Abundance Ideas / 01

DSC_2091At the start of the year, I chose abundance as my word for 2014. I did this last year with the word reach, and it served me well – I did, in fact, do a lot of reaching last year. I like the idea of choosing a word to focus on, one that can act as a lens through which you try to see your life and the world around you. I am 100% sure that abundance was the right word for me this year. It has come up again and again, in many different forms and contexts over these past four months.

So far I’ve learned that abundance is about choosing the third alternative instead of getting stuck in either/or, black-and-white thinking. It’s about looking for other options. It’s about practicing gratitude every single day. It’s about being amazed by the magic and opportunities and synchronicity we encounter in our everyday lives. It’s often about stepping back and looking at the big picture instead of getting caught up in petty details. It’s the opposite of being panicky or feeling like there is never enough time or money or love or friends.

IMG_3088When I chose abundance as my word, I didn’t know that four months later I’d be writing about it from a foreign country, a world away from where I was (physically and in some ways emotionally) when I chose it. The decision to move to Korea felt like the abundant choice. Instead of feeling like there weren’t enough jobs and I wouldn’t be making enough money and I wouldn’t be able to travel for a few years and I’d never have adventures again (I am dramatic), I zoomed out. I found a choice that allowed for abundance. Now I have travel, I have money, I have my own apartment that I don’t pay for, I have independence and freedom and lots of time to do the things I love. I chose the third alternative and I have so much faith that it was the right choice for me. I just hope that in the future I’ll be able to step back and look for that choice instead of feeling small and scared and boxed in.

DSC_2587Here are some of the thoughts on abundance that I’ve stumbled across so far in 2014. I’ve shared some of them before in my weekly inspiration posts, but they bear repeating.

From Seth Godin:

Here’s conventional wisdom: Success makes you happy. Happiness permits you to be generous.

In fact, it actually works like this: Generosity makes you happy. Happy people are more likely to be successful.

“I’m not interested in competing with anyone. I hope we all make it.” -Erica Cook

Also from Seth Godin:

If you’re spending a lot of time worrying about musical chairs, it’s almost impossible to be generous and connected. If you’ve got one eye on the lookout for when the music will stop and which chair you’re going to grab, it’s inevitable that you’re not really focusing on the amazing people you’re with. On the other hand, once you stop playing that game, it seems as though new chairs just keep materializing.

Thinking differently about time, priorities, and having enough hours in the day.

Abundance bowls: for Winter and Spring.

Marie Forleo is all about abundant thinking. One of her favourite mantras is “There’s always more _______ where that came from,” whether it’s money or love or creative content. You can hear more of her thoughts on the subject here and here.

The Art of Possibility by Benjamin Zander and Rosamund Stone Zander. A truly wonderful book about thinking about the big picture and shifting your perspective to one of abundance.

I’ve been reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown and it’s a game-changer. The ideas have really been resonating with me. She specifically writes: “The opposite of scarcity is not abundance. It’s enough. I am enough.” She says that to combat scarcity we need to cultivate a sense of enough, of worthiness, of sufficiency. This post describes her ideas a bit more in depth. Even though she uses the word abundance differently than I do, her definition of “enough” feels very close to what I define as “abundance”. For me, abundance is about appreciating the little things, being happy with what you have, and recognizing the true abundance of your situation by practicing gratitude. It’s not about striving or constantly needing more. So maybe we mean the same thing, or maybe both concepts (sufficiency and abundance) are necessary for a happy life. I’m not sure yet, but I do know that it’s fascinating.

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A third of the way through the year, and I’ve only discovered the tip of the iceberg when it comes to abundance (and by extension the concepts of enough, scarcity, lack, gratitude and happiness for that matter). I’m planning and hoping to keep learning about this idea, all the while cultivating lots of feelings of abundance in my life. So far, so good.

You can read more about why I chose the word abundance here, and you can see my thoughts on my word for 2013 here.

Book Club | May & June

Book Club M + J

I’m now 8 books behind on my reading goal for the year, and sadly over the last few weeks I’ve only been slowing down! What with all the big changes happening in my life, reading has taken a major backseat. Reading is one of the things that makes me happiest, and always makes me feel like I have all the time in the world (even if I can only read for 15 minutes), but it’s always the thing that’s the first to go when things get stressful. Really, it should be the other way around, and I’m going to try to work on that going forward.

This year, in the spirit of my reading goal, I’m sharing my favourite books every month or so here on the blog. You can see my favourites from the first four months of the year right here.

Daring Greatly / This Spring, I really fell in love with Brené Brown’s ideas and writing. Her TED talks on shame and vulnerability piqued my interest, and I immediately wanted to read this book, which is her most recent. Her talks touch on many of the book’s main points, but the amount of details, quotes and funny and touching anecdotes she includes makes it more than worth a read. I resonate so strongly with her perspectives on things, they feel intuitive and just strike a chord with me. Plus, while her writing style is funny and self-deprecating, it’s also serious and passionate when she’s discussing important ideas. I highlighted a bunch of quotes while reading, but one of my favourites that really sums it up is:

“Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.”

The Promise of a Pencil / I decided to read this book after watching Marie Forleo’s interview with the author Adam Braun. I found the story of his journey inspiring, and his approach very accessible and down-to-earth. Braun is the founder of the global education charity Pencils of Promise, which builds schools and trains teachers by working with local communities all around the world. He builds each chapter around a mantra he’s developed or adopted that guides him in living his life. I liked all of the mantras, but some of my favourites were: “why be normal”, “do the small things that make others feel big”, “stay guided by your values, not your necessities”, and “make your life a story worth telling”. The book is Braun’s autobiography, but it includes a lot of wonderful ideas and perspectives, and I personally found it incredibly inspiring. The whole time I was reading it, I felt like I had all this pent-up energy that I wanted to use to go out and do good in the world.

Thrive / I absolutely adored this book, and highlighted something on almost every page. It’s chock full of meaningful quotes, ideas, and reminders about what it means to live a good life. Arianna Huffington’s big idea is that we need a third metric (the first two being money and power) to define success. She suggests that the third metric is made up of wisdom, wellness, wonder, and giving, and the book explores each of those ideas. To make her points, she includes several personal anecdotes and brings in a lot of ideas from other big thinkers. I resonated really strongly with the book and it gave me a lot of food for thought. As I’m sort of in the process of designing my own life, it helps to have a resource like this one for the other metrics I should be striving towards as I seek out a happy and successful life. I highly, highly recommend. There were at least a hundred awesome quotes in this book, but here are just two:

  • “Why do we spend so much of our limited time on this earth focusing on all the things our eulogy will never cover?”
  •  “Well-being can’t be measured by money or traded in markets. It’s about the beauty of our surroundings, the quality of our culture, and, above all, the strength of our relationships.” -David Cameron

One other note: it was fascinating how much overlap there was between these first three books – they all mentioned vulnerability, synchronicity, the importance of giving and doing good for others, and they all discussed how human connection is so important for happiness. It was great to see so much cohesion across three fairly different books.

