Summer 2017 Reading List

I realized lately that I hadn't been reading as much as I used to, so a week or so ago Bub and I spent an afternoon at Barnes & Noble. Now, I wasn't able to buy every book that interested me *Insert super sad face here* , but I was able to buy a few. Thankfully, Bub also picked up a few books that I was interested in so now we can share them, and I thought I'd show you. 


Now these ARE affiliate links so if you decide to purchase any of these books that means that I could make a small commission from them. I mean, that could be cool since I'm trying to get BBG to a wider audience, but if you don't, that's cool too, but you totally should buy a book and read along with me, that way we can talk about it. Any who, I'm rambling now...


  1. The Little Big Things: 163 Way to Pursue Excellence By Tom Peters 
  2. Driving With the Top Down By Beth Harrison
  3. Money: Master the Game By Tony Robbins (Bub's book) 
  4. How To Be A Bawse By Lilly Singh (I'm currently reading this one.) 
  5. Social Media Marketing for Dummies (Bub's book)  


Other books on the list include: 

  1. Superbetter: The Power of Living Gamefully by Jane McGonigal
  2. The Badass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer
  3. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  4. Make Your Mind Up by Bethany Mota
  5. Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie

What I've also been craving is to learn something. I want to read something that has some sort of workbook. Maybe learn a new language? If you have any suggestions on what else I should add to my summer reading list, or the type of workbook I should pick up leave it in the comments and I'll be sure to take a look into it! 

Amanda ❤

What I Learned: 'You, Inc.'

What I Learned You IncThis has easily become my second favorite book behind 'The Alchemist', and even though the sub-title always makes me laugh because it can totally be intrepreted another way, it's a REALLY good book. 

I wanted to share some of the MANY wonderful tips that they share in the book that I've begun to start implementing in my life. Surprisingly, it also teaches a couple of things that can be implented if you have a blog/online business. 

  • The first thing you sell is yourself. 
  • People "buy" optimists because they enjoy their company. They "buy" people with integrity because people with integrity do what they say they will. 
  • People value -and pay more for- the way you make them feel. 
  • Find your weaknesses and work on them. 
  • Don't assume. Ask. 
  • To get the right help, ask the right questions. 
  • The investments you make of both time and money, demonstrate your confidence in what you are offering. 
  • If you'd never dream of watching ballet, listening to Bluegrass, or going to a county fair, go. Tinker with your box. Grow a bigger box. 
  • Education does more than prepare us for careers and expand our minds. It enlarges our world - the number of people with whom we can connect. 
  • The more you learn, the more people you can engage. All education is relevant, all education is practical, all education helps us grow. 
  • Keep reading, keep listening, keep learning. 
  • Communicate so that you cannot be misunderstood. 
  • For inspiration, look all around you. 
  • Listening makes you captivating. 
  • We buy how good you are at who you are. 
  • Honor each person's craving to feel important. 
  • People yearn for a quick response because of what it conveys: "You are important to me." 
  • Do what you love, and the pleasure of doing what you love will follow. 
  • Work -hard work, continuous work- is the only path to results that matter. 
  • If you no longer can summon confidence is what you are offering, consider changing what you are offering, whatever it is. 
  • Say thank you. You won't be alone, but you still will stand out. 
  • Never try to fool anyone. 
  • Say PM, deliver AM. 
  • Follow up within a day. 

If you have a blog or small/online business, you should definitely give this little gem a read because I'm sure you're bound to come away with a few of your own favorite nuggets of wisdom. 

Amanda ❤

A Beautiful Mess Photo Book Review

A Beautiful Mess Photo Book Review

So as most of you already know, the ladies from A Beautiful Mess, Emma and Elsie, just published their first book together. 

To be honest with you, I totally forgot that I pre-ordered it and I wish I hadn't paid $16 including S&H, for this. Does anyone know if Amazon does refunds? Anywho....

You see, I've been following Elsie from the very beginning, and when I mean very beginning, I mean, like, TJ beginning but it wasn't until recently that I've finally given up on her. Really, it's been a long time coming though. From her Blog Love E-Course to her Dream Job E-Course and almost everything in between. The book is the final straw for me. 

Although the pictures are bright, cheerful, and pretty, this book is vastly underwhelming. I always try to give her the benefit of the doubt but she continues to disappoint. 

The book is broken up into sections including capturing your favorite people, using beautiful lighting, and capturing yourself but the reality is that almost everything in the book, is something that she's already posted about in her blog. Like backlighting and sun flares, taking amazing photos of your home, and and homemade filters even using most of the same photos. I would say a good 80% of the photos are photos that's she's already shared so if you're reading/browsing through the book and feel like you've seen the photos before, it's because you most likely have. 

