Jack loves his books!

Jack Loves His Books!

People often ask me what I’m reading and what books I’m loving most. Funnily enough, a good portion of the books I read these days are not necessarily for me, but for a 5 year old. It’s a true gift for an author to be able to appeal to both the parent and child, especially since many of the books we read are read not just once, but sometimes hundreds of times. Although Jack has mastered his ABC’s, he’s not quite ready to move on to reading books by himself, he is reading and recognizing certain words! Jack’s taste in books has changed quite a bit over the years. Luckily, thanks to gifts from close family and friends, our little library has grown to keep up with him! I thought I would go ahead and share a list of Jack’s favorites right now and what he likes about them.

Jack Loves His Books

Meet the Artist: David Hockney

Why Jack likes it: This book covers the life of an amazing artist and it includes so many fun ideas and activities for a budding artist.

Iggy Peck Architect

Why Jack likes it: It’s so creative and it rhymes. Iggy builds incredible things out of unusual materials — like a bridge out of diapers! Jack loves the hyjinx and gets lots of laughs from a heartwarming story about a boy who stands up for what he loves.

Iggy Peck’s Big Project Book for Architects

Why Jack likes it: This book is so hands-on. There are activities, drawing prompts and challenges! Plus, Iggy’s adventures as an unusual architect continue.

Vegetables in Underwear

Why Jack likes it: the words rhyme, the illustrations are so cute, and of course what 5-year-old boy doesn’t love talking about underwear?!?

Once Upon A Time by Guridi

Why Jack likes it: The real draw here are the cute illustrations…. I mean, just look at that little mustache. Plus it’s kind of a cliffhanger, but if I am being completely honest, this one isn’t my favorite to read over and over again.

Star Wars Block: This is a complete guide to a Galaxy far far away.

Why Jack Likes It: All the characters! With this book, Jack feels like the force is always with him!

Jack Loves His Books

Do you and your little ones have any favorite reads? Be sure to pass along recommendations!

4 Life-Changing Self-Help Books!

Self Help Graphic

Want to make your house tidier? Lose that extra 10 lbs? Communicate with coworkers just a little more efficiently? It’ almost Autumn— a season of self improvement and change. Maybe you have an entire to-do list for the next few months and you have no idea where to start. The good news is, there’s almost certainly a book out there to help you figure out how to achieve your goals.

That’s one of the things I love about self-help books. They are full of life hacks, skills, and new ways of looking at the world. I view them as a source of encouragement, exchange of good ideas, and a chance to examine my own process for doing certain things, rather than as a quick fix. My favorites include The Universe Has Your Back, How to Live a Good Lifeand You Are A Badass

Before I delve further into this, I want to address one of the main misconceptions about the genre. These books aren’t gospel. They won’t magically transform you overnight or eliminate all your bad habits in one go. For example, let’s say you buy one of those fancy electric tooth brushes. You wouldn’t expect to fix cavities or whiten your teeth if you never actually used it. In the same way, you have to actually put the skills and strategies in self help books to use. I guess what I'm trying to say is, these books help make a difficult complicated process (really getting to know yourself), less difficult and complicated. They just don't do the hard work for you. After all, it's all about YOU and what fun would that be?

Here are 10 reasons I love self help books along with a few things I’ve learned from them: 

