summer reads

peter and i took an early trip this summer with matthew and one of his friends to... wait for it... orlando! don't get me wrong, it's beautiful and green, so green! and it's hot, so i guess the lush landscape makes perfect sense between the humidity, which felt to me to be around 100%, and they intermittent cats-and-dogs rain. the best part of the trip was while the kids were exploring all the disney parks my husband and i kept ourselves busy by floating around the resort's lazy river or languishing in a two-person wicker cocoon sort of daybed. unwilling to let anyone rain on our parade, peter would go into full on macgyver mode at the first drop of a downpour - they don't last long -quickly converting anything nearby into a piece of his make-shift tent to keep us nice and dry. the sound of rain falling while the river ran made for perfect days to do nothing but lay around and read my book!

already finished your summer beach read? hopefully you have and are itching to see what we've been perusing this summer so far.

calm the f*ck down was written by sarah knight, author of one of my favorite books, the life-changing magic of not giving a f*ck. yes, there's a theme in the four books she's written. the other two are get your sh*t together and you do you. at any rate and with the names of knight's titles you should be forewarned there's some foul language. it doesn't make me blink, but then again i'm known for my colorful conversations. the title is great, we've all heard it/said it before, but it's the subtitle that got me. "how to control what you can and accept what you can't so you can stop freaking out and get on with your life". i would never categorize myself as someone who "loses it" when catastrophe hits. in fact, i go into hypervigilant "i can fix this" mode and burn myself out and i mean completely. don't get me started on the day my dog was thisclose to dying after getting hit by a car. as someone who can say without a doubt that i've been through it... i've always dealt with it, sometimes horribly, but i always look it in the eye so i've got that going for me. the worry and "what ifs?", that's a whole other animal and the hardest part of it. ~ gaye

there are countless books/podcasts/articles about beauty/health/wellness - and i read or listen to many of them; not only as it's part of my job, but also for my own interest and lifestyle. i've also realized that a large part of overall "wellness" is decided how we choose to live and navigate life. the cover of this book reads: kind is the new classy: the power of living graciously. that spoke to me! i have always believed in following the golden rule, yet how to find that balance when faced with challenging situations? this book discusses handling whatever comes your way with kindness and grace while still staying centered and true to who you are. i often highlight things that stand out to me when reading and i loved this encouragement from cbb: "i hope you'll take the next right step today and choose just one way to be kind. then another. then another. then another..." ~ tyler

i'll be honest, i'm not completely finished yet but so far i would highly recommend "the moment of lift: how empowering women changes the world" by melinda gates. each page is filled with melinda sharing personal stories from her childhood to her marriage to bill or relaying stories of inspiring women she has met while working in the most poverty-stricken communities around the world. some of the stories will bring you to tears while others will put a smile on your face--it's truly a roller coaster of emotions. overall the underlying message is an impactful one: in order to lift a society up we must focus on empowering its women first. ~ makela

daisy jones and the six is one of those intoxicating summer reads you just can't put down. written in the unique format of an oral history, author taylor jenkins reid weaves together the story of a fictional rock n' roll band told from the multiple perspectives of the characters, almost like reading the transcript of a documentary. set in late sixties, early seventies los angeles, singer daisy jones crosses paths with the six, a band led by the brooding billy dunne. the music they create together is what rock legends are made of, but it's not without complication and the band mysteriously dissolves at the height of their success. it's already been optioned for a tv-series and i cannot wait to hear reid's original lyrics finally played to music. ~ katie

in today's rapidly-evolving, busy world, "essentialism" by greg mckeown is one of those books that can truly improve everyone's life and productivity. i highly recommend putting it at the top of your summer reading list. the basic value proposition of this book is that "once you give yourself the permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, you can make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter". this book provides the reader with practical tips and helpful tactics for how to make the highest possible contribution towards bettering your own life. the author highlights ways to "regain control of your own choices about where to spend your time and energies instead of giving others implicit permission to choose for you". in summary, for all of us who have ongoing to-do lists both professionally and personally that you continue to feel overwhelmed by, it helps you to prioritize those things that really matter, instead of feeling boggled down by everything! ~ sara


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