Lost Lake / Sarah Addison Allen is one of my very favourite authors, but it took me a while to get around to reading this, her latest book. I think part of me was nervous to read it, since I’ve read all her others at least 3 times each, and I had worries that Lost Lake wouldn’t be as good. Fortunately, I was wrong, and Allen is as wonderful a writer as ever. She wrote a short story called Waking Kate to accompany Lost Lake, which I read first and it sucked me right back into the magical world that all her books create for the reader. If you want to see whether you’d like her style, Waking Kate is available for free as a Kindle single right here. Lost Lake is set at a beautiful old summer resort in the South with a wonderful cast of eccentric characters, a charming little town nearby, and it’s full of breezy, lovely, summery plans and adventures. It’s a bit of a light read, but for me it was so enjoyable.

Paper Towns / Slowly but surely I’m reading all of John Green’s novels, and I’ve been loving them all. This one is set in the suburbs of Florida, and it’s about a boy who loves a girl. All of Green’s books make me feel nostalgic about different times in my life, this one reminded me of when I was in high school in the suburbs, driving around in my mom’s minivan with my friends, sitting out on rooftops, hanging out in basements, and instant messaging my friends all hours of the day and night. I never pulled as many pranks as they do in the book, but I loved it and could relate to it all the same. I can’t say too much about the plot without giving away spoilers, but I loved how Green kind of attacks the 2-dimensional “manic pixie dream girl” idea by forcing his main character to confront the fact that he didn’t know the girl he “loved” almost at all, he just loved the idea of her and what she looked and acted like.

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As always, you can see all the books I’ve read and plan to read on GoodReads. Also, if you have any great book recommendations for me, I’d love to hear them! Let me know in the comments below.

You can see my favourite books so far this year here, and my favourite books of 2013 here.

014: Beware of Spiritual Language

The Life In Limbo podcast is about building a life you love on the foundation of what’s most important to you. Each week I chat with an interesting person or share my own ideas in order to explore about how we can stay connected to our personal values, measure what matters most to us, listen to our own voices, and create a life we enjoy. Subscribe on iTunes here or see all episodes here.

014: Beware of Spiritual Language

On this episode of the podcast, I’m talking about a weird and dangerous trend I’ve been noticing, where folks are using spiritual language and terms to say, do, and justify very un-spiritual actions and behaviours. Not okay! Let’s discuss.

PS. Do you have tips or scripts for combatting this tendency? How do we call this out when we see it? Let me know in the comments!

Shownotes:

 

013: Handling the Inner Critic

The Life In Limbo podcast is about building a life you love on the foundation of what’s most important to you. Each week I chat with an interesting person or share my own ideas in order to explore about how we can stay connected to our personal values, measure what matters most to us, listen to our own voices, and create a life we enjoy. Subscribe on iTunes here or see all episodes here.

013: Handling Your Inner Critic

We can stop spending time with negative or critical people, but we unfortunately can’t spend less time with ourselves! What do we do when the meanest things we hear are coming from inside our own minds? Today on the show I’m sharing some of my favourite tools and strategies for tackling my inner critic and creating more mental space for myself.

Shownotes:

Lately: October 2015

Lately October >> Life In Limbo

Living in Quito, Ecuador.

Settling into a new apartment and routines in a new place.

Watching the last season of Masterchef US and Hannibal.

Reading Brené Brown + Elizabeth Gilbert.

Hosting yoga in the park on Saturday mornings.

Teaching a few private yoga classes too!

Updating my archives page and my food + drink page to be more visual and beautiful!

Drinking a ton of smoothies and juices.

Going for walks to the park as much as possible.

Recording music with my boyfriend at home.

Making our own coconut milk from scratch.

Eating delicious new things like pan de yuca and Ecuadorian ceviche, and my weight in fresh grapefruits.

Working on a new campaign for the Red Tent Sisters.

Introducing my boyfriend to my friends and family through the magic of Skype.

Planning our trip back to Canada for this Christmas.

Adoring all the mountains around our new home.

Finding wisdom from Journey to the Heart every morning before meditating.

Trying to cultivate my meditation practice and stay focused.

Feeling like I’m doing a better job of staying in touch with my loved ones this time abroad.

Grateful for this season of my life and all the love I have.

Book Club: August & September

This year, every few months I am choosing the books that inspired me or spoke to me the most, and sharing a little bit about them here on the blog. As always, you can see everything I’m reading on my Goodreads profile!

These last couple months were so lovely, because: a) it was Summer, b) I was at my mom’s quiet, cozy house, tucked away in the forest, and c) I had access to a library again! All of which meant that I got to read a lot and it was wonderful, as you can imagine. Here are my favourites from the last few months.

Book Club August + September >> Life In Limbo

1. Rising Strong by Brené Brown

I adore Brené Brown (just look at all the times she’s inspired me over the years) and I was so excited to read her new book. I devoured it, and the whole time I had my laptop open next to me so I could take pages of notes. It gave me ideas and tools to actually use in my real life and relationships, including my personal faves “The story I’m making up is…” and the concept that everyone is doing the best they can. The stories she includes are so powerful and this book is such a helpful resource for anyone trying to live with more courage and integrity.

2. Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

I am also a huge fan of Gretchen Rubin: I have read all her books and listen to her podcast every week. She’s very wise and knowledgeable when it comes to happiness, and all her books have been helpful for me. I loved this one in particular because it discusses how to create habits on the basis of your own personality and nature, and that not every habit strategy works for every person. It’s truly helpful and full of awesome information to make your habits (and therefore your life) better and happier. I found myself passionately talking to friends about the 4 tendencies, and applying her recommended strategies to form my own habits.

For example, I’m a Questioner, so I exploited that element of my personality by researching the best strategies for flossing, and coming up with several compelling reasons to do it (“Because it’s good for me” wasn’t enough. “Because it’s the best way to whiten your teeth and improve the health of your mouth and your overall immune system” was much better.) You can take a free quiz about your tendency here.

3. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

This one was recommended by one of my best friends and I loved it. It’s poignant, it’s sad, it’s full of joy, it tugs at your heartstrings, it’s kind of fantastical, it’s simply beautiful. It’s about a little boy who goes on a kind of scavenger hunt after his father is killed in the terrorist attacks of 9/11, as well as the history of his family and the stories of all kinds of characters he meets along the way. It also has a satisfying ending, which I think is a tough feat in this kind of story.

4. This Is How Your Lose Her by Junot Díaz

This was a short book, but the connected stories were all powerful and interesting and extremely well-written. It’s a bit sad to watch this guy act like a total trainwreck in all of his romantic relationships, but at times it’s really relatable too. It’s excellent fiction by a great writer, and I’m looking forward to reading his other books. You can read an excerpt of the book here.

You can see all my book recommendation blog posts here.

