Summer Reads for 2019

Summer Reads for 2019

I LOVE reading.  It hasn’t always been this way, but I got here. 

 

When I was a kid, I didn’t always like reading, I actually kind of hated it at points.  But I always really wanted to like it.  I wanted to be thought of as a “reader”, a lover of books, pretty much a real live Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  I really wish I was kidding here…but I’m totally serious… 

 

At the time I just couldn’t get into any books that I would read.  Then in about 7th grade, I finally read this book Flipped.  It is a total teeny-bopper book, but I fell in love with it and it totally changed how I felt towards reading. 

It was the first time I ever really got sucked into a book.  After finishing it I wanted to experience that all-consuming feeling again.  I wanted to read a book that silenced the world around me and allowed me to escape for a couple of hours. 

 

Ever since then I have been on a constant quest of finding and reading really great books.  I have definitely had my share of boring books or books I hated, but for the most part, if I am not interested I stop reading and move on.  I have gotten over the whole idea of “finish every book you start” mentality.  Mostly because that would make me NOT enjoy reading, which is the whole point.   PLUS there are so many GREAT books out there to read, so why waste my time on one I don’t like?

 

Since we are in the height of summer, I find that this is often a time where I can get the most reading done on the weekends at the beach or on vacations, aka the best time to share with you some of my favorite Summer reads for 2019! 

 

These are books that I have recently read that totally sucked me in and kept me turning the pages at a rapid pace.   Check them out and let me know what you think!

 

becomingBecoming – Michelle Obama

To those that follow me, you know that I dedicated an entire blog post to our girl Michelle and her awesomeness.  But seriously this is a FANTASTIC book. The best book I have read in 2019. The way that Michelle openly writes about her life, you feel like her best friend at the end of it, like the two of you went through that all together.  When her heartbreaks, yours breaks. When she rejoices, you rejoice. After every stage of her life, I felt I could relate to her on such a deep level that I felt like she was actually talking ABOUT me and my life.  Once I finished the book I was so sad because we wouldn’t be able to “hang out” every day anymore.  She doesn’t know this, but after that book, we became best friends… 

If you only pick one of these books to try out… READ THIS!

 

thegoodgirlThe Good Girl – Mary Kubica

This is another GREAT BOOK!!  I was suggested to read this book and ended up loving it so much that I would stay in on weekends and would rush home from work to read it.  It was that freaking good. It was about a girl who was abducted and the storyline would bring you back and forth to the time frame of the abduction and afterward, telling about how it all went down and how she got to present day.  The twist at the end was so wild that it left you dumbfounded. I’m not kidding it was a better twist than Gone Girl… mic drop

 

something in the waterSomething in the Water – Catherine Steadman

I actually started this at the end of 2018, specifically on my honeymoon. So that was a bit of a fib for being a 2019 read, but still great and worth reading.  I specifically bought it because it was about a couple on their honeymoon and how one event changed the rest of their lives forever. It was definitely a page-turner with a twist at the end, which I always love.  Mostly, it was fun to read for me at the time because I was also ON my honeymoon and I could pretend my life was crazy and exciting, even though I was actually just laying on a beach chair drinking my Mojito… totally non-eventful. 

 

nine perfect strangersNine Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty 

This book was by one of my favorite authors, Liane Moriarty.  She wrote other amazing books like My Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies (the HBO show).  Those were two books that I had read a couple of summer’s ago and LOVED them.  All of her books are twisted, different and VERY original. The settings, circumstances, and characters are all very relatable yet very unique at the same time.  Read any of her books and you will have a great ride. Nine Perfect Strangers is the one I picked up this summer and tore through it. It was about 9 strangers at a health resort that they came to cure themselves in one way or another.  None of them could have guessed the way that they would be “cured”…

 

the house at rivertonThe House at Riverton – Kate Morton 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE a great historical mystery novel.  I also really love this author, Kate Morton. I have read a couple of her books and they go back and forth between present-day and whatever time period the story is set in.  She gives such great detail on the character’s background and just enough of the setting where you can easily picture the whole thing in your mind. It’s set between the two major wars and is about an aristocratic family, a mysterious death, and long-kept secrets.  So. good. 

 

Girl, Wash Your Face and then Girl, Stop Apologizing – Rachel Hollis

I almost feel like this wouldn’t be an official blog post if I were to NOT write about Rach and my love for her books.   I have mentioned Rachel, her books, and everything else she does in MANY of my blogs. I think she pretty awesome and these books are what got me hooked in the first place.  When I first noticed “Girl, Wash Your Face”, I was very opposed to getting it. I had no idea who Rachel was, but I also was thinking it was an over-marketed book that would probably suck.  I had fallen into that marketing trap before and had been very disappointed. But boy was I wrong. I finally caved and bought it. As I read it I started to fall in love with Rachel, her honesty and authenticity.  I also LOVE her message. If you want a good pick-me-up book, this is the one for you. 

 

 

So there you go!  My top summer reads for 2019. So far. I have three books lined up for the remainder of the summer.  Let’s see if I can get to them by the end!

 

Happy reading!

My Favorite Podcasts

My Favorite Podcasts

Good Morning!

