Why Everyone Should Read Rachel Hollis’ Two Self Help Books

Last November, I purchased the book Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. It was Black Friday, and Amazon had a ton of ebooks — many of them bestsellers — marked down to only a few dollars.

So, I purchased the book. However, after I purchased my Nook e-readers, it sat in my Amazon library for about eight months.

That is, until recently. Something told me to read this book. Recently, I’ve been going through a rough patch, and I can use some inspiration.

I couldn’t put the book down. In fact, in two days, I’ve read both that and Girl, Stop Apologizing.

Both books have left me inspired. I’m talking I needed to have my journal nearby at all times inspired. It helped me realize some habits that I’ve been developing to mask the pain. I’m talking it helped me learn to appreciate my worth and value, and learn to say no (something that I am still struggling to learn to do). And, it taught me a easy way to help me manage my goals.

Let’s be honest — I haven’t read any self help books since Jen Sincero’s You Are A Badass in 2016. What I liked about this book is that it felt like I was having a conversation with a wiser, older girlfriend who had all of the wisdom that she wanted to share with me.

Since reading these books, I have started writing a “goal of the day,” which describes my intention of the day. Some days, it’s making sure that I carve out time to take care of me. Others, it’s an actual goal.

Throughout both of her books, Hollis continues to remind readers that dreams and life doesn’t work until you do. This means carving out time to make your goals happen (coined as the five-hour rule), this means pushing past the point you usually quit, and it means envisioning the goal as if you already met it.

However, here are some of the biggest things that I soaked up while reading these too books:

  • You are the company that you keep. Hollis wrote positivity attracts positivity. And, we always adapt the mannerisms and habits of the five people that we spend the most time with. Therefore, if our “tribe” is constantly bringing you down or is negative, maybe it’s something to look at.
  • Carve out five hours a week to work on your goal. We all are spent when it comes to finding time. Hollis recommends that you spend five hours a week doing nothing but that goal. For me right now, it’s organizing and blogging more regularly. Maybe down the line, I’ll be using that time as time to write a book (a forever dream of mine). You can spilt it up, or you can do it all at once. It doesn’t need to be a permanent time, it just needs to be on the schedule.
  • Write down a goal of the day. I like this so much because it sets your mind up to do so. And it feels so good when it’s done.
  • Write a list of things that you’ve accomplished.
  • Write a letter to yourself singing your praises. And then, do it again. I wrote mine and felt so good after doing so!
  • Learn to say no when it’s something that you hate doing. Chances are, you’ll be ten times happier. Of course, it’s easier said than done. But, learning to own your time is always the best.
  • If you really want something, it will happen. If you don’t, it’s an excuse.
  • Finally, the main message in both books is to be yourself unapologetically. Hollis talks about the many comments that she gets — from family, people criticizing her as a working mom, and so much more. How many of us have felt the same way. I really felt inspired when she discussed this, because you can not please everyone. After reading this, I’m learning to slowly shield the commentaries that others may give and putting myself first.

Needless to say, this book left me inspired and ready to take on the world. It also left me a Rachel Hollis fan. However, both books taught me so much, and now have become something that I want to reread for years to come.

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Book of the Month: Things You Save In A Fire

So, I am a little behind on my Book of the Month reviews, but I decided to dive in with July’s pick, Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Carter.

Before I begin to review the novel, I will first start off by saying that I had a hard time choosing this month’s book. However, being the rom-com book nerd that I am, I went with this choice.

And, I wasn’t sorry.

The novel is about Cassie Hanwell, an award-winning firefighter who is just one of the guys. At the opening of the novel, Cassie wins an award that was handed to her by none other than a senator who she’s had a run with in her past. The senator tries to grab Cassie’s butt, only for her to punch him.

The morning after, Cassie gets a phone call from her estranged mother, who asks if Cassie can come to Cape Cod to take care of her for a year. Between the scandal and this, Cassie is forced to relocate.

Cassie enters a firehouse that is completely different than the one that she left behind in Texas. In this firehouse, she is the first woman to be a firefighter. Needless to say, it’s a man’s world full of hazing and dirty jokes. Cassie begins to prove herself.

What Cassie expects is to prove herself and show that she is better than any one of the guys. But, what she didn’t expect is to fall in love with the Rookie that she starts with.

As I said before, I picked this book because it looked really good. I had never heard of Katherine Carter, nor did I know what to expect. But, after reading the novel, I began researching her other books.

Let me start off by saying this: I absolutely loved this book. This is the type of book that you can get lost in and read in one single sitting. The writing keeps you engaged, there’s romance, and there’s even some heartfelt moments of forgiveness.

Oh, interesting!

