Reads

Book Review: Szen Zone

The Szen Zone: Reaching a State of Positive Change by Gary Szenderski was honestly unlike any other book I’ve read before, minus the Chicken Soup for the Soul books because it was similar to that! Szen Zone is basically just a bunch of short stories each put together for one purpose – to make you think and feel inspired. At first, I started reading the book from front to back then quickly realized you didn’t need to do that! Just search for a topic you want to feel inspiration or motivation in (i.e. productivity, work life, improving life, and more) and then read one of the dozen or so stories. Each story is short, only a couple or few paragraphs, so it’s a handy little book to keep on hand anywhere you might need a quick positive boost!

The best part is after each short story there’s a “Szenippet” (ha, get it?) for a recap of what you should reflect on after reading that specific story. I love this book, I can tell I’ll be keeping it around for probably ever because there are so many stories you could keep re-reading them over and over again! This should be a bookshelf staple… So many great mini nuggets of inspo! Here are a few of my faves:

“Willpower is desire in motion.”

“Selective memory is our best weapon in fighting failure.”

“The wink of a single thought holds the power to illuminate our path. One single, elegant, clear-minded thought is all we need to change our world.”

Looking for more inspiring reads? Here are a few others I LOVE:

The Secret

The 5 Love Languages

The Alchemist

What’s your go-to inspo read?

Monthly Book Review: January

january-book-reviews-and-audio-book-review

WE MADE IT! First month of 2017 down. I do have to say this month has been filled with so, so, so much personal growth. I’m reading way more than any other January I’ve experienced in my life and I’ve already done so much soul searching to be a wiser person (you’ll see why when you start to pick up the theme of these books I read)… Self-help anyone? But lay off, those are my favorite types of books!

You probably don’t remember this (because why would you?) but about this time last year, I told the world (my blog) that I was going to have a year resolution of reading more. Well, I actually did! Don’t count me in as a book scholar anytime soon but I thought about reading books more than ever and actually did. Again, I read like a book every couple months but that’s more than I did before! This year I’m already ahead of the game with three books under my belt!

P.S. If you’re a Goodreads user, add me as a friend and do the 2017 book challenge with me! My goal is to read 30 books this year.

P.S.S. I’ve become a HUGE Kindle fan and that has really helped step my reading game up. Especially after discovering Overdrive where you can check out Kindle books from your library without even stepping a foot in a library!

The Sell: The Secrets of Selling Anything to Anyone

To be honest, I started this awhile ago but picked it back up when I needed audio to listen to during the Holidays. I have this book in audio form and I’m so glad that I experienced it this way because the author (and reality TV star) Fredrik Eklund narrates it himself and if you’ve ever watched Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing: NYC, you will understand how much spunk and character he has! I read on a Goodreads review that someone felt like he had a huge ego talking about himself throughout the book, but if you actually hear his voice you realize it’s just who he is and he makes it sound okay! I mean the man is super successful and you’re reading a book about how to take points from him, so he’ll naturally sound a little ego-centric. But it works for him.

My favorite parts of the book were about him describing his everyday life, he puts a lot of emphasis in keeping himself healthy, in fact, he suggests sticking to liquid lunches (think: smoothies) so that he can stay on top of his game all day long. Heck, I have lunch then usually get a little tired, cue that “2 pm feeling”. He also sticks to a strict schedule of waking up at 5 am, working out, then working until around 9 pm, but then once he’s off, he’s off. He also takes off Sundays. The moral of his story: Work really, really hard. It’s a refreshing read and enjoyed every second of it! Even when he starts to talk about the real estate bizz, I still found it interesting!


The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

I’ve had this on my list for awhile and I am so glad that I finally read it! I finished this a couple weeks ago and I still think about it almost every day. It’s such an intriguing book. I kept thinking to myself how in the world they could fill an entire book up about how to create a good habit (I’ll tell you how below), but they just kept sharing stories about things you would not even think about and how that relates to “building a habit”. Here’s an example: You know how we all brush our teeth? Well back in the early 1900’s, people didn’t brush their teeth so when a new toothpaste came out, the brand was trying to sell their toothpaste to people who don’t even brush their teeth in the first place. So the advertiser first tried to find what would make a person think of brushing their teeth. Answer? To have good looking teeth and remove film from their teeth (more about that film in the book). Next, they needed to make the habit stick so they would keep using the product. So in comes a chemical to create bubbles when you brush your teeth and a minty fresh feeling afterward.

