You are a Badass, by Jen Sincero

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This book is definitely badass. I’m not one for the “self-help” genre, but every now and then I hear from multiple bookish people that a book is great and I finally cave. I have seen this splashy cover all over Instagram and actually thought there is no chance in hell I will read this book. It sounded cheesy and self-righteous. Like come on, “start living an awesome life”?!? Then I heard the girls on By the Book Podcast recapping their experience of living by this book for two weeks, and chatted with a friend in the same day about how awesome this book was… so I ran on over to Hunter Street Books to buy it.

You are a Badass is a book aimed at people who want to improve their lives. Jen Sincero is a success coach, and a writer, who has documented the process on how to start understanding yourself, and start kicking some ass!

If you want more time in your life, show time some respect.

This book has so much great information, but the main thing is… it’s all things that we know, but just aren’t putting to practice. Sincero gives some really honest, and great advice. The one thing that really rang loudly for me was changing my internal story. I’ve been juggling two jobs for awhile. One where I work at a clinic, another where I am self-employed and trying to build my own business. And in all honesty, I’m exhausted lately, and tired of saying how busy I am. Sincero had said to try changing your story to let’s just see… and maybe from there you can start giving it a shot. For a long time my internal story was I need to keep both jobs for security, because what if my business doesn’t work. Well, from now on I’m just gonna see if I can really make it work. I finished this book, and decided that I need to quit my one job, and really make space for my business to grow and flourish.

I have lived a long life, and had many troubles, most of which ever happened. – Mark Twain

Another thing that this book reminded me was that I’m the WORST procrastinator ever! I will literally put something off to the very last minute, then run around like crazy to get the job done. You are a Badass totally kicked me out of that procrastination habit… for awhile. Let’s see how long that lasts 🙂

Well… honestly I could go ON and ON about this book, and the lessons that it reminded me and taught me. I have dog-eared, and highlighted the shit out of this book, and I have also reflected back on it so many times already. It’s an easy-to-read, full of sarcasm, and completely inspiring book. I suggest it whole-heartedly, and am literally telling everyone I meet about it.

Anywho, until next time, happy reading!!

 

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Out with March, in with April!

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Happy Easter! I’m going to do a double whammy with this post, as I don’t want to bombard your inboxes this long weekend. Here’s a little wrap up of the March instalment of My Happiness Project.

  • Stretch/Yoga: I was pretty excited get back to yoga. I’ve been working more, getting headaches, and something had to change in my daily routine that made my body feel less sore! So I went back to Salti Yoga, which is a local yoga studio to Peterborough, and I am in love with how it makes me feel. Often I go into a class with a lot of thoughts, and a twisted up body. As soon as I leave, I feel like a wringed out, clean sponge. It’s incredible, and I’m so glad I got back on the yoga train!
  • Drink more water: This was a small change, with a big pay-off. I bought a new water bottle, and some pure lemon juice, to motivate me to drink more. And I love it! I already drank a good amount of water everyday, but now I feel like such a small change has impacted my health in a big way. Less headaches… but more trips to the bathroom!!
  • Foam rolling: Okay… I failed here. I look at it everyday and think I should jump on it… better luck next time!

Okay! So now that we’ve wrapped up March, let’s move on to April.

April: Work, work, work, work, work!

Fun fact, I’m a procrastinator. In my home life I’m not as bad as my work life. I always get the job done on time, but I leave everything to the last minute. I am a small business owner, and I am the only employee, so being organized is something I have to be. Recently I’ve decided to grow this business, and I’ve realized I have to really work on being organized now.

  • Plan daily and weekly time for marketing, emails, and book work: I have a bad habit of forgetting that this takes time to get it done, so I end up cramming all these things into a short time period. And it really stresses me out! So here’s my solution, booking time for it!
  • Learn how to use spreadsheets better: Let’s just say I do not know my way around a spreadsheet, and some learning some simple ways to navigate around it would be great! Wish me luck.
  • Do it now! Every time I think “I can do it later”, I will do it now. Period.

