Books: What I’ve been Reading Lately

I read quite a bit (this wasn’t always the case), but my reading lists vary depending on the time of year. During the academic year, I read a lot of academic texts and journals. During my down-time, I read loads of magazines (fashion, design, food, celebrity, anything really!), some non-fiction books (related to living a happy life, promoting one’s strengths, leadership, business, etc.), and random fiction. During the holidays (e.g., spending three weeks in Florida), I lean toward easy breezy beach reads.

Here’s a look at some of the books I’ve recently read:

art-of-tidying-up The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

Review: I like that I now know what all the fuss about Marie Kondo is about. The book is a quick read and it makes you think about all the stuff you own and why you own it. That said, some of the strategies, suggestions, and techniques are just too extreme or completely unrealistic for my own life. I took this book out of the library, so it didn’t clutter up my home.

Leave-your-markLeave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job by Aliza Licht

Review: Aliza Licht’s Leave Your Mark is an easy read with some good suggestions about how to navigate the workplace. I probably should have read something like this when I was 20.
funny-girlFunny Girl by Nick Hornby

Review: Let me start by admitting that I have liked Nick Hornby for a really long time, so I am biased. Funny Girl rates high on my list because I really liked the characters and storyline. I am now wondering if a movie is in the works. I hope so!

shopaholic-to-the-starsShopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella

Review: I have read every Sophie Kinsella (and Madeleine Wickham) book. I have a soft spot for Becky Bloomwood, and she makes me laugh. That said, I didn’t love Shopaholic to the Stars. Dare I say it – I might actually be tired of Becky’s ways (same story, different location?). I didn’t like how this book ended (and neither did a couple of other people who have spoken to me about it).

the vacationersThe Vacationers by Emma Straub

Review: The Vacationers looked like it was going to be the best beach read. Unfortunately, I didn’t like it at all. I read it from beginning to end (just because I had committed to it), but I was sort of just bored.

girl-on-the-trainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Review: Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train was amazing. I could not put this book down. It hooked me in right from the first page. If you like suspense/thriller/action, you’d like this book.

Do you have any book recommendations? I’d love to know about them!

Blog Linkup: Summer Essentials

I almost missed this month’s linkup announcement over at The Well. I must already be in summer mode! This month, Meg and Victoria posed this question for us:

WHAT ARE YOUR SUMMER ESSENTIALS?

After last month’s tough question, I was happy to see this one. This one is easy for me to answer because I absolutely loooooove the summer! I’m pretty sure that it’s because my birthday is in July, there are plenty of warm sunny days, and I have had summer months off from school and work for pretty much all of my life. Summer. Nothing beats it. Wish we had a few more months of it!

Anyhoo, so, on to my summer essentials (apparently I have quite a few). Here. We. Go.

1. Open windows. I love having my windows open and letting the breeze flow through my home.

tumblr_m7ba8hrgM11rsb1bqo1_400via

2. Passport. My passport is always ready to go, but the summer is the most convenient season for me to take a vacation, so I always do. Lucky me!

img17cvia Mark & Graham

3. Bathing suit. I do not have an extensive bathing suit collection, but I put every piece to very good use all summer long. I typically wear navy or black suits, but I’m also open to colour.

NMZ14RZ_mkGucci bikini, via Neiman Marcus

4. Havaianas. I basically live in them during the summer months. I know I should probably up my footwear game, but these flip flops are perfect for grocery store runs, lounging around the pool in Florida, and hitting up garage sales. I currently have brown, black, and orange in rotation, but I think I should invest in a red or fuchsia pair. Maybe even a white pair. Beyond that, by the time June rolls around, I’m just so tired of wearing socks and closed toe shoes (and boots!). My feet need air!

HavaianasWomen-Havaianas40000290001356_medium_PRODUCT_TOP_8261via Havaianas

5. Sangria. Red. White. It doesn’t matter. I just love it. I think this is because when I was in my early 20s, I traveled around Spain for a few weeks with my pen pal (Yes, I have a pen pal. Hi Vanessa!), and I was introduced to this delicious summer bevvie.

Apple-and-Pear-White-Sangria-finalvia Love Grows Wild

6. Hammock. I won a hammock last summer over at Lindsay’s blog, and I just can’t get enough of it. It’s the ultimate backyard perch.

hammock-White-Cabanalook at how relaxed I look

7. Ice cream. I love eating ice cream in the summer. When we’re in Florida, my friend Shannon and I stock the freezer with loads of flavours, and slowly quickly eat our way through everything. It’s glorious. The Magnum mini is my current favourite, but I definitely don’t limit myself to just this type.

