Moments of Gratitude – 30

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 – 35

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 – 36

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 Right Swipe (3.5 stars): I have read more romance books this year than I have read in the last five years combined. Romance is not usually my go-to genre and I still wouldn’t call it my go-to genre but this new trend of cutesy-romance is working for me when I am in the mood for a lighter story. This particular story gets a higher than average rating for me because of the incredible diversity in its characters. The main character is an African American woman, her love interest is Samoan, her assistant is Southeast Asian, there’s also a Thai character. There is a character with agoraphobia. I can go on and on. I enjoyed both the main and secondary characters. I will say this is like the 6th romance book I’ve read this year that has an ex football (or baseball) player in it. Not sure why but I’d love a bit more diversity in the male character’s jobs too. If light romance is your genre, you’ll find this one to be your cup of tea.


If You Want to Make God Laugh (4 stars): I loved this book. It takes place in post-apartheid South Africa and covers a lot of the current events of the time either in the background or directly. Including events like Mandela’s presidency, the AIDS epidemic, the racial divide, homophobia, and religion. There are a lot of tough topics covered in the book including several different occurrences of rape.

This is the story of three women whose stories start separately (an ex-nun, an ex-stripper, and a pregnant teenager) and become interconnected. This is a story about motherhood, about the scars we carry with us, about identity and the stories we tell ourselves, about what it means to be family, about how circumstances can unite people in the most profound ways.

I loved all the minutes I spent with this book. It started strong but only got better and better.


The Ten Thousand Doors of January (4.5 stars): ‘”The trouble with you people,” I observed, “is that you believe in permanence. An orderly world will remain so; a closed door will remain closed.” I shook my head, reaching for the door. “It’s very … limiting.”‘

If you like to get lost in stories that take you to other worlds and have adventures and wonderful characters, this book will be worth every delicious minute you spend with it. Just the fact that it has a kid and doors, made me think about The Wayward Children series but about halfway through the book, I realized I loved it for the same reason I love Laini Taylor’s books. Even though the imagery in her books is unparalleled, this book was the closest I have ever come to that type of feeling. This is one of the highest pieces of compliments I can give a book. It’s rare for me to come upon a book that’s unusual and this one managed to surprise me, keep me engaged, make me mad, sad and happy all at once.

“I spent years after the blue Door doing what most willful, temerarious girls must do: becoming less so.”

This book started slow for me. It was interesting from the very beginning but not super-engaging, for me. Just as I was getting sucked into January’s story, the book started alternating chapters between the two books and that didn’t work for me. I was invested in January now and did not want to be distracted by the other story. Even though it all came together, of course, and by midpoint I was fully engaged and fully invested, it took me a while to get there.

“Once we have agreed that true love exists, we may consider its nature. It is not, as many misguided poets would have you believe, an event in and of itself; it is not something that happens, but something that simply is and always has been. One does not fall in love; one discovers it.”

At its core this book is about love, identity, belonging, and family. It’s such a fantastical and beautiful story and it’s a joy to get lost in its pages. Each of the characters is memorable in its own way and you get enough of each of the backstories to see their perspective of the story, to understand their motivations, even if you don’t agree with them.

“Because the place you are born isn’t necessarily the place you belong.”

The love that binds this whole story together was wholly believable to me. I could feel the joy, the sorrow, the longing coming off the pages. That coupled with the visual and magical nature of the story makes this a pure pleasure to read.

“It depends which weighs more: a life, or a soul.”

There’s so much in this gem of a book and I highly recommend it.

Thank you to netgalley and redhook books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


The Floating Feldmans (3 stars): This family story set on a cruise is setup to be an impending disaster where each family member has a secret they’ve been holding back on, bubbling up. Put all these family members on a boat together for a week and of course things start boiling and spilling over. The story has funny and poignant and tension. The ship exacerbates the typical family get together that’s usually filled with tension and years of stories and resentments. It all comes together, as it always does in these stories and the reader is left feeling whole and a bit better off.


