The Little Things
January 23, 2017

If you follow me on instagram (@littlethingscaroline) you already know this: I’m participating in a 6 week Lean Body Bootcamp (through Trainer Paige!). I thought I’d share just a bit more about what I’m doing.

First of all, here’s what I’m not doing: My goal is NOT to lose weight! I’m not calorie counting, I’m not restricting calories or foods, and no foods are off limits.

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s what my desire is in participating in this bootcamp: I used to lift regularly as part of my half marathon training. I used to have a lifting partner (my brother before he moved!), but a few months after he moved away I started to slip off the lifting band wagon.

Then in the fall of 2015 I got a new job that kept me a whole lot busier, and also has a somewhat unpredictable schedule due to being on call. I still have managed to get in some good work outs between walking, biking, and running (with occasional pilates workouts!), but I’ve craved getting back to lifting a bit. The summer of 2016 I told myself I would start lifting again, since I had more time. By the end of summer, I hadn’t gone once to the gym to lift.

I knew that something needed to change. I’ve read Paige’s blog and followed her on instagram for several years, but when I started watching her instagram stories I connected a bit more to her. I was intrigued by her lean body bootcamps, so I thought I’d give it a try!

When I was in Florida for Christmas, I signed up! We are starting week three now, and I have to say, it’s been a bit tough. I went out and bought some weights for home (I can better complete work outs if I have the option of lifting at home vs the gym), and I’m ACHING! Woof. It would’ve been easier to not stop lifting! But, I’ve definitely gained a bit of muscle since the start of the program:

start of week 1 to the start of week 3

I’m also trying to increase my protein a bit and decrease my carbs a little bit (for people with POTS we are supposed to eat a lower sugar and carb diet). It’s been tough to increase my protein some days (especially because I don’t love meat!), but I’m getting a bit more used to it. I love having a trainer to bounce things off of, and I love the accountability of a group!

I’m so glad to be creating space to not only learn more about nutrition, but also to implement a lifting schedule once again!

January 17, 2017

Disclaimer: I received a box of Nugo nutrition protein bars to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! 

I have a very real love of chocolate. Growing up, at the end of a meal we would each get a tiny piece of chocolate, and in that way my dad created a love of chocolate for most of his kids. I would eat chocolate several times a day if it was good for me 🙂 So, when I saw the option to try out Nugo Nutrition’s Dark Chocolate bars, I immediately jumped at the chance!

I tried out 4 different flavors: dark chocolate sea salt pretzel, dark chocolate coconut, dark chocolate chocolate chip, and dark chocolate mint. OH MY GOSH. Don’t make me choose a favorite, because they were all so amazing!

A box of samples (with several flavors of each bar) arrived at my door and I tore into it almost immediately. That evening I biked after work, so I ate half a bar between work and exercise. I had a good amount of energy and my legs turned over pretty easily! Success! I ate the other half after.

I traveled over Christmas to Florida, and enjoyed half a bar while watching the sunrise. I ran immediately following, and it sat well in my stomach and fueled me through the run!

Right after New Years I went out to Colorado, and I dragged Nugo bars up a mountain to 11,000 feet in Winter Park. I sat outside in the snow enjoying a bar, and it keep me full for hours of outdoor winter fun!

11,000 feet and a feels like below zero. The views though…

I’ve also been enjoying them in the afternoons at work. I often get hungry around 4 pm, so having part of a bar at that time is what I need to get my to dinner!

Here are a few facts about Nugo nutrition dark chocolate bars: They have 10 g of protein in it, have fiber, calcium, and iron. They have lots of great antioxidants from the dark chocolate and the bars are gluten free and vegan (this lactose intolerant girl is happy about that)! All wins in my book! Have I mentioned that they are absolutely delicious?!

These bars held up wonderfully as I dragged them around the country (and up mountains!) and kept me full and powered me through workouts. I’ve been so happy to find out about these bars, and definitely plan on purchasing more. I also want to try out Nugo nutrition’s slim bars, which have less sugar but more protein and fiber (I’m trying to increase my intake of protein right now- especially in the mornings!). To read more about the company and try out more of their products, check out their website!

Now it’s your turn to share! What do you look for in a protein bar? 

January 11, 2017

At the start of 2016 I committed to getting rid of an item a day for the entire year (totally 366 items since it was a Leap Year)- I dubbed this my “decluttering project” in my year of simplify. I was unhappy with the quantity of stuff that I had, and wanted to see less when I walked into my house. I chose the word “simplify” for the year, and tried to get my brain on board.

