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Equality Needs to Start with us Ladies!

Women’s Equality Day is coming up on August 26th. It also happens to be my daughter’s 4th birthday and as I think about the day I, too, think about the world my daughter lives in and the kind of woman I hope she will be.

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Yes we need allies and we are moving in the right direction but things aren’t moving fast enough. What we need to do is be as accountable as possible for acting and living the life we deserve. Saying no when we are not treated as equals in the world both in the office and at home in the world of parenting. If you cannot get gender equality at home then how can we expect people in the workplace to do that?

Type “working mom” in Google and then type in “working dad” and see what comes up. You will find a lot about schedules, balancing life with moms and not much or anything like that for dads. The truth is we can have it all in the office and with our career but if we don’t have equality at home then working moms will never have work-life harmony.

OK, if you are not both working parents then stuff isn’t so 50-50, but if you are then you betcha they need to be.

Here are some ways I see working moms can help working dads with equality parenting:

  1. When the kids are sick the hubby stays home with them the first day.
  2. Use hubby’s email for all school forms so they get notified and can help with academic schedules (because they are always changing).
  3. Mom time. Find a time in the week that is your time. Mine is every Saturday morning and I do a long run and get coffee with my running friends after.
  4. Incorporate hubby in the evening routine. We have two kids so we each take one kid to put to bed and rotate what kid we have each night.
  5. Let hubby take the kids to birthday parties. Personally, I love birthday parties so often we all go but if I can’t then hubby goes with the littles.
  6. School drop-offs or pick-ups. You learn a lot when you take your kids to school in the morning or once you pick them up. You see who their friends are, talk to the teacher, meet the other parents. It is a huge part of their lives so have one parent do the drop-off and the other does pick-up if scheduled allow.
  7. Find hobbies together. My son loves soccer and hubby was the coach one season. He goes to all the games and it is their thing. My daughter is a foodie and hubby loves to cook so the two enjoy fun treats at home and out and about together.
  8. When you travel with kids you have to do everything for them. I’m a fashion lady so I like to know what my kids are wearing and pack for them, but I give a lot of the logistics to hubby like getting the rental car, tickets, and hotel accommodations.
  9. Leaving the house always takes longer with kids. Give hubby a task he can do each time to help get everyone out. I kind of became the snack lady so I usually make sure the kids have a backpack with the things they need and a water bottle. Hubby is the car seat guy. I send the kids outside once they have shoes on and their bag and he buckles them in. Hubby also manages the car seats if I need them in and out of the car. Mostly for our nanny car but he is the guy. I had to do it a few times when traveling with kids and no hubby but he gave me a lesson.
  10. Kids go to the doctors a lot. Vaccines, accidents, and whatnot. Often we both go but there are times when one of is busy and cannot go and we trade-off. It is important from a safety perspective but also good for both parents to be involved in their kids’ health.

If we can’t have these conversations with our partners about equality parenting then we should consider the impact it will have on our children and the world we are building for them to live in. If you can’t do it for yourself consider the other women and girls out there who will not invent the next life-saving drug, wifi technology, or machinery to make everyday life easier or yummier.

If you are as passionate as I am about this topic follow along with me and Two Working Moms as I explore this more in a month-long focus.

Also, let me know if you have other ways to support #equalityparenting. * L


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Micro Habits

I read this book Atomic Habits by James Clear and just LOVED it. There are so many micro-lessons and things anyone can do to make a behavior change in their life. For my career I do just that, make material to change someone’s behavior. Often by teaching them something in order to be successful at their job.

Not everyone is going to read this book but if you are that is great and you will get a lot out of it. If you are like many who won’t read the book, I think this post will give you the highlights so you too can make some positive changes in your life.

The great thing about habits is they can be the catalyst for you and your goal. If you want to write a book… read more, hang out with other writers, find a place to write, dedicate time to write, do what writers do. What you do is who you are.

I thought a lot about this recently when someone asked me if I am a runner. I never really thought of myself as one, but instead, maybe someone who does it every now and then. The truth is I have done several half marathons, have another one in two weeks and it will be my 2nd race pacing for others. So yes, I am a runner and I run 3 times a week.

