2018 Book Challenge Results

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Happy New Year! I hope everyone is having a great start to 2019. In spite of a few hiccups, I’m happy to say that so far my 2019 Happiness Project has been going well! How are you sticking to your resolutions?

Every year, I aim to make time for reading. My perfect weekend day involves a trip to the river walk by my apartment with a cup of tea and a good book. Because of graduate school (and then my subsequent recovery from graduate school), reading was sadly not as big of a priority for me in 2018. However, I did reread an old childhood favorite and discover some amazing new page turners. I’ll mark the best books of 2018 with a * below!

Books I Read in 2018

  1. Negotiation Genius by Deepak Malhotra and Max Bazerman (3/8/18)
  2. Every Day by David Levithan (4/7/18)*
  3. Total Leadership by Steward D. Friedman (4/14/18)
  4. Woman Enters Left by Jessica Brockmole (4/20/18)*
  5. The Diary of Darcy J. Rhone by Emily Giffin (4/22/18)
  6. Damned by Chuck Palahniuk (4/30/18)
  7. How To Be Well by Frank Lipman (5/26/18)
  8. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty (6/9/18)
  9. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (7/4/18) – Girl, Wash Your Face: Three Lies We Need to Stop Telling Ourselves
  10. Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen (7/31/18)*
  11. The Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda by Sahara Rose Ketabi (9/8/18)
  12. The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron (11/16/18)
  13. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (11/30/18)*

To keep up with my current reading list for 2019, visit the Book Challenge page on my top menu or click here. (Click for recaps from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 20152016, and 2017!)

Have you read anything good lately? Share your recommendations in the comments!

Girl, Wash Your Face: Three Lies We Need to Stop Telling Ourselves

Girl, Wash Your Face: Three Lies We Need to Stop Telling Ourselves | Wellness & Wanderlust

An avid bookworm, I was especially excited when someone recommended Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis. This book hit especially close to home for me, as it focused on the lies we tell ourselves that hold us back in life. Like most people, I tend to suffer from imposter syndrome and can often be my own worst enemy, letting my inner mean girl speak the loudestGirl, Wash Your Face is a refreshing read that breaks down those negative thoughts with the goal of helping us move past them.

Three chapters in particular stood out to me, so I thought I would share them with my readers. Each chapter addresses a different lie that we tell ourselves, and how to reframe our thoughts. Depending on your own life experiences, other chapters may impact you more deeply, but I wanted to share these insights from which so many of us can benefit.

  • The Lie: I’ll Start Tomorrow
    I’ll be honest — I’m a sucker for kicking off new goals on a Monday or on the first of the month. There’s something I love about having a clear line of demarcation between the old and the new. However, this also gets me into trouble, sometimes causing me to put off my goals with the excuse that I’ll start tomorrowHowever, as Rachel Hollis explains in this chapter, “Your subconscious knows that you, yourself, cannot be trusted after breaking so many plans and giving up on so many goals.” Many of us are great at keeping promises, unless those promises are to ourselves. We’re accountable and reliable for others, but when it comes to ourselves, we can become complacent and give up easily. However, when we tell ourselves we’ll start tomorrow or we push back our goals, we are really telling ourselves that we can’t be relied on. To combat this, Rachel suggests starting with small, more attainable goals, and building over time. We also need to be honest with ourselves about why we choose to put things off, and take the time to be intentional.
  • The Lie: I Should Be Further Along By Now
    This is a lie I constantly struggle with. In certain areas of my life, I feel like I’m not living up to the mental timeline I’ve created for myself, and it stings. However, when I step outside of myself and take a more objective look, I am reminded of how much I’ve accomplished: I graduated with my Master’s degree while working full-time, I’ve reached new milestones at work, I’ve been blessed with some amazing travel experiences, and so much more. Taking inventory of what you have done and setting goals, rather than time limits, will help guide you in the right direction.
  • The Lie: I Am Defined By My Weight
    Since graduation, I have been working hard to reframe the last 27 years of negative thoughts around body image. It is so easy to tell ourselves (especially as women) that we won’t be happy or won’t have the things we want in life until we reach a certain clothing size or a number on the scale. In truth, it isn’t our weight that makes the difference — it’s the way we treat ourselves and our bodies. What we eat and how we exercise matters, and it’s important to fuel our bodies with the foods that make us feel our best. As Rachel says in this chapter, “The lie I used to believe was that my weight would define me, that it would speak volumes about who I was as a person. Today I believe it’s not your weight that defines you, but the care and consideration you put into your body absolutely does.” You are worthy of love and happiness and success at any weight or dress size, but eating the junk foods that you know will make you sick is an abuse to your body.  Your weight does not define you, but the way you treat yourself does. It can be a struggle, but for the last couple of months, I have focused more on listening to my needs, eating intuitively, and incorporating more movement into my day because it makes me feel betterWhether you’re looking to lose weight, gain weight, or simply feel your best, treating your body with respect and listening to what it needs is always going to benefit you in the long run.