024: Deanne Vincent on Reclaiming Your Body

The Life In Limbo podcast is about building a life you love on the foundation of what’s most important to you. Each week I chat with an interesting person or share my own ideas in order to explore about how we can stay connected to our personal values, measure what matters most to us, listen to our own voices, and create a life we enjoy. Subscribe on iTunes here or see all episodes here.

024: Deanne Vincent on Reclaiming Your Body

It was such a joy to talk to my friend Deanne on the podcast this week about her journey and the kind of work she has come to be most passionate about. In this episode we talk about some of the challenges she’s faced in her life and how they have informed the ideas and philosophies she now carries with her through her coaching, workshops and movement programs. We talk a lot about the mind-body connection and how we can all spend a bit more time tapping into our bodies in 2019.

Shownotes:


Let me know! Did this episode resonate with you? You can reach out and let me know on Instagram or in the comments section below.

019: The Long Game

The Life In Limbo podcast is about building a life you love on the foundation of what’s most important to you. Each week I chat with an interesting person or share my own ideas in order to explore about how we can stay connected to our personal values, measure what matters most to us, listen to our own voices, and create a life we enjoy. Subscribe on iTunes here or see all episodes here.

019: The Long Game >> Life In Limbo

Today on the podcast I’m talking about why we need to stay committed to the long game (spoiler alert: it’s kind of the only game in town) and how we can keep up that commitment when things feel slow or tricky to navigate. This is a topic very near and dear to my heart and I think it’s worth talking about! Good things take time, and we have to stick with them until they bear fruit. There aren’t many shortcuts to building good work that matters.

Shownotes:


Let me know! Did this episode resonate with you? You can reach out and let me know on Instagram or in the comments section below.

Inspiration | March 28

DSC_0025This quote from Amy Poehler is a new favourite. 

I watched both Brené Brown’s TED talks this week. She is amazing, and such an inspiration. She gave me so many ideas about how I want to live my life. 

The TED Radio Hour on success was equally inspiring and thought provoking. Amazing. It made me think about how I want to define success for me. 

Incredibly important: Why domestic violence victims don’t leave

“We think we’re alone in our fears, but we’re not. We think we’re worse than others in our failures, but we’re not.”

Seth Godin talks about bringing your own chair to the table, or just making a new table. Abundance! 

Hugh Forte is one of my favourite photographers, and his sand dune portrait session this week made me so happy (and made me want to work really hard). 

I liked these thoughts on “running away” from your problems.

Joy the Baker writes some beautiful words by John Steinbeck on her blog. 

Vegan chai ice cream yes please immediately thank you. I’d also like to make chickpea socca and chocolate chip cookies

A wonderful reminder: 19 Tiny Things You Can Do to Make the World a (Slightly) Better Place

This post gave me serious wanderlust (yes, even though I’m in a foreign country!). 

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This weekend I’m hoping to check out an outdoor market, explore another coastal temple, and spend some quality time at the beach. Have an awesome weekend! 

Book Club: September + October

I love to read, and I love to talk about the books I like best with other people. Every couple months here on the blog I choose my favourites from what I’ve read lately and write about them. As always, you can see everything I’m reading on my Goodreads profile. You can also check out what I’m reading in real time at #stephlovestoread on Instagram.

Book Club: September + October >> Life In Limbo

I’m a little late with sharing these, but it’s been a great few months for reading. I’m actually – surprisingly – ahead on my reading goal for the year, which is usually not the case at the “eleventh hour” most years! I’ve been on a real streak lately, ever since my two weeks of powerhouse reading in New York City this summer.

My goals for the rest of the year are to read more books that absorb me, that I can’t put down, which means: more fiction! I’m excited to start tackling this list of books.

Here are my favourite four books out of what I read in September and October:

Book Club: September + October >> Life In Limbo

Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown

I love everything that Brené does, and this book is probably my favourite she’s written. Inspired by the current political and cultural climate (especially in the U.S.) she’s using her career of research on shame and vulnerability to reframe our society’s current problems of hate, disconnection, and anger. There are so many great concepts in this book, but my favourite is to resist any conversation that uses dehumanizing language of any kind, or in which you are either “with us or against us”. She encourages us to move in, because “it’s hard to hate people up close.” In an age of what feels like crazy, emotional, limbic conversations, this book was a breath of fresh air. If you want a glimpse of what the book’s about, I would recommend watching the Facebook Live she did after Charlottesville, and her interview on MarieTV.

My Life with Bob by Pamela Paul

This book was like reading a love letter to books, and it made my heart sing. The author is now the editor of the New York Times Book Review, but this memoir tells the story of her life, through the books she was reading at the time, since when she was a French exchange student in high school. “Bob” refers to her “book of books”, the simple notebook where she keeps a record of every book she’s read since she was young. My favourite passage, that I am so grateful to have read:

“Well into adulthood, I would chastise myself over not settling on a hobby and just reading instead. Everyone else had a passion; where was mine? How much happier I would have been to know that reading was itself a passion. Nobody treated it that way, and it didn’t occur to me to think otherwise.” 

Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis

What would happen if dogs were given human consciousness? This book is more philosophical than it is funny, kind of dark, pretty poignant. The best part of reading it was that it’s set, for the most part, in the part of Toronto where I live! My street is even mentioned at one point. It’s such a fun treat to read books set in places that you are familiar with – whether it’s somewhere you’ve traveled or somewhere you’ve lived. The more time I spend in Toronto, the more I love it, so reading this gave me another layer of appreciation for my neighbourhood and my life.

Solitude by Michael Harris

Reading this book felt like taking a really deep breath and coming home to myself. It’s about the importance of solitude, and how it’s being increasingly erased in our world of constant connection and stimulation. The author talks about his experiments with trying to find more solitude in his own life, and how difficult it has actually become to find it – how it’s looked down on by others or resisted mightily when you try to take it for yourself. It was an amazing reminder of the kinds of things that I value and find important. I’m excited to read his other book, which won the Governor General’s award, called The End of Absence.


You can see all my book recommendation blog posts here.

What’s the best thing you’ve read lately? Tell me your recommendations!

Inspiration: February 21

This article was shared by at least 3 of my friends this week, so on the off chance you haven’t seen it yet, I’ll share it too: to anyone who thinks they’re falling behind in life.

I’m thinking about taking this free online photography course from Harvard.

A thought-provoking article about weight, body image, and Oprah Winfrey.

I wasn’t really following the response to Beyoncé’s Superbowl performance, but I thought this was a very good commentary piece with some excellent points.

One of my best friends and I watched Life Partners this week and both thought it was sweet, interesting, and a little sad. I loved that it was really about friendship and personal growth as much as about romance.

Jess Lively had Brené Brown on the show to talk about setting boundaries and the (wonderful) concept of santosha.

I used this recipe to make pasta (vaguely fettucine-shaped) from scratch this past week. It was very messy, very fun, and very delicious.


