2019 Book List

Here I will list the books that I read in 2019. Most of them I will provide a link to my book review. Beware, if you read the review, it may give away what happens in the book. Read with caution *smile*

Three Wishes, Liane Moriarty

Coffee Pines & Designs Book Review Here

Still Alice, Lisa Genova

Coffee Pines & Designs book review here

Of Mess and Moxie, Jen Hatmaker

Coffee Pines & Designs has many posts referencing this book.

Friendly Deceit, L.V. Hope

Coffee Pines & Designs book review here

The Fringe Hours, Jessica N. Turner

Coffee Pines & Designs book review here

Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert

Coffee Pines & Designs book reviews:

Big Magic and Encouragement

Big Magic and Enchantment

Big Magic and Permission

Big Magic and Persistence

Big Magic and Trust

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

Review here

The House Pinterest Built by Diane Keaton

Review here

The Bridal Quartet by Nora Roberts

Review here

Educated by Tara Westover

Review here

Still in the Game by Devon Still

Review here

From Scratch by Tembi Locke

Review here

Flow Grip Still by Kennedy Ryan

Review here

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Review here

Soul Series by Kennedy Ryan

Review here

Summer of ’69 by Elin Hildebrand

Hoops Series by Kennedy Ryan

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Soul Series Book Reviews

What would summer be without a no-nonsense romantic beach read? Or 3? Or 6? Kennedy Ryan’s Grip Series was followed by the Soul Series. Amazon offers these books for free on their Kindle App. Kennedy Ryan traps you into Rhyson and Kai’s characters with such visual detail. It is difficult to escape their world to go back to your own reality. You may as well take a couple of days off of work, or block a weekend and leap into their soundtrack complete with lust, life lessons and love.

Soul Soundtrack

Ghost- Ella Henderson

Somewhere Only We Know- Keane

Lost Stars- Adam Levine

Crash Into Me- Dave Matthews and

V.3005- Childish Gambino

See You Again- Wiz Khalifa

Adventure of a Lifetime- Coldplay

Fly Before You Fall- Cynthia Erivo

Mistakes- Andra Day

Believe- Mumford and Sons

It Will Rain- Bruno Mars

Half Crazy- Musiq Soulchild

Piece by Piece- Kelly Clarkson

Girl on Fire- Alice Keys

Lay Me Down- Sam Smith

Hymn for the Weekend- Coldplay

Our Love Will Survive- Wild Belle

Happy Birthday- Kygo

Call Me When You Get This- Corrine Bailey Rae

Stitches- Shawn Mendes

Find this playlist on Spotify.

Daisy Jones and the Six Book Review

Bookclubs galore! Everyone and their mama has a bookclub these days. Reese Witherspoon’s Bookclub listed Daisy Jones and the Six as one of their books. What a wonderful and unique pick on their end. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a phenomenal writer who took a fun approach to her writing style for this book. It was as if the main character interviewed band members from the fictional band, Daisy Jones and The Six, to create a biography of their music journey in the 1970’s. I loved the surprise at the end which lead the reader to find out who was conducting the interviews. I long for a band to put music to the song lyrics and create a true soundtrack to the novel. Until then, enjoy the playlist below which can be found on Spotify.

Poison and Wine- The Civil Wars

Silver Springs- Fleetwood Mac

Shake it Out- Florence and the Machine

American Girl- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Holy Water- Jim and Sam

Because the Night- Patti Smith

Sweet Creature- Harry Styles

Our House- Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young

Emmylou- First Aid Kit

Paid-Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Flow Grip Still Book Reviews

6th grade? 7th grade? Warren G playing on my stereo. My dad sticks his head in my room and says “don’t let your mom hear you listening to this stuff”. He smirks and closes my door. Goodie Two Shoes. Those words could describe me. Yet, gangsta rap was my thing. Sadly I can not recall if Warren G was my first rap cd. Bone Thugs n Harmony maybe? 2 Pac posters lined my bedroom walls in high school. Many hours were spent at Musicland, the music store at the mall. Cd singles were bought and if I couldn’t afford the cd I would buy the cassette tape. This was during a time that kids were not “carded” for cd’s that had a Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics label on it. The Source and XXL magazines provided me with more “posters” to tape to my walls. I was devistated when 2 Pac died.