Things You Save in a Fire (4 stars): Katherine Center’s novels always leave me more hopeful about the world. Not in the unrealistic “things are just perfect” way but in the “people are messed up and we are all struggling but also trying to be better” way.  This story is no exception. The main character has some deep-rooted experiences that are causing her to show up a particular way in the world and make certain choices but in her core she’s a good person who’s trying to be a better person so she continually does things that are hard for her but are the right thing to do. At her core, the value of doing the right thing and caring about others’ is so ingrained in her that it shows up again and again in this story.  It made me fall in love with the main character and it made me believe that she would make these choices because I was bought into this being a core value for her. So I was rooting for her the whole way and I loved the way the whole story came together. As with all her novels, the story is funny, serious, heartwarming all at once. It leaves you feeling full and optimistic. I enjoyed my time with this story and if you have read Center’s other books you will not be disappointed.


Turbulance (3.5 stars): This was a short and interesting book to read, mostly because of its format. It’s a very short book of connected stories. There’s no time or space for the reader to get attached to each character. But each story is very short but about intense/meaningful/relatable experiences in the characters’ lives. Often painful. So the stories pull the reader in quickly and keep you feeling an emotional attachment to the situation more than the characters. Many of the stories have two main characters and then one travels on a plane to another story with another person and then there’s another plane connecting one of those characters to the next story etc. Each chapter header is a airport code to another airport code to help guide the reader through the flow of connections. At its core, it’s about how people are connected and slivers of our lives overlap and touch each other. Many of the stories have something sad at their core: abuse, infidelity, death, illness, etc. Most are not explored deeply since each story is short. Just enough for the reader to sympathize but not likely enough to empathize.


You’ve Been Volunteered (3 stars): If you liked Gelman’s first novel, I am reasonably confident you will enjoy this one, too. It has the same humor around what it means to be a class-mom and much of the similar conversations around marriage, mid-life, school-parent dynamics etc. These novels are a notch about meh for me. They are funny but not hilarious and they have heart but not enough for me to feel really good afterwards. Which is totally fine. I listened to this during a long car ride and it was perfect for that.


And there we go, an ok 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 – 36

mother’s day 2019
nathaniel’s birthday trip to Orlando!
remembering to see magic
letters to my kids for their trips
earning a medal at the futures conference

Here more stories from my 2019 album. The content for these comes from Ali Edwards Story Kits.


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 – 36

Weekly Intention: This is a short week and it’s J’s birthday week and there’s a back to school night and a school coffee. So multiple drives to school, a bunch of crunch on the other days of the week since I am working only 3 days this week. That means I will have to be super efficient. So that’s my intention this week.

This month’s intention is: 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 I have no idea where August went. It absolutely flew. I am going to really try to let all the small things go this week. Let’s see if I can do it.

One way I will show up this week:  curious.

One magic I will make this week: I am going to be taking Thursday off to celebrate Jake. I am very excited.

This week, I will pay attention to: how I can be more efficient.

This week, I will be kinder to: david and see if I can help him out with math.

This week, I will focus on pleasing: the love of my life.

One new thing I will learn this week: how to slow down

I am looking forward to: a short week, learning more about 5th and 9th grades.

This week’s challenges: long days, short week, getting too much done, two trips to school.

Top Goals: 

  • Work: perf. just staying afloat this week.
  • Personal: daily drawing, exercise, journal, hike, 5am, make time to sleep.
  • Family:  family photos, maybe? clean out kids’ closets, back to school and morning coffee, celebrate Jake, date night, hug kids.

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: i love love love my husband.
  • Learn: learn about this year for both my kids.
  • Peace: with not being as productive at work this week
  • Service: jake
  • Gratitude: for another year.

This week, I want to remember: life is passing really quickly I want to celebrate all the days.


