Magical Book Reviews

Over the last month and a half or so I have been making a dedicated effort to get through some of the books on my reading list.

One of the blogs I frequent set a goal earlier this year to read 100 books in 2016. I scoffed. I don’t have time to read and unfortunately it isn’t high on my priority list to make time for either… but then I found audio books. I downloaded the overdrive app on my iPad and have been listening my way through my book list on my commutes and long drives to client appointments, etc., even when I’m cooking or cleaning, I’ve been listening. It’s safe to say I’m hooked. I don’t know that I will get to 100 books, but I will certainly get more read than the one book I finished last year!!

Here is what I’ve been “reading” so far:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo: Y’all know how I feel about this book. I loved hearing Marie Kondo’s philosophy and implementing it in our life. Our condo has never felt so good to come home to, and it really feels like home. There will always be projects to be done and cleaning to do, but we aren’t bursting at the seams anymore and that is HUGE!

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso: Sophia Amoruso is a Bad-ass boss lady. Her story is incredibly inspiring. Her book has been floating around for a while now with a lot of positive response from the bloggers and business babes out there. Last fall I attended a book signing with her, but still hadn’t found the time to actually read the book,  so I decided to add it to my Overdrive list and I have to say it is a good read with great info and tips for anyone, even the boss men out there.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed: I purchased Wild on a whim one night while wandering the isles of Target, and I’m so glad I did. I started reading it right after purchasing and although it was exciting and has a good hook from the beginning, life and clients took the front seat and Wild was put on a shelf until we were Konmari-ing and it came out. I immediately added it to the list and was so glad when it was time to listen. This adventure filled tale of Cheryl Strayed’s trek on the Pacific Coast Trail is one of courage and bravery. I love a good hike, love nature and love getting to know myself better, so this book was meant to be read by me… I don’t think I will be taking the trek myself anytime soon, but it was thrilling to follow along with Cheryl’s adventures… some great lessons were learned. What a great story to feel inspired by… now I want to rent the movie too!

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg: Another empowering boss lady book that has been on my list since it was released. I heard mixed reviews on this one and I think if I had tried to sit down and read it, I would’ve gotten bored and stopped. I’m glad I listened instead because there were some really key points that Sheryl Sandberg touches on in this book. The lessons here are incredible, not just for women in the workforce, but for men and women in general. I think that men reading this book can get a glimpse at what the women in their life are dealing with, and offer up ways to better support them in their goals. I think there are some great points here about time management, setting goals and tearing down barriers. Though I do think the book dragged on a bit longer than it needed to, it was a good balance of anecdotes and advice and it was worth the listen.

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis: While waiting for some books to be available on my list I had some time to listen to something more whimsical. My mom suggested that many of the books I was reading were keeping my brain turned on and although listening to great info is helpful, sometimes you just need to turn it off. So I decided to check out these old classics, I never read the Chronicals of Narnia growing up, and because I enjoyed Harry Potter immensely I thought I might enjoy these… I did enjoy The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, but I drifted off while Prince Caspian played… I didn’t really enjoy it so much… not because it was poorly written or anything like that, but it just didn’t jive with me, so I won’t be listening to the other books in the series anytime soon. That aside, C.S. Lewis’s language is truly an art. The way he describes things is truly beautiful and really sets the scene so you can imagine standing there. I love authors who write with their five senses, they can really capture your mind and take you on a journey with them… for me it makes reading much more enjoyable.

Thrive by Arianna Huffington: This book by far was the favorite one that I listened to in the past month or so. I might just put it back on my list and listen again. Thrive is a great book about balancing your work and life and not just thriving in your career, but thriving as a person going through life. Experiencing what is in front of you, not being constantly plugged in, not losing sleep over something you can do tomorrow, not losing sight of your health, your life and your loved ones. I have been working hard to implement some of the concepts from this book into my life and I have been feeling incredible doing it. It is hard at first to cut the cord but it is amazing to see the difference between a life with your device constantly in your hand and one where you are focused on those in front of you. I can’t really explain it well, but what I can say is that this book is definitely worth the read or listen.