What type of person do you want to be? Start being that person with small micro habits. Want to be a runner, then start by getting running shoes, go for a walk, join a running group, run 1 mile.

The science behind habits is there is a cue, a craving, your respond, and then there needs to be a reward for it to be something you will do again. The issue with long-term goals is you don’t get that reward right away. It takes time to see results and so people stop running, stop writing, stop trying.

There are some simple things you can do around these 4 areas of habits to help create new ones and to break the bad ones. book.jpg

 

How to Create Good Habits

Cue = Make it obvious

Craving = Make it attractive

Response = Make it easy

Reward = Make it satisfying

How to Break a Bad Habit

Cue = Make it invisible

Craving = Make it unattractive

Response = Make it difficult

Reward = Make it unsatisfying

So what are ways to support the cue? You can leave your running stuff out so you see it when you wake-up. Or put your junk food in the back of the pantry so you don’t see it.

I run with friends and I look forward to listening to my music and playlists I only listen to while running. It is my time and I look forward to the pretty places I run in. I have my TV in the basement of my house, it is a dark part of my home, the sofa isn’t that comfortable, and is my least favorite room.

Running is attractive to me since it is a goal of mine to live a healthy life. Fitting into my clothes is a goal, keeping my mind happy is a goal, and I enjoy running. Buying new clothes since I gained weight is not attractive to me.

I make it easy by having a running bag with all my accessories like gloves, lights, hydration packs. I lay out my clothes the night before and I have friends who are waiting for me. I keep junk food out of sight, I put the veggies and fruit in the fridge in view and junk food in drawers. I keep healthy snacks with me and pack a healthy lunch when I have time. My response is tailored so I make better choices based on my environment.

The reward should be the process, not the goal. I enjoy my music, friends, the view while running. My goal is to be healthy and get faster, but my reward is how I get there. The goal is almost unsatisfying as the journey is over once I get there.

If you are looking to change a habit, start out small. Find one little thing you can do today to move in that direction. James, the author, suggests something that only takes 2 minutes. Build that around the 4 steps: Cue, Craving, Response, Reward and see how you change over time. Take a look at his book “Atomic Habits” if you are a reader and follow me on Instagram as I will be sharing tips around micro habits each day in August.

Here’s to being the best version of you. * L


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HELP

Even looking at the title “Help” makes me a little uncomfortable. Does it do that for you? Are you good at asking for help? Do you often help others? How does the word help show up for you?

For me, it is both my strength and weakness. I have never been good at asking for help. In fact, I might be the worst at it and am still working on it today. That said, it has made me strong, agile, and able to have grit, grow and be a strong person who is always pushing herself to do more, be better.

I didn’t realize I was bad at asking for help until I was listening to my mom tell me a story about when I was little. I was selling girl scout cookies with my friends and I was complaining about my stomach hurting. It was Saturday and my mom was working so my dad picked me up. We went home and I went to bed complaining about my stomach. My dad didn’t know what to do so he called my mom who owned her own hair salon in town. She asked, “did she eat breakfast, has she eaten?” Well, that was it. I was hungry and the adult in me hearing this story made me realize how bad I was at asking for help as a child.

I was so bad at asking for help that as a child I wouldn’t even ask my parents for food when I was hungry. 

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As a result of not asking for help, I pushed myself. If I struggled I tried harder. I found a way to make it work. I got lucky that some people saw me struggling, saw me looking out the window at school too long, and asked me if I needed help. Even when I said I didn’t, even when the whole town knew my Dad had cancer I said no. When I think back I got a lot of help and people really cared about me. I wonder if they helped since they knew I wouldn’t ask, or they appreciated how hard I was trying. As a result, I have so much respect for people who are trying, people who are hanging on, do it on their own and be accountable!

I also love to help and feel thankful I have found a profession that allows me to help others achieve success. I also feel very lucky that I have a husband who is a helper. He is my best friend and knows me even when I am not paying attention to myself. He even got morning sickness when I first got pregnant (and I didn’t). We are very connected and having someone like him, has been a lifesaver for me. He also loves to help and it’s been a learning process to let go of the control and accept that help.

