Five Random Things, Two Random Books

I didn’t post last week because I didn’t finish any books and then about halfway through the week I was like, “Okay, but that has literally never stopped you before???” And I seriously don’t know what I was thinking but it was so ridiculous that I had to tell you all.

I mean, it’s certainly not like other stuff didn’t happen. So here’s a list because honestly my brain is kind of mush.

1. I finally got DDR–yes, Dance Dance Revolution–for my Xbox, so have been playing it almost every day. The thing about DDR is that the songs are the most important and the Xbox has the worst options for songs, I swear. They only have one DDR game with a good tracklist. All of the other ones have weird Japanese songs with NO BEAT. My daughter was watching me play, and I kept missing the arrows and she asked me “Does the pad not work?” and I was like, “No, these dumb songs have no beat.” The proof is that I did just fine on both “Dancing Machine” and “Conga.” So anyway, I need a PlayStation to get a version of the game with a better tracklist.

I did, of course, buy the version with the good tracklist and have been crushing those songs, thank you very much. But only on basic because that’s just who I am.

2. My daughter went back to campus for spring semester. She’s doing well.

Continue reading “Five Random Things, Two Random Books”

#AMonthofFaves 2020: Popular Books Worth the Hype

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That’s right: A Month of Faves is back, hosted by Tanya and Kim over at Girlxoxo. As of this writing, the official post isn’t up on the website yet, but the prompts are posted on Kim’s Instagram.

Continue reading “#AMonthofFaves 2020: Popular Books Worth the Hype”

Plays and Marie Kondo

School starts today, and I am about 75% ready. More importantly, though, I’m requiring one of my classes to blog every week, so I figured I better get back into it myself post haste.

Here’s what happened since my last update:

1. I won the lottery to see the touring production of Frozen, which means I got to see it for $29 (once the fees were added in). My seat was to the side of the stage so some of the action was cut off, but for $25, I have so few complaints. It was a lot of fun, and it was interesting to see how they changed the production to make it work on stage (rearranging scenes, adding scenes, more songs, different ways of getting the characters in the same room, etc.). The biggest change was that they made Elsa and Anna’s dad less terrible than he is in the movie, though he’s still not great. Oh, and Elsa’s motivations and fears are just a little bit clearer.

The best part was probably the young woman behind me who LOST HER MIND when “Let It Go” started. The gasp of joy she let out when those first few notes started was just such a highlight. (It also helped me forgive her for singing along with the other songs prior to that–just a little.)

Continue reading “Plays and Marie Kondo”

I love Dulé Hill. That is all.

Hello, I am doing a reading deprivation again. It’s only the first full 24 hours. It sucks. The only reading I am doing is the reading I have to do for my online class. Also, my daughter is applying to study abroad programs, so I am reading her essays. Since classes start next week, I have put very clear boundaries around how long I can work on course prep since, yes, most of what I’m reading for that is my own notes but also some of it is the course texts. I won’t complain (much) since no one is forcing me to do this, but also: boo.

Besides finishing some books, the most important thing that happened this past week is that I went to see Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole, which was just…whew.

Continue reading “I love Dulé Hill. That is all.”

It’s Monday! What are you reading? on an actual Monday! + #AMonthofFaves

Wow, so much happened in the past week that I don’t know where to begin.

1. The big thing is that the semester ended! I gave final exams, I graded graded graded and then graded some more.

end of semester bingo

My friend sent me the end of semester bingo card from social media, and I asked her if every square could be “Grading until you cry” and “more grading.” Because that was my main mood.

Oh, and also this:

Continue reading “It’s Monday! What are you reading? on an actual Monday! + #AMonthofFaves”

It’s Monday! I finally finished Necessary Endings!

This past week, I finished:

Demigods & Magicians: Percy and Annabeth Meet the KanesDemigods & Magicians: Percy and Annabeth Meet the Kanes by Rick Riordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Even though I didn’t finish The Kane Chronicles, I really like Carter and Sadie, so it was nice to spend some time with them without all the extra that comes with their series. It’s always fun to see characters from different stories interacting with each other, and seeing the similarities of Percy to Sadie and Annabeth to Carter was extra fun. So yeah, I really liked this.

