Lilac Girls | Book Review + Currently Reading

Sunday, September 15, 2019

HELLO! I'm back with another book review, this time for Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.

  • Why I read this: A trip to my local library after dropping off some books. I was looking for something new and this was literally the first book I picked up after I went up the stairs to the 2nd floor where the adult section is. (I believe it was the "Top Picks" section).
  • Summary: The story of three separate women during World War II who all have a tie with Ravensbruck, an all-women's concentration camp in Poland. Each woman's story is split up by chapter and it goes back and forth between the three women.
  • Relating to the story: One of the big reasons I HAD to read this book as soon as I saw it was because it was about Ravensbruck.  Another book I read recently for my book club had a character that was at Ravenbruck, so it struck my interest right away. I loved how strong + amazing {some} of the women were in this story.  (A reminder of the bravery I would like to achieve one day).
  • Likes: I love stories that go back + forth between characters (ha, I said that in my last book review too).  And I'm becoming so fascinated with the subject of WWII.  I also really loved reading a book with strong female characters (which I believe is a first for me!)
  • Dislikes: Obviously, the subject is hard. It's WWII and also about a concentration camp. At times, it was hard to read because of the torture and lifestyle of the inmates as well as the physicians at the camp.  Even though I loved this from beginning to end, I had to take a break a few times because it was just too much for me.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5.  This is one of the best books I have ever read, and is definitely on my Top Books list.  The author did a great job of mixing fiction with real events and I loved the tale soooo much.
Thanks for reading this book review!!  Have you read this one?  Let me know in the comments!

Next up for me is Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (which has been on my To Be Read list for a long time) and I'm also currently reading The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides for my book club.

Happy reading!


Week in the Life

Week in the Life | MONDAY.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Ah, Mondays. Why are Mondays so dang hard?! I feel like the more of an adult I become (ha!) the more I dislike Mondays. I'm not sure where this thinking came from, but I’ve been working on trying to switch up that mentality to a more positive outlook: a fresh new week with new possibilities but the same goals + dreams. Progress.  Here’s a look at my Monday.

Dang allergies. Wide awake at 3AM with coughing + watery eyes. Ugh. I've never had allergies before, but I think I've developed them in the last couple years...and they're kicking my butt.

"Sad puppy." Our girl Snow. She knows we're leaving her today: hubby is taking my Dad to an early-morning procedure, so I drive myself to the train. She gets sad when everyone leaves her. She always likes to be included in things.

Stuff and things. Lots of little clutter piles everywhere as we get ready for moving.

I love that I would NEVER have taken a photo like this a few years ago, but this is one of the gifts of WITL. I also love that this photo shows pieces of our lives: keys, socks, sunglasses, pads, coffee cup, etc. I could tell a story about each of these pieces if I wanted. They each represent something. LOVE THAT.

Yep, spilled these pretzels all over the counter after the bag ripped...such is life. Messes.

Cat is fed (she gets fed between 4-5AM usually) and gets ready for sleep round 2. I love this photo of her on her cat tree, hiding in the shadows.

Monday train ride. Working on my journaling sheets for WITL. This notebook (from Target) is home to my 2019 OLW journey (tried something different and am journaling + doodling all the prompts this year...really enjoying that right now!).

One of my goals for this week is to use WITL as a motivator to finally brave taking the stairs at work. I'm 5 floors up in a high rise building in downtown Chicago. 5 floors. Today I'm dying and have to take frequent breaks. Dang my legs hurt! One day though, it won't be as bad, if I just keep going.

Lately I've been struggling with time management and organization. This has never been my strong suit, but for the past two months, my work has been soooo overwhelming. I sometimes don't know where to start. Today I'm feeling so tired + fuzzy + out of focus (thank you allergies + allergy meds...). After a few hours, I finally give in and brew myself some hazelnut coffee with caffeine (at home, we drink decaf).


Yah for catching an earlier train on a Monday! I take the 5:34 (an express) back home. Hubby texts me to make sure he didn't miss me (my train is always late when he picks me up...always!) 

Dinner is fish + veggies + cous cous. Yah for home-cooked meals!  And a dog head. I know we shouldn't encourage her to be a mooch, but sooo many things are new for her and we love that she has a positive experience with being allowed people food. 

I asked our gang (i.e. me, hubby, my dad, Snow, and Twix) if we can take a group photo since tomorrow (Tuesday) we will be moving our separate ways (after two years). All of the WITL photos are unedited, so this one came out very yellow. (I'll probably switch this one to black + white when it goes in my album.

I love this photo. It represents transitions to the fullest extent. As of tomorrow we are parting ways. Me + my hubby are moving to a new apartment, and my Dad is moving back to his whole neighborhood. It was certainly not easy living the last two years, but it's bittersweet, and I know I'm going to miss having my Dad this close.

LOVE this photo. I'll probably cherish it forever. 

Thanks for checking out my Monday Week in the Life!


Week in the Life

Week in the Life 2019!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Today ends Week in the Life 2019. Even though my memorykeeping is at an all-time-low right now, this is by far one of my FAV memorykeeping projects and I just couldn't miss it.

