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The wall space in our master bathroom is limited, and the only option for a 24″ towel bar was either over the toilet or mounted on the shower glass, neither of which is a great option. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t met very many men who will trouble themselves to hang their towel nicely on the bar. Hooks solve the space problem and the disorderly towel problem very nicely.

On our vanity wall, both the mirrors and cabinet knobs have a golden brushed brass finish. I wanted to bring some of that brass towards the shower where all of the fixtures were chrome, so I decided that brass hooks were the answer. I’ve been looking all over the internet for the perfect brass hooks, and I eventually settled on the industrial style monogram hooks from Anthropologie that are pictured on my mood board. However, when they arrived, I was really disappointed in the finish. I like rustic and industrial, but the finish on the hooks had dark smears and visible thumbprints, so I sent them back and started looking for other options.

I found some really great brass hooks, and I have my definite favorites from the ones I’ve included below. We’re headed to San Francisco soon for a little vacation, so I’m going to try to check them out in person before I commit. And, maybe I’ll find my original choice with a better finish at Anthropologie. Fingers crossed.

Brass Hooks You Can Buy Online

  1. Urban Outfitters
  2. Rejuvenation
  3. Rejuvenation
  4. Pottery Barn
  5. School House Electric
  6. House of Antique Hardware
  7. House of Antique Hardware
  8. School House Electric
  9. Wayfair
  10. Rejuvenation
  11. Pottery Barn
  12. Urban Outfitters
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Today I’m going to share my inspiration for our master bathroom and the style plan that I eventually developed. I focus primarily on kitchen and bathroom designs when I take on clients, so I tend to collect a lot of images of those rooms on Pinterest. When I was ready to start designing our space, I simply went through my bathrooms board and looked for repeating themes.

Kristin-Marie-Interiors-Bathroom

Kristin Marie Interiors

Amber-Interiors-Bathroom

Amber Interiors

Erin-Gates-Elements-of-Style-Bathroom

Erin Gates

Emily-Henderson-Master-Bathroom-Remodel

Emily Henderson

Black, white, gray and brass – simple and clean with vintage inspired details. In a perfect world, I would have used patterned cement tiles on the floors, all brass fixtures, marble penny round on the shower floor and a handmade subway tile, preferably by Heath, on the shower walls. The custom built walnut vanity would float off the floor, and the large medicine cabinets would be flanked by vintage modern sconces kind of like these. Sigh.

But two factors prevented me from the bathroom of my dreams – money and resale appeal.

Our budget was tight since we had no desire (aside from painting) to do any of the work ourselves. This is Keegan’s busiest season, and I just don’t have the skills. Nor do I want to learn on the most complicated room in the house. Since we weren’t going to be saving money on labor, we had to save on materials.

The idea that we might sell this house even five years from now kept me from getting too creative. I don’t tend to think of the type of people who would buy our house as being the eclectic creative types. I think they probably would want highly functioning spaces that are fairly neutral and classic.

I’ll have to save my cement tiles, floating vanity and vintage sconces for another house.

Here’s the plan…

Mid-Century-Master-Bathroom-Concept-Board

  1. Wall Mirror – West Elm Hexagon
  2. Wall Sconces – Restoration Hardware Asbury
  3. Vanity Cabinets – Kitchen Cabinet King
  4. Cabinet Knobs – Atlas Homewares
  5. Towel Rings – Pottery Barn Covington
  6. Faucets – Grohe Concetto
  7. Countertop – Glacier White Quartz by MSI
  8. Sinks – Kohler Archer
  9. Toilet – American Standard
  10. Floor Tile – Stone Peak Ceramics Bardiglietto
  11. Accent Tile – Marble Systems Avalon
  12. Shower – Delta In2ition with Trinsic Trim
  13. Wall Tile – Florida Tile Streamline
  14. Hooks – Anthropologie

The artwork is by Emily Jeffords and available on Minted.com.

I stuck with the gray, white and black color scheme that I liked. And, I did bring in some brass accents with the mirrors and knobs – two things future buyers could easily swap out. We found RTA (ready-to-assemble) cabinets online, thanks to one of my clients, that shipped quickly for a decent price. They didn’t have very exciting color options, but I like how the almost black color provides a strong contrast to the countertops and floor.

I really really wanted those cement tile floors, but they would have been over $1000 plus the labor was more involved, so I went with an inexpensive 12×12 ceramic.  I decided that instead of laying the 12×12 floor tile in a square pattern, I would offset each tile and add an accent strip of 1″ marble mosaic next to each one and then repeat the marble in the shower niche. Usually I like to lay square tile on a 45 degree angle, but our bathroom is so long and narrow, it wasn’t worth it.