Many times a story of one’s life doesn’t look the same from the outside. That strong woman who has it all together needs help too and I write this not to highlight this in me but to highlight this need for all the others who are too strong, too scared, too conditioned to ask for help.

We all have our dark moments, our struggle, and when you see this in a friend, a loved one, don’t ask how you can help, ask them “what do you need” so you can do that for them. A true gift is one that is not asked for, one that is given from the heart, one that doesn’t need recognition or even acknowledgment for the true gift is the ability to give.

Life is hard and we all need a little help sometimes. Make sure you don’t miss the quiet ones, the strong ones, the ones who aren’t asking for help… as they are often the ones who need it the most. * L

 


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10 Simple Ways to be More Productive

Sure I want hard abs and be able to run an 8 mile minute for a whole marathon but when I am really honest with myself I don’t want it bad enough. Enough to put in the hours of dedication to make it happen, the training, the discipline, and my “why” just is not strong enough to be disciplined enough.

So when I think about productivity I want the biggest bang for my time, what is the smallest investment I can make and have a big impact by doing that little thing? So I created a list and thought I would share my easy ways to be more productive and win at life.

  1. Make a to-do list the night before. I have a post-it notepad I use and when I am finishing my work day I fill it out so I am ready to go in the morning.
  2. Dedicate each day of the week to one of your goals as a focus. You could dedicate each Sunday to your spirituality or if you have 10 main focus areas rotate the days between them. Then when you look at your to-do list make sure to add something to compliment your daily focus. This way you chip away at your goals and a month won’t go by without you spending some time on that goal.
  3. Donation bag waiting to be filled. Having a decluttered workspace and home allows you to move faster, have less anxiety, and know what you are working with. Put a bag in your closet and add to it every day as you see and notice stuff you are no longer using or need. Donate it once it is full or if you have time give stuff away.
  4. Join a book club. It will force you to read more, even if it is listening to the audio on 2x speed the night before if you didn’t find time to finish. (Photo of my book club Titles and Tangents and our guest author.)30629628_10155711606057683_8272170684986163200_n
  5. Just do it.  Immediate action fuels a positive feedback loop that drives even more action, so whatever it is you have been waiting for don’t and make that call, leap, and start that new project or adventure now. Some say if it only takes 2 minutes don’t even write it done and just do the task. Focus on the quick wins and small tasks first so you get momentum on your day.
  6. Don’t watch regular TV. I do have a television in our basement and we have Apple TV so we download shows and watch them on Hulu and Netflix. Think of all the time you are saving by not watching commercials.
  7. Drink more water. Not only are most people dehydrated but water will help keep you healthy and feeling energetic. I also have noticed drinking a lot of water makes me use the bathroom more often. This forces me to take more breaks, move around, and that is great for my productivity to keep going on the long days.
  8. Join a group to align your goals with, like a running club. Or maybe it is just a group of friends that meet up on the weekends. Similar to the book club, having a group of people to hold you accountable or who you enjoy hanging out with to keep you moving. You would be surprised how many different types of Meet-ups or Groups you can find on Facebook to match any of your goals. Getting outside, fresh air, moving, and exercise not only keep you healthy but they keep you motivated in the right headspace. 53216920_1232557486896728_2110525093640667136_n
  9. Get a planner. You need to know how you are spending your time in order to modify it. I have been using the Passion Planner for 3 years now and even my husband has noticed a difference in my productivity as a result of using it. What I love about a planner is it is both for planning but also a great tool to reflect and track habits.
  10. Prioritize your sleep. This is my #1 easy way to be the most productive. If you go to bed early you can wake up at 5 am and have that golden hour to do you. Go to the gym, work on your book, start a new project, or get something done. It’s hard at first but this one new habit can do wonders for your productivity and it is like you have gained the magical 25th hour and will see your productivity skyrocket.

Hope this simple list helps you crush your goals and so you can make the most of your 24 hours each day. * L

 


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Change Agent Survival Guide

Change is what happens to you and the only power one has is what you are going to do about it.

