought I would do whatever I could. That didn’t work well. I ended up doing very little art in 2018 so for 2019 I decided to make specific goals and see if I can do better.
  • Stronger Than Before and Weekly Reflection posts were my favorite and helped me stay connected to my goals, keep track of my intentions.
  • Stories from 2018 was a great way to ensure I celebrated many moments from this year. I love going back to these and re-visiting my year, and I love that I even did a bit of scrapping with these. I didn’t end up doing 52 of these but I am okay with that.
  • Reading – I read like mad this year. Mostly audiobooks and I loved it.
  •  Moments from This week: even though this also became less ambitious than my original goals, I’ve loved making this book. I love seeing it and having it.
So all in all, 2018 was less solid than 2017, partly because my work is a lot more in the office now so I have less time than I used to. I am working on adjusting this for 2019 so I am going to make much more ambitious goals for 2019 and we’ll see if I can rise to them. I still put this year in the win category!
For 2019, I decided to keep the same structure, mostly:
  • Monday: Everyday Magic: This is the same as Living Intentionally posts I’ve been doing. I want to think purposefully each week and set goals, choices, projects for just that week. I try to write these on Sunday nights. These help me be more mindful. They will also help me identify ways in which i can see, make and appreciate my magic. [Making Magic, Magic of Me]
  • Tuesday: Stories from 2019: My plan for 2019 is to mix these with lightweight scrapping this year and see if that’s good or bad, we’ll see. [Seeing the Magic]
  • Wednesday:Books This Week – I will talk about the books I read this week. This year, I’m also entertaining the idea of keeping track of them in goodreads. We’ll see if I can keep that up. [Making Magic]
  • Thursday: Joy of Art – I am really hoping to do more art in 2019. This is the day of the week I plan to share those. It might be sketching, Life Book assignment or anything else I decide. Let’s hope I can make it happen. [Making Magic]
  • Friday: Moments of Gratitude –  This is going to be the same as Moments from This week but very much gratitude focused. We’ll see if i can make it happen. [Seeing the Magic]
  • Sunday: Weekly Reflection: This, too, is the same as 2018. These posts help me to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work so I can set proper intentions for the following week. [Seeing the Magic, Magic of Me]

These are the only weekly projects I will commit to. And even these I might do more irregularly, we’ll see. These all mean something to me and I’d like to do them and I believe almost all are pretty doable. We’ll see what surprises 2019 has in store for me. I will also attempt to do some personal thought posts since I love those but I don’t want to commit to it regularly.

All of these might happen, none of them might happen. I might repeat projects. I might do wildly different things. I am giving myself grace while trying to keep myself motivated.

I’ve also signed up for a few classes to start the year:

  1. Thought Threads Stephanie never disappoints.
  2. create.2019 Karen’s classes are always thought provoking and worthwhile.
  3. Life Book 2019  Easiest way to bring back art for 2019.
  4. Perspective class by Olga this class was free.
  5. One Little Word 2019 – have taken this class for years. love it.
  6. I’m also subscribed to Ali’s Story Kit which I use for my simple scrapping.
  7. And finally, I am taking Alisa Burke’s yearlong art journaling class, too. I’m going to do more art this year if it kills me 🙂

Here are a few I signed up for in 2018 that I either didn’t finish or start 🙂 so I might tackle those.

  1. Manifesting – I have done most of it but I haven’t done the Mondo Beyondo list so that’s on my 2019 list as well.
  2. Draw and See – I have done none of it.

Here’s to a wonderful 2019.  Here’s to doing more art. Here’s to making time to enjoy art. Here’s to learning new things. Here’s to practicing more. Here’s to reflecting. Being intentional. Creating a positive cycle. Here’s to seeing, making and appreciating my magic.

Books I Read This Week 2018 – 53


I wanted to make sure to document all the books I read in 2018 separately so this post is basically all I read before January 1. This way, the next post will start with 2019.

I liked Diane Setterfiled so I knew I would like Once Upon a River which definitely did. It’s a magical story that moves slowly but is beautiful.

Lovingkindness  was fantastic because it’s Sharon Salzberg and I definitely need more of her in my life. 

 Intercepted  was fun. I put it off a few times but finally I was in the mood for it and it didn’t disappoint for what I thought it would be. 

American Like Me was a fantastic read. I am not American so I connected with so many of the stories even though I look like I am American. 

I didn’t really like  Love and Luck all that much. Maybe it was timing and I just wasn’t in the mood for it.

I had started Why Smart Kids Worry  a little while ago but hadn’t finished it before it was due back at the library so when I got it again, I started it again right away. Most of it wasn’t useful, some of it I vehemently disagreed with and then there were a few bits that were useful. I am generally very anti parenting books that claim to know exactly what you should do (or not do) with your kids. Life is never that clear and advice shouldn’t be either imho.

I had the previous book to  You Are a Badass Every day  but I couldn’t get myself to read it and after several attempts I decided to just read this. It was ok but just nothing new.

 The Bookshop of Yesterdays was a lovely, quick read. It was interesting but not life changing. 

This year I discovered that many Japanese writers write unusual stories that I really like to read and  The Lonesome Bodybuilder was no exception. I really enjoyed these very eccentric stories.

I loved  The Great Believers. I am not sure why I put it off as long as I did. It was a really good read. 

 Love for Imperfect Things was okay. Simple, sound advice and a good reminder.

I knew  Five Feet Apart  would be a quick read but I still wanted to read it before the movie came out. It was okay.

 Elevation was a super-pleasant last-minute surprise. As I was surfing other people’s 2018 reads, I saw this pop up and was curious. I love Stephen King as a writer but usually he writes horror and I don’t read horror. So when he writes anything but, I always make a point to read it. This was fantastic.

I then tackled another top mentioned for 2018:  You Think It, I’ll Say It. I don’t usually like short story collections but this was great. I liked each of the stories quite a bit.

I ended the year with  On the Same Page which was a very mediocre read but I forgive that since this week was filled with several fantastic reads.