Some work related books on my reading list for April:

Some non-work related books on my reading list for April:

 

6 books that Shaped my Reading Life

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Today I wanted to share with you the books that over my reading life have really shaped my views and way I read. Not only are we going to talk great books, but I will share with you the reasons why I connected with these books. Think of this as a look into my reading soul! I hope this post inspires you to look back and think about the books that have meant a lot to you at certain points in your life.

The BFGThe BFG, by Roald Dahl. As a kid, I adored Roald Dahl. I ate his books up like candies, devouring each one until I looked up one day, and there were no more to read! But of all his books, this one is the one that made me fall in love with reading. I still re-read it frequently for myself, but also with my son. I remember being completely wrapped up in Sophie’s story, and the idea that dreams could be locked up in a jar.

 

Nancy Drew Mystery Collection Vol. 1-10 (Boxed Set of 10 books) [Hardcover]Nancy Drew Series, by Carolyn Keene. I feel like this one is a given, and that most people can relate. I remember being a kid reading under the covers, just trying to figure out how Nancy Drew would work it out. They are great stories, and my parents bought these for me one after the next, because even as a kid I needed to read them in order. Thank goodness my parents always encouraged this, and I think it’d be so fun to read the whole series again!

 

The Piano Man's DaughterThe Piano Man’s Daughter, by Timothy Findley. This book… oh man! You have all read about my love of Tiff. But it was my grade 10 English teacher, Mrs. Desjardins, who introduced me to Timothy Findley… and from there I became enamoured with him and the idea that someone so creative could live so close to me. From here on out, I have read A LOT of his books. Not all, but one day I will get there!

 

The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge Book 1)Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett. Here’s a special one. Growing up I had heard my parents talk about this book. They had talked about how it’s based around a cathedral… and all I could think was wahhhh wahhh wahhh… it sounded so boring to me. THEN, a friend’s Dad had bought it for me as it was one of his favourite books. I then read it, and did not put it down until it was done. I loved it, and it made me realize that I really loved historical fiction. Also that my Mom and Dad’s book taste, was actually pretty damn awesome!!

 

Jane EyreJane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. Before I read Jane I had a view that classics were tough books, and only for people who studied classic literature. Then I read it, and I fell so deeply in love with the wuthering Yorkshire winds, old mansions, and the complex time it was for women. I also fell in love with the Brontes. This classic is a classic that still stands up today, and is a must read. Click here to see my review.

 

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is a recent read of mine, but holy smokes did it pack of punch. And there are sections of this book that will never leave my memory. Gilbert’s theory is that an idea is something that floats around, and can be yours if you take it… but it also can pass on to the next person. And her example of this with Ann Patchett is truly inspiring. This book made me want to stand up and be authentically me. Check out my review here.

So that is it for today, bookish friends! Please leave me a comment with some books that have shaped your reading life. I’d love to hear them.

 

Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Happy Sunday! Today I’m coming at you with a non-fiction book about creativity. Elizabeth Gilbert has written many novels, but you probably know her best from the bestseller, and movie Eat Pray Love. I had put Big Magic on my required reading list for My Happiness Project for the month of January. I thought that maybe it might inspire me to live a little more creatively and write more.

And you have treasures hidden within you – extraordinary treasures – and so do I, and so does everyone around us. And bringing those treasures to light takes work and faith and focus and courage and hours of devotion, and the clock is ticking, and the world is spinning, and we simple do not have time anymore to think so small.

The key points of the book are to stop being so afraid of doing what you want to do, and to stand up like your badass self and embrace the thing that makes your heart sing. There is a wonderful story about one of Elizabeth Gilbert’s friend in this book who at the age of 40 decided to start figure skating again. She described that her friend had a completely different feeling within herself when she would skate, even though she hadn’t done it since she was a kid. So she did it, and still does it. She’s not preparing for the next Olympics… but she is happy, and healthier for it.

She also talks about how originality isn’t the key, but authenticity is. The idea of thinking up something entirely original is really daunting. Because in all honesty, how many ideas are really original. All the great writers, songwriters, athletes, and everyday people have most likely been inspired by someone else’s thoughts. So you do you, and embrace the ideas and feelings that make you want to be creative.

