Tag Archives: books

Link Love: 80

Puppy snoozin' in the van

I’m so thankful for all the positive feedback and lovely comments that we’ve received on the van remodel on the blog and on Instagram. I can’t wait to take NirVANa on a long road trip! In the meantime, here’s a few links to keep you busy.

An interesting article about who benefits from the tiny house revolution.

Ikea’s new campaign includes a cute little camper!

The latest Fixer Upper episode was right up my alley. In fact, my friends were texting me the entire show. I’m ready to redo a houseboat next!

I’ve been reading The Happiness Project. It’s not really a new book, but it’s been interesting and we could all use a little more happiness, am I right?

And what goes great with book learnin’? Tea drinkin’! I’ve never been a sweet (or even) cold tea gal, even though I’m from the south. I love a hot cuppa and Tazo’s sweet orange with a slice of lemon is my favorite.

Do you give Valentine’s Day gifts? We might give each other something small, but we’re usually just about eating a good meal and relaxing. So boring! If you’re looking for some ideas, here’s are men’s gifts under $10, last minute Valentine’s gifts and some V-day dinner ideas.

And when your loved ones voted the other way.

I hope your weekend is full of love!
Melanie

*Post contains affiliate links.

10 of the Best Books about Traveling

Best Books about Traveling

It’s that time of year where I want to hop on a bus, train or plane and travel somewhere. “Anywhere! Anywhere!” And one of the best parts of traveling? Yes, the opportunity to see places you’ve never seen, but there’s also so much down-time. That beautiful, glorious down-time that makes for great reading time.

Today I’m sharing 10 of the best books about traveling. Read them while traveling or read them at home! I hope they stoke your fires of wanderlust. Continue reading

Book Report: December and January

Reading by the fire
I had been doing a book club on the blog where we would read a book about minimalism or living small and then I’d report on it. I fell out of the habit because I got stuck on a book I just simply could not get through. And life is too short to read boring books, am I right?!?

I’d like to get back in the book club habit, but first I thought it might be interesting to take a break and talk about the books I read in December and January. These books have no theme, really. It was just what interested me. And sometimes that’s what I need. Continue reading

A Small Life Book Club: Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life

minimalism

This month I read Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life. I “read” this book via audiobook. That may have colored my review. In this case, I enjoyed the reader’s voice. It was authoritative, yet personal– like a good chat with a long-time friend.

The first part of this book shared Josh and Ryan’s journey to minimalism. While I found that part relatable and quasi-interesting, I enjoyed the second part of the book much more. The second part of the book describes the five dimensions of living a meaningful life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.

I must admit, I have an easy time with the “stuff” aspect of minimalism. I love throwing stuff away. And I love a clean, sparse space. The “stuff” that I hold onto is mostly mental stuff. I get really caught up in the day-to-day junk that doesn’t add value to my life. This book helped me to reflect on what’s truly important and a little more difficult– the mental part of minimalism.

I did enjoy this book. It was a quick, worthwhile read, but I did have a few bones to pick. I think an issue with much of minimalism writing is that it is written by people who once made a great deal of money. The authors do admit they were once in debt, but they also had six figure incomes. Once you start exchanging unimportant large expenses for smaller ones, like a mortgage on a large house for rent in an inexpensive apartment, you’ll be able to cut expenses incredibly quickly. With a six figure income, you’ll get out of debt quickly and you’ll be able to save quickly. For most people, it’s not so easy. I wanted strategies for sustaining minimalism. What do I do when minimalism gets really hard? It often does. How do I contribute to my health, relationships, passion, growth and contribution when I have little time for myself? Not everyone can quit their full-time jobs. I want to hear from those single moms who found minimalism!

Maybe I need to write the answer. Maybe “Minimalism for busy people” will be my next book? 🙂

Have you read Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life? What strategies do you have for sustaining your minimalist lifestyle? Let me know in the comments.

love,
melanie

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A Small Life Book Club: July’s Pick

scarcity

Hey ya’ll, I’m a bit behind on the Book Club this month. What else is new? #storyofmylife. Anyway, we’ll be discussing Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much* on Friday.

If you have any suggestions for August’s Book Club pick, leave ’em in the comments!

love (and Happy Monday! ugh!),
melanie

*Affiliate link.