View all my reviews


Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move ForwardNecessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward by Henry Cloud
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Me: I have been reading this book forever. I am going to finish it today because I am sick of saying I’m still reading it.

Mom: Sounds like you need to make a necessary ending on that book.

Me: Yes, exactly.

There is a lot of really useful and helpful information in this book, and I got a lot out of it. Most of it is stuff I had already learned, but I did learn some new strategies and think about some situations differently, both in the NE group I was in that made me decide to read the book and in the book itself. For example, I learned that I didn’t actually hate my job; I was just burnt out so needed to end some of the practices around it. I also had to make a personal necessary ending, which I probably wouldn’t have cast in those terms before. So, you know. Useful.

I think it took me so long because the writing is kind of dry and I kept reading it right before bed. Also, I lost the book for about a week, which didn’t help with the whole finishing it part. But it’s done now, and that’s all that matters.

If you’re trying to figure out how to end something you know you need to but don’t know how, this book may be helpful to you and I recommend it.

View all my reviews


Last week, I posted:

More A to Z!

[wrap-up-posts week=”16″ year=”2016″ category=”Blogging A to Z” listtype=”ul”]


As of today, I’m reading:


I’m still making my way through Furiously Happy which is funny so far, and I can see why it strikes a chord with my daughter. I started Alex + Ada Vol. 2 today and should also be getting to Scrum later this week. Of course this is my insane grading week (end of term! finals!) so we’ll see how far I get with any of those.


Hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. Children's lit version hosted by Jen Vincent @ Teach Mentor Texts & Kellee Moye @ Unleashing Readers.
Hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. Children’s lit version hosted by Jen Vincent @ Teach Mentor Texts & Kellee Moye @ Unleashing Readers.

Happy reading, everyone!

Recommendation Wednesday: The Artist’s Way

This book changed my life.

I mentioned in my musings on what I might do for my artist date that I was working through the book because I assigned it to my creative writing class and thought it might be a good idea to know what, exactly, I was asking them to do. I really wasn’t prepared for the impact this book would have on me.

The two biggest tools of the book are completing the morning pages and going on the artist date. That’s where I found the impact and the transformation. Well, those two tools and the reading deprivation during Week 4.

Basically, how the book works is that each week you read a chapter, write the morning pages, take yourself on an artist date, and complete some (or all) of the tasks at the end of the chapter. Repeat until the book is complete. Twelve chapters = twelve weeks.

How did it change my life?

The biggest deficit in my life is in the area of self-care. I suck at it. It is legit the hardest thing I do. What the morning pages and the artist date do is privilege self-care. Since I committed to completing the book, I committed to doing the work. (I am nothing if not a good student.) Doing the work meant writing the pages and going on the date. Every week.

I should note, though, that I rarely, if ever, wrote the morning pages in the actual morning. Even though Cameron says several times that it should be done before starting your day, that is not realistic for me. In fact, that’s what kept me from completing the book last time. Once I gave myself permission to just treat the morning pages as daily pages, finishing the work became manageable. I have done a lot of work on my perfectionism in the past few years, so understanding that I could do the pages imperfectly was key. Also, let’s be real: getting up a half-hour early is antithetical to my self-care.

Harder than the pages for me was the artist date. I had to start really small. Watching an hour of TV without doing anything else (like folding or separating clothes). Coloring at my dining room table. Going to the movies. However, as I kept with it, I started doing other things, bigger things. I went to plays. I took a West African dance class. I took a jazz dance class. I started planning other creative and fun things I could do with my time. Now it feels almost second nature to say yes to activities I would have previously told myself I didn’t have time for. I have made it a habit to sit down and watch TV shows I like because I like to watch them. I’m not too busy for the things I actually enjoy doing. It makes it a lot easier to do work or be creative when I know I’m not depriving myself of fun stuff.

Life is meant to be an artist date.

I will also note that I started The Artist’s Way in the summer when I wasn’t working. Completing the pages and the date became more difficult once school started back. But I kept at them.

