Hello, readers.

For Christmas I got $50 total in Barnes and Noble gift cards and after careful consideration, I decided to buy three books.


DEAD WAKE-  THE LAST CROSSING OF THE LUSITANIA

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My goal for the last few years has been to read more books by male authors. It may be just me, but it seems like novels by women dominate the shelves. Obviously, how each gender writes and their topics are different, so I want to explore more male fiction writers since finishing book 2 of The Passage Trilogy by Justin Cronin. This has been on my T.B.R. (to be read) list for many months. I’m looking forward to this one.


THE HISTORIAN

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A guest on the podcast “What Should I Read Next” listed this as one of her favorites and it sounded awesome and right up my reading ally. Anything that has to do with untangling secrets of the past I am all in.


CHOCOLAT

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I am not much of a re-reader – hence the re-read project – but this one I have read twice: once in 2013 and a second in 2015. I own it in EBook form but needed to own it in paper form. At the end of my days on this planet, I want people to find this book and see it has been read and loved. I want it dog eared, binding separating, cover creased…the works. I love this book so much.


THE RE-READ PROJECT

I am approaching the final pages of Lessons from Madame Chic and up next is another personal favorite: THE AGE OF INNOCENCE

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This was a book where after I read the last sentence, I went up stairs to my husband and collapsed on the bed, longing to discuss it. haha! I want to experience that again as I only recall the feeling and not the details. Now THAT is a good book!

Happy New Year, Readers!

To start the Re-Read Project, I’ve decided to re-read Lessons from Madame Chic by Jennifer Scott (pictured below). I got this as a holiday gift (First go was a library loan) and I remember loving it and intended to buy it. When I opened the gift, I was so excited! I adore this book and I am looking forward to revisiting the pages once again this month.

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As I look back on the last few years and I see a difference between 2015 and 2016 and therefore, how I am approaching 2017.

2015 was about exploration of so many new ideas. I discovered so much in 2015 and I became a human sponge, soaking up anything and everything I could get my hands on that I felt the least bit interesting or wanted to implement into my daily life. In 2016, I began to try to implement. And everything all at once. And each at the same level of dedication. Inevitably, the last quarter of 2016 my sponge-self could soak up no more. My sponge had reached capacity.

What ended up happening was I was so involved in these new, exciting ideas that I “fooled” myself into thinking they were Me. Lifestyle ideas, thoughts, and routines were adopted that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It was as if I had adopted multiple personalities based on these grand ideas of Who I Want To Be. The truth is, I didn’t really want to be any of them. At the risk of sounding like an emotional teenager a la Dawson’s Creek, I was looking for myself and my purpose in this world.

A few days before the clock struck midnight to welcome 2017, I hit a personal, mental bottom. No, I didn’t freak out, or cry, or anything dramatic. It was like something in my brain had realigned and snapped into place and the unfocused movie image playing on my internal movie screen snapped into focus.

Foolishly, I had been living this last year trying. And failing at trying. And the irony is, there was nothing to be successful for and therefore failure didn’t exist. But I still felt I was failing. And failing who? That is what I finally figured out. I was failing to please someone who does not exist in the physical world. I’m sure this makes no sense to you, but if it does, you get what I mean.

 

There are voices everywhere, screaming in our ears, telling us who and what to be in every aspect of our lives from how we dress to what we eat. In short, I was trying to please all those voices.

 

So today, I wring out my sponge and allow all the false voices spiral down the drain. 2017 is going to be about me, my rules, my way.

The biggest lesson learned in 2016 is simply: Know Thyself.

 

 

 

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planner

Although I am only 2 weeks in to my new role – and a deceptively easy 2 weeks with the holidays – I am understanding how important it is too keep a calendar up to date and our daily tasks/to-do lists at my fingertips.

2016’s calendar was a Lilly Pulitzer calendar which worked out well. Each month had a calendar in review, then pages beyond it with blank lines for each day. I used the calendar for keeping track of appointments, workouts, when my husband travels, etc. and the blank lined pages for daily tasks that I would lovingly “cross out” with a highlighter once complete.

For 2017 I wanted to try something a little different. Now, I ordered this planner before my new job, but it seems the Universe was involved with this one. The ever-popular Erin Condren was a little too pricey for my taste, but there were negatives about the Lilly planner that I wanted different and I wanted something like the Condren planner.


