Tag: books

Friday Faves: Cookbooks edition

October 19
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A few new cookbooks have come out this fall so I wanted to talk about a few I am loving and a few more I still want to read. I few of these are from bloggers I’ve followed for some time and a few are just things I’ve seen and tried out. I love to buy my favorites, but I also check them out from the library to test them out and make sure I even want the book.  Some of these are Instant Pot based books which is perfect if you’re just getting in to electric pressure cooking.

I’ve been following Brittany Williams for some time now. I learned of her website, Instantloss.com from an Instant Pot Facebook group I used to belong to. Her recipes focus on JERF (just eat real food) and are a whole foods based diet plan. She lost over 1 pounds using these recipes. I am not on a diet, but I like to use healthy, whole foods when I cook and these recipes fit the bill. Most are gluten-free, dairy-free, and low carb. If you are looking for new healthy meals, or to loose weight you really need to pick this one up. Most recipes are made in the Instant Pot and they are all super easy and quick.


I love Lisa Leake and her 100 Days of Real Food books and blog. Her most recent title, 100 Days of Real Food on a Budget is perfect for people looking to get in to healthy whole foods, but afraid of the cost. In the opening of the book she goes over simple budgeting tips as well as swaps you can make at home to save. She even includes a price list from several stores including Aldi. Even if you don’t use the recipes, the information shared in the beginning of the book is priceless. My favorite parts of her recipe section are those for packed lunches which are perfect for adults and kids alike. I sometimes have a hard time finding lunch recipes that actually work for those of us who work outside the home and don’t have the time to prep a fancy meal in the office.


I haven’t had a chance to try the recipes in this book yet, but I am for sure looking forward to it. I grabed Run Fast, Cook Fast, Eat Slow at the library on a whim because I’d like to get in to running and quick meals are my favorite. What I love about this book is that each recipe includes tips for runners as well as nutrition tips and tips to help you save time. The book also has a great introduction which goes over proper nutrition, especially for athletes. Like the other books, this one focuses on healthy whole foods and using ingredients that you most likely already have. I highly suggest this book if you are a runner or athlete or want to become one.

Megan, of Detoxinista also released a new cookbook this fall. Her new book, The Fresh and Healthy Instant pot Cookbook includes 75 Instant Pot recipes with photos for each one. What is interesting about Megan and Detoxinista is she follows certain rules for food combining that helps with digestion.  Each recipe is designed with this in mind and includes vegan and vegetarian substitutions. While I have not tried this one yet, I will be getting a copy soon, at least to try.


The last cookbook I wanted to talk about today is the one I know the least about. This one just came up in my Amazon search and it looks intriguing. Although I am not vegetarian, not do I follow a keto diet, I enjoy trying out recipes from both and am curious how the author successfully melds the two. I have it on hold from the library and if I like it I will share more.

Do you enjoy cookbooks? Have you tried a new one recently that you love? Share it with me in the comments on on Instagram!

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Knowing yourself and knowing your habit type

May 2
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Wow that feels like a long title, but this is something I have struggled with I know many of you do to. I love planning out my day and week and allotting tasks and to-dos, but sometimes when the day or time comes I find that I lack the simple motivation to make it happen. Sound familiar? Good. You’re human too. Today I want to share a little bit into my struggle, as well as a resource to help.

I have again and again failed at following through with my plans. You know all those people who show up at the gym on January 1st? That is me. I plan out a great week and schedule and then by Wednesday I stop following it.

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I finally had a light bulb moment when I read Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. Rubin categorizes everyone into the following four habit tendencies; upholder, obliger, questioner, and rebel. Everyone more or less falls mainly into the categories which by understanding them can start to understand how we make and keep positive habits (for me, getting plans done.)

 

Here are the four tendencies:

Upholder: This person says she is going to do something, so she does it. She is accountable to herself and does it for herself. She probably stopped reading this post because she does not have this problem.

Obliger: This person may skip out on a habit (like going to the gym) unless the promised someone else that they would. She might neglect to follow plans that are just for her, but will totally make sure anything that she promised to anyone else gets done, like prepping meals for her husband. (I fall into this category.)

Questioner: This person has a hard time with things unless they understand why doing it is good as well as what the benefit is for them.

