Juliet’s School of Possibilities | Laura Vanderkam | Penguin Group Portfolio| Book Review

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“A charming, life-changing fable that will help you rethink your whole approach to time, priorities, and possibilities.

Riley Jenkins is in trouble. An ambitious, hardworking consultant in her late twenties, she’s used to a lifetime of nearly perfect evaluations – until she gets a terrible performance review from her boss. How is that possible when Riley does everything her clients want – including answering emails 24/7 – faster than they expect it?

That’s precisely the problem: she’s spread too thin. Despite her insane hours and attention to detail, Riley can’t produce the thoughtful work her clients expect. Now she’s been given thirty days to close a major deal, or she’s out. Meanwhile, her personal life is also on the edge of disaster, with her boyfriend and close friends losing patience with her chronic unavailability.

The last thing Riley wants, at a stressful time like this, is to attend a women’s leadership retreat with some of her colleagues. But she can’t get out of her commitment: a weekend in New Jersey at some silly-sounding place called Juliet’s School of Possibilities.

Yet before long, Riley is surprised to find herself intrigued by Juliet, the lifestyle maven who hosts the conference. How does a single mother of two run a successful business while acting as if she has all the time in the world? The answer may lie in one of Juliet’s Zen-like comments: “Expectations are infinite. Time is finite. You are always choosing. Choose well.”

By the end of this story, you’ll join Riley in rethinking the balance between your present and your future, between the things you have to do and the things you want to do. Like Riley, you can free yourself from feeling overwhelmed and pursue your highest possibilities.”


I have been looking forward to Juliet’s School of Possibilities since I first heard Laura Vanderkam mention it on the Best of Both Worlds Podcast last year. I love Vanderkam’s books about time management and this is her first novella. She incorporates her knowledge and expertise into a short fable about a woman named Riley who is spread too thin. ⁣⁣⁣
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In a society where “busy” reigns supreme, Vanderkam’s books are a wonderful reminder about how we get to choose how we spend our time and energy and this book is such a fun spin-off. We meet Juliet who shares wisdom and helps Riley rethink this balance. “Expectations are infinite. Time is infinite. You are always choosing. Choose well.”

A big thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Portfolio for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Marriageology: The Art and Science of Staying Together by Belinda Luscombe | Book Review

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“A smart and concise guide to staying together that draws on scientific findings, expert advice, and years in the marital trenches to explain why marriage is better for your health, your finances, your kids, and your happiness

Like you, probably, Belinda Luscombe would rather have had her eyes put out than read a book about marriage; they all seemed full of advice that was obvious, useless, or bad. Plus they were boring. But after covering the relationship beat for Time magazine for ten years, she realized there was a surprisingly upbeat and little-known story to tell about the benefits of staying together for the long haul. Casting a witty, candid, and probing eye on the latest behavioral science, Luscombe has written a fresh and persuasive report on the state of our unions, how they’ve changed from the marriages of our parents’ era, and what those changes mean for the happiness of this most intimate and important of our relationships.

A guide to staying together that combines the latest scientific data, personal stories, and expert advice, arguing that marriage is better for your health, your finances, and your happiness, by an award-winning Time journalist.

Surveying the latest behavioral science and folding it into her witty, engaging, and candid knack for storytelling, Belinda Luscombe has written a fresh and persuasive report on the state of our unions. This book examines the six major fault lines that can fracture a marriage, also known as Luscombe’s F-words: familiarity, fighting, family, finances, fooling around, and finding help. She presents facts, debunks myths, and provides an entertaining mix of data, anecdotes, and wisdom from a wide range of approaches to married life, as well as experts and therapists of the wedding, marriage, and divorce industries. Marriageology gives the reader something to think about and maybe try, whether the marriage in question is on the brink of collapse or just needs a bit of maintenance on the foundations.”


Marriageology was such a fascinating read on marriage and long term relationships. Luscombe’s writing was approachable with the perfect mix of scientific research, personal stories, and advice. I found myself nodding along so many times with her anecdotes regarding her own marriage history. She shares a wonderful perspective that is relatable yet also hopeful. Her ability to share the hardships of some of the biggest stumbling blocks of marriage was super accessible.

She points out the 6 major “fault lines” that can fracture a marriage and how to navigate them personally and as a couple. Like many non-fiction books, certain chapters stood out to me more and I especially connected with the commentary and research she shared in the parenting section, it was spot on. I also am so happy she talked about how helpful therapy can be, and not just at times of serious distress but also as a regular practice.

I learned so much from this book and I highly recommend it for anyone that is navigating a long term relationship. Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig | Book Review

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“The societies we live in are increasingly making our minds ill, making it feel as though the way we live is engineered to make us unhappy. When Matt Haig developed panic disorder, anxiety, and depression as an adult, it took him a long time to work out the ways the external world could impact his mental health in both positive and negative ways. Notes on a Nervous Planet collects his observations, taking a look at how the various social, commercial and technological “advancements” that have created the world we now live in can actually hinder our happiness. Haig examines everything from broader phenomena like inequality, social media, and the news; to things closer to our daily lives, like how we sleep, how we exercise, and even the distinction we draw between our minds and our bodies.”

