Everyday Magic – 27

Weekly Intention: Here’s the plan for this week: stay in vacation place. This means being calm, content and grateful. There will be a lot of work the first three days of this week and then a 4-day downtime. I am looking forward to both. We have a month of calm, beautiful summer before we get another lovely week off so I plan to work hard and relax often.

This month’s intention is: Be the Magic: Settle into the summer, see the magic around you and connect with it. Step into it. Honor it. Bask in it. I love how right these end up being every time. This week marks the beginning of the second half of 2019. Let’s make every day count. Let’s make and see and be magic.

One way I will show up this week:  content.

One magic I will make this week: i will work on getting some major work items done, and i will stay joyful.

This week, I will pay attention to: the life i’ve managed to build for myself.

This week, I will be kinder to: let’s go for everyone i see.

This week, I will focus on pleasing: work a bit, me a bit.

One new thing I will learn this week: some major learnings at work this week.

I am looking forward to: writing up some docs at work.

This week’s challenges: the first three days are full of meetings.

Top Goals: 

  • Work: todo list items get as many done as possible. clean email.
  • Personal: daily drawing, exercise, journal (!!), and restart yoga, sleep.
  • Family:  make summer plans for both kids.

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: love for feeling this contentment.
  • Learn: learn some of my new responsibilities at work.
  • Peace: with taking my time to get up to speed.
  • Service: to work.
  • Gratitude: for feeling how i feel at the moment.

This week, I want to remember: all of the magical moments we’ve had.


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

Weekly Reflection 2019 – 26

Magic I Saw this Week: Oh man, this week was all about magic. We got to tick off an item on my bucket list (and #4 on my life list.) We were lucky enough to go to the Galapagos Islands. And we saw magic everywhere. From the incredibly rare animals to the generous, resourceful and knowledgeable guides, to the luxurious hotel rooms we would have never booked on our own. We usually go affordable and low-key on vacation, but we used a wonderful and luxurious travel agent for this particular experience and it was so very worth it. I am deeply grateful for every moment of this experience.

Magic I Made this Week: I made this vacation happen. That was a lot of magic.

Magic of Me that I explored Week: Not a ton of work here but I will say that I made some reasonable forward progress, I think. Still digesting this one.

Top Goals Review:  The only goal this week was to show up and be present and I did as well as I could with that.

I celebrate: this once in a lifetime vacation.

I am grateful for: being back home

This week, I exercised: did not do any official exercise though I did snorkel twice and we walked around quite a bit. not more than that.

Self-care this week: well we can count the whole vacation as self-care.

I showed up for: my family and myself.

I said yes to: everything despite all my anxiety

I said no to: doing work or anything that would not let me be present

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Embrace:  i am embracing my vacation mode and not checking my work email even though we’re now back home.
  • Alive: nothing makes me feel alive like nature.
  • Lighter: vacation lightness is still here, let’s hope it lasts a bit longer.
  • Kinder: my head is mostly clean at the moment with a few spots of noise where i am trying to lean in and pay attention and be kind.
  • Surrender: surrendering to the joy of summer

What I tolerated this week: lots of sun, poor sleep, anxiety around travel and away from home, but all was worth it

My mood this week was: inspired.

I am proud of: going for it.

I forgive myself for: having anxiety around travel.

Here’s what I learned this week: these vacations are always worth it.

What I love right now: the post-vacation relaxed feeling.


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

Moments of Gratitude – 20

this week is Nathaniel’s birthday and take your kids to work day photos and his school trip and david being sick and his medal for futures competition.

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 – 25

there’s some tiny journaling but i feel like all that empty whitespace is calling for more journaling. this is another lovely life book lesson.

These are small pieces I do at work or at home at night to help remind me why I love doing art. 


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

Books I Read This Week 2019 – 26

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


Middlegame (3.5 stars):

Smart kids get put on a pedestal by parents and teachers alike, and the rest of the class gathers around the base of it throwing rocks, trying to knock them down. People who say ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ don’t understand how words can be stones, hard and sharp-edged and dangerous and capable of doing so much more harm than anything physical.