So that’s pretty much why we brush our teeth now, minus the fact that we need to take care of our chomps, but because we built a habit of needing a clean feeling in our mouth to remind us that we brushed. Crazy, huh?! Also, here’s how to build a habit: First, find the que, like are you bored, lonely, or tired? What’s the “que”? Once you find the que you do the habit and then once the habit is done you get the “reward”. So what you need to do is find a new habit to replace the old one. I’m probably butchering this and making it confusing so I’ll just stop now and let you read the book. HIGHLY RECOMMEND for anyone! If anything, you get to read crazy stories of how advertisers have made you purchase something without you realizing it. If I didn’t graduate with a degree in advertising, I would’ve been freaked out. You wouldn’t believe how much Target knows about your shopping habits…


Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

First of all, I love Elizabeth Gilbert, who doesn’t love a little Eat, Pray, Love action? I’m actually currently reading that now because of this book! I have to be honest, though, this was my least favorite book out of the three this month but not because of the author, only because I felt like it really applies to authors and writers. She created the book for all walks of creative life, but it still felt so much for a writer who wants to publish novels. That being said, I still throughly enjoyed it! I just skipped around a lot when she would get on a tangent that I didn’t really care as much about.

Most of the time, I read this book before bed and it was always a pleasure doing that because it was so free spirited and light heartened. She would make you think at times and have “aha” moments other times. If you’re struggeling to finish something creative, I would suggest this book to help you get over that hump. You can also check out her podcast “Magic Lessons”. It stems from this book but the cool thing is that every episode features a person struggling with their creativity so you hear from them and then she brings in one of her famous friends (authors, poets, songwriters, etc.) to help give the person some guidance. It’s some good stuff if you’re into that sort of thing!

 

That’s a wrap for January! What did you guys read? 

 

Books That Have Changed My Life (So Far…)

Now I have to admit that I haven’t been as great of a reader as I plan on becoming one day. A lot of times I prefer a movie or documentary, but once I start reading a book – I’m like, well, this is fun!

So here are some of my favorites. The ones that I would hands-down recommend to anyone who wants to improve life, so here it goes…

Normal Gets You Nowhere
by Kelly Cutrone

51vyplkoc5l-_sx330_bo1204203200_This is my all-time favorite book. It’s like the first book to ever speak to me. I 100% love and believe in Kelly’s life philosophy. The one thing that still to this day sticks out so much to me and when I read it I was like OH SHIZ *epiphany*

She was discussing human rights and the united nations and mentioned how she thinks it’s dumb that we even have passports because we are citizens of the world. Basically, saying that when we are born in a country, we are almost owned in there, but we are really a citizen of the world. Loved that thought – “we’re all in this together”.

Purchase here.

The Harry Potter Book Series
by J.K. Rolling

harry-potter-book-seriesI mean, duh! Also, I understand that adds more than 3 books to this list, but I can’t resist… I’m rereading the entire series and every time I read it I am no longer a muggle and living back in the best mindset ever. For example, I may or may not be watching one of the movies right now and listen to the soundtrack every day at work…

I read an article about studies that have been done that shows those who read (or watch!) ‘Harry Potter’ are less likely to be prejudiced against minority groups. Check it out here! How cool is that? I can totally see it too because Harry Potter is some deep stuff that you learn a lot from without even realizing it.

If I have kids someday, the moment they can read chapter books, I’m sliding Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone into their hands.

Purchase here.

 Outliers: The Stories of Success
by Malcolm Gladwell

outliers-tales-of-successAll of Malcolm Gladwell’s books are nothing short of amazing, but TOutliers was the first one I read thanks to a college journalism class. It was so mind blowing, it was like everything in the world made sense. For example, one of the most popular parts of the book: “The 10,000-hour rule”. How if you practice something for 10,000 hours you become perfect at it like The Beatles did!

