2015 Library Challenge

Too many books seems like a good problem to have. I have an app that tells me how much I spend on certain items and once again, the shame I had in spending was valid. Books will always be the culprit to an empty wallet for me. I wouldn’t so much ashamed of buying them, as they just sit on my shelf, digitally and physically. I feel like a poser and as much as I love the idea of a physical and digital collection, the library is right down the street from me, I’m going to challenge my wallet to a spend off.  I won't be buying books for 2015, unless they're for gifts. Most bloggers try to save money on clothes. I’ve done a lot of personal book challenges, some I failed, but ultimately I want to discipline my spending. If I can control the one thing I can’t stop buying, that’s a good start to something bigger.

This is a good problem to have, a collection of too many books. I’m not in debt, it’s not emotionally hurting anyone, but it’s enough to bother me to make a change. At the end of project, I’d love to donate the money I saved to the library that’s supported my reading habit. Or buy new books (just kidding). 

Books read- To All The Boys I've Loved Before, Sacred Cows, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, We Were Liars, Rebel Belle. Books on hold- A Little Life, The Goldfinch, plus a couple others but I'm impatiently waiting for these two in particular. I'll also be donating any affiliate sales I make from this blog post to the library. Thanks for the support! Be sure to follow along on Goodreads

Book Review; To All The Boys I've Loved Before

I had surgery a few days ago and the best thing about recovery was discovering writer Jenny Han. To All The Boys I've Loved Before is a YA book and while it has a girl on the cover that I'm assuming is a portrayal of Lara Jean, the book, to me, is about the Song family. Lara Jean's mom dies at a young age and she is left with her dad, and her sisters Margot and Kitty. Lara Jean writes anti-love letters to the crushes she's had in the past, almost like a diary and she shares her deepest feelings about them, knowing the letters won't ever be read. She keeps them in a vintage hat box her mother gave her. The book follows the teenage drama when the letters are mailed out one day. I won't share spoilers about what happens with the letters, but the way Lara Jean deals with it is both charming and annoying. I wanted to shake my fist at her for her poor choices throughout the book but at the same time I remember being a teenager once and thinking with my feelings. She's also sweet, funny and for dealing with the death of her mom, LJ has a good head on her after she catches it from spinning. The relationship between the siblings develop even though Margot is gone half the book from a trip overseas. I've read so many YA books about girls swooning over boys and this book has the same narrative but a twist. Lara Jean realizes she doesn't need any boy, but as long as she has her family, she'll be fine. It's cute, it's fun, and I loved it. You can buy the book on Amazon or go to the library and check it out for free! 

IMG_3311.JPG

Grief Is A Mix Playlist: Review of Love Is A Mix Tape

Ok, so I’ll admit i bought Rob Shefflield'sLove is a Mix Tape because of the cover. It wasn’t the most mature decision, but one of my best decisions when it comes to judging books by it’s cover. At the time I got this book, I was reading a ton of YA and since I thought it was a YA book about break ups, little did I realize then, it was recommended in a cluster of grief books I was also reading. This book surprised me. Not just because it’s about grief, but because it’s an awesome book about grief. Yes, awesome and grief in the same sentence. Very few times do I read a book that feels like I’m having a conversation with the author, and this time it felt like Shefflied was telling me about Renee, his wife that passed, the music they loved and shared and the music that got him through his pain. Halfway through the book it gets a little unexpectedly heavy but I loved it. I mean, it’s about a sad topic, and no matter how cool Rob is, no one can make grief cool. 

When I used to blog on Live Journal and use MySpace, they were riddled with music lyrics. Most of the time terrible, vague, passive aggressive (oh to be emotionally immature again), and angry. Just like it helped me in those times, music helped me outrageously in my grief and Love is a Mix Tape reminded me of this. I found myself highlighting so much of the book. 

"You lose a certain kind of innocence when you experience this type of kindness. You lose your right to be a jaded cynic. You can no longer go back through the looking glass and pretend not to know what you know about kindness. It’s a defeat, in a way."- Rob Sheffield

When Max died, I felt so unworthy of people’s kindness. I still do. I felt undeserving of even a text, tweet, an email. My mind can’t process this many people being kind, and after so long, it is defeat. I stopped denying myself of this type of love, even if it’s from a complete stranger. My heart opened, it allowed me to heal, and even to this day, not one single comment, in any form of medium shared, goes unnoticed. It goes straight to the heart. 