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

Weekly Reflection 2019 – 35

Magic I Saw this Week: The kids went back to school this week. The biggest magic was seeing how seamless it was for them and how they just adjusted to their new lives. D still is trying to settle some things but they’ve been magical.

Magic I Made this Week: Not a lot this week, just barely managed lunches and work and school and life.

Magic of Me that I explored Week: nothing new here.

Top Goals Review:  

  • Work: started the markets preso, but not tokyo preso, also started on proposal for ux team, emailed on 15 plan v1, did review packets, sat through strat 2020, and did not do perf1.
  • Personal: did daily drawing, exercised, journaled, hiked, i couldn’t do 5am but i have been waking up at 5:30 and i did make time to sleep.
  • Family:  took family photos, did not clean out kids’ closets, started first week of school, went on vacation, did date night, hugged kids.

I celebrate: school starting relatively smoothly

I am grateful for: a more seamless transition than we usually get.

This week, I exercised: i did body pump monday, yoga tuesday, climbing thursday and we’re hiking this weekend.

Self-care this week: still not super great on self care at the moment.

I showed up for: work this week.

I said yes to: so so much driving Friday.

I said no to: doing email over work.

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Embrace:  i am embracing all this email. no i am not.
  • Alive: i feel so alive when i am outside.
  • Lighter: i feel lighter now that school is on.
  • Kinder: trying to be kinder.
  • Surrender: surrendering to all that’s going on

What I tolerated this week: long days, really behind in email.

My mood this week was: overwhelmed.

I am proud of: catching up to my email

I forgive myself for: being behind, dropping things.

Here’s what I learned this week: i need to prioritize sleep.

What I love right now: being able to go outdoors so much


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

Moments of Gratitude – 29

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 – 34

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 – 35

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.


Never Have I Ever (3.5 stars): 3.5 stars mostly because I was surprised more often than i usually am

I enjoyed this book more than I thought I was going to. I appreciated a mystery without the unreliable character trope or even the dislikable character one. The main character had secrets to hide and she was flawed but she also was real and reasonably realistic in my opinion. Roux was a bit more complicated in that I had to buy into some of her past and present and motivations. Some seemed plausible but others were a bit harder for me to believe. There were several times I was surprised in the story mostly because it went in a direction I just hadn’t really thought of for this type of story. The fact that it wasn’t like all the other mysteries I’ve read in the last two years helped in this case. Overall, it was an enjoyable read, especially if domestic mysteries are your thing.


Pretty Guilty Women (3 stars): There have already been quite a few comparisons between Pretty Guilty Women and Big Little Lies and there are indeed many parallels. This story takes place over a wedding weekend in a resort spa. One of four old friends is getting married and none are really that close anymore. There’s also an older woman whose husband is related to the wedding party. These four women (excluding the bride) are involved in a crime, and the book goes from one character to another telling bits of their back story and then telling bits of what happened over the weekend to culminate in the crime. Each chapter opens or closes with short police interrogation. Each woman has her secret or personal drama so each of those also unravels throughout the story. So the structure and the plot are quite similar and some of the subplots are, too.

But I still enjoyed reading it. It was a fast-paced read that kept me up late at night waiting to find out what happened and who died and how each character’s back story unfolds. If you enjoyed Big Little Lies, and are looking for something similar, you will enjoy this.

Thank you to netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for an early copy in exchange for an honest review


The Great Unexpected (3 stars): I think I was an outlier for this book. All the reviews are glowing and yet I really struggled with it. This was a bit like Ove for me where a disgruntled, old man finds friendship and then changes over time. It’s about the value of friendship and how life changing that can be. There are some really heavy themes in this one around abuse, suicidal ideation, etc. But it just never really landed with me, I didn’t feel connected to the main character and didn’t find myself rooting for him. I did love the secondary characters but in the end, it was reasonably predictable so that mixed with my lack of connection meant this wasn’t a standout for me.


