For the last few years, I’ve been publishing a monthly “reads” post with everything I read that month. It was a fun habit to create! Knowing that I would publish a post every single month inspired me to read more. And, of course, I love swapping book recommendations with y’all.
But this year, I’ve decided that I want to focus on reading a little bit less, and incorporating more podcasts, Netflix shows, and high-quality movies into my life. I’ll still share some of my favorite books I’ve been reading, but I won’t be recapping EVERY single book I read.
I don’t really like watching tv all that much (except for a few shows that I use as background noise on rainy days, like Gilmore Girls and Friends), but I know there are SO many awesome Netflix shows that are worth my time! So I’m going to try to watch more Netflix this year. (A weird goal, I know..)
This year, I’ll be sharing a few things that are “on my nightstand” (and on my podcast subscription list, and on my Netflix queue…) with you every 4-8 weeks.
Psst: I’m still going to keep track of every book I read on my 2019 Reads page. To see all the books I read in 2018, 2017, or 2016, click on those links. Or click here to see all of the blog posts in my READS archives.
Every year, in the month of February, I pretty much watch nothing except OSCAR NOMINATIONS!
Did you know that two of the eight Oscar nominations are available on Netflix? LOVE THAT! I always try to see all of the Oscar nominations during the month of February, but it can get expensive to go the the movie theater that often.
Right now, you can watch Roma and Black Panther on Netflix. (And since I’ve already watched those, if you’re looking for me you can probably find me + my craft beer at Alamo Drafthouse…)
I’ve seen 6 of the Oscar nominations (here’s the list of all 8 of them), and I’m going to try to see the rest of them in the next 10 days before the 91st Academy Awards on Feb 24!
Also on Netflix, I’ve been watching through Call The Midwife, the BBC drama about midwifery in East End London in the 1950s. I know, I know…. I’m constantly like 5 years behind on my tv shows. But I’ve finished the first season and love having it on in the background as I’m working on a blog post.
I typically have a podcast or audiobook on when I’m driving around Austin (it makes the traffic suck just a little bit less…), and here are a few of the podcasts I’ve been loving lately:
Eater Upsell: if you use Eater.com as a recommendation source when you’re looking for great restaurants at home or on a trip, you’ll probably love The Eater Upsell podcast! It’s hosted by Eater editor-in-chief Amanda Kludt and her co-host Daniel Geneen, and they cover all of the hot-button foodie topics around the world. I love how it keeps me up to date on foodie news.
The Feed: Most foodies know the name Rick Bayless, the chef/restauranteur who lives in Chicago and has multiple award-winning Mexican restaurants and cookbooks. He and food journalist Steve Dolinsky host the James Beard Award-winning podcast where they cover food trends, travel, and cooking how-tos. I love this podcast because it’s thorough and well-researched, yet fun and easy to listen to.
Hurry Slowly: This one is for all of you who are constantly searching for more mindfulness, intention, and creativity in your day. Jocelyn K. Glei hosts this podcast “about how you can be more productive, creative, and resilient through the simple act of slowing down.”
A few of my favorite episodes cover topics like “using technology with intention,” “visualizing your day,” and “the science of sleep.” SOO much good, meaty stuff in here, my friends.
I can also recommend her book, Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, and Get Real Work Done. I learned SO much about reducing the amount of guilt and anxiety I use to have about email.
When They Call You A Terrorist
This is one of the most difficult books I’ve read lately. Two of my sisters recommended it to me, so I dove into it last weekend. It’s short, but I read it slowly because it’s so poignant.
It’s written by one of the co-founders of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and the stories she writes on these pages gave me a glimpse into the day-to-day hardships that so many black Americans have to deal with for no reason but for their skin color.
Hardships that I will never, ever have to endure simply because of skin color.
I urge you, friend: get a copy of this book today. Borrow it from a friend, request it at the library, or go buy your own copy so you can read it and share it. Every single person in America needs to read this one.
9 Perfect Strangers
I’ve read every single one of Liane Moriarty’s books, and this is my second-to-least favorite.
Yup. I was a little disappointed. Big Little Lies is my ALL-TIME favorite of hers, and The Husband’s Secret is my least favorite.
This one just seemed to drag on and on! I listened to it as an audiobook (really fun with the Australian accent, btw!), and I reached a point where I thought, I’m probably about 75% of the way through this book by now… And I was just at 35%!
Now, it’s stilll a pretty fun read. Like her other books, it’s mostly lighthearted with a ribbon of heaviness weaving through. She tends to incorporate big, heavy subjects, like domestic violence, suicide, or murder, into her books, while still keeping the overall tone light. It’s quite unique.
Where The Crawdads Sing
One of my FAVORITE books I’ve read in months! Ahh! Friends! (Psst: did this one as an audio book too, and the narrator was fantastic.)
Kya Clark, the so-called “Marsh Girl,” was abandoned as a child and grew up in a small town on the North Carolina Coast, and the locals assume she’s wild and a little bit crazy. So when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals suspect Kya is guilty.
I didn’t want this book to end! It’s a little bit thriller, a little bit romance, and completely captivating.
Castle of Water
Full disclosure: I almost quit on this book after the first few chapters because I thought it was a little cheesy, but I’m so glad I kept going because it got sooo good! Friends, I LOVED this book!!
It’s about two plane crash survivors who make their way to a small, deserted island and learn to survive… Barry is a man who is leaving behind his corporate job to pursue art, and Sophie is a French woman who is on her honeymoon. They are two very different people, but their task is to survive.
If you’re heading somewhere on a vacation soon, this would be a great book to bring along!
Swear On This Life
LOVED. THIS. BOOK.
I’m a pretty quick reader, but I purposely read this one slowly and savored each chapter because I just didn’t want it to end. I dragged the ending out as long as possible, haha!
Here’s the plot: a bestselling novel from an anonymous author called “J. Colby” grabs Emeline’s attention, because… it’s about her. It’s the story of her, and her childhood best friend, Jase, who fell in love in a poor town in Ohio.
But she hasn’t seen Jase in a decade, and she’s equally flattered that he wrote about her and enraged that he used their story to write a bestseller.
I added another one of Renee Carlino’s books to my queue for next month.. I’m hoping it’s as good as this one!
High Performance Habits
Hi, I’m Kelsey and I’m a self-help junkie. 😉
I’ve read so many self-development books, because I love how they inspire me to find little ways to improve my mind. This one is by Brendan Burchard, one of the top life coaches in the world who has shared the stage with Oprah, Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss, and so many others.
Here’s what I liked about the book: SOOO many rock-solid tips about developing the habits you need to live the life of your dreams. There are way more than 6 ideas (because each habit is built on many layers), and I filled my journal with pages of thoughts and ideas.
Here’s what I didn’t like: the way he wrapped it all up into “6 habits.” I mean, I know the point is to create a catchy title so the book sells a lot of copies, but it’s a little cheesy. I think that stuff like this gives self-development books a bad rep, when really they have so much valuable information.
Here’s one of my favorite exercises that I got from the book: release and reset during transitions. We all have so many transitions each day (from sleeping to waking, from commuting to working, from ending one task and starting another), and at the end of each one Brendon encourages his readers to “release” by exhaling, releasing tension in the neck and shoulders, and letting go of the thing you were doing, and “reset” by setting an intention for the next project. This process takes about 60 seconds, and I love how much clarity and purpose I have moving forward to my next task!
I’ll try to publish one of these every 4-8 weeks so I can update you on any great reads, shows, or podcasts! Until then, you can also be my friend on Goodreads, or you can check out my 2019 READS page where I’ll keep track of the books I read each month.