All of the fixtures are chrome, and I went for a blend of modern on the faucets and a little bit vintage on the towel rings and tissue holder.  I chose a white quartz for the countertops that has some gray veining to resemble marble. The shower will be tiled in white subway tile with gray grout. I decided to run the tile vertically to accentuate the height and keep it from looking too traditional. Not pictured, I’m planning on a woven shade for the window, and I purchased white drapery panels with a cute gray fringe by Nate Berkus for Target. I think the window treatments will soften the room and add some interest to that wall.

So that’s the plan. Demo is done, and we’re well on our way to a new bathroom.

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Books-I-Read-March-to-May

I’m a little behind in updating this series on books I’ve read so far this year. One reason is that I really haven’t been reading as many new books. Instead, I’ve been rereading books that I wanted to further absorb, and I wasn’t sure if they really should count or not. I’ve also been sleeping in more and trying to be kinder to myself in order to clear up some health issues. I haven’t gone back to the hectic crazy mornings with the Today Show in the background, but I don’t always take time to read and write. I’m trying to be better about it now that school is over, but it’s not a top priority.

But all of that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading at all. I read and listened to some fairly good books in the las three months. My two favorites were audio books that were both highly praised and highly rated.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

These two novels share many similarities. Both are set in France during World War II and both revolve around French citizens and their experience of the war. I’ve read many WWII novels by now, and these two really stand out along with with Jodi Piccoult’s The Storyteller.

The Nightingale follows the parallel stories of two sometimes estranged sisters throughout the war. The younger sister joins the French Resistance, while the older sister remains in her home to wait for her husband and care for her young daughter.  The ending was a bittersweet surprise that had me engaged right up until the end.

In All the Light We Cannot See, a young blind girl is exiled to the French coastal town where her father and grand-father grew up to wait out the war with her great-uncle and his housekeeper. This novel also features parallel story lines that converge at the end. The other main character is a young German orphan, who eventually turns solider. A third arc follows a German officer, who is searching for something precious, and his life depends on finding it in time – or so he believes. I was so engrossed in this book that I actually sat inside on the sofa and listened to the last hour because I couldn’t wait for my commute the next day to find out what happened.

The other books I read in the past few months were less enchanting but still worth reading. I particularly loved Three Daughters by Consuelo Saah Baehr, which on my list of Amazon recommendations. The story is set in Palestine and then America from the early to mid twentieth century and follows three generations of women in a Palestinian family. I have very little knowledge of Palestine and certainly not during this time period. It was fascinating to learn about history through the fictional lives of these women. I definitely recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction and is looking for something less typical. It was a nice change from all of the Downtown Abbey esque novels.

Three Daughters by Consuelo Saah Baehr

I think I found Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde on my Amazon recommendations list as well. It was out of my usual genre, but I decided to take a chance on it. It was definitely a quick read, and I stayed up late on the second night to finish it up. A divorced middle-aged high school teacher spontaneously invites two young brothers to join him on his annual RV trip. The summer becomes a pivotal time in all three of their lives. There are a few heartbreaking moments throughout the book that revealed to me how invested I’d become in the characters. This would be a good summer read.

Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde

My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni

I have honestly no idea what motivated me to download this book because I generally avoid mysteries, thrillers and serial novels. I think the description left out the fact that it was the first book in the new Tracy Crosswhite series by Robert Dugoni, because I probably wouldn’t have purchased it otherwise. For a typical, contemporary mystery novel it was fine, but it’s just not my cup of tea. If you like the detective serials, you will probably enjoy it. This was another quick read.

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

My mother recommended this book and sent it me as a Kindle gift, and I ended up having a love/hate relationship with it. This book does not fall into the quick read category. I felt like it took forever to get through it. The story begins in the fifties in Naples, Italy and follows the lives of two girls as they navigate a complicated friendship. The story, perhaps a fictionalized account of the author’s childhood, is told from the first person perspective of young Elena. At times, it was very difficult for me to like Elena (Lena) and many more times, I actively disliked her friend Lila. I could certainly empathize with Lena and her feelings of being less than or on the outside or just wanting to be seen as enough, but I also wanted to shake her and tell her to forget about selfish Lila. Lena is also awkwardly candid about her struggles through puberty and first experiences with sex, which were definitely uncomfortable.

