Hi friends! I hope you’re week is going amazing! I can’t believe we’re already this far into February with Valentine’s Day just around the corner! At the beginning of this year, I cancelled my cable. I’d been thinking about doing it for a long time and honestly, I don’t miss it! There’s still plenty of watching options available since I have Netflix, Amazon Prime Video (Mad Men is on there;) and YouTube.
I do love HGTV, Bravo and Food Network, so if I really end up missing those networks, I can always subscribe to Hulu in the future. My friend Tisha was laughing at me, how would I be able to live without Real Housewives?!?! but I kinda got bored with them awhile ago anyway. I actually forgot about my lack of cable until the afternoon of the Super Bowl. Oops!
Top • Joggers (*bedroom links here)
My reason for cancelling was to lessen the amount of TV I’m watching, to read more books, and hey, it’s always good to save some money.
In January, I read so many books and it was awesome to just have some quiet in the house. I usually read before bed, but during the weekends, I’ll read anytime. Our afternoons tend to be pretty quiet, so that’s a perfect time to curl up with a book and relax.
I also cancelled my kindle subscription since I find that I prefer holding a book in my hands. I often highlight passages (you can do that on Kindle too), but it just isn’t the same.
What do you prefer?
I like that my kids see me reading more too, since they often learn by example.
The books I enjoy reading tend to be self-help and productivity based. I’d like to start adding fiction into my reading, and y’all gave me a great list of recommendations, I’ll list below.
Mug • Diffuser • Tray • Reading Glasses *a necessity now!
In January, with a fresh, clean start on my min as well as being intrigued by minimalism, organization and decluttering books are what I focused on. Depending on what I’m reading, I might have two books going at the same time.
BOOKS I’VE READ SO FAR IN 2021
This is the follow up to Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I devoured that first book and found it so practical and useful. You cannot read that book without wanting to get up and immediately start decluttering your house! Spark Joy expands on the first book, with more details and illustrations.
Reading this book I finally had the “ah-ha” moment about what “Sparks Joy.”
I think what confuses most of us is how are we supposed to keep things that spark joy when, for example, a toothbrush might not spark joy but it’s necessary for daily life.
Well you know what? I realized that you don’t have to use a toothbrush you don’t enjoy the look or feel of. You can have a toothbrush you enjoy using. I now only use the pens I love to use. You saw them in my kitchen drawer.
I’m finding this with more and more things in my home. From the shampoo bottles I use, to my cleaning supplies. I can pretty them up in a way that absolutely does spark joy when I look at and use them! And you can also just be thankful for those things because they help your life run smoother.
This tiny attitude shift has made a big difference in my life.
“If you feel anxious all the time but are not sure why, try putting your things in order. Hold each thing you own in your hands and ask yourself whether or not it sparks joy. Then cherish the ones that you decide to keep, just as you cherish yourself, so that every day of your life will be filled with joy.”
I’ve heard so many good things about Ryan Holiday’s book and this is my first one. This book is divided into three parts: mind, spirit and body and seeks to explain why slowing down and being still is essential to our health and well-being.
I’m not a huge history buff, but I really enjoyed how he weaved stories of history throughout the book to illustrate his points. After reading this book, I felt like I needed to re-read it to really take in all of the points.
“We have to get better at thinking, deliberately and intentionally, about the big questions. On the complicated things. On understanding what’s really going on with a person, or a situation, or with life itself. We have to do the kind of thinking that 99% of the population is just not doing, and we have to stop the destructive thinking that they spend 99% of their time doing.”
Redirecting Children’s Behavior
My Grandma Nola was right! Parenting starts with taking care of ourselves. Of course when we are overworked and overtired, our fuse is shorter and we are likely to lose our temper or react in negative ways.
There’s great, practical advice in this book and I liked how it applies to older children, not just toddlers. The chapter on teaching kids responsibility was especially good.
The part about genuine encounter moments (GEMs) really stuck with me. A genuine encounter moment is focused attention where you aren’t just together physically, but your attention and focus is on your child. If you have several GEM’s each day, you’ll notice a big improvement in your relationship. Also, when kids get this kind of attention, they are less likely to use miss behavior to get our attention.
For Jordan (age 4), we do “Special Mama Jordan Time” several times a day for 10-15 minutes. She gets to choose whatever we are doing and I really focus on her, without being distracted. Since we’ve been doing this, she has stopped begging with me to play with her all day long. And I enjoy this time together so much.
With James (he’s 10), we have specific “tuck in time” where we just chat about his day or whatever comes up.
“The way we parent will, to a large extent, determine the future of our society. We have a choice: to parent in a way that teaches our children to be uncooperative, self-serving, irresponsible, and unconnected, or to raise children who hold values deeply, are compassionate, and maintain and nurture close relationships. The choice is ours.”
I stumbled upon this book in the bookstore, and while it’s out of my comfort zone, I was so intrigued. This is a how-to book for creating a natural, low waste home. This woman has been at it for so long that she composts, makes her own household cleaners and natural remedies, as well as reuseable kitchen staples.
Even if this is extreme, it did get me thinking about my own waste and how I can be better about conserving. It’s also worth noting that the book is beautiful and written in such a loving, non-judgemental way. I really admire people who live like this.