Ok like many others, I am going to have a lot of trouble explaining this novel. I’m a huge fan of the wayward children and even though I wasn’t sure I was going to like this, there are enough similarities that I wanted to give it a chance. And then I just kept going, though I will say this was likely about a third too long. It could have been a tighter story without as many repeats. I know some of them were on purpose but some just felt like lack of editing, to me.

I think whether you like this novel or not hinges a lot on whether you connect with the two main characters. All the negative reviews I read seem to have felt no connection and the positive ones seem to have loved the two characters. I was mainly on the second camp. I loved these twins. I loved the math vs words split. I loved their connection. So I was willing to endure much to get to keep being in their world. I also loved Erin and really enjoyed watching her evolve.

There are many many interesting references here that I likely missed which could deepen the story in a second or third read but alas it’s unlikely I will. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed my time in Roger and Dodger’s world and can’t wait for more Seanan McGuire novels.


The Wisdom of Anxiety (5 stars):  “As Rilke said, ‘Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart, and love the questions themselves.’ When embarking on inner work, it’s essential to remember that life is a work in progres, and there is not end goal to healing. As humans, we are both whole and broken, formed and unformed. But there is a critical difference between having broken parts that need attention and believing that there’s something fundamentally wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with you. You are intrinsically good, loved, and whole.”

I usually read a book in 1-2 days. I will sit with it, dive into it and then come up for air when I am done. I expected to do that with this book as well and I couldn’t have been more wrong. This book turned out to be a journey for me. A journey through my own anxiety, my own childhood, my ability to be kind and generous with myself. I could not take this journey in one day, I needed it in bits and pieces, I needed to sit with it all.

I have highlighted 73 different sections in this book. I can’t quote all of them here but here’s one more that is the most resonant for me, especially as a parent but also for my own child-self:

“As a parent, one of my deepest desires is for my sons to know that they are loveable and loved exactly as they ae, no matter now angry, loud, messy, or disrespectful they are. I want them to know that all their feelings are welcome and important. I may not always like their behavior – and I let them know – but it doesn’t alter my love for them, which is unchanging and eternal. I’ll say to them “I didn’t like how you treated your friend today, but nothing will ever change how much I love you.” The message I hope to impart is: I love you because I love you. I don’t love you because you’re beautiful (even thought you are.) I don’t love you because you’re creative (although I do reflect back an awareness of your creativity.) I love you because I love you. And that will never change no matter what you do. “

This book is a reminder that anxiety is about a call inward to fill your well, it’s an opportunity to be curious and to be kind and to learn. It’s an opportunity for wisdom and growth. What a kind and generous perspective. It’s the kind of book that encourages action and growth through curiosity, openness and self-kindness instead of blame and shame. I am so incredibly grateful for the time I’ve spent with it and I know there will be times I will refer back to this to remember all of the wonderful and kind lessons she imparts.

Huge thanks to netgalley and sounds true for an early copy and for the opportunity to read this wonderful book.


The Sentence is Death (3.5 stars): I read the first book in the Hawthorne series last year and really enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to the second one and it did not disappoint. If you liked “The Word Is Murder,” I am pretty optimistic you’ll like this one, too.

I really enjoy the juxtaposition of Horowitz being the writer in the story and having the story within the story aspect to the whole novel. I enjoy Hawthorne and Horowitz’s characters both immensely and the interaction even more. I liked the first book slightly better just because there was so much joy in the newness of the concept and the introduction of the characters.

While I wasn’t able to guess the full whodunnit in this story, there were some twists and turns I was able to see coming and I actually enjoyed that the most. It managed to get me excited about how clever I was as a reader but also kept me guessing until the end in some ways.

