Life Lately : Volume 11

This isn’t what I planned to post today, but I’ve missed a lot of things I planned to post lately, so I wanted to do a “brain dump” post and clear my head.

Charlotte’s sleep is crap lately. I know everyone in my real life is tired of hearing about this. Sorry everyone. We think she’s not going into deep sleep because she wakes up around 5-6 times a night. .Any tips are greatly, greatly welcomed.

Feeling Fancy!

I feel like I’m having trouble keeping up with things at work and home lately. I’ll take tips on managing all of the adult life stuff too, please and thank you.

I have been making changes to my eating this month. I feel like I’m losing weight, but man am I tired of blah, boring, sugarless coffee!

THIS IS US is back!! Last night’s episode was really good, and it felt more like the older episodes. I’m looking forward to this half of the season. There are a couple of other shows I want to watch, but I haven’t made time to start them yet.

I’ve been ramping up my reading lately. I’m getting into listening to audio books when I’m at my desk at work and during my commute. I’m listening to Last Christmas in Paris right now, and it’s so good! Have you read anything good lately?

Upcoming plans for the blog space : declutter diaries, Wellness Wednesday (a little late), 10 on the 10th (a lot late), and Amber Can Read. I’m ready to get my act together and start writing more regularly!

What’s been going on in your life lately?

Seven Sunday Sites

Someone in a Facebook group shared this post about children and sleeping on a morning after we had experienced yet another rough sleep night. It has some “language” in it, but I thought it was interesting. Takeaway quote :

Frankly if a cuddle is so important to him that he’d wake himself up hourly for it and put on a performance that completely convinces me that he’s scared and upset, he deserves one.

Along those same lines, a recent post on Nashville Moms Blog reminded me to enjoy my present situation. Get out of my brain, Internet.

Will made fancy noodles earlier this week. I’m going to one up him and make noodle cups…or he’ll outdo himself and make them before I get a chance to. 😉

USA’s first gold medal in the 2018 games was won by a 17-year-old snowboarder. Way to go!!

In other Olympic related news – take a look at Team USA’s youngest and oldest athletes. The oldest one isn’t really old, but I can’t imagine how sore he’ll be after competing!

I haven’t been reading much lately because I have been prioritizing other things. I’ve missed reading, and Stephanie’s blog post about not being herself when she’s not reading, helps me understand why. (Although, her main reasons – growing her second human and keeping up with the first human – are different than my reasons! Ha!).

This article is a few years old, but it lists 20 sayings that no longer appear on conversation hearts. Not gonna lie, I’m a little sad that they retired “Let’s Read.” Ha!

Hope you have a great week!

Five Favorites : Books to help you organize your life

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Five Favorites

A new year always brings new hopes of becoming the organized, in-shape, financially stable, calm, wonderful person you have always dreamed of being…or maybe that’s just me! 😉

For this month’s Five Favorites, I thought I would share books that I have read or really want to read that should help you reach your goals of becoming a more organized person.

1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up  by Marie Kondo

This one has a lot of ideas that may seem weird, but look past the parts where she encourages you to talk to your items and embrace her concept of getting rid of anything that doesn’t bring you joy. Everyone has that one shirt that is kind of meh, but you keep it because you don’t think it’s hurting anything. Get rid of it! Right now! I’ll wait…

2. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson

This one was published pretty recently, so I haven’t read it yet, but from what I’ve read about it, the idea is to clean and organize now so that your family doesn’t have to worry about it after your death. The concept is a little morbid, but it is something to consider, especially if you are a bit of a packrat like I am.

3. One Year to an Organized Life by Regina Leeds

I’ve had this book for a few years, and every year, I intend to start it on January 1 and get myself together. Now that I’m putting that info out there for everyone to read, maybe I should actually commit to it!

4. Cluttered Mess to Organized Success Workbook by Cassandra Aarssen

I haven’t read this one yet either, but I’m a sucker for workbooks and checklists. Plus, I’m a bit of a hot mess, so the title of this one speaks to me! 

5. Getting Things Done by David Allen

This book is the pinnacle for becoming an organized and productive citizen. I’ve read it (more than once…shame face…), and it’s full of great ideas. I bet if I actually implemented any of them, I would be unstoppable! Ha!

Did I miss any of your favorites? Let me know which books have helped you get your act together…or which ones have not been worth wasting your time on!

Book Challenge by Erin 8.0

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I have been writing this post for about a week now! Christmas (and the FIVE different celebrations we went to) has gotten me all thrown off of my schedule!

I can’t remember how I first heard about the Book Challenge by Erin, but I participated in the last one and am really excited about the upcoming challenge that starts January 1! I think it helped me read more because I was determined to finish the challenge, so I read instead of playing games on my phone…or cleaning…whatever.

Here are some of the rules for the challenge, straight from the Book Challenge by Erin Facebook group.

• First and foremost, have fun. Don’t stress. No one is being judged, graded, or penalized. Even if you finish only one book the entire challenge, if you enjoy it and it’s an accomplishment for you, then that’s awesome.

• The challenge will run from JANUARY 1, 2018 to APRIL 30, 2018. No books that are started before 12 a.m. on January 1 or finished after 11:59 p.m. on April 30 will count. (We live in different time zones – follow this according to your own time zone.)

• Each book must be at least 200 pages long. Audio books are fine too.

• A book can only be used for one category, and each category can only be completed once. If you want to switch the category of a book, or change the book you originally chose, no worries.

• You can read your books in any order you choose.

• Rereads can be used only once. If a book you love fits into a category, go ahead and visit it again. Read it in its entirety. But, only do this once for the challenge.