This week’s blog was inspired by my friend Meg. =]  

The other day Meg asked me and my other friend, Carol, what were some good podcasts that she should listen to.  That question got me to thinking of writing a blog about podcast recommendations because there are also just so many options out there and it’s hard to even know where to start looking.

 

When you are first getting into podcasts there are so many to pick from that it could get pretty overwhelming.  This is the case with books, TV shows and movies.  It feels like at every turn I am constantly hearing about a NEW podcast, show or book that was just released.  It’s gotten to the point where we literally have hundreds if not thousands of options to pick from and the last thing you want to do is to make the WRONG choice.  

 

I hate when I waste my time reading a book and then halfway through decide I don’t like it.  Or when I invest my time into a new TV series or podcast and then find out that by episode 3 or 4 I can’t stand the person.  There is nothing that infuriates me more than time wasted, ESPECIALLY when it’s for a leisurely activity because I have so little time for it in the first place.  

 

Sometimes I get so caught up in making the WRONG choice, that it leads me to just picking what I already know.  Watching a movie I have watched 5 million times, or listening to one of the podcasts on my small list that I rotate through because at the end of the day I know what to expect and how I will feel after.  I need that little bit of certainty in my life.

 

I would rather know that I am going to love whatever I invest my time and money into and because of that I always LOVE getting a good recommendation.  

 

Anytime a friend brings me a book and says “you HAVE to read this”, or when a sister-in-law tells you over dinner, “you HAVE to watch this movie”, you are almost never disappointed.   When I get suggestions from friends and family, those are the times that I can’t stop turning the page or I come back to the podcast every single day in the car.

 

So, when Meg asked us what our favorite podcasts were I thought, might as well share them with everyone in case anyone else out there is like me and wants a little guidance on what to try out next. =]

 

Now, depending on the time of day, weather, how I am feeling, or who I am with can change the type of podcast I want to listen to, drastically.  I am assuming I’m not the only person like this so I decided to share them by category.  I broke them up into HeartwarmingBusiness/Goal-oriented, Mystery, and Funny.   

 

Let’s start with HEARTWARMING.

Some days are just tough days, for whatever reason, and days like that I like to listen to uplifting stuff.  I like to listen to stories that remind me that you can overcome anything, all is still right in the world and love prevails all.  

super soulSuper Soul Sunday is pretty much my go-to in this category.  You get a mix of all of those feel-good feelings, leaving you believing that everything will always be okay.  The host is our girl, Oprah, and you know anything and everything she stamps her name on is going to be not good, but great.  She encourages us all to take a minute to pause and connect with the deeper meanings of the world.

Some of my favorites interviews are with Brene Brown and Joe Biden. Definitely check those two out.

 

Then there is the BUSINESS/GOAL-ORIENTED podcast category.

These are the types of podcasts I listen to the most.  I throw one on my drive into work to get myself mentally motivated and prepared for a workday.  If you have followed my blogs you can tell that I am a very goal-oriented person, so I love to learn new tips and tricks by other business women and men.  These podcasts are always really interesting, telling you the story of how the top people in their field got to where they are today.

My favorites in this category are:

school of greatnessThe School of Greatness – The host of this podcast is a former professional athlete, Lewis Howes. Lewis is always bringing on different guests who are leaders in their space, celebrities, or people who are making waves in the world in their own small way.  The guests talk about how they came to be, and then they always end the interview with what their definition of greatness is and three things they would like to leave behind in the world. 

 

goal diggerThe Goal Digger Podcast – This podcast is run by Jenna Kutcher, a photographer, influencer and educator.  I think this is THE BEST podcast for exact how-tos for starting your own small business, especially with marketing and social media tips.  She tells you exactly what you should be doing to create an email list, ways to stay productive, and how to build a brand. When I first started listening I was in awe of how much information she was giving to her listeners for FREE.  On top of that, she is all about self-love and is an Aeire Clothing spokes-person which is my favorite brand and meaning behind a brand, so it pretty much makes her the best ever.

 

rise podcastRise Podcast –  I couldn’t leave out my girl Rachel Hollis.  Her podcast is very similar to Jenna Kutcher’s and Lewis Howe’s where she both gives advice and direction on what small business owners should be doing and she interviews top business owners in their space to learn from them.  Her shows are more all-encompassing in business. For example, she brings on finance experts, she talks about how to overcome the fear of failure, and how to scale your business. The best part is that she breaks it down to make it all really really simple and digestible.  She wants everyone to be able to understand the message and take away something from the show. I also just love listening to her in general, so this was a great way I could continue to listen to her that wasn’t in a blog or book form.

 

Tim-Ferriss-Podcast_1600xThe Tim Ferris Show – This was actually one of the first podcasts I ever got into.  His interviews are very long, but they talk about a lot and nothing at the same time so you really get to know the guest on the show.  He also somehow gets them to talk about more than the typical talking points they will do on other shows. It’s funny because he graduated from Princeton, and you can tell her graduated from an Ivy league.  He is very articulate and prepared and I feel like he would love caviar or something like that. But it is a really good show and I feel smarter every time after I listen to it.

 

Now to get a little less serious and move into the MYSTERY category.