That was an eye-opener, but also realized I don’t think I can’t focus enough on one thing for 10,000 hours sooo…

Another eye-opening part of the book is when he explains that success depends very heavily on where you are born and what circumstances you are on. He talks about how a child born into rice field labor in a 3rd world country might be the one to create a cure for cancer, but he will never get the opportunity to do that. If Bill Gates had not received his rare opportunity to attend a private high school with a computer club (when most colleges didn’t even have computer clubs), what would have happened? Would he still have found his way to computers if he wasn’t given the opportunity to use one?

It’s fascinating!

Purchase here.

Year of Yes
by Shonda Rhimes

year-of-yes-shonda-rhimesWell, we already know that Shonda Rhimes is the $hit so it’s not really a shocker that this book will change your perspective on life. In fact, if you’re feeling a little weird from the election last week… this might be a bit of fresh air for you 😉

This is one of those books that I have bookmarked in so many places because her words are so good and she’s real. She talks about dealing with weight, not balancing her life, and shying away from her success at times. If you want a glimpse of this book, just watch her Dartmouth graduation speech here. The script is in her book too.

Check out my full book review of Year of Yes.

Purchase here.

 The Secret
by Rhonda Byrne

51k7ple3bll-_ac_us160_This book will LITERALLY change your life. I need to read this one more often because it’s so easy to forget to live like this every day. There’s also a documentary version available of this! I’m not sure if it still is, but it used to be available on Netflix–check it out!

Basically, you have the power to achieve anything you want in your life if you just believe in it and send your vibes out there in the universe. I don’t know if this was a coincidence or not but I ended up putting a fake check that you can print off from The Secret website and wrote $50,000. I looked at it every day and kept seeing it as real. Well, a couple weeks later a friend randomly asked to meet up with me and told me about a job available she thought I would be good for and guess how much the salary was? $50,000. I didn’t go for it, but holy crap IT WAS THE SECRET!!!! Thanks, universe!

Purchase here.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
by Marie Kondo

life-changing-tidy-upBefore I go any further, I must admit that I haven’t finished this… yet. You can only handle so much decluttering and organizing at a time. This book is insane how effective it is, though. I read this over 30% of this book in one night (which is UNHEARD of for me #ADHD) and the next morning I felt extremely motivated and got rid of so many clothes. I’ve never whipped through stuff like that before, I’m not necessarily a “pack rat” I just tend to lean towards that but I might use this sometime…

Well, not anymore! Check out my full review here!

I am definitely forgetting other important books right now and some are just great book, so I’ll have to write another post later about those!

 

But, I want to know… What are the books that have changed your life??

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Book Review

Harry_Potter_and_the_Cursed_Child_Special_Rehearsal_Edition_Book_CoverFirst of all, praise to you J.K. Rowling for blessing us with another installment of Harry Potter. I was a little worried about this book because of the mixed reviews I read but I assure you it’s a 5-star book. I literally finished it in a few days. That is unheard of with my lack of focus. It also helps that it is a script so you can flip through pages pretty quickly.

But I’m going in deep now, so beware, spoilers ahead!!

I read spoilers about people having a hard time with the book because of Harry’s adulthood antics like Ginny making him give up sugar–but it’s not that bad. I was worried that the book would be too far fetched and get rid of the Harry, Hermione, and Ron personalities that we love. But lez be honest, they are grown up now so it was bound to happen that they would deal with “being adults” and the real (wizard) world. I did feel like Ron was portrayed a little dumb. He’s just a side-kick to Hermione, but major girl power going on – which was awesome. I also loved Draco in this book. Finally, Draco gets to be somewhat of a hero and actually show that he has a heart.