Horowitz doesn’t disappoint. Looking forward to #3


The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna (3 stars): This detailed and thought-provoking novel of a family saga starting in Cambria, Italy and ending in Connecticut over the course of some 100 years started out as a five-star read for me. This is exactly the kind of novel I usually like. It’s character-driven. It takes place over a long duration where you see the characters grow and change and find yourself getting more and more attached to them.

All of which happened. Especially for Stella, her sister, Tina, and her mom. But then the story was too long and my interest (especially over the repeating themes) started to wane. I don’t usually like reading around the topics of rape and incest and they play a reasonably major role in this story so that also started to get to me after 12 hours of audio and I had a hard time staying with it.

I am glad I finished the story and there were so many bits that I loved but, for me, it didn’t finish as strong as it started. And yet, I know it will stay with me for a while.


And there we go, an okay week of reading. Here’s to a great week next week.


Books I Read this Week 2019 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2019 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Stories from 2019 – 26

This story is about what each of us are doing with climbing at this moment.

Here are two more stories from my 2019 album. The content for these comes from the “habit” kit and then leftovers from all my previous kits. 

This one is about going canoeing together and how much it makes me happy to be near the water.

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 – 26

Weekly Intention: [i do now have a bit of a prioritized list but not really. my plan here is to do it during week of july 1, i’ll try to keep myself accountable here.] this is our magical week. my intention is to be present and to do my best to keep anxiety at bay so magic can surface and envelop me. i am really really hoping i can surrender.

This month’s intention is: 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. This is it. let’s let the magic happen!

One way I will show up this week:  present. open. surrendering.

One magic I will make this week: i will participate, i will show up, i will support my loved ones.

This week, I will pay attention to: the incredible awe-inspiring life around me

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

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

One new thing I will learn this week: i’ll be doing a lot of learning this week.

I am looking forward to: magic!

This week’s challenges: just a lot of logistics that I am hoping all goes well.

Top Goals:  only one top goal this week: Be Present and Drink in the Magic.

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: love for what we can do for each other.
  • Learn: learn how to surrender.
  • Peace: with not knowing all the details
  • Service: to my family.
  • Gratitude: for being able to add magic to our lives.

This week, I want to remember: getting to do my bucket list.


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

Weekly Reflection 2019 – 25

Magic I Saw this Week: I want to start by saying that after a long period of darkness (some quite dark) I seem to be feeling better, much better which is magic all on its own. I’d like to say it went away as randomly as it started but I am stepping back to pay attention it and I think there’s a lesson around purpose somewhere there for me but I haven’t digested it all just yet. For now, I am really appreciating that it’s here and I’m feeling it. This week was a mix of home and work time and a lot lot of work but it was work I am excited to do and my cup feels like it’s overflowing in all the right ways, so it felt magical.

Magic I Made this Week: I made time to have a conversation with a friend of mine and I also made time to go climbing because our usual time wasn’t going to work this week. I totally didn’t want to but did it anyway and it was very much worth it.

Magic of Me that I explored Week: i didn’t do much here and haven’t been journaling, just haven’t found a rhythm here, yet.

Top Goals Review:  

  • Work: made some tangible progress on tokyo, put a pretty big dent in my todo list, but did not start personal plans
    Personal: did daily drawing, did exercise, did not really journal, nor did I restart yoga, but I did get some solid sleep.
    Family:  i so totally loved and hugged my people. I did a make a tiny summer plan for N. did not pack at the time of this writing but will have packed by the time you read it.

I celebrate: feeling better.

I am grateful for: a little downtime

This week, I exercised: i went climbing on wednesday, did body pump on Monday and Yoga on Tuesday.

Self-care this week: hmm not a huge amount this week but I have been sleeping in a bit.

I showed up for: work.

I said yes to: climbing even though I really didn’t want to go.

I said no to: working late into the night, I feel like I need a break every day.

