Sites I Love~ Goodreads

As an avid book reader, I came across the Goodreads website several years ago and have fallen in love with it. When I decided that I wanted to share some of my favorite websites with you each month, I knew that Goodreads needed to be the first one that I shared.

Full disclosure: This is not a sponsored post and I am not being compensated in any way for this post. All thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own.

Goodreads: Book reviews, recommendations, and discussion

So what is Goodreads you ask? Goodreads is a social media site for book lovers. You are able to create book shelves of the books you have read, are currently reading and that you want to read in the future. You can also create your own custom shelves, for example I have a shelf titled “re-readable”. As this is a social media site, you are able invite friends to join you on the site, join or create books groups, offer recommendations and reviews, enter giveaways and more.

One of my favorite aspects of the site is the recommendations. Not only can you offer book recommendations to your friends, or ask for recommendations if you are looking for a specific type of book, but Goodreads will also provide you with recommendations based on the items on your book shelves. I have been introduced to several new authors based on the recommendations from Goodreads.

In addition to the recommendations, my other favorite feature is the giveaways. There are hundreds (thousands?) of giveaways happening at any given time. Usually the giveaways will be for new releases or advance reader copies. Sometimes an older book in a series will be given away to announce the newest release, or an upcoming movie release will prompt a giveaway. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of thousands of members on the site, so while the odds of winning may be slim, it is still possible. I have been lucky enough to win twice now. First with Start Something that Matters by Blake Mycoskie (see my review here) and again just last week with Elizabeth Gilbert’s new release Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond FearĀ  {affiliate links}.

rp_IMG_1074-300x225.jpg IMG_1082

I usually visit the website at least once a week to update my book shelves, check my recommendations and enter giveaways. For a book worm like me, it’s truly fun and I can get lost on the site for hours if I let myself!

Have you ever visited Goodreads?

Shifting into Place

Since making the decision to move, I have felt several shifts in my mood, stress level and anxiety. Prior to making a decision, I was completely stressed out about money, my job, where I would live, what my next step should be, etc. It was affecting my sleep, my mood and manifesting itself in the worst case of anxiety I had ever dealt with.

Because I was so stressed and tired (and anxious), my mood would range from melancholy to grumpy to full on angry for no reason. I blamed some of it on my shifting hormones, but really I think it was more the stress that had me crying one moment and shaking with rage the next… and all over nothing.

This was affecting my sleep and for a while there I was only sleeping a few fitful hours each day. Working the overnight shift already makes sleeping difficult (day noise from traffic, kids, garbage men, landscapers, etc plus sunlight pouring through the blinds), but adding in the high stress level and I just wasn’t getting quality sleep. I was feeling groggy and listless along with the stress and resorting to soda, candy and junk food to get me through each day (and night).

Then there was the bus anxiety that came out of nowhere. There was absolutely nothing that should have triggered the paralyzing fear I felt every day for a couple of months whenever I rode the bus. It got so bad I had to carry a worry stone and practice a little anti- anxiety trick (note 4 things you see, 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell, 1 thing you taste) to keep from having a full blown panic attack on the bus. There were a couple of days I got pretty close to a full-on freak out.

In the weeks since making the decision to be with my family I have felt a complete shift. My mood feels lighter. I am hopeful and excited and looking forward to something. I am getting at least 6 solid hours of sleep each day and feel more rested and energetic. I am actually cooking again and eating healthier food choices. And I can ride the bus without feeling like I am going to die at any moment. I still have the occasional moment when I get a little overwhelmed by how much I have to get done in a short amount of time, but on the whole I am feeling so much better.

Life is not perfect by any means and I know that I will continue to struggle with stress, depression and anxiety most of my life. But right now I feel like I have a handle on things again, and I am hopeful that the proximity to my family and core support, I will be able to cope more through the struggles than I have over the past couple of years.

The Return of Sundays are for Sharing

Shortly before I took my hiatus from the blog, I had started a feature I titled “Sundays are for Sharing” in which I posted links to my favorite posts and articles from the week. I know that a lot of bloggers do this, but its something that I really enjoy because it gets the information out to a larger audience, can help people to find new blogs to fall in love with and helps the bloggers featured to gain new readers. When I first started getting involved in the blogging community, it was through links on other blogs that I found some of my favorites.


