Strong at 40: The First Six Weeks

six weeks of movement

A few months ago, I was getting ready one morning and for some reason started thinking about how I was 22 months from turning 40. That lead to thinking about big goals - and with about two years to go, what sort of huge things could I accomplish if I doubled down on them.

I came up with two - one is business related and the other is that I want to be as strong as I’ve ever been on my 40th birthday. The last few years have left me feeling more depleted than strong, both physically and mentally. And that’s fine - I was simultaneously growing and nurturing babies and a business. Both are still growing and require nurturing, but I’m a little out of the thick of things.

When I say strong, the image I see is having a body and mind that are resilient, tough, ready to go and do what I need them to. Right now my body is a little tired and sprinting up the stairs leaves me breathless. My anxiety seems to creep up when I least expect it. What if I could really give it my all to build them both up?

I’m not sure this will be interesting to anyone but me, but I wanted somewhere to check in with myself and document the journey. So here I go, a recap of the first six weeks.

Six Weeks of Movement

When I decided to “get strong”, I knew I would need to do something different than I’ve done in the past. Typically, I jump 150% in to something, but burn out a few weeks or months in. So I decided rather than declaring myself a runner or a yogi, I would set a goal to move four times a week, in whatever way felt good that day.

In the end I needed a bit more structure to make sure it happened, so a routine of Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday started. I tend to do the same workouts on the same days, but I also check in with myself and see how I’m feeling. I might skip a lifting class and walk on the treadmill if that’s what my current level of energy and sleep calls for. I’ve been keeping busy with the following - I’m curious to see what this list might look like six months down the road!

  • Personal Training: I started working with a trainer once a week and it’s been awesome. He’s already fixed my posture so that my lower back is not hurting all the time from exercise and I love having that one hard workout a week where I feel like I really give it my all. Plus, Greg and I are doing this together so it’s extra fun - a little date on Saturday mornings while the kids are in the gym childcare. He’s currently on paternity leave but we will pick back up in July.

  • Body Pump: Originally I thought I’d work out with a trainer several days a week, but that is a scheduling nightmare and expensive. So I started looking at what the gym offers and tried Body Pump. I love it! It’s a lot of the exercises I loved from CrossFit but at a slower pace and lower weight - I’m not trying to keep up with any 20 year olds (I’m by far one of the youngest in the class) and therefore I’m not hurting myself. I tend to go on Wednesday mornings. C loves the gym childcare so he’s happy to be dropped off while I go.

  • Pilates: I’ve been enjoying a Pilates mat class once a week as well at the gym. It’s a little slower than I prefer my exercise but I love that I can practice using my core versus my pelvic floor in the class - something I’ve had trouble with post kids. I also get a complimentary 30 min session on the reformer that I’m looking forward to trying soon!

  • Walking: Walking will always be one of my favorite ways to get exercise. Whether it’s outside with the dog or pushing a stroller, around the lake, or on a treadmill, I can’t get enough. It’s my go to when I’m feeling run down but still want to get some movement.

  • Running: As a former runner (fun fact: I’ve run two full marathons), I have to say that running just doesn’t do it for me these days. But, I wanted some measurements that were not size related, so every four weeks I’ve been running one mile for time. I can handle one mile.

  • 10 Minute Mamas: I am so grateful to have access to the 10 Minute Mamas workouts. These come in handy when it’s already 7pm on one of my move days and I haven’t moved yet. I’ve been known to just do one in the bathroom while the kids take a bath. Movement does not have to be fancy.

First Six Weeks Victories

I purposely did not weigh myself when I started because I didn’t want to fixate on numbers. There are a lot of things I’d love to see come out of this, but I’m also really open to what happens, what I take on, etc. I feel like focusing on the scale might at worse make me feel like I’m failing and at best I might miss out on new ways I can find physical and mental strength because if the scale is going down, it’s “working”.

So I’m looking for other types of victories, non-scale victories as they call them. And here is my first set:

  • My favorite from this six weeks is that I stuck with it! I moved every single M, W, T, S. I made the time, set the priorities, and showed up.

  • I’ve noticed that I can sometimes run up the stairs and not be winded!

