Category Archives: 14 for 14

Book Reviews

One of my goals for my 14 for 14 project (achieve 14 goals in 2014) was to read 2 books a month. I have already read than 13 books so far this year, some months I have read none, some I have a read at ton. It’s the ebb and flow of life I guess. So here is a quick rundown of the books I’ve read so far and my thoughts on them.

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  1. The Fault in Our Stars: Please don’t hate me, but this book irritated me to no end. It wasnt terrible, I was ok with it. I still need to see the movie and see if it can redeem itself. Too much teenage angst for me. But a quick and easy read for sure.
  2. Bone House: I listened to this on audio tape and was constantly sitting in my car in the driveway trying to figure out what happened next. It’s a classic who-dunnit with tons of twists and love stories and flashbacks and back stories. These semi complicated plots are my favorite. The gist: a teacher is accused of having ‘relations’ with a student. Another student turns up dead and they all assume its him. You’ll NEVER guess who it actually was.
  3. The In-Between: I really like Jeff Goins. I don’t know him personally, but know people who know him. He worked for a missions organisation I have worked with in Nicaragua. The book was more a collection of stories about his life and the time that he was ‘in between’ and what he learned. We all constantly feel like we are waiting on what is next in our lives and that can consume your whole life. His book pushes you to evaluate what you learned in those waiting periods and to really grab ahold of them instead of complaining or yearning and counting them away. Great for anyone in transition or someone who feels they are constantly waiting on the next big thing.
  4. Before Ever After: I randomly found this book by just perusing the library and the spine caught my eye. Treasure chest. The book tells 2 stories about a woman looking for her supposedly dead husband and then there are flashbacks to other stories that follow people all the way back to Roman times. The story is so intricate, beautiful, rich in detail and keeps you guessing. I love how the author weaves all the stories into each other, it is truly fascinating how she does it. But the ending, I’m kinda mad about. It just seemed too easy. But please read it so we can talk about it. This was one of my favorites this year!
  5. Prince of Tides: This was another audio book and the voice was so rich to listen to. It really gave the story more depth for me. This book was intense and long. It is told in flashbacks as the main characters sister attempted suicide again and he is telling their childhood stories to her therapist and obviously falling in love with her. There are some really traumatizing parts and as a therapist/social worker I need lighter reading. But it was SO intriguing. I HAD to know what happened to the characters, they were all so crazy/complicated/lovable. It was an amazing book and a classic, I know its old, but so worth the read. Also, I hated the movie. HATED it.
  6. Divergent: Obviously I was obsessed with this book, no need to tell you about it because everyone is obsessed with it too. This movie is possibly the best book to movie I’ve ever seen. I tend to pick out every single discrepancy but there were none. like for real none. I couldn’t find any. I’m sure someone can, but its the best representation I could have ever imagined of the book.
  7. Insurgent: This one was good.
  8. Allegiant: I thought I would NEVER make it to the end. Kind of like the Hunger Games, things get too complicated, the characters get all moody and it just goes on too long. But I am excited about the movies, I have a feeling they will make the books more entertaining in their Hollywood ways.
  9. Her fearful symmetry: This is around the time when I started my subscription to ScribD (I whole-heartedly recommend this to any reader!) and I was so excited about all the possibilities and started this book randomly (I hadn’t imported all my goodreads saved to read books yet). This book was weird. Like too weird for me. It’s about twins who inherit their aunts flat in London after she dies. She hasn’t spoken to their mother (her own twin) in 20 years. There are ghosts, slight incest and lots of angst and death obsession. No thank you. It was so strange that I had to see how it ended. Yep, ended weirder than I could have ever imagined.
  10. The Lone Wolf: You can’t go wrong with Jodi Piccoult. This book is about a man who lives with wolves but is currently in a coma and his estranged children have to decide whether or not to turn off his Life Support. It has flashbacks (see a theme here) to his life with the wolves and is FASCINATING! And it’s based on a real person! The problems between the kids go on a bit too long and they literally build up this ‘secret’ until the very end and it was a little anticlimactic. But, overall a good, quick read.
  11. The Good Thief: My last audio book (sniff, sniff) before moving. Another randomly found choice at the library.  A little boy missing a hand is adoption by a con man who is running a long con. It is entertaining and has lots of crazy, fairy tale-ish characters. I never saw the end coming and it was kind of sweet. If you are a Sawyer fan on Lost, the con man character reminded me of him. He’s a jerk but you cant help but like him and you know he really is a good guy, just in a different way, underneath.
  12. Happy Handmade Home: I’m totally counting this as a book. I preordered this on Kindle and got it the second it was released (I totally regret not getting the hardcopy. Christmas present, cough cough) I read the whole thing, cover to cover, in a day. It wasnt exactly what I expected. It didn’t have as many tutorials as I thought it would, but has so many really great ideas and inspiration points to jump off of to style your home, have a party, bake, and more. It is beautiful and simple in the wonderful way everything the ABM girls do is!
  13. The Book Thief:  This is possibly the most beautiful, heart-warming, heart-breaking story Ive read in a long time. I really love books about Germans hiding Jews (re: my favorite book of all time: The Hiding Place) during the war. This story is about a 13 year old girl who gets adopted by German family and they hide a jew. The story is told from the perspective of death himself. It is beautiful. Any creative person would love this book, there are drawings and so much imagination is used. The relationships in this book are so intimately crafted and depicted you can really feel the bonds between each character. I cried like a baby at the end. Its going on my list as favorite books Ive ever read. Also, Ive watched the first half of the movie and its beautiful so far, but they had to leave out a lot of details and events as the book is very long and intricate, so Ill forgive them I guess. 