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Embrace:  i am embracing how I feel, so grateful for it.
  • Alive: all this work is making me feel alive.
  • Lighter: i feel lighter now that i feel a bit better.
  • Kinder: hmm actually i want to be kinder to my kids.
  • Surrender: surrendering for our adventures and assuming all will be great.

What I tolerated this week: sleeping poorly every night still unsure what’s going on.

My mood this week was: excited.

I am proud of: saying yes.

I forgive myself for: not getting it all done in one week.

Here’s what I learned this week: i really do better when i have a purpose.

What I love right now: having work I enjoy doing.


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

Moments of Gratitude – 19

this week has photos from nathaniel and my trip to Orlando and Jake and David’s trip to Los Angeles.
david at science fair
judge feedback sheet
love seeing these ephemera pieces

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 – 24

we are all unique in our own way. another life book 2019 lesson.

These are small pieces I do at work or at home at night to help remind me why I love doing art. 


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

Books I Read This Week 2019 – 25

This was a meh reading week, for me. 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.


Marriageology (3 stars): I am a big fan of reading about marriage (and other topics) while things are going well. I feel like at moments like these, I am open to learning and receiving because I am not constantly triggered by what I might be upset about. So all potential ideas feel like options I can try out and use to strengthen my marriage. This book has both anecdotal stories and academic research and statistics. I would say that if your marriage is in trouble and you’re reading this book for ideas, the tone might throw you off a bit. It’s funny and jokey, not in a bad way but it might rub you the wrong way if you’re hurting or angry. 

For me, I enjoyed this reminder of several different areas to pay attention to in my marriage and to always keep working on it.


The Better Sister (2.5 stars):  This was a relatively fast paced novel that started with an interesting premise but then didn’t keep up the pace as much as I would have liked. If domestic mysteries are your thing, you will likely enjoy this and the few twists it contains. I didn’t really want to put it down while I was reading it which is definitely a sign of good pacing and plot, for me. But alas I don’t think it will stay with me for long.


The Invited (3 stars): I had read that this story was going to be creepy and while I am not picky in my reading tastes, I generally try to stay away from creepy. After hemming and hawing I decided to pick it up anyway and I am glad I did. This is a medium paced character driven novel, you get attached to the characters through slowing learning more and more about their lives. 

The chapters are short and pacing is much faster than a typical character-driven story though I’d say slower than a typical mystery. For me, this didn’t turn out to be creepy at all. There is a twist here and there and I was able to guess several pretty easily but it didn’t take away from the story, for me, since there’s more depth here than a typical mystery story. 

In the end, I am glad I picked it up.


With the Fire on High (4 stars): Acevedo is such a good writer. Her characters are so 3-dimensional they come off the page. They stick with you and you find yourself thinking about them all the time. This novel was very different from Poet X and still had some of the similar themes. It was fun, deep, thought-provoking, fast-paced and meaningful all at once. It’s hard to pull off all of those things in one story and she does such a good job with it!


The Farm (3 stars): Golden Oaks is a surrogacy farm. Women host children for the wealthy. Many of the women who are hosts are immigrants who need money and jobs and a leg up in life. The clients are wealthy and white. This story is dubbed as dystopian but it’s not that far from a potential truth. 

While it was character driven, I still found myself unable to get into it as much as I would have liked. There was not enough variety and inflection in the story. The characters were each different but they all fell a bit flat for me. I felt the story went on longer than it needed to be (especially the epilogue.) 

While I think there are some very interesting ideas in this book and it’s a valuable social commentary, I think the execution wasn’t as tight as it could have been. Having said that I still enjoyed reading it and am glad these kinds of books are getting printed and read.


And there we go, an okay week of reading. Here’s to a great week next week.


Books I Read this Week 2019 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2019 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Stories from 2019 – 25

This story is about when we went walking along the water as a family, something i am trying to do more and more

Here are two more stories from my 2019 album. The content for these comes from the “habit” kit and then leftovers from all my previous kits. 

This is about us doing yoga daily and how it’s all about making this one sentiment more possible.

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.