Have any of you read Girl, Wash Your Face? Which chapters stood out to you? What lie are you working to overcome?

 

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2017 Book Challenge Results

IMG_2795Happy New Year!

As we begin another year of new adventures, resolutions, friendships, and opportunities, let’s not forget about new books. 🙂 An avid reader, I love to track the books I read from year to year, and although I read considerably less in 2017 than in previous years, it was so gratifying to set aside time for myself away from the required reading for school. I also finally knocked out one book in particular that had been on my list for a long time: Gone With The Wind.

Below are the books I read in 2017. (Click for recaps from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016!) You can keep up with the current list for 2018 by visiting the Book Challenge page on my top menu or by clicking here.

Books I Read in 2017

  1. How To Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie (1/3/17)
  2. Orange Is The New Black by Piper Kerman (1/22/17)
  3. And Again by Jessica Chiarella (1/29/17)
  4. Food Freedom Forever by Melissa Hartwig (2/19/17)
  5. Yes Please by Amy Poehler (3/29/17)
  6. One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak (4/19/17)
  7. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (6/3/17) – 2018 Happiness Project
  8. When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner (6/4/17)
  9. The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein (9/17/17)
  10. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell (11/30/17)
  11. Becoming ATHENA by Martha Mayhood Mertz (12/3/17)
  12. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson (12/25/17)

What books do you recommend for 2018? Share in the comments section below!

2018 Happiness Project

Happy New Year! 🙂 I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and is gearing up for an even better 2018. A lot of people are skeptical when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, but sometimes a new year can be the perfect starting point to begin incorporating new practices into our lives. Last year, I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, in which the author underwent a full year of adopting positive new habits based on happiness research. I loved the book and its practicality so much that I quickly became a fan of Gretchen’s podcast!

Inspired by both the book and the podcast, I decided to take 2018 to create my own happiness project, based on applicable lessons from the book. For the next six months, I will focus on ingraining new healthy practices into my life (and re-ingraining some old ones that have fallen to the wayside!), and will share my results and lessons learned on the blog each month.

Feel free to adopt these practices into your own life from month to month, or create your very own happiness project using the resources from Gretchen’s site. Don’t forget to share your own findings in the comments section!

2018 Happiness Project | Wellness & Wanderlust

  • January 2018: Boost Energy.
    • Practice better sleep hygiene and go to bed earlier.
    • Exercise more often.
    • Go for 15-minute walks before work each morning.
    • Take time to reorganize.
  • February 2018: Focus on Nutrition.
    • Undergo a Whole30.
    • Make time for meal prep every Sunday.
    • Try one new recipe each week.
  • March 2018: Lighten Up & Appreciate the Present.
    • Attempt a “Pollyanna Week” of minimal to no complaining.
    • Keep a one-sentence journal.
    • Practice gratitude each day.
  • April 2018: Reevaluate Finances.
    • Look over my monthly budget and find areas to cut back.
    • Organize coupons and gift cards for more efficient use.
  • May 2018: Make Time for Friends.
    • Prioritize social time with friends.
    • Don’t gossip.
    • Show up.
  • June 2018: Pursue a Passion.
    • Dedicate more time to writing and blogging.
    • Submit an original piece to a new publication.
    • Work on learning a new technology.

What are your resolutions for 2018? Share in the comments section below!

2016 Book Challenge Results

2016 Book Challenge ResultsHappy New Year!

I hope each of you had a wonderful night, ringing in 2017 with the ones you love. I love beginning the year anew, writing down resolutions and planning all of the exciting adventures ahead!

Every year, I aim to read as many books as possible to de-stress and to spark creativity in my own life. Now that I’ve started graduate school, my reading for pleasure has tapered off somewhat, but I always like to share what I’ve read each year and look for new suggestions in the year ahead.

Below are the books I read in 2016. (Click for recaps from 2011201220132014 and 2015.) You can keep up with the current list for 2017 by visiting the Book Challenge page at the top menu or by clicking here.

