FRIDAY, SEPT 11TH | #010

Friday 9-11-20 Photos

1. POST OFFICE RUNS WITH VAL

Valentine loves coming with me to drop off mail at the post office! I think it’s a nice way to break up the day and go for a quick ride. Sometimes when we get back, she’s not ready to go home and won’t budge from her seat! I’ll have to go around, open up the passenger door, and carry her back in lol.

2. SWEET DEETAILS

I’m very excited that Sweet Deetails will be carrying Atiliay’s cards for a cause! Dien’s order helped to provide 40 meals and I am really glad we could do some good together :) I can’t wait for the grand opening! If you are in the Cerritos/Artesia and surrounding area and need a cake, be sure to check out Sweet Deetails!

3. ZOOM FUN

I had back to back Zoom meetings earlier this week and had so much fun at both! The first one was an online workshop I taught, hosted by Masterpeace Box. It has been a long time since I’ve done a workshop and it was really fun to be able to do it online and create together!

The other meeting was a surprise virtual bridal shower for my friend, Erin! Although we can’t gather in person, it was so much fun to be able to celebrate her this way! We made signs, sent her a package with a bride tiara and sash, we coordinated our outfits, played games, and gave her our best marriage advice! I think the best part was the “How Well Does The Groom Know The Bride?” game–we had to secretly get the groom in on it and hearing their answers was hilarious! Congrats, Erin!

With everything happening, sometimes I forget how good it feels to connect face to face! Get some of your fave people and schedule a virtual meeting :)

4. WILDFIRES

This past week has felt so eerie and strange with the sun glowing red and the sky a grey orange instead of clear blue. It makes me so sad that CA is on fire again and I can’t help but think of what humans have done to cause this, whether it’s a party trick that went wrong or global warming. I feel especially sad for the wildlife that has been affected–they are just innocent bystanders. Here are a few ways we can help: Herd and Flock Animal Sanctuary, One Tree Planted, and California Fire Foundation.

5. ROSELLE AND MICHAEL

“Michael Hingson was on the 78th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. He says the first indication that something was wrong was the sound of a muffled explosion. Then the building began to tilt, and he felt the floor drop like an elevator. But Michael Hingson didn’t panic because his guide dog, Roselle, was calm.” Click the link to listen to this podcast episode from This Is Love.


This weekly Friday series is a simple way of documenting and sharing. To learn more about how it came to be, read the the very first post. To see all Friday posts, click here. I hope you like it! :)


FRIDAY, SEPT 4TH | #009

Friday 9-4-20 Photos

1. LONG BEACH, VALENTINE, NEW PRODUCT!

Last Sunday I met up with my fellow animal lover, card maker, and good friend of The Paper Wilderness! We did an outdoor, masked, socially distanced meeting because we are collaborating on a new product and had to go over samples! Valentine came along as well and we walked to The Bluffs and had our meeting there. The weather was perfect and it was so great seeing Jenna! Val also had a great time! Can you guess what we are working on?? We can’t wait for the big reveal which should be happening soon!

2. THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO LIVE YOUR LIFE

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

Earlier this week I got the chance to meet up with Susan and her son, Brandon! I brought Valentine and we enjoyed a wonderful morning walk together. We stopped for awhile at a corner where Brandon could watch the trucks passing by. Each time he saw one he would get excited and smile and point at it. I loved his reaction and it reminded me that we should live our lives just like Brandon, with wonder and awe of all the things around us, as though everything is a miracle!

3. PROSPERITY CANDLE X GIFTS FOR GOOD

I absolutely love my new candle made by Prosperity Candle, available at Gifts For Good! Not only is the black and gold so sleek and beautiful, but what I love most is that each candle provides 12 minutes of employment for a refugee woman rebuilding her life in the U.S! You can purchase the candle at the link above and learn more about how they help here. Thank you Jessica for the thoughtful gift! PS: Fun fact: I had the chance to work with Gifts For Good in the past–it was so much fun to see a box from them at my doorstep!

