In a regular braid there are 3 strands. For this look, all you do is braid one of those strands beforehand and loosen it up with your by serena
serena
serena In a regular braid there are 3 strands. For this look, all you do is braid one of those strands beforehand and loosen it up with your
Peacock obsession
In a regular braid there are 3 strands. For this look, all you do is braid one of those strands beforehand and loosen it up with your by serena
serena
serena In a regular braid there are 3 strands. For this look, all you do is braid one of those strands beforehand and loosen it up with your
Peacock obsession
In a regular braid there are 3 strands. For this look, all you do is braid one of those strands beforehand and loosen it up with your fingers, then braid as usual. This creates extra texture   breaks up the mundane pattern of a regular braid. by serena
serena
serena In a regular braid there are 3 strands. For this look, all you do is braid one of those strands beforehand and loosen it up with your fingers, then braid as usual. This creates extra texture breaks up the mundane pattern of a regular braid.
Peacock obsession
In a regular braid there are 3 strands. For this look, all you do is braid one of those strands beforehand and loosen it up with your fingers, then braid as usual. This creates extra texture + breaks up the mundane pattern of a regular braid. by serena
serena
serena In a regular braid there are 3 strands. For this look, all you do is braid one of those strands beforehand and loosen it up with your fingers, then braid as usual. This creates extra texture + breaks up the mundane pattern of a regular braid.
Peacock obsession
In a regular braid there are 3 strands. For this look, all you do is braid one of those strands beforehand and loosen it up with your fingers, then braid as usual. This creates extra texture + breaks up the mundane pattern of a regular braid. by Jeanette  LaJeunesse  Segura
Jeanette  LaJeunesse  Segura
Jeanette LaJeunesse Segura In a regular braid there are 3 strands. For this look, all you do is braid one of those strands beforehand and loosen it up with your fingers, then braid as usual. This creates extra texture + breaks up the mundane pattern of a regular braid.
Bride hair
LOVE THIS 1. Separate hair into 3 sections, per usual with a braid.  2. Braid 2 of your 3 sections into small braids and leave your third section as is.  3. Braid the 2 braids and the section you left out together loosely and secure with a hair tie.  4. Once secured in a hair tie, loosen your braid to make it look fat by gently pulling on each side of your braid and mushing it up. by angeline
angeline
angeline LOVE THIS 1. Separate hair into 3 sections, per usual with a braid. 2. Braid 2 of your 3 sections into small braids and leave your third section as is. 3. Braid the 2 braids and the section you left out together loosely and secure with a hair tie. 4. Once secured in a hair tie, loosen your braid to make it look fat by gently pulling on each side of your braid and mushing it up.
All Dressed Up
LOVE THIS 1. Separate hair into 3 sections, per usual with a braid.  2. Braid 2 of your 3 sections into small braids and leave your third section as is.  3. Braid the 2 braids and the section you left out together loosely and secure with a hair tie.  4. Once secured in a hair tie, loosen your braid to make it look fat by gently pulling on each side of your braid and mushing it up. by angeline
angeline
angeline LOVE THIS 1. Separate hair into 3 sections, per usual with a braid. 2. Braid 2 of your 3 sections into small braids and leave your third section as is. 3. Braid the 2 braids and the section you left out together loosely and secure with a hair tie. 4. Once secured in a hair tie, loosen your braid to make it look fat by gently pulling on each side of your braid and mushing it up.
All Dressed Up
First look! Why Should I do this?    1. It saves a lot of time because you can get all the photos beforehand.    2. There is no need to by teri-71
teri-71
teri-71 First look! Why Should I do this? 1. It saves a lot of time because you can get all the photos beforehand. 2. There is no need to
Books Worth Reading
Take 3 long strands of hair then braid a small piece in 1 of the strands. After you do those steps braid the 3 strands together! by serena
serena
serena Take 3 long strands of hair then braid a small piece in 1 of the strands. After you do those steps braid the 3 strands together!
Peacock obsession
Ephesians 2:8-10 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." What do u do with ur talent? by AislingH
AislingH
AislingH Ephesians 2:8-10 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." What do u do with ur talent?
Favorites
Ephesians 2:8-10 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."  What do u do with ur talent? by Maiden11976
Maiden11976
Maiden11976 Ephesians 2:8-10 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." What do u do with ur talent?
Favorites
Ephesians 2:8-10 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." What do u do with ur talent? by mary.szynski
mary.szynski
mary.szynski Ephesians 2:8-10 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." What do u do with ur talent?
