For a long time books served as an escape, a little break from reality to regroup and relax.  When I was little I practically lived inside them.  I was obsessed with Harry Potter, the Twilight Series (cringe), and the Hunger Games. Anything that seemed impossible whether it was magic, unreal creatures or post-apocalyptic worlds, I was in.  If the author could paint a picture to transport me to another place my imagination could completely take over.

I always had two books in my backpack and switched between them frequently depending on what I felt like getting into. I would get in trouble for reading in class, but I didn’t care.  It was traveling, and I could always come back.

Since those days I have upped my book game and expanded my horizons to some less exciting but still transformative books. Everything you read has the potential to make an impact on and can ultimately change the direction of your life if you want it to.  I have gone through many phases, and I don’t plan to stop.

03/17/18

There are a lot of great ways to up your book game.  I just recently subscribed to Scribd, and while it is a monthly subscription of $8.99, it has a lot more than just books.  Also, I used Honey and found a promo code for 90 days free. Score.  Scribd has audiobooks, books, technical books, documents as well as news and magazines FOR FREE, it’s like Netflix. The audiobooks really sold me though, I had been looking for a place to listen that doesn’t charge by the title AND a monthly subscription.

Are you worried about finding the time? I am not good at reading unless I am literally sucked in and then I do nothing else. I really like podcasts, so I figured listening to books would be equally as enjoyable.  I listen on the way to and from work – 40 minutes total.  When I am doing dishes, cleaning, meal prepping or laundry.  I have wireless Bluetooth, noise-canceling headphones (with ear pads and everything, can’t stand the buds) and use them constantly, they were one of my favorite purchases of 2017.

Okay, so now on to my favorite books of the last few years, and they would be great picks for 2018.  I picked these books because in a small way each of them shaped my life, and I have a lot of respect for the author. You can be sure none of these books are boring, hard to get through or considered a waste of time. I plan to re-read all of them someday.

 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

I bet you have heard of this one, and if you have preconceived notions, hold on! Give me a chance. From an early age, I quickly identified the issue I had with keeping things neat. Growing up my room was always a mess, as were my school desks and backpacks.  As I grew into a teenager it only got worse, the mess and clutter taking over the bathroom and eventually a car.

It was the type of thing I didn’t really think about, it just was messy.  I would occasionally get embarrassed and clean, but a few weeks later I was back to the same problem.  In college, my freshman roommate was super tidy, and I was not. I think I actually ended up putting a piece of tape down the middle of the floor to separate the space. When I got my own place, things didn’t improve much. I felt like I was ALWAYS cleaning, or that things were never tidy no matter what.

My apartment was not large, it was around 500 sqft total. I had an open living area a tiny kitchen. My fridge and stove were not miniature but not full size either. I had a bedroom that was basically only big enough for a queen-sized bed, and that’s it.  The bathroom was only as wide as the claw foot tub and had no space for anything. The closet was a decent size, it was a small walk in with shelving and a place to hang clothing.

My bed had been built by me and my dad.  It was relatively low to the ground but the entire top was a large shelf. It had totes of off-season clothing, craft supplies, and a large amount of stuff on it.  I soon came to the realization maybe it wasn’t a problem with how I was organizing, but how much stuff I had.  I had heard about this book and decided to give it a try.

I did not and do not describe myself as a person who has a lot of things, my apartment while not super clean, didn’t feel like it was bursting at the seams. As I read, many points that hit home for me about the possessions we have and why we keep them. It helped me realize that I can let go of things and make my space functional for myself.

To give it my best shot, I did everything just as she lays it out in the book.  I started to get rid of the things that never fit, or a was keeping out of gifting guilt. I reduced my someday items and recycled a lot of paper.  All and all I got rid of 8 garbage bags of clutter and donated 3 to bags of clothing to Goodwill.

Once I had less stuff my apartment was much more functional, and letting go of things I had been holding on to “just because” made me feel utterly light. I honestly felt joyful.  I felt a new purpose for my belongings that had survived the purge.  I had gotten rid of 70% of my clothing and kept only the things that I felt great and my authentic self in.

There were some things I did not agree with, but when reading any sort of self-help book I treat it like yoga.  Everything is optional and I only pick what works best for me. To this day when I buy anything new I really think about the purpose of the item, what it is going to take to care for it, where I am going to store it and if I want to devote mental energy to it.  Yes, even if it is a shirt.

If you are looking for a way to declutter your space and your mind, give this book a read and be open-minded to it as you.  You might be surprised what items in your home you find truly functional and beautiful and what items are causing you some undealt with guilt. All and all it is worth a shot.

#GirlBoss by Sofia Amoruso

I straight up binged listened to this book. From the moment I hit play, I was in love with Sofia’s story. There were a lot of little things she said that I identified with.  As someone with ADHD, listening to a woman describe her life with ADHD really made me listen, because she did and is still doing AMAZING things.  Her story is not linear, she had no big end goals in mind, and she basically told the status quo to eff off. This book is an example of how to you can do what you want to do by being true to yourself, and finding your passion in life.

She talks about all the mistakes she made, but how making them got her to where she is today. The thing I liked most is that she doesn’t regret (almost) anything she has done, she is always reinventing herself and trying new things to see if they stick. As someone who never felt like they would find a place where they would totally fit in, listening to Sofia’s story was empowering. She is real, authentic and totally herself in this book.

This is not a get rich quick or self-help book. It is simply a story with Sofia describing how she turned into a girl boss and how you can too. I finished it in 3 days and I will be listening to it the next time I have a bad day. There is a lot of practical advice that applies anywhere, not just in the fashion industry.