And there we go, 323 books in 2018. Overall, a really good year that was filled with many books I loved. Here’s to hoping 2019 proves to be just as magical.

Books I Read this Week 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

2019 – Core Desired Feelings

As with all the previous years, I knew I wanted to pick my core desired feelings this year, too. If you want to know more about core desired feelings, please go to my post from 2016 and you can see the links there.

I did the exercise this year as I do each year but I was actually feeling not my best self this year when I did them so I am not sure how much I like my answers. So I wanted to focus on how I want to feel this year. What are the feelings I am cultivating? If I get an offer of an opportunity, what are the questions I want to ask myself so I can make a decision around whether I say yes or no? How will I know if this action will make me feel what I want to feel?

I mentioned before that there’s a pattern to my words: I always pick something around peacefulness, something around being brave, something around being open, and then maybe a few new ones. So this year I was curious if I would break the trend.

Here’s what I came up with this year and what they each mean to me:

  • Embrace: This is a new word for me. Does this help me embrace who I am? Does this help me embrace my life? Does this help me feel connected to who I am? Is this me stepping into my own power?
  • Alive: I’ve had this word before but it felt imperative that I pick it this year. I spent a lot of 2018 not feeling alive. I want to go on adventures. I want to feel my days. I want to feel a decision in my bones. I want to own my life. I want to show up for it. I want to be here. Does the idea of this action make me come alive? Does it make me full, excited, a bit scared? Does it make me smile big and give me butterflies in my stomach?
  • Lighter: I think I am picking this word again this year. I love thinking about if a particular action makes me feel lighter. Do I feel more or less burdened by something I do? Does this help me put down something I’ve been carrying? Does it help me get closer to peace and contentment?
  • Kind: I want to be kind. I want to take actions that feel kind. Towards other people and towards myself. I want to make sure I am being my kindest self. Will saying yes to this make me feel kind to both the other person and to myself? It’s easy to be kind to others and then walk right through my own boundaries so this word needs a balance.

So there we are. I guess we still have a trend. Embrace and Lighter and my peace and true words, kind is my open word and alive is the brave one.

I love all of these. Most importantly, I can immediately connect with the feeling I get when I say these words. I feel full. I feel content knowing these are the words I want for myself. They don’t feel like a lot of work and they feel joyful. Which is the sign that they are the right words for me right now. I want to feel all of them and I want to make a point to look at my life and my choices through these lenses next year. Here’s to embracing who I am and feeling alive, lighter, kinder in 2019!

ps: After writing all this up, I’ve had the word “surrender” come up several times in my life in a single week. The first time I heard it, I felt it in my bones. And then it kept happening. I am not sure why now but I have decided that it is going to have to be a companion word for me this year. Maybe the universe is telling me I have to surrender to make any of this possible. And when the universe speaks, I listen.

Unraveling the Year Ahead – 2019

I want to start by saying that this, too, is going to be a VERY long post. These reflective posts are how I make sure to live my life intentionally. They matter to me and I love being able to look back on them in future years. I know that this might not be interesting to many (if not any) of you, so please feel free to skip it. If some of you find it interesting, all the better.

This particular exercise is following Susannah Conway’s Unraveling 2019 sheet. You can download it right here. I split the reflective questions looking back on 2018 in and the questions to help clarify goals/dreams for 2019 into two posts. This is part II, the 2018 reflections are here. All questions are Susannah’s and are copyrighted to her.

  • First, choose a word to guide you through the next 12 months. Pick a word that makes you feel expanded. Encouraged. Inspired. There’s no right or wrong answer so go with your gut. What’s your Word for 2019? Magic.
  • If you lived and breathed your Word every day in 2019, what would be different for you? I would be able to see the magic in my daily life and embrace who i am and what my life is wholeheartedly and feel its enoughness. I would create more magical moments for myself and my family. I would be grounded in the difference of what magic looks like to me specifically and I would embrace that wholeheartedly. There are three parts to this word for me: seeing who i already am and really owning my own magic, seeing the magic in my own life, my people, my surroundings, and really appreciating it and finally adding more magic to our lives, small adventures, moments of wonder, etc.
  • List some ways you are already experiencing or embodying this Word:
      1. I am taking the moments to be intentional about my life
      2. I am taking time to reflect and be grateful at the end of each week
      3. I have changed my instagram to be more full of things that are meaningful to me and encourage me to embrace my magical self
      4. I have taken the time to make magical moments for my family, for my kids, for jake.
  • What could you do this year to bring more of your Word into your world?
    1. Definitely more journaling
    2. More baths, and times to really connect with myself
    3. Reading and learning more about positivity messages
    4. Looking for the good specifically, listening for the good, taking note of the good, spending time focusing on the good, celebrating the good.
    5. I could bring back the weekly celebrations
    6. I could designate one day a month to be making magic day where i go out of my way to do something magical for myself or someone else.
    7. I could write weekly magic notes to myself and to one other person
    8. I could keep a year long gratitude practice
    9. I could make a magic jar to keep all the magical moments from this year in it so I can look through at the end of the year
    10. I could make a “make magic” list and do them this year
    11. I could watch the sun rise/set, and go to water more often
    12. I could capture magic more often and then document it
    13. I could do a day in the life/week in the life through the eye of everyday magic
    14. I could look through my old blog entries and see how I define magic
    15. I could buy clothes/makeup/skincare that makes me feel magical
    16. I could buy a few small pieces for my home that make me happy and remind me of the magic
    17. I can call my mom daily again.Maybe do a project with a friend where we email each other once a week about our magical moments from this week?
  • Choose four extra words to support your Word this year. They could be anything from inspiring words to names of people to things you want to invest in… Currently leaning towards: open, ease, embrace, color, but not sure yet. [open more, feel lighter, add color, embrace you] I ended up with: embrace, lighter, kind and alive.
  • What are you looking forward to in 2019? Making peace with myself, focusing on the good, and really appreciating the textures of my life.
  • What are you feeling apprehensive about? All the transitions: to high school, middle school, figuring out what’s next at work, etc.
  • What life lessons are you taking with you into 2019? That life changes every year, in unpredictable ways (in addition to the predictable ones, of course.) and that life is so much easier if i lean into it. Lean into who i am, who jake is, who my kids are and who my family is. Leaning into what is makes it so much easier to appreciate life and even to make change.
  • What area of your life do you most want to develop in 2019? Self-acceptance -> self love -> kindness.
  • What part of yourself do you yearn to nurture in 2019? Let’s go with all parts 🙂
  • Fast-forward to December 2019. You’re sitting in a cafe?, musing over the last 12 months. Where do you want to be…
  • in your head? (work, dreams, goals)
    • Confident. Figured out what I want to be doing next, made a dent in that direction and have some destination/goal in mind. Feeling good about the decisions i made.
  • in your heart? (relationships, family, friends)
    • Feeling lucky. Fostered the relationships that matter to me, shed the ones I don’t care about, I am kind to everyone and spend a lot of wonderful time being with the people i love.
  • in your soul? (beliefs, practices, self-love)
    • At peace. Shed the beliefs that don’t serve me, embraced who I am deeply, and see+honor the magic in myself and others, created practices that help me stay grounded, content and at peace.
  • in your physical world? (home, health, hobbies)
    • Hmm i’d love to do one more round of cleaning stuff up in my home and feeling it with things that make me feel magical and getting rid of things that don’t.  For my health, I’d like to seriously move into intuitive eating and more intuition in connecting with my body in general. I’d love to keep the consistent practice of yoga/strength/pilates training. And skin care, etc so I am honoring my body. As for the hobbies, it’s all about seeing the magic (scrapbooking, journaling) and making magic (art) for me. Maybe also climbing more to share in my family’s magic.
  • Okay, let’s take it up a notch. Use this page to describe what 2019 looks like in your ideal world. Be specific! What are your dreams for love this year? Work? Play? Where are you hungry for change? How do you want 2019 to FEEL? Use your answers from the previous pages to craft your ideal vision for the next 12 months. What would saying YES to your life look and feel like? Write out everything your heart desires for this new year. Be bold.