I hated the ending mostly because I was unaware that it was the first in a series promptly rated it four stars instead of five. Yes, instead of five. Even with all of my discomfort and dislike while reading this novel, it was oddly compelling. I loved the descriptions of Naples in the fifties and the sense of chaos and poverty and general hopelessness that pervaded. I will definitely read the next two books in the series, but I many need to give it some time first.

Other books I read in the past three months:

Total new books read so far in 2015: 21

Links in this post may be affiliate links. If you click on them and buy something, I may earn a very tiny bit of money.

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After over four years of living with our outdated, decaying, moldy master bathroom, we’ve decided to take the plunge and do a full remodel. I have done absolutely nothing to this space since we moved in because, in my mind, it was always a hopeless situation. There is bad tile on the walls, the fixtures are blue, the mirror is cracked, and the cabinets are falling apart. Not to mention, there is an ever expanding spot on the vinyl floor where we can see hidden water damage occurring. But, the moldiness is really what pushed us over the edge. In the past year, it seems like it’s been impossible keep any surface in the bathroom free from mold and mildew. It’s a losing battle.

This is what the bathroom currently looks like. Cringe worthy, I know.

master-bath-remodel-before-01

Don’t you just love the wooden toilet seat on the blue toilet? I love retro design, and would be thrilled with a vintage style bathroom, but not this kind of vintage.

master-bath-remodel-before-02

Wooden accessories too, and that mirrored cubby over the counter is a real gem.

This is the current layout of the space. You can see it’s quite long and narrow – almost 15′ by 5′.

master-bath-remodel-existing-layout

So that’s the bad, but there’s also a lot of good in this space. For a mid-century ranch, it’s actually a large master bathroom. In fact, it was by far the largest master bath of all the houses we looked at in our neighborhood. Some of them were teeny-tiny with a coffin sized shower and wall-mounted sink. Plus, it’s got that great big window, which lets in lots of natural light…some times too much. Finally, for whatever reason, there’s enough space to the right of the toilet in order to expand the shower without moving the toilet. Depending on which way the joists run, moving the toilet can be involved (aka expensive), so this was a big bonus.

The plan is to demo the entire room, including the soffit over the sink, and start from scratch. After much research and debate, I decided to go with stock cabinets that I ordered online to create a long vanity with double sinks. I searched endlessly for a stock vanity that would fit the space, but most of them are only 6′ long, and we have close to 8′ of space. We have a tub in the guest bathroom, so we’re creating a larger walk-in shower with a glass enclosure.

master-bath-remodel-new-layoutThis is what the new vanity will look like:

Plan-Existing-Layout

My goal was to create a clean, fresh, classic space with a little bit of personality while sticking to a strict budget. To save money, we’re using stock, ready-to-assemble cabinets that I ordered online. The countertop is a well-priced quartz, and the tile floor is a budget ceramic. To add a little detail to the floor, I ordered some 1″ marble mosaics that we’ll use as an accent next to each ceramic tile. I initially wanted a patterned cement tile, but the cost of both materials and labor was over our budget. Maybe in my next house.

While the fixtures are all pretty basic and on the lower end of the spectrum price wise, I did order them all through our local plumbing supplier. I learned the hard way that you get what you pay for at the big box stores.

We’re replacing the door, baseboards, window and door casing. Our house has very basic 2 1/4″ moldings, and I decided to start switching it out for 3 1/2″ flat stock instead. I hope that we can eventually replace all of our cheap hollow core doors to solid flat paneled doors.

I’ve designed many bathroom remodels for clients, and I’m always surprised as how much these small spaces can cost. Our remodel is going to come in slightly above a mid-range master bathroom remodel as estimated by remodeling.hw.net, which makes sense because their numbers are for a very basic 5’x7′ bathroom. The site has a great cost report if you want to see how much projects cost on average in your city.

Another look at the new floor plan…

3D Bathroom Floor Plan Chief Architect

Demo begins on Monday. I can’t even express how excited I am to have a brand new, clean, mold-free master bathroom. In my next post, I’ll share all of the selections that I made.

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The other day I did a consult with a client to select paint colors for her open living room / dining room / kitchen. The home had been a builder spec home in a new development, and the client had re-painted when they moved in but felt the color, which was a very cool blue gray, wasn’t quite right.