Product_varietymini116-745979via Magnum

8. Panama hat. I picked up my Panama hat in New Orleans a few years ago, and I just love it. It’s way better than my winter toque!

White-Cabana-Jordana-2here’s a selfie from New Orleans

9. White shirts, tanks, and tees. I can never have too many of these in my wardrobe! I add new versions to my collection each summer (well, every season, really…I do wear a lot of white).

cn9151519the Gap remains one of my favourite go-to tee shot

10. Camera. I got a new camera recently, but I have yet to really figure out how it works. I am really looking forward to playing around with it this summer. If anyone has a good DSLR how-to book recommendation, please let me know!

white-cabana-camera11. Books. Stacks and stacks of reading material for at home and on vacation. I’ve been going to the library every week all winter long, and I’m planning on continuing this habit over the next few months/forever. The Waterloo Public Library is fantastic.

White-Cabana-booksbooks

12. Mozzarella. Any cheese. Any time. Right? Mozzarella is on the top of my cheese buying list because it will go so well with the tomatoes and basil that are growing in my garden. Hello caprese salad, I’ve missed you!

18734e475c3f5c0098996724457d9062via Local Lemons

13. Bicycle. It’s so handy to take my bike around town, and I hope to do it as often as I can this summer. Nothing fancy. Just leisurely rides around town to get my errands done.

a-beach-cottage-coastal-vintage-style-white-bike-hydrangeas-abeachcottage.com-via A Beach Cottage

I guess that’s about it for now in terms of summer essentials. What about you? What’s on the top of your essential list?

As per the linkup tradition, I would encourage you to read through the essential items of my fellow bloggers:

26 and Not Counting
Alyssa J Freitas
soak and simmer
The Not Quite Adult
Carrie Loves
The Yuppie Files
PRBlonde
Knowing Kelly
Something Good
Feathers and Stripes
Cassandra Monroe
Otherworldly
Sunny Side Up
Life Modifier
Leigh Clair
Rae Loves
Rose Colored Water
Rossetto
Fashion to a T
PreppyPanache
Emilie Lima Burke
Ember & March
Business Betties
with love from ellie
Mint Julep Girl
Love Peace and shimmer
Rae Everyday
Little Wild Heart
star-crossed smile
Luv in the Bubble
Perfect Enough For Us
LIFE BY BRI
Sorcha Eleanor
Brikasia
Dreams and Colour Schemes
Elana Lyn
Sequins & Strawberries
Pattern Me Pretty
Beauty and the Pitch
White Oak Creative
The Toppy Top
White Cabana
In The Grey
Taryn Williford
Cooper + Thames
Mrs. on the Move
Magnificent Temptations
Meg Biram
Victoria McGinley

Read my previous linkups here: January, February, April, May. Thanks to Meg and Victoria for bringing us all together again this month.

Books: What I’ve Been Reading

Winter¬†in Canada. It sucks. I have complained¬†so much about it (and I just can’t stop). It puts such a damper on my mood and motivation. I’ve tried to embrace it in the past, but, really, it just doesn’t work for me. I’ve been coping with the cold, dark days by watching a lot of television (I’m sort of completely sick of television now, too) and by reading more books¬†(rather than just my usual stack of magazines and list of blogs).

In addition to about a dozen academic books (for a fun-for-me project that I might share one day), I’ve read¬†the following…

gone-girl-book-cover-med

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

the-rosie-project-graeme-simsion

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

rosie effect

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

I’d recommend all three books. Gone Girl was a slow start for me, but once I got into it, I couldn’t stop reading it. It was amazing. The Rosie Project and Rose Effect were both amusing and interesting. Because¬†one of the main characters is a professor, I could relate.

I’ve also been reading a whole bunch of money and tax books. Here are some¬†of them:

White-Cabana-booksI think Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s books have been the most relevant,¬†useful, and¬†informative.

Design: Office Desks

It was one year ago today that I had my PhD defense (an oral exam, an examination of my research). It was a full, intense, and very special day. Even though the day flew by incredibly fast, I hope I remember the feelings I had that day for many years to come.

Considering the countless hours I spent at my desk during graduate school, I thought today’s celebratory post¬†could focus on some absolutely stunning offices and desks.

white-office

I love the chandelier (via My Luscious Life). 

timthumb

I love the big window (via TaloSanomat). 

asuntomessut_jyvaskyla_6_preview

I love the desk and copper accents (via Avotakka).