  1. Think of yourself as a work in progress. These books don't encourage unreasonable standards of imperfection. Instead, they offer concrete individual steps for improvement. Having reasonable expectations for yourself and your accomplishments is an important part of being kind to yourself. 
  2. Stop comparing yourself to other people. Almost every self help book I've encountered echoes this message across the board. Everyone is different. I could never create the art of another person— I can only create my own. That's a beautiful thing and it means we can take the pressure off ourselves. Instead of looking outward, we can look inward. 
  3. Focus on the present moment. Today's fast-paced, results-oriented world of constant motion makes it hard to stay grounded and aware of what's going on right in front of you. It's hard enough to tear away from your phone without feeling like you might be missing something important!
  4. Give you a chance to evaluate your personal process. Knowing yourself is an important part of reaching your goals. 
  5. Full of good ideas and strategies. Even with the power of the internet at our fingertips, we can't find every life hack or every personality quiz.
  6. You can learn from someone else’s triumphs and their mistakes. Of course, everyone is different and part of the journey is figuring things out for yourself. But hearing from a more experienced person as they write that no, not everything you do has to be perfect or to suggest that maybe that crushing failure is actually a chance to reassess and try again. There's nothing like a fresh perspective when you're at a crossroads!
  7. Convey meaningful stories, anecdotes, and fables. Whether it's a cringe-worthy tale of a mix-up at work or a missed opportunity or even a tragic childhood disappointment, self help books aren't all facts and strategies. There are stories woven throughout to illustrate the authors ideas, points, and experiences. These give a way to visualize how the author came to their conclusion.
  8. Help you identify your areas of growth. None of us are perfect. But our blindspots are...well...blindspots. We don't necessarily know where they are and what they might be. Trying new things gives us a chance to identify our faults or weak spots and come up with new and better ways to improve.
  9. Gives you a chance to see what doesn’t work for you. So maybe you pick up a self-help book and read it. Something doesn't click with you. The author's stories don't speak to you. Something isn't quite right. That's okay. You've still learned something important. Knowing what we don't like is just as important as knowing what we love. Plus, I guarantee, there's another book out there with your name on it!
  10. Build good habits to craft a life you love. Okay so maybe this is a little plug for my own book Craft A Life You Lovebut it comes from my sincere belief that each of us is a beautiful work in progress. Not everything in our lives need to be perfect and many self help books emphasize this while going on to say how encouraging this fact actually is. There is room for errors and mistakes, especially if we use those moments to learn and grow from them. 

If you're interested in trying out some of my faves, let me know in the comments below! 

Happy World Book Day!

Quote from The Room on Rue Amelie

My intention was to create an updated list of books that have changed my life, but as usual, there are a lot of things going on behind the scenes. Thankfully most of them are good, but many of them are taking up my time and energy leaving me with grand ideas to blog more, but I think that will happen more next month. Fingers crossed. 

For now, I am sharing a quote from my dear friend, Kristin Harmel's book, The Room on Rue Amelie. She sent me an advanced copy, which I finished earlier this year and loved. There are so many other quotes that resonated with me. I chose this one in particular because my word for this year is either "shine" or "light". Do you have a favorite quote from a book?

Our New Nugget!

amy_november-52.jpg

Jack's playroom has gone through several iterations through the years, and I am happy to report that our newest addition has been a huge hit!  We've been enjoying the Nugget Comfort play couch that we got for Jack recently. It has a way of bringing us all together, whether it's under tents or building castles and obstacle courses, this Nugget encourages family time and play. Not to mention this new Cactus color is pretty close to perfection! One of our favorite books lately is Little Owl Lost. It's such a sweet story and Jack has basically memorized the entire thing, so he can enjoy reading it on his own. 

We love our newest addition, and even Buster approves! Go check out the rest of their new colors and yes - the Nugget covers are machine washable! 

PHOTOS BY Ann-Marie Espinoza | Jack's clothing is from Rabbit LaddersDisclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. I receive a small percentage of sales at no cost to you. My creative partners and I really appreciate your continued support and every little bit helps me to bring you consistent content!

The Keepsake Kitchen Diary!

Though I have been cooking more recently than before, I have never really been one to keep a recipe book or card box. That is until the awesome ladies at Lily & Val offered to send me The Keepsake Kitchen Diary. Since I love creative collaborations, I had to send her some of my latest products so she could use them too. I was immediately smitten with the book when I first got it - the beautiful chalk lettered illustrations by Valerie McKeehan caught my eye immediately. To be perfectly honest, it was one of those cases where I had this gorgeous book in my hands but I didn't want to write in it or mess it up because it's so beautiful. I keep far too many books and journals blank, so I had to talk myself out of the fear of messing it up and to jump right in.

One of our favorite go-to recipes as of late is essentially an adaptation of Hot For Food's Buddha Bowl. We had the pleasure or having her stay with us and you can check out the fun we had in being spoiled with delicious Vegan food in Lauren Toyota's video

I should probably properly make a video for the meal that we have at least once a week now and take the time to write an actual recipe with measurements one day. For now, you'll just see this spread which was an excuse to dive right in and use my supplies in Lily & Val's gorgeous Keepsake Kitchen Diary.

Keepsake Kitchen Diary
Keepsake Kitchen Diary

I printed out just an okay photo (better than nothing) on my Instax Share SP-2 printer

Keepsake Kitchen Diary
Keepsake Kitchen Diary
Keepsake Kitchen Diary

The gorgeous illustrations are reason enough to get this Keepsake Diary, but imagine how special this will be to pass on to someone with it full of delicious recipes! If you're still looking for a special gift for Mother's Day, this might just be it! 

Check out what Valerie did with my products on her blog and on Instagram