Rebel: These people resist expectations from themselves and others. Also, they probably don’t own a planner or read this blog.

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Once you understand where you fit you can start to find ways to make your plans work for you. As an obliger, I found that being accountable to others makes me work my best.  My best personal example of this is that I wanted to wake up earlier in the mornings, but was having trouble because I didn’t have to get up, I could sleep in and it would not hurt anyone. My husband leaves for work about an hour before me and I wanted to get up with him. I also wanted to make us both smoothies to take to work each day. I spoke to my husband and told him my intentions to get up and make smoothies and asked him to help me do this by reminding me if I was still in bed to make smoothies. The next day, without his reminder I was out of bed and at the blender. I wanted to do what I had promised him.  I use the same system to keep myself on track. I tell him what I intend to do and he will come back a few days later and ask how I did. To the outside eye this could come off in a slightly controlling way, but I have asked him to keep me accountable. If you’re an obliger, find someone to be accountable to and ask them to help you. When you do something for someone else you will be more likely to follow through.

Please read more about these types, it really did help put everything into view for me. Rubin has two books Better Than Before and The Four Tendencies. I suggest reading both, but if you don’t have time at least check out her website.

BONUS: Understanding the tendencies as well as how your family scores helps so much in understanding where they come from in things. My husband in a Questioner. Knowing this, I know that if I ask him to do something without giving him the WHY he will just drive me crazy with questions. I now explain why I am asking him to do something while I ask so he understands the reasoning and is more willing to comply.

While I don’t have any one great tip, I honestly believe that looking into your tendency will help you know yourself the best.

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Reading goals in 2018 + planner printable 

January 1
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For 2018 I am going to finally do the PopSugar Reading Challenge. I’m sure most of you have heard of this but basically it’s a challenge to read books outside your usual genre. The prompts are fun but also very open so you have lots of options based on your individual preferences. As I mentioned in my 2017 reading round up, I am also going to try and read more classics this year.

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My favorite part of the PopSugar challenge is that they made a printable checklist to mark the books. I printed this out on cardstock oat 80% and placed it in my medium (classic) Happy Planner. If you have a big Happy Planner you can just print it at regular size. If you have another planner feel free to play with sizing to get it to fit. If you are having problems with sizing I have the best luck printing in Chrome or open with adobe reader.

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I do not plan to track my books in my planner this year. I use Goodreads to track my reading. Every year I also do their reading challenge which is based on reading your goal number of books. This year I am leaving my goal at 60 books. This has been my average for the last few years and I feel it is a good place.

I do most of my reading via audiobooks on my commute and around the house. I do enjoy reading ebooks as well, but I often prefer to use my free time to work on projects around the house rather than sitting and reading. It is just how I like to use my time.

Will you be participating in either of these challenges? What is your goal?

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Meeting my 2017 reading goals

December 29
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So each year here on the blog I share a little about my reading goals/what I’ve read over the year.

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This year I met my goal of 60 books. (yay!) but did not read as many classics as I wanted to. I had wanted to read 12 classics and 12 non-fiction books in 2017 and while I did read the non-fiction I did not meet my goal in classics. So we try again next year. I think my biggest problem with the classics is that I wasn’t super excited about a lot of them so even though I downloaded the books, I didn’t end up reading or listening to them as I wanted to go through the books that I was excited to get my hands on. To help with this I will be asking for recommendations of classic books so that I will be more interested in reading them.

Note: When I say classics I am referring to any book that stands the test of time and is still popular and relevant twenty or more years after its release. To me this includes The Handmaid’s Tale as well as The Iliad.

 

BONUS: Right now Amazon is giving away a $5 credit for Kindle books to most users. To find out if you qualify click here. Please note that not everyone is eligible for this promotion. Promo and credit expire January 1st. Don’t have a Kindle? Find out more here.

 

So, without further ado, here are a few of my favorites books from 2017. To see everything I read in 2017 click here.

 

Non-fiction:
 If you’re into history, New York, or public transit you might enjoy The Race Underground by Doug Most.  This books shares how Boston and New York created their first subway systems along with all the politics, science, and popular culture around the new system. I love riding the subway when I travel and this was super insightful.