To me this book is all about inspired living. I love to read. I love to write. I love to run. I also love my job as an RMT. This book has ignited a fire within me to just do what I love to do, and fully commit to it. Be in the moment, and let the magic take over. And likewise… if you need to go through the motions of your day before you can arrive at your beloved task/hobby, do that without complaints. It’s all part of the process.

It’s nobody’s business but your own.

You may think that the books I’m reading are a waste of time. You may think that my writing is terrible. You may think that my career choice is crazy. But dammit, I really don’t care what you think. I know in my heart that I love these things. I know that the books I read are part of a bigger picture for me. I know the writing that I do is part of my process. And I know for sure that my work is deeply meaningful to me, and my individual clients. So, friends, your opinions are great, but what they are are yours. And this book has taught me to be authentically myself, and go where my heart wants to.

Believe in the magic. Until next time, happy reading!

Podcast listeners may enjoy these with Elizabeth Gilbert:

 

The Stone Orchard, by Timothy Findley

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My love affair with Timothy Findley’s writing began when I was in grade 10 English at Brock High School. Literally kilometres away from Stone Orchard. I read The Piano Man’s Daughter in this class, and was blown away that he had based this book in our little town of Cannington, with all it’s historic genuinity. From there on I have read a TON of his work, and continue to love it and be proud that he was a resident of Cannington.

My mom had wrapped this book up for me for Christmas. She told me that she had literally plucked it off her bookshelf to give to me, costing her nothing… but this gift will stay with me for a lifetime.

Timothy Findley and his partner William Whitehead moved to Stone Orchard in Cannington when they had decided they wanted to try their hand at owning a farm. Their romantic idea turned into a whole lot of work in fixing up their old farmhouse, and a making this farm their own. As they learned more about living in the country, they as professional writers both became even more successful in their fields. This is a beautiful collection of simple memories of the place they called home for more than 30 years.

I loved everything about this book. First of all, if you haven’t read anything by Timothy Findley his writing is beautiful. I have read a ton of his work and his writing in this book is different, but even more so beautiful. You get to see into the eyes of such a prolific writer, and what inspires him to write. Because this book is written in my hometown some of his memories struck such strong emotions in me. I knew several people that he mentioned in this book, I knew the stores, and also the streets that he referenced. What a gift it has been to the our little town of Cannington that Tiff lived there, and wrote this beautiful memoir.

One last thing I’d love to share is this is just a simple, gentle story of a life lived. Tiff’s ability to see the extraordinary in the most simplest of things is truly the best part of this book. The stories that he tells about the animals that lived on Stone Orchard felt as if he could hear their thoughts. He cared so deeply for the lives that lived there, the walls and nature that surrounded them, and history that each of these held.

This was the last book that I read in 2017, and boy oh boy… I think that it was possibly the best book I read in the whole year. I laughed out loud, cried, and now want to go re-read every Timothy Findley book I own.

That’s all for today. Until next time, happy reading!

The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin

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Have you ever read a book that in that moment you felt so inspired to DO something? I read The Happiness Project ages ago… BUT I must have just skimmed it, or not been in the right frame of mind to let it move me like it has done recently. I felt so inspired that I am going to do my own personal Happiness Project.

The concept of this book is much the same to how I would view myself… that’s why I think I connected with it so well. Gretchen is a relatively happy person already, but knows there are certain areas of her life in which she could be happier. So she decides to dedicate one whole year to The Happiness Project. She maps out resolutions and focuses on a different area of her life for one whole month, then the next month she tackles a new set of resolutions. You will have to read the book to hear the outcome! In only working on one area at a time for a month makes these goals much more attainable. They can range from making your bed in the morning, to writing a book!

It is easy to be heavy; hard to be light.

Here’s the thing… Gretchen’s resolutions are small, but have big outcomes in her daily happiness. She’s also not so naive that she thinks this is a cure all to her happiness, but that it can make her daily life a lot better. And what I really took away from this book is that you can go through life just getting by, or you can truly examine what is holding you back and work on it. I chose to examine as soon as I finished reading this book… actually WHILE I was reading this book I was making notes in which areas and certain resolutions that I could make.

