Reading Through June

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Hey, friends!

At the beginning of the year, I challenged myself to read 100 books in 2016. Since Goodreads has so very kindly reminded me that I am 17 books behind schedule, I thought it was time to get going on this goal. Summertime is usually the BEST time for reading anyways, so I’m not all too worried about catching up.

Thanks to The Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading Guide, I have recently stumbled upon a multitude of amazing books to read this summer. If you haven’t checked out the guide yet, you should – it’s amazing! Three books on this month’s list are from the guide.

Here are my picks for this month. While I can’t absolutely guarantee that I’ll finish all of them, I think having them on this post will keep me a little more accountable. 😉 Also, if you’re on Goodreads, find me here – let’s be friends!

1. The One-in-a-Million Boy – Monica Wood

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“Miss Ona Vitkus has – aside from three months in the summer of 1914 – lived unobtrusively, her secrets fiercely protected. The boy, with his passion for world records, changes all that. He is eleven. She is one hundred and four years, one hundred and thirty three days old (they are counting). And he makes her feel like she might be really special after all. Better late than never…”

I had never heard of this author before stumbling upon it in the Summer Reading Guide from Modern Mrs. Darcy in the “Engrossing Books” section. After reading the synopsis, I can definitely see why it was placed there, and I’m excited to check it out!

2. Carry On – Rainbow Rowell

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“Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.”

To be honest, I’m thoroughly confused by this book, but everywhere I look it’s getting rave reviews (not that that always means anything). It sounds like a lighter-hearted version of Harry Potter. I’m not sure what to make of it, but here’s to trying it out!

3. The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion

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“Narrator Don Tillman 39, Melbourne genetics prof and Gregory Peck lookalike, sets a 16-page questionnaire, The Wife Project to find a non-smoker, non-drinker ideal match. But Rosie and her Father Project supersede. The spontaneous always-late smoker-drinker wants to find her biological father. She resets his clock, throws off his schedule, and turns his life topsy-turvy.”

I think I must have missed the hype when this first came out in 2013. From what I hear, this one promises lots of laughs. Better late than never!

4. The Lake House – Kate Morton

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“One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.”

Shame, shame, shame on me for not reading this one yet. I bought it back in January with birthday gift cards, and I honestly have no idea what’s keeping me from it. Kate Morton is one of those authors that I know I will love, but at 593 pages, I think the sheer size of this book might be intimidating me a little bit. Anyways, this is the month I will tackle it!

5. Still Life – Louise Penny

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“Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montréal and yet a world away. Jane Neal, a long-time resident of Three Pines, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it’s a tragic hunting accident and nothing more but Gamache smells something foul this holiday season…and is soon certain that Jane died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.”

Another pick from the Summer Reading Guide, this mystery is the first in the Inspector Armand series by Louise Penny. For some reason, I always find that I’m more drawn to reading mysteries in the summer. Also, (*fun fact*) I’ve heard that Three Pines is basically like a Canadian version of Stars Hollow, but with murder.

6. In the Woods – Tana French

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“As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods.”

Another mystery, courtesy of Modern Mrs. Darcy. From what I’ve read about this one, I think it will be a daytime read only. Suspenseful reads and bedtime don’t tend to mix too well. I’ve heard fantastic things about this series of mysteries. There’s a good chance I’ll end up having to read this all in one sitting so I don’t have to put it down.

7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling

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“All Harry Potter wants is to get away from the Dursleys and go back to Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he’s packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby – who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.”

I decided to read through the Harry Potter series again this year, and I am constantly mesmerized by how magically creative it is. While this is definitely not my favorite book in the series, I’m still very excited to re-experience Year 2 at Hogwarts.

8. The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

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“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.

Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves.”

My friend Becky lent me this one this past winter, and it has been staring at me from the shelf just reminding me that I haven’t picked it up yet (sorry, Becky). But since I’m starting my new job tomorrow, I decided to pick this up on an audiobook to listen to during my commute! While I’m not *technically* reading this, I think I’ll let it count.

I can’t wait to dig into these eight, and I will do my best to post reviews at the end of the month! As always, please leave me book recommendations or thoughts on these picks down in the comments. 🙂

A New Season

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Hi, friends! Can you believe it’s June tomorrow?!  It’s crazy how fast the first half of this year has gone.  I feel like the older I get, the faster time seems to fly.  Before I knew it, spring has pretty much turned into summer.

It seems super fitting that as the season changes, I’m entering another new season in life (and before you go there, no, it’s not motherhood).

I got a new job! 🙂

You may recall that at the beginning of the year, I wrote about Tyrone getting a new job at a company that provides a variety of services to people in the Twin Cities area who are suffering from severe and persistent mental illness.  He has absolutely loved working for this company as an Independent Living Skills Counselor.

A few weeks ago, I learned that a different kind of position had opened up at the same company.  It really sounded like a fantastic fit for me, so I sent over a resume!  I went in for a group interview and felt right at home.  All of the employees that I met were so passionate about really making a difference in peoples’ lives and bringing positive change to the community.  A few hours after my second interview, I got a phone call with a job offer!

I will be serving as a Housing Access Coordinator.  The short job description is that if a client is in need of a new housing situation or is currently without housing, I will be working alongside him or her to find a place to live.  Training starts in a week, and I am so excited!

Working from home as a freelance writer and editor has been pretty good, but over the past few months it has become more and more unreliable.  I have had a few projects that have just been halted for a month with no explanation, and bosses that I haven’t heard from in weeks.  Besides that, this introvert has surprisingly really missed working with people.  I love that I’ll be able to work with people who are going through some of the hardest times of their life.  I love that I’ll get to be a part of an awesome team of co-workers.  I love that I’ll have a completely separate workplace and home.

I’m SO grateful for the opportunity to work for a company that truly cares about the employees working there and the clients they are serving.

For the next week, I’m trying to get all of those back burner projects done at home and read as many books as possible before I get into training, job shadowing, and taking on clients of my own.  I just finished some really great books and am hoping to picking up a few more from the library soon, so look forward to seeing a June reading list coming to the blog soon! 🙂

Cheers to a new season!

It’s the Little Things

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Guys, sometimes I realize that I’m not nearly grateful enough for all of the little things in my life. The past few weeks have been tough. Freelance work has screeched to a halt, which is super stressful, and I struggle with feeling a little bit useless at times due to not bringing in any income at all. BUT, I’m really trying to keep things in perspective instead of letting myself get crushed by job hunting stress or any insecurities that I might have about that whole mess.

Of course, I am SO thankful for the big things. I’m beyond thankful for a husband who is way too cool for me, keeps me up to date on my viral videos, and loves me unconditionally even when I get down on myself. I’m thankful that we have a place to live. I’m thankful for family, good health, and that we never go without food or clean water. I’m thankful for forgiveness and salvation in Christ. You know – the big things!

But I sometimes feel like I don’t think about the little things enough. I never want to wake up one day and find myself an ungrateful person. So I’m going to try to do this little project semi-regularly. My goal is to take note of some of the little things each month and share the little things that I’ve been appreciating.

Here are some of the lovely little things in my life lately:

  1. Finding some awesome vinyl records for $0.50 at Half Price Books. Hello, Dolly Parton, Sonny & Cher, and Elton John. Welcome to the collection.
  2. Being invited for a spontaneous dinner date with two of my favorite kindred spirits.
  3. Baking these super delicious banana muffins.
  4. Animal shaped mugs. Drinking out of this beauty brings me such joy in the mornings! So far, we have collected an octopus, raccoon, and owl. But I’m afraid I can’t be stopped at that.
  5. A nice, cleaned out flower bed ready to grow wildflowers. I thought about including a photo of this, but then I realized that it’s literally just dirt right now. Here’s hoping that those babies will grow!
  6. Getting to have a lovely Sunday evening outside to watch my MVP husband play soccer in the first game of the summer league.
  7. HGTV on Netflix. Enough said, am I right?
  8.  The many hilarious faces of Ruby. She’s pretty much my best bud. And yes, my camera roll is 90% pictures of my dog, glad you asked!Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 7.44.29 PM
  9. The fact that my fingernails are blue and glittery. Do I consider myself an adult? Yes. Can real adults have blue, glittery nails? Yes, I don’t see why not.
  10. This awesome news that Sleeping at Last’s newest project is an album with 9 tracks, each track representing one of the Enneagram types. I love Sleeping at Last, I love the Enneagram test (I’m a type 9!), and I’m pretty sure I’m going to love this project.
  11. My husband introduced me to a whole new world of video games, and he recently suggested that I start to play Zelda: Twilight Princess, and I am beyond hooked. I guess temporary unemployment comes with its perks, and it looks like mine is (surprisingly) extra gaming time.
  12. Last, but not least, I’m thankful for the potential of many summer weekends at the lake with family. Last summer was so busy that we barely got to spend a sunny day there, but I’m looking forward to some relaxing time with friends and family at the cabin.

The little things are really great. I’ll be trying my best not to be such an ungrateful grump and remember that. 🙂

What are some of the little things that you’re thankful for lately?

Highly Sensitive

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A few years ago, I stumbled upon a blog post over at Modern Mrs. Darcy (one of my favorites) that has really stuck with me. In this post, Anne writes about being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). I had never really heard this term before, but as I continued read more, I had a total “eureka” moment.

First, let me just clear up some of the most common misconceptions about HSPs. Being a highly sensitive person does not automatically mean that you’re an introvert. It doesn’t mean you cry all the time, that you’re easily offended by everything, or that you’re an irrationally emotional person. Highly sensitive people aren’t necessarily shy, depressed, neurotic, or timid – plenty of outgoing, extraverted people identify with being an HSP!

“Highly Sensitive Person,” refers to someone who has a more sensitive nervous system than most other people. An HSP might be much more affected by loud noises, bright lights, strong scents, scratchy fabrics, and other things that can overwhelm the senses. For the average person, external stimuli enter into the mind and get sorted out with a normal effect on the person’s mind and body, but these same stimuli enter in the mind of an HSP and can have a way more intense effect on that person’s emotions and physical health.

Here are a few of the traits that a Highly Sensitive Person might commonly identify with:

  • You might get really tired after being around bright lights, really loud noises, strong smells
  • You may find it hard to work or concentrate in a cluttered or crowded space
  • You might be very sensitive to the effects of alcohol or caffeine
  • You’re extremely aware of and affected by your environment, including other the moods or feelings of others

There’s a really great resource online here if you’re interested in learning more on this subject, and there’s even a quiz you can take in order to find out if you might be an HSP too!

When I read more about it, I realized that I totally am a Highly Sensitive Person. But for so long, I’ve just assumed that I’m too soft, too boring, or too weak to handle certain things and situations.

Learning more about being highly sensitive has made me realize that those things I thought were just weaknesses or flaws really don’t have to be. Yes, there can be drawbacks to being an HSP sometimes. But what I hadn’t realized was that there are also some major advantages: Highly Sensitive People tend to have vivid imaginations, high empathy for others, strong intuition, compassion, and are typically very good at reading nonverbal cues.

As I continue to grow up and enter the latter half of my twenties, I’m striving to become more and more self aware. Learning more about being an HSP gives me peace about certain things I have felt insecure about for a long time. I find it liberating to discover more of my own intricacies so that I can both understand myself a bit better and allow others to understand me more easily as well.

Though it feels difficult at times, I’m trying to love myself for who I am right at this present moment – not for the idealized version of myself that’s in my head. So instead of viewing things like being an HSP as points against me, I’m learning to love it as something that just gives me a different kind of strength. Through this, I am able to love myself and use my strengths to love others better than before.

I hope this bit of info is interesting to you too! Maybe you can relate to some of these things, or maybe this can help you understand an HSP in your life a little better. 🙂

Until next time!

Currently – #4

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Hi, friends! Happy Thursday. 🙂

I know it has been forever since I’ve written anything. I’ve been taking a bit of time off of blogging for a few reasons. First, I just haven’t felt like writing. I’ve been reading a ton and working on some cool things, but I just haven’t been able to sit myself down to write about anything. It’s weird how sometimes you just have to fully embrace writer’s block before it goes away.

Recently, I have been reexamining my goals and reasons for blogging. I think it’s really easy to see blogging as a way to get sponsored, get free stuff from companies, and make money. I really don’t have a problem with bloggers who choose to work with brands or sponsors – it’s just that that’s not what I want my focus to be for this space. For a while, I was really feeling the pressure to send out media kits and reach out to brands so that I could really succeed at being a “real blogger,” and all that happened is that I felt super uncomfortable.

Another thing that gets to me is that sometimes I feel the pressure to write the things I think readers will be interested in. I can’t tell you how many blog posts I’ve read about what to write about in order to gain more readers or how to write catchy blog post titles in order to get more clicks. I’m realizing the things I like most about blogging really have nothing to do with my blog’s popularity compared to someone else’s. I just like to talk about things that I’m interested in, and I love to have genuine interactions with kindred spirits. I’m going to write about the things I’m passionate about, talk about the things I’m learning, and share the things that speak to my soul. If that means I won’t ever make money off of my blog, I truly am fine with that.

Okay… onto what has been going on in my life for the past few weeks:

My husband, Tyrone, recently started a new job as an Independent Living Skills Counselor for an awesome company in the Twin Cities area, and that has been going really well. I’ve been trying to explore more freelance or part-time job opportunities nearby. I got an interview for an awesome editing job, but I ended up not being the right fit. I was really bummed out about it at first. Rejection never feels good, but I know now that it really was for the best. Other opportunities are opening up, and I’m learning to be happy where I’m at. 🙂

In exciting life news, my brilliant husband got into the Clinical and Mental Health Counseling program at St. Cloud State University! He started the application process way back in December, had an interview in February, and we heard the great news last Friday! I’m so proud of him for working hard and making it into this very competitive program. It’s a great school, and there were a lot of people who applied, so the fact that he was accepted speaks volumes about his abilities and character. He will make a fantastic counselor! When I know more details about what this big life change will mean for us, I’ll be sure to post updates.

Those have been the biggest things going on, but I’ve been keeping busy during my free time by enjoying lots of new books, snuggling with my pup, getting into podcasts, and watching my houseplants bloom for spring!

Nothing better than pug snuggles. 💕🐶

A photo posted by Rachelle Waldon (@caffeinated.library) on

If you’re interested in following along with what I’m reading, be my friend on Goodreads! I’ll also try to post more reviews on the blog soon.

If you made it all the way through this, thank you so much for taking the time to read through this very stream-of-consciousness post.

As always, I’d love to hear what you’re loving lately. If you have any music, podcast, or reading recommendations, drop a note down in the comments! 🙂

In My Library – February

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Hi, friends!

If you didn’t know (which I didn’t until a few days ago), February is national “I Love to Read” month! It sounds totally fake, I know. There are SO MANY fake-sounding holidays out there. There are holidays celebrating Nutella, fast food, adopting rabbits, and hot breakfasts. It’s amazing what can be made into a holiday these days. But since I actually do love to read, I’m going to let this one slide. To celebrate, I’m sharing the books on my reading list this month!

Click the photos to read the synopsis for each book. 🙂

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

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This one was sent to me by Blogging for Books to read and review, so look forward to a full review on this one coming soon! I haven’t heard ANY buzz around this book yet, so I’m excited to be able to give it a completely unbiased look without being affected by any other opinions.

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

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I got this on my birthday with a Barnes and Noble gift card. I had been looking forward to this release, and it came out just in time to snag it for an awesome birthday gift. It has been on the bestseller list for a while and has been getting amazing reviews from everyone, so I’m excited to give it a shot!

The Lake House by Kate Morton

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With all the recommendations I have gotten about Kate Morton, I can’t believe I haven’t read any of her books yet. SO many of you have mentioned loving her writing, so I finally picked this up on my birthday! I have a feeling that I’ll have to go back and read everything else she has ever written after finishing The Lake House.

Side note: I recently signed up for the Barnes & Noble Membership, and I have to say – I’m so glad I did. Basically, you pay a small membership fee up front, then you receive 10% discounts on literally everything online and in store, even if it’s already on sale. You also get your discount in the cafe, so you can go ahead and grab that mocha and browse the shelves for hours. The membership also gives you free shipping for online orders. I’m pretty sure mine has already paid for itself, and I only got it in December!

I hope you enjoy this list! I know it’s kind of short, but I realized as I was writing that there isn’t a ton of February left! If you have read any of these already, let me know what you thought about them. What are YOU reading this month? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! 🙂

Currently #3

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Hi, friends! Happy last day of January!

I have felt a little bit “off” this week, so I apologize for not posting anything sooner. I really want to get on a better posting schedule! There was no specific cause that I can pinpoint, but I just had one of those weeks where I doubted myself in just about all aspects of life. In times like this, I’m ever so thankful for friends, family, a heavenly Father, and a husband who all show unwavering kindness and acceptance to me even when I have a hard time giving kindness to myself. In spite of feeling a little off this week, I’m really excited to have a fresh start in a new week and new month. As my kindred spirit Anne Shirley would say, “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

February has some awesome new things in store for the Waldons. Tyrone is starting an awesome new job on Tuesday! He will be working for a company that provides support to people who are struggling with long-term, persistent mental illnesses like severe depression and anxiety. It’s an amazing job and company, and I think he’ll be absolutely perfect for this position!

We’re also starting a Whole 30. I’m psyched, but I’m also nervous. The Whole 30 has some pretty intense rules, but I am so excited for the health benefits, I hope that we can form some great habits that will last longer than 30 days. Kristin over at Taz and Belly is doing a Whole 365, and her blog has been REALLY helpful for planning out meals and figuring out what to buy. If anyone else is doing a Whole 30 or has done one, leave your tips down below! I think I’ll need all the help I can get. 🙂

Besides attempting to plan Whole 30 meals and stay on top of freelance work, here are a few things that have been fun and interesting to me lately!

Listening to:

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Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness: I’ve been a fan of Andrew McMahon’s projects (Something Corporate & Jack’s Mannequin) ever since I was in junior high. I get so nostalgic listening to this album because I feel like I grew up to this music. This track is my current favorite!

Reading:

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I got lots of awesome books for my birthday, so I have lots of new material to read! I’ll probably start with The Lake House. Kate Morton is an author that I have heard SO many good things about, but I’ve been super behind. So excited!

Randoms:

  • I have already crossed one thing off of my 26 Before 26 List! That’s right, I now have purple hair and I LOVE it. I used Arctic Fox hair color in the shade “Purple Rain” and diluted it with conditioner. Arctic Fox is a really cool company because all their products are vegan and cruelty free, and 15% of all their profits are donated to organizations to help prevent and stop animal abuse. Now to figure out which items to check off next! 🙂
  • In honor of the upcoming Gilmore Girls revival (SO EXCITED), I’m drooling over this adorable Stars Hollow print.
  • Anyone else have a problem with hoarding mugs? I definitely do. If there’s any one item I’m guilty of impulse buying, it’s mugs. They’re slowly overtaking my cupboards, so I’m hoping to make a cute mug rack or mug tree!

I hope you have had a wonderful January, and that you’re not as freaked out as I am that it’ll be February tomorrow. Here’s to fresh starts and new months! What are some things that have been keeping you busy lately?

26 Before 26

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Happy weekend, friends!

This weekend has been particularly awesome, because I got to celebrate my 25th birthday! Each year of life only keeps getting better and better, and I know that year 25 will be no exception. To celebrate, I have made a list of 26 things that I want to accomplish before this day rolls around again next year! These “bucket list” items are all pretty simple things, and I really should be able to accomplish all of these in a year.

Here we go!

  1. Read at least 100 books – this must include rereading the entire Harry Potter series and Anne of Green Gables
  2. Dye my hair a crazy/fun color
  3. Learn enough German for simple conversations
  4. Take a spontaneous weekend roadtrip to a new place
  5. Check out at least ten new coffee shops
  6. Repaint our old dresser – thinking something this color!
  7. Go to a movie by myself – total introvert thing, but I have always wanted to do this!
  8. Host a dinner party
  9. Go geocaching
  10. Have at least one full-blown beach day
  11. Read 5 classics that I probably should have read a long time ago
  12. Visit a museum that I have never been to before
  13. Crochet a blanket – hello, super fuzzy coziness
  14. Go a week without TV
  15. Open an Etsy shop
  16. Do a Whole 30
  17. Go camping
  18. Take a silent retreat
  19. Complete a photo an hour challenge
  20. Finish at least one sewing project – yep, this pretzel pillow just might have to happen.
  21. Paint a canvas
  22. Save up to buy a desktop computer
  23. Redecorate the apartment using mostly things that we already own
  24. Get another tattoo
  25. Learn how to use our DSLR and Photoshop basics
  26. Join or start a book club

There you have it – bring it on, year 25! I’m so very thankful for all of the friends and family who have reached out and made yesterday so special. I celebrated with coffee, a lovely breakfast, Barnes and Noble shopping, and hanging out with the in-laws! It was so wonderful. 🙂

I think I might make this a new tradition to make a set of fun goals each year – it’s going to be awesome. I’ll be sure to update and post about any progress made on the list throughout the year, so be sure to subscribe to my mailing list so you don’t miss anything.

What do YOU want to accomplish before your next birthday?

8 Ways to Beat a Creative Slump

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Hello, friends!

I don’t know about you, but wintertime can really tend to feel like it drags on and on with no visible end. Maybe it’s the 4:30 sunsets, grey skies, or subzero temps, but I find that this generally isn’t a very inspiring time of year. So, I decided to think about some of the things I do when I’m feeling creatively stuck. Here are 8 ways that usually work for me – post any other ideas that work best for you in the comments! 🙂

Take a Walk

One of my very favorite things to help spark a little inspiration is to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Whether it’s a walk around your city or a hike in the woods, time outside and away from the computer is a great way to let your creative spirit go nuts. Those in Minnesota right now, be sure to bundle up first. Something I’m super excited about (hopefully) doing this year is going on a completely unplugged silent retreat at Pacem in Terris.

Journal or Blog

I feel a little bit like a hypocrite on this one because I have never been good about journaling. However, ever since I have started blogging, I feel like a whole new creative outlet has been opened up, and I always end up feeling super refreshed and inspired after blogging. If you’re not a regular journaling person (like me), check out Moorea Seal’s 52 Lists Project for some awesome journaling prompts!

People Watch

I really hope this doesn’t make me sound like a creep, but I LOVE to people watch. I’m an extremely introverted person, but occasionally I love going to a busy, public place and just taking in my surroundings. Farmer’s Markets, malls, parks, etc. Observing people going about their days and interacting with the rest of the world is so interesting to me. So fun. In a totally non-creepy way. 🙂

Read

Whether you’re a huge bookworm or haven’t picked up a book since your school days, I promise you that reading can be one of the best ways to recharge your creative batteries. If I would’ve organized these by level of effectiveness, I think this would be the #1 method that works for me. I’m so positive that this works that if you want a completely personalized reading recommendation based on what kind of books you’ve enjoyed in the past, get in touch with me via Facebook or email (caffeinatedlibrary@gmail.com), and I’ll try to hook you up with something awesome. For me, some of my personal favorites that I keep going back to include Anne of Green Gables (which I lovingly refer to as the “comfort food of books”), The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, and of course, the entire Harry Potter series. These are all fairly quick reads, and really fun to listen to via audiobook as well.

Treat Yourself

This one is partially in honor of my good friends Tom and Donna. But I don’t necessarily mean to go out and blow some major cash. Treat your creative side and visit a museum you haven’t been to before, pet some puppies at the animal shelter, check out the new movie you’ve been dying to see, or get dressed up with a friend and have a photo shoot in a fun new location. All that really matters is that you’re doing something outside of your normal routine that’s fun for you!

Discover Some New Music

When I stumble across a brand new song that just hits me right in the face with inspiration, it’s one of the best feelings in the world. Like when you hear a song and just know it’s going to be your anthem for the season of life you’re in, or when you’re really not the emotional type but all of a sudden a song makes your eyes a little bit misty? Music affects us in our minds and hearts, sometimes in ways we can’t explain. It’s so cool to me that we can use that magic as inspiration fuel. Today, I had a really tough time getting some freelance work finished, so I listened to this playlist with this in the background. So relaxing!

Reflect or Meditate

Some of you may have minds that thrive off of tons of info and stimulation coming at you from all different directions – good for you! But for me, I can only take a certain amount, then I feel completely stuck, exhausted, and even sometimes physically sick. When I find that I’m full of “brain clutter,” I absolutely need to take the time to sort through it all. My husband started calling this my “cave time” a long time ago, and it has become so necessary for me to function as a semi-normal human being. Once I have cleared my head of all the unimportant things, there can then be room for ideas to flourish!