What I loved about the book is Cassie. She is a flat-out badass. The fact that she is an award winning firefighter that got fired for hitting a senator for grabbing her ass and refusing to apologize for it? I honestly have so much respect for her. Furthermore, what made me love her even more was that she stopped at no end to prove herself to her coworkers. Naturally, she succeeds, which is awesome.

Then, there’s her relationship with the Rookie. Cassie flat-out fell for him. And, this is a woman who has not dated anyone since one ill-fated night in high school. Their romance is the classic one — tried to stay away from each other, only to fall madly in love. They of course worried that they would get in trouble with their co-workers. However, I was pleasantly surprised that they were extremely supportive of the relationship.

Overall, this book is awesome. I am so glad that I picked it up, because I became an instant Katherine Carter fan and want to read all of her books (I may have ordered one while writing this if I’m being honest). Therefore, I highly recommend this book to anyone out there who is looking for a super awesome rom-com read that you can read during one single beach vacation.

My Ultimate Intention For 25

Tomorrow, I am turning 25 years old. This year was one of the roughest and toughest years of my life — one filled with unexpected loss, and one that forced me to approach things with strength that I didn’t even know that I had.

However, this year taught me the importance of self care and how essential it is it to take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself means more than bubble baths with Lush bathbombs, and watching endless amounts of TV (although I will admit that we all need that from time to time). It means going to the doctor for your annual check up. This means taking personal days when you feel like you need a mental health day. This even means taking a vacation. And, most importantly, it means doing things for you, in the midst of trying to get everything done on the never ending to-do list.

Of course, there are going to be people in your life who seem to be more concerned about piling stuff on you, instead of assisting with it. One thing that we all need to learn is how to approach it. Sure, they are going to expect that you do XYZ for them. However, their expectations don’t matter sometimes. At the end of the day, you can only do your best. That is something that I am still learning.

This leads me to my other goal for this year — which is to learn to appreciate the positive things, and focus on my progress instead of the bump in the road. How many of us are guilty of assessing our day and focusing on the fact that you could not get that thing done for whatever reason? In that moment, we often neglect that you completed quite a bit of work.

Therefore, I am approaching this next year in my life with the intent to focus on the good versus the bad. So, while I may not have completed a task, I will not try to focus on the fact that it’s done, but how much I was able to do. Or, while I may have had a few different things that have come at me through out the day, I want to try to have more of a focus on the good on my day.

At the end of the day, we are only human. Humans make mistakes, but they continue to grow and evolve. Sometimes, that may mean bumps in the road. However, all that matters is that we allow ourselves to feel what we need to feel, take care of ourselves, and try to remember there is more to life than just the negative.

Book Review: The Rest Of the Story by Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen is pretty much the queen of Young Adult Literature. I have been reading her novels for well over a decade, when I first picked up Just Listen. Over the last ten years, I’ve read pretty much every one of her novels, and even had an opportunity to meet her when she came to a book store when the novel Once and For All came out.

So when her latest read, The Rest of the Story came out last month, I knew I needed to get it. In fact, I even ventured over to my favorite bookstore, RJ Julia in Madison to pick up the book the day it came out (and bonus, it was an autographed first edition. . . Score!)

The novel was about Emma Saylor Payne. Emma’s mom died when she was 12 as a result of being a drug addict. As a result, Emma doesn’t know too much about her mom — or the life that she left behind long ago at North Lake.

As a result of tragic circumstance, Emma finds herself at North Lake, with an entire family that she knows little to nothing about. Dubbed as the “spoiled, rich cousin,” Emma spends three weeks of the summer cleaning the family motel and soon learns more about her mother’s past thanks to Roo, someone who is even more linked to Emma’s past than she would have thought.

So, this novel was pretty similar to all of the other Dessen books: took place in the summer, protagonist is in her senior year/approaching her senior year in high school, and is set in North Carolina. Additionally, Emma has a bit of a traumatic past, similar to many of Dessen’s protagonists as well. For instance, in Once and For All, Louna’s boyfriend was shot and killed in a school shooting, and in Dreamland, Cait is abused by her boyfriend. Emma’s past consisted of dealing with her mother’s death when she was twelve, which was caused from drug addiction.

With that being said, I really enjoyed this novel. I mean, I am biased because I am a huge fan of Sarah Dessen, but the novel itself is nothing short of amazing. I’ve read all of Dessen’s novels, and her style keeps me engaged with each and every one of her novels.

Overall, as you’re getting ready to hit the beach for Independence Day, consider putting this novel into your beach bag.

5 Things You Shouldn’t Have to Apologize For

How many of us say “I’m sorry” at least once a day? I’m one of those who say profusely — even when it doesn’t call for an apology.

One of the things that I am trying to work on? Trying to stop saying I’m sorry so much. Here’s a few instances when you don’t need to apologize.