4. WHY IS CUT FRUIT SO GOOD?

One of my favorite things ever is already cut fruit–you don’t need to do anything, it’s just ready for you to eat! 😃 I got a special surprise delivery of this beautiful platter of cut fruit–it totally made my day! Thank you so much Faith and Yossi! #fruittimeisthebesttime

5. A SPECIAL DELIVERY

I am so lucky to have so many thoughtful people in my life! I got a second special surprise delivery, this time from Jenna and my Godbunny Loulou, with help from Alex! 🐰 It was such a nice way to end the day and vegan food and flowers are my fave! PS: How cute is the card from Jenna’s paper goods line?! See the entire collection here and you can find her on Instagram too!


This weekly Friday series is a simple way of documenting and sharing. To learn more about how it came to be, read the the very first post. To see all Friday posts, click here. I hope you like it! :)


JOURNEY

Pro tip on how to feel young: forget how old you are because you can’t do math and/or have a bad memory, think that you are a year older than you actually are for the first 7 months of the year, then one day be reminded by a friend that you’re completely wrong and get 7 months of your life back! 😂

As I start my 36th year (not my 37th as I had previously thought for pretty much all of 2020 lol), I decided to pick a word like I do in January for the new year, something representative of my personal life. It came to my mind very quickly: journey.

I’ve been learning and understanding more about what it really means to focus on the journey, not the destination. I can feel that lots of changes are ahead, but I want to try my best to remember to embrace and appreciate each step instead of looking past everything for a final stop that really doesn’t exist!

I know when I look back one day, it will be very clear that everything was happening as it should’ve been all along–even if it’s a little tough to see that now.

Art has played such an important role during every stage of my journey. To celebrate another year of being able to create, I made a donation to Inner City Arts to support their work in providing arts education to the youth of Los Angeles.

Located in the heart of Skid Row, ICA believes arts and creativity are transformational and strives to engage young people in the creative process in order to shape a society of creative, confident, and collaborative individuals.

I volunteered there for a summer several years ago and had an amazing time helping students with their stop motion videos, art projects and collages, and so much more! If this cause speaks to you, I invite you to learn more about what they do and help art become a part of someone else’s journey too ❤️

PS: The best gift of all truly are the amazing people I am lucky to have in my life! Thank you for the love and kindness you show me, today and everyday!

PPS: Brian from the Backstreet Boys married his wife Leighanne 20 years ago today! I love that their anniversary is on 9/2! 🥰

FRIDAY, AUGUST 28TH | #008

Friday 8-28-2020 Photos

I totally thought today was Thursday until about 2PM in the afternoon! I feel super discombobulated now but here’s this week round up. Take good care and have a good weekend!

1. ARE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE?

It’s never been more clear to me than now how important it is for us to vote. If we want to see the much needed change we need in our society, I don’t think we can do it without letting our opinions and voices be heard in this way. If you need to register or know someone who does, head over to votesaveamerica.com. Voting and politics can be really confusing but I think this site does a great job of making things easy to read, understand, and take action. Not only can you register to vote but you can check to see if you’re already a voter, learn about the electoral college as well as each candidate and their stance on various topics.

2. MY NEW FAVE MASK

Thank you Violet for this adorable mask made with photos of Valentine’s head! :D I thought this was such a fun gift! You can get your own made and at CuddleClones.com and the best part is that they donate to The Arrow Fund, a non-profit that provides vet treatment and shelter to animals who have been victims of torture, abuse, or neglect.

3. WE’RE NOT REALLY STRANGERS

My friend Archna told me about this game a few months ago and I immediately loved the concept and the questions that were being asked! Lucky for me, she gifted it to me for my birthday and it arrived the other day! The purpose of this game is to help players dig deeper and learn more about themselves and the other players. You can learn more on their website or Instagram. Here are a few more examples of the questions the game comes with: Who in your life can you be the most vulnerable with? What insecurity of yours holds you back the most? What lesson took you the longest to unlearn?