Think about what your style is

Lilly’s planner was great because it was very colorful. The downside is it was too Lilly-focused, even down to marking when her birthday was.  Also, some of the blank pages had designs on them which took up valuable writing space.

I also needed the calendar days to be a tad bigger. I do use stickers, but not to the extent of some very creative people a la Elle Fowler.

When picking my 2017 planner I wanted it to be colorful, but a toned down version of Lilly’s, larger calendar days, and I needed more space to write daily tasks, to-do lists, and other notes. I also wanted it to be more neutral in theme.


Think about the size

I like one that is about the size of my purse, but not too huge that it overstuffs it and I look like a woman carrying a bag with only my planner inside – and a book of course. I like average book-sized planners because they feel more comfortable for me: It won’t get lost in my handbag and it fits my handwriting size and style.


How do you plan to use it

I have seen people on You Tube schedule time to plan their planners in their planner. That’s dedication! I don’t do that per say, but I do take a look at the current day in the morning and through out the day and plan things the night before. I also write things down as they come up in a small, separate notebook then transfer to calendar when necessary.  Personally, I use one calendar to keep track of everything; that way I do not have to keep looking at separate planners to see what I have to do on what day for what part of life.


Electronic or Pen & Paper

I find electronic calendars difficult to keep track of. I do appreciate the outlook pop-up reminders when I am due in a meeting in 15 minutes and it is a way for co-workers to send meetings to each other. Although I will have more meetings than ever before, I will still be marking them in my personal planner.


My 2017 Planner

After some research, I decided to buy a Plum Planner. I liked that it was custom-ordered and at a good price point for what I was getting.  I think my new planner and I are going to be very happy together.

In an upcoming post, I will write about how I will use this planner to combine life and work. Hopefully this will help you!

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[image credit: Lifehack.org]

My reading plan for 2016 was to read 30 books. I fell short on that goal for various reasons: life happens, lack of inspiration to read, major book let downs…. As I close the year I am hoping to finish The Twelve, then read the City of Mirrors in 2017. I was thinking about the period of time where I did not read. I remember the exact book and where I was when it happened. Although, I do not fully blame the book as there were other personal issues going on at that time that caused my reading slump. For the sake of this post, I blame the book.

I went a little over a month without reading a single book which is very unusual for me.  I’m the woman who always has a book in her bag because you never know when you might need one. When the slump began in August I was gifted the Complete Stories and Novels of Sherlock Holmes and each night I’d read a story as they are about 10-20 pages each. At the same time I began The Twelve which is book 2 in a trilogy. Those 2 books kept me reading and while both are excellent, the spark for finding a new book to envelope myself in, everything continued to fall well below my expectations.

Which led to a thought: how do I spark my reading again?

And thus, the Re-Read Project was born.

 

I have so many books over the years I love and that I have not read in quite a long time. I’m not one to re-read books except for very few. “Chocolat” is the only one I can recall I read at least three times and I always read it during the cusp of Spring for obvious reasons. But there are more.

From January – December of 2017 I will include one book in the Re-Read Project and supplement any new reads because there will always be new reads. I already have several in mind and I cannot wait to begin to share my experiences with you throughout the year.

 

 

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We are in the final 2 weeks of 2016 and while many of us have our finger poised over the reset button for January 1st, I hit the reset button many, many times throughout the year. And today, I just hit it again. Well, last night.

Yesterday I posted about my personal winter guide  and how I manage to not crack apart and turn into sand during these dry, dark months. The outside is important, but even more important is the inside: our mind, our spirit, our organs and general functions of the body. We often forget that the outside is only as good as how the inside operates and that is what I am hitting the reset button.

My diet is the best it has ever been in my life, but something is off. This time of year I gravitate toward foods that are not the best, loaded in cheese – aka fat – and sugar because treats are abundant around Christmas.  While I have not “over done” anything in these areas, I feel a general sense of heaviness.  The rest button pressed today is a button to lighten up.

Reset my diet in a way that limits those oh-so-tasty, fattening and sugary foods that slows down digestion; get to bed earlier and work on getting a quality night’s rest; get back into my full workout routine (which has been sporadic at best); meditate daily and free my mind through writing.