  • I felt that my movement had become routine enough that I decided to add another layer on and began to use the 10% Happier app to meditate in the last week. Excited to see where this first step towards mental strength takes me.

  • My first mile was 12:04. My second mile was 12:06… but I accidentally ran a little farther. So I’m considering it a win - and I have straightened out my actual course for the next mile check in!

This next six weeks will bring it’s first movement challenge (a week of traveling), I’m considering a Whole 30 (my tummy has been so upset the last few months and I feel like a total reset might be called for), and I can’t wait to see what happens as I really dive into daily mediation. But, I’m also open to whatever, so who knows what I’ll be reporting back in early August.

Tips for Online Bra Shopping

Online Bra Shopping Tips

A few months ago, I decided to finally do something about my sad bra situation. I had two bras, one was five years old (from before I was ever pregnant the first time) and the other was a nursing bra. I stopped nursing in February 2018. I write this in June 2019. At some point I also bought a few bralettes that I loved for a short time, then just found them a pain to get in and out of.

And let’s not talk about my sports bras. They are from Old Navy (totally fine), but I’m pretty sure I purchased them in 2012 when I started at a new Crossfit box. They have very little elastic left, and what is left is all mangled and doesn’t sit flat.

So, being the good introvert that I am, I took to the internet for new bras. I figured I’d give it a try and if it was unsuccessful, I could always go to Nordstrom and have someone professionally measure me. But using child free time (or taking both children with me) to be fondled (professionally, of course) is sort of at the bottom of my list of things I want to do.

Lucky for me, it was actually quite successful. I’m now the proud owner of three bras, one sort of bralette (that isn’t as much of a struggle to get in and out of), a tank with a built in bra, and four new sports bras.

Tips for Online Bra Shopping

1. Use sites that have an online quiz to help you narrow down styles and choose the right size. I’m sure nothing matches the skills of a professional, but I found bras I love and that fit well using the quizzes on both Third Love and True & Co. I wanted to check out Soma as well, but their bra finder involves ordering something you wear on your back to collect data and that just wasn’t going to happen.

2. Shop sites with free returns. Third Love, True & Co and Pact all have free returns. I only ended up needing to return to Third Love, and it was a painless process. My refund came through a few weeks after I sent the bra back, which is pretty average for online returns. They also all had free shipping with a certain amount of product purchased.

3. Buy more than just the styles recommended and buy a variety of styles. The bra that Third Love recommended as the best choice for me was the most uncomfortable bra I tried on, left a big red welt on my left side, and the one item I returned. The other two bras I purchased from them are the same size, so I don’t think it was a sizing issue.

My Favorite Picks

I’m not sure how helpful sharing my actual purchases is because we are all so different, but here we go! For reference… I’m not well-endowed.

Third Love

I started with Third Love because I loved their open letter response to Victoria’s Secret. They also have the more comprehensive quiz of the few I took. You can use this link to save $15 on your first purchase.

24/7 Lace Contour Plunge Bra - I can tell you that in the last four years of babies and nursing and all that fun stuff, I have never once put on an article of clothing and felt sexy. Until I put on this bra. I don’t wear it a ton (it works best for me under thicker shirts and darker colors - I got Earl Grey because they didn’t have a neutral available in my size), but when I do I just love it and feel like tiny humans don’t touch me all day.

24/7 Seamless Stripe Wireless Bra - I really wanted a comfy wireless bra and this one is perfect. Side note: It was really hard to find a non-bralette wireless bra. Maybe other retailers I didn’t look at have more, but definitely opportunity here. I feel like it’s not quite as perky as the others, but it’s so comfortable. I wouldn’t say I want to wear it 24/7, but I do enjoy wearing it while it’s on.

True & Co

I ordered from True & Co just to make sure the customer experience was good - I actually ordered two bras with the intent of returning one to try out returns. But I loved them both and kept them. You can save $25 on your first purchase using this link.

True Lingerie Madison Lace Plunge Bra - I didn’t really need another regular everyday bra, but this one is super comfy and sits really well under t-shirts and thin cotton, which is what I wear most of the time.

True Body Triangle Convertible Strap Bra - This is the bra I thought I would return, but I’m in love. It’s the perfect cross between a regular bra and a bralette. It offers a little more shape than a bralette (has thin removable pads), and it’s more bra material (all my bralettes are a thicker lace material), so I feel like it’s much easier to get on and off.

