Summer Reading List
Well, not technically until June 21, but since it’s hot as Prince Harry in this joint, we’re celebrating early.
Nothing says summer vacay like lying poolside with a good book, and I’m sharing my summer reading list with all of you!
I did this in the fall, and you guys seemed to enjoy it, so I figured why. not make it a twice a year thing. I asked people on Instagram and Twitter what they were reading and have included some of their recs, some of my own, and some that are highly anticipated by the inter-world.
How I Prepared my Business for Maternity Leave
Early in my pregnancy, I knew I wanted to take a maternity leave once the baby got here. But when you run your own business, it’s scary to think of stepping away for an extended period of time. Moore Media Group was my first baby, and the thought of abandoning it for a couple of months really freaked me out.
I started thinking of what maternity leave would look like for me and what I needed to do ahead of time to prepare the business to run without me. Now as I begin to transition back to work I am incredibly thankful for this precious time, and I want to share what I did to prepare my company for my absence so that it could continue to thrive and I could turn all of my attention to my new baby without feeling stressed. Here’s what worked best for me and for Moore Media Group.
It's OK to Drop the Ball
I’ve been a mom for less than two months, and I’m fairly certain I’ve already traumatized my kid.
It happened this week en route to her 6-week checkup. The morning had gone beautifully, and I was considering nominating myself for mother of the year since I got her fed, dressed and out the door with a headband in her hair all while finding time to eat a bowl of oatmeal and put on a bra.
It’s nearly 4 o’clock in the morning, and I’ve just woken up to pee for the third time because that’s pretty much all you do when you’re pregnant. As soon as I open my eyes, I know I won’t be able to fall back asleep. I wake up a lot these days and have developed a knack for predicting when I will be able to go back to sleep and when I will lie in bed until my alarm goes off.
I can feel her squirming about up near my right rib cage. The doctor told us we could have her any day now, but she still doesn’t have a name. It is no secret that I will not miss much about pregnancy, but it will be strange not to feel her little kicks and tumbles each day. I’ve grown fond of the constant reminder of new life.
Best Books I Read in 2018 (By Category)
2018 marked the second year in a row I’ve set a goal for the number of books I want to read. It’s also the second year in a row that I failed to reach that goal.
I still believe I read more books than I would have if I didn’t have a goal, so I’m ok with it.
I did a post like this last year, and you guys really seemed to like it. So I decided to do another one. This year I read some great stuff, some good stuff and some just ok stuff. So let’s get to it. Here are the best books I read in 2018 (by category, because I’m a fan of those).
How to Stick to Your Goals in 2019
Ahhhh the new year. It’s that special season where we get excited about all the change and possibilities the turn of the calendar will bring. I personally love this time. Every New Year’s Eve, Tyler and I make a point to reflect on the year that has just passed and be thankful for the experiences, friendships and lessons that came with it.
While it’s a season of gratitude, it’s also a time to consider what we want to change in the new year. But most of us end up setting goals on January 1st and neglecting them before the end of the month. Just this week I read that 93% of New Year’s Resolutions will FAIL.
That’s practically all of them.
A Season of Expecting
She is like Christmas. Every year, I say I’m “ready for Christmas,” but I don’t mean that I’m prepared. I buy all of my gifts at the last minute, scramble around to squeeze in all of the holiday activities, and am devastated when the day arrives because it passes too quickly. I want to enjoy it. To sit in it for just a while, taking in all the feelings of gratitude and light and warmth.
The best way I can describe this time before her birth is a season of expecting. I don’t mean that in the literal sense that we are expecting a child, but in a deeper way I can feel in my bones. There’s a deep, unfamiliar energy in our home. It’s like nothing I’ve felt before and I really can’t think of anything to compare it to. I suppose it’s like missing someone you’ve never met. An abysmal longing for her to be here that continues to grow with each passing day.
"Do Good" Holiday Gift Guide
This one goes out to all of my last minute shoppers!
If you’re like me, you haven’t even put a dent in your Christmas shopping, but things just got a whole lot easier with my “do good” holiday gift guide.
With this guide, you can buy thoughtful, quality gifts (think shoes, candles, and even wine!) from companies that are doing good. I’ve put together a list of my favorite businesses that use your purchases to do good or give back in some way. From building wells in Uganda to empowering working women in Honduras, this guide will help you put your money to good use this holiday season.
