Welcome back, readers! I am slowly getting out of my reading rut by reading non-fiction.

1. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

For some reason I always thought this was a book written in the 80’s but it is way older than that: 1936.

I’ve read the first chapter and I love how it is written. I look forward to continuing!

2. Philosophy of Aristotle 

Another completely random choice. I was craving something to expand my mind and read something I have not read before. This fit. I look forward to diving in!

 

Now on to those friendships…

(I am looking for more books with a strong focus on friends. If you have any suggestions please leave a comment!)

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LINA AND ELENA – THE NEAPOLITAN NOVELS

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Most people have a very strong reaction to these novels. They either love them or are bored and hate them. The reason why I enjoyed them so much was the realistic friendship between the two main women from childhood to old age. Their friendship isn’t perfect, it isn’t effortless and half the time you think, “Why are these two call each other friends?!”  We’ve all had friendships that took effort and ones where you didn’t really like most aspects of the other person but for some reason you kept them around. Most of the time those friends are ones you met as a child so they just stick.  Lina and Elena’s friendship is complicated, confusing, and also supportive and loving all at the same time.  Although we have no idea who the author really is, I honestly believe these books were based on real life. It’s just too authentic…

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CHANDLER AND RACHEL – FRIENDS

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I know every single episode of Friends because as a teenager I was obsessed with it. I thought they were the coolest people ever. I am re-watching it now on Netflix and the dynamics of the group tend to be focused on the obvious connections: Ross & Rachel, Monica and Chandler, Phoebe and Joey, later Joey and Rachel. But the connection between Chandler and Rachel is the one I noticed most this time around. They have a great chemistry when it comes to platonic friendships. They seem to really enjoy each other’s company, confide in each other in different ways than the rest of the group and their interactions can be really really funny. I lend this to the actors, of course, but if you are a fan of the show, take a closer look at those two. It is very refreshing.

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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I have slacked on the post a day plan I had when December started. I had the best intentions, but to post something for the sake of something does not a good blog make. Nor is it entertaining for anyone to read.

It is Sunday morning and when I was thinking about my lack of writing for a few days I decided why not just write a ramble post, no structure, just ideas and thoughts typed out.

The house is decorated for Christmas and Hanukkah.  My husband is Jewish so we celebrate both and with Hanukkah and Christmas eve on the same day is quite exciting! I have his gifts done and I cannot share those because he does read this from time-to-time. I have a few more goodies to grab which I may do today. I am also meeting up with my friend Lexi for brunch, then grocery shopping, then who knows!

Loads to do today and get done for the upcoming week.

Speaking of the upcoming week, I start my new position on the 16th. I’m nervous, excited, overwhelmed, over joyed, and anxious all at once. I’m not sure what to expect but I am expecting a very positive new chapter in my career. I wanted for so long to be out of a traditional customer service role and transition into something completely different and I got it. Not without it’s tears, lack of sleep, questioning myself moments, of course.  When I want something to change, I focus all of my mental energy on it and do everything I have to do to get it.

With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about where I belong in the expansive world of the web. There is so much content and I’ve been wondering how I fit in and what I have to offer. The truth is, this is not a full time job and I’m not sure it ever will be. Writing is something I’ve always done and always loved to do so my primary reason for posting is to write and share it. I want to share, inspire, and grow a community.  A community of people who work every day, take care of a home and family, and keep their happiness and hobbies as an equal priority.

Like all years, 2016 was the cliched roller coaster ride. I went through a few ups and downs, learned and grew up in many ways. As I approach the final decent and about to start 2017, I want to be sure I am being true to who I am, what I want to share, and what I want to do.

I welcome you to do the same.

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This post is inspired by The $1,000 Project.

 

I started by own $1,000 Project on October 24th. At about full month in and I have saved quite a bit of cash I otherwise would have spent. I was also able to add to my sinking funds for our quarterly HOA with the left over unspent cash from last month’s “budget.” (I use budget in quotes for a reason I will discuss later).

 

I learned to cut my own hair — This plan was more out of necessity than money saving. My one hair stylist moved to Florida and the other was on maternity leave. Since I had not had a cut since February, I needed a cut pronto. A haircut for me can easily set me back $80.00. I do not do color or a complicated style, my hair is long and straight and my cuts are generally just thinning, trimming the ends and layers.  I combined the amateur methods and found a professional video and established with my own method. I bought professional scissors and a razor comb (like in the video) and went to work. It turned out perfectly.  All I need to get down is layering and I am set for life.