If you have spent much time in the planner world you might be familiar with Emily Ley, creator of the Simplified Planner. Her newest book, A Simplified Life details useful tips and suggestions to make like clean, simple, and enjoyable. This book is for women of all ages and at all places in their lives. Bonus: This book is filled with beautiful photography of Emily and her home.

 

Fiction:

For the longest time I was not a Stephen King fan. I am not into horror and have not read It or The Dark Tower series or anything. This changed in 2012 when a coworker told me I had to read 11/22/63. So I read it and fell in love.  If you haven’t read it yet please stop what you’re doing and fix that. So since then I guess I have kind of been a Stephen King fan. I guess? I enjoyed the Mr. Mercedes series and have loved his newest book which he wrote with his son, Sleeping Beauties.

I picked this up on a whim from a recommendation from a coworker and I LOVED it. This historical fiction piece follows three girls from war torn Europe through present day. The ladies lives do connect many times and it is amazing to see what each has been through and how their lives touched one another for good and bad. A chunky read, this book is worth the time and energy and gives a great glimpse into how WWII affected our world and people.

 

This is just a small snippet of what I have read. If your interested in hearing more about what I am reading let me know! I am a professional librarian and I do love sharing books but I don’t want to over do it, so let me know what you’d like me to share. Have a favorite book from 2017? Share it in the comments!
PS: Isn’t this a fun little graphic? Log into your Goodreads account to find it.

 

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Early 2017 Faves

February 24
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Hey guys, I know I haven’t been doing regular favorites posts lately but I wanted to jump in and share some things I’ve been crushing on lately.

This is my version of the street tacos

 

If you know me, you know I love Mexican food and of course tacos.  Over the last few weeks I’ve been taking my taco making skills up to the next level with two AMAZING new recipes.  First I made these yummy Beef Street Tacos, and more recently I tried out these Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa.  Spoiler alert: They were both great and I can’t wait to work them into our meal rotation.

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In other news, I’ve been working on my dining room lately. One of the new items I have added is this great teal rug from Walmart. Yes, Walmart! I was in there picking something up the other day and saw it and it was only $80 which was great.  I love the bold color, but if I get sick of it in a few years I can just replace it as I didn’t spend a ton of money on it.  Now that I have that rug in there I am going to be working the rest of the room around those colors.

I know I’ve got valentines colors in here, I’m working on that.

 

Both January and February found me visiting Antique Extravaganza at the Rennigers Flea Market here in the Orlando area.  First of all, (as I am sure you are wondering) yes, it is big enough of an event to be called an extravaganza. Anyways, I picked up two new cute home decor pieces; a window and a dough bowl.  I know these are both trend items and the bowl is reproduction, but I think they are super cute and really work in my dining room. (Which, as you recall, I am working on.)

 


I think it must be the early nightfall or the cool air, but I have just been loving curling up on the sofa after work with a good book and reading until bed. When I get out of the  habit of reading physical books I don’t miss it, but once I start back up I swear they are as addictive as coffee and Publix cookies. (Oatmeal Raisin of course.)
Not a favorite yet, but I am considering trying Lipsense. Have you tried it? Do you like it? I am looking for an Orlando area consultant so I can try it before I buy it. Not sure what Lipsense is? It is a long wear lipstick that appears to really stay for 18 hours. It is only sold via direct sales so ask around in your area for a consultant.

 

Anyway, I hope you liked this collection of a few random things I am enjoying.  Loving anything awesome? Share it with me in the comments! Want to see more things I love? Follow me on Instagram!

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Book Review- Grace, not Perfection

October 8
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Grace, not Perfection by Emily Ley- book review. How to have a happy organized home without all the pressure.

As a blogger and a librarian one of the few perks I receive is access to early review copies of books. Thomas Nelson Speciality Division was awesome and let me review an ebook copy of Grace, Not Perfection, a new book by Emily Ley.

I have been following Emily Ley on social media for a few years now. She is an adorable designer and mother and the owner of the company named after her which makes the Simplified Planner. I have been using this planner at for work about 8 months now and love it. Emily is a great lady who really cares about women and how they make the most out of their days. In her new book she talks about her struggle trying to obtain perfection and how that is in fact not the end goal. She also shares tips on how to make the most of our days while still enjoying the small joys of life.