But fear not! There is a demographic that the A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book would greatly appeal to! 12 year old girls with an interest in photography. So if you have one of those, a 12 year old girl, I mean, who's interested in photography, go ahead and get her this book, but then swiftly direct her to Darren Rowse's Digital Photography School as well. 

Bottom Line: Don't buy the book. Read through her photography tab instead. 

Amanda ❤

Book Review: "Signs of Life" by Natalie Taylor

Signs of Life Book Review

Last month I was intent on reading a biography/autobiography and happened upon this book at Barnes & Noble. I'm not going to lie, I picked it up because I loved the photo on the cover. Then I read the secondary title and knew I had to get it. "Finding the best in yourself during the worst life has to offer". Mind you, this was at the beginning of the month right before the break with R. For some reason I knew I had to get this book because something was going to happen. I didn't know what was going to happen but I soon would find out. 

It's about a high school English teacher named Natalie. She's a newlywed, and recently found out that she was pregnant when her life changes completely upon learning that her husband, Josh died in a freak accident.  The book is a journey as she learns to cope with grief, becoming a single parent, and dealing with life, pre-and post, child-bearing. 

She begins each chapter with excerpts from authors like Franz Kafka, John Steinbeck, J.D. Salinger, and Robert Frost and gains insights from each author, relating those passages to her current situation, which reminded me of what my HS English teacher would make us do. We were constantly reading books both as a class and on our own. She would make us jot down excerpts from the books that we were reading on our own, that we related to, and write journal entries as to why we related to those pasages. I kind of started doing that again in my current journal. 

It was really difficult to read quite a few passages throughout the book, and when I say it was 'really difficult' I mean it! There were some paragraphs where I had to stop every other sentence simply because what she had written had touched me, resonated with me that I would have to stop, breathe, gather myself and then try to continue reading. (It's quite awkward to be crying on the metro because you're reading a book). 

But, oh! This is such a good book. I think I could even re-read it and there aren't very many books I deem 're-readable', and it's such a delight when she realizes that she's turned that grief into happiness and is able to dance again. 

And that's when I realized I wanted the same thing. 

I want to be able to dance again. 

Amanda ❤

Read 5 Books in 2012


One of the goals that I had for 2012 was to read five books. I figured this would be an easy feat since I  was able to read the entire Harry Potter series in a matter of two and a half months back in 2010. 
I was actually quite wrong. Most of the books that I picked up, I failed to finish. Some of them were even relatively easy. IE: 'The Great Gatsby', the novel version of 'Infinite Crisis', a self-help book titled 'Do It', and 'Into the Wild'.  I got halfway through them and just lost interest. But in the end, I WAS able to accomplish what I had originally set out to do. I suppose you can call this a brief synopsis of the books that I read. 
'Blog, Inc' by Joy Cho: By far THE BEST  blogging book I've read to date. I LOVE this book so much that I even carry it around with me in my purse with my blogging notebook. I always come away with something different from it every time I pick it up. Whether it's a new item added to my 'To Do' list, or checking different things out. 
'Princess' by Jean Sasson: The fact that I had to read this for my English class last semester doesn't mean a THING! haha. It's a really good book about the childhood of the princess of Saudi Arabia in the 1970s.  It's fascinating the treatment and experiences she endured while being royalty, which brought perspective to the treatment and experiences that normal girls would have had to endure during the times. My thought's most of the time were, "If she's royalty, what would a normal girl have had to have gone through?"
'The Hunger Games' Trilogy: I'll just sum my experience with this trilogy in a couple of sentences. It was pretty good, but I was disappointed in the end, and for the life of me, I couldn't figure out who I wanted Katniss to end up with. Her and Peeta's history seemed sort of romantic, but I'm vain and I wanted her to end up with Gale because quite frankly, Liam Hemsworth is frickin' hot. I'm not attracted to white folks, but HOT DAMN! 
'Bloggers Boot Camp': I tried reading this at the end of last year when I was in Mexico but I couldn't get into it for the life of me until I got back home and gave it another go. It's decent. It had some points that I had thought were quite valid which I hadn't thought about, like rules for comment moderation. 
So all in all, I was able to attain one of my goals for this year. I can't wait to share what my goal for next year is. I only have one and it's one that I'm looking forward to maintaining steadily all year long.  What are some of the goals that you've reached this year that you set out to do?
Amanda ❤

The Hunger Games Trilogy


So last week I finally got around to finishing this series and I have to say that I did love it. It did kind of end anti-climactically for me but the series as a whole was really good. We all know I was sorely disappointed in the first movie, and I had reservations about watching the rest of them once they come out, but maybe, just maybe, I will watch them. Hopefully they do a better job though. 