Books I’ve Read in 2016:

  1. The Mayo Clinic Handbook for Happiness by Amit Sood (1/6/2016)
  2. How To Talk To Girls At Parties by Neil Gaiman (1/14/2016)
  3. The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson (1/18/2016)
  4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (1/23/2016)
  5. Room by Emma Donoghue (1/31/2016)
  6. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald (2/24/2016)
  7. Looking For Alaska by John Green (3/1/2016)
  8. Psychopath Free by Jackson MacKenzie (3/19/2016)
  9. Slumber Party by Christopher Pike (3/21/2016)
  10. The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve (3/30/2016)
  11. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson (4/13/2016)
  12. American Housewife: Stories by Helen Ellis (4/17/2016)
  13. This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper (5/7/2016)
  14. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham (5/18/2016)
  15. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes (5/22/2016) – 25 at 25 Bucket List: My Year of Yes
  16. The Giver by Lois Lowry (5/23/2016)
  17. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (6/3/2016)
  18. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (6/27/2016)
  19. You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero (7/30/2016) – All Or Nothing Day: Creating A Life You Love
  20. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling (8/31/2016)
  21. All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker (10/5/2016)
  22. The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer (10/24/2016)

Any suggestions for 2017? Share in the comments section below!

2015 Book Challenge Results

keep-calm-and-love-reading-64Happy New Year, friends! I hope everyone has had a wonderful first few days of 2016 and that you are keeping on track with your New Year’s Resolutions. I have a few health and wellness goals this year (don’t we all?), but one of my annual goals is to make time for reading. 🙂

Reading a variety of genres and authors exposes you to new perspectives and can make you a better writer! Every year, I share my recap of what I read the year prior, as well as links to the blog posts that some of these books inspired.

Below are the books I read in 2015. (Click for recaps from 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.) You can keep up with the current list for 2016 by visiting the Book Challenge page at the top menu or by clicking here.

Books I Read in 2015:

1. The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero (1/12/2015)
2. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick (1/29/2015)
3. How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (2/3/2015)
4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (2/9/2015)
5. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (3/21/2015)
6. The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom (3/22/2015)
7. Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth (5/18/2015)
8. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (5/22/2015)
9. The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan (5/24/2015)
10. Why Men Love Bitches by Sherry Argov (6/4/2015)
11. Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell (6/6/2015)
12. Winkie by Clifford Chase (6/11/2015)
13. I’m Only Here For The WiFi by Chelsea Fagan (6/18/2015)
14. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (6/23/2015)
15. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (7/6/2015)
16. Dating Up by J. Courtney Sullivan (7/24/2015)
17. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (9/23/2015)
18. The Mathematics of Love by Hannah Fry (10/1/2015) — Unique Holiday Gift Guide for All Friends
19. When The Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka (11/12/2015) — Adventures in Florida: Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
20. Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle (12/11/2015)
21. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (12/13/2015)
22. Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich (12/29/2015)

Have you read any of these books? Any suggestions for 2016?

Share your thoughts and recommendations in the comments section below!

2014 Book Challenge Results

tumblr_static_bibliophileHappy New Year, and thank you for stopping by! 🙂 2015 is an exciting time for me at So It Must Be True, with health and wellness becoming one of the blog’s added focuses, as well as some brand new content. As a writer, I love to read in my spare time, and occasionally the books I read will inspire my blog posts!

Every year, I aim to read as much as I can, and I create annual recaps to share my book lists with readers!

While adjusting to full-time employment and a busy schedule, I haven’t had a ton of time to read for pleasure this year, but I am still happy to have enjoyed some great books! (Yes, I know I fell way short of my 50 book challenge, but hey – I really liked the books I did get to read!)

Below is a list of books I read this year, as well as any blog posts inspired by them. (Click for recaps from 2011, 2012 and 2013.) Let me know what great books you’ve enjoyed this year!

Books I’ve Read in 2014:

1. The Godfather by Mario Puzo (1/18/14)
2. Silent Dancing by Judith Ortiz Cofer (1/21/14) – The Stories We Tell Ourselves
3. I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts On Being A Woman by Nora Ephron (1/28/14)
4. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (2/20/14)
5. It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig (2/25/14)
6. Divergent by Veronica Roth (3/30/14)
7. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult (4/30/14)
8. Dirty Love by Andre Dubus III (5/22/14)
9. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (7/10/14)
10. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (8/2/14) – How I Met Your Mother, Toltec Wisdom and Letting Go
11. Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding (9/3/14)
12. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin (12/25/14)

Have you read any of these books? What are some of your favorite books you’ve read this year? What do you suggest for 2015?

2013 Book Challenge Results

tumblr_m7qyzcQjmC1r0tmr2o1_500Happy New Year, my dear readers!

For me, 2013 was a year of transition and change. I graduated from college, my home away from home, and took my first bold steps into the corporate world as a full-time marketing professional. In 2013, I began to take control of my own finances, moved into my first non-college-affiliated apartment, mastered the art of making delicious smoothies and even learned the basic fundamentals of football! It was a year of both opportunity and nostalgia, of love and loss, of letting go of the past and discovering new horizons.

What 2013 was not, however, was a year of abundant reading. Every year, I aim to read as many books as possible in order to de-stress and gain a little inspiration in the process. In 2013, the number of books I read dwindled from the previous years, although many were fantastic reads! (I even reviewed Jen Glantz’s book, All My Friends Are Engaged, on my blog!)