I had my friend Katie here in Quito with me all week and it was absolutely wonderful. We did so much exploring, and our days were filled with the kind of juxtapositions that make this country so great. We’d spend the morning on the top of a volcano, and the afternoon in the historic old town that feels exactly like Europe. We went on a chocolate-making bean-to-bar tour (with a healthy amount of samples) and then took showers under natural waterfalls. And all that aside, it was just so great to gossip and reminisce and have her in my living room every morning when I woke up. I miss her already!

This weekend has involved a lot of sleeping and a lot of reading – I’m reading this awesome book for my book club. I tried to hit the reset button and am looking forward to the new week. I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Inspiration | October 2

Last night my boyfriend and I started watching the Netflix Original Chef’s Table and were both so inspired. I can’t wait to watch the whole series – so many thoughts on passion, creativity, work ethic and motivation.

I’m really excited about the offerings of The Mindfulness Summit, there are so many important thinkers and inspiring people giving talks. Planning to sign up right after I finish writing this post!

Loved these 10 lessons learned from a year of productivity. His website looks like a treasure-trove of awesome information too, especially these 100 “hacks”. (Spoiler: productivity does not equal working so hard you burn out, his philosophy + the science indicate that it’s all about balance and working smarter.)

I really enjoyed and was inspired by two episodes of the Tim Ferriss podcast: one with Brené Brown and the other with Tara Brach.

Fellow Canadians: the election is coming! I love the CBC Vote Compass to see how your beliefs match with those of the parties. I also recently heard about the idea of strategic voting, and I find the idea fascinating (it sparked some great conversations in my family). Last thing: did you know that you can vote at any Elections Canada office at any time from now until the actual election day? That’s what I did before leaving for Ecuador. More info here.

Some wonderful ideas in this old (but new to me!) article from Brain Pickings.

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So I live in Quito now! When I arrived on Tuesday and was reunited with my lovely aforementioned boyfriend, we both felt like zero time had passed. We are living in a beautiful apartment with a gobsmacking view (though to be fair there’s a beautiful view from almost everywhere in Quito) and are very happy.

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend! xo.

Charlottesville

Every week, I share the most interesting and inspiring content I’ve read lately here on my blog: thoughts on productivity, happiness, balance, spirituality, politics, and more. Subscribe here to get updates. 

Inspiration: August 18 >> Life In Limbo

It’s been a dark week, my friends. I am devoting this week’s “Inspiration” post to information regarding the events in Charlottesville last weekend: things I have found to be personally helpful or educational. Obviously the word “inspiration” is not right here (the name of my usual weekly link round-up posts), and yet I have found small glimmers of light in some of these resources, showing us ways to make sense of what has happened, and how we can try to move forwards. Others among these are horrifying and painful to watch, but remember that it is a privilege to look away.

First: this VICE documentary is what has pierced me the most. It is the best reporting I’ve seen of the events of last weekend.

Imagine if these people ever faced actual oppression.

Sam Sanders spoke with white people about Charlottesville. This episode provides a lot of practical information about how to be a good ally (And how not to be. Hint: it’s not about you or how personally racist you are or are not.)

Brené Brown’s Facebook Live is a must-watch.

I really enjoyed the Bonus Pod and DeRay’s interview with Common on Pod Save the People. This episode of Pod Save America was also good.

An important reminder about ‘getting political’ and privilege.

Tina Fey is funny but also angry and has some important points to make (while stress-eating).

Another reminder to follow, read, and amplify the voices of people of colour. I’m starting with The Root, Colorlines, Black Lives Matter, HuffPo Black Voices. One super simple way to do this is to like & follow these websites and pages on Facebook. If you have other suggestions, please let me know!


If you have other further articles or resources that you found powerful or helpful, please leave me a comment below. Thanks for reading. Sending you love & light, always. xo.

Inspiration | September 18

I downloaded the Paper app this week and the calligraphy tool is AWESOME. I just drew a word using my finger and it looked so beautiful. I’m excited to try out the other functions too.

My friend Jess started a beautiful basics company called Free Label! I’m so excited about their gorgeous, bamboo cotton shirts.

A simple but probably very difficult to implement practice that I want to try: the 50 minute phone rule.

Elizabeth Gilbert interviewed Brené Brown on Magic Lessons this week and it was so wonderful.

I discovered the (now closed) blog Young House Love this week through Jess Lively’s podcast and loved seeing all their past house tours. Also, the episode was all about walking away from “success” because it doesn’t fit with your true values which I found very inspiring as well.

Such a lovely closet.

I put all five of these books on my reading list.

Last weekend we went to the Toronto Veg Food Fest and it was so great. We recapped our favourite presenters and food on the podcast here.

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The days have been quiet around here lately, and I’m not complaining. I like to walk up and down the long driveway and around the house, stopping to pet the cat sometimes or harvest any new cherry tomatoes that have come in. I listen to podcasts while I make my lunch and work on my computer at the sunny kitchen table. I have dinner with my family every night and then spend the long evenings reading. This time at home, especially during such a beautiful summer, has been so special to me. I’m off on another adventure shortly (more on that soon!) so having this simple, normal, lovely time with my family has been a gift. I’m trying to savour and appreciate all of it.

This weekend my sister and I are taking a roadtrip to spend time with our grandparents, which should be great. I hope you have a wonderful weekend too!

On Resilience

On Resilience >> Life In Limbo

Yesterday on a podcast, I heard a line that I’m paraphrasing here: “The true sign of mastery over yourself is whether you can overcome discouragement.”

This strikes me as a very good definition for resilience, as well. The dictionary defines resilience as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties”, and discouragement as “a loss of confidence or enthusiasm.” Put another way, discouragement happens when you face difficulties, and your resilience and mastery over yourself determine when and how quickly you’ll regain your faith and excitement after a disappointment. Our self-mastery and our resilience are linked.

When I think about what makes me resilient, I think first of my relationships. When something hard or disappointing happens, I am completely and utterly spoiled for people I can text or call or meet up with for support. I sometimes forget how lucky I am to have such deep friendships and such a strong network, and that not everyone is so lucky. It’s often in exactly those moments when I realize just how loved I really am.

I also think of my tools, the concepts and activities that I collect here on the blog and on the podcast. The reason I read so much and listen to podcasts so much and try to have deep conversations so much is that when I do, I usually glean a powerful insight or tool that will help me on this journey called life. All these tools and ideas build my resilience: they give me ways to cope with my discouragement, my doubts, my fatigue.

Discouragement is a part of life, but learning to feel it, process it, and metabolize it properly is how we overcome our doubts and push on towards our dreams and goals.

Brené Brown says it best:

“While vulnerability is the birthplace of many of the fulfilling experiences we long for — love, belonging, joy, creativity, and trust, to name a few — the process of regaining our emotional footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage is tested and our values are forged. Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness in our lives; it’s the process that teaches us the most about who we are.

