11 3 / 2014
Book Review: How Will You Measure Your Life?
Verdict: A must read if you’re at a crossroads in your career… or, a must read if you’re just feeling a bit lost in general. In fact, even if you’re not in that career changing mindset or aren’t feeling particularly lost, this is still a very informative and helpful book.
Features: Anecdotal information about business strategies and how it relates to life; includes personal stories from the author, with a hint of spirituality. Very interesting to read the juxtaposition of a pragmatic way of looking at life (as equated to business) mixed in with the spirituality.
I’ve always joked that when it comes to things like a quarter life crisis, I’ve been quite precocious because I started having one at the tender age of nineteen.
There have been many articles about why people are unhappy, like this cartoony rendition, as well as a multitude of cheesy countdown lists of “how to be happy” (seriously, seach for that phrase and you’ll get back a ton of results … all too often vague and not helpful at all).
My friend / career coach recommended that I pick up this book, and although I did have a little seed of doubt planted in my brain when I first started, as I read it and finished it I kept earmarking pages. I also kept thinking “that is just so true.” It’s quite interesting because the whole purpose of the book is not to tell the reader how to measure their lives, but the ways in which they can assess what really matters to them and pursue those things.
As the book states, it’s presenting theories. You know, teaching a person how to fish…instead of handing them an article counting down the 10 awesome reason why fish rock (if you can’t tell, yes, I’m quite embittered from the multitude of fluff pieces out there about “finding happiness” and attaching any countdown to the methodology).
Anyway, once you learn the theories, you can hopefully apply them yourself and think critically about the choices you make to a fulfilling career and life. On a side note, although I don’t have kids (yet) there are several chapters about raising a family that did resonate with me. And the author also shares a bit about his upbringing which is quite illuminating, and makes sense why he is wired to think about things the way he does.
I don’t want to write any “spoilers” or basically re-summarize the book, so I’ll spare the precious few who stumbled through this rather vague and long-winded review to say: there will be a lot of loved ones that will be getting a copy of this book from me.
If you don’t get one from me, go grab a copy for yourself. Do it. Now.
25 2 / 2014
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02 2 / 2014
Book Review: David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and The Art of Battling Giants
Verdict: So-so read that details various stories of underdogs overcoming the odds…not much of a page-turner, but does have interesting tidbits. Not recommended for anyone new to Malcolm Gladwell.
Features: Good narrative, anecdotal presentation of evidence and information.
I’m a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell and I’ve read several of his other books before: Outliers, Blink, Tipping Point. I’ve liked all of those prior books before because all of the information made me want to turn the page and devour more. But with this one…I felt my interest waning.
Perhaps it was because of the subject matter itself, which sounded compelling but upon reading it just became a bit hum drum. Or, perhaps unlike some of his other books, the evidence that was presented didn’t seem to be quite as gripping. Despite all this, Malcolm Gladwell is still a great narrator.
For anybody who is also a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell, you’ll still probably find yourself going “huh, that’s interesting” when you pick up this book. But is it a must-read? To me, not really. And for anybody who is thinking about reading a book by Malcolm Gladwell for the first time, I would recommend Outliers or Tipping Point above this one.
31 1 / 2014
30 1 / 2014
Book Review: The Husband’s Secret
Verdict: A page-turner for me, as I found myself completely compelled to find out how all the characters tie together as they fall in and out of each other’s lives. The first chapter or so may feel a tad slow, but it picks up speed quite quickly after that.
Features: Several narrators and points of view, stories and characters that weave together.
I have to say, even when reading the synopsis of the story…it’s a killer. Liane Moriarty taps into a basic and powerful face of the human psyche: our curiosity of the unknown, and how it sometimes just eats away at us. That cautionary tale dates back to many, many years ago (hello, Pandora!)
Ceclia FItzpatrick is one of the characters in the book and she finds a letter from her husband that reads, quite ominously, like this: “My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died…”
Yeah. I know.