Well it would feel magical 🙂 I am deeply content. I am honoring who I am and stepping into it. Celebrating my strengths and working on my weaknesses but not because I am not good enough, because I would like to grow. I stay in more regular contact with the handful of people who really make a difference in my life. I foster a few new connections to see what might be there. I make more time to go to book club. I journal regularly, i make time daily to be grateful, i make time daily to hug my people and tell them the magic i see in them, i honor the good in myself and in others but I don’t just see it, i also acknowledge it and say it out loud. I care for my body out of love and appreciation. I connect with my own feelings and body and soul. I choose wonder, take a few chances. I go on dates with my husband and dates with my kids, too.

  • List 3 unhelpful beliefs about yourself you’re ready to release
    1. A lot of beliefs around my body, worth, looks, etc.
    2. It’s too late for me to be successful at work.
    3. That I have to change to be worthy.
  • List 3 duties or commitments you feel ready to let go of in 2019: I did a good job of removing much of this from my life. I genuinely don’t feel like there’s something I can think of at this moment.
  • List 3 skills you’d like to learn or improve in 2019
    1. I definitely would like to get back into sketching and art.
    2. I’d love to do much more climbing so I can join my family more often
    3. Meditation, i know it leads to so much of what I seek.
  • List 3 books you intend to read this year: as always, i know i will read many.
  • How could you bring more calm into your life (and head) this year? I think the combination of journaling, meditation and connecting with those i love will help. Self affirmations, wearing/eating what i love, hugging people i love will help too.
  • List 3 things about yourself you positively love
    1. My energy (when i am not triggered, i am always so excited)
    2. My relentless pursuit in learning, growing, trying
    3. My deep love for the people i love
    4. That i am organized, reliable & dependable
  • List 3 ways you could be kinder to your body this year
    1. I did a better job taking care of my skin this year but not my teeth so i could be kinder there and of course still even kinder with my skin.
    2. I could just embrace the body I have, love it and be grateful for it. 
    3. I hope to move to intuitive eating and just be kinder in my nourishment of my body
    4. Also I want to do more stretching, massage, and yoga
  • List 3 ways you could connect with loved ones in 2019
    1. Weekly email with a friend is a lovely start for me. Also monthly in person meetings.
    2. Go to both book clubs more regularly.
    3. Call mom daily, nephews/sister weekly.
  • List 3 people you could extend compassion to
    1. My sweet friend who is going through a really tough time
    2. Myself.
    3. And honestly, every single person in my life all the time. I just want to be kinder.
  • How could you bring more love into your life this year? Hmm I need to start with loving myself fully. Then date nights, gratitude, thanking others, appreciating what I have, paying attention. Celebrating wins.
  • List 3 interests/hobbies you would like to explore more in 2019
    1. sketching
    2. Art again, i feel like i fell out of the habit.
    3. Rock climbing with my family.
  • List 3 ways you could feed your imagination this year
    1. Books!
    2. Travel to adventures i haven’t had.
    3. Say yes to a few things I wouldn’t.
  • List 3 ways you could bring more passion into your world this year
    1. Educate myself. Show up, speak up.
    2. Hug more, say kind words out loud, appreciate others.
    3. Take 1-1 time with the people I love.
  • List 3 dreams you would like to manifest this year (personal or professional)
    1. Finding my next path at work.
    2. Feeling deep, true contentment and connection with myself.
    3. Letting Go, letting be.
  • How could you bring more creative energy into your life this year? This is a good question for me because I’ve been experiencing a dip in creative energy. But here’s what works:
    1. go out and live life with adventures
    2. tell those stories
    3. start. it will be hard in the beginning. it always is.
    4. keep going. that’s the trick.
  • List 3 ways you could bring more mindfulness to your mornings
    1. Exercise + meditation + calling mom in the mornings.
    2. Journaling for 15 minutes (to set intentions)
    3. Sketching/Art for 15-20 minutes.
  • List 3 ways you could bring more mindfulness to your evenings (I added this because I want to do both mornings and evenings.)
    1. Stretching, removing make up and flossing in the evenings.
    2. Journaling for 15 minutes (releasing and gratitude)
    3. Reading + disconnecting.
  • List 3 ways you could cherish your home this year
    1. Buy flowers
    2. Throw away/pack away things I am done with.
    3. Twinkly lights, I wanted this last year but will make it happen this year.
  • List 3 ways you could connect more deeply with nature in 2019
    1. Water is still the first thing i am pulled towards, go to water more. Maybe monthly beach trips.
    2. Hiking is another thing I wish we did more.
    3. And finally camping. We haven’t in a while. I’d love to do 1-2 trips.
  • List 3 places in your city, town or neighbourhood you want to explore: I have the same list as last year:
    1. The city. We definitely don’t go there enough.
    2. Marin. Especially the headlands.
    3. Go to the woods more. Learn new hikes.
  • How could you bring a sense of groundedness into your life this year?  I think the journaling and meditation will really help. I also would love to learn how to do a better job breathing. I think that, too, would really help me ground myself.
  • Using your favourite tarot or oracle deck, draw one card for the overall theme of the upcoming year and then a card for each month of 2019. Tip: I like to shufle 3 or 4 packs together to give the reading even greater scope. If you don’t have any decks go to cards to see my favourite decks and app recommendations.