“I like to think this is a book your grandmother could have given you. Chock-full of tips, recipes, and remedies, this book is her hand held out, sharing what in her day felt ordinary but seems extraordinary today. Of course, she didn’t write this book – she lived it. As for me, I had to learn it first, then live it, and only then start to write it down, all while striving for a simple, slow, sustainable life in line with the principles of zero waste.”
Beautifully Organized: A Guide to Function and Style in your home
I’ve been a long time fan of Nikki’s YouTube channel and her book is an extension of the beautiful cleaning and organizing videos she shares on her channel. I’m already pretty organized, but this book gave me another boost of motivation and her chapter on the office was just in time. I do need to get our life documents in order – making sure I have our birth certificates, social security cards, passports in one place. I also need to create a Will.
“My goal with this book is to inspire you to think of home organization not as a task, but as a wonderful opportunity to cultivate a beautiful environment and wonderful experiences for anyone who enters your home. Simply put, I want you to fall in love with your home.”
The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything you own
What drove me to declutter a massive amount of inventory from my house in the last year was exactly the type of situation Joshua Becker talks about in the beginning of this book.
It was a holiday weekend and he decided to clean out the garage. As he was stuck wading through mountains of stuff, his young son kept popping in, asking him to play, but there was so much to go through, that the dad kept putting the son off, telling him, “later”.
I’ve had that experience in the past also and it really sucks. I never want my things to ‘own me’ to the point where I’m spending more time caring for, cleaning, and organizing my things, than I am spending time with my friends and family, or even myself.
If you are interested in living a more minimal life, I highly recommend this book.
On the heels of The More of Less, I was really thinking, “Can I become a minimalist? Do I have too many things? Is it bad to have things just for the sake of enjoyment?” I appreciated the freedom that came with Clea and Joanna’s permission to own things. They literally say in big, bold letters : IT’S OKAY TO OWN THINGS.
“We are so proud of everyone’s efforts to declare their homes. It’s a critical piece of the organizing process. Once you edit your items using the criteria on page 20, what’s left are the items that matter to you (that plunger might even matter one day). And so you should feel absolutely no guilt about owning the items that comprise your life.”
This book is beautiful, practical, hilarious, and full of inspiring images that make you want to put the book down and go organize your junk drawer STAT!
I actually reread this one, it’s a classic and such a quick, easy read. It may contain the MOST USEFUL pieces of advice for GSD!
“The ability to concentrate single-mindedly on your most important task, to do it well and to finish it completely, is the key to great success, achievement, respect, status, and happiness in life. This key insight is the heart and soul of this book.”
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*My mom borrowed The More of Less, so it isn’t pictured.
MORE BOOKS ON MY LIST
The next books I’m planning on reading are:
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
Five Love Languages of Children
BOOKS I’VE READ & RECOMMEND
The books below are some of my faves and I may re-read!
YOUR FICTION RECOMMENDATIONS
I asked y’all for your fiction recommendations and I’m so happy to hear what y’all enjoyed. I definitely want to add in more “pleasure reading” to my routine. If you have recommendations, please leave them in the comments!
The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
The Lies that Bind by Emily Giffin
The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
The Things We Can Not Say by Kelli Rimmer
Troubles in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare
Until next time, you can always see what books I’m reading on my Amazon Bookstore.
Have a fantastic day friends! See you back here tomorrow with a brand new Dressing Room post!
Added so many of these to my Amazon cart! You should check out:
The Couple Next Door
For the Love
The Last Mrs Parrish
Behind Closed Doors
Elin Hilderbrand’s Winter Series (starts with Winter Street)
Great list, Megan! Currently needing some GSD inspo, so I’ve got Eat That Frog on my nightstand! I have a goal to read more parenting books too- it’s amazing when you put some of the tips into action how much of a difference it makes.
We cut the cable a long time ago. With all the snow and COVID restrictions we needed more than Netflix or Hulu (we switch between having on or the other often). We download PHILO. You get a good bit of channels (HGTV is my fave) and it’s only 20.00 a month. You can search for apps that have Bravo and HGTV. Maybe there is a cheaper alternative to cable!
I rent ebooks from the library. Free and easy!
We just the cable almost 2 years ago…can’t believe it’s been that long. I use Philo (only $20 / month) for all the boutique channels that I loved on cable. You will love Troubles in Paradise, which is the third in the series. Start with the first in the series, Winter in Paradise. It will make more sense to you if they’re read in order. Her Winter series, starting with Winter Street are great also.
While they aren’t fiction books, I can highly recommend any of the books by Sophie Hudson or Melanie Shankle. Women who tell stories of their lives. Always with a Christian heart and, at times even more importantly, the humor we should all see in our daily “real life” struggles. I have loved every one of their books, and have gifted most of them to friends!
Loved this post. Picked up Eat That Frog yesterday. SO glad that you did this list as I always love hearing what people are reading, learning about, or being inspired by. Wouldn’t it be fun to do a book club? Thank you!!!!
I read Elin Hildebrand’s 28 Summers while I had Covid and really enjoyed it. Just finished Matthew McConaughey’s Greenlights and was pleasantly surprised by it! I’ve always loved him but had no idea how intelligent, deep, articulate and spiritual he is. Plus if you’re a Texan he is so relatable. lol