I’m currently reading these books: (side note, you should never try reading more than one book at a time. My brain can’t handle it.))

The Creative Habit: This is my second time reading through this, but the first time I didn’t finish it. I am addicted to this book. I am hanging on her every word and it is literally turning how I think about my creativity and habits upside down. Amazing. I plan on reading it about 4 more times (this year at least). Ive heard quite a few people say they cant get into it, but you have to keep going and keep an open mind as she uses all different kinds of creativity as examples, so you have to do a little of the work yourself to apply it to your craft.

The Living Reed: I joined a book club here and this is what were reading. It follows a Korean family, who are advisors to the king, through 4 generations to present (ish) day. It has lots of factual history and is rich in detail. I’m really enjoying the greater glimpse into Korean history, tradition and culture.

Next up on my reading que is: The Giver, Chasing the Dragon, Gone Girl, Still Alice, Eleanor & Park

What are you reading? Please share so I can add it to my list! If you’ve read any of these tell me your thoughts, I love discussing fictional characters as if they are real people!

For further reading: Other book reviews, ecourse reviews

14 for 14 update

14 goals in 2014 by Lauren Likes

This year I’ve set 14 goals for myself. Some easily attainable. Some abstract. Some secretive. Some challenging. Mostly awesome.

So here’s an update on how things are going so far.

  1. Go on a grand adventure. Check! Well, officially July 22nd this adventure will commence. More here. 
  2. Make a quilt. On a whim, I ransacked my scrap stash and started!! I’ve got to finish cutting my squares (which is the easy part), then the real work will begin.
  3. Start something. Check back on monday for something awesome!
  4. Project Life 2014. I started strong. Fell behind. Printed pics up to date and have totally lost my mojo. Gotta get it back.
  5. Blog (Design) Love. Ive officially decided on a new blog name and have started playing with logo design! Cant wait to get this up and running!
  6. Create a recipe book. Im slowly starting to collect recipes from friends and record my favorite Pinterest recipes, but Ive got to step up the time-table.
  7. Learn to shoot in manual. I’ve officially ventured into aperture priority and the field of shutter speeds! Progress, just need more practice!
  8. Read the Bible all the way through. I just finished a really awesome Bible Study (No Other Gods), so now Im starting to get back on track.
  9. Use up my craft stash. Elise is about to teach a class on A Beautiful Mess for this. I can’t wait! In efforts to begin, I’m selling some mixed books.
  10. Be an encourager. Somehow the people I’m trying to encourage are way more encouraging to me! Oh jeez, nice people!
  11. Dance like a fool  at a huge concert. Check! I was on top of the world! See more here.
  12. Annihilate my wardrobe. Wow. I own a ton of stuff! I have officially gotten my winter clothes down to only 1 bag! But who am I kidding? Summer clothes are my jam, so that’s where I foresee a problem….
  13. Go to bed by 11pm…..uh, no comment.
  14. Read 2 books a month. I’m currently KILLING IT with this one. Ill be doing a book review soon. Any suggestions? Im also on Goodreads. Lets me friends so I can see your recommendations!

How are you doing with your goals? Were officially a third of the way through the year (crazy right), but it’s not too late to start something!

 

 

Imagine Dragons Concert

We had the BEST time at the Imagine Dragons Concert a few weeks ago! We had a really great date night, saw a band we love and I accomplished one of my 14 for 14 goals! It doesn’t get better than that.

We got pretty cheap seats, but still had a really good view and we could see backstage, so it was really fun to see what was going on back there.February4

We missed the opening bands but we were ok with it. We parked in hot-lanta and rode the Marta in. Super fun, cheap and easy.  Except we got out on the wrong side of the tracks and had to buy another ticket to walk back through….so not as cheap as it should have been….2014-02-26 22.07.03

But, we both fell hard for Imagine Dragons a few years ago when one of their songs was on the promo video for The Color Run. So we like to say ‘we liked them before they were big and on the radio’. I heard a quote once that ”every time a hipster says ‘I liked them before they were big’- a fairy dies”. That makes me laugh every time I think about how long we’ve liked them and how I can remember the first  timeI heard one of their songs come on a car radio that wasn’t plugged into my phone!

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There show was fantastic and definitely not long enough! I needed much more than an hour and a half. (Maybe I’m just too used to Dave Mathews Concerts) But still, every minute was fantastic. We were seriously amazed at the lead singer, Dan Reynolds, he played at least 6 different types of drums during his performance. It was incredible and too fun. Also, does anyone know where I can get GIANT balloons filled with glitter/confetti?!