Favorites
Elsa braid: I did this one for Easter with her basket. Only need yarn ; one regular other sparkle and mix together and stickers from Michaels. One tip: do all the braid and then for the little hole that is where you beging the braid put trought the rest of the braid for do the circle for her head so in this way you can adjust the size.  My daughter love it! And is perfect for her dress.   Idea: I did last year with rampunzel theme for her and their friends for her birthday party. by graciela
graciela
graciela Elsa braid: I did this one for Easter with her basket. Only need yarn ; one regular other sparkle and mix together and stickers from Michaels. One tip: do all the braid and then for the little hole that is where you beging the braid put trought the rest of the braid for do the circle for her head so in this way you can adjust the size. My daughter love it! And is perfect for her dress. Idea: I did last year with rampunzel theme for her and their friends for her birthday party.
Favorites
While there's no right or wrong way to blog, great content is the key to  blogging success. But share-worthy content isn't always easy to come up  with or create, is it? Today I'm coming to the rescue with 50 blog post  ideas that you can use to provide your readers with quality content and  keep them coming back for more.     1. Share a behind-the-scenes look of your blog or business. Everyone       loves getting sneak peeks of what your office looks like, photos of       things "in the works," and looks at rough drafts. Michaela Noelle did       this on her blog last week and it was a great success! It also adds a       little personality to your blog and allows your readers to connect       with you.    2. Write a blog series on your process. I did this with my creative       process last month and it was a huge hit. Readers love to find out       how you do what you do, so highlight each step of a project in a blog       series and walk them through your process. This is helpful for       readers who are in a similar field and for potential clients and       customers.     3. Roundup helpful posts and link to other bloggers. Readers also like       finding out which blogs you follow along with and what posts you find       interesting, so link to other bloggers and share articles and posts       that might be helpful for your audience. (This is also a great way to       connect and network with other bloggers. I can see which bloggers       refer to me in my analytics and I almost always reach out to them!)        Jenny Purr does a great job with link-ups.    4. Write a post on how you got started. We all love a good success       story. Share your experience and tell your readers how you got here.       Plus, it's fun to document your journey and remember where you       started. And on that note...    5. Share tips on how to become successful in your industry. Which       resources and advice have helped you get to where you are? Don't keep       all of those tips to yourself - share the love with your readers!    6. Feature a professional in your field. This could take the form of       reaching out to someone for a Q&A on your blog (like this Coffee Date       with Molly Jaques) or just highlighting someone in your industry that       you admire. This is also a great networking opportunity.    7. Host a giveaway. Readers love getting free things, whether it's       content, entertainment, or goodies. Create excitement around your       blog and reward your readers for following along with you by hosting       a giveaway! Giveaways are also great marketing tools for your blog.     8. Write a polarizing post about something you may not agree with in       your field. While it's easy for all of us to go along with the crowd       and do what's popular, there may be some things in your industry that       you want to do differently. Write about it! (Please note that I'm not       promoting negativity, complaining, ranting, or bashing - there's a       way to go about this tastefully and respectfully.) Here are some       great polarizing posts: Time for Change, 3 things I'm no longer doing       for my website, One Word That May Be Hindering Your Business    9. Make a list of things you wish you had known when ... Hindsight is       20/20 and we all have the opportunity to learn from others' mistakes.       Share a handful of things you wish you had known when you first       started blogging, writing, designing, doing calligraphy,       photographing weddings, etc. Need an example? Read this post.    10. Share a day-in-the-life post. We all like to see how successful       people go about their day. Write down your day (without going into       too much detail) and give your readers an insider look! Breanna Rose       does this in her Creative Diaries series, and they are some of my       favorite posts.   11. Ask someone to guest post about something specific in your industry.        We never have all the answers and it's fun to get advice from other       people that are doing great things in your field. It's also fun to       highlight talented people and bring attention to their business. You       could even look at it as a networking and marketing opportunity and       do a trade - ask someone to guest post on your blog in return for       guest posting on theirs.    12. Write an informational post about your blogging platform. Readers       love learning about how you do what you do. Write a review of your       blogging platform, the things you like and don't like, and whether or       not you would recommend it. This post about Squarespace has been one       of my most popular posts and I continue to get emails and feedback       about it!   13. Roundup and highlight the tools you use in your trade. I said it in       #12 but it's worth repeating: readers love learning how you do what       you do. Make a list of things you use everyday and share it on the       blog! Here's my example.   14. Teach your readers about something you're an expert in. We all love       to learn from the pros and get insider information. Content like this       will be shared over and over again and gain a lot of feedback.   15. Share some takeaways from a recent experience, workshop, or event.        Have you attended an event related to your field in the last few       months? Share it on the blog and highlight your favorite moments!       Your readers will love reading about your experience and the       workshop/conference may even share your post, too.   16. Make a list of things people should avoid in your industry.        Sometimes it's even more helpful to learn about what not to do.       