4. THESE WORDS ON FINDING OUR WAY

This passage from The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo really speaks to me:

“Of course, there will always be times that we need to find our very precise way. But more often than not, our image of a destination is only a starting point that we cling to needlessly. When we can free up our sense of needing to arrive in a certain place, we lessen the weight of being lost. And once beneath arriving and beneath our fear of failing to arrive, the real journey begins.”

The older I get the more I understand what it means when people say it’s about the journey, not the destination. I think a lot of stress I have created has come from being unsure of where I am going and feeling like I need to. I want to try my best going forward to trust that I will end up where I need to be.

5. TWO THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN BRINGING ME JOY

My morning and evening walks with Valentine, feeling the sun and breeze, seeing the beautiful sky and clouds. It’s such a great time to be quiet, to reflect, or to just put everything out of my mind and enjoy the moment.

My latest show obsession, Master In The House. I started watching it because my other latest obsession, Lee Seung Gi, is on it but I really love the other cast members and show itself! It’s a Korean variety show where the 4 hosts spend 2 days and 1 night with a master–someone who is an expert in their field–to learn from them. They range from accomplished entertainers and athletes to monks and dog trainers. There have been so many incredibly interesting people and while there’s lots of silliness, fun, games, singing, and dancing, the show has also moved me to tears (sobbing actually) and made me think. One of the masters talked about two questions that has really stuck with me–what do you want to be? Who do you live for? There are clips on YouTube and I watch the full episodes using the Rakuten Viki app. There’s a free 7 day trial but there are over 100 episodes of this show, each being an hour long at least, so it has been impossible to binge and I have signed up for another month of it lol.


This weekly Friday series is a simple way of documenting and sharing. To learn more about how it came to be, read the the very first post. To see all Friday posts, click here. I hope you like it! :)


FRIDAY, AUGUST 21ST | #007

Friday 8-21-2020 Photos

Every time I sit down to write these posts, I can’t believe how fast another week has gone by! This week I have done a lot of driving which has given me time to catch up on podcasts! Today I wanted to share 5 podcast/episodes I listened to this past week that I have learned from, have been entertained by, or a little of both. Maybe you can check them out this weekend! Click on the link to listen or find the episode on your podcast app.

1. LESSONS FROM THE SUMMER | TED RADIO HOUR

This episode sums up where we’ve been this summer–from the pandemic to racial injustice to climate change–and offer wisdom and guidance for where we are heading. I found Clint Smith’s letter to his son, “My hopes, dreams, fears for my future black son” to be especially beautiful, heart breaking, and inspiring (it is the final segment in this episode). Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, political philosopher Danielle Allen, anthropologist Heidi Larson, and writer and scholar Clint Smith.

2. THE PRESIDENT, THE POSTAL SERVICE, AND THE ELECTION | THE DAILY

If you have been confused by what’s been going on with the USPS, mail in ballots, etc., this episode offers a clear and concise explanation of what’s happening (the episode is about 20 ish minutes long). Thank you Andrea @dreyray for sharing this in her IG stories which is how I found out about it!

3. HOW I BUILT THIS

How I Built This has been releasing new episodes! I love hearing the real behind the scene stories about some of our favorite brands and businesses and the people who created them. No matter what type of business, every single one has had difficulties and struggles and it is incredibly inspiring to hear how they overcame them. Some recent ones I really enjoyed: Tatcha: Vicky Tsai, La Colombe Coffee Roasters: Todd Carmichael and J.P. Iberti, and Vita Coco: Michael Kirban. Of all the episodes I have listened to, one that really sticks out for me is Guy Raz’ interview with the late Kate Spade, Kate Spade: Kate & Andy Spade.