51bd6e1cd9127e2677001df1._w.540_s.fit_

I love the black and white art (via Apartment Therapy).

pns1-550x890

I love the old desk (via Paper & Stitch).

d406925c0e2f6a41b4978833a9b7cf59

I love the sleek lamp and desk (via Pinterest).

desk_window_emmas_designblogg_53393228e087c3392ed45f5b

I love the twin desk area (via Emmas Blogg).

Aren’t these spaces lovely? Tell me that I’m not the only one who loves office design!

Books: My July Reading List

I¬†was never the reader in my family. I only started to really enjoy books when I was about 16. Since then, I’ve read a decent amount of books for pleasure, but most of¬†the books that I have read¬†in my adult life have really been all school and research related. I try to keep a few for-pleasure books in my rotation, but I don’t get through them as fast as I’d like. One of the things I wanted to do on my Floridian vacation was to read. And so that’s what I did.

Florida-White-Cabana-12

The Orenda by Joseph Boyden: This isn’t the type of book I’d naturally reach for, but a friend was telling me about it before I left, so when I saw it at the library (yes, that’s right, I go to the library when I’m in Florida), I thought I’d give it a try. After reading the first 10-20 pages, I didn’t actually think I was going to make it to the end, but then I really got into it, and I’m so glad I did. This award-winning Canadian novel is¬†beautifully¬†written. The historical narrative is set in the early 17th century, and depicts the struggle and conflict of native life in Canada.

The Jane Austin Marriage Manual by Kim Izzo: This one falls into the enjoyable chick lit category. It was a quick and mostly entertaining read. As the title suggests, it was a very Jane Austin type of story.

The Body Book by Cameron Diaz: This book can basically be summarized by the following statement:¬†the “secret”¬†to a healthy¬†life¬†is to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Obviously this is not really a surprise, right? There’s nothing really new or thought-provoking in this book, but¬†it’s¬†well-organized and an easy read.

Florida-White-Cabana-8Everyday is for the Thief by Teju Cole: A student I met earlier this year mentioned Teju Cole, and so I thought it was about time I focus on his writing. The reader follows the main character from NYC to Lagos, Nigeria. In this original work of fiction, the main character (who remains nameless) tries to make sense of the fraud he witnesses and the changes he has observed in his home country of Nigeria.

Thrive by Arianna Huffington: Do you remember the world pre-Huffington Post? I barely do! HuffPost is¬†the¬†go-to hot spot for news and¬†information. It was interesting to read Arianna’s stories and her approach to work and life (balance, people, balance!). She has some valuable pieces of advice¬†to help us thrive in achieving our goals.

Marry Smart: Advice for Finding The One by Susan Patton: This book was written by the author of that article advising women to find a husband while they’re young¬†before it’s too late. Ugh. The¬†book was ridiculous and¬†condescending. I really just hated it. The¬†writing was less than stellar, but I won’t even get started on that. If it wasn’t such a¬†quick and amusing (as in, how did this actually get published?) read, I would have stopped reading after page one.

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding: A great girly beach read. Who doesn’t feel a connection to Bridget Jones? I won’t spill the beans, but in this story, Bridget has aged, has kids, and learns all about social media.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova: I really enjoyed this book. Although the story is more sad than light-hearted, I liked the character development and the way the characters interacted with one another. They felt real. The main character, Alice, is a professor who is dealing with early onset Alzheimer’s. I saw myself in her at some points.

Get Smarter: Life and Business Lessons by Seymour Schulich:¬†The author is¬†the Schulich. If you’re in Canada and you attended a post-secondary institution, you¬†may have taken classes in a Schulich building. Schulich. Is. Everywhere. I¬†enjoyed Schulich’s¬†perspectives on business, philanthropy, and relationship building.

I also read Good Boss, Bad Boss¬†by Robert I. Sutton¬†(many worthwhile points)¬†and¬†a stack of amazing magazines (House & Home, Southern Living, Dwell, Martha Stewart,¬†Air Canada’s En Route, etc.). Beach time is the perfect time to get lost in texts!

I’ve¬†now got¬†two books on the go: Italo Calvino‘s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler and¬†Jennifer Weiner‘s Then Came You. Both are enjoyable so far!

And that’s about all I’ve been reading. It’s¬†been an eclectic mix of¬†texts this month!