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*All photos were taken with my iphone.  Words on photos are Imagine Dragons Lyrics.

14 for 14

14 goals in 2014 by Lauren Likes

  1. Go on a grand adventure
  2. Make a quilt
  3. Start something
  4. Project Life 2014
  5. Blog (Design) Love
  6. Create a recipe book
  7. Learn to shoot in manual
  8. Read the Bible all the way through
  9. Use up my craft stash
  10. Be an encourager
  11. Dance like a fool  at a huge concert
  12. Annihilate my wardrobe
  13. Go to bed by 11pm
  14. Read 2 books a month

Its goal setting time. I love goals. I like abstract ones and I like tasks that I can check off my list and feel the rush of affirmation and completion. When I turned 25 I really wanted to do a 25 at 25 goal thingy. But I was way too intimidated about 25 big goals and couldn’t think of enough fast enough and knew that if I arbitrarily picked them, then I would be very unlikely to accomplish them. So I waited. New Years rolled around and I didn’t want to set resolutions, but I had some projects and ideas rolling around in my head of things I wanted to accomplish and I deciding doing 14 in 14 would be a really fun plan!
Some things in my list are pretty straightforward, like make a quilt or complete my 2014 Project Life book. Some are more abstract, like be an encourager. Some of this will be harder to measure my success, but I think Ill know by I how I feel at the end of the year.

Here are some details:

  1. Go on a grand adventure: I have an idea in the works, but if it falls through we always can find another adventure!
  2. Make a quilt: This has been a goal for a long time and I have a few ideas I just can’t shake and I’m ready to give it a go.
  3. Start something: Again, I have something in the works. I want to start something for others to participate in to spread around the love. So keep an eye out!
  4. Project Life 2014: DUH. I’m in Love with Project Life and cant wait to document our life in 2014 with this project. View last years album here or check on some tips here.
  5. Blog (Design) Love: I bought this course and cannot wait to participate! I really want to upgrade my blog, but want to do it right. So I plan to work through this very carefully to creat the best blog I can!
  6. Create a recipe book: I have a ton of cookbooks and multiple blank recipe books to write in recipes. But somehow I find myself searching Pinterest frantically for THAT recipe that I remember seeing 6 months ago and just have to make tonight. I want to get all my favorite recipes in one small book to have on hand. No frantic searching. A tangible plan in case Y2K actually happens. Something to pass down one day.
  7. Learn to shoot in manual & use it: I have a camera I’m in love with. It does magical things in automatic settings. But I know it can do more. Then I’m going to use it all the time. Right now I’m very sheepish about taking it ‘normal everyday places’ because I don’t want to lug it around and be intrusive. But, I value those photos so much more than my blurry phone ones. So, no matter what mode I’m shooting in, I want it to be on that fantastic, magical camera.
  8. Read the Bible all the way through: Im currently on day 70 of a read the bible through plan I started about 3 years ago….This way I have some leeway to miss a few days and can still accomplish my goal. I love to read, I’ll conquer any challenge and I’ve been a Christian way too long to not have this accomplished.
  9. Use up my craft stash: Just ask my husband and he will tell you: I HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF. And I really love it. All of it. So, my plan is to not buy any new craft stuff (as long as it’s not something I already I have) and to try to make do with what I have, use it up and then I can have a more manageable amount and can add only things I truly love.
  10. Be an encourager: This is a quality that I really want others to see in me and it is a way that I want to bless others. So my general idea is to just do something encouraging for someone every week. Whether it be just a check in via text or small gift or some encouraging words via email. I want to make others happy and feel appreciated
  11. Dance like a fool at a huge concert: already got my eye on one. Look out Imagine Dragons, this fool is coming for you…
  12. Annihilate my wardrobe: This one is simple in theory: go on a mass killing spree in my closet and get down to clothes that I only really love and actually wear.
  13. Go to bed by 11pm: I really need to do this because 1. it’s what grown ups do: have a schedule and routine and 2. my body needs a LOT of sleep. I need to excercise some self-care in this area for real.
  14. Read 2 books a month: I love to read but go through these ups and downs where I read like crazy and then don’t read at all for weeks. This is such a great mental break for me and I think that planning time to read every night will help me achieve my bed by 11 and read the bible all the way through goals.

Some things are craft/project related. Some things are intellectual/technical skill/spiritual related. Some are just fun. Some will be checked off swiftly and some will take some evaluating and real hard work. But these are the 14 things I want to accomplish in 2014. A lot of them center around decluttering and created a more zen schedule, which are things I’ve always needed in my life but havent always had/practiced tangible ways to accomplish that. So, be on the lookout for lots of updates surrounding these and I hope to come out of this with lots of fresh new ideas through these challenges and to create lots of breathing room….

Next, I’ll reveal my One Little Word for this year. Until then, what are your goals for 2014? Taking on any huge challenges? Id love to hear!