books | march 2017

Here’s a look at what I read in March:

The Carnivorous Carnival (A Series of Unfortunate Events #9) | Lemony Snicket
The Slippery Slope (A Series of Unfortunate Events #10) | Lemony Snicket
The Grim Grotto  (A Series of Unfortunate Events #11) | Lemony Snicket
The Penultimate Peril  (A Series of Unfortunate Events #12)Lemony Snicket
The End  (A Series of Unfortunate Events #13)Lemony Snicket

This month was young adult series month, it seems! Finished the Series of Unfortunate Events books – my first time reading them. I can imagine devouring these as a kid and loving the three Baudelaires. Looking forward to watching the new Netflix series now that I’ve read all 13 books! These are written in such a fun style and the ending tied the series up in a very satisfying bow.

Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise, Part 1, 2, and 3 | Gene Luen Yang
Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Search, Part 1, 2, and 3 | Gene Luen Yang
Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Rift, Part 1, 2, and 3 | Gene Luen Yang
Avatar: The Last Airbender – Smoke and Shadow, Part 1, 2, and 3 | Gene Luen Yang
Avatar: The Last Airbender – North and South Part 1, and 2 | Gene Luen Yang

Matthew and I recently watched the entirety of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Surprisingly enough to pretty much everyone I talked to about it, this was my first time watching the show (I’m late to most things). We found out there was a comic book series and quickly reserved all 14  of them from the library and flew through them. So fun, especially after the sadness of finishing the show. North & South Part 3 comes out later in April!

Truly Madly Guilty | Liane Moriarty

My one novel for the month! I loved Big Little Lies so I was super excited to read another Moriarty. This one was definitely good, I’m just not sure I love how it ended, order-wise. But all-in-all a great page turner that I enjoyed after so many series reads.

Read Together:

Out Of The Silent Planet (Space Trilogy #1) | C.S. Lewis
Perelandra ( Space Trilogy #2) | C.S. Lewis 

Matthew reads to me every night before bed and it’s one of the things I look forward to most each day. We’re currently working our way through C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy and finished Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra in March. A fun, weird, and heady trilogy worth checking out if you’re a fan of sci-fi and/or C.S. Lewis.



On Deck
That Hideous Strength (Space Trilogy #3) | C.S. Lewis
Scot Pilgrim vs. The World series | Bryan Lee O’Malley
It Was Me All Along | Andie Mitchell
Simply Tuesday | Emily P. Freeman
Married And Still Loving It | Gary Chapman & Harold Myra
The Best Yes | Lysa TerKeurst
Wild and Free | Jess Connolly & Hayley Morgan

More graphic novels and some popular reads that I’ve seen circulating the blogger scene + a couple randoms I selected off the library shelf.

Want more? Follow along with me on Goodreads!

I’d love to hear what you’re reading!

books | march 2017

blog-tember day 26 // reading list!

books on deck

Saturday, Sept. 26: What’s on your to-reading list, and what have you recently read? 

Over the summer I tore through my reading list due to the combination of setting a reading goal for the year + getting my library card. In the past month I’ve kind of fell off my train, but I’m hoping to jump back on. Here’s what I’ve got on deck:

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & The Olympians) by Rick Riordan I really do love a good young adult book and I’ve been wanting to read this series for a while, so I requested the first one at the library and here we are!

The Unveiled Wife by Jennifer Smith Matthew bought this book for me as a gift and I’m looking forward to reading it and working through the questions. The Smith’s testimony is pretty crazy and their open + honest conversation about it is inspiring.

The Love Dare by brothers Alex & Stephen Kendrick I picked this up at a used bookstore and wanted to start it 40 days before our first anniversary but didn’t (whoops). This book is essentially a daily devotional + dare to love your spouse especially well in a particular way/area.

Margin – Richard A. Swenson | I received this book as a Christmas gift and I’ve recently heard great things about it so I’m looking forward to reading it.

Outlander – Diana Gabaldon This is one of those books that seems to be making the rounds in the circles I follow so I thought I’d give it a go myself.

The Host – Stephanie Meyer I picked this up for cheap at a used book store. In spite of it being written by the author of the Twilight Saga, I’ve heard good things which intrigued me enough to give it a try.