Oh, I was also reading reviews that people felt like Harry’s and Draco’s sons had a little hidden love affair. But I didn’t get that vibe after I read the entire book. Besides, Albus had a crush on creepy Delphi and Scorpius likes Rose. Which by the way, how sad is everyone that Rose and Albus didn’t get along? That was a hard one for me to grasp, but I understand this was not supposed to be perfect. 🙁

Speaking of Delphi by the way, I did NOT see that coming. That was weird. I about had a heart attack when they got stuck in 1981. Also, how in the world can Voldemort possibly be able to procreate? I did read a review about that and I agree… how can he have enough emotion to even “do it”? EWWWWWWWW

So, so gross.

AND how can Cedric possibly be capable of becoming a Death Eater? I didn’t like that part. I felt like J.K. Rowling just wanted to ruin us.

It also felt pretty corny when Harry turned into Voldemort to trick Delphi. Like, what he was saying to Delphi, yeah right Voldemort would be that believing he had a daughter. I actually did want Voldemort to meet her to see what would’ve happened. I could see him just killing her.

Oh!  And can we just talk about Hermione being a teacher? And a really mean one at that? I didn’t care for that part. I also really hated when Harry talked smack to Professor McGonagall. How dare you, Harry Potter!

Okay, I’m calling this post good. One last thing, though.

For those who read it, what part did you like/not like? Do you wish it would’ve ended differently? I think that’s why it might not get as great reviews. We’re used to Harry Potter changing something by the end of the book and this one nothing really happened. It was just a learning experience. So that was why I think the actual books are better but this was still a great book! 5 out of 5 success!

Hangovers, Debt, and Post-College Life: A Review

Everyone knows that time of life. The mid-life crisis. But what about the one before that when your life hits a quarter in its age? Well, I found some words that speak to every mid-20-something’s soul.

I don’t even remember how, but I stumbled across this new book coming out called Quarter Life Poetry: Poems for the Young, Broke, and Hangry”by Samantha Jayne. I impulsed pre-ordered the book on Amazon because it was calling my name. It’s a short read (win), relatable (also win), and the poems I read I was LOL’ing (ca-ching!)

Even though it’s not a novel or memoir to make you gain heaps of knowledge, it’s pretty good. Bonus: with nice little paintings dedicated to each poem 🙂

quarter-life-c

Here are some of my favorite lines and it’s also way funnier when you actually read it aloud like a poet does:

“Today I saw a baby
with such cuteness and grace,
I thought, ‘Aw I want a baby,’
but then I punched myself in the face.”

“I can’t afford a Zen garden
or tranquility pond,
so I’ll unwind by wandering
through Bed Bath & Beyond.”

“My alma mater implored me
to send them a donation.
If anything, I should write them
an equal invitation.”

“The waiting list was dismal,
the trek there was a pain,
but my muffin got twelve likes,
so brunch was not in vain.”

Want more? Check out her book on Amazon

P.S. This makes a great gift for anyone turning 25+! 😉

I don’t think I’ve hit a quarter-life crisis, but I do get down when I realize my hangovers are the worst they’ve ever been after drinking like 5 drinks in an 8-hour time span the night before. What is this? I also finally realized why credit cards suck. I screwed myself over in college and now I’m paying for it, literally. Along with student loans. EEK. How did that diploma cost so much is what I wanna know. I will also never take the freedom of my N-Card for granted ever, again. Those random snack hauls from the Union paid in full by my little red N-Card and I never saw the bill. That’s l-i-v-i-n-g.

25 is great, though, don’t get me wrong! I still feel young as ever but if I could be granted one wish. I would go back to tailgating with da crew in the bottoms and drinking jungle juice, sleeping in until noon because I only had an afternoon class to attend to. I mean, AMIRIGHT?! THE LIFE!

steezy-signiture

 

7 Medium Blog Posts That Changed My Thoughts…

I LOVE MEDIUM!! Seriously, it’s one of my favorite daily emails that I always look forward to. The simplicity of Medium is perfect and they always seem to put into words what I believe and thinking. It’s nice to read quality writing to explain the current events and beliefs. (I’m lookin’ at you crappy Facebook posts…) I also thoroughly enjoy seeing how many minutes it will take me to read an article! Nice touch, Medium!