4. HOW CAN WE SHABLAM ON VOTER SUPPRESSION? WITH STACEY ABRAMS | GETTING CURIOUS WITH JONATHAN VAN NESS

I love that Jonathan talks about all different topics on his podcast including politics–I typically can find this topic too dry and boring but he makes it easy to understand, interesting, and fun to listen to! On this episode he talks with Stacey Abrams about voter suppression. I knew very little about this topic and I was able to learn a lot from this episode.

5. CASEFILE

If you are into true crime podcasts and have not heard of this one, I highly recommend it! I took a break from listening to it when I started living by myself because I didn’t want to freak myself out! But recently I have had a one hour-ish commute in the middle of the day so I figure it wouldn’t creep me out too much. Plus, driving can make me sleepy and this podcast keeps me wide awake! Each episode features one case and the host and his team do an incredible job researching. There is no commenting by the host, he just tells the story of each crime. The first time I heard about The Golden State Killer was in a 5 part series on this podcast. The crazy thing was not long after I finished those episodes, he was caught in real life! If you’ve been following the case or watched the HBO docu-series, the Casefile episodes on it may interest you.


This weekly Friday series is a simple way of documenting and sharing. To learn more about how it came to be, read the the very first post. To see all Friday posts, click here. I hope you like it! :)


FRIDAY, AUGUST 14TH | #006

Friday 8-14-2020 Photos

1. THE GREATEST SHOWMAN ON DISNEY+

My friend Violet informed me this morning that The Greatest Showman is now on Disney+! I was 3 years late in watching this but finally checked it out as we started to stay at home back in March. Verdict? I am 100% in love with Zac Efron as well as Hugh Jackman and Zendaya (ugh, that moment when he first sees her)! I have listened to this soundtrack SO many times and watched a bunch of interviews/behind the scenes. I think what makes this movie so special is how much the project truly meant to everyone involved–you can feel their enthusiasm and passion. If you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend it (if you are concerned about the treatment of animals, the film used CGI and they don’t play a big part).

It’s so hard to narrow down my favorite songs but I think my top 3 are The Otherside, Rewrite the Stars (obviously), and From Now On (I love how Hugh sings, “Like an anthem in my heart!”–so much conviction lol).

And whether you’ve seen the movie or not, you must check out their Crosswalk The Musical On Broadway with James Corden. “Huge”, the WTF is happening look on Zac’s face, it’s hilarious.

2. OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH WATER

This TED Radio Hour podcast episode explores ideas about our relationship with water and the water crisis we all face. One thing that stood out to me as I listened is how prevalent the lack of clean water is here in the US. Not too long ago, I watched episode 2 of Down To Earth where I learned that there are fountains everywhere in France because they believe clean water should be free and accessible to everyone. It’s such a stark contrast and has really made me think.

3. CRIMINAL | EPISODE 145: HOW TO SELL A HAUNTED HOUSE

I don’t like scary things (because I get super scared lol) but this is more along the lines of Casper and I really enjoyed this episode of Criminal! I don’t want to give too much away, but I especially enjoyed the first half and how Helen Ackley treated their house guests ;)

4. IT’S A WRAP FOR WORLD OF DANCE!

And I just had to share two of my favorite routines from the last few episodes! Warning–the clips don’t spoil the finale but they are from the past couple of weeks so if you aren’t caught up and hate spoilers, you might not want to watch! But seriously, how do they move like that!?

GEOMETRIC VARIABLE

JAKE & CHAU

5. TWO THINGS THAT MADE ME SERIOUSLY LOL

I don’t know if I am just losing my mind or delirious, but these two things made me laugh SO hard I couldn’t breathe! I hope they make you LOL too!

#6 on this list from @Heathernab

This TikTok reaction video from Quentin Ager

Happy Friday and have a great weekend! :)


This weekly Friday series is a simple way of documenting and sharing. To learn more about how it came to be, read the the very first post. To see all Friday posts, click here. I hope you like it! :)


18 BOOKS TO READ THIS SUMMER

Are you an avid reader? What’s your favorite book? What have you read lately?