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Moving on to a boat with my parents at age 10 made the change of life more rapid. We lived in Oyster Point Harbor near Candlestick in the California Bay Area sometimes. There were only a few large boat live-aboard slips so when we left in the summertime to go up the Stockton River it was a gamble if we had a spot waiting for us when we returned. If we didn’t dock there we would be in Half Moon Bay Harbor, a town I grew up in as a child. They, too, only had so many spots available and during the holidays my parents took our boat to San Francisco and we lived near Pier 39 and the enjoyed the holiday months of November to January there. I never knew where I would be more than 6 months out, if that.

Perhaps all this change as a child helped me grow the skills to adapt quickly, pivot, and keep moving. Over the years I have shaped and modified a process I use to help manage my emotions and impact when unexpected change happens. I want to share this process with you all in hopes that it might help if you need something to get through this change or the next one, because, as you know, they just keep coming.

I’m not going to tell you that change is great and all that. Sometimes it is, but you know what?  Sometimes it isn’t and it sucks, it is hard, raw, and you can’t think over all of the emotion that it brings. I have been there, and it is hard, it is dark, and you are scared of the uncertainty of it all. This is when this tool helps the most.

THE CHANGE

It can be a great thing to see change and sometimes great stuff can also be hard, like a fabulous new job that requires you to move. The hardest changes to overcome can be the ones you don’t see, don’t want, or that feel wrong or dark. The good news is change is constant and this moment, feeling, time in your life will change one day. But it might not be as soon as tomorrow and so you need to find a path to get through it.

Just like getting lost, the best thing to do when you feel yourself start to panic is to assess the situation. What is the situation? What are your resources? Do you have a path or process or direction to follow or map with your options? When you see it all in front of you, no matter what you are working with, it will give you a sense of calm or at least help you know what you are working with.

For me, this process of collecting the current situation really helps me stop worrying. Maybe it is a pro’s and con’s list or a mind map of options. Just like a before photo prior to doing a new fitness boot camp or diet, this list is your starting point to something new, something better. Sometimes just seeing the photo will make you appreciate what you do have or it can be a big wake-up call to fix what you might have missed.

THE COST

I’m kind of a data girl and I love numbers. As a child, I learned how to cope with change by shutting off my emotional side and thinking about things analytically. I am a very emotional person and still learning!  This process of shutting it off might be harder for some and it is for me when the impact is so big or feels so important. What I do to help me get there is I put a price on the change. What is the impact? The cost of this change? The denomination isn’t in dollars, it is in time. How much of my time is this change worth?

ba009-img_4156For example, when my dad passed away it was a huge impact on my life. We were very close and I had helped take care of him in his battle with dementia. The cost of this change was 3 months. I cried a lot, I was sad, and I did what I had to to make it through the day. After that, I celebrated my dad’s life by being a good mother, a happy person, living the life I knew he wanted me to have.

Maybe it is a smaller change like something at work didn’t go right, a project is delayed, or you messed up and it made a big impact. Are you even going to remember this mishap 1 year from now? Did you learn from the event? Was the benefit of learning worth more than the mistake? How bad was this in the grand scheme of things and how much did it cost you? What was it worth? Is your career at stake? Your job, trust, friendship? For me seeing something positive in the mistake lowers the cost and if you look hard enough there usually is one. I also believe if you aren’t failing then you aren’t trying hard enough. Pushing yourself helps you grow, and so does failure.

I didn’t get a job that I really wanted. I actually posted about it on my first Instagram TV video since I wanted to share what failure looked like to remind myself that it takes a journey. Enjoying the ride is what it is about and there is no place to find happiness as it has to be within you. Of course, when I recorded the video months ago I wasn’t happy and I was holding back tears. It hurt not getting the job, but the cost of this change was only getting the rest of my day. For the rest of the day, I was sad, I cried, and I wallowed in it. After I went to bed and woke up the next day I moved on. Why spend my time on someone, something that didn’t value me and all that I had to offer. Maybe it was for the best.