A Lunch Packed is $10 saved — Lunches are expensive these days. I’ve spent up to $12 on a single lunch meal. It seems like lunches are just as pricey as dinners and have not gotten any bigger, more filling, or more complex. Inspired by the $1,000 Project concept, I kept track of the days I packed my lunch and added that to my total saved. So far this month I have saved $140.00 in lunch money by packing my lunch. I keep track by week so my average is buying lunch 1 to 2 days a week.

A Night in versus a Night Out  — Like most people, I love to go out to dinner and  walk around a store afterward. Early this month I wanted to do just that: go out with my husband to a dinner and then to the bookstore. Instead, I made a meal at home and we watched a movie on Netflix. Easily saved $100.00.

Cut Back on the perceived essentials  — Over the last few years I slowly reduced the amount of “essentials” to get my makeup routine down to a 5-7 minute Le No Makeup Look . My makeup now involves: CC Cream, Powder (also what I carry for touch ups), brow pencil, bronzer and mascara. Make up is expensive so find your absolutely favorites and stick to them, keep it as simple as possible.

Double up — My hair products are simple: Shampoo, Conditioner ; a deep conditioner (which I double as shaving cream); detangler (doubles as a heat protector); Smoothing cream and a blow dry spray, and hair oil.  (The blow dry spray I will not repurchase because I prefer the smoothing cream.)  Cutting back on these things can really save a lot of money.

Use it Up and Use What You Have — Raise your hand if you go out and buy another cosmetic well before what you have is empty. That is a massive money suck. Unless you absolutely hate it or it causes an allergic reaction, use it all up before buying another.  Also, think if you would buy it again. This also goes for food items and cleaning supplies. Get creative as to what you can use to fill a need. I am a sucker for notebooks so when I get a fresh new idea I want to buy a new one. I decluttered quite a bit of notebooks and I use them for various reasons. Use those cover to cover.

 

What creative ways can you save money?

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[Source: Europia]

I am taking an 8-week Mindfulness Course. After the first class, I already had an “Ah-ha!” moment. A fellow course-goer asked, “I am reading 2 books right now on Buddhism and Mindfulness. Should I stop reading those and only focus on this course?” The question was sparked by the teacher’s suggestion of learning through experience and encouraged us to fully engage for the 8 weeks. The teacher’s answer was simple: “I will leave that up to you to decide, but I challenge you to learn in ways you are not used to.” She went on to explain that as a former surgeon she learns through books, lectures, notes and highlights and research.

Instantly my brain started working. I too am a learner by reading and lectures. I will scour the internet, You Tube and books trying to find and capture every single possible facet of a topic I want to learn. I become an “expert” and learning it, but I fail in execution. I can tell you about a topic of interest that I want to apply, but the actual application is where I fall short.

With the information overload of the 21st century, we can think of an idea and find THOUSANDS of articles, blog posts, videos, quotes, eBooks and online courses on any and every topic.  I’ve jumped across many over the last year since discovering Alejandra.tv. From that, a whole new level of “research” took over. My notes are meticulous, I have charts, lists, and favorite videos on You Tube to watch again and again for review or inspiration.

When the teacher of the Mindfulness class challenged us to not only examine how we learn things such as mindfulness, but to actually challenge it and attempt a different way. My natural resistance is to be expected: I am a constant student. But I am ready to challenge myself in a new way: learning to learn in another way.

I will not:

  • Search the internet on alternate ways to learn
  • Read books on how people learn
  • Watch videos on methods of learning

I will:

  • Honor my intuition
  • Learn through experience
  • Learn through commitment
  • Learn by listening and watching others (not via the web)

I will still read blogs and watch videos but not for the purpose of research.

I feel like I am about to jump out of an airplane. Doing things the exact opposite way you’ve always done them is scary. But I am ready. I challenge you to do the same, however it is and whatever it is that you research or explore ideas. If you are a person who has to do it only and hate lectures, I suggest finding a video online on a topic of interest.  Off I go – and off you go.