I asked this question on Instagram the other day and received some awesome recommendations–this was the first time I had heard of many of them! I decided to create a list and post it here so that I don’t forget to check them out and to share them with you as well. A few of my favorites are included too and a short summary follows each book title. I love that it’s such a diverse list–I think there’s something on here for everyone!


Here are my recommendations:

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

A MOST UNTRADITIONAL LOVE STORY, this is the celebrated tale of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who inadvertently travels through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate affair endures across a sea of time and captures them in an impossibly romantic trap that tests the strength of fate and basks in the bonds of love.

This Is No Ordinary Joy: How the Courage of Survivors Transformed My Life by Sarah Symons

When mom and TV music composer Sarah Symons discovered that human trafficking and slavery were destroying the lives of millions of young girls worldwide, she was compelled to take action. In this deeply personal and brutally honest memoir, she shares how she took on this enormous cause, personally and professionally, and how it changed her and her family’s lives forever.

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by Don Miguel Ruiz

In The Four Agreements, bestselling author don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.

The Hunger Games Trilogy: The Hunger Games / Catching Fire / Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.


Here are your recommendations:

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, recommended by @archnahpatel, seconded by @bycarriebchan

With a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the work of Charles Dickens, this magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India. The time is 1975. The place is an unnamed city by the sea. The government has just declared a State of Emergency, in whose upheavals four strangers–a spirited widow, a young student uprooted from his idyllic hill station, and two tailors who have fled the caste violence of their native village–will be thrust together, forced to share one cramped apartment and an uncertain future. As the characters move from distrust to friendship and from friendship to love, A Fine Balance creates an enduring panorama of the human spirit in an inhuman state.

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain, recommended by @carolannsplace_17

When Carly Sears, a young woman widowed by the Vietnam war, receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970, and she is told that nothing can be done to help her child. But her brother-in-law, a physicist with a mysterious past, tells her that perhaps there is a way to save her baby. What he suggests is something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Carly has. The Dream Daughter is a rich, genre-spanning, breathtaking novel about one mother’s quest to save her child, unite her family, and believe in the unbelievable. Diane Chamberlain pushes the boundaries of faith and science to deliver a novel that you will never forget.

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover, recommended by @madelinemadethis

An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

The Gold Letter by Lena Manta, recommended by @colorbk

A cherished heirloom reveals the destinies of three generations of women in a powerful saga of lost love. After years spent in Germany struggling to come to terms with a dispirited and abusive past, Fenia Karapanos has returned to her roots in Greece. Her estranged grandfather has bequeathed her his villa in Athens, a gesture she assumes is reparation for having disowned her late mother. After taking in a grateful Syrian refugee to help her restore the property—and her life—Fenia discovers a collection of love letters hidden under the floorboards, reaching back nearly a century. In each one, Fenia unfolds another piece of her broken family history. But it’s Fenia’s solicitous cousin, Melpo, who offers more to the story than Fenia can imagine. Melpo shares everything she knows—about Fenia’s grandmother and mother, their elusive and heartbreaking searches for happiness, and two families linked across decades by betrayal, secrets, abandonment, and forbidden love. It upends everything Fenia believed was true about her family. But it could also draw her closer to finding self-fulfillment—and a place to call home.

I Know This Much Is True: A Novel by Wally Lamb, recommended by @penelopedespain

Dominick Birdsey, a forty-year-old housepainter living in Three Rivers, Connecticut, finds his subdued life greatly disturbed when his identical twin brother Thomas, a paranoid schizophrenic, commits a shocking act of self-mutilation. Dominick is forced to care for his brother as well as confront dark secrets and pain he has buried deep within himself—a journey of the soul that takes him beyond his blue-collar New England town to Sicily’s Mount Etna, the birthplace of his grandfather and namesake. Coming to terms with his life and lineage, Dominick struggles to find forgiveness and finally rebuild himself beyond the haunted shadow of his troubled twin. I Know This Much Is True is a masterfully told story of alienation and connection, power and abuse, devastation and renewal—an unforgettable masterpiece.   