How I Went on Vacation and Actually Relaxed
I’m pretty sure vacations are supposed to be relaxing, but mine never are. When I get home from a vacation, I’m usually more worn out than before I left. I cram as many activities as humanly possible into a short timespan for fear that I will never visit that particular part of the world again. We get up early and stay out late and make all the memories. Every single one of them. It’s exhilarating and memorable and honestly kind of exhausting.
Tyler and I recently went on a vacation to the Pacific Northwest, and the strangest thing happened – we came back well-rested.
Make Your Own Gratitude List
‘Tis the season to be thankful! This is my favorite time of year, but I feel like by the time I’m done rushing from place to place, burning something in the kitchen and plowing through my to-do list, I look up and the holidays are over. I always think I’ll make time to rest and soak in all the grateful vibes, but I seldom ever do.
This year, I’m taking time to write down several things I’m thankful for. To stop what I’m doing, sit down with pen and paper, and reflect on all of the wonderful blessings in my life. And I want to help you do the same.
Fall Reading List
Not to sound completely basic, but I really love fall. I’m not a big pumpkin spice fan, but sign me up for everything else that gives off all the autumn vibes.
This includes cuddling up with a good book and pretending it’s colder outside than it actually is.
I asked people in our Facebook community and on Instagram last week for book suggestions. This could be the best thing they’ve read this year or just a favorite book to read during this season. Using some of their suggestions, some of my own, and some from other recommended lists on the inter-webs, I’ve put together a fall reading list I want to share with all of you.
Pregnancy is kind of hard
Some women absolutely love being pregnant. I always thought I would be one of those women. Frolicking about, glowing at the thought that a tiny human was nestled safely inside of me – rainbows and butterflies following me everywhere I ventured.
But so far, there has been no frolicking, no rainbows and no butterflies.
Mostly just puking, napping and trying to find pants that fit.
I am a white girl, and I am with Kaepernick
I am a white girl from a small town in Mississippi. And right now, a lot of people on my newsfeed are mad at Nike for their new ad campaign.
But here's what I think.
I think everyone is missing the point.
Black men aged 15–34 are about 15 times more likely to be killed by police than other people. In 2017, police killed 19 unarmed black males, down from 36 in 2015, according to The Washington Post.
I think it's important to respect the national anthem. I am grateful for the men and women who have fought and continue to fight for our freedom. But I also think it's important to speak out when something is wrong. And these murders of unarmed black men are wrong.
Let's Publish a Book
Ok, friends. I’ve been talking about this for nearly half my life, but I’m finally writing a book.
Like for real.
I’ve learned so much about the book publishing world over the last few months (which is why I haven't been blogging as frequently), and let me tell you it is just that – a whole different world. I’ll spare you the details for now, but here’s a short summary of where I’m at in the process and how you can help make this little dream a reality.
It's ok to ask for help
I started going to counseling almost a year ago. I probably should have gone sooner, but I told myself I didn't need counseling. That normal people like me didn't go to counseling. That only people with real problems attended counseling.
But those are all lies.
It's Not About The Climb; The Climb Sucks Sometimes
Every time I get back from visiting a new place, people ask me “How was your trip?” I am not good at this question. I know most of the time they are being polite, and I am expected to say, “It was great, thanks for asking.” But this is not what happens.
What usually happens is my eyes get ginormous, and I begin to describe various parts of the trip in great detail, in no particular order. If you ask me how my trip was, I’ll tell you about what I saw or thought I would see but didn’t. How the weather was better or worse than expected. How many hours we stayed awake in a row on our flight there. I’ll try to describe the interesting people I met. Teach you something new that I learned. Tell you the strangest food I tried. Show you a picture of the Airbnb we stayed in. And inevitably, I’ll end up attempting to explain how the place made me feel, because that’s what I’ll remember most clearly and permanently.
We are all the Bearded Lady
I know I am so late to this party, but you guys, I watched The Greatest Showman and am fairly certain it actually changed my life.
If you haven’t seen it, finish reading this post, and then immediately go watch it. We rented it on Prime, but I believe it comes out on DVD this week. And let me go ahead and say, you’re going to want to buy the soundtrack as well.
I cried approximately 97 different times during this movie. (Not to sound dramatic or anything)
But there is one scene I will never get over.
Avoiding Burnout... and Food Poisoning
My husband swears I tried to kill him last week. I think he’s being a teensy bit dramatic, but I did make him sick – I’ll give him that.
The past few weeks have been crazy busy. It’s just one of those seasons, I guess. We haven’t been home much at all, including last weekend, so Sunday night when it came time for dinner I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d gone to the grocery store. I looked in the refrigerator and found some ground turkey meat and spaghetti squash I had planned to make the week before but never got around to. The meat was expired, but I figured it was fine. (You can already tell how this is going to end.)