• There will be 10 book categories with a possibility of earning 200 points. That’s 10 books in four months. For some of you, this will be a BIG challenge; for others it will be easy peasy. It’s all for fun, remember!

• The first three people who finish the challenge will be invited to contribute a category for the next challenge. The following will get a small prize from me (1st to complete 1st round; 1st to complete both rounds; and WILD CARD random draw – all who finish the 10 book challenge will qualify as an entry!) Plus, everyone who completes the challenge will gets all sorts of recognition and support!

• Lastly, have fun. Don’t stress. No one is being judged, graded, or penalized. Even if you finish only one book the entire challenge, if you enjoy it and it’s an accomplishment for you, then that’s awesome. Wait, I’ve read that somewhere before…Good luck!

I didn’t finish first or get a wild card prize last time, but I still had a lot of fun participating! I also read a few things that I probably wouldn’t have read otherwise!

Here are the categories and points for this round, along with my selections for each category.

Book Challenge by Erin 8.0 – Categories:

• 5 points: Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages

My pick : In This Moment by Karen Kingsbury

Why I chose this one : Karen Kingsbury is totally my guilty pleasure author. If I’m going to read one of her books, I might as well get some reading challenge credit for it!

• 10 points: Read a book that starts with the letter “L”

My pick : A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston

Why I chose this one : I’ve had it checked out from work for a ridiculously long time, so I need to read it. Plus, I’m a sucker for celebrity autobiographies/biographies.

• 10 points: Read a book that has a (mostly) red cover

My pick : Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Why I chose this one : I had a hard time with this one because I did a search for “books with red covers” and then couldn’t find anything my library had (I got all of my challenge books from the library I work at since it was easy to get them in one trip and so I know when things are placed on hold). This was the first red cover book that I found that my library had. Such a precise system, right?

• 15 points: Read a book with a character’s name in the title (i.e. Jane Eyre, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, We Need to Talk about Kevin, A Prayer for Owen Meany, Harry Potter books, etc.)

My pick : Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

Why I chose this one : This one has been on my “to read” list for a while, so when I saw it at work and realized I could use it as a challenge selection, I was sold!

• 20 points: Read a book from this list: Book Riot’s 100 Must-Read Books with Plot Twists https://bookriot.com/2017/04/11/100-books-with-plot-twists/

My pick : The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Why I chose this one : It was the first one on the list that I found at work! 😉

• 20 points: Read a book with the words “house” or “home” in the title

My pick : Crooked House by Agatha Christie

Why I chose this one : I had originally chosen another book with house/home in the title, but my library didn’t have it. I found another one that my library had, but when I read the description, I was completely uninterested in it. I browsed our new purchases shelf and found this one.

• 25 points: Read a book by an author whose first and last name begins with the same letter (i.e. Cassandra Clare, Melina Marchetta, Ransom Riggs, Chris Cleave, etc.)

My pick : Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Why I chose this one : I had a hard time figuring out one for this prompt, so when I saw this one on the new purchases shelf at work, I grabbed it!

• 30 points: Read a book that was originally published in a different language than your own

My pick : A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman

Why I chose this one : As I shared in my last book review post, I really enjoyed Beartown, also written by Backman, so I wanted to read another one of his books and see if I like his writing.

• 30 points: Read a book where most of the action takes place on a form of transportation i.e. bus, boat, car, plane, etc.

My pick : The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Why I chose this one : This has been on my “to-read” list for a while, so since it fit the prompt, I decided it was a good time to read it!

• 35 points: Read a book with a character that suffers from a debilitating physical illness

My pick : Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Why I chose this one : I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book and have been wanting to read it.

Are any of you planning to participate in this challenge or another reading challenge in the new year? Let me know if you are!

Amber Can Read : December 2017

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Amber Can Read

Hey, remember that time I read 10 books in a month? Well this month, I didn’t read that many. I read a grand total of 3 books.

Books read this month : 3

It was such a busy time with the end of the semester at work and the start of the holiday season that I just didn’t read nearly as much. The good news is that I read a couple of things that have been on my “to-read” list for a little bit, so at least it was productive reading!

Book 1 : Beartown by Frederik Backman

This one was a surprise for me. I read a lot of reviews where people unexpectedly loved it. It started off a little slow, and I had a bit of a hard time keeping up with the characters (#mombrain), but once I got hooked, I was hooked! There is some heavy subject matter in this one, but if you don’t mind reading about those types of things, then I would recommend this one!

Book 2 : Love Your Life, Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze

Since our debt free journey is a huge part of our 2018 goals, I was interested to see what she has to say on the topic of comparison and jealousy. I think this is the first book of hers (or at least the first one I’ve read) that is not co-authored with her father, financial expert, Dave Ramsey. I didn’t know what to expect with just her voice, but I really enjoyed it! There was a lot of practical information in here (“don’t live beyond your means…”), but she also addressed the trade offs for being diligent and responsible now to make your future better. I also liked hearing about her financial struggles because I related more to those (I also would dine out nightly if given the opportunity) than I relate to her father’s struggles. If you’re looking for something practical and fun, I recommend this one.

Book 3 : The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I really wanted to like this one. I had read enough reviews about it to kind of know one of the twists, but I wanted to see how Reid revealed everything. I liked a lot of this book, and then I didn’t. I know that seems abrupt, but there was an element that she threw in related to the lady interviewing Evelyn Hugo that just seemed, well, thrown in. I don’t recommend this one unless you’re prepared to be a little let down.

I’m also participating in the Book Challenge by Erin 8.0, which starts on January 1! I’m going to write about that on Friday, so come back and visit if you want a reading challenge to kick off 2018!

Linking up with Steph and Jana (I almost missed this one! Ack!!)