I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir by Malaka Gharib, recommended by @madebytofu

I Was Their American Dream is at once a coming-of-age story and a reminder of the thousands of immigrants who come to America in search for a better life for themselves and their children. The daughter of parents with unfulfilled dreams themselves, Malaka navigated her childhood chasing her parents’ ideals, learning to code-switch between her family’s Filipino and Egyptian customs, adapting to white culture to fit in, crushing on skater boys, and trying to understand the tension between holding onto cultural values and trying to be an all-American kid. Malaka Gharib’s triumphant graphic memoir brings to life her teenage antics and illuminates earnest questions about identity and culture, while providing thoughtful insight into the lives of modern immigrants and the generation of millennial children they raised. Malaka’s story is a heartfelt tribute to the American immigrants who have invested their future in the promise of the American dream.

The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore, recommended by @madelinemadethis

New York, 1888. Gas lamps still flicker in the city streets, but the miracle of electric light is in its infancy. The person who controls the means to turn night into day will make history – and a vast fortune. A young untested lawyer named Paul Cravath, fresh out of Columbia Law School, takes a case that seems impossible to win. Paul’s client, George Westinghouse, has been sued by Thomas Edison over a billion-dollar question: Who invented the lightbulb and holds the right to power the country?

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, recommended by @archnahpatel

A thrilling tale of narrow escapes, romance in the midst of a revolution, and battlefield heroism, Victor Hugo’s sprawling 1862 novel focuses on the Parisian underworld. Ex-convict Jean Valjean, who served 19 years in prison for stealing bread, attempts to redeem his life by helping the downtrodden. But his every move is dogged by the implacable policeman, Inspector Javert, whose relentless pursuit of a reformed criminal reflects a morally empty state that values retribution rather than justice. One of the first modern novels, Les Misérables took the unprecedented step of featuring a working-class hero and examining society’s role in fostering crime and criminal behavior. Its portrait of altruism in the face of misery, poverty, and injustice is memorable for its vivid characterizations and its gripping plot, which unfolds in the manner of a detective story.

The Library of the Unwritten by AJ Hackwith, recommended by @penelopedespain

Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing– a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto. But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil’s Bible. The text of the Devil’s Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell….and Earth.

Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel by Arthur Golden, recommended by @archnahpatel

Speaking to us with the wisdom of age and in a voice at once haunting and startlingly immediate, Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. It begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old girl with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. We witness her transformation as she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha. In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction—at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful—and completely unforgettable.

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner, recommended by @lettersbystarlight

Do we change or does the world change us? Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise. Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life. But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily-ever-after? In her most ambitious novel yet, Jennifer Weiner tells a story of two sisters who, with their different dreams and different paths, offer answers to the question: How should a woman be in the world? 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, recommended by @lbloveorganics

Two star-crossed magicians engage in a deadly game of cunning in The Night Circus. Behind the scenes of Le Cirque des Rêves, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

The Sundown Motel by Simone St. James, recommended by @madebytofu

Something hasn’t been right at the roadside Sun Down Motel for a very long time, and Carly Kirk is about to find out why in this chilling novel. Upstate New York, 1982. Viv Delaney wants to move to New York City, and to help pay for it she takes a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York. But something isnʼt right at the motel, something haunting and scary. Upstate New York, 2017. Carly Kirk has never been able to let go of the story of her aunt Viv, who mysteriously disappeared from the Sun Down before she was born. She decides to move to Fell and visit the motel, where she quickly learns that nothing has changed since 1982. And she soon finds herself ensnared in the same mysteries that claimed her aunt.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, recommended by @madebytofu

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, Southern Black community and running away at age 16, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her Black daughter in the same Southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect? Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.


Please note: If you buy something through some of my links, I may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. I recommend only products I use and genuinely like/think you would like and this helps to support the work I do. Thank you!