A Small Life Book Club: Essentialism

essentialism-the-disciplined-pursuit-of-less

I’m a little late too the Book Club game this month. I apologize if you were waiting for the riveting discussion that I’m sure will ensue 🙂 I just had a lot going on and I know not all of it was essential. Ha-ha.

Anyway, this month I listened to the audiobook version of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less*. The author, Greg McKeown, has a lovely voice and if anything, listening to the audiobook favorably influenced my opinion of the book. That hasn’t always been the case when I listened to audiobooks in the past. See: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

I wholeheartedly agree with the premise of this book. Most people chase everything instead of chasing the right things. The right things are the things in your life and career that will make the most impact. Unfortunately most of the tasks that we do are unimportant. It’s answering email. It’s picking up the dry cleaning. It’s filling out that form for the 5th time because someone lost it again…

I know on an everyday basis that most of the work tasks and many of the life tasks that I do are nonessential. I know that checking my email 394834923293 times a day doesn’t contribute to my productivity. I know that doing the dishes isn’t going to contribute to my big life goals. I also know that if I don’t do it, no one else will. Which leads me to my biggest problem with the book. I think that the principles are very difficult to apply to government, service or “worker-bee” jobs. It would be easy to say “no” to pursuing menial tasks if I was higher up the food chain. Unfortunately, much of my job is filling out forms and filling up the printer’s paper tray. Even if I did advocate for essentialism, I don’t think I would ever see an institutional change. It’s sad, but true.

I also think that as a person with a limited income, essentialism is difficult to apply to my personal life. Yes, I want to work on writing a book, but I can’t afford to pay someone to do my laundry, clean my house and cook my meals. That has to be done on an every day basis by me.

Although some of the principles of the book are going to be extremely difficult to implement, since reading this book, I have begun to question the nonessential things I can control. Do I really need a Facebook? No. And as soon as I download all of my pictures, I plan to get rid of it. I also reinstalled Rescue Time to keep me off of distracting sites. And I’ve taken off my email’s sound alert, so I don’t run to my email each time I hear the new mail ping. These little things have been extremely helpful, but I’ve yet to free up large chunks of time for essential projects.

Have you read Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less*? What did you think? How have you limited nonessential things in your life to make space for the important stuff? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

P.S. July’s pick will be Scarcity: Why having too little means so much*. Feel free to leave suggestions for future books in the comments!

*Affiliate links.

A Small Life Book Club: The Power of Less Discussion

The Power of Less Book

Welcome to book club! Let’s settle in with a glass of wine (it’s Friday, right?!) and get to chatting! This month we read, The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential…in Business and in Life* by Leo Babauta. Leo is of Zen Habits fame and this is one of many books and articles that he has written.

Full disclosure: I again, listened to this book via Audible*. This time I didn’t mind the speaker’s voice so I don’t think that swayed my feelings towards the book, but I do think at times, I missed things because I’m not a naturally audible learner.

What I did grasp from the book were a few key concepts that, although very basic, have been helpful for me in achieving goals in the past. Although, when Leo listed how many goals he has achieved in the beginning of the book using these methods, I felt like I have achieved NOTHING. He’s written books, run marathons, grown his blog to hundreds of thousands of readers and so much more.  He also has 6 kids and gets up at 4:30 am everyday. Crazy pants. Anyway, I think he really has something with the 3 “Most Important Tasks” (MITs) concept. I write down the 3 most important things that I have to do each day in my planner and my “MITS” always get done.

I also really liked his suggestion to start (almost comically) small when achieving goals. If you want to exercise everyday, start exercising for 5 minutes a day. It’s more important to establish the habit first than actually achieve results. I know that I would have trouble with this suggestion. I’m an over-achiever, but I’m going to try it with my next big goal.

Leo also suggests just pursuing one goal at a time. This would be the hardest suggestion for me to follow. I want to achieve so many things and I don’t want to wait an entire year to start the next goal. I want to both exercise every day and grow my blog. I don’t know if both would be possible by his standards.

I did like that his methods are easy to understand. Nothing is revolutionary, but nothing seems impossible either.

Did you read The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential…in Business and in Life?* Let’s chat in the comments

love,
melanie

*Affiliate links.