Thanks to the podcast, Sorta Awesome with Meg Tietz, episode 203, I was introduced to the writing of Kennedy Ryan. Meg and Anna Hithersay discussed Kennedy’s trilogy Flow, Grip and Still (free on amazon Kindle). An interracial love story between Grip and Bristol. Grip is a brilliantly smart African American rapper who grew up in Compton and Bristol is the over privileged and hard working white girl from NYC. She fights the electric pull she has with him, not because of his race, but because he is her brother’s best friend. Eventually love wins and they can not deny their affection any longer. The story ebbs and flows through their intoxicating connection and the heart wrenching doubts that come from their loved ones and fans. The third book brings deeper levels of emotion as they prepare to grow their family with the addition of children.

Long gone are the days southern Cali was the place for me. The daydreams floated away decades ago where 2 Pac from Poetic Justice was meant for me, not Janet Jackson. This book brought smiles to my face. Just a white girl surrounded by her posters of 1990’s rap moguls. To quote Lin-Manuel Miranda, “love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love, cannot be killed or swept aside”.

Grip Flow and Still soundtrack

Fallin’ Alicia Keys

California Love, 2 Pac

Juicy- The Notorious B.I.G.

U.N.I.T.Y.- Queen Latifah

Nobody- Keith Sweat

I Belong To You- Lenny Kravitz

Live Your Life- T.I. & Rihanna

You Don’t Own Me- Grace & G Eazy

Love on the Brain- Rihanna

So in Love- Jill Scott & Anthony Hamilton

At My Best- Machine Gun Kelly

Until the End of Time- 2 Pac

Tell me What We’re Gonna Do Now- Joss Stone & Common

Pretty Bird- Jhene Akko, Common

Give Me Love- Ed Sheehan

Thug Luv- Bone Thugs N Harmony & 2 Pac

Into You- Fabolous & Tamia

Adore- Prince

Dear Mama- 2 Pac

SupaStar- Floetry & Common

Runnin’- Naughty Boy & Beyoncé

Feeling Good- Nina Simone

You Are the Best Thing- Ray LaMontagne

Let’s Hurt Tonight- OneRepublic

My Block- 2 Pac

*you can find on my Spotify

May Goals 2019

It’s been awhile since I wrote a post. That doesn’t mean I have not been reflecting though! What has come always from the last month? Positive change is not easy. I have known this and have had it in the back of my mind for the last few years but goodness has it been at the forefront lately. Whether it is personal or business, the mind or the soul, or the relationships we have with those that we live near and dear to everyday.

I had the opportunity to be in leadership class for the past nine months through Sanford. It was titled Leading for Results. Most of us thought it would be how to direct staff and projects to get better results. The class was aimed at personal development. Making us stronger individuals would make us better leaders. Better leaders make our teams better. The class fit perfectly with what I was trying to do. It taught me new things. It confirmed what I had been reading. Some of the teachings I had already implemented. Some got moved up on my list of priorities. Some were ideas I had not heard of and were added to my list. The great thing about this class was I could apply these teachings to my personal life.

I took a break from my monthly goals. It was much needed. I was overwhelmed by them which tells me I need to evaluate them. I want to do too much. I have always been that way. Good things take time!

May did bring a lot of accomplishments:

◦ Work trip to San Diego and attended a Ritz Carlton workshop

◦ Read 4 Nora Roberts books

◦ Joined Weight Watchers and am seeing slow progress (strong and fit is what I am aiming for- moderation)

◦ Presented a presentation for Leading for Results

◦ I am becoming a better version of the wife I aim to be

◦ Working out 5-7 days a week

◦ Trying new recipes

The Bridal Quartet

A teacher. A marine biologist (ok, swim with the whales). That’s what I wanted to be as a child.

A teacher. An interior designer. A social worker. A wedding planner. An interior designer. A business major (hey, it was general enough). A gerontologist. An interior designer. That’s what I wanted to be in college. That is why it took me 7 years to finish. A girl can change her mind, right?