We loved our nanny and she was amazing but then something changed after the 3rd year and our 2nd was born. She called out over 30 days on top of her 3 weeks off. Then on top of that, 90% of the time it was a text saying she couldn’t make it 30 minutes before when we expected her. By then I was already on my way to work. My hubby who works from home was often the one who had to call out as I worked at Amazon and I only got 2 weeks off and 3 sick days a year and that went fast since they also didn’t offer maternity at the time, (but that is another story.) Even after nanny was out all the time we kept her, our kids loved her, and we needed her. Then one day when I was traveling for work she texted that she hurt her foot and likely would need to be out to heal. Under normal circumstances, we would have fought to make it work in the short term but it was obvious she was over the job and really wanted a way out. I was really sad to say goodbye to someone who was in my family’s life for 4 years and I’d just lost my dad. My son loved his nanny and the community of friends they had. The cost of this change was big for all of us but I only gave it an hour. I have faith that things happen for a reason and we had hung on to something to avoid change, almost in fear that we had no other choice we needed her but there are a ton of other people who want to be nannies and I was right. We ended up finding the most amazing lady who is even better than I could dream of and someone I really consider a friend a part of our family. My kids are even going to be in her wedding this summer and she will be in our lives forever. A confirmation that change is good!

THE JOURNEY 

I’m sure you have heard it before but you know I am going to say it again since we both need to hear it. Life isn’t about the goal or destination, it is about riding the wave, the bumps, the hills, the journey. You need to be thankful when the sun is shining, learning the lessons when it isn’t. Be blessed you get the opportunity to grow, soak it up, build your strength, and put a cost to the change and then strategize on how to pivot so you drive your own boat.

Remember you move in the direction of your most dominant thoughts. You are in charge of your journey and don’t forget to let your “WHY” be great enough to pull you through the hardest times.

When it rains it pours, but when the sun comes out it sparkles so bright it makes every drop worth it. You’ve got this. Enjoy the ride of life and learn from lessons when it is dark. Sometimes these lessons are priceless and make the joy of the success that much more.

THE SUPPORT

As an afterthought, I wanted to add this section. By nature, I am a helper and I always will be. As someone who likes to help, I don’t always know how. I found that after I became a mother I knew how to be a better friend to those who are just having a baby. Now that I have gone through the journey of grieving for a parent I am better at providing this kind of support. As an expert in change, I wanted to share how best you can be a friend to others who are going through change.

A friend might call you up and wants to talk about the change. Listen, be there for them and when it is your turn to talk don’t bring it back to you but stay on the topic and ask questions.

What not to say:

  • That happened to me too!
  • Why did you do that?
  • You shouldn’t feel that way.
  • Look on the bright side.

What to say (some good default ones I got from the book Eight Dates):

  • What are you feeling?
  • What do you need?
  • What are your choices?
  • How can I help?

Other suggestions on what to do to be a change agent and help others navigate:

  • Treat them and get them out of the house.
  • Give them 1:1 time to talk.
  • Bring them dinner, a plant, a bag of treats.
  • Get them outside in the fresh air.
  • Check-in on them.

Everyone manages life changes differently but I do hope this guide helps you as things change for you or as a change agent helping others manage these seasons of life.

Remember it only takes a few minutes to do a kind act that could mean the world to someone. * L


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7 Ways to Invite Spirituality

I’ve been in a transition lately, and even good change can be hard. As one of my daily focus goals, I have spirituality. I’m not a religious person but I do believe in a god and wanted to dedicate one of my 7 days to this part of my life, my spirituality.

I was raised Catholic and last year I found out my dominant ancestry is Jewish. I have two little kids and my hubby didn’t grow up with religion. So, thinking about what to do and how to start this journey, I came up with 7 ways to invite more spirituality into my life, my home, and remind me to be thankful.

1. MEDITATION 

You know everyone says this. I’ve tried it before but it never stuck so this time I got the app Headspace and doing their free trial. Maybe after a month, it will be more of a daily habit. I’m going to try to meditate in the morning right after I get up.

I’ve also heard other use the tic-tac method and you meditate while sucking on the candy. Having it be your focus point when your mind drifts. For me, I am starting with 5 minutes and will try to focus on my breathing before I jump into action and start my day.