We follow the story of Cecelia after she decides whether or not she will actually read the letter (um, for the record, I would have torn that mutha#$*@& up and devoured the contents quicker than a sugar-addicted child eats cake) and as readers we also meet several other women and get their back story. Like the films Love Actually and Crash, their journey unfolds and they snake in and out and around each other.
Is it entertaining? Yes. Is it educational? No, it’s a fun work of fiction. Should you read it? For sure, especially on those long flights or when you want something to grip your attention in a vice so you forget where you are when you started the book.
Truthfully, the twists and turns are not as crazy and dramatic as some of the other books I’ve read (like Gone Girl) but all the same, there is great character development and puts the reader in the shoes of the narrators. You wonder “what would I do?” and you’re carried down a few twists and turns thinking…”what if?”
30 1 / 2014
monica-eileen asked: Hi - Great post about your wedding website on Squarespace. Do you mind sharing which template you used? I'm having trouble selecting one that is not too business-y/ecommerce-y. Thanks so much! Monica
Hi, I’m so sorry it took me a long time to answer you … I hope that by now you’ve found something to help you!
The template that I used was this one: http://www.squarespace.com/templates/?q=peak
But I loved the other ones too! Good luck!
29 1 / 2014
Book Review: Contagious: Why Things Catch On
Verdict: Marketing nerd? Social media enthusiast? Or just love those books that explain trends and reasons why things happen? You’ll probably want to pick this up. Otherwise…you could get the gist of things from a few key articles around the Internet
Features: Anecdotal explanations of theories, nuggets of really interesting information
Admittedly, I’ve always loved those books that tackle topics in a way that is digestible and memorable (a la Freakonomics and any books by Malcolm Gladwell) and this is one book that falls in that same category. Admittedly, I didn’t find the book as page-turning as Freakonomics, but I did find it quite useful and I loved how it distilled the principles of “word of mouth” quite elegantly.
If you don’t have time to read this book, there are already several articles online that highlight the main principles. The author himself has written about it in The Huffington Post, and other writers have written about the writer…like a recent piece in The New Yorker.
The book covers a few key factors that help bolster the chance of something “going viral.” Did it evoke a high intensity emotion (awe, anger, excitement)? Did it have a trigger that brought it to the forefront? Is there “social currency” (as in, when someone shares that piece of information, do they end up looking smart/funny/awesome/the master of all knowledge there is to know?) and so on and so forth. For each of these reasons, and the ones that I have left out, Berger provides evidence, data, and some fun examples.
If you’re looking for some of the meat that goes on the bones, dig through the book, especially if your job title has the words “marketing” or “social media” or any other similar iteration of those words in it.
29 1 / 2014
Book Review: Fangirl
Verdict: If you love Harry Potter and you’re admittedly a nerd who loves Young Adult fiction (and chick-lit…which always sounds so dirty when you say it out loud) I definitely recommend you read this book.
Features: Young people angst (but not too much angst), romance, and coming-of-age
I heard some buzzing around the Interwebs a few months ago about Rainbow Rowell, and I admit I was a little curious. I still haven’t read Eleanor and Park (one of her other really well received novels that people luurrrrved) but this one intrigued me.
The main character is Cath (not Catherine, Cath) who is a huge fan of a YA fantasy series called Simon Snow, which is basically - as you come to realize quite quickly - is a bit of an homage to Harry Potter.
(SPOILER: the author even makes a reference to Harry Potter, which notes that it is NOT as good as Simon Snow. As if! End Spoiler.)
In this alternate world, Simon Snow is a movement. People grew up with Simon Snow and there are big communities around it where people write fan fiction. And, of course, Cath is one of them. And she’s quite good at it.
And she’s also going to college.
Did I mention that she’s a tad awkward? A little insecure? A little unsure of herself? Basically hitting every button that most other nerds who love Young Adult fiction can relate and attest to with fervent nods everywhere.
The story basically follows her as she gathers her footing on growing up and learning to let go of a few things…and, of course, writing her own story (see what I did there?)
