What I Read: May 2017

This month was super LIGHT on the reading front. I ended up taking notes from Big Miracles, which slowed me way down, but I’m currently only one book behind schedule to get to 52 this year :) Here’s more on the whopping two books​ I managed to read this month!

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood. My favorite thing about this book was the reminder that family isn’t limited to your blood relatives. My family is a mishmash of actual relatives, relatives by marriage, and adopted family members, and I wouldn’t trade any of ’em in. 

Big Miracles by Joanna Garzilli. I found this book randomly at the library (these are the best trips!) and I’m so glad I did. This is a great book for a time when you’re feeling stuck in any part of your life. Solid advice and spiritual guidance, sans anything religious.

What I Read: April 2017

Another month, another stack of books 💪

Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu. I LOVED this book. Written for working mothers but so applicable for any woman living with a man. A lot of great insight on why women do more at home, and how to work to balance the responsibilities. Really well written, I highly recommend it!

Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty. This is apparently her first book. I did the audiobook and tortured Mack with their Australian accents and the name DAN over and over again. We’ve taken to yelling DAN with an accent now. Anyway. It was okay. Lots of chick lit dramz.

milk and honey by rupi kaur. I loved this book of poetry. I don’t ordinarily seek out poetry but I paged through this book at a bookshop a few weeks ago and was hooked. It’s real and so damn relatable. I’m still working through my emotional baggage from some traumatic stuff, and this was a really helpful part of that.

Martha Stewart: A Biography by Joann F. Price. Okay. This was a nerdy library book request. I wanted to know more about the woman, so here I was. I learned a lot and I’m not sure I liked all of it. I like Marth as a brand but I’m not sure I like Martha as a person. She seems to have stabbed a few people in the back to get what she wants and that’s not really how I roll. I’m all about that kind, non-judgmental, do no harm but take no shit life. 

Mindset by Carol S. Dweck. This is one of those books I’ve been meaning to read for ages. I happened upon it by chance at Costco and figured I had to buy it! It’s a lot of stuff I already knew since I’m pretty heavily invested in self help books but I always welcome the reminder that we can’t control our circumstances but we can control how we react to them. And, you can probably get good at something if you believe you can and you give it 110%. 

Hallelujah Anyway by Anne Lamott. Both Shauna Niequist AND Brene Brown recommended this book on Instagram and I’m not one to turn down a recommendation from two great authors so I gave it a shot. It was a great quick read, and I loved the way it was so relatable. In this uncomfortable political climate, we could all use some mercy: for ourselves, and for others.

Notable quote: “One has to be done with the pretense of being just fine, unscarred, perfectly self-sufficient. No one is.”

What I Read: March 2017

Since I’m going to read 52 books this year (fact!) I’ve been reading like crazy trying to stay on track and I figured I’d share some progress here. In the month of March, I read four books!

  1. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
  2. You Are the Universe by Deepak Chopra
  3. Becoming a Professional Life Coach by Diane Menendez
  4. Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

My favorite book this month was Present Over Perfect. It opened my eyes to a lot of ways I’ve been alive but not living. I’m not religious in any way (hi, heathen here) so I skimmed over those parts, but I was really moved by Shauna’s overarching message: slow down, simplify, and connect.

Notable quote: “The very thing that makes you you, that makes you great, that makes you different from everyone else, is also the thing that, unchecked, will ruin you.”

You Are the Universe was very much over my head in a lot of ways, but there were a few occasional nuggets of good insight, and a small existential crisis or two.

Notable quote: “Nothing is real to us until we perceive it.”

Becoming a Professional Life Coach was me dipping my toes into the idea of life coaching and deciding that ultimately it’s not for me. What it did do was affirm for me how very much advising undeclared/exploratory students calls to me.

Notable quote: When we choose work or a way of life that is not fulfilling, it is because we have lost sight of our purpose. We become human doings instead of human beings.

Difficult Women was the first set of short stories I’ve read since college. I don’t generally read short fiction because it frustrates me (“That’s it? I want moooooore.”) but I thoroughly enjoyed a lot of these stories. It definitely has a lot of dark subject matter, and a lot of thought provoking perspectives from a diverse group of female protagonists.

Tell me! What have you been reading lately? What should I put on my TBR list? Here’s a link to my Goodreads profile of you want to connect over there 🤗 

Socks

I threw away all the socks I don’t wear the other day and they were all zebra stripes and hot pink and lively. I’m not a crazy socks kind of person. When I buy patterned colorful socks, I wear them occasionally and even then only begrudgingly.

I wear the same five or six pieces of jewelry over and over again. I gravitate toward black, navy, and neutral earth tones. I own about 20 v-neck t shirts and if you gave me a choice, I’d pick denim and a t-shirt over couture any day. Variety is not the spice of my life. I like routine. Too many choices fatigues me.

The patterned socks? They are everything I always feel like I need to be. Fun, colorful, full of excitement. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not quintessentially fun, colorful, or full of excitement. I *can* be all of those things, but they aren’t my M.O. I don’t enter a room and exude color. I’m quiet; like a sponge. I like to listen and observe, and if I’m not paying attention I will unwittingly take on other people’s energy. I’m often happiest alone with a book in the park, soaking up the sun. I don’t live to be the center of attention. So? I’ll stick to what I truly like and stop buying the things that make me feel like I’m trying to be someone else. And that starts with the crazy socks. 

Imperfection is Part of the Art

If you look back at pictures of me in college, you’ll notice that I almost always had my nails painted. I used to spend two hours at a time giving myself a manicure just like you get at the salon.

I’ve probably painted my nails  five times in the past five years. There are a bunch of reasons for that, but the most troubling and prevailing reason I don’t paint my nails anymore is because I often don’t have two hours to spend doing nothing with my hands, applying coats and waiting for them to dry. So I resign to doing nothing, despite the desire to have my nails painted.

I realized last night that my perfectionism is seeping into the most mundane things in my life.

I do not paint my nails anymore because if I can’t do it correctly and perfectly, I will not do it at all.

I am so blindly type A that I will not paint my nails if I can not do it exactly like I want to. Like it will somehow mean something if I *gasp* apply one coat of polish to a bare nail.

*insert eye roll here*

I’ve been slowly realizing how often I get the urge to do something perfectly, and how often I painstakingly follow through with that urge. Or, I know that I cannot do it perfectly and decide not to do it at all because if you can’t do it right, you have no business doing it at all.

That kind of thinking should really be reserved for people making precise, life and death movements. You know, like surgeons or rocket scientists, or the bomb squad. Me? The most life and death I get is getting behind the wheel of a car or chopping vegetables with a very sharp knife.

I do not need to stay so tightly wound. I do not need to exist in a purely perfect state of being. In fact, that’s impossible. So the illusion I’ve been keeping up of needing to do everything perfectly is a joke I’ve been playing on myself for years.

I made a vision board for 2017 and one of my favorite sentences I pieced together reads, “Imperfection is part of the art.” If you want to create something or do something you haven’t done before, you can’t be afraid of a little imperfection.

Here’s to one coat manicures, crooked lines, and asymmetrical pieces.