An interior designer eventually won, thank heavens, it took me long enough. However, Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner, made me desire to be a wedding planner. I even looked into education on how to become one and had info snail mailed to the first apartment I lived in (shout out to Ms. Erin). A few years later my friend Melissa shared The Bridal Quartet books with me. My first thought was “Nora Roberts? Really? Those are books my mom reads. Like Danielle Steel, right?” This was before I realized my mom and I have the same taste in fictional books, and before I realized she had not picked up a Danielle Steel book in a long time. I couldn’t put the books down. Mac, Emma, Laurel and Parker become a huge part of my life for a couple of weeks. The dream of becoming a Wedding Planner surfaced again. Amanda could be the photographer. Ashley could do hair and makeup. I could do the wedding planning piece and we could find others to add to our own Vows business. One problem, we all lived in different cities. Dream quickly shattered.

My sister picked these books up from a used online bookstore. I had to read them again. I loved them this time around just as I had the last time. If she wants them back I think I will look for my own copies to add to my bookshelf. Just as a wedding should be, this series is delightful and lovely.

April 2019 Goals

Tomorrow is May Day, May 1st. We are almost half way through the year already! The post I wrote last would give an in-cling on how my goals went for April. Best to reflect nonetheless! Life ebbs and it flows.

Reading

Uninvited by Lisa TerKeurst was a book that sat on my shelf for well over a year. It amazes me when that happens. The old saying is “don’t just a book by it’s cover”. Well, I do when it comes to books. Good book design speaks my love language. At the end of March this girl needed a fictional book bad, but Uninvited was such a natural book to pick up. It had an energy force that drew me to pick it up rather than an “easy” read. Consider this my book review. The following are my top take always:

1. “Not in my presence will you talk about yourself in this way” (page 6). Talk to yourself as if you were talking to a loved one. Be gentle with the words you speak to yourself.

2. “When a man is physically present but emotionally absent, a girl’s heart can feel quite hollow and helpless” (page 14). Life between men and women is not easy. There are ups and there are downs. I have seen this in my past. I have seen this affect my friends. Prayers that love languages are strongly spoken between you and your significant other.

3. It is not easy to see God’s good design in the world with all of the “decay and corruption” (page 20). Difficult things surround us daily. It is hard for me to believe in Him some days, but too many miraculous things have been witnessed for me to not believe in a higher power.

4. “Live loved” (page 3). One of my favorite quotes and on page 46 she reminds us that it is a choice to live that way. A choice we get to make each day.

5. “I crave for life to make sense. I cringe when it doesn’t” (page 52). Thankful I am not the only one that struggles with this. Shout out to the Type A people out there. Hello to the INFJ personalities!

6. “Humility can’t be bought at a bargain price. It’s the long working of grace upon grace within the hurts of our hearts” (page 85). A co-worker reminded me long ago that positive changes take time. I think of this often. There are no quick fixes out there. Make a plan, stick with it, and if you fall off of the bike, get back on!

7. “Acceptance is like an antibiotic that prevents past rejections from turning into present-day infections” (page 95). An analogy without a lot of truth.

8. “It’s good to ask the ‘what’ questions but less helpful to ask the ‘why’ questions” (page 135).

9. “Lord, give them enough hurts to keep them human and enough failures to keep their hands clenched tightly in Yours” (page 142).

10. “Messy realities in the midst of the miracles” (page 161).

Art

The sketchbook did not even get cracked open this month. However, The House that Pinterest Built by Diane Keaton sent inspiration to me. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to binge in Pinterest land after I ready this book. The coffee book was impressive. Diane Keaton built her home after images she found on Pinterest. I literally wanted to dive into the book and live in the spaces she “pinned”

Part of a weekend was spent going through all of my Elle Decor, Architectures Digest, Dwell and House Beautiful magazines. I followed Diane’s footsteps and ripped out designs that spoke to me. Bookshelves, swinging interior chairs, black painted walls, colors upon colors of paint, black and white spaces. I taped them into an all black sketchbook. Essentially, my own The House that Pinterest Built book was created. It was a Marie Kondo type of thing to do. I kept what I needed to keep and threw away stacks of magazines. Clear the clutter.