“When we die, we will turn into songs, and we will hear each other and remember each other."- Rob Sheffield

 When I think of old friends, I think of songs we listened to for hours in our rooms, driving, going to shows, and even when those songs annoyed me, those songs represent a moment with that person. I always wonder what song I’ll have with someone, but when i think about Max, I thought of Oceans- it was the first song that played when we turned on the car to head home after we left the hospital. We were in disbelief and out of habit, I plugged my phone in and Rdio played. I also remember the drive to the hospital. We played Lorde’s Heroine album, on repeat. It just came out a few days before and I remember we were so excited to meet our baby. I also remember my labor playlist. It took me months before I could listen to Birdy and Jonsi. These artists are complete strangers, but I felt like they delivered a baby with me (creepy but there's sentiment to it). Allison Weiss and Young and Free got me through 2014 and I’ll never forget the moments I felt OKAY for the first time while listening to them. 

This book is therapeutic, just like music itself. Music has the power to heal, lift and drag your spirit and there is a certain power I found in myself in choosing what to listen to. It’s only a click away but it can enhance my mood, break my heart, or feed or deplete my energy levels. 

“Every mix tape tells a story. Put them together, and they add up to the story of a life.”- Rob Sheffeild

The Art of Discomfort

“Discomforts are only discomforting when they’re an unexpected inconvenience, an unusual annoyance, an unplanned-for irritant. Discomforts are only discomforting when we aren’t used to them. But when we deal with the same discomforts every day, they become expected and part of the routine, and we are no longer afflicted with them the way we were. We forget to think about them like the daily disturbances of going to the bathroom, or brushing our teeth, or listening to noisy street traffic. Give your body the chance to harden, your blood to thicken, and your skin to toughen, and you’ll find that the human body carries with it a weightless wardrobe. When we’re hardy in mind and body, we can select from an array of outfits to comfortably bear most any climate.”- Ken Ilgunas 

Ok, so quote was about living in a van without the comforts of a home but I loved it. I thought of all my discomforts. I stared at my plate of broccoli and reminded myself how uncomfortable it was to eat healthy. All the prepping, all the veggies I had to force myself to eat when eating something sugary or packaged was easier. I thought of my grief, the thorn in my side. It reminds me nothing lasts forever, to keep it real and to never take anything for granted. For the rest of my life I wake up with a sadness and the choice is up to me to decide how to honor that sadness. I live in such a comfortable world and I'm grateful- I have a warm bed, AC, food in my fridge and the discomforts of the body and the heart discipline me and I'm grateful for those too. 

Overall, I really liked Ken Ilugans book, Walden on Wheels. He choose to not live in the comforts of living the typical 9-5 life to pay off debt like the rest of his classmates. What attracts to me to minimalist lifestyle is the freedom of STUFF. He wrote about living in a van, but the first half of the book he writes about his adventure living in the mountains, and what drove him to live like Thoreau. I loved his writing and while he chose this way of living, he also recognized living in poverty was a choice, unlike some of the people he met on his journey.  He wasn't boastful, he was humble, and he recognized this. I would never do anything like he did, but it takes me a step closer to live with less. 

Recycle Old Books

One of the things people loved about my library-themed wedding were the book decorations we made. Instead of flowers, we had books to decorate and for guests to take home and a book that "fans" out. I don’t know if this is even considered a “DIY” or a craft, it’s so easy to make, and it's even a little therapeutic. All you need is a book, and a great podcast or Netflix show. 

We have a few thrifted books we would never read again, and instead of giving them back to the thrift store or even throwing them out, we use them for decoration. For each book, just fold the top corner completely to the spine, go the to next page, and fold the bottom corner to the spine. Simple! 