So I’m a Medium-bookmark-whore, and here are some of my all-time faves:

  1. Stop Saying Technology is Causing Social Isolation

    Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 7.54.08 PMSo I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little old school when it comes to social media and technology. I LOVE it, social media has created jobs for me – so I love it. But when we’re at dinner or out together and everyone is on their phones, I notice it. It doesn’t go unnoticed to me and I hate it. I still find myself in front of my phone in social settings, but then I set it down and live in the present. I’ve always been torn because I believe in living in the present BUT also realize that living in the present is taking full advantage of the opportunities in front of you. Reading this was a breath of fresh air because it stopped making me feel guilty for living in a time of fast news, growing social contacts, and technology. I loved the part with the pictures of everyone’s noses inside a newspaper on the train. I don’t think we are that much different today, we still would like to read a good book or catch up on the daily news while commuting or relaxing in the day. Read the entire article here…

    Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 7.54.49 PM

  2. Has NASA’s Kepler Mission Discovered an Alien Megastructure

    Uh oh…here comes Alien Steezy!!!

    Aliens-meme
    BUT YOU GUYS. This article is insane! I don’t think I stopped talking about this read for a couple weeks after I first checked it out. In a nutshell, there is this “host star” floating around our galaxy (okay, not really floating, but it’s there) and it has a ton of energy around it – more than it should. KIC 8462852 is the star…

    the-planet-huntersThey thought it was a mistake, but everything checked out when they researched again. It could be nothin’ and it could be somethin’. It might be from ancient civilizations long-gone, current life, or who knows!

    “Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build.”

    Read entire article here…

     

  3. The Jerry Seinfeld and John Grisham Productivity Hack

    This is one of those articles I read that just stuck with me. I think of it everytime thoughts of becoming a better writer pop up in my noggin. “Ya gotta write every night, Stephanie!” says Jerry Seinfeld in my head. Spoil alert: The productivity hack is to do something everyday to get better at it.

    “Persistence creates luck. Persistence creates experience.” 

    Jerry would write every single day and mark a check for every day on his calendar when he did it. It’s called the “One Perecet Solution”. “The concept that if you aim to improve your business (or yourself) by 1% each day, in only 70 days you’ll be twice as good as you are now. This begins with small steps. Pick one thing you want to get better at, and do it every day.”

    jerry-seinfeld-hack
    Talk about motivation, AMIRIGHT?

    Read entire article here…

  4. In Praise of the AK-47

    This is a powerful article and ingrained what I was always thinking but couldn’t really justify it or put it into words. Basically, this article is about how gun enthusiants believe that the AK-47 is fantastic and the momma of guns. But it’s not. Because of one basic reasoning:

    If a thing is designed to kill you, it is, by definition, bad design.”

    in-praise-of-the-ak-47
    Well, dur. Yes. How could I not have thought of that! I know the world isn’t perfect, but I’ve never liked guns, they scare the shiznits out of me and that sentence summed it up perfectly. Also, knives scare me too, so this isn’t a political statement, they just really do scare me because they are designed to kill. AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FO DAT.

    Read entire article here…

  5. 7 Rejections

    I’ll keep this short (like the email rejections) but check. This. Out. The founder of AirBnb was trying to get funding in 2008 for a “bad idea”. Look how he turned out! NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMZ!uMNAEeX
    Read entire article here…

  6. The Reason We’re Addicted to March Madness

    When I read this I was just like…‘yes. Yes. Yes!’. It makes so much sense!

    Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 9.11.54 PM
    I should mention the upcoming quote will totally contradict the motivational article a couple numbers back because…

    “We feel like we have less control over our lives and our destinies, even if it is only a perception.

    That’s why March Madness continues to have such a grip on the national consciousness. Yes, it’s cool to fill out a bracket. Yes, it’s fun to skip out on work and go watch basketball at a bar all day. But, more than anything, it’s because it provides the opportunity for something that is increasingly rare in our world: the underdogs have a chance.”