Maybe even starting with 1 minute to reflect and be thankful is a great start.

2. GRATITUDE

Some friends of mine have a gratitude journal that they use daily to write and reflect. I love how it gets them to spend this time on thinking positive and what all the good is in their life.

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Another strategy is to just wake up and think of one good thing before you jump out of bed. Like I am happy to be alive, or thankful for the person who might be beside you. You could even put a reminder in your phone a few minutes after your alarm goes off to ask you what are you thankful for?

To get your family involved try adding a gratitude question and ask everyone to share one thing they are grateful for while eating dinner.

3. OUTSIDE

Another no-brainer, but getting outside gives you that fresh air and helps one connect with the world around them. That is if you aren’t just sitting on a bench scrolling facebook on your phone. A man might suggest leaving your phone at home while taking a walk, but let’s face it women aren’t as safe and often we have our kids so that isn’t going to happen. That said, I do try to go out for a run and listen to music, or walk the dog, and keep off my phone. Even if it is just for a few minutes at lunch it makes you feel so much better. 53377819_509193476275192_1126708112313548800_n

Even if getting outside can’t happen, I think sitting in the window as the sun shines in on the sofa counts if that is all you can get.

4. SHRINE 

If you don’t already have one maybe consider making one on your fireplace or a small table in your bedroom or office. It doesn’t have to be fancy or big but should be things you like, things that remind you of loved ones and your dreams. I’ve had one for years and it has photos, candles, and a variety of spiritual artifacts. I also have sage and burn it to clean my home. This is called smudging, and it is an ancient practice used for healing and energy clearing for positive vibes. During October I have it out on my fireplace in the living room. Also known as an Ofrenda.

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Maybe this is a good place to pray, reflect, meditate, or write in your gratitude journal. Or write down negative thoughts and burn them!

If a shrine isn’t your thing maybe just add some zen to your home. There are a lot of ways to bring more zen into your home with a new candle, plant, or sand garden.

5. BREATHE

There are so many ways you can incorporate breathing exercises with apps and reminders. Maybe you do this when you meditate. For me, I like to scream. I do it in my car on my way to work with music playing as I drive the highway. I scream to the top of my lungs until all the air is out of me. I do just one but it is a big one and I feel so much better afterward. Of course, this kind of scream at home would make my neighbor call the police so I wouldn’t recommend it in all situations!

I do think breathing and taking the time to breathe will help lower your stress and could bring more spirituality into your life as you reflect and be thankful.

5. DOOR

Your door represents how opportunities come to you. It’s where energy comes into your home, says one zen master. Make your entry look nice because it’s your face to the world. Have a clean and positive doormat for clean and positive energy and bonus if it has your name or number on it.

Feng Shui experts also say when your door can’t completely open that means that you’re stopping the amount of energy that can come into your space.

We can’t all go out and buy new furniture but if you do one thing to your home to be more aligned with positivity and more spirituality it would be the door, to open it up as you open your mind and heart.

6. PEOPLE

Energy comes from a lot of places, including the people around you. Maybe this is a great time to connect with that one friend who is religious, or very spiritual. Maybe get coffee or go dancing with a friend who is always ready for a fun night out. Maybe for this spiritual quest of yours, you need to let go. Negative people, people who are just in your life because of reasons other than they make you happy might not be good enough anymore. You don’t have to say goodbye forever but maybe spend less time with them. You move in the direction of your most dominant thought, so be with people who bring you up. Who have similar goals and want to talk about spirituality with positivity.

7. EDUCATION

I already belong to a book club and do my best to keep up with that, so adding in more books might be a little much for me. That said I do try to add in some podcasts and watch documentaries with my hubby for our sofa dates in the evening once the kids are asleep.

There are a lot of great books on spirituality and there are some great daily 365 books that help you with just one page a day.

If you have more time maybe sign up for a class at your local community college or maybe a local religious or spiritual organization to learn more about different religions.