Pact

I’ve been wanting to order from Pact for a while based on their mission and I’m so happy I did. As I need to replace basics, I’ll definitely be switching over to Pact where I can. You can save 20% on your first purchase with this link. I’m just highlighting the bras here but also love the underwear I picked up and while the yoga pants don’t quite meet Athleta level love, I do like them.

Black Strappy Sports Bra - I ordered one to begin with (when you are used to spending $5 on a sports bra, $30 is steep), but after wearing it twice I grabbed three more the next time I saw they had a sale. The strappy is cute but not difficult to get into and I really like the fit. Again, not well endowed, so I’m not going to offer my thoughts on support here.

Shelf Bra Camisole - I have been looking for a good shelf bra camisole since they went out of style in like 2004. So comfy to throw on under another shirt and not have to worry about a bra. Loving this one and sad I forgot to grab another in my last order.

I’m well stocked on bras now but if you have other online favorites please share in the comments for others!

Online bra shopping tips.

May 2019 Book Review

May was a fun month for reading! Every book was a random selection, whether from the library or Audible - nothing came from a list or a recommendation. I got lucky, because usually my random library selections end up going back after a chapter or two.

I’m still really amazed I’m keeping up with my intention of four books a month. I have a few more right now that are more than half way, so I’m starting to wonder if this might be the year I finally read 52 books? But I also know there are still 7 months that can totally get away from me, so I’ll just stick with being happy I’m currently on track and have made good on my intention to scroll less in the evenings and during downtime.

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May Books

The Last Romantics - A random library selection that I really enjoyed. It’s one of those novels that follows a family over years, lots of characters, but when done well it’s easy to keep track of everyone and their stories. This follows four siblings who lose their father early in childhood through adulthood. Some of it is a bit far fetched but overall I enjoyed the characters and

The Bride Test - Pretty much all my fiction lately has been random grabs from the library and I’m on a roll with good ones. Loved this book, especially once I found out more about the author and read her acknowledgements at the end of the book. A mom worried her autistic son might never marry brings home a trial bride from her recent trip to Vietnam. It sounds cheesy, but I really enjoyed it.

When the Air Hits Your Brain - Another random memoir selection from Audible and I loved it. Just enough medial speak to keep me interested without boring me (think Grey’s Anatomy level), but mostly heartfelt stories from a man looking back on his years as a neurosurgeon resident. It’s a job where you know you are going to lose people - I can’t even imagine. From babies, to pregnant mamas, to veterans, and everything in between. I cried, I laughed, like I said it was a random pick but I really loved it.

Normal People - I grabbed this from the library’s Peak Rewards when I saw the author was born in 1991 - I’m doing the summer reading bingo challenge and one of the squares is “published when author was under 35”. There is really no telling how I select books these days. Anyway, it was okay. A tale of the relationship, a messy mix of friendship and romance between two high schoolers who become university students. As I’ve mentioned and am no longer ashamed of, I tend to prefer my fiction be more “beach read”, so while I did enjoy the story it just wasn’t my favorite book.

Looking for more book recommendations? Check out:

April 2019 reads
March 2019 reads
February 2019 reads
January 2019 reads

I would love to know what you are reading in the comments - some of my favorite books have been recommendations from friends!

April 2019 Book Review

It’s May 19th and I’m finally updating my April books, but better late than never?

We had a lot of plane time last month, and a lot of sickness, so there was a lot of time to read.

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April Books

Love Warrior - I love a good memoir and this didn’t disappoint. I’ve followed Glennon Doyle for quite some time on Instagram and learning a bit about her personal life and how her family evolved to where it is today was interesting and at time inspiring, watching her learn to heal herself before working on relationships with others.

Shoe Dog - This is Phil Knight’s memoir, but I’d definitely rate it in top three business books I’ve read, if not the top. It starts a little slow (I actually bought it on Audible in mid 2018 and stopped listening at some point) but about 1/3 of the way in it became an incredibly motivating and inspiring story. Basically, show up and work really hard without making excuses, and good things might happen.