    Read the entire article here…

  7. 6 Things Conservatives Need to Change in 2016 to Engage Millenials

    Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 9.23.54 PM
    During this election season and pretty much always when it comes to political stuff, I have instant opinions and thoughts (that’s normal) but I’m trying to see evey possible side that I can and understand what makes people think the way they do. So this was a really interesting read! Even though I don’t consider myself conservative, there’s a lot of great things about the conservative party that aren’t seen because of the crap in the media today. This article totally nailed it! My favorite ‘thing’ was “Care about people more than politics”. Because it’s all we got, right? Without people we have nothing. 🙂 I also love this because a lot of older people from generations before millennials pass off the millenials as liberals and don’t know how to keep America great. That’s not true at all. We have just changed – and that’s a great thing. If nothing changed, I wouldn’t even be able to vote in the election.

    Read the entire article here… (Really recommend this one, it’s very well written)

steezy-signiture

“The Art of Decluttering”

I am barely recognizing myself this weekend. First, I spent a Friday night IN READING! To be fair, I did consume three glasses of vino too…

But I started reading the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.  I’ve heard a little about it but bought it last week because I fell into the Target shop-hole and bought everything in sight.

It’s a great book and fast read (me, likey that) and Marie pretty much convinced me that I need to get my shit together and get rid of things to make more space for life. It’s a great philosophy actually, at first I was like yeah, right. But she’s pretty good. Instead of the constant struggle of keeping your home clean, you need to just get rid of the things in your way and let go. Supposedly by doing this, you will never have to worry about cluttering up your place again. But we’ll see how that goes!

So, okay, step one: Get rid of unneeded energy. I don’t know about you but I’ve always had a tough time letting things go. I’ve gotten a lot better after moving over five times in the past eight years. In fact, I will throw things out just so I don’t have to deal with it and bring it to my next apartment. Maria teaches you that you should be choosing what you WANT to keep, not what you want to get rid of. When you start throwing things out she says, “take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.” Okay, that sounds extremely dramatic, but it worked. I kid you not. Like, when I held a tank that I used to wear to college parties, yeah – I could let that one go because all I could think about was drinking jungle juice in that top. Which is a fantastic memory, just not in the place I am in life anymore (even though I still consume Barton’s almost every weekend).

Okay, so we got the deed down, throw things away you don’t feel sparks of joy for you anymore. Next, where the ef to begin? HAVE YOU SEEN MY HOARDS OF CLOTHES, BOXES, THINGS, MARIA?!

Maria says to start with clothes first, then books, papers, misc, and lastly, mementos. I thought, clothes – that’s easy. I have so many that I don’t wear. TONS of college shirts, hand-me-downs, etc. Bring it, Maria. So I went at it Saturday morning (again, who am I this weekend? Being productive on a Saturday morning??) I should mention that you have to start with tops and bottoms first, then work down the line to things like handbags and shoes. That’s the catch when “tidying up”, you can’t just become a clean machine, you have to do it in steps and don’t get ahead of yourself. So I started with clothes: tops, shorts, bottoms (not jeans), and shoes. That’s all I could handle.

I don’t have a before pic of my dresser drawers, but let me explain that every time I did all my laundry I could barely fit my PJ tops and bottoms in drawers. They overflowed. I started here because it was easiest. I don’t feel as much connection to these clothes so I went through it in like 30 minutes. This is all going bye-bye…

art-of-declutter-1

BOOM SHAKA LAKA

So much win right there. I was like, wow. That was easy! OH! I forgot to mention another rule: no listening to music or TV when doing this process. Gotta connect with the threads. 😉

Next up, the scary closet. Here are the before pictures (don’t judge, I live a busy lifestyle). Kidding. I’m just a slob. MOM. DON’T. LOOK. 

dirty-closet-1

dirt-closet-entrance

Pretty scary, right? It really wasn’t though! It was awesome! To be fair a lot of those clothes I already knew were going to Goodwill, I just hadn’t organized yet. I didn’t keep a timer on this, but it honestly didn’t take as long as I thought it would. Maybe about an hour?