As I have been gone for a bit, this week’s sharing isn’t limited to just posts from this week, but encompasses posts from the past three weeks. I’ve also added a Featured Blog to the post, which will highlight one of my favorite bloggers each week.

My favorite posts this week:

What if Everyone is Looking at my Cellulite? from Run Eat Repeat

Guest Post: To the Woman Who Asked My Wife if She Was Pregnant from Fighting for Wellness

Dealing with Change from Better with Sprinkles

Introducing: Make Me{dia} Over Blogging Courses from Katy Widrick

How to Deal with a Bad Day from Girl Meets Life

How Many Times Can You Start Over? from Talk Less Say More

How to Set and Achieve Audacious Blogging Goals from SITS

Organize Your Move from A Bowl Full of Lemons

6 Indispensable Habits to Schedule into Your Day from Simplicity Relished

How to Get Back Into Exercise After a Break Part I & Part II from Wholeheartedly Healthy

And this week’s Featured Blogger :

Becky from Olives ‘n Wine

Becky is a new mom, Body Pump instructor, AdvoCare guru, Chipotle lover and just all around great person. She blogs about her life, family and fitness in Naples, Florida and shares her posts in an open, witty way. She hosts the weekly link-up Treat Yourself Tuesday and encourages everyone to treat themselves right! I’ve been reading Becky’s blog for a few years now and I have only grown to enjoy it more the longer I read. Stop by and check out Olives ‘n Wine!

What’s your favorite post from this week?

Work Wanted

While to be completely honest, there is a part of me looking forward to a brief respite from work and chance to catch up on sleep and re-acclimate myself to a normal schedule again, I am hoping to find a new job as quickly as possible when I arrive in Oregon.

Before making my decision, I scoped out the job postings in the area around my parents to see what was available. Thankfully there are several positions open in my current field (customer service/ retail) in nearby cities. Though I am ultimately looking to change fields, I have a ways to go until I am ready for the certifications necessary for my chosen field.

My resume is currently updated and I am starting to send it out to local companies and applying for posted positions. I am really hoping to have some interviews set up before I get down there. It’s important to me that I secure employment quickly and am able to get back out on my own again. While I want and need to be closer to my family, I also still need to maintain my independence (plus I want my kitties with me!).

In the meantime, I will be devoting a lot of time to building FIT Kitty Mama, studying for my certifications and, of course, reading. When I secure a new job I will be sure to share with you!

The Essentials

As I work on packing up my apartment, there are a lot of things to consider. Most of what I own is going into storage while I am staying with my parents, so I will only be bringing the essential items into the house.

The room I’ll be staying in for the next few months is already furnished since it is their guest room, so this means (almost) all of my furniture will be going into storage. Since my computer is already set up with everything I need for blogging, downloading photos from my camera, etc, I will be bringing my desk and computer with me to the house. If it fits, I will also be bringing a small bookcase.

Obviously clothes, shoes and toiletries are a no-brainer when determining what to keep with me, but what else do I need to have with me for the next few months? What can’t I live without?

The biggest answer to this question is books. I usually have several books going at one time and need to have plenty of reading material on hand while I am staying with my parents. Because it’s not really feasible to keep running to storage every time I need a new book, I have 5 (!) bags of books that I will be taking with me to the house. This may seem like a lot, but when you consider that I will be storing at least 15 boxes of books, that should put it in perspective (Oh, and I also have about 20 boxes of books that I’m donating… I own a lot of books!).


I am also bringing my portable DVD player and some of my favorite movies. Most of my music is also stored on my computer, so I don’t need my stereo or CDs (yes I am old school and still actually buy DVDs and don’t download music).

Also coming with me to the house are my teas, my favorite mug, my journals and a collection of post-its, index cards, pens and assorted office supplies. My collections of cow and Eeyore paraphernalia will be stored, but I will select one or two of my favorite pieces to have in the house, along with some photographs of friends.