Overall, I think all of these books were worth the “read.” Maybe I’m just happy to have literature re-incorporated into my life and over excited about some of these titles, but I think from the changes that these books (for the most part) have made in my life in just the month or less since finishing them, I would recommend reading them for sure. My heart feels lighter, my home happier, and my workplace more productive. I feel inspired each morning… and who wouldn’t want that?! What are you reading these days? Any good books you could recommend? (Either for more inspo or for some mindless entertainment?) I’d love to know what has to be on my list! Sorry for the insanely wordy post!!! I wish I could send it out over audio so you could listen if you didn’t have time to read!! LOL!

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The Life Changing Magic

So this year one of my goals was to spend more time reading and to make my own home a priority in getting it to the same level of comfort as I work so hard to help my clients get to in their homes.

"The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up", Marie Kondo, KonMari Method, KonMari, LIfechanging Magic, Life Changing, Tidying UP, Organization, Spring Cleaning, Sorting, Home, Japanese art of decluttering, declutter

Well I’m busy, so time to read ends up falling pretty low on the totem pole, but I had heard so much about The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo that I thought maybe that would be a good way to get two birds. Read something that helps me get my own home more in order.

So again, with no time to read, I posted on Facebook about audio book apps and what people thought of them. Most of my friends left comments raving about both Audibles and Overdrive, and I would be willing to try either, however Overdrive is a free service that works in connection with library systems so it is only as good as the library you are linked to and Audibles is a monthly fee for one book per month or a higher fee for multiple books. You can look into more on that here, but I ultimately decided to download Overdrive and connected using my Mom’s library card to start and see about the service.

Her library is amazing and so far has had every title I have searched for and I’m on my third book with more on hold… I might be addicted to audio books. 

That said, the first book we listened to was the life changing magic, to learn the KonMari method. I say we because I wanted to make sure that P and I listened together so that we could work on the process together, sense after all we share the 525SF space equally with equal amounts of possessions that add to our chaos and do not bring us joy.

We started listening to the book on Monday the 18th I want to say. On Friday the 22nd there was a blizzard brewin’ so I stopped at Home Goods on my way home to buy some organizational baskets and things. Friday night we listened to more of the book and Saturday morning we listened throughout brunch until we got to a point where we felt we had heard enough to get the concept and start working on it. (This was about 2/3 through the book where she had completed discussing the order of the process and how the process works, so we were in a good place really to start.)

"The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up", Marie Kondo, KonMari Method, KonMari, LIfechanging Magic, Life Changing, Tidying UP, Organization, Spring Cleaning, Sorting, Home, Japanese art of decluttering, declutter

Everything all laid out, ready to sort. No judgement!

I have to say, at first it was hard and I did end up with a lump in my throat sorting through some items. P and I discussed it and he said that he learned after a few ‘tough’ items to figure out, he realized that he really knew which way he should go on them and some things were just harder to detach from, but if they don’t look good, feel good, etc., then do they really bring you joy just taking up space?

We moved past the hump, finishing our clothes and by Sunday morning our closet was put back together in such a stunning way, and we had rearranged our bedroom minimally but gained so much space in the process! (Can’t wait to share more on this down the road!)

The order that Marie Kondo discusses in her book is first clothing, then books, papers, komono and mementos. Komono is a Japanese term that basically covers all of the miscellaneous items you may have, such as linens, cleaning products, medicines, accessories around the home, kitchen goods (from dishes to the items in your pantry), etc., so this is a vast category to get through.

Sunday we worked through all of our books, then started on the komono (there is a specific list/order to follow mentioned in the book).

Monday after work, we went through our papers, realizing we had skipped this necessary and evil step.

Tuesday we sorted through a few more areas of komono in the morning, and then started taking a few things to the car to donate.

Tuesday night we took out our narrow dresser that had been in our closet along with our old filing cabinet, both now empty, down to the street (in JC if you put any furniture on the curb, people will come pick it up in under 24 hours) and someone else had picked them up by the time I got home from work the next evening. The last few nights and mornings upon coming and going to work, we have taken a few more items and loaded them into the car.