Yes, Please – Amy Pohler Another one of the insanely popular reads lately. I’ve been on the library’s wait list for months.

The Maze Runner – James Dashner The girl I did tutoring + after school care for was reading this book and telling me all about it so I figured, why not!

I’m using GoodReads to track my reading goal process and I only need to read four more books by the end of the year to complete it!

Of my recent reads my favorite were:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo | if you’re thinking about reading this, do yourself a favor and just buy it. It’s worth the ten bucks to get your life in order.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling This was such a fun read, especially while also watching The Office in the evenings. This book made me an official Mindy Fan.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple | This was also a really fun read for me. It was quirky and tragic and REALLY made me want to go on a cruise to Antarctica.

Bossypants by Tina Fey This was another fun one for me. It was especially fun because I started watching 30 Rock around the time I read it. Loved it & love Tina Fey.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel A suuuuper good sci-fi/end of the world novel. No zombies! I also really liked the set up and story telling from various people’s perspectives [I should really know the term for that]. I would definitely recommend this one.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty This book is thick but I tore through it because I couldn’t put it down. Set in Australia, it is about the mom politics of grade school and relationships in general.

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp A mighty popular read and I can see why. This book might not be for everyone, but the core message is: thankfulness. I know some have a hard time with the language and way this book is written, but the English Major in me loved it. It almost reads like poetry and there’s at least one reason to highlight something on every page.

What about you? Favorites? Recommendations? I’d love to get some more suggestions!

Brave Love Blogday 25: three songs
day 24: favorite blog[ger]s
day 23: guest post!
day 22: getting creative
day 21: favorite quote[s]
day 20: guilty pleasures
day 19: best day
day 18: vlog!
day 17: current obsession
day 16: me vs. me
day 15: in my bag
day 14: five books
day 13: current season
day 12: currently…
day 11: friday night
day 10: bucket list
day 9: dear me,
day 8: favorite season
day 7: blog name
day 6: style
day 5: itunes shuffle
day 4: passions
day 3: mood board
day 2: ideal day
day 1: introductions

blog-tember day 26 // reading list!

blog-tember day 14 // five books

Monday, Sept. 14: The 5 books that have impacted your life the most.

Ahhhh, books. One of the best companions. I am so thankful that I adopted a love of reading early on and that I finally got my new library card a few months ago. Books definitely shape us and these are five that have impacted me.

Little House Boxed Set1. The Little House On The Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder | These books are some of the first I remember reading once I started reading independently. They are absolute classics and what sparked much of my love of reading. Growing up on a big piece of farmland, these books were imagination fuel for hours of outdoor play with my sisters. We had so much fun building forts and gathering pretend food. These books are magical to me and I would love to add a boxed set to my [KonMarie-d] bookshelf. There are so many books I remember reading and loving growing up [The Chronicles of Narnia!, Misty of the Chincoteague books!], but the Little House books are my first love.

study2. The Bible & Bible Studies by Beth Moore | For Christians, one would hope the Bible would make the list of books that have impacted your life! For me, personally, I’m still learning how to study the Bible effectively. It can be difficult to just jump right in and know what to do and how to study – it really is an art not a science. One of my most favorite tools for studying the Bible and learning through the Word is doing Bible Studies by Beth Moore. She is an excellent teacher and a mighty woman of God. I have done Stepping Up [Psalms], Mercy Triumphs [James], The Patriarchs [Genesis], and Children Of The Day [1&2 Thessalonians]. I have learned and [hopefully!] grown through each one of these studies and I’m always excited to start another. Even when I’ve been unable to join a group, just buying the book and video sessions were worth every penny.

life-changing-magic-of-tidying-up3. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo | I am convinced that the entire internet has now read this book, but that is awesome. I’ve written before about my love of organizing and rearranging and getting rid of things, but this book taught me how to do that effectively. Learning how to tidy really will change your life. I have KonMarie-d my clothes and all our books now and it is such a good change! My closet can breathe again and I can easily see everything at once in my drawers. I got rid of about 4 trash bags of clothes and 2 bags of books/papers. It feels good to get rid of things and re-organize spaces, but this method has a lasting effect. We still have a lot of categories to go through, but my mindset is now focused on releasing things that don’t spark joy and just clutter up my home.

