MY CURRENT INSPIRATIONAL, THOUGHT-PROVOKING AND FUN READING LIST

I have always liked to read. I remember secretly loving school trips to the library, haha!  But as school workload increased throughout the years and as college came along and then grad school I had no extra time to devote to reading anything that was not school related. But, now that I have been out of school for over 2 years my book collection is consistently growing. There are SO many great books I cannot wait to get my hands on!

Earlier this year I told myself that I would aim to read one book a month. That didn’t happen. As much as I tried to stick to one book at a time I just couldn’t do it. The untouched books just sitting on my bookshelf were such a distraction that I had to dive into those too! So now, I am juggling three great reads:



This book has been around for quite a bit of time and it has been on my short list of books to read for several months. One of the main reasons I really wanted to get my hands on this book is because it is referenced SO frequently by many great speakers and entrepreneurs’ and I really wanted to know first had what it was all about.

This book has a very solid core message around society, education and our modern corporate world. It is a definite must read that will allow you to view our modern society from a new perspective and may or may not influence future decisions you may need to make.


The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander


This book is very different from all of the other ones I have read in that it is partly written from a musical conductor’s point-of-view and experiences. The main takeaway from this book is certain practices that can be incorporated into our daily lives that will enhance the way we view events, people and society. I will admit that some of these practices will take time for them to feel like second nature to you BUT if we take small steps daily towards making them second nature I will drastically change your outlook. It is a must read!



I have a constant smile on my face when I read this book. Jen does a great, great job at turning what would be and are serious topics into these funny stories and experiences that just get the point across so well.  This book is most definitely in my list of top books to re-read – aside from being inspirational it does it in such a fun was that I totally lose track of time while I am reading this.

Now your turn – what is on your current reading list for the next couple of months? 

5 NATURAL PRODUCTS THAT HAVE DONE WONDERS FOR MY SKIN AND HAIR

For a couple of years now I have been trying to minimize the amount of unnecessary chemicals I put on my skin and on my hair. In my list of favorite books I talked about The Green Beauty Guide written by Julie Gabriel. Side note: every time I think of this book I think of sitting at the beach vacationing because I read this while on vacation in Costa Rica over 2 years ago! Now back to the topic at hand, this book really opened my eyes to the outrageous amount of chemicals we put on our bodies and not only is that bad enough but some of these chemicals have been proven to be carcinogens. The fact that these chemicals are even allowed to be used on every day household products is extremely worrisome to me but that is a big topic for another time. 

Since around the time I read The Green Beauty Guide I have been a lot more conscious when purchasing any type of beauty or skin care products. One of the ways I do this is reading the ingredients list and even doing a quick online search whenever I see a questionable ingredient listed. But my main rule of thumb when it comes to the products I use on my skin and hair and what I eat is that I cannot pronounce it I do not want it on my skin or in my body. Yes, there are times I give in and use products that may contain harmful chemicals or eat foods that I know are not so great but those are the exception rather than the rules.

Before I go into the products I have used and now swear by I want to tell you guys a little bit about my skin and hair. I have combination skin (oily t-zone) and I am prone to the occasional breakout especially during THAT time of the month. My hair is naturally curly (even though I typically blow dry it) and if you are familiar with curly hair I am in between a 2C and 3A hair type and I have A LOT of hair not in terms of length (I have my hair a little past shoulder length) but in terms of quantity. Let’s put it this way, whatever the average number of hair strands on a head are multiply that by 2 or 3! Not kidding.


jojoba oil


The first thing to note about jojoba oil is that it is not really oil but rather more like a wax. This oil is non-comedogenic, non-toxic, and non-allergenic and it is an anti-bacterial. Jojoba oil also has a high content of vitamin E and natural minerals. I have been using Jojoba oil as a nighttime moisturizer after I wash my face by applying 2-3 drops or just enough to cover your face with a very thin film of the jojoba oil. In the mornings I wake up with baby bottom smooth skin.


rosewater


Due to the high levels of anti-oxidants and vitamins found in rosewater it is a great product to use for anti-aging purposes. I use rosewater as a toner a few times a week by simply using a cotton ball to gently apply the liquid to my skin. I used to use a drugstore toner and for a while I used it almost every day and I did not find that it was helping my skin in any way. While I do not think toners are necessary I do like to use rosewater a few times a week due to the anti-aging qualities it has along with the added benefits of it having anti-oxidants and vitamins.