What do you do to bring more spirituality into your everyday life? * Liana


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Titles & Tangents Book Reviews

As a working mom, I find reading time comes in waves. I get most of my reading done while traveling for work or once my kids have gone to bed. I’m thankful my friend invited me to her book club Titles and Tangents so I could be more accountable for finishing the books and made some great friendships along the way. The 7 of us in the book club all have 2 kids and are moms, but other than that we are a diverse group with really different backgrounds and it makes for very interesting discussions and tangents.

Here are 6 of the books I read, what I thought of them, and maybe a little slice of what the other ladies in the book club had to say about them.

THE POWER

Part of me really liked this book. The first part really captured me and I loved how premise. What would the world look like if women had all the power? What I liked the most about the book was how it made me question how I think and gave me a moment in time to wonder what if. Great book for conversation and really enjoyed hearing what others in the book club thought about the book. About half the ladies didn’t like the book and found the middle section hard to get past. If you find this to be true, skip ahead and read the last 20% and you will be fine. Great topic and good thought-provoking ideas but overall I would give the book only 2 out of 5.

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THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT

I really got into this book. I love to travel and I enjoyed hearing about the places the main character went and what she saw and did there. It was a captivating mystery and I really wanted to know what happened and got halfway through the book quickly. Then about at this point, I started to really not like the main character, she was so self-destructive and was a total mess. I was a little disappointed with the story and found it very stereotypical and not very realistic. Then, in the end, they try to wrap it all up with other typical women like ended. Makes me wonder about the man who wrote it and who are the women in his life? This gets a 1 out of 5 even if the first half is great, not worth the time.

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EDUCATED

This memoir about a girls family, her upbringing, and the journey she took to gain formal education and the price she paid when she took off the sunglasses that shaped her whole life. I really enjoyed getting this peek into her life and I see how it reminds readers of Glass Castle. Both ladies came from really hard situations and made it out. One thing that is very different about them is Tara’s family was very religious. This is a story about love, commitment, but there is also a lot of abuse, enablement, and damage that cannot be undone. It is heartbreaking but also a good reminder that we all take different journeys in life, we all belong, and to be humble as we never really know everything behind the face of the people we interact with. This book gets 4 out of 5. Great story but I would have liked to see more tied together like the horses that take up a lot of the story and could have been blended better to enhance the underline meaning.

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KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL

This book was something my husband had started and didn’t finish so it was fun reading it and telling him all about it as I had moments that made me wonder if I would ever eat out again or to remind him to not let me order the Sunday Special ever!!! Hubby and I are foodies so this book was interesting to hear the behind the scenes of the kitchen but to be totally honest ignorance is bliss and maybe it is just better to not know.  As a vegetarian, it is clear Anthony isn’t a fan and I too wasn’t a fan of the details on some of his meat dished. Just TMI if you ask me, even if you like meat. In the end, I do feel more educated and will avoid lemons on my drink and other dishes as a result of reading this book. So I give it a 2 out of 5 and might suggest listening to the audio version with Anthony narrating.

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NINE PERFECT STRANGERS

I really enjoyed this book, and not just because I met the author with my book club. The story really captured me and I loved the mini stories around each person and how they all got this place. It is really about people, love, connections, and what we are all looking for in life. Liane is a great writer and I couldn’t put this book down as I wanted to know what was next in their journey or how they might manage the situation they didn’t realize they would be in. As a mom some parts even made me cry and I was sad the book was over. I give it a 5 out of 5 and would suggest others to read it.

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SADIE

I was recently on a long road trip and heard Sadie was a great audiobook. It was the BEST I have ever heard. In fact, it was as if it was designed to be an audiobook since the story is about a podcast. Looking back at the book (at book club) it reads more like a script and that seems kind of annoying so totally recommend the audio version. Loved the story about Sadie and her journey with the what life tosses at her. It is a story about bravery, about love, family, and how dark the world can be. Even thou I wasn’t a huge fan for how it ended I will only give it a 4 out of 5 since there was a big flaw in how Sadie got to stalk people to then find them at the bar without a cellphone or access to the internet. So the book only gets 4, but a 5 for it being an audiobook.

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See what I am currently reading on my Two Working Mom Highlights and let me know what you are reading and if you have any recommendations. * L