I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a couple struggles in there. I put those to the side, but by the end everything was looking so clean it was easy to say, nah. I don’t need that. This looks too good and I don’t want to add you back in here to clutter it back up! You know what I realized though? I owned some clothes that were just “safe” pieces. Like a long dress that I didn’t even really like, but it was an easy dress to wear when I needed something more dressed up and would cover up if I felt bloated or wasn’t in shape. I got rid of it. Because I realized it was in a way, negative energy. I also got rid of those clothes that I was saving for when I slimmed down. You know those ones. An article of clothing that you own to hopefully fit in perfectly one day or if it’s just a “safe item” – get rid of it. It doesn’t make you happy.

Alas, here’s what happened. (P.S. Don’t vacuum marks make a place look super clean?)

clean-closet1

clean-closet-2

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CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS!!!!??? Seriously, get this book. It’s worth it. Here’s what I have SO FAR for things to get rid of (ignore all the extra clutter around it, that’s a whole other day’s worth of work…)

clothes

Peace, love, and declutter.

steezy-signiture

 

Shonda Rhimes’s ‘Year of Yes’ Book Review

519M5lbusyL._SX344_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person

Author: Shonda Rhimes

Genre: Nonfiction

Release Date: November 10, 2015

Pages: 336

Stars: 4.5/5

Faaaabulousss! Love this book. This is a book that you can pick up and reread any day. A perfect book for the shelves to bring back down on a rainy day! It’s a good blend of learning her past and how she is the way she is and how hard she works! The best lesson you get is straight up inspiration from a hard-working woman who adopted three girls all by herself!

I especially loved reading her speeches at Dartmouth college graduation and at her Human Right Campaign speech. They are so, so good. It’s also really cool that while she’s talking about being a badass woman, she also opens up about her weight issues and how “the more I work, the fatter I get”. I love that because I’ve always wondered how some people can work all day long, not work out, but stay healthy at the same time. There has to be a balance. Speaking of balance, Shonda totally turns work off at 7 p.m. every night and doesn’t work on Saturdays (I think, it might be Sunday…) I hate the stigma that if you want to be successful, you shouldn’t have a life and you should get zero sleep. Talk about a life ruiner. Not for me. I would rather balance the two before I wasted my life away. And she gets that because of her kids.

Let’s see…what else am I missing? I love the way the book is written because she writes like she is talking to you. When you think of good writing, you think of big words and sentences that you have to go back and reread a couple times before you understand (maybe that’s just me) but she is so real. I love the way she writes and she’s always giving nuggets of knowledge – and everyone already knows that who watches Greys or Scandal. 

Enough of my babbling, go check it out for yourself!

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Top-notch quotes to live by:

“I need to believe that Beyoncés life is perfect. It keeps me going.”

Why I love this quote: Because you know the quote “Beyoncé has 24 hours in a day too.” That pisses me off because she also has people working for her and making her food and can afford expensive trainers, etc. However, Beyoncé is amazing, we all know that. But I always get a spark of motivation when I witness “da hustle”, and Bey’s got it. So does Shonda.

“Everyone’s got some greatness in them. You do. The girl over there does. That guy on the left has some. But in order to really mine it, you have to own it. You have to grab hold of it. You have to believe it.”

Simply, beautiful.

“No one is meaner than a pack of human beings faced with someone who is different.”

This goes with her awesomeness about equality and casting ‘real’ people. This especially rings so true over what’s going on in the world! I was reading this book when then Syrian refugee stuff was hitting hard (on Facebook) and I was so furious every night before I would go to bed after reading stupid comments (bad idea). But Shonda brings a light to the darkness, I tell ya!

She also brings up good points that even I was like, hmm. Oh yeah, that makes sense. Like when she said this…

“I really hate the word diversity. It suggests something…other. As if it is something…special. Or rare. Diversity! As if there’s something unusual about telling stories involving women and people of color and LGBTQ characters on TV.”

I say diversity all the time and I scream it from the mountain tops with love! But, she’s right. We’re not different. Especially in America.

“I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.”

Yeah, I don’t even have to say anything about that one.

“Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.”