coconut oil


This oil has become such a household name in the past couple of years and for good reason! Aside from using this oil as a substitute for olive oil when I cook I also love, LOVE using this for my hair. Coconut oil is another natural product that is rich in minerals and vitamins and very inexpensive. Using coconut oil does take a certain level of planning on my part – meaning that when I want to apply coconut oil on my hair as a mask I need to plan to leave it in my hair for at least a couple of hours. So I use that time to do a few chores around the house – it’s a win-win! In order to prep the coconut oil I melt it but putting the jar or container in a bowl of warm water for about 20 minutes – once I see there is enough melted oil to cover my hair I take the container out of the bowl and begin applying the oil to my hair in sections. As I mentioned above, I have a lot of curly hair that tangles VERY easily (which is why I usually keep it blow dried – held me manage my hair much better). After washing my hair when I use the coconut oil (which is about once a week) my hair is SOOOO silky smooth and I can untangle it so easily it feels like a dream!


raw honey


The first thing to note here is that not all hone it created equal – there is your typical honey that you can find in a liquid form and then there is raw honey that has a much more of a solid and crystalized consistency . As also mentioned above I have acne prone skin and using a raw honey mask once every couple of weeks for about 15 minutes has really helped me clear out my acne. It is important to use raw honey here and not conventional honey because raw honey is an antiseptic and anti-microbial that targets the bacterium that causes acne in the first place.


aloe vera


I have to thank my mom for this one. For some reason I was very hesitant to try this on my skin but moms know best! I was looking for a product that would help me get rid of some acne scars I had caused myself during my teenage years and after trying several products to no avail my mom told me to try the Aloe Vera gel from the actual Aloe Vera plant. My scars have just started to slowly fade away (I’ve applying Aloe Vera inconsistently aver the past 5-6 months). However, I am sure that with consistent use this plant can heal any scars you may have on your skin whether it is on your face or other parts of your body.

Do you use natural products on your skin and hair? If yes, so share below your experiences with natural products!

Gift Guide For The Book Lovers

Buying gifts is easy but buying meaningful gifts can be pretty hard and with the holidays right around the corner you may be brainstorming gift ideas for your loved ones. I am a big believer in giving meaningful gifts – like a gift that keeps on giving (I know, cheesy!) but books are great for that and luckily there are so many incredibly great books out there for all sorts of needs, wants and tastes. Today, I’ll be sharing books that have read over the last few years that have really made an impact on me and that I highly recommend to my friends and family.


The Body Book by Cameron Diaz


This book is great for the person who is looking to live a healthier lifestyle and not necessarily in the form of nutrition (even though that is a huge factor) but it inspires you to love your body and treat it well. This book is filled with important and useful information that you can use to become a healthier person – mind, body and soul.


The Green Beauty Guide by Julie Gabriel


Part of living a healthy lifestyle is not just how many times you work out or what you eat but also about fully understanding the ingredients in what you eat AND in the products we use on our bodies (makeup, lotions, shampoo, nail polish, etc.). This book is for the person who will find an interest in learning about the harmful chemicals that are added to products we use in our everyday lives. This is a book I always keep handy and use a reference guide pretty often when contemplating a product purchase.


The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau


This is an interesting and fun read (I read it while on vacation to Costa Rica a year ago) so it is a bit nostalgic for me! This book really takes you into a world of journeys and quests and inspires you to take risks and be curious about what else is out there for you. This is a great book for someone who is searching to find more meaning to their life, this books provides a good foundational guide that anyone can use to begin taking steps towards the life they envision for themselves.


The Best Advice I Ever Got by Katie Kouric


This book is a collection of essays written by celebrities, politicians, authors, etc. and it is a fun and encouraging read. I like that this book keeps it relatively light and it is a great book to read whenever you are need of some uplifting positivity. This may be a great book for someone who is beginning to read books on empowerment and positivity.


The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch


This book was given to me by an employer after a team training while I was still in college. Maybe since it was the first book of its kind I had ever read – it made such a big impact on me. While it was definitely a sad book it makes you realize how important it is to live a life that provides a positive impact for yourself and those around you. This book is full of inspiration, a lot of great advice and would make a great gift for almost anyone on your list.


Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert


And last but not least, I could not do a book round up without including Big Magic. This is my most recent read (I actually have about 15 pages left) and I cannot tell you how glad I am to have picked this book up. Big Magic encourages you to embrace those magical moments in your life – some of them are very obvious but others can be easily glossed over, it also encourages you to embrace whatever you are passionate about and to make sure you incorporate whatever makes you happy into your everyday life. This is a must read for anyone (or everyone) on your list.

Do you have book recommendations? Any good books you have read recently that were a gift? Share below!