Her instincts were right, and I could definitely see how she’d had trouble selecting the right paint color. The builder had used a pretty stone on the fireplace with warm gray undertones, tan carpeting, medium dark wood floors (not too red, which was good), espresso colored cabinets, and then granite countertops that were mostly gold with flecks of burgundy. The fixed finishes were all over the place, and the gray they’d picked was too cool to coordinate with any of them.

I brought my Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore paint decks along with loose swatches of some of my favorite colors. I also brought drafting tape and a piece of white foam core. I like to tape the loose swatches to the foam core and then move the foam core around the room. Plus, the white of the foam keeps the existing wall color from distorting the color of the swatches.

We eventually settled on three options for the living area that were all warm grays and then three options for blue greens in the kitchen and dining area. We discussed painting the cabinets ivory to better coordinate with the cottage style the client prefers.

These are my go-to warm gray paint colors and my starting point in just about any room where I know I’m not doing a color or a beige.

Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray SW 2029

Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams is definitely one of my top favorite colors for walls. It’s a warm stony color right in between true gray and beige. The undertone of the color leans more towards yellow-orange than toward green.

Domiteaux + Baggett Architects, PLLC, Dallas

Julea Reinventing Space, Palos Park

Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter HC-172

I know that everyone (on Pinterest) is loving Revere Pewter these days and with good reason. This is my top contender for my client’s living room because it paired nicely with the stone in her fireplace. It’s got a little more pigment in it than the Sherwin-Williams light grays (second swatch down on the strip) and has a more yellow-green undertone.

Scavullo Design Interiors, San Francisco

Lucy McLintic, San Francisco

Sherwin Williams Worldly Gray SW 7043

Worldly Gray is cooler than Agreeable Gray with more green in the undertone. It’s a beautiful color that looks lovely with natural wood.

Unique Spaces, Ottawa

Boyer Building Corporation, Minnetonka

Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray HC-173

Edgecomb Gray is right below Revere Pewter in the Benjamin Moore paint deck, but Edgecomb Gray has more yellow in it than Revere Pewter and less pigment. It’s a wonderful alternative to beige and much more versatile.

Cardea Building Co., San Francisco

Divine Custom Homes, Hudson

Sherwin Williams Useful Gray SW 7050

Useful Gray has a yellow-green undertone to it and also looks great with natural wood. It’s light and fresh feeling.

Scovell Wolfe & Associates, Inc, Kansas City

Sarah Stacey Interior Design, Austin

Benjamin Moore Stingray 1529

Stingray also has a yellow-green undertone. It’s another beautiful versatile gray that’s neither too warm (beige) or too cool.

Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders, San Francisco

Kelly Mcguill Home, Walpole

Sherwin Williams Sedate Gray SW 6169

Sedate Gray is probably my all time favorite gray. It’s definitely a green undertone, but it’s still warm. It doesn’t tend to look sagey, and it works well with all colors of natural wood. I have used most of the colors from the same paint strip and find that they are somewhat changeable with the light, looking cooler or warmer depending on the time of day. It also looks really beautiful with marble.

CM Glover, New York

T.R. Builder, Inc., New Port News

All of these grays work really well for rooms with lighter hardwood floors and for rooms with wood trim. If you prefer darker colored walls or just a little more pigment than these light grays, you can always use the third swatch down on the Sherwin-Williams paint strip or the fourth or fifth swatch on the Benjamin Moore strip (for the non HC colors). I like to use the lightest color on the strip for the ceiling instead of stark white.

The-Best-Light-Gray-Paint-Colors-For-Walls

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Quote from The Power of Focus by Jack Canfield

I think this is a very important distinction to keep in mind whenever we’re trying to accomplish something really big or nurturing a dream way beyond our current reality. I know if I didn’t believe in this I would have given up on many goals long ago.

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Don’t let small thinking cut your life

The ONE Thing by Gary Keller is on my re-read list for 2015. It was totally inspirational and motivating. Have a fabulous week-end!

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In 2015, I will be sharing monthly the books I’ve read in the past month as well as the books I’m planning to read in the current month. My goal is to read or listen to 100 books in 2015. In 2014, I listened to and read approximately 60 books, so this is a stretch goal!

Books-I-Read-February-2015

I finished six books in February and am halfway through a seventh book. I am hoping that my pace will pick up during the summer when I have a lot more free time and don’t have to go to bed at 9:00. I found last summer that I read for about an hour every morning, which is a big jump up from the 20 minutes I am currently reading five mornings a week. I devote the morning session to non-fiction when I have the highest levels of concentration and read fiction before bed. So, between the morning and evening as well as an audio book in the car, I am reading about three books at any given time.