Okay, one last thing! I forgot to mention up top. But I am a dreamer fo sho, HOWEVER, creating a vision board isn’t going to make it a reality. Ya gotta work. Something about hearing that from Shonda really made me listen 🙂 This also comes from her Dartmouth speech:

“They tell you: Follow your dreams. Listen to your spirit. Change the world. Make your mark. Find your inner voice and make it sing. Embrace failure. Dream. Dream and dream big. As a matter of fact, dream and don’t stop dreaming until your dream comes true.
I think that’s crap.
I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing.”

P.S. I think I said the word “love” about 30+ times. I guess the book really is THAT good!

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2016: I Shall Slay You (and Read You)

First off, let’s get rid of the word “slay” and “bae” for the next year ahead of us.

I LOVE a good slang word, but those just don’t do it for me. I probably won’t be lucky enough to have them left completely in 2015’s dust, but a gal can dream.

So okay, the reason for this post…Let me start by saying the theory  behind “resolutions” annoy the crap out of me. I’m all for inspo and dreams, but just because you put up a new cat calendar doesn’t mean that’s when you should start doing something different. It’s the ultimate “I’ll start on Monday.” You WILL mess up. Sorry, but you will. But hey, Beyoncé wasn’t built in a day! You gotta work and try every day. So start tomorrow! 🙂

With that being said, I do like to “challenge” myself towards something. Not changing my life forever, but improving it with simple things. Here are those “simple” things will be challenged in 2016:

1. Write Everyday

Now we KNOW this is not going to happen. Because for one, I get hangovers and I’m not writing on those days. And two, because sleep is more important, so if I’ve had a busy day and it’s already 10 p.m. I’m going to bed.

The one thing in my life besides always striving to be a better person in the world ( insert angelic GIF here ), I want to be a better writer. The #1 thing that always makes me super jealous of another human is when they write something so amazing, I’m like urmurgursh, I wish would have spun those words into that beautiful prose.

Oh! And this also goes for this blog. Even when I totally feel uninspired to post something, I have to do it. I might just post a picture or two with a sentence to achieve this goal. Sorry in advance.

2. Read More

Because the only way to become a better writer is to read, DAMNIT. I would say this was the year I stepped up my reading game, but I have so far to go. I want to be a faster reader and make it a habit of reading every night. Even if I’m tired, I can still read because that shiz is a natural source of serotonin! Seriously, read this.

I think that’s all for my goals. Besides get back to my birth weight and exercise a little every day ( except for hangover days, of course ). Oh, and minimize hangovers. That will probably do my body WONDERS. P.S. – Don’t confuse that by thinking I’m saying I won’t go out, because I will. I will just become a master at avoiding hangovers. 😉

Now for reading (& sometimes listening) material. Here is my reading list so far…

  1. Devil in the White City By Erik Larson (currently reading)

2. Trust No One: A Thriller By Paul Cleave (currently listening to on Audible)

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This book is AWESOME. I was listening to it during our little Christmas road trip this weekend! It’s totally not what I expected and really, really good.

3. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future By Ashlee Vance

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4. Harry Potter series 3-7 (currently on Prisoner of Azkaban – rereading entire series)

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5. The Da Vinci Code By Dan Brown

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6. The Sell: The Secrets of Selling Anything to Anyone By Fredrick Eklund – from Million Dollar Listing! 🙂 (Listening to on Audible)

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7. The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. By: Daniel Coyle

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Help me add some more to the list! What is your all-time favorite book?

Shonda Rhimes Might Be My Spirit Animal

I’m suffering from a serious case of “I want to write 10 blogs at once, but not finishing one of them” so I’ll keep this short because it’s AWESOME.

I started reading Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes.

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Everyone who indulges in a weekly feast of TGIT knows who this chica is and she’s BOSS. Scandal is arguably one of the greatest shows, ever. Anyway, I highly recommend the book! I’m a little over halfway through and it’s awesome! It kinda took a bit to pick up but when I hit the chapter where she gives her Dartmouth Commencement Speech, I WAS HOOKED. I’m glued to this book.

Ah, so good.

Watch for yourself. And read it whenever you need a little pick me up 🙂 

How much do you just want to work your arses off, now? I LOVE IT!

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