Here are things that I did to help:

I listened to “The Minimalists” podcast and read “The Minimalists” blog each week. The two men who make up “The Minimalists” write a blog, which I’ve enjoyed in the past, and started a podcast this year. I have enjoyed listening to their thoughts on all sorts of topics including debt, gift giving, family dynamics, nutrition, finances, and how they have learned to live a simpler and more meaningful life. I love to listen to this podcast as I clean! One thing they consistently reinforce is that our things need to add value to our life. If things aren’t adding value, then they are adding stress or taking away something else of value.

I’ve gone back to the question “Does this add value or serve a purpose” quite often throughout my year of decluttering. This is what the minimalists reinforce in their podcasts, and it makes good sense to me! This guideline has helped as I’ve gotten rid of items.

I joined Joshua Becker’s “Uncluttered” Group. Not only do I enjoy the weekly emails and homework assignments that come through each week, but I’ve been challenged to think differently because of that. Once you join the Uncluttered course, you get to be part of the facebook group, which I love! People post articles, share what’s been working for them, and it keeps me going!

I’ve read a few books about living more simply: Joshua Becker’s The More of Less  as well as his book Simplify. I also read the book “Essentialism” which talked about living more intentionally and mindfully with less, which I really enjoyed.

I learned to take more pictures of things and release the things itself. As an example, I’d been holding on to all the posters of the plays and musicals that I was in growing up. I enjoyed looking at them maybe twice in the past decade, so I obviously could release them. They didn’t really serve a purpose or add value, except that they were a memory. So, I took pictures of the posters and threw the posters away! I cleared up space, my stress in that corner of the room decreased, and I’m able to still look at those pictures if I want. Viola!

Posts I wrote about my year of living more simply and my decluttering project:

So where do I want to go for 2017? 

Well, I have a number of goals for myself. I think I would love to try to get rid of an item every day for a year again this year- we’ll see how that goes! I want to continue to challenge myself by regularly listening to podcasts about minimalism, as well as reading blog posts about it. I have books I want to read, including the Minimalists book “Everything That Remains”.

I want to continue to challenge myself with holding onto items that serve a purpose or add value to my life, and not hold onto items that I just feel guilty about getting rid of.

I also have a bunch of pictures and family history things that I need to scan, so that’ll hopefully be something I get to in 2017.

I’m in a much better spot than I was at the start of 2016, but I’m not where I want to be yet, so I’m going to continue to build on what I’ve learned this coming year.

 

January 2, 2017

Happy New Year! I’m so happy with my year in reading, and ended the year with 140 books for the year (up from 80 last year!). I previously shared my Top 10 Books of 2016, and today I want to share the books I read in December. At the bottom I include my recommendations for books you need to read from the month!

In December I read 13 books:

The Last Anniversary (Liane Moriarty): This was my final Moriarty book I had left to read, so I felt both excited and sad when I sat down to read. I wanted to like the book much more than I did. I couldn’t get into it and felt like it dragged along- I gave it 3 out of 5 stars.

Under the Christmas Tree (Robyn Carr): I’ve been reading through the Virgin River Series, and this was a little Christmas novella that she had in the series. It was fun but nothing special.

Talking As Fast As I Can (Lauren Graham): I listened to this book as an audiobook, and loved hearing Graham’s voice tell her stories. I wanted to hear so much more about Gilmore Girls and Parenthood, and was a little disappointed at the level of details she shared. That being said, it was a fun read- i gave it a 4 out of 5 stars.

Scrappy Little Nobody (Anna Kendrick): I felt very similar about this book as I did with Graham’s book. Fun, filled with interesting facts, but I wanted more.

Mother, Can You Not? (Kate Friedman-Siegel): This book is based on the instagram account @CrazyJewishMom . The author details “Crazy” texts and conversations that she has with her mom as she talks through life. It is clear there is a deep love between mother and daughter, and some of the texts had me laughing out loud. This was a good audiobook. 3 out of 5 stars

Moonlight Road and Promise Canyon (Robyn Carr): Two other Virgin River Series books.

This Is Where It Ends (Marieke Nijkamp): This book is about a school shooting and the complex relationships that play out. I felt pretty torn about this book in general, but I don’t feel like it was a waste of time to read.

Dawn (Elie Wiesel): Last month I read the book Night by Wiesel, which I had read before, but I had never read Dawn or Day. Dawn wasn’t what I was expecting, as it wasn’t a story about his personal life. That being said, it was an interesting story.