Cut Yourself a Break

And sometimes, you can use every one of these methods and still feel like you’re stuck. At some point, maybe it’s best for us to stop trying so hard and just cut ourselves some slack. Sometimes the best ideas are born when we’re not trying to dream them up at all. That’s the weird, mysterious nature of creativity, folks.

What are your favorite ways to beat a creative slump?

5 Books to Read Before Seeing the Movie in 2016

5 BOOKS TO READ

Hi, friends! Since my last post, I’ve been a little bit silent on the blog, my Instagram, and Facebook, but that is because we are HOME from Germany! Since then, life has been a lot of laundry, pug snuggles, and trying to get over the jet lag. Surprisingly, that part hasn’t been as difficult as when we landed in Germany, so we have pretty much been able to hit the ground running. I’m excited to get back on a regular work schedule and figure out a regular blogging schedule as soon as possible!

I’ve been noticing lately that there are a TON of movies coming out in 2016 that are based on books. Book-to-movie adaptations can be pretty hit or miss, but if they’re done right, it’s a really fun way to see your favorite book characters brought to life on the big screen. Here are five books to check out before they hit theaters this year:

The Girl on the Train – read the synopsis here!

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This book was quite a doozy. It’s incredibly suspenseful, and each character is so flawed that you really don’t know who to trust (or even like). I read this while we were in Germany, and I’m pretty sure I finished it in a few days because I couldn’t put it down. The movie adaptation is set to come out in October and will be starring Emily Blunt as Rachel!

The Girl With All the Gifts – read the synopsis here!

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I recently finished this, and I’m honestly still working over how I feel about it. The ending packs a serious punch, but it also raises some huge questions. If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments! The movie promises to have lots of zombie-fighting action, but I’m really hoping it won’t be too disgusting (I tend to get a little bit squeamish). Fans of the Walking Dead or any other post-apocalyptic movies and shows, this one’s for you! One of the things I’m most excited about is seeing Glenn Close play Dr. Caldwell, one of the book’s main characters.

Through the Looking Glass – watch the trailer here!

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I can’t even begin to express how excited I am for this movie to come to theaters. Tim Burton’s adaptation of Alice in Wonderland (2010) is one of my all-time favorites. I think it hit me at a time where I was feeling a little lost, and like Alice, I seemed to have lost my “muchness.” I’m pretty sure I ended up seeing it two or three times in theaters, and I absolutely fell in love with the story and style of the film. Through the Looking Glass is coming to theaters in May, and will be starring much of the original cast (Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway), as well as Stephen Fry, Sacha Baron Cohen, and the late Alan Rickman. There’s really no telling how much Burton’s adaptation will stick to the original story, but I have a feeling it’ll be a treat no matter what. 🙂

Pride & Prejudice and Zombies – watch the trailer here!

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I know, I know… Two zombie books? I’m not obsessed, really. But I’ll be honest. This is one of my all time favorites. The central plot line of the novel sticks to Jane Austen’s original, but in this version, the Bennet sisters have a bit more to worry about than finding a husband – killing zombies. This book doesn’t take itself too seriously, but after watching the trailer for the movie I’m a little bit concerned. The overall tone of the book is extremely lighthearted and downright hilarious, but the movie trailer is, well… pretty intense. With Downton Abbey’s Lily James starring as Elizabeth, this movie is set to come out next month!

Silence – read the synopsis here!

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I read this for one of my English courses in college, and it is POWERFUL. Wow. That being said, I probably had to read pretty quickly due to the fact that I always had a huge stack of reading to be done any given week. I’d really like to revisit this one and give it the time it deserves. I couldn’t find an exact release date, but I know it’ll be sometime in 2016. Andrew Garfield and Liam Neeson will be starring as Father Rodrigues and Father Ferreira.

Looks like it’s time for me to go hit the shelves! These five are ones that I’ve already read at some point, but there are plenty more book-to-movie adaptations coming out this year that I’ve heard about.

Which 2016 movies are you most excited for?