The reading deprivation also marked a key point in my recovery (as the book calls it). I got a LOT of clarity. For one, I realized that part of the reason I was blocked (I haven’t written anything in years) was that I wasn’t interested in the type of writing I had told myself I needed to be doing or was interested in. I was, as they say, should-ing on myself, which kept me from doing what I wanted to do. The other major thing that happened during my deprivation is that I cleaned my room, set up an office, and opened up space for what I want my life to be.

So, yeah. Big changes.

I absolutely recommend this book for blocked creatives with the understanding that it is definitely not for everyone. The subtitle is “A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity,” after all. For anyone resistant to ideas of spirituality or discussions/mentions of God (though Cameron does point out that you don’t have to believe in any god to use the book and gives suggestions for what word to replace God with as you read, e.g., “creative force” or “good orderly direction” among others), probably you might not be as open to some of the suggestions or language Cameron uses. However, if you are willing or able to look past that language, I think there’s a lot of value here.

And, of course, if you are willing to do the work.

Book Review: Intuitive Eating

The more satisfied you are when eating, the less you will think about food when you are not hungry–you will no longer be on the prowl.

I’m going to give a little background for why, exactly, I read this book just to give an idea of why it impacted me so much. I don’t normally get this personal on the blog, so bear with me.

I was doing a lot of compulsive, emotional eating and, when I stopped doing that, I realized that I had a lot of fear around food—about eating the right food or about eating too much or not enough. In fact, I felt like I was constantly undereating and misjudging how much food I needed. I would pack what I thought was a good lunch only to get to work and realize that one small porkchop and one sweet potato were somehow, surprisingly, not enough to get me through the rest of the day. And that was happening more often than I would like. In my quest not to overeat, I had gone a little bit too much the other way and was at a loss for how to make sure I was getting enough food.

Intuitive Eating by by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch

Tracking my food (through all the various means) makes me crazy and kind of obsessive, so I knew I needed a professional. Hence, I contacted a dietitian.

During our first session, she told me that she promotes permissive eating and told me to read Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. So I did. And I can honestly say this book changed my life.

(Note: I read the second edition of the book. There’s a new third edition available.)

Let me say up front that I had heard the phrase “intuitive eating” before, but it never occurred to me that there might be a book on it or that it had a basis in anything other than some idea of what/how people should eat. I mean, it just sounds like the sort of thing that makes sense. Of course I need to eat intuitively! So I would say that and not really understand what it meant.

Basically, the point of intuitive eating is that you stop relying on external cues for hunger/fullness, and you start learning and listening to your body’s cues for hunger/fullness. It moves everything from your head (i.e., I should/shouldn’t eat x, y, z) to your actual body.

In other words, stop dieting. But they don’t just say “stop dieting.” They also give research that shows the effects of dieting on physical and mental health. And they show you exactly how intuitive eating works and how to start doing it.

(They also don’t refer to sweets as “junk food” but instead as “play food.” Junk = bad, see? Ah, the power of language.)

So how did this book change my life?

  • I have stopped having guilt around when/how I eat. (Although I never thought of food as “good” or “bad,” I kept feeling bad if I got hungry before a certain amount of time.)
  • My relationship to the gym has completely changed. Because—just like with food—if I  move the focus to how exercising makes my body feel instead of the fact that I should be doing it, then I can focus on doing it because I want to. For example, I recently added in resistance training with the weight machines again because I remembered that I liked how strong I felt when I did it–and not because that’s what you’re supposed to do to lose weight (which is why I did it in the past). I have stopped thinking so much about losing weight and more about what makes me feel good.
  • I am still working with the dietitian to recognize my hunger cues and to learn how to tell I’ve had enough food for the activities I have scheduled for any given day. (None of these methods include counting calories.)

Some other thoughts:

My mom has diabetes and wants to read this book, so I was thinking about how this book would apply to her situation. I think the general principle is the same even with the restrictions diabetes (or another health condition) brings. Because if I know a food makes me feel physically bad when I eat it, then I figure out either how I can have that food without it making me feel physically bad or I find something else I want to eat. (Geneen Roth tried to make this point in Women Food and God, but she used a lot of foofy language to do so.)

Also, if someone has a serious eating disorder, the book offers lots of resources for finding help and support.

