25 Books That Will Make You a Better Human in 2018

If you know me, you know I’m a HUGE nerd and PROUD introvert.

For me, reading, solitude, and thought are the ULTIMATE acts of self care.  In fact, I purposefully set an alarm a full 90 minutes BEFORE anyone in my house will even THINK about waking up so I can commence my morning ritual of

  1.  Coffee – cause, duh… it’s life.
  2.  Candles – sets the Zen tone I’m wanting (recent new upgrade)
  3.  Book – cause reading quiets my fast paced brain that wants to immediately dive to work.
  4.  Bullet Journal – to organize my thoughts, ideas, and responsibilities

No t.v., no iphone, no email, and NO NOISE is allowed until 6:30am!  (And on the mornings I coach at 5am, I STILL get my reading time in!)

Reading is a habit that provides me so much energy, joy, creativity, peace, and problem solving knowledge that I forgo sleep in order to ensure I don’t miss my reading time.  I literally CANNOT  imagine who I would be (or WOULDN’T BE) without my book addiction.

And it’s in that spirit of self transformation and elevation that I offer you the 2017 books that had the biggest impact on my psyche.  (I actually sprinkled in 4 books from a few years past b/c they’re just too good to miss in my opinion.)  These books created “aha” moments as well as “ugh” realizations.    

I hope this list inspires you to #nerdout with me in 2018 and become a better, badder, more evolved version of yourself.  Grab a Kindle, go audio book style, or, if you’re old school like me, open up that book cover and dive in!  I’ll be sharing tons more like this in my newsletter, sweatunfiltered, so if you dig this kind of stuff think about click to join.

P.S.  These books are in no particular order but my absolute super faves of the year have an (*) next to their names.   

Continue reading “25 Books That Will Make You a Better Human in 2018”

The #7DeadlySins Journal and that fru fru mindset stuff

I’ve been blogging consistently now for two years, but I’ve journaled on and off my whole life.

Did you ever own one of those journals w/ the lock and key?

Yeah… I stayed stocked and when at the book store, I would salivate at the thought of owning more.

So, it’s really not all that surprising that last summer when I was introduced to bullet journaling as a way of organization that it would stick.

Here’s what most folks don’t know… along w/ the “to-do” list and “chore tracker”… my method of bullet journaling is so loosely structured that when the moment arises and I want… NEED… to capture my thoughts into words, I jump inside whatever page is ready to receive it.

And, as a naturally high strung persona recovering perfectionist one might say… I find an instant release after I’ve let my pen have it’s say.  In fact, writing turns my RESTLESSNESS into instant CLARITY and FOCUS.    

That simple pen and paper (or flashing scroll when blogging) takes my brain that moves a million miles a minute and forces it to SLOW DOWN to a snails pace so I sit WITH my discomfort, feelings, confusion, expectations, and mistakes.

My past and present CAN’T GET DISMISSED as a flashing thought…

… that fight I had with my husband, that riff that tore me apart from a friend, my unexpected miscarriage, my late night rendezvous with all the candy in the pantry… all get dealt with or at least begin the sometimes arduous journey towards understanding.

In other words… I can attribute a huge part of my personal growth to taking the time to put MY STORY into words.

That’s where the magic of journaling happens and that’s truly my end goal with this whole email journaling series,  #7DeadlySins of Fitness (and anything else really), jumps off on June 5th.

One email per week.

One journal entry.

Each topic dealing with the 7 Deadly Sins – wrath, gluttony, sloth, pride, envy, lust, and greed.

It’s not just, hey! read this super indulging email and write how you feel about it… you’d never journal or get the benefits of journaling if it was structured that way!

I want you walking out of the next 7 weeks having learned a solid PROCESS on how to at least start to get to the bottom of madness that is holding you down.

So much of our “problems and issues” with eating, exercise, comfort foods, judgement on eating and our relationship with our bodies… doesn’t have ANYTHING to do with calories, macros, burpees, or cellulite.