  tmm4. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey | We received this book as a wedding gift and it is probably one of the most valuable gifts we received. This book is all about taking control of your finances, getting out of debt fast, and saving for emergencies and retirement. Reading this book can sometimes feel overwhelming but educating yourself on how to become financially responsible is definitely worth feeling overwhelmed at times. Money is a big part of life and learning how to manage it is crucial to obtaining financial freedom. No matter your age or stage, this book can teach you how to become financially fit. Fair warning, though, some find his approach extreme. But for us, it was a great tool to create honest conversation about money and also motivated us to take control of our finances.

pie book5. The Four And Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book by sisters Melissa and Emily Elsen | I received this book as a Christmas gift from Matthew’s sister+her husband and after almost two years I think they’re just as glad as I am ;). This book is full of delicious pie recipes and I love trying new ones. Pies have become my standby dessert for parties and birthday desserts thanks to this book. I’m still perfecting my pie crust, but I love the recipe out of this book for a flaky, tender crust. Just talking about it makes me want to go make a pie right now…


Brave Love Blogday 13: current season
day 12: currently…
day 11: friday night
day 10: bucket list
day 9: dear me,
day 8: favorite season
day 7: blog name
day 6: style
day 5: itunes shuffle
day 4: passions
day 3: mood board
day 2: ideal day
day 1: introductions

blog-tember day 14 // five books

how i use my get to work book

It has been crazy around here the past few days with car shopping, parties, last minute babysitting jobs, and continuing the Whole30 – not to mention remembering to drop off and pick up library books. One of my favorite tools for keeping track of all the things going on is a planner, and this year I’m thrilled to be using a Get To Work Book by Elise Cripe. More than just a daily planner, this book is also goal-oriented and has special features that cater to that aspect.

I love the simple and clean design of the Get To Work Book. I didn’t have to settle for a planner that had a color scheme I liked but was filled with patterns I didn’t care for or vice versa. Clean. Simple. Black/White/Gray. Room for my thoughts and plans (and washi tape). It isn’t gendered by any means and the art graphics throughout are fun and modern (and double as art prints!).

One of the most obvious things I’ve noticed in using this book is a focus on daily and weekly priories. In each weekly spread there is space for three action items for the week. Using this section has helped me kick it in gear and just get it done already things that I’ve just been meaning to do but never get to. Similarly, there are three special lines at the top of each day in a contrasting color. I originally thought I would use the space for meal planning – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – but it didn’t really stick. I now use it for my “big three” for the day which has been anything from cleaning the bathrooms to grocery shopping to prepping for dinner to finishing reading a book. I have really liked the deliberate focus these have brought to my days.

The project breakdown pages are awesome! I used my first one for planning Matthew’s birthday party and it SO helped keep me on track and cognoscente of what needed doing. I also used the other side as a place to keep track of rsvp’s which was helpful to have on hand when it came to deciding quantities.

The back cover has a pocket that is currently filled with business cards, the promotional material that came with the GTWB and a few postage stamps. It’s a great catch-all for papers and cards before they get sorted and put away. And having a few stamps on hand is super helpful for me!

Seeing our Whole30 start to finish on one spread is so encouraging! I’m always amazed at how fast the month flies by and August has been no exception – it’s more than halfway over! I’ve got plenty of calendar, goal, and task apps on my phone, but I’m a true pen-and-paper girl. I’ll always be more likely to complete a physical checklist over a virtual one. And nothing beats turning pages and feeling the weight of a book shift from right to left as you go.

Pre-order your own 2016 Get To Work Book here. I’m excited to be getting a snap in bookmark to add to my book!

This post was not sponsored in any way and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

how i use my get to work book

2015 goals update // july

Welcome to the second update of my 2015 goals! I’ve made some great progress in some areas and no progress in other areas – but who’s surprised? [not me.]