I thoroughly enjoyed Small Move, Big Change: Using Microresolutions to Transform Your Life Permanently by Caroline Arnold and was able to implement some of the strategies described in the book immediately. Arnold’s theory is similar to those we’ve heard many times before – big sweeping resolutions fail and goals should be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. But, she goes on to say that we should reduce all of our bigger goals, like lose weight or exercise more or be on time, to a tiny small action that we can commit to doing every day. In order to be successful at larger goals, we should analyze our habits and actions and figure out exactly where we’re getting tripped up. Then we can address each of these smaller areas one at a time. I plan to share more about how I’ve used this book in my own life in another post.

If you liked The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg but struggle with how to implement new habits in your life, this book might help you make some real progress.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins was a popular recommendation for readers who enjoyed Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I never read Gone Girl, but I enjoyed the movie, so I thought I would give it a try. The narrator of the story is Rachel, a divorced alcoholic who is also unemployed and possibly obsessed with her ex-husband, his new wife and their baby daughter. As she rides the train back and forth to London on her morning commute, she can see the back yards of not only her husband and his wife but other homes in the neighborhood and creates a fictional life for one couple, in particular.

I won’t give away any of the details of the story, but I will say that the ending has a twist, which I suspected about two-thirds into the book. Still, I didn’t envision just exactly how it would play out, so I found the finale to be satisfying. I did have trouble empathizing with Rachel because she seemed a touch crazy and more than a little pathetic and delusional. But, in the end, I was left wondering if this interpretation of her was colored by her interactions with the other characters and not entirely the truth.

The Nazi Officer’s Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived The Holocaust by Edith H. Beer is a memoir of the Holocaust. Beer grew up Jewish in Austria and survived the war by hiding in plain sight and assuming the identity of a Gentile friend, eventually marrying a German man. I am fascinated by all of the varying stories that have emerged from such a terrible time and appreciate each one for its uniqueness. I found this account to be written very plainly with little embellishment, but the style fit both the author and the story.

What Alice Forgot is the third book I’ve read by Liane Moriarty (also Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret). Moriarty’s writing style is lighter than I usually prefer, but I enjoy her characters and stories as well as the subtle backdrop of contemporary Australian culture. I finished this book in around three days and would have read it more quickly if I’d had a little more time to devote to it.

This particular story centered on Alice, a 39 year old stay at home mother, who hits her head during a spin class and wakes up thinking she’s 29 with no memory of the past ten years – including her children or her impending divorce. I thought that the last third of the book was by far the best as Alice begins to figure everything out, and we find out that maybe there are two sides to every story. I was less fond of the parallel story lines involving Alice’s older sister, who suffers from infertility, and her adopted grandmother.

The Pecan Man by Cassie Dandridge Selleck was on my Amazon recommendations list, where I typically find many of the books I read, and it was on sale. I thought that this book could have been really interesting, but in the end, I felt it was a bit boring and flat. I think I was expecting more of a thriller or just a little more mystery, but all of the mysteries were revealed in the beginning, leaving me to wonder about the point of the novel.

I started listening to the first chapter of Mastery by Robert Greene (Audio) before the holidays and finally finished it last week. I had a hard time getting into the audio, but once I did, I found it well worth it. This was the first book I’ve read by Greene, and from the Amazon reviews, it looks like I probably should have read his other works first before attempting to write a review of this one.

Mastery follows my ideal formula for non-fiction: principles illustrated with anecdotes and real world examples. For every idea Greene tries to communicate about how to achieve mastery in life, he follows through with the story of a historical figure (Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo DaVinci, Marcel Proust, Wolfgang von Goethe) or a contemporary master such as Paul Graham or Temple Grandin. I found these stories fascinating and thought that the way Greene wove together his instructional points with these anecdotes to be smooth and seamless. I will probably go back and read the Kindle version so I can highlight it and really absorb the content.

Book List for March

This list is a work in progress.

Total books read so far in 2015: 10.

Links in this post may be affiliate links. If you click on them and buy something, I may earn a very tiny bit of money.

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Last Spring, I wrote about how our friend Mike painted a wonderful painting for us as a wedding gift, and we hung it over our fireplace. Since then, I’ve been trying to bring more of the colors in the painting into the living room and making tweaks here and there. After switching out the rug and buying some new throw pillows, I’m turning my attention to the art over the sofa.