You can’t effectively work through all those tangibles until you’re willing to work with what’s happening INSIDE your head first! So…

Here’s how this whole journaling thing is going to go down… and even if you’re not doing this #7DeadlySins thing I highly recommend that the next time you attempt to journal you’re doing so with these 4 parts key elements in mind…

  •  What’s your ANECDOTE?

Every email will start w/ one of my stories in wrath, pride, gluttony, sloth, lust, envy, or greed to prompt YOUR OWN story.  These “sins” are UNIVERSAL… not a one of us have lived this life without having become victim to them all at some point.


I certainly plan to be, but the point of the email is not my story but yours!  SOMETHING about what you read is meant to trigger one of your past or present experiences on the same topic.

However, this time… you’re not allowed to just THINK about this experience, we’re going to slow your brain down to that critical snails pace so you sit with the memories and the circumstances and WRITE FREELY.

That’s the other thing… forget periods, good grammar, correct spelling, or political correctness.  Give yourself permission to get totally UNCENSORED!  Super important so that the next steps have an impact!

  •  How are you ACCOUNTABLE?

Read over your story and ask yourself, where am I playing the role of victim?  Yes… super hard and can piss you off but such a key point when personal growth is an end goal.

Stop being the angel who got trampled on.  Stop being a martyr.

We may not be responsible for how things started, but we sure as hell all are accountable to how we REACTED to it.  We can control NO ONE but ourselves so this part is about putting the focus on us rather than wishing and hoping someone else would do x, y, and z.

What is YOUR x, y, z towards resolution?

Lose judgement and exchange it for RESPONSIBILITY.  Own your part.

  •  Are you willing to/should you ADAPT?

Whether it’s a deeper sense of gratitude or learning how to set new boundaries with people, every experience carries a valuable lesson.

The third step in this email journaling series is to … RE-WRITE your story having taken into account where your responsibility lies.

How would things be different if you had… not screamed back, assumed someone’s words were meant to injure, or stayed completely silent?  Write a new ending to the story so that you can truly understand what RESOLUTION would look like for you.  Then…

  • What’s the next immediate ACTION?

Big or small, forward progress is on YOU.  Doing, not thinking, creates change!  

Little things can get taken care of fast but if you’re dealing w/ something complicated you’ve got simply find that small thing you are responsible for today, right now, to closer to being at your best again.

Action cures anxiety.  The best thing you can do is NOT try to do all the things at once.  Start small, but DO something!

You guys, I’m super excited about June 5th… again, not because it’s about my story, but because I have felt the benefits of journaling (and blogging) for so long and hope to pass it along!

I’d love to have you along for the ride and hope to provide for you lots of light bulb moments that will propel you out of some of those sad or dark hang ups in friendships, food, exercise, and body image.

How Bullet Journaling turned Busy to ProductiveAF

May of last year I was slowly losing my mind.

I’m a mom, wife, coach, business owner, blogger, and (less than stellar) home maker.  Those are a lot of hats to wear and for a long time I was able to keep my life on track simply from memory.

As business and responsibilities have grown, I’ve attempted to get my world together using all sorts of fancy apps and calendars.   Nothing I downloaded or bought ever felt like it could truly handle the COMPLEXITY of my life so they were quickly abandoned.

As I searched for organizational tools last year, I came across bullet journaling but honestly, it was never something I seriously considered doing because it looked extremely intimidating and unhelpful.

Go ahead… go to www.bulletjournal.com and watch the 5 minute how-to video.

It’s brilliantly done, but they lost me on the whole “analog” thing.

I was all… WTF do I need to speak to myself in code?  That seems like more stuff I gotta keep in my head and I’m having trouble as it is!  No thanks.

However, May of 2016 was my “come to Jesus moment.”

That month, I forgot to do 3 very important things, but honestly, I don’t remember the first two.