Basically, my essentials are the things that speak to my heart and are about my connections with people, places and events. While I won’t have my absolute biggest essentials with me during this time, I will have some pieces of them with me as well. I will be keeping a couple of Disney’s and Cheshire’s favorite toys and blankets with me so that I can trade them out periodically with the ones I’ll be sending with them to my brother’s house. This way I will have a connection with them, and they will get things imprinted with my scent regularly so they will remember me and be comforted (plus I will visit a lot!).


What are your essentials?

Seattle To Do List

The day I arrived in Washington, I fell in love with Seattle. As we drove through downtown on the I-5 north towards Marysville, I just soaked up all of the sites. Over the 4 1/2 years that I’ve lived here, my love affair with Seattle has grown. As I prepare to move away from the city I love, there are a few things I want to do again before I leave.

Even though I live here, I completely love a lot of the “touristy” things about Seattle and some of my favorite places are frequented by tourists more than residents, but in truth the same could be said about San Diego when I lived there (and I was born and raised there). There are a few things that I never got around to doing and I don’t think I’ll get to them before I leave, so hopefully when I come back to visit friends (I promise Perry!!), I will be able to do them.

My favorite things to do in Seattle:

Go up to the top of the Space Needle

place 4

Wander through Pike Place Market


Ride the Ferry (anywhere)


Wander through the SAM


Wander through the Seattle Aquarium

Hike Discovery Park (Carkeek is amazing too)


Hang out in the Butterfly Room at the Pacific Science Center


Things I always wanted to do, but never did:

Go to Woodland Park Zoo

Take an Argosy Cruise through Elliot Bay (I did a Christmas dinner cruise through Lake Washington)


If you were leaving your city, what would you want to do before you left?

Clearing the Pantry

As I prepare for the move to Oregon, I am trying to use up all of the odds and ends remaining in my pantry and freezer. I will supplement a few necessary and fresh items to get through, but mostly will be preparing what I have now.

My freezer and pantry currently hold:

Pasta (Angel Hair, Orzo & Mini Penne)
Pancakes (I have 2 different mixes?)
Beans (Red Kidney, Black, Baked & Refried)
Brown Rice
Pizza Sauce
Canned Tomatoes
Peanut Butter
Muffin Mix
Frozen Chicken
Frozen Vegetables (mixed blend, corn, asparagus & brussel sprouts)
Ice Cream
Frozen Mixed Berries
Frozen Smoothie Mix

Week 1 menu:


Sausage with Potatoes and Baked Beans (*baked beans)
Cheeseburgers (2meals)
Burritos (2 meals) (*refried beans)
Pasta w/ meatballs (2meals) (*pasta)
Eggs Salad (for lunches)
Pancakes (for breakfast) (*pancake mix)

Week 2 menu:


Pasta w/ veggies (2 meals) (*pasta, mixed frozen veg)
Chicken w/ Rice & Veggies (2meals) (*frozen chicken, brown rice, frozen sprouts & asparagus)
Burritos (2 meals) (*refried beans)
Soup w/ Grilled Cheese (*soup)
Sandwiches (lunches) (*peanut butter)
Muffins (breakfasts) (*muffin mix)

Week 3 menu:


Chili (3 meals) (*kidney beans, black beans, canned tomato, frozen corn)
Pasta w/ Sauce (2 meals) (*pasta)
Pizza (2 meals) (*pizza sauce)
Sandwiches (lunches)
Pancakes (breakfasts (*pancake mix)



Ice Cream
Smoothies (*frozen berries, frozen smoothie mix)

What do you have hanging around in your pantry or freezer?

Start Something That Matters~ A Review

I’ve mentioned the book Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie, {affiliate link} the founder of TOMS a few times, but I don’t think that I have done a full review yet and this is a book I’d really like to share.


I was quite lucky and actually won my copy of this book in a giveaway on Goodreads a couple of years ago. Because my TBR pile is quite large, it took me a while before I was able to read it. I had entered the giveaway for the book because it sounded interesting and I liked the concept of giving back, but once I was finally able to read the book, it was so much more than I expected!