CHECK YOUR INBOX | AUGUST NEWSLETTER #1 | FREE BOOK LOG

Book Lovers PDFs by Atiliay.com

The first newsletter of the month always includes your freebie PDFs and the downloads for August were recently sent out!

The August PDFs were created with the book lovers and avid readers in mind. They include a free book log template (in 2 different layouts) as well as an OG vintage library card template.

The book log chart helps you keep track of what you’ve read and it also comes in an Excel format if that works better for you! The book log boxes allows you to be more creativity and add whatever text you’d like or even draw the book covers! There is also an area for you to rate each one.

The vintage library card template is just a cute extra I wanted to include :) I like printing these out on cardstock and using it as a bookmark (you can even jot down notes on it) or as tags when you are gifting books. There’s a bunch of fun and creative ways that you can use these guys while adding a bit of nostalgia.

Book Lovers PDFs by Atiliay.com

If you are a newsletter subscriber, check your inboxes for this email. If you’d like to subscribe to get instant access to these PDFs as well as the entire PDF library, sign up for Atiliay’s newsletter below:

Each month I send out 2-3 newsletters: one with the month’s free download, another with give back, shop, and product updates, and the last one with the time capsule letter PDFs and shares (links, articles, etc.) for the month.

Happy August and happy reading! <3


WEEKLY WORDS OF INTENTION {08.10.2020}

I’ve been reading The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo, a collection of daily reflections for all 365 days of the year.

The book was recommended by Oprah back in 2011 and that’s about the time that I got it. I had meant to start reading it on January 1st because it sounded like an amazing way to kick off the new year. Then every January came and every January went lol. But as I have been trying to re-read the books I own, I saw this on the shelf and decided it was time to crack it open! It doesn’t matter at all what day I start reading it and I need to let that go–it’s more important that I just start!

Every morning, while I eat breakfast, I will pick up where I left off and see what wisdom is in store for me for the day. It’s crazy how relevant some of the entries are to what I am currently experiencing or feeling! The universe has a way of providing us what we need, when we need it and as I type this I wonder if maybe it was all just meant to be for me to read this book now during this season of my life.

Each daily reflection starts with a short quote, poem, or saying. I’ve decided that while I am reading this book, I’ll use Mondays to letter the start of the entry for that day. I was inspired by today’s words:

Random is the instant a horse at full speed has all four hooves off the ground.

This sentence refers to “the mystery of unbridled passion, to the lift that results from total immersion and surrender. In our age, however, random means without design, method or purpose.”

The lift from total immersion and surrender is such a beautiful concept, coupled by the image of a horse, running wild and free with all four hooves floating in the air. I’m going to try to remember this version of what random means from now on.

PS: I am really liking the look of the pencil in Procreate!

Weekly Words of Intention by Olivia Lin | Atiliay.com

BTS | PHOTOBOMBS + FLATLAYS

Behind The Scenes - Val Photobombs Flatlay
Behind The Scenes - Val Photobombs Flatlay

This morning I took some photos of this month’s free downloads and got some help from Valentine. I use the term “help” very loosely–more like hogging the camera and stepping on the PDFs 😂 It also shows how I typically take product photos! Here’s a little bit more about that if you’re curious :)

The location changes depending on the light, what the weather is like, and time of day. The floor was a good spot for today, especially with the size and weight of my flatlay. You’ll see in the pics above that I use white foam core boards for my background and to reflect the light.

Arranging the photos always takes time but it’s my favorite part! Sometimes I go for a very organized look, other times movement, and I also try to remember to take close up shots and different angles. Today I used my iPhone to snap the photos and the ColorStory app and Photoshop to do some light editing. My goal is to always to get the picture as close to what I want naturally so I don’t have to spend too much time editing! The pics I took will be used my newsletter, website, and social media. The above were before photos and here’s a look at the after:

I hope you enjoyed that little behind the scenes look :) And if you’d like to grab this month’s Book Lovers PDF freebies shown above and get access to Atiliay’s PDF Library, sign up below to join my newsletter and get instant access!