Below is a list of the books I read this year. (Click for recaps from 2011 and 2012.)

1. The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1/15/13)
2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (2/5/13)
3. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini (3/1/13)
4. The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory (3/11/13)
5. Going Bovine by Libba Bray (3/21/13)
6. Summer Rush by Gabrielle Upshur (4/3/13)
7. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (6/7/13)
8. Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James (7/18/13)
9. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (8/26/13)
10. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen (12/5/13)
11. All My Friends Are Engaged by Jen Glantz (12/19/13) – Book Review: All My Friends Are Engaged

Hoping for more wonderful books in 2014! Any suggestions in the new year?

Book Review: All My Friends Are Engaged

allmyfriendsareengagedLet’s face it: We all have an embarrassing dating story or two.

Each of us, at one time or another, has said the wrong thing, missed the “signs,” gone out with someone who was a total mismatch, and declared that we’d be forever alone. And after these nights of poorly timed jokes and awkward half-hugs and unreturned text messages, some well-meaning friend will sit us down with the generic love advice passed down from romantic comedies and self-help books.

So when I downloaded the eBook All My Friends Are Engaged, by Jen Glantz, I was pleasantly surprised to see that this was not a manual on how to land a quality guy or why you should always play hard-to-get. Jen’s book is a refreshing look at one twenty-something’s dating experiences, from saying “I love you” before the date even happened to navigating the online dating world. Her stories will make you laugh, because chances are, you’ve probably gone through similar situations yourself, but they will also make you think. Each chapter, while often funny and lighthearted, also allows Jen to reflect on her experiences and on dating conventions as a whole.

“I ended this group blind date in the same fashion that I’ve learned to medicate all awkward situations,” she writes, “by digging my spoon into the very bottom of a cup of soft serve. And with every bite, I realized even more that there is only one rule when it comes to love – when it comes to where, and when, and how to meet someone and then, once you’ve found them, how to fully recognize how you deserve to be treated. Open your eyes.

The book is a mix of introspective essays and lists, from a Valentine’s Day gone wrong to the eight reasons he didn’t ask for your number. If you’ve ever been on a less-than-perfect date – whether you’re single, in a relationship or married – you’ll be able to relate to this book and appreciate the humor that goes along with it. Jen is a skilled story-teller and her writing is accessible no matter what your perspective may be.

You can download and purchase All My Friends Are Engaged here on Amazon, or get a taste of Jen’s writing style at her wonderful blog, The Things I Learned From. Even if you’re like me and you don’t have a Kindle, you can still read from your SmartPhone or computer. Check out her book and support a fellow Knight!

How I Met Your Mother, Toltec Wisdom and Letting Go

images“Oh, if you could just let go.” – Mae, Just Let Go

*

For some of us, September marks the beginning of a new year. For others, it simply points out that the old year is almost 3/4ths over. Still, I like to think of this time as a new start, whether you’re embarking on a new school year or celebrating the Jewish High Holy Days, and with every beginning should come its fair share of reflection.

Recently, I looked back on my previous year and realized just how much anger and resentment I had for some of the things in my life that hadn’t gone as I’d hoped. Not only did I recognize my own grudges, but I also picked up on some of the grudges that others around me had held. It seemed that everyone I knew had lost a friend, endured a difficult breakup, missed an important opportunity or failed at something they truly wanted. We may not have realized it, but we were walking around each day with a chip on our shoulders, an air of disappointment or a certain sadness we couldn’t shake.

IMG_3431I recognized this in myself and in others, but the solution didn’t hit me until about a week ago, when I was watching a rerun of How I Met Your Mother. In the episode after Ted, the protagonist, gets left at the altar, he thinks about what he would say to his ex-fiancee if he had the chance. Finally, he comes to this conclusion, which Older Ted narrates to his future children:

“Kids, you may think your only choices are to swallow your anger or throw it in someone’s face, but there’s a third option: you can just let it go, and only when you do that is it really gone and you can move forward.”

It sounds so simple, but all too often we take the “easier” road of resentment, in which we either act on our anger toward others or we keep it bottled up. Of course, neither reaction is a healthy one, and even when we display our anger openly, it rarely helps the situation. I think that a huge part of the problem is that we don’t trust ourselves to find our happiness from within; our self-worth is so defined by others that we can’t allow ourselves to let go of the past.

51MfVDOlEkLIn his book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz says, “If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from youWalking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.”

When you walk away from something that isn’t right for you — whether that is a relationship, friendship, job or anything else — you have to trust yourself and move on. Wallowing in the past and not accepting the things you can’t control will only embitter you further.

Take a moment today to break free from something that has been holding you back, and allow yourself to finally let go. It may take some time, but it will be worth the effort and will be the best way to begin anew.