Maid - When I get a new Audible credit I often scan the memoirs section until something catches me eye, and that’s how I found Maid. The story itself was captivating, about a young mom trying to survive as a house cleaner, but it also left me thinking about how I view the cost of labor. Cheap labor comes at the expense of some of the most vulnerable humans.

Nine Perfect Strangers - Loved this one! It was a great pre-bedtime fiction read. Kept me entertained - it follows several couples/singletons during a week at a health spa . Usually I don’t love books with a big cast of characters, but in this one it was easy to keep track of everyone and just enjoyable.

Looking for more book recommendations? Check out:

March 2019 reads
February 2019 reads
January 2019 reads

I would love to know what you are reading in the comments - some of my favorite books have been recommendations from friends!

March Favorites

I’ve only got love for March. We added a couch and a table to our new home, it did not snow, and I took a weekend away from the family for work. Things are very much looking up as spring arrives in Seattle. Here are a few of my favorites from the past month.

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BaBylissPRO Ceramix Xtreme Dryer - My blow dryer had been buzzing and making funny noises for months. Then it started to smell like smoke so I finally decided I should probably stop using it. Based on a recommendation from my hair stylist, I picked up a new one and I am actually excited about it. My hair feels more smooth and soft after a blow dry, but even better, this dryer only takes about the half the time that my old one did. I’ve already recommended to a few friends who are also loving it.

Weezer Teal Album - I am not a music person AT ALL. Typically, I prefer no background noise, including music. Greg introduced me to this album earlier in the month, which is all covers of popular 80s and 90s songs. And I’ve found myself asking Alexa to play it pretty much nightly as I make dinner and eat with the kids. Even the kids enjoy it and hearing them sing a few random words to songs like Africa is pretty hilarious.

Closet Staples Capsule Wardrobe Builder - Back in 2014, for the first time ever, I found a style that fit me well and I felt confident with getting dressed every day. Then I had two kids and I kept telling myself once I lose the weight I’ll dress cute again. Well sometime this month I said EFF THAT, I’m going to feel great now. So I went back to my old friend Alison with Get Your Pretty On to see what she had to offer. In 2014 I used her seasonal capsule wardrobe challenges to find my own sense of style. I was excited to see she had a full year staples challenge and grabbed it immediately. I’m still working on getting the pieces together, but I will for sure be sharing more. I’ve been sharing the process on Instagram.

Costco - We have never really been Costco people. I tried once right before C was born, but we didn’t go much so I never renewed. But now, now my kids eat SO MUCH FOOD. (Sometimes. Sometimes they eat nothing.) We just renewed our membership after two years and have been once. I excited about quite a few things we bought much cheaper than my normal store and I’m working on getting a trip into my rotation once a month. Check out my favorites from our first trip.

QuickBooks Self-Employed by Intuit - If you’re a small business owner, this is a necessary tool. For $5 per month ($10 after the first six months), you can organize all your expenses with zero hassle. For the last almost three years my inbox has filled up with receipt emails that I would eventually have to record and then save a PDF of into a folder for our accountant. Now, I just forward the email to my QuickBooks account and it’s all done for me. This is saving me an hour or two a month plus no more stress as my inbox fills up with receipts that need to be dealt with. This is one thing I really wish I knew about years ago.

March 2019 Book Review

Such a mix of books this month. And six of them! The power of being intentional about reading before bed, reading things I enjoy and skipping books that I just can’t get into, and a weekend away from the kids.

I bought a new business book that I just could not get into, so only read about two chapters of it and not sure I’ll ever finish it. This is why I usually check business type books out of the library first - I find I have a 50/50 chance of wanting to continue on after the first few chapters. But I did enjoy a handful of memoirs and fiction this month, so overall it was a win.

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March Books

How to Walk Away - Love this one! The story of a woman who faces a crushing blow just when everything seems to be lining up perfectly. Loved the characters and the story kept me entertaining and going to bed on time so I could read, which is all I really want from a fiction book.

Boy Erased - My Audible selection this month and I really wanted to like it. It was a random find while searching through memoirs, and I purchased it because I can’t imagine trying to change something fundamental about one of my children. I thought I would get really wrapped up in the story, but I just didn’t. I think it was more about the way the book was written - it jumped around in time - that made it hard to listen to versus read. I couldn’t quite keep track of what was going on and if we were in pre-conversion time or post. I’ve never said this before, but I think I might watch the recent movie because I would love to understand the story more.