I am not into Tarot Decks and I did this two years ago and found it not to be that inspiring or interesting. However, back in 2013, our January OLW assignment involved setting intentions and I really enjoyed that, so I thought maybe I can do that instead.

    • January: Seeing the Magic: Pay attention to your life. Make note of all the magic around you. See the people who love, cherish, and honor you. Thank people, show them that you see them.
    • February: Works like Magic:  This is your month to get things done. Step it up a notch at work. Step it up at home. Take the steps you’ve been meaning to take. Book those vacations, classes, etc, make plans.
    • March:  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.
    • April: Making Magic: Go on adventures. Take trips with your family, make small and big bits of magic in your life.
    • May: Quiet Magic: Time to rest a little bit before things get crazy again. By the end of this month, you have graduations, parties, transitions, culminations etc. Use the time to add some quiet to the days and really connect with the magic in your life again.
    • June: Big Magic: And here’s summer. Time to go big again. Add some magic to your days with your kids and husband. Take trips, add wonder and awe. If you’re going to go big once this year, this is the time.
    • July: Be the Magic: Settle into the summer, see the magic around you and connect with it. Step into it. Honor it. Bask in it.
    • August: Work Your Magic: Time to get organized again, transitions are coming, big ones this time. Get organized, plan, prepare and do what you need to do.
    • September: Magical Thinking: Time to let go. This is a hard month for you. Transitions are rough. But you also turn 45. It’s magical to get to have another year. It’s magical to have a high schooler and a middle schooler. Life is magical. Let the small things go and have faith that it will all work out. It always does.
    • October: Everyday Magic:  October is a long month and not a lot of time off so you need to add a bit of magic to it. Add small bits of life and magic into your every day. Give this month the kick it needs to make it a notch more magical.
    • November:  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.
    • December:  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.
  • 2019 will be the year I finally connect with myself with ease.
  • I will nourish myself with self-acceptance.
  • I will make more time for journaling.
  • I will recharge my batteries by reading, resting, connecting.
  • This year I will open my heart to peace and contentment
  • I will pay more attention to who i am and what truly makes me come alive.
  • I will learn more about:
    1. Letting go, noticing, making peace.
    2. Intuitive Eating
    3. High School 🙂
  • I will release my attachment to who i should be.
  • I wish for 2019 to feel comfortable in my skin, my soul, my life.
  • This year I will say NO to internalizing judgement.
  • This year I will say YES to honoring, celebrating, cherishing who i am and the people i love.

I wholeheartedly believe that everything is possible in 2019!

As always, I mention many of these same thoughts from last year and here, here, and here. I am pretty sure these themes have been in my life in some way or another for many years. I know that they will likely still be around in 2020 and 2021 and onward. What I’d like to do this year is to make a dent. To move things forward a little bit. Every forward step I take moves me in the right direction and that’s all I can ask for.

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine stepping into the shoes of you from December 2019, one year from now. You are one year older and one year wiser and you’ve lived every day of 2019 fully and completely. You have a message of encouragement about 2019. There’s stuff you want to share… stuff you’re eager to tell yourself. When you’re ready, open your eyes, pick up your pen, and write a letter from your future self, starting with Dear Karen: I am so proud of you. I know that you showed up and tried. I know that even when you had moments of wanting to give up, you got up and tried again. I am so proud of how hard you try, how far you’ve come and how you show up again and again. Keep going, you got this!

A Magical 2019

I’ve been choosing a word of the year for many, many years, now. In all that time, I’ve never really struggled when picking a word. I’ve had years where I had too many words, years when a word wouldn’t leave me alone even though I didn’t really want to choose it, years when the new word was so loud that I had to listen to it even before the new year began. Usually my new word shows up around the summer. Sometimes earlier and sometimes by September.

This year, no matter what I tried, words were not coming to me. Everything I thought of was off. I couldn’t connect with any of the words. I would hold on to one for a few days and then it would just be meh. The longest I held on to was the word “yes” which I almost picked but it just wasn’t sitting right with me, so after getting really frustrated, I finally decided to project manage the whole process. I made a spreadsheet, I wrote about how each word made me feel, the meaning of each word, and other words like it. 