1. For taking care of yourself (physically and mentally). You don’t need to apologize when you’re practicing self care. After all, self care is a crucial part of taking care of you and making sure that you are centered. So, it’s okay to say no to something so you can relax. And, it’s okay to take a break so you can eat lunch. #SelfCareIsNotSelfish

2. For something that is not your fault. Ever have someone in the office tell you a sad story and you catch yourself saying “I’m sorry?” Yeah, it’s not your fault. Swap it out for “I’m sorry to hear that it happened.”

3. For your feelings. If you feel a certain way, you shouldn’t have to feel guilty about it. So, own your feelings. You have a right to feel them, after all. And, you also have a right to tell people how you feel as well. So, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

4. For grieving. Grief is something that happens to all of us one time or another. It is consuming and isolating. And, it’s something that no one should have to apologize or feel guilty for.

5. For doing your best. At the end of the day, there is only so much you can do — and you shouldn’t feel like it’s not enough. No matter what, if you gave 100 percent to everything, than that’s all that matters.

Book Review: The Last Time I Saw You by Liv Constantine

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Taken at their book signing at my local Barnes and Noble

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be able to meet Liv Constantine, which is the pen name for sisters Valerie and Lynne Constantine, and get an autographed copy of their latest book, The Last Time I Saw You. I was already a fan of the authors after reading their previous novel, The Last Mrs. Parrish.

Just in time for Memorial Day, I was able to read the novel to review it (see disclaimer here), and loved it. Read on for my review:

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Summary: 

The novel begins at the funeral of Lily, the mother of Dr. Kate English. Lily was murdered, and police are investigating the crime. Adding to the drama, Kate’s estranged best friend Blaire appears — to pay her respects, naturally. However, the two have not spoken in about 15 years — the night before Kate’s wedding.

Talk about awkward.

However, the drama and suspense are just beginning. Soon after the funeral, Kate begins to receive cryptic messages from an unknown sender. These messages were just downright horrific — with death threats and dead animals. Over time, Kate realizes that the person sending the messages may be closer than she thinks — which makes her soon realize that there is no one that she can trust.

Meanwhile, Kate and Blaire begin to rekindle their friendship. But soon, Kate realizes that there may be more to Blaire than just wishes than just reconnecting.

Review: 

What I loved about The Last Mrs. Parrish was the twists and turns the story took. Just when you think the novel is going one way, it takes you in a completely different direction. The Last Time I Saw You was similar. If you choose to read this, I will say this: you will not see the end coming.

However, I will say that for almost 75 percent of The Last Time I Saw You, you really begin to believe that the story is going in a certain direction. Then, it swerves off of the road and goes somewhere where readers do not see coming.

Now, does that make the story mundane or boring? Absolutely not.

I was engrossed with this novel from page one, and could not put it down up until the last page. Part of the reason why was because I just needed to find out what was going to happen next.

With that being said, let’s talk about the relationship between Blaire and Kate. Blaire immersed herself into the crime investigation. At first, a part of me wondered why that was. Was she devastated at the loss of her friend’s mom, someone who was like a mom to herself? Or, was there more to her motives?

Furthermore, I was happy though, that the two were able to reconnect. However, I did think that it was unrealistic that Kate let Blaire right back into her life so quickly. Maybe it was the need for comfort during a traumatic time in her life? I don’t know.

Finally, let’s talk about Simon’s and Sabrina’s relationship. He can deny it all that he wants, I still think that there was something going on there. Even though it’s innocent, it’s still fishy how she latches herself onto him — and how Simon tells so much of Kate’s personal business. To me, that’s a little wrong.

Even though I noticed that one little flaw, don’t get me wrong. I absolutely loved the book. So, if you are looking for a good mystery thriller, I definitely recommend it for this Memorial Day weekend. And, judging by the fact that I didn’t want to put it down, I’m sure you’ll be able to finish it this weekend too.

Update: 15 Books That I Want To Read In 2019

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About four months ago, I wrote a post called 15 Books That I Want to Read in 2019. I came across it this morning, and thought that it might be a good idea to share an update just how I was doing.

As you can see below, I’ve read 6 out of the 15 books listed. Honestly, I’m impressed that I’ve read that much. In my first post, I mentioned that some of these are books that I’ve been dying to read, while others are just books that I’ve had lying around.

With that being said, I’m hoping to read Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews soon. I just recently purchased the book at my local Books A Million for about $4, and I can’t wait to get to it.

Hopefully, in my next update I have a few more down!

  1. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  2. The Game of Thrones Series by George R. R. Martin
  3. The Last Star by Rick Yancey
  4. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
  5. The Wife Between Us by Geer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
  6. Orange Is The New Black by Piper Kernman
  7. Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
  8. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
  9. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  10. Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner
  11. Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
  12. The Lies We Told by Camilla Way
  13. China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan
  14. Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
  15. Capital Gaines by Chip Gaines