Lanny (3.5 stars): 3.5 stars on uniqueness alone. I started this book months ago and then had to put it on hold because I was having such a hard time following it. I finally came back to it, and it was still hard but I decided to stick with it and I am glad I did. It is an incredibly unusual book. I can’t even say I loved it but I loved its uniqueness and it will stay with me for quite a while. I love books that do that. This book is about so much but most of all it’s about society, connection, mankind. Loss, too. I don’t want to give too much away. It’s a short book. It was an interesting audio experience and I have no idea how it is in print. If you’re adventurous I’d recommend trying it and seeing if it resonates with you.


And there we go, an ok 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 – 35

david and jake in los angeles
date night with jake
akseliko visiting
google io
nathaniel’s birthday party

Here more stories from my 2019 album. The content for these comes from Ali Edwards Story Kits.


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 – 35

Weekly Intention: This week comes with a collection meetings and the first week of school. That’s a lot of transition and work for one week so my intention this week is to sleep well, continue to work out, and be as kind as I possibly can to everyone (including myself.) Let the transitions begin!

This month’s intention is: 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. Done for school. Not done for clothes. This one might have to wait.

One way I will show up this week:  open.

One magic I will make this week: we are doing to be taking a family trip for the three day weekend, so that will be my magic this week.

This week, I will pay attention to: work and where I can lean in more

This week, I will be kinder to: my kids and how i can help them with the transitions.

This week, I will focus on pleasing: i’ve been sick so i think this one will have to be giving my body what it needs.

One new thing I will learn this week: how to do some of the performance work

I am looking forward to: our mini-vacation

This week’s challenges: every day this week is long and we have our first week of school so those two things will be challenging on top of each other.

Top Goals: 

  • Work: markets preso, tokyo preso, proposal for ux team, 15 plan v1, packets, strat 2020, and perf1.
  • Personal: daily drawing, exercise, journal, hike, see if I can make 5am wakeup happen (maybe this week!), make time to sleep.
  • Family:  family photos, clean out kids’ closets, first week of school, vacation, date night, hug kids.

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: i am loving my work lately. so lean into that.
  • Learn: learn about this year for both my kids.
  • Peace: with transitions and never being able to catch up at work
  • Service: my health
  • Gratitude: for learning to balance

This week, I want to remember: i am having so much fun.


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

Weekly Reflection 2019 – 34

Magic I Saw this Week: This week’s magic was having David back, seeing both my kids lean into their new transitions, hiking with jake, some awesome conversations at work.

Magic I Made this Week: i went climbing despite being really sick. i went to the kids’ school and saw my friend Kelly. I also worked for 10+ hours over the weekend which helped me catch up seriously.

Magic of Me that I explored Week: nothing new here.

Top Goals Review:  

  • Work: cleaned out all the email, got a bit of a markets and tokyo schedule done, did proposal for ux team, did figure out culture d&i, and felt more organized.
    Personal: did daily drawing, exercised, did not journal, did hike, did not make 5am wakeup happen, did make time to sleep.
    Family:  took family photos, did not clean out kids’ closets, did get ready for school things, did hug kids.

I celebrate: a good week at work

I am grateful for: my life right now.

This week, I exercised: i was quite sick this week and had a fever so i did one body pump and a little bit of climbing.

Self-care this week: still not super great on self care at the moment.

I showed up for: david’s school and work.

I said yes to: working a bit longer days again.

I said no to: letting the sickness get to me.

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Embrace:  i am embracing being a bit sick :/.
  • Alive: i feel so alive when i have work i like doing and time to do it.
  • Lighter: i feel lighter having made the decision.
  • Kinder: this is a constant work in progress for me.
  • Surrender: surrendering to having to work longer/more

What I tolerated this week: sickness .

My mood this week was: tired.

I am proud of: all the work i got done

I forgive myself for: not exercising as much this week.

Here’s what I learned this week: i learned that I have a lot more to learn.

What I love right now: i love much of my life right now. it’s so full and rich, i am very grateful.


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