Small Great Things (Jodi Picoult): I really enjoyed Picoult’s new book, and gave it a 4 out of 5 stars. This book was excellent, both in the actual story line as well as the challenge personally to the reader that comes with the continued racism in the country. This story follows a labor and delivery nurse who is working when an infant dies. What unfolds highlights some of the saddest parts of our society. I couldn’t put this down.

Orbiting The Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace (Gordon MacKenzie): My dad handed this to me when I was with him over Christmas, and it was a quick read. MacKenzie worked at Hallmark, and wrote this book based on lessons he learned there. He has a metaphor of an orbit allowing for creativity and a different perspective. I want to write a whole blog post on the book, because i took lots of pictures of pages along the way. It gave me lots of courage to continue to make changes at work and to be creative.

Hopeless (Colleen Hoover): Sometimes I have a hard time even writing a few sentences about a book without giving away a plot line. Sky is a 17 year old high schooler who meets another student named Holden. Her life changes in dramatic ways because of him, and I loved the story. I couldn’t put it down and was sucked in.

Skipping Christmas (John Grisham): I was looking for a book about Christmas, and this one intrigued me simply because of the author. It was a quick read. Nothing particularly amazing, but an interesting idea regarding the Christmas season. It had me thinking.

So these are the books I read to close out my year. If you are going to read anything from this list, here’s what I’d encourage you to read: Talking As Fast As I Can (again- the audiobook is especially fun!), Orbiting the Giant Hairball (to spark some thinking for different types of decisions in the work place), and Hopeless if you are just looking for a fun story to read.

Now it’s your turn to share! What’s your favorite Christmas season or winter book?

December 27, 2016

So far in 2016 I’ve read 137 books, and while I’ve listed each one out month by month, I thought I would compile my top 10 favorites and “must reads” from the books I’ve read this year (plus a runner up!); these are in no particular order.

1. It Ends With Us (Colleen Hoover): I wrote a review of the book here .

It Ends With Us follows Lily Bloom as she processes her dad’s death (and therefore her history and parents marriage as a result) and thinks about what that means for her life and her future in relationships. On the night of her dad’s funeral, she meets Ryle, but doesn’t think much of it. What comes next was shocking and unexpected, and taps into her past history. I don’t want to share too much about what happens moving forward, but it made my heart ache. I think that It Ends With Us is an important story about the issues in life that, from the outside might appear black-and-white, but when you’re in them are deeply complex and confusing.

2. Daring Greatly (Brene Brown): This book is all about daring greatly in relationships, embracing vulnerability and authenticity, and experiencing the richness of life. Brene shares real life stories in the middle of her research throughout the story, motivating towards a healthier life. I encourage most of my clients to read Daring Greatly– it has great information for meaningful relationships.

3. The Never Never Series (Colleen Hooever): I feel a little bit like I’m cheating here because this is a 3 part series (but the books are all pretty short). This is an interesting story of two high schoolers who have been friends for years, but wake up as strangers. The three books tell the story that unfolds after they wake up. I couldn’t put these books down and sped through them really quickly!

4. A Mother’s Reckoning: Living In the Aftermath of Tragedy (Sue Klebold): The author is the mother of Columbine shooter Dylan Klebold. Klebold shares a bit about Dylan growing up, talks about the day of the shooting, and talks about how she processed what happened afterwards. This story was powerful. It was raw. It was heart wrenching. It was fascinating to hear her process of grieving and accepting that her son was who she knew he was growing up, along with someone who could do something so horrible. She shares about her son without denying what he did at the end of his life. I enjoyed it from start to finish.

5. The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah): This is a historical fiction book set in WWII, and tells the story of what one family does to survive. I absolutely loved this book, and found myself tearful many times throughout the story.

6. Mindset (Carol Dweck): The author is a psychologist who studies motivation and personality. Mindset talks about the idea of developing a growth mindset, and how that changes how we interact with the world. This is a hard book to summarize in a sentence or two, but I wrote a whole post about the book here. In short, this book challenged the way I thought about the work that I do and was so helpful to have read as I made some bold changes at work.

7. When Breath Becomes Air (Paul Kalanithi): From the get go you find out that the author ended up passing away after being diagnosed with cancer. This is his story wrestling with what it means to live a good life. I cried (and sobbed) my way through this book, and found the book deeply moving. Again, I wrote a full post on the book here.

