I read a lot of great books in 2015 in many different genres. I had made it a goal to continue to read more with my 30 By 30 list, such as reading Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. (Both of which I finally finished this year.) Of the books that I read this year, there were a few that stood out as completely helping to shift my perspective and changing my daily attitude. I’m continuously looking to improve myself. I’ll forever be a work in progress, and these books made a huge impact on my way of thinking and thus my quality of life this past year.
Self-Compassion by Kristen Neff
As Maya Angelou once said, “I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’” This book will cause a massive shift in how you think about yourself, your actions, your failures and shortcomings.
If you’re anything like I was and find yourself walking away from too many conversations feeling a pang of shame over something you said only to replay it over in your head for days, or you keep yourself up at night worrying about something you did or a decision you made, this book will help you find compassion for yourself when you don’t meet your own expectations (or someone else’s for that matter).
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
I highly recommend reading all books written by shame and vulnerability researcher Brené Brown. Filled with entertaining stories nearly everyone can relate to, each book builds upon the concepts presented in the last. The Gifts of Imperfection, one of her first publications, is a great place to begin learning about how to bring courage and vulnerability into your relationships to find deeper connection with those you love, work with, or even just cannot stand.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Jenny Lawson (AKA The Bloggess) turns every funny anecdote into I-just-snorted-wine-through-my-nose-and-now-have-a-severe-sinus-infection-level of hilarity. Beneath that humor, however, lies too-true truths about mental illness such as anxiety and depression that typically make one suffering from them feel isolated. Lawson breaks down the walls and shines light on the fact that none of us are alone.
True Love by Thich Nhat Hanh
The title is deceiving. This book isn’t about “twoo wuv” or “mawwage”, but instead living and speaking and acting from love (as opposed to fear or hate or selfishness). The concepts extend into all relationships, especially love for ourselves. In addition to giving four keys to living with love, Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh insists that we cannot love without being fully present. He gives insight into how to begin a mindfulness practice and bring mindfulness into your relationships.
Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert
I’ve learned the lesson of “never say never” enough times to know that I shouldn’t say I’ll never get married again. Even still, I have quite the laundry list of events that must happen for me to even consider crossing any alter again. Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage is Elizabeth Gilbert’s follow-up memoir to the well-known Eat Pray Love, where she wrestles the concept of marriage as she travels across the world in exile with her Brazilian fiancé in wait for his visa. Delving into the history of marriage in both western and worldly cultures, Gilbert provides more information and insight than I had ever received before on the concept. If you are married, single, divorced, or otherwise curious about the concept of marriage among any gender or culture, this book will be undoubtedly enlightening at the least.
Oh, holidays. Are you upon us again already? Yes, time sure does fly when you’re having fun with the people you love. If you’re struggling to think up a unique and thoughtful, yet totally usable gift for them this holiday season, here are some ideas to get you going.
Personalized Luggage Tags: Add a touch of personalization (and personality!) to your stockings this year. Whether looking for a gift for a frequent traveler or just looking for a fun find, these tags can be used for luggage as well as weekender and everyday bags.
Olympus Air A01: The GoPro has earned the reputation of the go-to adventure photography technology, but the Olympus Air brings a different set of cards to the table. This beautifully designed invention turns your cell phone into a mirrorless camera, making it the perfect gift for the on-the-go budding photographer.
Voltaic Solar Laptop Charger Bag: Heading into the wilderness for a day-hike and want to keep your tech charged? This bag will let you do just that.
Bose QuietComfort 25: The days of being bothered by the noise surrounding you on planes are long gone. The Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones are one of the top-rated noise-canceling options on the market. Opt for the noise-canceling earbuds for the light-packing traveler.
Scratch Map: This scratch-off map poster lets you customize the globe and display your travels for all to see. Perfect for the world traveler, it can be framed or mounted on cork board to add push pins of your favorite spots.
Didn’t find quite the right travel gift? Here’s some more inspiration.
Wine, Beer, & Whiskey
“Bottled Poetry” Playing Cards: Perfect for any wine-lover on your list, these playing cards make a great stocking-stuffer or teacher’s gift. Great for entertainment at holiday gatherings this season, too!
Vinturi Aerator: Text
Riedel Wine Glasses: Know someone who has a taste for a specific kind of wine? Riedel has perfected the wine glass for many common varietals. Touted to make your favorite wine taste even better, these glasses are a great gift for any oenophile.
Globe Decanter: This beautiful decanter is a great gift for the global-minded spirit lover.
USA Beer Cap Map: This Etsy find is perfect for the craft beer connoisseur.
Online Yoga Class Subscription: Take yoga with you on the road, or into your own living room with an online subscription. With so many options available, there’s certain to be one that is right for nearly anyone on your gift list.
Yoga Paws: As a frequent traveler, Yoga Paws come in handy as an on-the-go yoga mat alternative. Bonus benefit: they come in handy for hot yoga classes, too. Along with a regular mat and towel, they prevent any slipping and possible risk of injury.
Karma Made Me Do It Water Bottle: I might have gasped and nearly screamed “OMG I NEED THIS” as soon as I saw this quote. And, a water bottle that can bring that level of joy is great for your health (even if it isn’t alwayswater you’re carrying around in there). BPA Free.
Harry Potter Coloring Book: Coloring is one of the latest crazes in the Mindfulness movement. Bookstores are stocked with many different adult coloring book options, and this Harry Potter Coloring Book is perfect for the HP nerd in your life.
Calm.com App Pro Subscription via Apple Store/Google Play: Calm.com is another tool you can use on-the-go, from the comfort of your own home, and even from your desk. Give those you love a mental break with suggesting the Pro Subscription and a gift card.
And many more where those came from!
Audible Subscription: For the fervorous reader in your life, an Audible subscription will let them take their library with them wherever they go.
The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation: Thich Nhat Hanh has a gift for explaining mindfulness in a relatable way. This book (any many of his others) is a great resource for those looking to learn more about mindfulness and meditation.
Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine: Know someone looking to learn more about wine? Wine Folly is one of the best resources for learning all about wine, for beginners and experts alike.
Spades by J. Raymond: J. Raymond has a way of reminding you of the intensity of your inner strength, and just how valuable you truly are. This poetry collection is a perfect gift for the strong young woman in your life.
Rising Strong: Brené Brown is known for her research on vulnerability with a number of best sellers under her belt. Her newest release, Rising Strong, is another empowering read that will inspire individuals and families to connect with the people in their lives on a deeper level.
If you have caught the travel bug, chances are you don’t travel as much as you would like to (unless you are a perpetual nomad). In between trips, continue your journeys with these books. Pair with wines from the area for an especially transcending experience. Continue reading
Caution: this post will most likely induce a severe case of wanderlust. Continue at your own risk. Continue reading