“I sometimes feel like my head is a computer with too many windows open. Too much clutter on the desktop. There is a metaphorical spinning rainbow wheel inside me. Disabling me. And if only I could find a way to switch off some of the frames, if only I could drag some of the clutter into the trash, then I would be fine. But which frame would I choose, when they all seem so essential? How can I stop my mind from being overloaded when the world is overloaded? We can think about anything. And so it makes sense that we end up thinking about everything. We might have to, sometimes, be brave enough to switch the screens off in order to switch ourselves back on. To disconnect in order to reconnect.” ― Matt Haig, Notes on a Nervous Planet

This book was my first by Matt Haig and I found it very engaging. I love how he normalizes mental health issues but also asks such thought-provoking questions within his writing. I won this in a Goodreads giveaway and devoured the short chapters which led to very interesting conversations with my friend who also was reading the book at the same time.

The chapters are short and quick and so it is a book that is easy to take in a little at a time. I love the importance he places on true connection with each other. Some of it was a little “out there” but I do agree that technology has changed the ways we interact and connect with one another and he had some powerful reminders and perspective about this.

Happy: A Journal by Fearne Cotton | Journal Review

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From Goodreads.com:

“This book is open, and it’s all about you! It’s a retreat and a safe haven from the stresses of everyday life, a place to work through your problems and confide your worries, fears, and secrets. It offers you a chance to focus on life’s positive aspects and find the things that make you happy.

Each page of this daily journal is filled with new ideas, creative prompts, and words of wisdom that will help you write a little joy into every day of the year. The ideal place to express what’s happening in your life — bitter, sweet, and everything in between — this book promises to be your faithful friend and assist you in finding and unlocking your inner happiness.”


What a little gem! I love the idea of journaling but I struggle with knowing where to start. Happy: The Journal is a guided daily journal with thoughtful prompts to get you writing, reflecting and planning.

I immediately ordered a hard copy of this journal so I could get started. It starts in January and leads you through the year with timely journaling prompts that have a great balance between gratitude, reflection and goal setting. There is an adequate amount of space to write without it feeling overwhelming. This is a great guided journal for someone who wants to get started with daily journaling and I highly recommend. Thank you to NetGalley and Dover Publishing for this copy, all opinions are my own.

My Most Memorable Books from 2018 | Book Recommendations by Genre

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If you are looking for some amazing books to start off your year with, these were some of my very favorites from 2018. I rated all these 5 stars on Goodreads which means that not only did I love them but they stuck with me long after I was done reading. ❤

Memoirs:

And Now We Have Everything by Meaghan O’Connell

Small Animals by Kim Brooks (I listened on Audible)

Becoming by Michelle Obama (I listened on Audible)

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung ( I listened on Audible)


Fiction:

Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

You Were Always Mine by Nicole Baart

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne


Self-Help/Personal Development:

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

 

Audible 2-for-1 Sale! | Audio Book Recommendations

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Are you a fan of audio books? I listen to at least 1-2 books a month on Audible and it has made my daily commute, computer work, and random cleaning around the house so much more enjoyable! Above are some of my suggestions that are a part of this great deal.

And if you haven’t read any Brene Brown books yet, this is your chance! The Gifts Of Imperfection and I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t) are two of my favorites and were life changing for me.  ❤

Wednesday Randomness | Reflections & Mantras of 2018

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I am not a big New Year goal setter or resolution maker but I am big into reflecting on things. I think we can learn so much from what we go through and often the hardest situations can teach us the biggest and best lessons.

This year was a hard one and one that pushed me in ways I never expected. Mantras are a newer thing for me but something that have helped me so much in times where there was a lot of sadness and unknown. I struggle in times of transition and times when things are out of my control. Having mantra has helped ground me and have been great reminders when my worries and thoughts feel really heavy.  I love Pinterest for inspiration for this stuff and that is where I found all of these…


Some things I have learned in 2018…

I would rather make mistakes than not put myself out there at all. I am not a perfectionist but I certainly struggle with worrying about what other people think of me and what I am doing. Letting go of this is a work in progress but staying true to myself and knowing that that is enough has been very powerful. When you make mistakes it means you are out there doing something. Some of my biggest “failures” and challenges have lead me to some of the most wonderful things in my life.

I have tried to let go of negativity. Putting my energy towards the people and things that are positive has helped create more of that. It sounds simple but you really can choose where your energy goes. It doesn’t mean that hard things won’t happen, but you do have control over how you react and move forward. I have SO many positive people and things in my life and focusing on these has really been a game changer.

As a people pleaser, not overthinking things does not come easily for me. I wish I didn’t care so much but I do. Sometimes when I overthink things I get so stuck in the “what ifs” that I don’t do anything at all…which was one of the reasons it took me so long to start this blog. I was thinking so much about it when I just needed to start! It is really freeing to just make a decision and move forward. If things don’t work out, you make another decision and you move forward again. I am a planner by nature and its hard for me to take things step by step but it makes such a huge difference.

You make time for what you want to fit in and everyone has different priorities for this. I can do a lot of things, but I can’t do everything. I have worked on feeling in control about what I choose to prioritize and not getting stuck in what I don’t. This has also helped me when I see someone else doing something and wonder how they fit it in. We all make choices about how we spend our time. Again, this has been such a empowering mindset and lets me feel like I have authority over my days and weeks instead of them controlling me.

Looking back really helps me realize how much we learn and grow every single day. I don’t know what 2019 will bring but I do know that when you know better you do better. I want to appreciate the wonderful people around me. I want to recognize the good because there really is so much. I want people to feel heard, when they are happy or excited and also when they are scared or worried. I want to say yes to the things that really matter to me and say NO to things that don’t feel good. I want to keep sharing about the things I love, and I also want to be honest about the things that are challenging. Life is so much better when we are all in this together. ❤