8. The Selection Series (Kiera Cass): Again, I sort of feel like this is cheating because there are actually 5 books to this series. Almost each of these books I read in one evening each because they were just that good. I heard this series described as “Hunger Games meets the Bachelor”. The books are young adult, and have a bit of dystopia, romance, and fantasy thrown in for fun. Every person I’ve talked to who has read the series has loved it, and I’m so glad that I read it too! I wrote a whole post on the first three books of the series here.

9. The Martian (Andy Weir): I saw the movie in theaters, but had heard the book was really good, so I decided to give it a try. The book made me laugh out loud several times, and it was SO so good! For those of you who don’t know, this is a story of an astronaut who was left behind on Mars by his crew, and he has to try to figure out how to survive.

10. The Body Keeps The Score (Bessel Van der Kolk): This book was SUCH a good read, and was all about how the body is impacted by, experiences, and is changed by trauma. Van der Kolk walks through the important aspects of therapeutic treatment and support needed. This is such an important book in the understanding of trauma. I think it would be a bit heavy for an average read, but for those of you who are interested in trauma or are in the helping professions, this is a great read!

 

I have several runner up books as well, which include: Essentialism, The Good Goodbye, and Night!

Now it’s your turn to share! What was one of your favorite books from 2016? Is there a book you’re really looking forward to reading in 2017?

December 19, 2016

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Rudy Project Fotonyk Sunglasses  to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! 

Reviewing products in the winter feels so different than the summer, as my daily habits change so much. My bike rides move exclusively to the trainer (or occasionally a stationary bike at the gym), my runs are occasionally indoors, and mowing and gardening gets pushed aside for shoveling and scraping ice.

(The silver case in the bottom is what the fotonyk sunglasses came in, and they can be stored in it. It Velcros at the top.)

Let me tell you a bit about Rudy Project’s fotonyk sunglasses! These glasses feel incredibly durable yet flexible enough to move with me as I’m active, which is a huge plus! I hate when my work out clothes or accessories get in the way, and these glasses don’t!

One thing I think makes these glasses stand above the others I’ve tried is the little vent controls at the top of the glasses allow for good air flow so that your vision isn’t blurred! I hate when I’m working out in the heat and my glasses fog up, so I’m especially excited to wear these sunglasses while biking this summer (and also wearing my Rudy Project helmet!).

The sunglasses come with an adjustable nose piece (which is great for people like me who have narrow noses at the top!), as well as interchangeable colored lenses and bumpers for your glasses too! I love mixing things up a bit, so this allows for a cheap way to do that 🙂

Items set out for a run.

The most outdoor activity I’ve gotten the past few weeks is shoveling and scrapping ice off my car and the sidewalk, and I was interested to see how the sunglasses held up! In the winter, the sun’s glare off the snow can feel really intense, and these glasses made the shoveling experience a lot more comfortable! The glasses didn’t feel cold against my face despite the feels like temperature being below zero, and they didn’t fog at all! They didn’t slide around awkwardly as I moved, which was great!

Overall I’ve really enjoyed trying out Rudy Project’s fotonyk sunglasses. I’m especially looking forward to the warmer weather so that I can try them out in different activities.

Want to read more about the sunglasses (or other products by Rudy Project)? Check out their website here. 

Now it’s your turn to share! What activities do you wear sunglasses for in the winter? Have you gotten snow or ice this past week?

December 14, 2016

Disclaimer: I received a container of Earth’s Care pain relieving ointment to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! 

I have major problems with my muscles aching and with increased injuries (I can thank POTS for that!), so I have gathered up a good supply of items that help with managing and decreasing various types of pain. Earth’s Care’s care pain relieving ointment is now part of that that supply!

Earth’s Care is a company that believes in creating products with primarily natural ingredients, have no artificial colors or fragrances, no parabens, and isn’t tested on animals. I have really sensitive skin, especially in the winter, so this feels important to me.

This is the description the company gives for the pain relieving ointment: ” It features Camphor, Menthol and Wintergreen oil that work together as an effective analgesic. This soothing formula brings fast temporary relief from sore muscles, joint pain, backache, and arthritis.”

The first thing I noticed when I opened up my container of ointment is the smell! Some Pro’s have said that it is a little too strong for them, but it really doesn’t bother me at all. It feels minty and fresh. It leaves a tiny bit of residue behind, but it’s not really greasy or anything like that.

I was sort of expecting a tingly feeling like Icy hot or Biofreeze, but there wasn’t any of that. It just felt- normal, and maybe just a little warm.

I’ve used the ointment on my left foot/heel where I have tendinitis, as well as my neck and shoulders, and have really enjoyed the product. I also love how natural it is. It makes me feel better about putting it on me to be absorbed!