Current stats

  • Reading: 10/10 or 100%
    [completed June 20, 2015]
  • Writing:  25/50 or 50%
  • Knitting: 5.5/12 or 45.8%
  • Learning: 0/1 or 0%
  • Scrapping: 0/2 or 0%

Feel most accomplished about: Reading & blogging!

I completed my reading goal crazy quick, tearing through the books I borrowed from the library with ferocity until I finished my tenth book. This second [and third] batch of library books has just sat. And sat. And been renewed twice. And sat. But that’s how my reading flow is sometimes – from READ ALL THE THINGS! to read none of the things. I’m hoping to get lots of reading in at the beach! I upped my GoodReads 2015 Reading Challenge goal to 20 books and will be tracking my progress there.

And for blogging I’m halfway there! As I’m writing this I’ve got posts scheduled and drafts in the works and it feels good to be in the “flow” of the creative ebb & flow. Shaking things up seems good for that. All-in-all I’m definitely expecting to complete my 50 post goal this year and that is exciting for me and helpful in helping me figure this blogging thing out.

Struggled most with: At this point I don’t consider not getting something done a “struggle” but feeling bad about not getting something done [or not making progress] can feel like one. This month just hasn’t been the right time to pursue a class or work on my project life albums and unlike the last update, I don’t feel bad about that.

Moving forward: I’m still on track with my knitting and March’s blanket is slowly coming together as I work on each current month’s blanket. My main focus is to just keep on keeping on with blogging and knitting and keep the class and scrapbooking in mind but not stress over it. I now get emails from a site called craftsy that hosts online classes on a wide range of subjects and think we might go with one they offer – like sourdough bread baking!

I’ve lately been learning a lot about myself and the season of life I’m in and one of my biggest takeaways is that I’m tired of feeling bad about stuff I don’t need to feel bad about. I put a lot of invisible pressure on myself and then feel guilty about not getting things done and then feel miserable and like people are disappointed and upset with me when really they don’t even realize I have “failed.” So I’m working on that, trying to balance pushing myself and allowing myself grace.

[see June’s update here]

2015 goals update // july

marriage book roundup – part 2

This is a continuation of our first marriage book round up post where we shared four books on marriage that we’ve read and enjoyed. See part 1 here.

His Needs, Her Needs by Willard F. Harley, Jr.

We are still reading through this book but have read most of it. His Needs, Her Needs walks through the top 5 needs for Him and the top 5 for Her. This book is one where you definitely want to talk about and discuss with your spouse/significant other while reading it because it makes generalizations that aren’t necessarily true for everyone to the degree outlined in the book. This book’s focus is on meeting the essential needs of your spouse in order to build an affair-proof marriage – the idea being that when your needs are met you wont be as susceptible to looking to get them met outside of your marriage. Matthew and I have enjoyed this book so far but do agree that it can be a bit extreme and sometimes the tone toward women irked me a bit. But again, it is helpful in getting the conversation started and opening a door to talk about and explore each others needs and ask how to better meet them.

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

This book is a classic. Knowing the five love languages (acts of service, words of affirmation, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch) and understanding what yours are can make all the difference. I took the love language test when I was younger to find out my love language, but since then it has changed which I realized when reading this book with Matthew. For us, it has really helped to know each others love languages and be able to focus on loving the other in that vein. What we have learned over the years is that even though you might do something loving for the other, it wont always have the same effect or be received the same way. Doing something loving that falls into the other person’s love language category on the other hand, will make them feel loved and will be received as loving. This is something Matthew and I are continuing to work on and figure out and have found this book a great resource in learning how to love each other better.

Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married by Gary Chapman

I’m pretty sure we read this book while we were dating. It is also by Gary Chapman and touches on some of the principles found in The 5 Love Languages. This is a pretty quick read that provides insight into aspects of marriage people don’t always consider or think about. We really enjoyed this one and gave a copy as a gift to one of Matthew’s sisters when she got engaged. My favorite part about it is that it isn’t overwhelming but still raises a lot of good points about marriage from the perspective of someone who has been there. It has a myth-busting quality to it and I really enjoyed the discussion questions at the end of each chapter. I think this is a great book to start with if you’re wanting to read a book about marriage with your serious boyfriend/girlfriend.