The story behind the creation of TOMS is incredibly inspiring and I truly love the one-for-one concept that Mycoskie promotes. The idea of giving one free pair of shoes to those in need for every pair sold is amazing. There are a lot of other companies who give back to the community, but not many who give back to this extreme.

Then I began looking for solutions in the world I already knew: business and entrepreneurship… An idea hit me: Why not create a for-profit business to help provide shoes for these children?

  • Blake Mycoskie~ Start Something That Matters

Mycoskie tells of other start-ups that he had worked with before creating TOMS, and the trip to Argentina that inspired the creation of the iconic TOMS shoe design. He shares the journey of the company from his apartment to an actual corporate office. In the process he also shares ideals of a non-corporate structure without traditional job titles or descriptions, where everyone has a voice in the decisions of the company.

From extraordinary customer service to a culture of giving, TOMS provides inspiration for many companies and charitable organizations and reminds us that there is a lot more to success than increasing profit.

I would love to incorporate the one-for-one concept in my future endeavors and am already looking for ways that I can design a business structure in my chosen field that will reflect some of these values.

Rating: 5 Paws Up
[Loved it! Would Recommend to a Friend. Re-readable]

What are some ways that you have found to give back?

The Why

Some people have expressed surprise, or possibly concern, that I have chosen to leave my job before having a new job lined up in Oregon. To be honest, this played heavily into my decision making for this move. I felt trapped because I didn’t want to be out of work and wanted to make sure that I was still making a financial contribution. But there is a lot more to the story than just the money.

I love Washington and Seattle. I love the water and the rain. I love that I got to experience my first taste of living in the snow. Living so far from my family initially allowed me to explore myself a little more and expand my comfort zone and discover new interests. I learned to be more independent and how to tackle some of the hard things for myself.

But I also learned that I really need my family for my own mental well-being. My parents, brother and I have always been really close. Since my sister-in-law joined our family, she has been absorbed into our core as well. The first couple of years that I lived in Washington, my brother and his wife were only a few hours a way and I saw them several times a year. The last couple of years I haven’t been able to see them, except for the trips that I’ve made to Oregon since my parents moved last year.

Without my family close by, I haven’t celebrated a holiday. I was the person who always decorated every room in their house for Christmas and I haven’t hung so much as a stocking in the 3 years I’ve lived in this apartment. Cheshire has never even seen a Christmas tree. And even without the holidays, I have really struggled without having those closest to me in my day to day life. Yes, I text my brother every day and I Skype with my parents every week, but it’s not the same as sitting down to dinner with them (or even chilling out watching TV).

I have been really open about the fact that I have struggled with depression and social anxiety for most of my life. Not having that feeling of family has driven me deep inside myself. While there have been ebbs and flows, I can’t really remember a point over the last 3 years when I wasn’t at least mildly depressed. Over the last year that has gotten worse, and with the combined stress from family health issues, being robbed and financial problems, my anxiety has escalated to almost debilitating points at times. I don’t want to leave the apartment (and rarely do except for work) and am a complete nervous wreck on buses. I don’t even enjoy walks right now because I feel like something is going to happen. This is not the way I want to live my life.

So yes, I will be starting over without a job when I get to Oregon, but I will have something that I need far more around me… my family and the love and support that they provide to me. I have felt very, very alone for a long time now and just knowing that I won’t be alone anymore has relieved a lot of the stress that I’ve been feeling. And that right there is why this was really the only decision I could make.


October Goals~ 2015

As I am sure you may have guessed after yesterday’s announcement, I’m going to be pretty busy for the next several weeks! I put together a short list of goals that I want to accomplish this month to keep me on track and moving forward (no pun intended).

    1. Have a safe, happy and organized move.


2. Spend as much time with local friends as possible before I move.

IMG_0691 rp_100_2124-300x225.jpg

3. Schedule blog posts in advance before things get crazy closer to moving day.


4. Use this as an opportunity to declutter and donate as much as possible. (I already have a stack started)


5. Spend as much quality time with the kitties as possible.

IMG_0910 rp_IMG_0828-300x225.jpg

What are your goals for October?