I just know that the 3rd, forgetting my son’s birthday party, was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Like who DOES THAT, RIGHT?  That’s the stuff movies are made of, right?

Uhm… nope… apparently it happens in real damn life cause when I got a message on Facebook from a mom asking for my address to drop off their child to my son’s spend the night party, I about had a nervous breakdown.

The good news is that my son was turning 11, which means X-Box, a giant bowl of chips, candy galore, and pizza and they’re happy as can be.  They don’t need coordinated games and balloons and THANK THE LORD, I don’t have to entertain parents anymore for a birthday party.

Just drop your babies off for some free babysitting, please!  It’s a friggin’ win/win for all.

My son’s birthday party went well, but there is no way one forgets their child’s birthday without realizing that my organizational framework was BROKEN.

That Monday swim team started and wouldn’t you know it a fellow momma, neighbor, and bullet journaler sat next to me.  It took me about 3 seconds to strike a conversation and get the momma low down on why she had chosen this bizarre looking method to organize her life.

Low and behold… she too had been totally intimidated by the whole bullet journal thing before starting.

She sent me to read the article that helped her get going… “WTF is A Bullet Journal and Why Should I Start One”  and since it spoke my WTF style language, I skeptically gave it a go.

  •  I went to Barnes and Nobles and bought me a super cheap Bargain Buy journal for $5.98.  I saw all the expensive ones the experts were bragging about online but I wasn’t convinced this thing was actually going to stick.  I wasn’t willing to invest $20-$30 yet so I went (and still do) go off brand.


  • I re-watched the official bulletjournal.com video and set things up just like they suggested except I ditched the analog stuff.  I didn’t have use or patience for special, secret code language about what I needed to do, what was important for me to do, what had gotten done, and what didn’t get done.  I’ll stick to crossing stuff out, please and thank you.

For about the first month it was just an awesome daily to do list where I could just DUMP my daily demands and even jot down fun little random events like “Emery lost her first tooth!”

No more post it notes all over the place.

No more lists that I’d forget at home or in the car.

No more trying to keep 10 different tasks in my head at the same time.

I felt IMMEDIATE RELIEF and darn it… I was getting so much more done without being MORE TIRED.

THAT was the biggest win of all!

Because we could all DO more and be busier but the cost to our sanity is huge.

And let’s be real…

busy is not the same damn thing as PRODUCTIVE.

I could feel my days becoming more efficient, my tasks getting done faster, decisions came easier, and I was LESS tired.

By month two I began to morph, tweak, and adjust my bullet journal so it was customized for a mom, trainer, business owner, blogger, and book worm.

If you were to open my bullet journal, it would probably look like a hot mess to you.

It certainly doesn’t look like the fancy ones you see on Instagram.

My bullet journal does not have fun doodles or colors.

It does however have business product ideas, conference notes, grocery lists, favorite quotes, my social media editorial calendar, my kids’ activities, appointments, and a million other random things.

I am doing more than before, better than before.

Quite frankly, I don’t know how I ever lived without a bullet jouranal before.

That’s why I put together an informal Nerd Out/Meet Up on Saturday at 11a.m. at Mellow Mushroom on Cecil Ashburn… next door to Sweat.  If you’re interested in coming just click the link above and let me know.

There’s no cost.  You are welcome to order food, drinks, or just chill and listen or start your journal.

I’ve sung the praises of bullet journaling enough that I’ve gotten some folks addicted and many others curious but they feel a bit intimidated… just like I did.

So, my goal on Saturday is to bring this bullet journal thing out of the fancy, intimidating Instagram accounts and make it accessible to you.

I’m happy to help you set yours up and answer your questions as to why you may or may not want certain things in your journal.  I’ll be sharing my own favorite strategies and giving you guys other resources so that you can adjust the journal to your very specific needs.

If you’re feeling anywhere close to overload and melt down the way I was last year, this low tech tool might be exactly what your busy life has been needing!