I am one of the millions of women who try to lead a perfect life. I am you type A first born. I want everything correct and how I think it should be. Often times this leads to overextending myself trying to be everything for everyone and keeping a perfect home at the same time. You can only go 110% full steam ahead for so long before you fall apart. I try to help everyone and do all the things, but in doing so ignore myself both physically and emotionally.

One of the quotes that really hit me was this one:

Have you ever wondered why flight attendants tell travelers that if oxygen masks deploy, you should secure yours before helping your kids or anyone else? They give this instruction because if you can’t breathe there is no way you can help anyone else. 

Grace, not Perfection by Emily Ley 

Emily shares her own personal story of trying to do it all and how it took a serious health scare to make her realize she can’t aim for perfection and must instead look for grace.  She shares both the reasoning for the suggestions she makes as well as real steps you can take to make these changes in your life and home.

Emily is a great christian woman and this book is from a christian perspective.  It is not preachy, however if mention of God is not something you are comfortable with then this book might not be for you.  As a christian this was not an issue for me, but I want my readers to be aware before they purchase.

This book is mostly geared at parents however I feel that I got just as much out of it as a non-parent.  In all reality anyone who feels over-extended like they are doing too much will enjoy this book. It is a quick read and is full of discussion questions so that you can really think about what you’ve read and write down what you can do in your own life to make these changes.

 

Grace, not Perfection comes out October 11th. You can preorder it on Amazon.

Note: this post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase an item via a link on this page I will receive a small commission from the store.  This does not change the cost to you, in fact, I search for the best prices to share with you.  Any income earned via these links is used to support upkeep on this page. My printables are free.

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June Favorites

July 1
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I can’t believe June is over already. It seriously flew by! Anyways, we are in the thick of summer now and I want to go ahead and share with you a few of my current favorites.

App: Anylist
This nifty little app has been very useful for us.  It allows users to have both personal and shared lists.  I use it for our grocery list.  I am the worst about remembering the items my husband requests I purchase at the store and when I am in the store often times he is unreachable by phone for his requests.  With the app I just have him (and myself) add items as we find we need them and then whoever is in the store can pick them up.  I also have an personal shopping list in there for items I want to remember to purchase when at the store. Right now AnyList is only available on iOS devices. Oh, did I mention the best part?  Its free!

Avocado

Just like the rest of America, I am currently OBSESSED with avocados.  I put them in my smoothies, on my quinoa, on toast, and in just about whatever else I am making.  For Father’s day I tried out a new recipe that was delicious on chips.


My Planner Life blog
A week ago I ran across a new blog, My Planner Life, and I fell in love!  Nicola has beautiful free printables for planners and she includes Silhouette files.  Anyways, check her out and don’t forget to add her on Instagram.

 
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What I read: May 2016

June 13
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Copy of March Favorites (3)

This year is my second year participating in the Goodreads reading challenge.  I love using the site to make a goal and then see and follow my progress.  They keep me on track and let me know when I am ahead and behind in my goals.  My goal for 2016 is to read 50 full-length books.

 

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As I transitioned into new employment I have been listening to a lot of audio books this last month.  This allows me to be use my commute time as reading time.  With this I was able to get a few books read in May, but not as many as I would have liked to.  Below is the list of books I read along with short reviews.

The War that Saved my Life– Kimberly Brubaker Bradley:  This children’s book (middle grades) is a great piece  historical fiction on World War II.  The story follows a brother and sister from London and their experience being evacuated to the countryside to escape bombing.  The main character Ava, was born with a club foot.  The author did a great job giving readers an understanding of how life was like for a child born with this defect and how her mother dealt with it.  Although this book was written for children is is a deep read and a tear jerker for adults.


Lucky You– Carl Hiaasen:  I love this author; his books are hilarious but also a great reminder of the environmental issues that Florida has, and continues to deal with on a daily basis.  Lucky You is about greedy lotto winners who were not content with  a 14 million dollar win and instead do whatever it take to try and get the rest of the winnings.  I love Hiaasen for vacation reads as they are not too deep and always good for some laughs.

 


Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls: David Sedaris- This is the first book by Sedaris that I have read, but I enjoyed it.  His books are collections of essays about his life and experiences.  They are laugh out loud funny and great to read or listen to in short bursts.  I listened to this on audio and it is narrated by the author which is always fun.