As a side note about the company. I actually first heard of them while testing out Bulu Box almost a year ago. I got the dry and cracked skin balm in that box, and really enjoyed it. I still have it in my drawer at work and just pulled it out a few weeks ago once it got cold again. So, that being said, I do actually use products from this company in my everyday life!

If you are interested in looking into other products by Earths Care, you can check out their website here.

Now it’s your turn to share! What’s one of your go to pain relieving products?

 

December 12, 2016

Well, 2016 felt like the most difficult year of running that I’ve had, as I got injured in March and it has lingered all year. This is the first year since 2011 that I haven’t run a half marathon (I ran my first in 2012 and have run at least two a year since that time), which really hurts my heart a bit! That being said, running has been a source of health and joy for several months of 2016, so I wanted to still recognize running for what it was.

1. Best Race Experience: My best race experience (I only ran two 5k’s this year) was the Homecoming 5k I ran back in October. It was the first time I’d run a 5k since August, and only my 2nd time since I got injured, so I enjoyed it for what it was- a beautiful run. I ran it much faster than I thought I would, and every step of it felt like a beautiful thing.

2. Best Run: My longest two runs of the year, a 7 and 8 miler, were by far my favorites (I love those 7 milers and eight hilly miles). 7 milers agree with my body the most out of any distance I’ve found. My 8 miler felt so very solid, and I ran more hills than I normally do. I felt so confident after that run.

running 8.3 hills

3. Best new piece of gear: One of the best new pieces of gear I got this year were the 2XU compression pants that I got at the start of the year. I wear it after most of my runs in the winter, and have really enjoyed having compression for recovery!

4. Best piece of running advice received: Honestly, it’s been the PT exercises that I’ve been doing for my achilles tendinitis!

5. Most Inspirational Runners. The 2016 Olympic runners! I found so much inspiration watching them in trials and throughout the actual Olympics. I’ve especially enjoyed hearing about how all of them have come back from injuries along the way. It’s helped keep things in perspective.

6. If you could sum up your running year in a couple of words, what would they be? Frustrating and mostly non-existent.

7. Favorite song(s) to run to: I listened to podcasts or audiobooks on most of the runs that I’ve done this year!

8. Favorite running quote from the year: “Keep your head up, keep your heart strong.” -Shalane Flanagan

9. Most exciting running moment of 2016? Thinking about coming back (at least a bit!) in 2017!

Honestly, I have no idea where 2017 will take me. I’m not sure if my Achilles tendinitis will be feeling ok enough that I’ll be able to run a half marathon. But I’m going to take the runs as they come and try to enjoy the process!

Now it’s your turn to share! Tell me one exciting thing about your 2016 year in running!

December 6, 2016

November flew by faster than almost any month this year, so I’m hoping that December slows down just a little so I can fully enjoy the Christmas season! November was full of reading, where I averaged a little over a book every other day. SEND HELP! I’m not sure how that’s possible with how much time I spend working, with friends, and exercising, but somehow I’ve fit it all in! In November I read 20 books; I think that’s the most I’ve ever read in a month before. Scroll down to the bottom of the book list to see which ones were my favorites, and which ones you should add to your own list!

book-list-november-2016

Sully: My Search For What Really Matters: This book is about Captain Sully, the pilot who landed the plane in the Hudson a few years ago. I really enjoyed this story, and found it hard to turn off the audiobook multiple times. I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars.

Temptation Ridge, Paradise Valley, Forbidden Falls, Angel’s Peak:  More books from Robyn Carr’s Virgin River Series.

If You Only Knew: It took me a bit to really get into the story, but I loved the character arc for the main characters, and especially enjoyed some of the lessons they learned. This book, like a few others I read this month, looked at the dynamics in both family and marriage relationships! I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars.

The Singles Game: I enjoyed reading a book around the competition of tennis, as that isn’t something I generally read about. Entertaining enough, but not the best by any means. I gave it a 3 out of 5 stars.

The Good Goodbye: This story is a bit of a suspense, and all about family dynamics that play out. Two cousins are in a fire and are wounded and in the hospital. The story jumps around between moments in the past and the current story, slowly unfolding more and more information that keeps you guessing on who started the fire. I gave it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: 3.5 stars. This was a very quick and easy audiobook full of fun little stories and examples of parents and people in careers making their mornings more healthy and productive. I enjoyed it.