In conclusion: I recommend the book, definitely. The book is super accessible, easy to  read, and, most importantly, practical.

Some other reviews:

Source: Library

Book Review: Permission Slips

So write yourself a permission slip to see the funny part first. Misery is patient, and will wait.

Permission Silps by Sherri ShepherdPermission Slips by Sherri Shepherd is so FUN. I know Sherri as a co-host on The View and Tracy’s wife on 30 Rock, but I didn’t know she’s a comedian, and I didn’t know that she is funny. SHE IS FUNNY. I spent a lot of this book cracking up at how ridiculous she is–in the best possible way.

The book combines memoir with self-help (my two favorites!). The framework for the book is that Sherri gives advice on how to handle all the crazy life throws at you, and she does that by sharing her own experiences. She talks about her relationships with her friends, family, God, religion, and her co-workers. She also, of course, addresses that time she made her infamous “the world is not round” flub on The View. Nothing is off limits, which is part of the book’s charm.

The funniest bits have to do with her struggle with food/diabetes and her dating exploits. Part of what makes the book fun is that Sherri recognizes her own flaws and is willing to share how complicit she was in her own crazy. One of my favorite anecdotes is the one she tells about a dude who she was in the process of dumping (in the most passive aggressive of ways) (i.e., she had started dating someone else and ignoring this dude whenever he called) who came and essentially kidnapped her from the hairdresser, and she was so elated that she made this man crazy that she stayed with him even longer than she should have–but that’s because she had a hard time saying no to people. Completely nuts, but she recognizes how nuts she was, so that makes it okay to laugh. Plus, she’s telling the reader not to be as crazy as she was.

While I enjoyed the funny bits a lot, she also included a lot of sad/poignant parts, especially when talking about the birth of her son who was in the NICU and that she and her ex-husband considered removing from life support.

I mean, I almost cried when I got to this bit:

Later, Jeff told me that when he prayed, he told God that he’d take whatever he could get. “Lord, if You just bless my baby to stay alive, whatever package he comes in, I’ll accept and be as happy as I could be. If he’s in a wheelchair, I’ll take him in a wheelchair to the football game. I don’t care how he comes wrapped. I accept the package.”

COME ON. I am not made of stone.

Ultimately, though, Sherri’s memoir/self-help book gives a lot of insight into how she broke into the business, how she keeps her head on straight, and why making mistakes is okay.

For me, this was a surprisingly fun read. I just saw it on the shelf at the library and picked it up. I didn’t even think I would like it. But I did. And I can recommend it to anyone who wants to read something fun.

Source: Library

Mini Book Reviews: Self-Help

The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson: The extreme art of self-care means doing things that make you happy. Period. In this book, Richardson offers up twelve ways to practice self-care, one for each month. I didn’t follow this as a monthly program. Instead I read it straight through (a practice Richardson encourages). If I were doing it right, I would then pick one way each month to improve my self-care. The good thing is that you don’t have to do the steps/ways in order; you do them in the way that you need to. The biggest take away from this book is that, yes, I do have permission to take time for myself and to place my own well-being above other people’s. I really need to buy this book.

Source: Library

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey: Money stresses me out. Well, it used to. Since money was a huge source of stress for me, it became an issue of self-care, so I decided I needed to figure out how to make it less of an issue. I don’t remember where I read/heard about Ramsey’s book, but whatever I read/heard compelled me to check it out.

I have to say, I like it a lot, and it has already changed my life. Even though I have read other money management books, I think the biggest difference with this book is that it told me what to do right now and what order to go in to get my money right. Most other books say what you should do with your money and how you should manage it and invest in this and that, etc. But I never had enough to get to those later steps, so never really knew where/how to start. With Ramsey’s plan, he’s pretty straightforward with his seven baby steps: save up a (small) emergency fund, then pay down your debt, then do the big emergency fund, then invest. I find that approach very helpful because I was trying to do everything at once, and it just wasn’t working.

The biggest, biggest help for me is the zero-balance budget. Changed my life.

So, basically, I love anything with a to-do list. Oh, and my parents are reading it now.

Source: Library