Inspiration | November 27

I listened to the latest episode of the Lively Show about enneagrams and was totally blown away. I had never heard of this personality test, but it’s extremely powerful – I nearly cried when they shared the healing attitudes of my personality type on the show because they rang so true. I’ve since read more about my type and find the knowledge incredible helpful and motivating. You can listen to the episode here and take a mini version of the enneagram type test here.

Brené Brown is starting an interview series on her new project Courage Works, and her very first guest was Oprah. It was so refreshing to hear Oprah’s real responses to tough, personal questions. Really inspiring.

A really beautiful idea for a simple, meaningful advent calendar focused on experiences more than things (or chocolate).

Podcasts I’ve been really enjoying and learning from this week: The One You Feed, The Everybranch Podcast, and The Chalene Show.

I’m not much for Dancing With The Stars usually, but I really liked this special routine Bindi Irwin did in tribute to her dad.

I got super into automation apps this week after listening to this episode of Elise Gets Crafty. That meant I downloaded (and am quickly falling in love with) Hazel for Mac, set up a few recipes on IFTT, and downloaded and am obsessed with the ease and usefulness of the Do Note app.

On the podcast this week, Laura and I are talking a bit more about my experience doing a 10 day juice detox.

***

This week went by so quickly. It had some ups and downs – the ups being dancing in the living room with my boyfriend, talking to my mom on her birthday, and reading really great books; the downs being worrying about my visa for coming back to Ecuador, and wanting to find some more community here in Quito. Overall, I had a great week full of growth and inspiration, and I’m trying to develop positive habits like reading first thing in the morning (instead of Instagram), logging out of my Facebook profile to make it harder to just click over to it throughout the day, and going for a walk by myself every morning. This weekend I’m looking forward to yoga in the park, working on some exciting new projects, and taking some new online courses. I hope you have a great weekend!

PS. My monthly newsletter usually comes out on the last Friday of every month. That’s today! It’s basically a short summary of the best content of the blog from the month, so if you’re not much of a consistent blog reader but want to see the highlights every so often, sign up right here. Thanks for reading!

Inspiration: October 13

Every week on Friday, I share a list of the most interesting and inspiring content I’ve read lately here on my blog. You can expect thoughts on productivity, happiness, balance, spirituality, politics, and more. Subscribe here to get updates. See archives here.

Inspiration October 13 >> Life In Limbo

This week for our TuesdaysTogether meetup, we got to have business planning discussions at the beautiful new coworking space here in Toronto, Make Lemonade. It was so fun to chat with the founder and hear her story, and talking to other people who are also struggling with various issues around planning and ‘going pro’ in their businesses was a breath of fresh air.

I got a lot out of this interview with Michael Singer on Super Soul Conversations, including a couple of big a-ha moments! (Ignore the tags shown below the player on that page, they aren’t topical to the episode at all.)

Hilarious + empowering (feminist) advice regarding creative work (and email) that makes me giddy with glee. This appeals to all of my expectation-setting, space-creating ways. “Here is a question: Do you want to be a reliable source of literary art, or of prompt emails?”

I am now 100% obsessed with Captain Awkward (I am very, very late to this party) and am loving every single column I read. If you, like me, are constantly searching for the missing How Do I Adult? manual, read read read. This article on unhealthy relationship dynamics and how to address them puts into words so many helpful ideas, and gives you actual scripts you can use in situations, which I love.

When Brené Brown tells you to read a book, you read the book! All of the books she recommends for inspiring bravery are now at the top of my list.

I liked this op-ed by Lena Dunham about the epidemic of sexual harassment in Hollywood (and everywhere, tbh), and how it put the onus on men to speak up since they often have the least to lose. I was heartened to read this piece the very next day about how Terry Crews is speaking up about his own harassment experiences in Hollywood. Then I saw this video of the rapper Loyle Carner kicking a fan out of his concert for shouting sexist, harassing things at his (female) opening act. This is what we need! More of this, please. Support + solidarity are so important. Edit: I just had to come back and add to this section after reading this article about how James Van Der Beek is speaking out as well!

Last but certainly not least, I cried while watching this beautiful and painful video that was put out by The Global Goals for Day of the Girl. We have failed girls and continue to do so, and that needs to change.


It was Canadian Thanksgiving last weekend, so it’s been a short (but busy) work-week around here! This weekend I am going to what is sure to be a beautiful dinner party, planning to have a mini Saturday morning adventure, and going to a comedy night with a friend. I hope you have a wonderful weekend too! xo.

This is For You

I started doing this thing on Instagram recently, which is this: I stopped trying to gain new followers.

I had been dutifully posting my list of 20+ hashtags on every photo for years, rolling my eyes at the fake comments from bots, watching people follow me just to see if I would follow them back so that they could unfollow me right away. I never felt like I knew which hashtags to use, it was tedious to find new ones, and I didn’t like how they looked under my photos. They always made me feel like I was trying too hard. Not to mention that – especially when the post was a personal one – using hashtags like #toronto_igers felt like inviting a bunch of strangers into my living room and having to watch them make inauthentic, superficial remarks about the stuff I loved.

This is For You >> Life In Limbo

Obviously social media is exactly that – social – and I completely understand the impulse to find new friends and fans. I should be clear that I don’t judge anyone trying to grow their following or their business by (almost) any means possible. But given that I don’t even use my Instagram account as a business tool (it’s a collection of pretty moments I love), it started to seem silly to be hustling for likes and follows. As this blog makes obvious, I’m not really interested in creating viral content or creating a “lifestyle brand”, even if that idea does seem appealing sometimes.

So I just stopped posting hashtags on my photos, beyond my own personal ones. And my engagement went way, way up. I now have fewer total likes per photo, but significantly more comments, especially from people who I actually know, love, or respect.

I sent the message to the people who matter to me:this is for you.

Removing tags and talking in my real voice rather than my Marketing Voice sends an extremely loud message, even subconsciously. Posting without an official call to action is refreshing to read – and to write. And this has actually had an effect. Now, when I ask a question, my people know I’m talking to them, rather than some unidentified Future Fan. Now, the comments I get are real, authentic, and supportive. The robots have (mostly) gone away and left me in peace. I feel more grounded, and more free to share what’s really on my heart. I’ve made my Instagram life just a little bit quieter and a little bit more fun.

When I started reflecting on this, I heard Brené Brown saying:

I thought about how crazy it is that most of us can steamroll over [real] friends while we work to win the approval and acceptance of people who really don’t matter in our lives — people whom we’d never call when we were in a real struggle.

Again, I don’t really think the answer is to never use hashtags again, or to abandon Instagram as a marketing platform for your business. It’s a tool, and like any tool, it can be helpful in creating community and driving sales. But it’s something to think about, as our lives continue to get noisier and our attention spans become shorter:

How do you treat the people who already love you?

Reminder: My choices are not a commentary on yours.

Inspiration | May 30

DSC_2605

I adored this post about how the ways we take care of ourselves and show self-love are totally personal and unique! It was such a refreshing perspective and really made me re-think how I’m going to care for myself going forward.