Housebroken: Admissions of an Untidy Life: Meh- moments were funny. It was a good book to listen to in the car, but I wouldn’t have wanted to sit down and spend time reading it. 3 out of 5 stars.

Between The World and Me: Written by an African American male, this is a series of essays that he writes to his son about being a minority in the U.S. He talks a bit about the history of racism, and the lessons that racism has taught us today. An interesting and powerful look into a life that is very different than my own. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.

Between Sisters: This book is by Kristin Hannah, who also wrote the Nightingale (which I absolutely loved!) and was about the complex family relationships that play out, particularly under times of stress. I didn’t care about the characters or story the first 40% of the book, was intrigued by 48% and was hooked by 58%. By the end I was definitely hooked and felt pretty emotional. Worth a read. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

All The Bright Places: So I started this book about 15 months ago but set it aside at 15% because I had hit an incredibly busy season of life. I finally sat down to read it about two weeks ago and I absolutely loved it! This is worth a read. Just a warning- this is about suicide, so if that isn’t something you’d want to read about or would trigger you, then perhaps this book isn’t for you!

A Little Bit Wicked: This is Kristin Chenoweth’s autobiography. She played the “good witch” in the musical Wicked, and I really enjoyed reading about how she came to do theater and what the experience of performing in Wicked was like!

A Stolen Life: This book, by Jaycee Dugard, is her story about being stolen on the way to the bus stop as a child. She spent 18 years being held captive, and the book chronicles what happened in those years. There were moments that were deeply painful to read.

Tell Me Three Things: I rated this a 3.5 out of 5. I was expecting/hoping for more.

Night: This book, by Elie Wiesel, is the first of 3 books in a trilogy. This book chronicles his time in Nazi Concentration Camps during WWII. I read the book in high school right before hearing him speak, but decided over Thanksgiving to sit down and read it again. It’s a short book and definitely worth a read.

It Ends With Us:  This was one of my favorite books of 2016 so far! I simply can’t put into words how good this book was and how important the message that it communicates is. This is a story of the deeply difficult decisions we make. Decisions that, from the outside, might appear cut and dry, but in reality are deeply complex and difficult. I loved it. Deeply.

Vampire Academy #1: A friend has been encouraging me to read this series, so I finally started it on my way home from Thanksgiving. It was a fun book about the “vampire world”.

The Perfect Girl: I didn’t even care about this book enough to write a review of it on goodreads, but I did give it a 3 out of 5 stars.

So- here are my “Must Read” books from the month: It Ends With Us, Night, All The Bright Places, and Between The World and Me.

Now it’s your turn to share! What have you read this month? 

November 30, 2016

I’m not sure how I first heard about It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, but I remember immediately putting it on my holds list (I had to wait over a month for it!) at the library. It finally arrived right before Thanksgiving, so this was one of the books that I read over Thanksgiving break.

It Ends With Us follows Lily Bloom as she processes her dad’s death (and therefore her history and parents marriage as a result) and thinks about what that means for her life and her future in relationships. On the night of her dad’s funeral, she meets Ryle, but doesn’t think much of it. She runs into him a few more times before deciding to explore the relationship a bit more.

What comes next was shocking and unexpected, and taps into her past history. I don’t want to share too much about what happens moving forward, but it made my heart ache. I think that It Ends With Us is an important story about the issues in life that, from the outside might appear black-and-white, but when you’re in them are deeply complex and confusing.

it-ends-with-us

I felt drawn into the characters’ stories right from the start. I felt their feelings, I felt the pain in their hearts, and I simply couldn’t put the book down. The book explores important topics, and I think it’s valuable to read. I wish I could give it to clients. It’s haunting, it’s beautiful, it’s emotional.

Here are a few quotes that stood out to me from the story:

“All humans make mistakes. What determines a person’s character aren’t the mistakes we make. It’s how we take those mistakes and turn them into lessons rather than excuses.”

“There is no such thing as bad people. We’re all just people who sometimes do bad things.”

 

“Cycles exist because they are excruciating to break. It takes an astronomical amount of pain and courage to disrupt a familiar pattern. Sometimes it seems easier to just keep running in the same familiar circles, rather than facing the fear of jumping and possibly not landing on your feet.”

I wish I could share with you my favorite paragraph from the book (towards the very end of it!) but it would give it away. I’ll just say this- It Ends With Us pierced my heart and now, almost a week later as I type this, I can’t let those sentences go. I’ve read and re-read them. It’s powerful, and one of my favorites from 2016.

Now it’s your turn to read! What’s one book you’ve read in life that continues to stand out to you?