Being Boss: Q & A with Kathleen Shannon & Emily Thompson
Being Boss is a top-ranked business podcast listened to by thousands of entrepreneurs and creatives each week. Also, it’s my favorite.
Kathleen Shannon and Emily Thompson interview some of the top names in business and cover topics ranging from finances and business planning to creativity and self-care. Some of their guests include Brene` Brown (queen of vulnerability), Chris Guillebeau (king of side hustle), Melissa Hartwig (co-creator of Whole30) and so many more.
Kathleen and Emily’s first book, Being Boss, is coming out in April, and I absolutely cannot wait to read it. I had the opportunity to interview them about their book, the podcast and just all the things.
International Women's Day is Important
A few years ago, when Twitter made me aware that this day existed, I took some time to reflect on all the amazing women in my life, and it has become an annual tradition. Some of them I know personally. Some of them I admire for their work. And some of them I simply adore for the legacies they’ve left behind.
These women are mothers. They are sisters and daughters and grandmothers and granddaughters. They are aunts and nieces and cousins. They are wives and friends and dog-moms. They are bosses and employees and students. They are doctors and nurses and photographers and engineers. They are writers and business owners and counselors and pilots and teachers and activists.
These women are dreamers and doers. They are thinkers and sayers and challengers and questioners. They are creative and analytical and intelligent and adventurous.
The Trouble With Being Still
I have never been hunting. I grew up in Mississippi, where hunting is like a big thing, but it just wasn’t in the cards for me.
When I was younger I begged my dad and brother to let me go with them. My dad never took me. He said I would talk too much in the deer stand and that when it came time to actually kill the deer, he was quite sure I would not be happy with what I saw.
For most of my childhood I tried to prove him wrong, but it never happened.
Recently, a friend invited my husband to his hunting camp for the weekend and said I could come too. A nice, quiet weekend tucked away in a remote cabin in the woods sounded appealing, so I agreed to tag along.
We All Have Bad Days
Someone recently asked me if I ever have bad days. I thought it was a ridiculous question.
“Of course I have bad days,” I responded. “Everyone has bad days.”
She shrugged her shoulders and said, “I don’t know you just seem happy all the time, and you’re always going interesting places or doing cool things. Just doesn’t seem like you ever have a bad day.”
This is preposterous. I’ll share some thoughts on it in just a bit, but today has actually not been a very good day, so I want to take a minute and tell you about it.
What's Keeping You From Your Dream Job?
I’ve grown accustomed to hearing people say they don’t know what they want to do – don't know what their dream job is. But I have never really been able to accept it. There’s a tiny twinge inside of me that wants to help every one of those people figure out their callings. Their gifts and talents and dreams and desires and ideas and creativity. I want them to love what they do, because with everything in me, I believe it matters. It matters so much.
Since I quit my job and started running my media company full-time, this has become a common conversation I have with people. I run into old acquaintances or get emails or messages from friends saying “I’m so jealous you’re running your own business. I wish I could leave my job and go do something else.”
The thing is – they can. You can.
Only So Many Snow Days
It doesn’t snow often in Mississippi – except for this winter, when apparently it became a monthly occurrence. I woke up Tuesday morning to freezing temperatures and light, marvelous snowflakes drifting down from the heavens.
I did a quick, spastic happy dance and then proceeded with business as usual. I made a ginormous pot of coffee and ate some breakfast as I opened my inbox and calendar and started to outline my to-do list for the day.
I had just finished writing the final task and was about to start working on a video when I received a text from my intern.
“Do we have work today? My classes were all canceled because of the snow.”
Why is she asking me? I thought. I don’t know what to tell her.
Then it hit me.
I’m the boss.
I’m supposed to answer this question.
I have to make this decision.
7 Ways to Fight Post-Holiday Blues
Christmas decorations are put away, vacation days have all been spent the Hallmark channel is back to showing whatever they show when it’s not December, and it’s still miserably cold outside.
The blues are setting in.
It’s totally normal to feel kind of blah these first few weeks after the holidays. I mean, it’s kind of like slamming into a brick wall after cruising at 100 miles an hour for the last month or two. It’s all fa-la-la-la-la until January 2nd. Then there’s nothing.
Suddenly life - the same normal life you were perfectly content with before Thanksgiving - somehow feels unexciting and dreadfully stressful at the same time. So I wanted to share my seven favorite ways to get back to feeling good about life without all the tinsel and lights - you know, that plain, ole everyday life that deep down inside you truly do enjoy.