Oh Dear Drea always posts photos of good, simple living. I think I must have pinned at least three pictures from this post alone to my vision board. Indian lunch feasts + a backyard hammock? Sign me up.

A really important piece about the importance of saying no. “You are allowed to not know. You are allowed to listen. You are allowed to say no. You are allowed to change your mind.”

In the aftermath of the Isla Vista tragedy, this open letter a mom wrote to her son was especially poignant and felt very important.

Dreamy picnics forever, please.

Short-but-sweet, wise and true advice from an 100-year old.

An adorable cartoon about the difference between empathy and sympathy, as explained by Brené Brown.

A reminder that we’re all doing better than we think at living life. I shared this with some friends earlier this week and we all needed to read it.

“Big sexy dreams are only accomplished one tiny, very unsexy step at a time.” I absolutely loved this article giving us all permission to be unsexy, every day. It really left an impact on me.

“…and yet there is a voice in my head saying “You are not doing enough. Try harder.”” Such an important topic – we have to stop beating ourselves up, stop feeling guilty, stop trying to do everything all at once.

Some things I’d like to make + eat: strawberry rhubarb quinoa crumble | one big cookie | literally any kind of pizza.

Two Instagram accounts I’ve been loving lately: @madeleinelumley posted some food photos this week that I immediately screengrabbed and that made me want to drop everything and go make them myself (bonus points because it’s all healthy food!). @brightbazaar just consistently posts beautiful, brightly-coloured pictured of lovely things.

Some oldies-but-goodies: how to make time for your passions, who are you doing a favour?

***

I can’t believe that it’s the second-last day of May. I can’t believe my childhood home is officially on the market! I can’t believe I’ve been in Korea 3 months. Clearly, time is flying. It sometimes feels like the days are passing slowly, but holy cow, when I think of all that’s happened between January 1st and today, I’m floored, I’m grateful, and I’m blown away. Life moves fast.

I know this weekend will move equally fast. On the agenda: beach yoga, a potluck, and hopefully lots of reading. I’m reading two great books right now, Thrive and The Master and Margarita. As always, I post photos from my adventures (or more often just of my feet in various locations) and you can see them by following me on Instagram @lifeinlimboblog!

PS. The first monthly newsletter is going out this morning! As I’ve mentioned before, I’ll send it out on the last Friday of every month with the highlights from the blog from that month. You can subscribe to the newsletter here. Thanks as always for reading.

Books

Favourites

BeautifulTortoise Garden Eleven Magic Strong Americanah Cloud Sharper War Better Path

You can see in-depth reviews of some of my favourite books here. I post my favourite books every few months here. You can also find me on GoodReads.

Note: some of the links below are affiliate links, but I have personally read and enjoyed all of these books.

Books By Year

2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015

* = favourite

Books Read in 2015

  1. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet – David Mitchell*
  2. Landline – Rainbow Rowell
  3. Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
  4. Fantastic Mr. Fox – Roald Dahl
  5. The Celestine Prophecy – James Redfield
  6. The Castaways – Elin Hilderbrand
  7. An Abundance of Katherines – John Green
  8. A Path Appears – Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryll WuDunn
  9. Lizzy and Jane – Katherine Reay
  10. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
  11. What Do Women Want? – Daniel Bergner
  12. First Frost – Sarah Addison Allen
  13. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo
  14. The Go-Giver – Bob Burg
  15. Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel*
  16. By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept – Elizabeth Smart
  17. Emma – Jane Austen
  18. Yes Please – Amy Poehler
  19. Small Victories – Anne Lamott
  20. The Art of Communicating – Thich Nhat Hanh
  21. 10% Happier – Dan Harris
  22. Too Much Happiness – Alice Munro
  23. The Body Book – Cameron Diaz
  24. Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart – Mark Epstein
  25. Being Mortal – Atul Gawande
  26. #Girlboss – Sophia Amoruso
  27. Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl
  28. The Beach Club – Elin Hilderbrand
  29. Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
  30. Essentialism – Greg McKeown
  31. In the Woods – Tana French*
  32. The One Thing – Gary Keller
  33. Self-Help – Lorrie Moore
  34. Lost Lake – Sarah Addison Allen
  35. Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie*
  36. How to Be Parisian – Anne Berest
  37. Present Moment, Wonderful Moment – Thich Nhat Hanh
  38. The Rumor – Elin Hilderbrand
  39. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
  40. Winter Street – Elin Hilderbrand
  41. Being Peace – Thich Nhat Hanh
  42. This is How You Lose Her – Junot Diaz*
  43. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer*
  44. All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten – Robert Fulghum
  45. Seating Arrangements – Maggie Shipstead
  46. How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
  47. Broken Harbour – Tana French
  48. Better Than Before – Gretchen Rubin*
  49. Everything Is Going to Be Okay – Chronicle Books
  50. Faithful Place – Tana French
  51. Committed – Elizabeth Gilbert
  52. Rising Strong – Brené Brown*
  53. Let the Elephants Run – David Usher
  54. Missoula – Jon Krakauer
  55. Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert*
  56. The Fire Starter Sessions – Danielle Laporte
  57. Why We Get Fat – Gary Taubes
  58. The Gifts of Imperfection – Brené Brown*
  59. Eat Move Sleep – Tom Rath
  60. I Thought It Was Just Me – Brené Brown
  61. Self-Knowledge – Mark Manson
  62. Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides*
  63. Fates and Furies – Lauren Groff
  64. Kitchens of the Great Midwest – J. Ryan Stradal
  65. Carry On – Rainbow Rowell
  66. Journey to the Heart – Melody Beattie
  67. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – Richard Carlson
  68. Enjoy Every Sandwich – Lee Lipsenthal
  69. Make Good Art – Neil Gaiman
  70. Being Perfect – Anna Quindlen
  71. The Dip – Seth Godin
  72. Show Your Work – Austin Kleon
  73. Brave Enough – Cheryl Strayed
  74. The Happiness of Pursuit – Chris Guillebeau
  75. All the Money in the World – Laura Vanderkam*