When we first moved in, we purchased some concert posters and stuck them in some super cheap frames from Hobby Lobby, hung them up to fill the space, and forgot about them. They were fine before, but their color palette doesn’t really work anymore. I’d like to create an art wall with a combination of prints and photographs that pull the color palette from the painting over to the other side of the room to create more balance in the space.

I’m working with a color palette of yellow-greens, blues ranging from indigo to cobalt to turquoise, purples and paler yellows. I also want to bring in some rosier pinks-purples to keep it from feeling too cool. I’ve experimented with this before by buying some deep pink orchids at Trader Joe’s and putting them on the mantel, and I really like the mix.

I started shopping for artwork online at Minted.com in Minted’s Art Marketplace. I really love how I can try out the artwork in different frame styles and even see what the frame looks like if I change the size of the print. I think it’s really important to understand how the scale of the frame looks with the art.

I was especially drawn to the French farmhouse style frames in both natural and white washed, as well as the white washed herringbone frame. I think a combination of these three frames would be beautiful. I had a difficult time narrowing down my favorite prints, but these are some of my top picks. I am a huge fan of all Emily Jeffords’ work and would love to purchase a large landscape oriented print to hang over our bed as well.

My Favorite Picks from the Minted Art Marketplace

  1. Desert and Mountains by Katherine Moynagh
  2. Warm Rain by Laura Bolter Design
  3. Arm in Arm by Jennifer Bailey
  4. London Skyline by Kelsey McNatt
  5. Lunar Eclipse by Amber Barkley
  6. Subway by Lindsay Megahed
  7. Prettier in Pink by Emily Jeffords

I also noticed that Minted started carrying fabrics, which are available in a cotton weight ($32/yard) and a linen blend ($34/yard). While not inexpensive, they carry some unique designs, and one yard is more than enough to make a couple of throw pillow covers.

This post was sponsored by Minted.com but all of the opinions are my own.

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In 2015, I will be sharing monthly the books I’ve read in the past month as well as the books I’m planning to read in the current month. My goal is to read or listen to 100 books in 2015. In 2014, I listened to and read approximately 60 books, so this is a stretch goal!

Books I've Read - January 2015

I finished only four books in January 2015, and I read two of those on vacation. Part of the slow going was due to the fact that I spent a couple weeks re-reading a good portion of The Primal Blueprint, which I won’t count since I’ve already read it, and I haven’t finished re-reading it.

The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson

I initially read The Primal Blueprint, authored by Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple, at the beginning of 2011, which lead me to immediately give up all grains and seriously cut back on sugar, dairy, legumes and alcohol. Recently, I’d fallen pretty heavily off the bandwagon (holidays, vacation, etc) and wanted a reminder of why I’d made the switch in the first place as well as inspiration to start moving more

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

I read The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown late in 2013. It was the first book I chose to kick off my brand new habit of reading a little non-fiction every morning instead of watching The Today Show. I’d been meaning to read Daring Greatly ever since and finally got around to it while we were on vacation in Cozumel right after New Years. This book resonated with me more deeply than any I can remember in recent history. It provided so much insight into myself, and my relationships, even my teaching. After I finished it, I immediately started thinking about how long I should wait before reading it again. I can’t recommend it enough.

“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.” – Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
During the last week of January, I finished another book that had been on my list for a long while – The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande. Gawande is a surgeon, and the arc of the story centers on his efforts to develop a surgical checklist that would decrease the number of complications and fatalities as a result of surgery. The catch is that the checklist would need to be implemented in hospitals worldwide, regardless of income level, technology or number of patients. Throughout the book, Gawande explores how checklists have been used in the construction industry and aviation and describes how he used his research to help in devising the surgical checklist.

The book was thought provoking and interesting and had me wondering how I could use checklists effectively both in teaching and in business. And, how I could get my students to use checklists to make designing their studio projects easier and more efficient. We already use checklists in many ways, but rarely do we actually design them intentionally.

Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim

Finally, I chose Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim as my fiction indulgence while we were on vacation. I read it on the day everyone else went deep sea fishing (not my thing…at all), and finished it in about three hours of complete, focused reading. I chose it because it reminded me somewhat of The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, and because I nearly always default historical fiction as my genre of choice. It was a quick read, and I enjoyed it, though maybe not as much as The Invention of Wings. There was a little twist at the end, which I always enjoy in fiction books. It’s light, easy reading, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed The Kitchen House or Orphan Train.

Book List for February

This list is a work in progress.

Total books read so far in 2015: 4.

Links in this post may be affiliate links. If you click on them and buy something, I may earn a very tiny bit of money.

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