Here are all the words I considered:

  • Joy
  • full
  • alive
  • content
  • ease
  • yes
  • magic
  • open
  • light
  • color
  • expand
  • adventure
  • connect
  • design
  • fresh
  • embrace
  • wonder
  • celebrate
  • sculpt
  • engaged
  • go!
  • discover

As I went through the process, I realized I was seeking three basic feelings: contentment, adventure, and acceptance/peace. I wanted a word that was both passive and active, which is pretty rare. I usually alternate between passive (present) and active (brave) words. Words that encourage me to do things and words that encourage me to be things. Next year, I wanted both. I felt like I needed both. 

After putting together the spreadsheet, it became clear that the winner was: magic. It was the only word that had all the qualities I was seeking. It spoke to me. I am always cautious to not pick something aspirational. It needs to be inspiring but not something that can make me feel bad. Last year’s word had a little bit more of that than I would have liked. Currently, magic is not feeling that way so I am going to hope it does better for me. 

Here are the three major parts of the word magic for me:

Seeing the Magic: This is the part of the word that connects with being content. Seeing all the magic that already exists in my life, practicing gratitude, mindfulness, capturing our stores, taking photos, and most importantly paying attention. Noticing the magic that’s already there. 

Making Magic: This is the part of the word that connects with adventure/awe/wonder. Making more magic in my life. Taking adventures, saying yes to things that make me come alive, taking chances, pushing boundaries, going out to nature more, taking vacation, laughing together. Celebrating. 

The Magic of Me: And finally what might be the most striving-like part of my word: this is the year I really want to start embracing who I am. I have spent 45 years striving (or hustling for worthiness as Brene Brown would say.) I spent 45 years worrying about my looks, my weight, about being good enough, about making others happy, about being enough. I worried that I wasn’t smart enough, that I was too smart, that I wasn’t social enough, that I talked too much, that I don’t have enough friends, that I don’t do enough, that I don’t cook. That I am messy. I worried and worried and worried. I am so tired of worrying. I am so tired of not being good enough. I am so tired of hiding. So my plan for 2019 is to spend as much time as possible paying attention to what makes me magical. What I already do right. Where I already am good enough. Noticing all the tapes in my head and working on each of them as much as I can. I am unwilling to spend the next 45 years being too scared to wear bathing suits. I want to step into my own life and really live all of my days. I am at least halfway through my life. I want to spend the second half appreciating who I am.

So these are the reasons I picked magic.

I really liked the list I made last year so here are a few other aspects of magic for me:

  1. Show Up: This is rule #1: You must show up. Show up for your people. Show up at the gym. Show up for yourself. Show up at work. Show up at the school. Show up at a social event. Show up.
  2. Pay Attention: Life is magical. Pay attention to all the small things and the big things. Magical moments happen every single day. You just have to pay attention.
  3. Be Intentional: Be intentional about how you live your moments. Be willing to walk away from things. From people. From books. From classes. From decisions. What are you saying no to when you say yes to this?
  4. Say Yes: Say yes more. Take chances. Go on adventures. Meet new people. Take risks. Choose wonder. Choose to embrace new experiences. 
  5. Celebrate: Pause to celebrate all the moments. Make a big deal of small things. Make a big deal of big things. Celebrate milestones. Celebrate your people. Celebrate endings. Celebrate beginnings. Take time to celebrate. 
  6. Be Kinder: Be kinder than you think you can be. Nothing matters more.
  7. Breathe: Take a moment to breathe. Hear to your thoughts. Thank them and then let them go. Breathe two more times. And then respond. 
  8. Yes You Can: You are amazing. You have proven again and again that you can do anything you set your mind to. So have faith in yourself. Work hard. Work smart. Do it for you. Do what you decide you want to. Keep at it. You can do it.

So there we go. Here’s to a magical 2019!

Unraveling – Goodbye to 2018

I want to start by saying that this is going to be a long post. These reflective posts are how I make sure to live my life intentionally. They matter to me and I love being able to look back on them in future years. I know that this might not be interesting to many (if not any) of you, so please feel free to skip it. If some of you find it interesting, all the better.

This particular exercise is following Susannah Conway’s Unraveling 2019 sheet. You can download it right here. I split the reflective questions looking back on 2018 in and the questions to help clarify goals/dreams for 2019 into two posts. This is part I, the 2019 post will show up later this week. All questions are Susannah’s and are copyrighted to her.

Before we start unravelling 2019, let’s take a moment to look back over the last twelve months. Maybe there were lots of changes for you in 2018. Maybe it’s been a year of growing or nesting or exploring or letting go. Whatever’s happened this year it’s got you to this point, right now. Exactly where you’re meant to be. Pick up your pen and let’s do some digging.


  • First of all, did you have a word for 2018? Yes, my word was strong.
  • If you did, how did your word help to guide you through the last 12 months? Can you think of any specific examples? I spent more days in the exercising than not this year. More than I ever have in the last 8 years. I dropped commitments that weren’t serving me. I created and held onto my boundaries. I took risks and made mistakes.
  • What did you embrace in 2018? I embraced my new job. I tried to show up for it with my whole self. I went to work many days, I  worked hard at defining and executing on the job.
  • What did you let go of in 2018? I let go of several commitments that weren’t serving. Many of them to do with the kids’ schools. They were taking so so much of my time and they weren’t serving me.
  • What changed for you in 2018? My perspective on exercise definitely did change. My work changed. My schedule changed. My daily routine went through several iterations.
  • What did you discover about yourself in 2018? I discovered that I need more structure. When I let go, I let go all the way. It helps me to have some designed structure so I can live my life intentionally. I also discovered that if I can’t make peace with myself, or even more, if I can’t step into the reality of who I am and completely own it, nothing else matters as much.
  • What were you most grateful for in 2018? My husband is up there at the top of my list. 2018 was a hard year for me, I went through a long period of sadness and my husband was (and always is) my biggest champion. I am grateful for all the exercise I did this year, too. I am grateful for the vacations we’ve had. The memories we created.
  • When did fear hold you back in 2018? I think it’s holding me back a little now. In defining what I want to do next, in understanding my capacity and my desires. It also holds me back from going out and socializing often.
  • Where did you practice bravery in 2018?  Many moments of this job has been bravery. The travel I did recently was also bravery. Much of the exercise I did this year was bravery.
  • What surprised you in 2018?  The job offer. Also how the sadness came out of nowhere in May and wouldn’t let go.
  • What made you smile in 2018? My husband. My kids. Moments of connection.
  • What conclusions did you reach in 2018? That I want to step into who I am and love myself and accept myself unconditionally. That’s more important than anything else I want/need. This is my most important “task.”
  • Let’s think about your ACCOMPLISHMENTS in 2018. List three things that went really well this year — personally or professionally, what are you most proud of? For each accomplishment, consider the following: What skills helped you make it happen? How has your life changed? What have you learned about yourself? How did you celebrate or acknowledge your accomplishment? (If you didn’t, how could you next time?)