Move

The temperatures rose and running outside was a new high. Temperatures dwindled and the high went away. Spring, please come back. I have lost the desire to workout indoors. I need the sunlight. I need the warm weather. I have become a hibernating bear after fighting it all winter long.

7 Challenge

I avoided the challenge this month like someone trying to avoid cake on their first day of dieting. Jen Hatmaker and her family quit Media for a month. I know I could. It would be hard. She quit it at a magnitude that I can’t even try. She quit TV, Music, Social Media. I could go without TV. I could go without Social Media but not Music. I often think of forgoing Facebook. It is not a social platform I check out each day. When I do though, I realize I miss out on seeing friend’s life happenings. It is a part of our world. It can consume us, like so many things in life. For now, I will stay with Facebook. I will stay with Instagram. It is a way of connecting. It is a way of finding inspiration. I will say though, that reading Uninvited helped me pick prayer/medication each morning over checking Instagram. It is helping me pick reflection at the end of the day over social media. It is a work in progress. Life is a work in progress.

Big Magic and Trust

Big Magic: Trust: Stubborn Gladness

Is it possible to quote a whole section? If I could, it would be Stubborn Gladness. I will quote the following from page 218:

I have chosen to believe that a desire to be creative was encoded into my DNA for reasons I will never know, and that creativity will not go away from me unless I forcibly kick it away, or poison it dead. Every molecule of my being has always pointed me toward this line of work.

It is like Elizabeth took the words right out of my mouth…well…she said it much better. I could fight creativity, I could choose to not make time for it, but then I would become the unsettled person I was a couple of years ago. I welcome the challenges that creativity brings to my mind, my soul and my heart. I trust it in it.

Big Magic and Persistence

Being courageously creative is 2nd nature to me. It’s in my blood. It’s in my heart. It helps me maintain a healthy mind set. I wrote in the post Big Magic and Permission briefly about how a stint of 5(ish) years of keeping creative tendencies- or passions- at bay was unhealthy for me. Being a new mommy is overwhelming. A new baby is a part of your life and requires so much attention. It is extremely difficult to understand that it is ok to take time to do what gives you a sense of relief and normalcy. Over the past year and a half I gave myself permission to take some of that time back. It helps that both of my littles are creative little beings too. Art projects and reading are their two favorite things to do. We can do those things together.

2019 was quickly approaching and goals were set to remain persistent. Persistent to read and challenge my creative mindset, persistent to pick up my pencils and paint brushes, and persistent to write words freely from my thoughts. Persistent is practically my middle name, almost as much as being creative flows through my veins. There is always room for improvement in anything that comes my way. Perfection is not a word in my dictionary, but persistent is.

Go get them. Run after those dreams and keep at it!

Big Magic and Permission

We have the permission to be creative. “Our creativity is a wild and unexpected bonus from the universe. It’s as if all our gods and angels gathered together and said, ‘It’s tough down there as a human being, we know. Here- have some delights’.” (Page 128) This was the best quote Elizabeth Gilbert had in the section titled Permission in Big Magic. How refreshing is this? We have something to look forward to while we wait for our time in Heaven.

The United States offers us the permission to be creative. There are countries where being creative is frowned upon or even against the law. How sad; I would feel robbed if I was not given the time to be creative. Not only do I live in a country that I can imagine, draw, write, paint and etc. I got to grow up in a household where being creative was welcomed. It brings upon an abundance of emotions to have creativity be accepted.

Being a part of creative energy makes me a more prayerful, grateful, loving, caring and positive force. Now that my kids have gotten older I have allowed the act of being creative to creep back into my weekly, and even daily, routines. For reasons I am uncertain of, I pushed it away while they were smaller because feelings of guilt were heavy upon my heart, mind and soul. Those years brought me down. If any words of wisdom can be shared…don’t fight the feelings. We all deserve creative outlets.