Books Read in 2014

  1. The Defining Decade – Meg Jay*
  2. Sisterland – Curtis Sittenfeld
  3. Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
  4. What I Wore – Jessiva Quirk
  5. A Short Guide to a Happy Life – Anna Quindlen
  6. The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
  7. The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
  8. Make Every Man Want You – Marie Forleo
  9. Run – Ann Patchett
  10. Where’d You Go, Bernadette – Maria Semple*
  11. The Four Agreements – Miguel Ruiz
  12. The Art of Non-Conformity – Chris Guillebeau
  13. David and Goliath – Malcolm Gladwell
  14. Turning Pro – Steven Pressfield
  15. Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott*
  16. The Art of Possibility – Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander*
  17. The Maker Movement Manifesto – Mark Hatch
  18. Daily Rituals: How Artists Work – Mason Currey
  19. Looking For Alaska – John Green
  20. Daring Greatly – Brené Brown*
  21. The Promise of a Pencil – Adam Braun*
  22. Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
  23. Thrive – Arianna Huffington*
  24. Paper Towns – John Green
  25. The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
  26. Ugly Koreans, Ugly Americans – Byoung-chul Min
  27. Waking Kate – Sarah Addison Allen
  28. Lost Lake – Sarah Addison Allen*
  29. Behind the Beautiful Forevers – Katherine Boo
  30. Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi
  31. Fascinate – Sally Hogshead
  32. Breaking Free From Emotional Eating – Geneen Roth
  33. The Vacationers – Emma Straub*
  34. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck*
  35. The Blue Bistro – Elin Hilderbrand*
  36. The Giver – Lois Lowry
  37. The Lost Recipe for Happiness – Barbara O’Neal
  38. Astonish Me – Maggie Shipstead
  39. The Tailgate – Elin Hilderbrand
  40. On Mystic Lake – Kristin Hannah
  41. 168 Hours – Laura Vanderkam
  42. Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
  43. Frog Music – Emma Donoghue
  44. The School of Essential Ingredients – Erica Baumeister
  45. The Matchmaker – Elin Hilderbrand
  46. Women Food and God – Geneen Roth
  47. The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
  48. The Island – Elin Hilderbrand
  49. The Success Principles – Jack Canfield
  50. This I Believe – Jay Allison
  51. What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast – Laura Vanderkam
  52. The Belly Fat Cure – Jorge Cruise
  53. Night – Elise Wiesel
  54. The Bridges of Madison County – Robert James Waller
  55. Help Thanks Wow – Anne Lamott
  56. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage – Ann Patchett
  57. The Original Chicken Soup for the Soul – Jack Canfield
  58. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler
  59. The Peach Keeper – Sarah Addison Allen
  60. Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green and David Levithan
  61. American Savage – Dan Savage
  62. Food Rules – Michael Pollan
  63. The Joy Diet – Martha Beck
  64. The Slight Edge – Jeff Olson
  65. Not That Kind of Girl – Lena Dunham
  66. Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Jeff Kinney
  67. The Magic Finger – Roald Dahl
  68. The Happiness Advantage – Shawn Achor
  69. What I Know For Sure – Oprah Winfrey
  70. The War of Art – Steven Pressfield
  71. The E Myth Revisited – Michael E. Gerber
  72. On the Shortness of Life – Seneca
  73. Essays in Love – Alain de Botton
  74. Think and Grown Rich – Napoleon Hill
  75. Summer People – Elin Hilderbrand

Books Read in 2013

  1. Paris, My Sweet – Amy Thomas
  2. I Remember Nothing – Nora Ephron
  3. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – Haruki Murakami
  4. Eat & Run – Scott Jurek
  5. The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt
  6. I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman – Nora Ephron
  7. How NOT to Move Back In With Your Parents – Rob Carrick
  8. Heads in Beds – Jacob Tomsky
  9. The War of Art – Steven Pressfield
  10. The Age of Miracles – Karen Thompson Walker
  11. Imagine – Jonah Lehrer
  12. Without Reservations – Alice Steinbach
  13. The Tiger’s Wife – Tea Obreht
  14. A Doll’s House – Henrik Ibsen
  15. The End of Your Life Book Club – Will Schwalbe
  16. All My Friends Are Superheroes – Andrew Kaufman*
  17. Brooklyn – Colm Toibin
  18. Garden Spells – Sarah Addison Allen*
  19. The Quest For Identity – Donald Taylor
  20. The Peach Keeper – Sarah Addison Allen*
  21. The Girl Who Chased the Moon – Sarah Addison Allen*
  22. The Geography of Bliss – Eric Weiner
  23. The Sugar Queen – Sarah Addison Allen*
  24. The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg
  25. Jitterbug Perfume – Tom Robbins
  26. State of Wonder – Ann Patchett
  27. How to Be a Woman – Caitlyn Moran
  28. A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson
  29. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail – Cheryl Strayed*
  30. Steal Like An Artist – Austin Kleon
  31. Happier at Home – Gretchen Rubin
  32. Oryx and Crake – Margaret Atwood
  33. The Lost Girls – Jennifer Baggett
  34. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
  35. Mediterranean Holiday – Kate Cann
  36. Spanish Holiday – Kate Cann
  37. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green*
  38. How We Decide – Jonah Lehrer
  39. Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg
  40. Speaking From Among the Bones – Alan Bradley
  41. Cinnamon and Gunpowder – Eli Brown
  42. Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls – David Sedaris
  43. A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway
  44. The Girl Who Chased the Moon – Sarah Addison Allen*
  45. The Sugar Queen – Sarah Addison Allen*
  46. Garden Spells – Sarah Addison Allen*
  47. The Peach Keeper – Sarah Addison Allen*
  48. Inferno – Dan Brown
  49. The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion*
  50. One Day – David Nicholls
  51. Tiny Beautiful Things – Cheryl Strayed*
  52. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – Rachel Joyce
  53. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan
  54. Blue Nights – Joan Didion
  55. Eating Animals – Jonathan Safran Foer
  56. Torch – Cheryl Strayed
  57. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  58. Finding Ultra – Rich Roll
  59. Blood, Bones and Butter – Gabrielle Hamilton
  60. The Wealthy Barber – David Chilton
  61. The Abortionist’s Daughter – Elisabeth Hyde
  62. S.E.C.R.E.T. – L. Marie Adeline
  63. What Should I Do With My Life – Po Bronson*
  64. Yoga Bitch – Suzanne Morrison
  65. Female Chauvinist Pigs – Ariel Levy
  66. Super Immunity – Joel Fuhrman
  67. Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses – Claire Dederer
  68. Bel Canto – Ann Patchett
  69. Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery – Robert Kolker
  70. Home – Toni Morrison
  71. I’ll Seize the Day Tomorrow – Jonathan Goldstein
  72. Adulting – Kelly Brown Williams*
  73. The Desire Map – Danielle LaPorte
  74. A Stolen Life – Jaycee Dugard