Book Review: California

Most dystopian novels have a twist- zombies, or global disease, but this twist from California by Edan Lepucki, I didn't see coming. The writer builds her characters so well, I was getting annoyed with Frida, the main character, as if I really knew Frida in real life. She's stubborn, fearless, and spoiled and I couldn't stop reading. She's pregnant with her first baby and struggling with keeping a healthy marriage and healthy baby when there are limited resources in a fallen world. There is no food, only the food they grow, no antibiotics and even bandaids are hard to come by. The survival story of Frida and her husband Cal is exciting. I can't help but see myself in this book. The way the world Frida and Cal live in is not far off from how we live now. The only difference is coffee is extinct, internet is for the super rich, and eyeliner is described almost like a unicorn, it's never been seen in the last days. How would I live with the post apocalyptic life? It puts you on the edge of your seat, white knuckles you, and all the other cliches to tell you this book is suspenseful. After I finish a book, I normally pick up another one. However, I couldn't concentrate on my new book. I had to give myself a day or two to think about what Lepucki wrote. She wrote a great summer read. It's dark, disturbing, suspenseful, and well written. That's what I loved best about this book. Regardless of how silly the story is (extinct coffee? ha!) Lepucki has a gift for writing that keeps you reading. 

nail polish from the new black in walrus

nail polish from the new black in walrus

More Than a Pretty Cover: Design Bureau

I should clarify I'm not a designer, at all. I can appreciate beautiful things and the engineering of them but photoshop is one big math equation to me and the only font I'm familiar with is the Wes Anderson futura font. 

Fab always has magazine sales and a couple years ago, I subscribed to Design Bureau. Ever since then, I've been an avid reader of the magazine. Unlike other design magazines, it's not geared toward high budget clients, this magazine is for the struggling creative professional to the industry leader. Design Bureau isn't just pretty to look at, it's filled with educational dialogue on design. There's writing on music, home tours, architectures, historical landmarks, well designed products to make our life easier. Everything is digital now and there's something therapeutic about flipping through a magazine than zoning out on Pinterest. I'll gladly give up fashion magazines for space to house Design Bureau. I've looked back at my issues from a couple years ago and I still learn something from it. When I'm feeling stumped for creativity, I browse through the magazine for some inspiration. You can subscribe here and right now they're having a half off sale. 

Another thing I should clarify- I'm not working with Design Bereau, and this isn't affiliated. They have no idea I exist, I just really like the magazine and thought I'd pass it along. 

Book Reviews

I mentioned a few posts ago I was working on a collaboration with Beca and Doug, owners of the fabulous Tumbleweed Handcraft, which include handmade wooden glasses, along with a handful of wooden products. I get to do what I love- read, then write about the books I loved or disliked. Please check it out!

I'd love to know your thoughts on the books- have you read them and what did you think? 

So Long, Slow Readers

It's time I said goodbye to my beloved Slow Readers Book Club. My plate is full with my blog, Gadchick, and I'm still giving myself personal room to grieve with recent tragic events. I’m going to be working on a new project with Beca recommending books. I don’t have the energy to look after a group of people and run various social media accounts besides my personal ones, it’ll be great to just recommend a book with no pressure! I love keeping busy but I also know distractions will set me back and I want to move forward. It was hard letting it go. It introduced me to new books, I had the opportunity to interview authors, and I met fellow bookworms. 

These are the books we've read. My favorite book from the book club was The Virgin Suicides (read my review here) I loved it so much, my husband surprised me with one of the best presents ever. I'll be on goodreads, if you'd like to join my personal library. There is also the hashtag #slowreadersbookclub on Instagram, I’ll be updating there to share what I’m reading and I'd love to know what everyone else is reading. Maybe one day I'll have make time to come back to it, but right now it feels good to let it go. 

Elsie just started a book club, Danielle and Bobbi have great taste in literature, and Lauren, my favorite anti-blogger blogger, shares on Instagram. 

Thank you for supporting my little project, and a bigger thank you to Carly and all the women who helped me. 

A Wes Anderson Update

This is part two. Part one is here

I got a new book for Christmas, The Royal Tenenbaums screenplay in paperback. Yes, paperback! When you take away the brilliant actors, the colorful sets, and just leave yourself with your imagination and screenplay, you are left with a great story. 

It looks great on my small but grand shelf. I'm slowly collecting all the movies on the Criterion Collection. 

I was also sent a great print to add to my Royal Tenenbaums wall by Crystal of CAPow. Thank you, Crystal! I love it! I had to run out and buy a frame for it as soon as I opened it. You can see more here. 


I'm also looking forward to this 

I actually haven't gone to the movies since I had Max, I used to go everyday when I was pregnant (thanks to MoviePass and being pregnant in the summer of California, give me all the free AC). Now I have these anxiety attacks when I try to go. I'm sure there's a connection but I hope I hope I can get over that weirdness by the time this comes out in theaters. 

Enjoy your Monday!