    • I took a new job. I took a risk.
    • I helped both my kids with school and learning new things.
    • I got physically stronger.


  • Now let’s look at your CHALLENGES. List three situations that have tested your limits and patience this year. The big or the small — whatever challenged you the most in 2018 (there may be more than three so go with whatever comes to mind first) For each challenge, consider the following: How did you deal with the challenge? Did you discover any new tools or allies that could help you again in the future? How has your life changed? What have you learned about yourself? (If you’re still working through a particular challenge, what outcome would feel good to you?)


    • I got really sad. And I couldn’t snap out of it.
    • Food still continues to be a challenge. I’ve tried new things this year but honestly, nothing is really sticking so far.
    • I think my biggest challenge is still being kind to myself. Every other challenge I have stems from that.


  • Describe your favourite day, moment or occasion of 2018 in words and pictures. What did it taste like? Smell like? Sound like? Who was (or wasn’t) there? Where were you? What were you doing? What was awesome about it? And most importantly, how did you feel? One of my favorite parts of this year was our vacation in Europe. Making the whole thing work end to end was magical. I loved being a part of it. I loved the memories. I loved all of it.



  • Gentleness alert! Did anything happen in 2018 that needs to be forgiven? Maybe it was something someone did or said to you. Maybe it was something you did or said to someone else — or to yourself? Maybe you feel you let yourself down in some way. Here’s the thing — we are all beautifully fallible human beings doing the best that we can with the tools that we have, so where can you give the gift of forgiveness to yourself or to another? I think it’s time to put the sadness to rest. The part of me that blames me for never being able to measure up to myself. To who I feel others want me to be. To who I never feel like I can be. I think it’s time to let it all go. Everything. And just make peace with me.



  • So we’ve dug into our accomplishments and challenges, remembered our favourite moments and considered who we need to forgive. Now I invite you to close your eyes for a moment and think about 2018 as a whole. As you cast your mind back over the last 365 days, consider the gifts that 2018 offered you on your life’s journey…What stands out the most? What really mattered? What stands out the most is overwhelming gratitude. What mattered most are the days with the people I love. The moments of joy, gratitude and contentment. Simple pleasures. New experiences. Here’s some of what happened in 2018:


    • I helped Nathaniel get better at math and found him a Tech Challenge team.
    • I helped prepare David for the SSATs and explore high schools.
    • I took two trips to Sydney, one to Tokyo and one to Zurich for work.
    • As a family: we went to Tahoe, Orange County, San Diego, Joshua Tree, Rome, Pisa, Forte dei Marmi, many cities in South of France, Girona, and Barcelona
    • I changed jobs.
    • David and his team won Outstanding Device Performance in the Tech Challenge.
    • I mentored several women in my organization.
    • I am taking an AP Physics class with David.
    • I exercised every single week this year.
    • I still don’t drink any soda or drink coffee with caffeine.
    • I go to bed 10pm and wake up 6am every week day.
    • I read multiple college essays for multiple friends’ kids.  
    • I make hundreds of healthy lunches for my kids.
    • I took several online classes including: OLW, Draw and See, Close to Home, Wholehearted Artist, and Sketching Faces.
    • I have started making simple scrapbook pages again.
    • I read over 280 books.
    • I did the whole30 in January, 30 days of Yoga in February, 30 days of Body Pump class in March and did Couch25K in the summer. I took classes in barre, body pump, yoga, pilates, and ran.
    • I helped David apply for the CDB Scholarship.
    • David won third place at the San Mateo Science Fair.
    • I supported my friends and a few others who were going through a tough time this year.
    • I supported several Life Coaching clients this year.
  • Describe 2018 in 3 words: grateful, struggle, brave


  • If the events of 2018 were made into a film or a book, what would it be called? Keep Going.
  • Before we finish with 2018, take a few minutes to write out anything else you need to say to the old year in the box below. You might like to say some goodbyes and thank yous…Thank you


Thank you 2018. Despite being not the best version of myself for many months of this year, I am very grateful for so much of this year. I did so much work getting stronger this year and I am really proud of the person I was: encouraging, supportive, present and hard working. I showed up again and again despite where I was and how I felt. I am very proud of myself and grateful for all the gifts of 2018. I am ready to welcome 2019 as a stronger and more grounded version of myself.