I only had one problem with reading the books. I could not, for the life of me, choose a side. Gale or Peeta. Peeta or Gale. One minute, Peeta was doing something that would sway me on his side and the next, Gale was doing the same thing. I got to 'Mockingjay' and still couldn't figure out who I wanted Katniss to end up with. 

One of the weird literary things that I have, is that it's really hard for me to "get into" books written in the first person but I was able to do so with these books quite easily, which has actually led me into reading another book that I've always wanted to read but really was never able to. 

The only thing I'm wondering about now are, who are going to play Johanna and Finnick. I've read a few fansites who are thinking maybe Mia Wasikowska could play Johanna, while Armie Hammer could be Finnick. I had a picture of who I thought could play Johanna but I just can't seem to remember her name right now. 

Well, that's all I've got for you, guys.  

If you've read the series, who are you picturing playing Johanna and Finnick? Do you agree on Mia Wasikowska and Armie Hammer? 

Amanda ❤

How To Recognize A Wolf in The Forest


A sharp nose

Big, sharp claws

Curly, furry tail

Dainty, pointy ears 

Evil, green eyes

Fierce sharp teeth


I was in the library at school and came across an aisle for childrens books. I picked this one up called "The Animal Fair" Illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen. I took a couple of other pictures of the illustrations that I'll show later. 

Amanda ❤

Dan Eldon

    I don't remember where I first heard of Dan Eldon but I remember buying his book,The Journey is The Destination, off Amazon about 5 years ago. I remember looking through it and being amazed at the way he kept his journals. Stunning, to say the least. Then I read the introduction written by his mom, Kathy.

    The Eldon family moved to Nairobi when Dan was seven. You learn that he was always surrounded by creative people and encouraged to use his imagination. He began getting photo credits in the newspaper at the age of 14 when he would accompany his mom on interviews for the Nation, the largest English language newspaper in Kenya. You learn he had dyslexia and was afraid to take any math classes in college worried that he would fail.  His mother felt like Dan was always in a hurry. Then you read about his tragic death. 

"On July 12,1993, Dan and three colleagues, Hansi Krauss of the Associated Press and Anthony Macharia and Hos Maina of Reuters, were called to the scene of a brutal bombing by United Nations forces of a house believed to be the headquarters of General Aidid. When the photographers arrived at the compound and began shooting the bloody carnage, the crowd, enraged at the death or mutilation of over a hundred people, including religious leaders and respected elders of the community, turned on the journalists, stoning and beating them to death. " 

In an article published in November 1992 for Executive magazine he wrote:

"The hardest situation to deal with is a frenzied mob, because they cannot be reasoned with. I try to appeal to one or two of the most sympathetic and restrained looking people with the most effective looking assault rifles, but I have realized that no photograph is worth my life." 

    He led an amazing life trying to help the people that he came across. So it's no wonder that even TOMS has decided to start it's own collection inspired by this amazing young photographer titled 'Journey is The Destination'.

    Here are some pages from his journals that I really love. 







Amanda ❤

But I'm Not A Reader...

Why hello there. 

Slowly but surely I'm getting this blog going and I know my posts have been few and far between but that's why i'm here today. : ) 

Since about July of this past year I've been reading voraciously. No need to go into the details of why. (Maybe sometime later.) But I've been averaging about a book a week. So I wanted to show you the books that I've read so far. 

Up first: 

1-Prisoner of Azkaban
2-Goblet Of Fire
3-Order of The Phoenix
4-Half Blood Prince
5-Deathly Hallows

I finished up the "Harry Potter" Series. I started reading them last year and I totally can't wait for Part I of 'The Deathly Hallows' comes out. I'm a total 'Harry Potter' fan! 

6-The Town

I found myself getting obsessed with Boston after reading this book and watching 'Good Will Hunting'. I told my sister that I wanted to move to Boston, make friends with Irish boys who know how to drink and fight, and have old-town accents.

7-Me Talk Pretty One Day

and I'm currently reading 

I read 'City of Saints and Mad Men' and became an instant fan of Jeff Vandermeer. They really don't carry his books in the bookstores around here so when I saw this I had to get it. So Good! 


So with all these books I've been reading, I really don't consider myself to be a reader. A friend told me that if I'm averaging a book a week then I'm considered a reader. But I'm not. 

Okay. So that's it for today. Hopefully I can start blogging a little more often to get the ball rolling more.  Have a good week! 

Amanda ❤