Ali shared the above image on the Week in the Life Facebook group, right before the start of WITL. She invited us to share the why behind this project: why we enjoy it, why we participate, why we choose to tell our stories. What is it about this week that makes us participate?

When thinking about my reason why, the first thing that came to mind was transitions. This was our week to move to a new home, all of us, and I knew that this week was going to be about our transition into a new season of life. 

Ah, transitions.

Over the next week or so, I'll be sharing the words + photos I captured during this week. Some of my FAV photos ever come from this week. It's really special to me and I'm so excited to share with you.

Did you participate in Week in the Life this year?  How was your experience?



the five people you meet in heaven | book review

Monday, February 25, 2019

(This is a post that's been in draft form for a while).

“We move through places every day that would never have been if not for those who came before us.”

I recently finished The Five People You Meet in Heaven. After peeling my eyes off of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (and feeling a significant hole in my life that only finishing a good book can create), I decided it was time to move on to something else.

  • Why I read this: I found this book in a box while I was unpacking. It's not very long and it's moved from place to place with me for a while, so I decided to give it a shot.
  • Summary: Eddie, a veteran and employee at an amusement park, dies from a tragic accident on his 83rd birthday. He awakens not in heaven, but in a place where he is re-connected with five people from his former life, one at a time.
SPOILER ALERT: The 5 people Eddie meets along the way are: 1) the blue man from the carnival he worked at as a kid, 2) his army captain from when he was deployed, 3) the woman who (with her husband) were the founders of the amusement park Eddie worked at, 4) his wife, and 5) the little girl he always though he saw in a fire during the war.

  • Relating to the story: The idea of heaven and the afterlife fascinates me, maybe because I am always on a search to define my own beliefs. This story made me think about 5 people I might meet in heaven, (which I share below). I also loved the idea of being pain and worry-free after I leave this earth, which is something expressed throughout the book by Eddie's character.
  • Likes: I really liked the author's writing style and how he flipped between the past and present without much confusion. I also loved how he began each chapter telling the story of one of Eddie's birthdays.
  • Dislikes: (I didn't document any dislikes, so I guess I didn't have any!)
  • Rating: 5 out of 5. I loved this book soooo much.
The Five People I Meet in Heaven

After reading this, I thought alot about who I'd like to meet in heaven. I immediately thought of Alex, my grandparents. Immediate family and friends. But the book portrays meeting "unexpected" people, so I tried to think of people I'd like to meet throughout my life that I maybe wouldn't be expecting.

  • #1: My friend Rebecca from my early 20s, who was the coolest person I had ever met, and who introduced me to punk rock music, being adventurous, and living free.
  • #2: Colonel Wargo, my JROTC Commander from high school, who was tough but loving.
  • #3: Mimi, the mom of one of my high school boyfriends, who was like a Mom to me, and loved with her whole heart.
  • #4: Ms. DeChatle, my second grade teacher. I remember her being fun and nice, and loving her students and teaching.
  • #5 - I couldn't come up with one person for #5, so I chose a few: the singer from my FAV band, Bayside. Ali Edwards, Mike, a cop that used to say "Good Morning" to me every day when I arrived at the train station, or some of our past furries and friends who are gone now. Maybe #5 could be a big group of people I knew + loved, which would be super amazing + fun!
So there you have it! Definitely read this book if you can.


PS: You can view a shorter version of this book review on my Good Reads profile. Also, see what other people thought of this book here.


Wish You Were Here | book review

Saturday, February 23, 2019

One of the books I recently finished is Wish You Were Here by Stewart O’Nan (sadly, no references to the Pink Floyd song).

I’ll start out by saying first: it took me a freaking long time to finish this 2 months. I picked it at the beginning of December. Yeah, it was bad. Not the book, just finishing it!

  • Why I read this: I wanted to read a book I already had and found Emily Alone, which is apparently a follow-up to this one, so I decided to pick this one up to read first. And I wanted something "light" to read.
  • Summary: This book is about a family that returns to their summer house for the last time for a week-long vacation, right after their beloved husband/father/grandfather passes away. The story is broken down one day at a time through each character’s eyes.
  • Relating to the story: I’ve never had the experience of going away somewhere for the summer, but the location in the story reminded me of the lake community where my in-laws live. Combine that with the craziness + drama that each of the family members had going on and it's my kinda tale!
  • Likes: I really liked the switch in character views! If there’s not too many to keep track of, this is one of my FAV types of reading. Also the struggle the family had with divvy-ing up the personal belongings of the father that passed away was something I could definitely relate to.
  • Dislikes: As I said, this took FOREVER to read. I found the writing to be really overly detailed. Also, there really were no cliffhangers or climaxes to the book, which kinda made it go on and on.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5. I definitely will read the next book, Emily Alone. But more because I already have it.
Thanks for reading this book review! Have you read this one? Let me know in the comments.


PS: You can view a shorter version of this book review on my Good Reads profile. Also, see what other people thought of this book here.