Books I Read in 2018

In 2018, I read 323 books.
My favorite read of the year was: Where the Crawdads Sing
My favorite YA read of the year was: Sadie
My favorite middle-grade read of the year was: The Wishtree
My favorite non-fiction read of the year was: The Feather Thief
My favorite SciFi/Fantasy read of the year was: Spinning Silver
Here are my favorites, not in order, by genre:
  • The Music Shop
  • Call Me by Your Name
  • gather the daughters
  • An American Marriage
  • Animal Farm
  • The Great Alone
  • Speak No Evil
  • girls burn brighter
  • The Little Prince
  • The Oracle Year
  • The Princess Bride
  • Only Child
  • Us Against You
  • That Kind of Mother
  • The Cactus
  • the tao of pooh
  • where the crawdads sing
  • Fruit of the Drunken tree
  • Meet me at the Museum
  • Dear Committee Members
  • an absolutely remarkable thing
  • Killing Commendatore
  • love and other words
  • a ladder to the sky
  • someone like me
  • the housekeeper and the professor
  • Harry’s Trees
  • The Great Believers

Young Adult+Middle Grade

  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
  • What Girls Are Made Of
  • I stop somewhere
  • The astonishing color of after
  • I have lost my way
  • Circle of Shadows
  • I’m not missing
  • the muse of nightmares
  • sadie
  • not if I see you first
  • The Wishtree
  • The Giver
  • Mango Shaped Space


  • Force of Nature
  • Only Human
  • Spinning Silver


  • calypso
  • Heart Talk
  • taking the arrow out of the heart


  • Awakening your Ikigai
  • How to be Everything
  • i am, i am, i am
  • Fully Alive
  • In conclusion don’t worry about it
  • Getting Back to Happy
  • Body Positive Power
  • be brave, eat cake
  • Notes from a Public Typewriter
  • David sedaris at carnegie hall
  • Dare to Lead
  • The Monk of Mokha
  • almost everything
  • meltdown
  • the bullet journal method
  • Gmorning, Gnight Little Pep Talks For Me & You
  • Happiness
  • ram dass audio collection
  • The Feather Thief
  • art matters
  • Joyful

And here’s the full list:

  1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
  2. An Appeal to the World
  3. The Music Shop
  4. P.S. I Still Love You
  5. Always and Forever, Lara Jean
  6. The Woman in the Window
  7. Fire and Fury
  8. Judgement Detox
  9. The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women
  10. The Afterlives
  11. Molly’s Game
  12. Green
  13. Tell Me More
  14. When Things Fall Apart
  15. The Wishtree
  16. The Wife Between Us
  17. The Giver
  18. The State of Affairs
  19. Happiness for Humans
  20. Grist Mill Road
  21. This Could Hurt
  22. Still Life
  23. Everything is Beautiful
  24. The Days When Birds Come Back
  25. Call Me by Your Name
  26. So you want to talk about race
  27. Advice not given
  28. gather the daughters
  29. the immortalists
  30. in the midst of winter
  31. Awakening your Ikigai
  32. When
  33. How to be Everything
  34. The Last Mrs. Parrish
  35. You
  36. How to Stop Feeling like Sh*t
  37. Faster Than Normal
  38. The Wife
  39. How to Stop Time
  40. Do Over
  41. Force of Nature
  42. I Found You
  43. An American Marriage
  44. Everything Happens for a Reason
  45. The Dangerous Art of Blending In
  46. Self-portrait with boy
  47. Asymmetry
  48. The Gone World
  49. The Monk of Mokha
  50. i am, i am, i am
  51. Brotopia
  52. The Friend
  53. Fully Alive
  54. Animal Farm
  55. Surprise Me
  56. Educated
  57. The Great Alone
  58. Mango Shaped Space
  59. The Sword in the Stone
  60. Hazel Wood
  61. The One
  62. Heart Talk
  63. In Every Moment we are Still Alive
  64. Speak No Evil
  65. never get angry again
  66. girls burn brighter
  67. Great at Work
  68. Laura and Emma
  69. What Girls Are Made Of
  70. Girl, wash your face
  71. Nonviolent Communication
  72. The Little Prince
  73. The Beauty That Remains
  74. Annihilation
  75. The Flight Attendant
  76. Big Potential
  77. I’ll be Your Blue Sky
  78. Every Note Played
  79. Census
  80. The broken girls
  81. I stop somewhere
  82. The astonishing color of after
  83. In conclusion don’t worry about it
  84. I have lost my way
  85. Panorama
  86. The wedding date
  87. Brass
  88. The Female Persuasion
  89. The Last Equation of Isaac Severy
  90. The Oracle Year
  91. Circe
  92. Unbury Carol
  93. The Princess Bride
  94. Family and Other Catastrophies
  95. The Gunners
  96. sophia of silicon valley
  97. Tyler Johnson was here
  98. Only Human
  99. Not that Bad
  100. It’s not always depression
  101. Genuine Fraud
  102. My Twentieth Century Evening and Other Small Breakthroughs
  103. Look Alive Out there
  104. My Oxford Year
  105. Everybody Lies
  106. First we must make the beast beautiful
  107. Blackfish city
  108. This Messy Magnificent life
  109. If you’re in my office, it’s already too late
  110. The Perfect Mother
  111. The Girl Who Smiled Beads
  112. Only Child
  113. Love and Gelato
  114. Essentialism
  115. Warlight
  116. Akata Witch
  117. That Kind of Mother
  118. The Cactus
  119. Beauty in the Broken Places
  120. My Ex-Life
  121. Regrets Only
  122. The Queen of Hearts
  123. Pops
  124. The Ensemble
  125. Tin Man
  126. The Electric woman
  127. For Every One
  128. How to Walk Away
  129. Assume the Worst
  130. calypso
  131. MeM
  132. Getting Back to Happy
  133. The Glitch
  134. Us Against You
  135. Body Positive Power
  136. Every other weekend
  137. the ever after
  138. wait what?
  139. there there
  140. the word is murder
  141. The Chalk man
  142. I’m Just happy to be here
  143. Am I There Yet?
  144. on turpentine lane
  145. the book of essie
  146. something in the water
  147. driving by starlight
  148. the color of bee larkham’s murder
  149. number one Chinese restaurant
  150. Leah on the offbeat
  151. The Sun Does Shine
  152. Bring Me Back
  153. All We Ever Wanted
  154. Amateur Hour
  155. The Happiness Curve
  156. And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer
  157. unfuck your brain
  158. Mr. Right-Swipe
  159. The Kiss Quotient
  160. Tell the Machine Goodnight
  161. The Last Time I Lied
  162. the clock dance
  163. Left
  164. The Summer List
  165. Can’t Help Myself
  166. Circle of Shadows
  167. An Ocean of Minutes
  168. The Widower’s Notebook
  169. What we were promised
  170. Suicide Club
  171. ghosted
  172. your second life begins when you realize you only have one
  173. Dear Mrs. Bird
  174. everytime you go away
  175. The spartsholt affair
  176. Spinning Silver
  177. A Conjuring of Light
  178. A gentleman in Moscow
  179. The three questions
  180. The Death of Mrs. Westaway
  181. be brave, eat cake
  182. on color
  183. Notes from a Public Typewriter
  184. Switchers
  185. America for Beginners
  186. The Bookshop
  187. the seven principles for making marriage work
  188. the convenience store woman
  189. the incendieries
  190. Now my heart is full
  191. from the corner of the oval
  192. She was the quiet one
  193. How to build a girl
  194. Three Things about Elsie
  195. I’m not missing
  196. The Last Watchman of Old Cairo
  197. The shortest Way home
  198. house of broken angels
  199. his favorites
  200. the tao of pooh
  201. unhinged
  202. snap
  203. sweet little lies
  204. where the crawdads sing
  205. inappropriation
  206. nothing good can come from this
  207. a place for us
  208. the seven husbands of evelyn hugo
  209. Note to Self
  210. Fruit of the Drunken tree
  211. Vox
  212. like never and always
  213. Dead Madam President
  214. the Happiness Advantage
  215. Before Happiness
  216. Meet me at the Museum
  217. History of Jane doe
  218. Josh and Hazel’s guide to not dating
  219. sadie
  220. Dear Committee Members
  221. the line that held us
  222. the dinner list
  223. fear
  224. David sedates at carnegie hall
  225. mermaid and mrs hancock
  226. an absolutely remarkable thing
  227. charlotte walsh likes to win
  228. wildcard
  229. the muse of nightmares
  230. Make time
  231. Fox 8
  232. An audience of one
  233. the dream daughter
  234. whiskey in a teacup
  235. Dare to Lead
  236. Killing Commendatore
  237. not if I see you first
  238. love and other words
  239. broken things
  240. almost everything
  241. What if it’s us?
  242. maeve in america
  243. zero sum game
  244. atomic habits
  245. The emmisary
  246. fight or flight
  247. meltdown
  248. taking the arrow out of the heart
  249. this will only hurt a little
  250. unsafe thinking
  251. vengeful
  252. every breath
  253. the proposal
  254. Go Ask Ali
  255. The Other Woman
  256. The Disappearances
  257. Dear Evan Hansen
  258. Heavy
  259. one day in December
  260. a very large expanse of sea
  261. radically happy
  262. Brief Answers to the Big questions
  263. All Your Perfects
  264. A River of Stars
  265. the optimist’s guide to letting go
  266. family trust
  267. a ladder to the sky
  268. someone like me
  269. can you learn to be lucky?
  270. A Call for Revolution
  271. The Good Luck Charm
  272. success through diversity
  273. the bullet journal method
  274. Never Split the difference
  275. Dear Bob and Sue
  276. Gmorning, Gnight Little Pep Talks For Me & You
  277. Happiness
  278. The 7.5 lives of evelyn heardcastle
  279. Exactly What to Say
  280. heretics anonymous
  281. The Surrender Experiment
  282. the housekeeper and the professor
  283. ram dass audio collection
  284. A Heart in a Body in the World
  285. The Feather Thief
  286. This is Marketing
  287. Words on Bathroom Walls
  288. the challenge culture
  289. thanks a thousand
  290. seventeen
  291. curse of the boyfriend sweater
  292. the marriage lie
  293. art matters
  294. A Return to Love
  295. The end of the end of the earth
  296. Trinity
  297. Down and Across
  298. choose wonder over worry
  299. things I wish I knew before my mom died
  300. severance
  301. the museum of modern love
  302. my sister the serial killer
  303. misadventures of a college girl
  304. Joyful
  305. how will you measure your life?
  306. Congratulations by the way
  307. Harry’s trees
  308. My favorite half-night stand
  309. once upon a river
  310. Lovingkindness Meditation
  311. Intercepted
  312. American like me
  313. Love and Luck
  314. Why Smart Kids Worry
  315. You Are a Badass Every Day
  316. The Bookshop of Yesterdays
  317. The Lonesome Body Builder
  318. The Great Believers
  319. Love for imperfect things
  320. Five Feet Apart
  321. Elevation
  322. You Think it I’ll Say It
  323. On the Same Page
For 2019 I plan to use a sheet to track my reading again and I am also tracking my books on goodreads. Here’s to another year of reading! I am planning to purposefully read 100 fewer books next year so I can use that time to take classes. Let’s see if I can be successful 🙂

Books I Read This Week 2018 – 52


I started the week with Severance which I’d been putting off for a long time, I liked it and I am glad I read it. Not sure if it would make my top ten in 2018 list though as it seems to have made for so many others.

The Museum of Modern Love  was fantastic. Different, touching, thoughtful. I loved it. 

 My Sister, The Serial Killer  is another one of those I see on every list and wasn’t sure if I would like it. It’s really short so I finally tackled it and it was interesting. Better than I thought it would be with that name. 

Misadventures of a College Girl was little light reading for when I wasn’t feeling well. Not usually a genre I enjoy but this year I’ve been trying to read more widely. 

I really enjoyed  Joyful and it will stay with me for a while. I also have been thinking about how to incorporate bits and pieces of it into my daily life.

 How Will You Measure Your Life? was fantastic, thought provoking and another one that will stay with me for a while. Always good to read books like this to help remind me what matters most to me.

I knew  Congratulations, By the Way  was super short and I had heard bits of it before but it was worth every minute of listening to this short speech.

But  Harry’s Trees was by far the best read of the week and one of the most enjoyable books of this year for me. I really recommend it.

I ended the week with another super light read:  My Favorite Half-Night Stand. It was okay and light as expected.

A few more days of reading in 2018. Let’s see where I end up.

Books I Read this Week 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.