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love - I grabbed this off the Peak Perks shelf at the library (new books that you can’t put a hold on) and ended up really enjoying it. It’s the story of a writer who learns out in her early 50s that her father is not actually her bio father. I love how she jumped straight into the story; the memoir is one part exploring her biological family and one part her exploring what her life means if what she held true for 50+ years is not actually true.

The Lost Husband - I reserved this from the library after enjoying How to Walk Away (same author). And I loved it, also. Simple story but with characters I wanted to see happy and again, nice basic fiction that I love reading before bed. I’ll definitely check out more Katherine Center books for enjoyable fiction reads.

A Woman in the Window - I grabbed this at the airport on my way to leadership meetings with Beautycounter and I have mixed feelings. I was entertained and it definitely wasn’t super predictable for me. BUT, I’ve been having some major anxiety issues lately and in hindsight I probably should not have picked up a thriller right now. If you enjoy this type of book, it was very much like The Girl on the Train.

This Will Only Hurt A Little - I’ve been listening to this book for a few months, because after buying it on Audible I quickly realized it was not safe for kids, so it took some time to finish as I’m usually in the car with the kids. I loved Busy Philipps’ take on pretty much everything from motherhood to marriage to work. There are some … mature … stories and she drops the f word basically every paragraph, so might be best to keep this one to yourself. I was highly entertained for most of the book.

Looking for more book recommendations? Check out:

February 2019 read
January 2019 reads

What have you read recently! I don’t have anything on hold at the library right now and would love a few suggestions. We have a flight to Boston later this month (with the kids) and I’m pretending I’m going to get a bunch of reading time. While walking the dog yesterday I found maybe my best Little Free Library find yet, a copy of Glennon Doyle’s Love Warrior, that I’m excited to start tonight.

February 2019 Book Review

February was the month of… I don’t even know. Snowbound, sickness, living in a house with no furniture while snowbound and with sick kids. It wasn’t super fun, but I did stick with my reading intentions and finished a handful of books. Reading was the one thing that I felt like I had control over this month, so I hung on to it for dear life.

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FEBRUARY BOOKS

The Water Cure - This was a random grab at the library and I don’t even know how to describe it. When I got it home and actually read the book jacket, I wasn’t super interested. It’s about three sisters living in a deserted area with their parents who are saving them from the degeneration of the world. I started it anyway and got pulled in. But it was so odd. Sort of dystopian, I guess? It was not my favorite, but I was intrigued enough to read the first 75% just to see what was going to happen. I ended up finishing the last 25% mostly by skimming just because I wanted a basic idea of how it wrapped up. Not on my recommended list.

The Dinner List - I believe this was a recommendation from someone, and my favorite book of the year, so far. The book flips chapters between unfolding a couple’s relationship and the couple attending a dinner party with a few other guests. This book is exactly what I want in fiction - easy to read (I read before bed), but entertaining and a plot that has me looking forward to getting off my computer and going to bed.

The Big Leap - I’ve had this book for years and I’ve started it many times but not been able to get into it. Lately I’ve seen a bunch of friends talk about it, so I forced myself to get a little farther in before quitting. I ended up finishing it, and I definitely took away a few solid personal development nuggets. But it was not the epiphany generating book for me that it has been for some friends. To quickly summarize, it’s about helping you determine ways you might unconsciously be holding yourself back from living your biggest life.

My Story (by Elizabeth Smart) - My Audible selection this month and I loved it. I remember the story well from news coverage, so hearing her tell what went on with her captors for the nine months they held her was fascinating. I also just felt inspired by how resilient she is and how she’s made such a beautiful life for herself. Bonus is that it was read by her, which are my favorite Audible memoirs.

Looking for more book recommendations? Check out my January 2019 reads.

What did you read this month?!

February Favorites

February wasn’t my favorite month and I swear I’ll stop complaining about it soon. But there are some favorites from this month to share, so here we go!

Madewill 10" High Rise Skinny Jean - I know these jeans are old news, but in case anyone else out there is living under a rock like I was, I finally got a pair and now I know why every single woman I know who has had a child recommends these jeans. I was sent a pair in my final StitchFix box and the second I pulled them on, I knew they were it for me. I’ve been trying to snag a second pair on thredUP but they go so fast it’s been impossible. Anyway, they do something with my body, the one that still doesn’t quite feel like mine nearly 2 years after my last baby was born, that makes me feel good.

3 in 30 Podcast - My friend Alexis has been telling me for months that I would love this podcast. And she was right. The whole idea is to give moms three doable takeaways in each episode. And she keeps them to 30 minutes, which means if you listen to them at 1.5 speed like I do, you can actually finish a podcast during an errand drive! I wanted to recommend a few favorites, but I’ve loved all that I’ve listened to.

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Billie Razor Subscription - After using the same disposable razor for a good six months, only throwing it out once I carved up my leg, I ordered the Billie based on a friend’s recommendation. I had to wait about three weeks due to moving and snow to get my razor, and let me tell you it handled my “winter legs” like a champ. I love that it’s aesthetically pleasing in the shower, how well the magnetic holder works - not gimmicky at all, and that I’m all set up to be sent new blades on a schedule. Which has been keeping me true to my shaving goals. Which are not stretch goals by any stretch of the imagination, but I am shaving more consistently and for whatever reason, that makes me feel good.

Hot Yoga - For years I’ve been telling Greg that I think winter in Seattle would be easier for me if I went to hot yoga regularly and was warm from time to time. This year I felt like I finally had the space to make that happen (don’t underestimate postpartum, mamas, this took me 18+ months) and I am so happy I did. Between being warm, making taking care of myself a priority, and getting out of the house occasionally in the evening, it’s been such a winter game changer for me.

Citrus Defender - Have you heard of this new tea from Starbucks? It is so tasty. Because it’s not really tea. It’s half steamed lemonade with hot water, a little honey, and two Defense tea bags. I recommended rerouting to the nearest drive thru.

My 2019 Word of the Year

I’ve been a fan of choosing a word for my year since 2012 or so. I love the idea of thinking about an area in which I want to grow, or maybe a way in which I want to experience my life more than I currently am, and being really intentional about calling it out with a single word.

Some years, the word is with me all year and it drives where I go. Other years, by January 31st I’m not really feeling it and by June I have to think to remember what it is. I never force it, but the years when it clicks, they feel magical in the personal development / living how I want to live my life area.

I know it’s only February, but that’s how I’m feeling about this year. My word is FOCUS. I spent most of November and December last year thinking my word would be ENOUGH, but it never felt quite right, always just a little off. Then in the span of a week, the word FOCUS popped up like three times. And that is exactly what I was feeling.

Actually, what I was really feeling was very unfocused, in many ways. With my family, not feeling present. With my business, feeling like I had moved far from the basics to a point where I was making things more difficult than they need to be. With life in general, feeling stretched too thin and not giving attention to what is important to me.

FOCUS so nicely wrapped up what I wanted for 2019. A year of being incredibly intentional about everything I do. This feels like a growth year for me - not the topic of this post, but my kids are getting a little bit older and we officially do not have a baby, we’re (sort of) settled into our forever house - and it feels like I have the chance to give a little more attention to life outside my family. But I want to be selective about what I’m choosing and being purposeful with my time.

When I chose the word in late 2018, I thought it would be all about:

1) Being present. Focusing on where I am at any given moment. I’m not striving to be perfect, but more time getting on the floor and playing with my kids during mom time, more time spent doing important work, the stuff that grows my business, during work time, etc. Less multi tasking and more jumping all in to whatever I’m doing.

2) Choosing wisely. Focusing on the intentions and goals I set for the year when presented with opportunities or dreaming up new ideas. Not every single thing in my life needs to be aligned with a goal, but when it comes to things that are going to take up more than an hour or two of my time or use brain power, I want to make sure that they are worth the other opportunities that I’ll have to give up in order to commit.

These have both been really helpful as the year has kicked off. I am still not great at turning on mom mode, but when I do find myself trying to rush something or being distracted during imaginary play, I am more able to remind myself to just be still and (try to) enjoy these days. They are going quickly. Likewise, I’m getting much better at filtering what I put on my plate and commit to. I am not good at saying no, but I’ve been practicing it a lot more the last two months and guess what… I’m getting better!

And through the crazy February we had (moving, sickness, so much snow), I can up with a third area for FOCUS:

3) Looking long term. Focusing on the big picture, not the minutiae of the day. Moving in February was not planned until the last week of December and it threw off a lot of plans. But the big picture is that we are going in to March almost wrapped up with moving, versus a 9-12 month remodel we had planned. So yeah, I’ve lost a ton of work time and the kids are out of sorts, but long term this is an amazing move for us. This mindset has triggered into my business as well - minor set backs are to be expected. Nothing great is built quickly and easily. So while some days I might feel defeated, I’ve been trying to journal a little bit to focus on the big picture and how I am making progress towards goals. Minor set backs don’t seem quite so big when I can look back to how far I’ve come in 2.5 years and see where I want to be in another two and a half.

During a very stressful week in February, when my focus was no where to be found, I gifted myself this bracelet from MyIntent. No joke, I considered tattooing FOCUS on my arm when things felt really out of a control, but starting with a bracelet seemed like a wise first move. I’ve been wearing it for about a week and I love it. It really remind me to be mindful of where my focus is and course correct as needed.

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I participate in the MyIntent referral program and the links above are affiliate links.

January 2019 Book Review

Contrary to my personality, this year I’m trying to be more intentional versus goal oriented. I want to be thoughtful about how I spend my time, but not because I’m solely focused on an end result. I’m practicing this both in my life and my business, and one month in, I love it.

One of my big focuses in 2019 is my health. I’m sure many people assume that means a weight loss goal. While it would be a lie if I said I didn’t want to lose a few pounds, that’s not what this is about. I want to work on my anxiety, sleep, online habits, energy, gut health and many other aspects of both mental and physical health.

So what does this have to do with a January book review? For me, being intentional about reading means that I am spending less time online (you can’t scroll IG and read a book at the same time, I’ve tried), getting off my computer earlier to go to bed (the key to this is a really good bedtime book), and I’m sure other habits that I haven’t yet noticed.

I set an intention to read two fiction books (this is primarily what I read before bed), one business or personal growth book (usually in the mornings or when I have down moments during the day), and listen to one audiobook (I’m less likely to glance at my phone at red lights if I have a good book going).

However, I have no goal of reading 48 books this year. I know that it probably is not going to happen and I really don’t care if it does. But I was surprised to read all four in January just by being intentional with my time and choosing to pick up a book more often.

I love hearing book recommendations from others so I thought I’d do a quick post each month to share what I read and what I thought of the books. And this will also keep me committed to reading at least something every month!

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JANUARY BOOKS

My Year of Rest and Relaxation - I grabbed this from the Peak Picks shelf at the library and thought it would be a 365 day memoir (of which I am obsessed) but it was not. It is a fictional book about an UES young woman and I just could not find anything to love about the characters. Maybe I missed something (it does have a 3.75 star rating on Goodreads), but I personally wouldn’t recommend it.

Fangirl - I grabbed this one off the YA shelf while picking books for my kids. Note: February, be more intentional about what I’m actually reading. It was fine. Not amazing, but entertaining and I looked forward to reading it before bed each night. I enjoyed Eleanor and Park more , also by Rainbow Rowell, but definitely recommend this if you enjoy young adult fiction.

The Power of Habit - This book started out so slow. It took me six months of a page or two here and there to make it through the first few chapters. But the meat of the book was really interesting. I loved learning how businesses and brands use our habits to their advantage and I also took way tips for how to change my own habits and look for keystone habits in my life.

Born a Crime - I listened to this on Audible. I’ve found that memoirs are my favorite for audio books. I don’t pay enough attention to fiction and I want to mark up personal growth / business books. But memoirs are perfect for listening while I drive all over Seattle. Anyway, this was all about Trevor Noah’s life growing up in South Africa during and after Apartheid. I really enjoyed it and it opened my eyes to what Apartheid really was, not the very limited knowledge I had of it.

Have you read anything good lately? I would love your suggestions! Need suggestions yourself? I record all my books on Goodreads.