This morning, I took the first car load to the Goodwill Donation Center. In this car-load alone, we donated 10 garbage bags of clothing/shoes/accessories, 2 boxes of ‘komono,’ 2 folding chairs. At home we still have 3 bags of closthing/komono, one box of books and one more folding chair to donate that wouldn’t fit in the car this time around. That and we still have about half of the komono category to go through. Not to mention, we have also taken something like 6 bags down to the garbage and recycling (mostly recycling when we can!) since we started sifting through everything, and we have one stuffed bag to take to the shredder.

Here is what I am feeling throughout this process. First of all, holy shit. How is it possible that we even had so many things just sitting around, stuffed in corners and hidden away in the back of our closet that we truly don’t love?! That in and of itself is crazy. Second of all, I feel amazing. I am starting to feel lighter in my space.

When I would come home from work before, it was always hard for me to feel calm. I always felt like there was something that had to be taken care of because there is always stuff everywhere and surfaces covered. Especially doing what I do I have always felt a bit of guilt that my home doesn’t look and feel as beautiful as my clients do.

Homes should be lived in, and that means they should have stuff. You should have things that are meaningful to you laying out on your surfaces. Things that when you see them bring you joy. But you shouldn’t have a seemingly bottomless pile of junk mail covering a section of your kitchen counter no matter how many times you clear away that section. You shouldn’t have your electronics (laptops, iPads, etc.) just laying around on the coffee table. And you shouldn’t have a pile of miscellaneous crap just sitting on the table for no good reason. For these reasons, I am completely absorbed and invested in the KonMari method. The life changing magic is no joke.

I can feel our life changing. I can feel the weight of the things that don’t matter to us that have been filling our lives being lifted away.

For now, things are still in a state of chaos as we are still sifting through things one day at a time and around the time when we are at work or my client appointments, etc., because this takes time. The more you have, the longer it can take. In the book Marie Kondo says that it can take up to 6 months for some people… I’m aiming to be done in less than one just because I don’t do well with things up in the air-I need some sense of finality, but I also want it to be done right, so we will get it done when we can.

We have still been listening to the book and are just about finished with it. I have started to get really excited about what this ‘life change’ means for us moving forward. I think we will be so much more comfortable and relaxed in our home.

I will report back once we are truly finished with the process and the book as a whole, but I had to share what we have been up to and how amazing it has been so far. It is certainly not easy, and I wouldn’t recommend starting the process without considering what it means and if you are really mentally/emotionally/physically ready for the grueling process. I also have to say that having your spouse (or house-mates) on board is HUGE. For me, knowing that P is in this with me has been so wonderful. I feel supported and that it is a joint effort to move forward with a tidier lifestyle, and thus I feel my efforts are not wasted but matched.

Have you heard all the rage on the KonMari method and this book? Do you buy it? Do you want to try it? If you have questions, chime in in the comments section, I’m happy to help if I can!

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My Fall Reading List

I can’t even tell you what the last book I read cover to cover was, and that, my friends, is a bit embarrassing. When I was a kid, I hated reading. These days, I love diving into a good book. In fact, I have a few good books I’ve started in the last year that I just haven’t had time (or made time) to pick up again. Hopefully that will all change this fall as I will make time to put reading back into my rotation of activities.

Jersey City Public Library

I’m thinking we need to go check out our local Jersey City Library and get some library cards. I love libraries. They smell like old books, they are calm and quiet — the perfect place to go to find some peace and take a break from it all while you get lost in a good book.

I wish I could say my fall reading list was a bit more exciting, but I think I really just want to read some women empowerment books, the ones that fall into the “self-help” for business entrepreneurs category.

Here is the list:

  1. #GIRLBOSS. I know I know, I am probably the last of the blogger people with an entrepreneurial mindset to not have read this yet… so I’m going, I’m going.
  2. You Are a Badass. I have followed a few gals that have read this and it seems like a good one to dive into, and let’s face it, I really am a badass, right?? (I think if I have to ask, the answer is probably not.)
  3. Big Magic. I am an Elizabeth Gilbert fan, one of my all time favorite books was Eat, Pray, Love, so how could I pass up her insight on “creative living beyond fear?”

What books are on your list this fall? Anything falling into the more fun fictional category? Maybe I will get to some of those too, but let’s be honest, I really would be happy if I could get to pick up and read through even one of the books on my list!

(Image Credit: NJ.com)