The days are long, but the years are short.

SO… in short, I mentioned early that this book inspired me to start My Happiness Project. You can jump on over to that page if you want to see my notes and my little map on it. I am going to be keeping you all in the loop about it, and would love if anyone wants to join me! Feel free to get in touch with me if you have questions/comments regarding this.

ALSO, if you are a podcast fan check out Gretchen’s podcast, Happier. She co-hosts with her sister, Liz Craft, and it’s a great little resource if this type of book sounds interesting to you.

Until next time, happy reading!

 

Books of the Year List

Hey there bookish friends!

I wanted to do a quick post to share some of my favourite reads of the year. It has been an exceptionally good reading year for me due to some changes I’ve made to my reading life. These are including chatting with new and old friends about books more, finding some great book resources, and deciding to get up even earlier to read.

Below I have listed some of my favourite reads (in no particular order), and linked the blog post that I wrote on them if you would like more info. One important note before I get started is that I couldn’t obviously post a whole series… but you all know about my deep love for the Inspector Gamache series, by Louise Penny… this series is by far the best one I read this year… so check that out too. Please feel free to comment on what your favourite books you’ve read this year have been!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Oh man, this book!! I loved it. From it’s description I would have never picked it up, but the hype of it was too tempting to not try. WELL… I loved it. It’s based on an aging famous Hollywood actress who is coming to the end of her life, and decides to dish all the details on her life and her seven husbands. Click here to read my review.

 

Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel

Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders. I read this book before I started my blog… but this book is the most interesting, creative piece of literature I’ve ever read. Saunder’s style is very different in this book, but it’s so worth pushing through the style for the story. It’s based on President Lincoln’s son, Willie who gets very sick, and unfortunately passes away. It’s a story of grief, and a deep love.

 

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

Hunger, by Roxane GayThis is the memoir that blew my mind this year. The subtitle of this book is A memoir of my Body, and that’s exactly what it is. It’s a raw, and honest look at what living within her body has been and continues to be like. It’s a journey to self-acceptance, and understanding of ones body and mind. I really think that this should be a required reading in high school. Click here to read my full review.

 

Little Fires Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng. So this, friends, is the book I will be suggesting to all the reading people in my life. This book is a story about perfection, parent/child relationships, and love. I could not stop reading this one, it literally traveled everywhere with me. Click here to read my full review… but trust me and just read this one!

 

 

Jane Eyre

 

Mr. Rochester

 

 

 

 

 

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte and Mr. Rochester, by Sarah Shoemaker. These books made my top books of the year because it was the perfect pairing of books. With a classic the reading can be a bit hard at first… but I didn’t get that feeling with Jane Eyre. It’s so relative and readable still. Then following up with Mr. Rochester, and seeing the love story from his eyes was terrific. It’s moody, it’s gothic, and it’s romantic. I love it!

The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. This book is the my favourite non-fiction pick of the year. I’ve recently re-read it as I am planning on conducting my own project… click here to go to that page!! But this time that I read it I was so ready to embrace implementing small changes in my life, to have big outcomes. I think this would be a great book for just about anyone to read. Gretchen’s writing is easy to read, and super honest.

 

Stay with Me: A novel

Stay with Me, by Ayobami Adebayo. This book is one that will stay with me, and haunt me for a long time. It’s the beautifully told story of a husband and wife in Nigeria, who decide to stay only faithful to each other, despite their cultural norms. When they struggle to have a child, their relationship also starts to struggle. Click here for that whole review.

 

Castle of Water: A Novel

Castle of Water, by Dane Huckelbridge. Last, but certainly not least… this book is EVERYTHING!! Holy smokes, it gave me all the feels. From surviving the wilderness, to the deepest of love, this book had me ugly crying in the late hours of night when I was finishing it. It’s the story of the two survivors of a plane crash and their journey back to their world. Click here for my full review.

 

Okay friends, that’s my list. I’m sure I’ve left out some… one already I’m thinking of which was a close runner up is IT, by Stephen King… but you can’t list em all!! Check out some of my favourite bookish mentor’s sites to see their lists: