DetOxtober and a reading list

There is something about the fall where I get antsy, I want to make life changes, I want to evolve into the person I want to be. I want to go back to school, or at least learning. I’ve always figured it was the changing of the season which lead to my introspective ways this time of year. It could also be because the fall reminds me of school, education, growth, chasing dreams. As the days get shorter and our calendar less busy, I revel in a slower pace that comes with the fall.

Two years ago I started a new job and visited Leo in Mexico City. Last year, Leo and I celebrated our wedding with all of our closest friends and family. This time of year holds a special place in my heart. This year, I’m getting into the swing of another new job. I also find myself craving a detox after the months of summer fun, eating out, drinking with friends, concerts.

In 2016, I’m planning a detox-October, or detoxtober. It would make such a perfect hashtag wouldn’t it? I’d use is on all the glorious photos I could share on Instagram about me cooking, being healthier, maybe working out or hiking. Reading books with perfectly posed coffee. Oversized sweaters, scarves and skinny jeans with my favorite booties. The beautiful changing leaves. A bonfire in my most worn-in hoodie. But instead of sharing my moments on Instagram, and trying to present the ideal fall lifestyle, I’m aiming to enjoy every moment and be sensitive to all my senses.

I’m planning to spend the month off of social media (as much as I can considering my job is pretty tied into social media). Last week, I deleted all the apps from my phone. I’m not saying I’ll be entirely off of them, and I might still share some stuff out as I use Instagram almost as a visual diary of my favorite memories, but I don’t want to spend my quiet moments thumbing through feeds. I want to spend my quiet moments reading and writing. Laughing with Leo. Playing with my pup. Smiling at someone in line instead of looking down at my newsfeed. Trying something new because the spirit moved me not because it would be a perfect social media moment. Stretching. Breathing. Enjoying the world around me.
I read once on Quora that by carrying a book with you, you’ll find free moments to read throughout the day which will help you read more. I’m always trying to read more because it makes me smile, it inspires me, it helps me approach things with new perspective. So, I’ll carry a book with me and instead of putting my nose into my phone, I’ll have my nose into a book.

So, here are my two initial reading picks – Sweetbitter and Little Bee. I have grand ambitions of sharing my thoughts on some of the books I read this summer. We’ll see if it happens. If it doesn’t happen, I’m not going to be bummed. I’m just going to keep living and celebrating and not adding self-imposed disappointment into life.

I love this time of year. Time to saddle up and change some habits, get into a new routine and treat my body, my mind, my home, my relationship with all the care and love that I have to give.

What kind of habits are you planning to reset this fall?


Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you buy a book from those links, I get a little kickback. I can’t recommend them as I haven’t read them yet. But I’ll let you know!

January Reading List

Here it is – the reads for January!

I’m about a quarter through the Paris Architect and find some of the main characters reaction a bit unrealistic, but the author creates a decent portrait of a guy doing good for the wrong reasons. Assuming he’ll begin doing right for the right reasons once his “brilliant” designs fail the people they were designed to keep safe. A few rough scenes of the German Occupation in Paris have made me cringe and almost put the book down for good – but I realize this fictional tale is only showing the reality of a horrific period of history.

Lone Survivor was purchased months ago following those damn-near-perfect Amazon recommendations following my completion of No Easy Day (which comes with my highest recommendations). I purchased it, read the first 30 pages, sobbed and decided I couldn’t handle any more, and stopped reading. Notice a theme here? Planning to pick it back up and finish it.

And The Hobbit. My father gave me his copy of the book in a well-worn cover and paper wrapping that I remember always being in our library when I was young. After watching the first movie of the trilogy, and then reading the first few pages, I can sadly say I wished I’d finished the book prior to watching the movie. My imagination wants to run wild with J.R.R. Tolkien’s story, but I have the visuals of the movie blocking a bit of that imagination. Not to worry – I will not watch the second two movies until I’ve completed this book.

Wish me luck on some major reading endeavors in the year ahead!

What is on your New Year reading list? Did you resolve to read more?


Tis the season to remember what we’re thankful for, so I figured a quick list was in order!

  • Family near and far, almost all of whom I’ve been able to see at some time this year
  • Friends, oh friends, how wonderful you’ve been this year! From weddings to smaller celebrations to walks for water and coffee in the office, I’ve been so lucky to have such great friends. Moving across the country last year was a challenge, but my friends, new and old, constantly remind me that I have so much to be thankful for.
  • My future
  • A great year closing out that was full of new experiences (engagement, Miami, New York, the list goes on…)
  • Leo – he continually supports me in every decision I make which makes life wonderful
  • Travel and everything that comes it, including the wonderful folks at Southwest who make travel a breeze, the strangers who have given us directions and recommendations…and I’m really thankful that I’m able to travel. I know it is a luxury that I work hard for, but I’m truly thankful for the opportunities I have to see the country. And next year – maybe another country. 🙂
  • Coffee
  • Books
  • People who recommend books
  • The Library! Since I started volunteering at the Denver Public Library, I’ve been extra thankful for this public service. They let you take books home for weeks at a time — FOR FREE. Imagine that.
  • Eggs (don’t judge – I love the little suckers and feel that all good meals made full of love often have eggs in them)
  • Technology. Say what you want about how important it is to shut down and turn off once in a while (I agree), but technology provides me a job, let’s me FaceTime with my parents whenever I want and keep in touch with friends and family around the world. That’s a great thing.
  • Chocolate and/or ice cream. It stands with coffee as one of those things that makes everything better.
  • Christmas. I love everything good about it and happily turn a blind eye to much of the negative aspects of the holiday season. There is enough good to downplay the bad.
  • Flannel shirts (times 7 because that’s how many I bought at a pre-black friday sale. Oops.)
  • Monogrammed everything. For this I blame the College Prepster and Cinco Powell. See, I won a customized monogrammed Cinco Powell bag on the College Prepster blog, and I’ve been getting tons of compliments and suddenly, I have a new obsession.
  • Writing, and more importantly, the time to do it in this month.
  • Lady Grey tea, a softer, more citrusy version of Earl Grey which has been in my cup almost as much as coffee this fall and into the winter.
  • Magazines – especially Town and Country, Smithsonian and Bon Appetit this month.

Like I said, I have a lot to be thankful for this year. Cheers to this year and the year ahead!



Books: what I’m currently reading

Currently reading
Currently reading

My tastes vary widely as illustrated by my current book list. For the past year and a half, I’ve been throwing in a Harry Potter book every few months – they’re new to me, but I love every minute of it. I started the year with the 19th Wife, a gift from my grandmother. Review coming soon.

The Krakauer book stemmed from my enjoyment, no, fascination with the 19th Wife. The House of the Wind came to me from a very dear friend, and although I’ve picked it up multiple times, I haven’t been able to dig in fully.

Erik Larson makes it on every “currently reading” list I’ve ever had. As long as he’s publishing, I’m reading. More to come once I finish this one as well.

Book Club: MWF Seeking BFF


{pic from the author’s website, go buy the book so she won’t get mad at me for stealing images!}

Book Club Score: we didn’t give scores this month as the author was in the house, but we all went around and talked about sections of the book that every one connected with.
My Score: N/A – see below.

Book club this month had a special twist – the author of our selection joined us! Rachel Bertsche was an absolute doll, a ball of friendly and funny energy, and she clicked immediately with our book club. We were thrilled to have her and our conversation about the book was all the more interesting because she shared what other books clubs thought as well. Having her there was like a crowd-sourced answer session with girls all over Chicago.


I should note that I didn’t read the book yet as I was nervous it would make some big life changes more scary. More on that to come, but I’m thrilled to pick the book up after every single girl in my book club said, “You have to read this book. It’ll make any situation with girls and new friends easier.”

As a twenty-something author, all of us were in awe of her humility despite having written a book! Especially in the digital age, that a freaking BFD. Big Effing Deal. I think we were all surprised that we’d each experienced things similar to what was in the book and struggled with the same challenges – finding our post-college tribe of friends. 

Go buy the book – MWF Seeking Bff – read for your book club and laugh with girl friends, new and old. Then say hi to the author on her blog, Twitter or in person at book events all over Chicago and other cities. 

Have you read the book? Did you struggle with finding girl friends and navigate a similar landscape as Rachel does in her book? Leave a comment, I’m fascinated to hear other girls’ perspectives!



Manic(ure) Monday: Love #2 Nail Polish and Books

One day before Valentine’s Day! A little pink, purple and gold plaid on the nails and a big smile on my face. I’m making cookies for Leo for Valentine’s Day, reading magazines and relaxing. That leads me to two of the things that I love a ton – nail polish and printed material (books, magazines, heck, I even love maps). I stopped in to my local nail polish supplier and picked up a few new colors for late winter and into the start of spring, but the main goal was a fun magenta base for v-day nails. You’ll note these pretty bottles sitting a top a very pretty Harry Potter book. See how I’m combining two loves into one Manic(ure) Monday?

My favorite magazines include all the fashion glossies, some women’s lifestyle, cooking and home decor with a dash of history/culture with the Smithsonian.

In the book arena, I love all things popular and have no qualms about reading enjoyable literature – romance novels, textbooks (history), biographies, young adult (Potter anyone? What about The Hunger Games?), the list goes on. If it feels like a book and smells like a book and barks like a book, I love it. I’m even liking books on my iPad, but shhhhh, don’t tell my English Lit lover of a grandma. She’d be heartbroken.

Off to eat my dad’s Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and then to bed! And yes, that’s a hint for Wednesday’s post.

Hope you lovelies have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and don’t forget to tell someone and some more ones that you love them! Everyone needs a little more love, that’s why holidays like tomorrow exist!



Book Club Book Review – The Paris Wife

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain – buy on Amazon, or run to your local book store! 


{pic from Random House’s page for The Paris Wife}

Book Club Scores – 7-10

My Score – 8-9 (gut-wrenching at times, but couldn’t put it down!)

This book is about Ernest Hemingway’s life with his first wife, Hadley. The story starts in St. Louis and Chicago which appealed to our lovely midwestern group of girls. It was fun to read about places that we know, we’ve walked some of the streets that the characters walked in the book. Four of the ladies in the book group have recently traveled in France, so they enjoyed reading about places they’d seen in the past year. The places and spaces in the book set the stage for a tumultuous and doomed love affair. 

McLain does a great job of putting the reader inside Hadley’s shoes, but, interestingly, our group was split on whether she was a strong woman willing to fight for her relationship, or a weak woman that let’s her husband walk all over her. Three-quarters thought weak, I thought she was strong and wanted to fight for what she believed in – her relationship with Hemingway.

I’m not going to go into more detail, but the book comes highly recommended from our group. Even the girls that gave the book low ranks (7) said they would recommend the book. The biggest negative expressed about McLain’s novel is the discomfort and disgust for what was contained in the book. Can’t blame the book for that! But I’ll warn you, there will be moments where the foreshadowing will make you want to walk away from the book altogether because you always know what the end result is of Hadley and Hem’s life together.

I was advised by other members to read Hem’s The Moveable Feast, his writing about the period. I’ve already read The Sun Also Rises, also written at the time, and traveled to Madrid, but check that out too if you haven’t read it!

Have you read the book? Is Hadley strong or weak?

The question the drove the most discussion – would you have A) walked away from the relationship as soon as you knew what Hadley knew? Or, B) would you stick around and fight for the relationship?