How to Crush Your Goals in 2018... and What Happens if you Don't
I’ve been told we’re supposed to call them goals and not resolutions now. Personally, I don’t think it matters what you call them as long as you are committed to working toward them.
The turn of the year is always an exciting time for me because I absolutely love the idea of a fresh start – of wiping the slate clean and getting another chance to get it right. To be better. To do more. Or less. To push ourselves. To love deeper.
I wanted to share some perimeters we set for our goals this year, in hopes of helping you crush it in 2018. And talk about what happens if you don't.
Best Books I Read in 2017
I have never been much of a reader, but in 2017 I wanted to change that. After only reading one book in all of 2016 and none that I can recall in 2015, I decided to try and read 30 books this year.
I did manage to finish 25 books though, which is quite an improvement from the years before so I’m not totally disappointed.
5 Ways to Rest During the Holidays
I have a new problem with the phrase “slow as Christmas.” I understand that when you’re a child Christmas takes forever to arrive, but I think it’s safe to say it flies by for those of us over the age of 12.
I swear it was October 1st like 3 hours ago, and we were all freaking out over pumpkin spiced lattes and taking pictures of our boots sprinkled with leaves, and now look at us. In just a few short days we have to take down all the lights and garland and go back to normal life where houses don’t twinkle at night and my home doesn’t smell like I live in a wintery forest high in the mountains of Scandinavia.
With all the last-minute shopping, frantic wrapping (and rewrapping when I cut the paper too short), Dirty Santa party attending and praline making, I feel like every year the holidays are over before I even get to enjoy them. But not this year. This year, I am trying to be intentional about relaxing, resting and actually acknowledging my favorite time of year before it passes by yet again (even if it took me until the week before its arrival to do so).
I’ve come up with 5 things to do and not do in order to rest – really rest – this holiday season.
We Can't Forget About Them
I recently went to Haiti to film a video for a malnutrition clinic. The clinic is run by Jordan and Rebecca – two normal white girls, much like myself, who happen to care a whole lot about people.
Jordan and Rebecca run Potter and Clay Ministries in Mare Rouge, which is located in Northwest Haiti. When Moore Media Group was asked to come shoot some footage for them, I almost immediately said yes. I thought this would be an exciting adventure. A chance to explore a new country and film in an unfamiliar environment. To make memories I’d carry with me for the rest of my life.
I had no idea it would totally wreck my world.
I Am Not A Runner
I am not a runner. Or a writer. Or a business-owner.
Saying “I am a runner” or (whatever your blank is filled with) opens me up to worlds of disappointment. Because if I am not those things – if I am just me goofing off and playing around and not really committing – then if I fail I have nothing to lose… because I never really cared.
But if I actually care – If I put my heart and soul and determination and focus into the thing, if I put forth my very best effort and invest my time and money and energy trying – really trying – and it doesn’t work out… then I am a failure.
And I do not want to be a failure.
Mind Photos + Margaritas
"But if you stop for just a moment and intentionally take it all in – really make time stand still – I think you can hold onto that moment and look back at it whenever you want.
Also, if you ever have the opportunity to have margaritas with your Nana in an English pub, I highly recommend it."
An Open Letter to the Girl at the Gym
"So my running friend, if you’re out there and reading this please know that I am not angry that you hopped on that treadmill next to me. On the contrary, I am so very happy that you did. I am proud of you."
10-year-olds give me hope
"I just wish I could tell her to stay the way she is – to remain little and pure and carefree. To keep her priorities exactly where they are presently, because for her right now, stopping for chocolate sprinkled donuts is more important than getting to soccer camp on time. And going for a walk with her older sister is more pressing than cleaning up after dinner. She loves vastly, and she brightens up even the most dreary of days. She gives me hope that if all the other 10-year-olds out there are like her, maybe – just maybe, the world is going to be ok."
The One Days
"I think we all have have a list of “one days.” Things we’ll eventually get around to, but never do.
One day I’ll create a budget.
One day I’ll go on that vacation.
One day I’ll change careers.
One day I’ll call my grandmother.
Our excuses are valid. Life is busy. And we’re overcommitted and usually tired, despite all the coffee. But something I’ve started working on lately is being more intentional with my time. Chipping away at my 'one days.'"
"I hope that if you have a dream you have neglected for far too long, you have a friend who will have coffee with you and ask you, “what is the dream?” Because those friends are truly extraordinary. And so are your dreams."