Books Read in 2012

  1. A Visit From the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan*
  2. Where the Girls Are – Susan Douglas
  3. The Art of Choosing – Sheena Iyengar
  4. Dead Until Dark – Charlaine Harris
  5. Plate to Pixel – Helen Dujardin
  6. Black Swan Green – David Mitchell
  7. Bride of New France – Suzanne Desrochers
  8. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline*
  9. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
  10. The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde
  11. Let the Great World Spin – Colum McCann*
  12. Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire – George R.R. Martin
  13. An Everlasting Meal – Tamar Adler
  14. Born to Run – Christopher McDougall
  15. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened – Jenny Lawson*
  16. The Art of Non-Conformity – Chris Guillebeau
  17. The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry – Kathleen Flinn
  18. Fifty Shades of Grey – E.L. James
  19. Fifty Shades Darker – E.L. James
  20. Fifty Shades Freed – E.L. James
  21. The Good Mayor – Andrew Nicoll*
  22. Kitchen Counter Cooking School – Kathleen Flinn
  23. The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau
  24. The Creative Habit – Twyla Tharp*
  25. The Art of Fielding – Chad Harbach*
  26. Quiet – Susan Cain
  27. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  28. A Life of Fiction – Stephanie Pellett
  29. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – Barbara Kingsolver
  30. The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin
  31. Number9Dream – David Mitchell
  32. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) – Mindy Kaling
  33. The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
  34. Charmed Life – Diana Wynne Jones
  35. The Prisoner of Heaven – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  36. An Economist Gets Lunch – Tyler Cowen
  37. Ru – Kim Thuy
  38. The Magicians – Lev Grossman
  39. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
  40. Divergent – Veronica Roth
  41. Garden Spells – Sarah Addison Allen*
  42. The Peach Keeper – Sarah Addison Allen
  43. The Sugar Queen – Sarah Addison Allen
  44. Willpower – Roy Baumeister and John Tierney
  45. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami
  46. The Girl Who Chased The Moon – Sarah Addison Allen*
  47. Chocolat – Joanne Harris
  48. The Talent Code – Daniel Coyle
  49. Ghostwritten – David Mitchell
  50. Come, Thou Tortoise – Jessica Grant*
  51. Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism – Maria Emmerich
  52. The Cat’s Table – Michael Ondaatje
  53. Paris In Love – Eloisa James
  54. Why We Do What We Do – Edward Deci
  55. Yes, Chef – Marcus Samuelsson
  56. Tiny Beautiful Things – Cheryl Strayed*

Books Read in 2011

  1. The Alchemist – Paulo Coehlo
  2. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – Steig Larsson
  3. The Phantom of the Opera – Gaston Leroux
  4. Crazy Sexy Diet – Kris Carr
  5. The Disappeared – Kim Echlin
  6. Based Upon Availability – Alix Strauss
  7. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
  8. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  9. Still Alice – Lisa Genova
  10. The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin*
  11. Poke the Box – Seth Godin
  12. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
  13. Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar – Daniel Klein and Thomas Cathcart
  14. The History of Love – Nicole Krauss
  15. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins*
  16. Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
  17. Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins
  18. The Imperfectionists – Tom Rachman*
  19. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood – Rebecca Wells*
  20. The Forgotten Garden – Kate Morton
  21. Ape House – Sara Gruen
  22. The Condition – Jennifer Haigh
  23. The Help – Kathryn Stockett
  24. Eats, Shoots and Leaves – Lynne Truss
  25. A Red Herring Without Mustard – Alan Bradley
  26. Do the Work – Steven Pressfield
  27. Columbine – Dave Cullen
  28. Garlic & Sapphires – Ruth Reichl
  29. My Life in France – Julia Child
  30. Julie & Julia – Julie Powell*
  31. Medium Raw – Anthony Bourdain
  32. Left Neglected – Lisa Genova
  33. The Sweet Life in Paris – David Lebovitz
  34. Blood, Bones & Butter – Gabrielle Hamilton*
  35. The Year of Living Biblically – A.J. Jacobs
  36. Bossypants – Tina Fey
  37. Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man – Bill Clegg
  38. Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain
  39. The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern*
  40. The 4-Hour Workweek – Timothy Ferriss
  41. Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki
  42. Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots – Nicole S. Young
  43. The Richest Man in Babylon – George S. Clason
  44. The Getaway Car – Ann Patchett
  45. The Right to Write – Julia Cameron*
  46. Cooking Solves Everything – Mark Bittman
  47. The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron
  48. The 4-Hour Body – Timothy Ferriss
  49. The Beauty of Humanity Movement – Camilla Gibb
  50. The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

Books Read in 2010

  1. Classy – Derek Blasberg
  2. I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti – Giulia Melucci
  3. Eating Animals – Jonathan Safran Foer
  4. Her Fearful Symmetry – Audrey Niffenegger
  5. Sway – Ori and Rom Brafman
  6. Orange is the New Black – Piper Kerman
  7. Nickel and Dimed – Barbara Ehrenreich
  8. Freakonomics – Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  9. InStyle Parties – InStyle Editors
  10. Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane
  11. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  12. What the Dog Saw – Malcolm Gladwell
  13. The Kind Diet – Alicia Silverstone
  14. The One Hundred – Nina Garcia
  15. Waiter Rant – Steve Dublanica
  16. Citizen Girl – Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
  17. Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
  18. The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry – Kathleen Flinn*
  19. Gods Behaving Badly – Marie Phillips
  20. Prep – Curtis Sittenfeld*
  21. A Million Little Pieces – James Frey
  22. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
  23. My Stroke of Insight – Jill Bolte Taylor
  24. The Man of My Dreams – Curtis Sittenfeld*
  25. American Wife – Curtis Sittenfeld
  26. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
  27. The Quality of Life Report – Meghan Daum
  28. Unhinged – Daniel Carlat
  29. Skinny Bitch – Kim Barnouin and Rory Freedman
  30. Men and Dogs – Katie Crouch
  31. Within Our Reach: Ending the Mental Health Crisis – Rosalynn Carter
  32. Diary – Chuck Palahniuk
  33. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – Alan C. Bradley
  34. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society – Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
  35. The Te of Piglet – Benjamin Hoff
  36. Quantum Wellness – Kathy Freston
  37. The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag – Alan C. Bradley
  38. Eccentric Glamour – Simon Doonan
  39. The Book of Awesome -Neil Pasricha
  40. Crazy Salad – Nora Ephron
  41. Summer at Tiffany – Marjorie Hart
  42. Live The Life You Love – Barbara Sher
  43. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake – Aimee Bender
  44. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
  45. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  46. The Fellowship of the Ring – J.R.R. Tolkien
  47. The Two Towers – J.R.R. Tolkien
  48. The Return of the King – J.R.R. Tolkien
  49. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  50. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Steig Larsson
  51. The Hour I First Believed – Wally Lamb
  52. The Girl Who Played With Fire – Steig Larsson
  53. Holidays on Ice – David Sedaris
  54. Room – Emma Donoghue

Books Read in 2009

  1. Candide – Voltaire
  2. How to Talk to Girls – Alec Greven
  3. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – Seth Grahame-Smith
  4. Direct Red – Gabriel Weston
  5. Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
  6. Choke – Chuck Palahniuk
  7. Revolutionary Road – Richard Yates
  8. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  9. The Film Club – David Gilmour
  10. Franny and Zooey – J.D. Salinger
  11. Blue Like Jazz – Donald Miller
  12. Watchmen – Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
  13. Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
  14. The Tales of Beetle the Bard – J.K. Rowling
  15. Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
  16. The Omnivore’s Dilemma – Michael Pollan
  17. The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
  18. Style: A to Zoe – Rachel Zoe