In light of everything that has happened over the past week I decided to start a gratitude journal to be intentional every single day about focusing on the good in the world and the beauty, love and creativity in the humans that surround me.
I read a lot of really great books in 2015. I’m going to credit Jess Lively and all the amazing books she and her guests recommended on her podcast. Seriously, so much gold! Below are some of my favorites, all of which have impacted my life in some way. Most of them are personal development books with the exception of the Forest Feast cookbook which is just beautiful and has so many tasty recipes. What about you? What were your favorite books of 2015?
- Make it Happen by Lara Casey – This was the first book I read in 2015. I honestly thought it was going to be a book about kicking butt and getting stuff done but it’s more about how to prioritize all of the things in your life with intention which was something I was desperately needing. I also ended up getting her powersheets that go along with the book which helped me even more to set goals and organize my time and energy better.
- The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown – This was the first Brene Brown book I’d ever read and I loved it! Perfectionism is a huge thing I’ve struggled with throughout my life and this really helped me let go, give myself some grace and realize I didn’t have to please everyone and do it all.
- The Forest Feast Cookbook by Erin Gleeson – This is the most beautiful cookbook I’ve ever seen and I think the first cook book I’ve ever purchased? The recipes are all super simple and yield the most delicious and beautiful foods. Since I’ve been getting a lot more into cooking and food styling this book created a great jumping off point for me.
- The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo – This book helped me get rid of a lot of things I really didn’t need. I got rid of a lot of clothing when I moved in April but there was still a ton of stuff I was holding onto that I hadn’t really worn or used in a long time. The basic method is that you start by laying everything out by categories (I started with all of my clothing) then go one by one and hold each object and ask the question of “Does this thing bring me joy?” If the answer is no, you thank that item for the purpose it served in your life at the time and then that item goes into a discard pile to donate or throw away. It really helps you detach from things in a healthy way leaving you much lighter and more organized.
- The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna – This book is just beautiful and the way it came into my hands was pure magic. Elle tells a story of having this reoccurring dream of this very specific white room. She wondered what it meant when a friend said to her, maybe you should look for your dream in real life. So she did. And she found it! She found the same room that she had been dreaming about (it was listed on Craigslist actually!) and she rented it out and moved in. When she got there she had no idea what she was supposed to do or why she had had the dream. At some point she found her answer when she heard a voice saying to her “you need to paint” which I think she hadn’t really done since she was a kid. And this incredible time of following her creativity and curiosity led her to a really amazing career as an artist and an author among many other things.
- Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert- I’m currently finishing up this book and it is SO good. She talks about creativity in a really different way and kind of counters the idea that you have to quit your day job and start making money from whatever your creative passion might be to truly be fulfilled. She talks about not having to put pressure on your creativity to provide for you financially and really just pursue your creativity with an attitude of curiosity and gratitude. I work full time as a graphic designer which I absolutely LOVE so I’m already working full time in a creative industry but I also do a lot of freelance photography work. When I started doing photography I was mostly working on personal passion projects and taking on a few client projects here and there but at some point I decided I really wanted to make some money from my work. Almost as quickly as I decided that, the ratio of paid projects to passion projects was like 85% to 15% and I quickly got burnt out. This book really encouraged me to pursue my creativity without the need to monetize everything I make which has been super refreshing. I’m still taking on client work but I have a better balance and am making sure I have projects that are just for me to have fun with.
This weekend I was rained out of a photoshoot which left me an entire unplanned day to do whatever my heart desired. I was really in the mood to photograph something so I ended up shooting two food stories at home that turned out really cool and then dug into Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert which got me even more inspired to make things. I had been wanting to create some sort of wall hanging to go above my bed so 30 minutes before they closed I rushed to JoAnns, gathered a ton of wool yarn and spent the next couple of hours creating a really cool wall wool hanging. I’ve never really worked with wool or done any fiber arts by the way haha. It was a pretty inspiring day filled with so much creative magic.
I’m almost a half way through Big Magic so I’m not going to talk too much about it yet, but it’s real good. I highly recommend reading it if you are a creative person, which aren’t we all?