I love listening, watching, reading an anything murder mystery.  There is just something about a good murder mystery that gets me going.  These are the podcasts I listen to if I don’t want to think and want to watch a movie in my mind while I am driving.  Dan and I also always listen to these together on long car rides.

My favorites are:

atlanta monster.jpgThe Atlanta Monster/Monster: The Zodiac – This one is fantastic!  It is a breakdown of the unsolved murder cases of The Atlanta Monster and The Zodiac.  Each story has a series of episodes attached to it, and it breaks down different parts of the investigations.  It constantly keeps you on your toes and guessing who it was, why it happened, and where they went wrong in figuring out who the real murderer was.  It’s really good and keeps you engaged and on your toes for long car rides.

 

in the darkIn the Dark – This murder mystery is in a very similar format.  It is all about the murder case of a boy who went missing and then years later the killer admitted to everything he did.  It breaks down every part of an investigation and gets all the facts of what happened and what didn’t happen. You totally get sucked in and question, “How did they NOT find him?”. Another really good listen for a car ride.

 

serial killersSerial Killers –  This show is a bunch of short stories about different serial killers in the world.  Typically the stories are about serial killers you have never even heard about that might have happened in your town or state!  I was hooked on this one when I listened to a show where it talked about a serial killer that I had never hear of before that lived in Connecticut!  I liked how they focused on small cases that go under the radar that leave you thinking, how did I never know about that!?

 

Then finally I wanted to add in a FUNNY podcast series.  

I will start off by saying that I do not typically listen to funny podcasts or stand up comedians, it’s just not my thing.  But I do love Ron Burgandy and Anchorman, so when someone suggested Dan and I give this podcast a listen we couldn’t say no.

 

ron burgundyThe Ron Burgandy Podcast is stupid and funny.  Very light hearted and if you need a good laugh I would definitely recommend giving this a listen. I can’t say more than that because I have only listened to about an episode or two.

 

 

 

That just about sums it all up!  Now you know the handful of podcasts that I rotate through regularly.  Try them out and let me know which one you love!

Also, keep the recommendation train going and let us know which podcasts are your favorites so we could give them a listen too!  

Leave a comment on what your favorite podcasts are right now!

The Marie Kondo Movement – Sparking Joy

The Marie Kondo Movement – Sparking Joy

Good Morning!

I am not sure why, but how fast a picture, video or movement can go viral and spread like wildfire, STILL amazes me.

About two weeks ago my mom started telling me about this cute little woman, Marie Kondo, and her organizing and decluttering lessons.  My mom often gets into these kicks of learning something new and then completely masters it overnight, like she will literally stay up all night doing it… and then talks about it, a lot. I do the exact same thing and typically follow everything she does in life, because she is the actual GOAT.  

Marie Kondo was no different than so many other of my mom’s new obsessions. Since she talked about it so much, I had to do some digging on my own.  Who is this little woman and what is she all about?  Oddly enough I came to find that she is the author of a book that had been on my Audible wish list for over a year, “The Magic Art of Tidying Up”.  She also has a Netflix show featuring different families she has helped with her lifestyle advice and methods. Continue reading “The Marie Kondo Movement – Sparking Joy”

My “swerves”

My “swerves”

Good Morning!

In lieu of Michelle Obama’s amazing new book, Becoming, I wanted to share with you my “swerves”.

For staters, if you haven’t read or listened to Michelle’s book yet, stop what you are doing right this instant and go buy it.  When you are done come back…

IMG_6646.jpg

To those of you who actually listened to me and bought the book, you’re welcome!  To those of you who read it, you get it.  To those of you who didn’t you still have time, it’s 1,000% worth it.

With my long drives to work, I listened to the book on audible.  I laughed, I cried (a lot), I was inspired, I was educated, I was hurt and upset.  I was all of the things and had all of the feels.  I am clearly not Michelle Obama if I can one day say I became a fraction of what she is I will be so proud, but while listening to her story, there were times I felt like she was telling my story.  She was so raw and real and open that you could relate to so much of what she was saying.

One story she shared was how she was a “box checker”, always doing what she thought she was supposed to do to get to that next level.  Get good grades, get into Princeton, go to Harvard law, practice law at a great firm in Chicago.  She did it all.  Then, when she met Barack he was different, he was swervey”.  He didn’t do things according to plan and in order, he was a risk taker.  He “swerved”, he zigged and zagged.  This idea of “swerving” was talked about a lot in her book and she went into a lot of detail of her own swerves and how they impacted her life.

Ironically, not long after I finished listening to that book, and finished crying because Michelle and I would no longer be BFFs every day even though she doesn’t know I exist, I was faced with a swerve. Continue reading “My “swerves””

My “Go-to” Summer Reading List

Girl reading a book by pool
Photo by Angello Lopez on Unsplash

Recently I was asked by my boss Danny Cahill to be a guest on his podcast and discuss which books I suggest people should add to their summer reading lists. Danny knows that I am a bit of a self-help nut, as there is nothing I love more than to read a great book on the beach. It’s my FAVORITE thing to do. In the whole.wide.world. Continue reading “My “Go-to” Summer Reading List”