After You: Jojo Moyes- No I haven’t seen the movie for Me Before You yet,  ( My husband would go with me if I asked, but I know he doesn’t want to.) Anyways, I did get a chance to listen to After You which was a great way to continue the Story of Luisa after Me Before You, especially if you have interest in, or are dealing with loss of a loved one.

 

I have several half finished books to report on next month.  Keep your eyes out for a long list!

 

Note: This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase an item via a link on this page I will receive a small commission from the store.  This does not change the cost to you, in fact, I search for the best prices to share with you.  Any income earned via these links is used to support upkeep on this page.

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Hamilton: The Revolution

April 13
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Hey guys, I just wanted to take a second to tell you about a book we just purchased.  My husband has been a huge fan of the new musical Hamilton.  We haven’t had the chance to see it yet, but we have listened to the album on Amazon Prime. (Free to stream and download for prime members!)  Anyways, when we heard that Lin-Manuel Miranda had written a book with an annotated libretto (lyrics), the history of the musical and cast, and photographs; we had to have it.  Due to our Amazon Prime account we were able to have it delivered Tuesday (the day it came out.)  I was super surprised to see how big the book was!  It is the size of a college textbook. Anyways, I just wanted to share about it for a second in case anyone was on the fence about this title.  Although I haven’t had a chance to totally dig into it, I really think we are going to enjoy going through this book together.

Here are a few shots from the book.  When we pre-ordered the item I wasn’t sure what all it entailed so I figured a few images would help you get the idea.

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My husband’s favorite part?  The rough-cut pages.

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Are you a Hamilton fan?  Have you seen the musical?  What did you think?  Have you tried Amazon Prime?  If not, try a free 30 day trial today.

 

Disclosure:  The post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission from any purchases made via these links. This does not affect the price. I use these links to help offset the costs of hosting this site.  Thank you for your understanding.

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Books for planners

February 4
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Check out this list of books that are perfect for planners and people into betting themselves and organization. Learn about your habits, how to make the most of your time, and how to pick only the most important tasks to focus on. AmberDowns.net

 

Like this post?  Find us on facebook or pinterest!

 

I’m going to let you in on a secret.  I haven’t always loved “self-help” books.  For years I thought they were for saps who couldn’t take care of themselves.  I figured that I had my head screwed on tight enough so I didn’t need the help of some professional to tell me how to live my life.

Well..

It turns out I was wrong.  I started reading some of these self help/organizational books in late 2014 and I loved them.  These books weren’t just some feel good garbage, they were real life tips on how to make the best of your life from real people! Life hacks and pro tips,  my favorite!

So today I want to share some of my favorite “self-help” books that I think planners, bosses, organization lovers, and just about anybody would enjoy. Click the image to be directed to Amazon to purchase.

The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner

This is a great book for over stretched, over worked women who don’t know how to do it all.  We live in a world where every expects themselves to be “Pinterest Perfect.”  In this book Jessica shares how to pick the most important things in your life and spend your time on them, even if it means the laundry sits for a few days.

Getting Things Done- David Allen

This business world classic is a great read for anything looking to seriously evaluate their planing and organizational process.  If anything it needs to be read to be aware of his systems.

Super You by Emily V. Gordon

Although I haven’t had a chance to read this one yet I am very much looking forward to it.  In this book Emily, a former therapist, shares how to be the best you.  We all have a dark past, but Emily shows you how to get past adversity and become better from it.  (Think super hero origin story.)


Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less  by Greg McKeown

Ever feel like you are so busy juggling so many things that nothing is getting done as good as it could be?  According to the author, this is nonessentialism.  In this book you will learn how to decide what is the most important to you as well as how to say no to the things that don’t need your time and attention.

Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin

This is one of my favorite books to recommend to friends who are looking to better themselves. Here Gretchen explains how to make, keep, and enjoy habits.  My favorite part about this book is that readers will learn about their personal habit keeping processes and what works for that personality type.

It is my hope that at least one of these books might be helpful to you.  If you do read one of these and enjoy it let me know!  Contact into on the top right of each page.

Have you already read on of these?  What did you think?  Share below!

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I may receive a small comission.  This helps cover the costs of operating this site.  Thank-you.

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