I really loved this book because the main character is unlike many other heroines in other YA stories. She feels very real and even the little dramas that pop up in her life are quite relate-able (even though it’s been a while since I’ve started college…excuse my while I go sob somewhere). Mostly, I love it because she’s not as vapid nor as selfish as some other heroines can sound and be (*cough* Confessions of a Shopaholic *cough*)
It’s an easy breezy read when you have time by the pool or on a vacation…or when you’re just looking for something to occupy your brain.
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29 1 / 2014
Book Review: The Rosie Project
Verdict: Definitely recommend this to anybody who is looking for something light-hearted.
Features: Unique narrator, funny situations, heart warming, and a dash of romance
Author: Graeme Simsion
I was about to depart for a 14 hour flight and decided that it would be quite necessary to stock up on some fun reading to pass the time. As the summary says on Amazon, the overall story is: “A brilliant yet socially challenged professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. And so, in the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.”
And then, enter Rosie. Who is completely wrong because she drinks, she smokes, and she’s a late arriver.
OR IS SHE? As readers and competent people, I’m pretty sure 99% of those who decide to read this book will likewise make the wise assumption that Rosie turns out to become quite an important facet in the story. Regardless of the fact that many can guess the ending of the story, the journey is still quite fun.
I personally really enjoy stories where the narrator is quite quirky and has a unique perspective, which is one of the reasons I was quite hooked. Of course, there are some minor cringe-worthy moments as the narrator is completely oblivious to social cues…but that’s a necessary ingredient to any good story, isn’t it?
Even though I believe that books are always better than the movie, I definitely think this will be a fabulous classic rom-com. And, as a matter of fact, it was originally written to be one…and, yes, like many other books, the rights to the movie have been sold. Be ahead of the curve and pick it up and read it before it’s (potentially butchered) on the silver screen.
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31 12 / 2013
2013: A self indulgent photo montage
Of course, this year is no different. It’s been one hell of a year, in more good ways than bad. So for my own posterity one day (if Tumblr doesn’t go by the wayside of former blog hosting sites like Xanga)
Learning how to do a box and trying my first jumps at snowboarding.
I’ve never been athletic, but snowboarding was one sport where I really felt myself improve and…dare I say it…not half bad. After a few seasons, I’m finally able to get down the mountain. And one of the main things that holds me back is fear. Fear of getting hurt, fear of looking stupid. With the Oakley Women’s Session, I finally let go of some of that. And I hope it translates into more aspects of my life.
Traveling this year to many new and old places: London, Utah, Taiwan, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Australia, Fiji, New York, and Seattle.
It’s always been one of my dreams to travel more, and I have to say I was really fortunate to knock off new countries and cities off my list.
All the wedding related festivities leading up to the wedding itself: bridal shower in Dallas and the bachelorette in Vegas.
One of the pieces of advice my cousin gave me was to relish and soak in every moment possible. It’s been absolutely amazing to be able to celebrate with friends and family throughout the year, and it just reminds me how blessed I am to have so many wonderful people in my life.
Running a marathon. Finish 26.2 miles.
Sometimes it still boggles my mind that I actually did it.
A fairly star-studded year as well…normally, this stuff doesn’t really matter to me, but admittedly it’s quite fun.
Saw Weezer in concert (waited for more than an hour for a prime jumping around and dancing spot) and attended my first (possibly only) red carpet premiere and party where we bumped into Tom Hiddleston (one of the nicest people ever) and I saw Nathan Fillion from afar.
Checking things off my list…
Riding a hot air balloon over Napa (beautiful, amazing, surreal) and swimming in the waterfall.
And of course, the most important moment of the year…getting married to the man who has been there for me for almost a decade.
Here’s hoping to many more happy years together.
And, of course, 2013 was also a hear when we said goodbye to a furry member of our family. Rest in peace in kitty heaven, Serif.
Here’s hoping to another year of exciting adventures, time with loved ones, and much more.