My 2018 Goal: A Book Per Month

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One of my goals this year is to read at least one book every month. I realized I haven’t read anything great in a while and I’ve been out of touch with what’s new and profound in the literary realm. Knowing I’d be really indecisive on selecting books, I reached out to my Facebook friends for recommended titles. Naturally, everyone responded with titles close to their heart! I specifically asked for some diversity, everything from science fiction to self help. My network of old friends, colleagues, past professors, and relatives served up a very diverse list. I’ve combed through the titles that seemed interesting and are somewhat relevant to me.

Here are the top 12 that made my list:

  1. La Sombra del Viento / The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón – This is the first one that I bought. Recommended by my grad school professor, this is really great so far. I bought the Spanish version, thinking I’m up for a challenge, but it’s taking me longer than usual to get through a book. I highly recommend this book (it was suggested to me three times) because I’m only on page 50 and I feel like I’m in a magical world.
  2. Who Thought This Was A Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco – I’m not going to lie, I peeked through the first ten pages of this once I received it in the mail. The writing style is honest and witty, but I’m forcing myself to finish La Sombra del Viento before I finish this.
  3. Building A Story Brand by Donald Miller – Naturally, my boss gifted me an awesome book that would help me develop my branding and message strategy at work. This was an easy read and Donald puts things into perspective.
  4. Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown – A crossfit friend recommended this to me. We’re on the same level. I need to learn how to adult!
  5. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – A former classmate recommended this one and I saw that it was highly rated on Amazon. It’s on my list of next books to purchase (or find a copy of at the library).
  6. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini – This title was recommended to me three times! The synopsis and eager recommendations sealed it’s place on my list.
  7. Ready Player One: A Novel by Ernest Cline – I asked for diversity and my crossfit friend served it up. This isn’t a title I’d pick up immediately, but I hear the movie comes out sometime next year. Plus, it looks exciting!
  8. A Tale for the Time Being: A Novel by Ruth Ozeki – I read the reviews on this one and they are phenomenal. I can tell every person was affected by this book, even the poor ratings have quality feedback. On the list it goes…
  9. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō – Ali Wong was onto something. A fellow AIGA board member recommended this title and I remembered Ali’s standup.
  10. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – A former grad school classmate warned me this is a sad read, but it makes you think about life and death.
  11. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey – Recommended by a former colleague who is always trying to be better at what he does. Such an appropriate title.
  12. Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health by Dr. Caroline Leaf – My younger cousin recommended this, which I am in complete shock that she did. She’s a wildly bold free-thinker and to see her recommend a book that helps center your thoughts and incorporates a spiritual or biblical element shows me how much she’s grown. Perhaps it will help me grow as well.

This list is definitely a great start. I think my Facebook post helped some folks discover new genres and books. A couple of old classmates have even reached out saying they wanted to start a book club. We’ll see how it goes. Feel free to leave your fave titles (and why you recommend them) in the comments!


I asked God for a great 2015 and he delivered.

 2015 has been really good to me. It was truly one of the best years of my life! I’ll admit I prayed. I asked God for 2015 to bring me happiness, adventure and love. He definitely delivered! Me! Non-practicing-Catholic-sarcastic-but-I-still-love-my-grandma-ME! I prayed and it happened. I truly feel it was the year I discovered a new layer of awesomeness about myself and those around me, made peace with what I’ve experienced in the past and found new goals to crush in the future.

I am so grateful for what I have right in this moment. Can I just list what made my year?

  • Surprising Abbey, the bestie, with a trip to Hilo for her 30th birthday and visiting Mauna Kea
  • Having a job that allows me to have creative freedom
  • Visiting Washington, D.C. for the first time
  • Having a boss that pushes me to grow professionally
  • Jumping off the rock at Waimea Bay
  • Going to Seattle and Portland to visit my cousins
  • Losing some weight, gaining a little back, now planning to lose it all and then some again
  • My cousin Tricia is finally pregnant…with TWINS! I cried when I found out.
  • Kevin ❤
  • New Zealand – I can’t even tell you how I knocked this off my bucket list (meat pies, learning about Maori culture, etc.)
  • Surprisingly being closer to God even though I still don’t attend mass
  • Finding an adult day care that my granny loves and enjoys
  • Putting myself out in the online dating world
  • Abu Dhabi – dune bashing, visiting the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, Ferrarri World, riding camels, ATV-ing
  • Crossfit Zeus and my Zeus ‘ohana – faced my fear of crosssfit and super athletes
  • Finally feeling in control of my life – balancing friendship, family, work, travel and love

Okay, there’s just too much to list. Sure, there have been many disappointments, failures, and hardships this year, but you know when your blessings outweigh the negative. I’m truly happy. Happy. That word makes me nervous! I’ve always kinda been a Negative Nancy, pointing out that happiness doesn’t truly last forever, someone is always there to wait for you to fail and steal your thunder, but who cares? We owe it to ourselves to thank God for this moment and appreciate all that we have. As you can tell, 2015 has changed the way I perceive situations, relationships and the world around me.

One of the catalysts in this transformation is…well…I work with some of the most faithful, humble and selfless people. I have to admit that even their faith and grace towards others and myself may have rubbed off. It can’t be helped. They’re a blessing and I learn from them every single day.

Among my many blessings, this year was THE YEAR TO TRAVEL. It started with surprising Abbey for her 30th, a couple work trips to Long Beach, CA and D.C. Then I took a first-time trip to Seattle to visit my cuzzies during the summer and visited Powell’s Books in Portland (checked that off my bucket list).

Lastly, I embarked on a long awaited journey to New Zealand: land of the kiwis, epic meat pie producers of the world, Hobbit habitation land, the place to live pre-zombie apocalypse and the country I have dreamed of for years. Thanks to my friend Lani and Warren for traveling alongside me and taking me on a truly unforgettable trip. The last and final trip of 2015 was to Abu Dhabi for Brentt’s first amateur golf tournament. The only expectation I had was that it was going to be hot. Although I nearly fainted from the heat on the golf course, I was blown away by the kindness of the locals, the intricate and unconventional architecture and the food! Oh the food. Mmm…if there was a reason for you to pay me to get fat in Abu Dhabi…even New Zealand…I’d be so good, you best be quadrupling that salary!

The final touch on 2015 was my mom, dad, and brother visiting me during the holidays. Mom came down during Thanksgiving, dad a couple weeks later and Brentt for Christmas. They all came down and filled my tummy and heart with happiness. I can’t ask for more.

Exactly one year ago, I wrote down my resolutions for 2015. They were to face fears, drink more, enjoy life and be happy. I didn’t drink more, but I’ve accepted that I’m officially allergic to alcohol and it’s best if I just drink on occasion. My goal in 2016 is to love on those that need it (no matter how annoying they are), face fears (yes, again), lose weight (sadly same resolution, different year – but with a little progress), be grateful, pray more, read more, edit myself a little less when it comes to writing and be present. Like right now, I’m present mentally, physically, and spiritually in my element of typing at Starbucks and inhaling burnt coffee grinds listening to bad hipster music…all right before I head into work this morning.

Happy 2016 y’all!