Other Resources

Love & Respect Podcast // The author of Love & Respect, along with his son, have a podcast where they talk about different issues and questions about relationships – beyond just marriage. The first nine episodes talk about the cycles outlined in the book in regard to both marriage and family as a whole.

5 Love Languages Test // Take the test and discover what your love language is! It doesn’t matter if you’re married, single, or in a relationship, you can find out your love language and what each of them mean. You can even take the test for/with your children!

Fierce Marriage // Fierce Marriage is a blog about marriage run by Ryan and Selena Frederick. They write encouraging and thoughtful posts on marriage – everything from communication to parenting and in-between. They also provide sharable quotes and images you can post to your social media accounts.

X3 Watch // X3 watch is an internet accountability resource that allows you to block pornographic or inappropriate sites and notifies an accountability partner if those sites are visited. It provides the crucial safety net of community and is a great tool for anyone trying to navigate the minefield of the internet with purity, integrity, and consciousness.

We hope you enjoy this round up and find some useful books and resources that are helpful for you and the relationships in your life.

Note: all of the books in this selection are rooted in Christian principles but can be read and applied to any marriage. This post is not sponsored in any way. All opinions are our own.

marriage book roundup – part 2

marriage book roundup – part 1

Before we were even engaged, Matthew and I started reading marriage books together (ok, just one book before we were engaged but after that we tore through them). I’ve always been one to love these kinds of books and I read through the dating genre in my teenage years.

This is not a comprehensive list of books on this topic, but these are some favorites that we’ve read together and enjoyed.

Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts by Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott

Matthew and I read this book and worked through the workbook a few months before we got engaged. Marriage was on our radar and we talked about it – timing, budgeting, etc. so it wasn’t weird for us to read this book when we did.
We loved this book and workbook combo and it was instrumental in helping spark conversation about crucial topics and learning more about what the other thought and felt about things like “gender roles”, money, love languages, communication, and how to handle conflict. The workbook offers practical exercises and questions to help dive deeper into the topics covered in the book. I think it would be fun to go through this one again and look back at our answers from two years ago.

The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller

We received this book as a Christmas gift after we were engaged and would read it whenever driving in the car together during Matthew’s last semester of college. This book is incredible. It is also very deep and you have to stay actively engaged at times to ensure you don’t get lost but it is worth it. One of the main focuses of this book is setting straight misconceptions and assumptions of marriage – both the overly-romanticized positive and dangerously negative. This book is for everyone – single, engaged, married, and anyone in-between. The concepts and truths in this book are truly eye-opening and life-changing. Owning a copy over borrowing it would be ideal because you’ll want to keep coming back to it for years.

Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs

We borrowed this book from friends and enjoyed reading and discussing it. This book details “The Crazy Cycle” and talks about how when women feel unloved they disrespect, making men feel disrespected so they act unlovingly toward their wife and the crazy cycle just keeps going ’round and round. This book has had some negative feedback in the way that it addresses the woman and I myself found the tone to sometimes be off-putting. But one of the MAIN reasons to read books on marriage, aside from learning new things, is to open conversation with your spouse – so if you don’t agree or have other thoughts or ideas talk about them. Matthew and I were able to discuss what we thought and felt and how things differed for us compared to the generalized rule. The overall message of this book is helpful and needed and encouraged honest communication between us.

The Act of Marriage by Tim and Beverly LaHaye

This was also a book we borrowed from friends that we read separately. The Act of Marriage is focused on sexual intimacy in marriage and practical information about the physical act of sex. This book is especially helpful for couples who are virgins who want a Christian-based guide to the act of marriage. Reading it going into our honeymoon helped us have a better idea of what to expect and how to approach sex.
While this can certainly be an awkward topic to breach, the book helps bring up concerns you might have and allow an environment for open communication between you and your spouse (or soon-to-be spouse). This definitely isn’t the only resource out there on this topic through a Christian filter, but it is a good place to start if you’re looking.

Note: all of the books in this selection are rooted in Christian principles but can be read and applied to any marriage. This post is not sponsored in any way. All opinions are our own.

marriage book roundup – part 1