Share some common mistakes that people make and how to avoid them. I       was a little leery of sharing my Top 10 Design Mistakes to Avoid, but       I was pleasantly surprised by the feedback!   17. Highlight milestones, launches, and important events. It's always       good to have a reason for people to get excited about your       blog/business. Make a big deal out of changes and events by featuring       them on the blog!   18. Explain the meaning behind your blog/business name. Some names are       straightforward, but some have a fun story behind them. Turn it into       a blog post and share the story behind your blog/business name. (The       meaning of the Elle & Company is mentioned in this post.)   19. Feature the people you work with. It's rare that we run a blog or       business completely on our own; there are usually people who work for       us or with us to help us keep things running, even if it's just by       their encouragement. Use your blog to highlight them, promote them,       and feature their work. I featured my biggest fan and business       partner a few months ago, and it's one of my favorite posts to-date.   20. Make a list of things people may not know about your trade. There's       always information out there that people are surprised to hear. For       example, non-designers may not know that using Comic Sans is one of       the biggest no-no's in this industry. Create a list of "did you know"       items and share it with your readers. I guarantee it will be a hit.   21. Write a review of a product you use often. If you're a photographer,       write about your favorite lenses. If you're a designer, share about       your favorite software. If you're an entrepreneur, share the programs       you use for project management and accounting. People are always on       the lookout for helpful products and tools - share your feedback with       them.    22. Repurpose old blog posts with a roundup. Chances are that you've       spent hours on blog posts that are now buried in your archives. Share       them again by doing a roundup! A Beautiful Mess does this at the end       of every month to highlight their posts and I did this recently with       my Weekly Truth backgrounds. Don't let those great posts go to       waste.    23. Repurpose an old blog post with a follow-up. Can you add onto       something you've already done? Write a sequel or a "part 2" to an old       blog post and make use out of that content again.   24. Repurpose an old blog post with a revision. Do you have a post that       you wrote a couple years ago that could be revamped or reused? Make       some revisions and post it again!   25. Share about how you use a certain social media outlet for your       blog/business. There are so many social media outlets out there and       everyone uses them a little differently. Share about one of your       favorites and give your readers tips on how you use it for your       blog/business. Here are some examples of posts I've done on        Instagram and Pinterest.   26. Turn an FAQ or inquiry into a blog post. Is there a common question       that readers ask you by email or in your post comments? Turn it into       a blog post! An email from an Elle & Company reader regarding content       actually inspired this blog post. If it's something that multiple       readers have asked you about, chances are their are more people who       would love to know more about it, too.   27. Tell an interesting story. We all love a good tale and we all enjoy       being entertained. Do you have a "you're not going to believe this"       story? Share it on your blog!   28. Write an informative post on how people can work best with you. Are       you a calligrapher, photographer, or wedding planner? Share some tips       for brides on how to make the process as simple as possible. Are you       an interior designer? Share some insights on how clients and       designers can maintain a great working relationship. This is helpful       for current and future clients and it's also helpful for those in       your field who are just getting started.   29. Create and share a free resource. We all love free things. That's why       we follow along with blogs in the first place! Find creative ways to       share free resources with your audience. I do this with my Weekly       Truth series and it's been a hit (especially on Pinterest!)    30. Find a creative way to link up with other bloggers/business owners.        There are several ways you can go about this one. You could create a       writing challenge like Bailey did with her Blogtember series, start a       fun linkup like What I Wore Wednesday, or partner with another blog       friend like Michaela and I did for the Home Suite Home project. The       possibilities are endless, so get creative and come up with something       distinctly you!   31. Create a blog series on a project. People love following along with       step-by-step transformations (that's why Young House Love was my       favorite blog for so many years!). Are you working on a project for a       client, remodeling your home, or training for a marathon? Share about       it on the blog and show sneak peeks of the transformation as you go.   32. Highlight one of your products or services. This is your blog; use it       to your advantage! Come up with creative ways to highlight your       business and your products. This could take the shape of a "how-to"       post or you could pose them as a solution to a particular problem.   33. Create an infographic. Not only are graphics and photos more       interesting and entertaining, they're sharable. Even if you aren't       able to draw one yourself, compile information on a topic in your       field and come up with a creative way to display it. I did this with       the feedback I received from a reader survey this past summer and        the infographic was a hit! Which perfectly transitions into my next       idea...   34. Take a reader survey and come up with a unique way to share the       results. Not only is this feedback helpful for you, but readers like       to see who else is following along with you. A Beautiful Mess and        Young House Love always do this well.    35. Share your mission statement and blog/business strategy. Write a post       on what's at the heart of your blog or business. Why do you do what       you do? What motivates you?   36. Define or share your take on your industry. For example, many people       use the term "branding" but designers approach that subject       differently depending on who you talk to. I wrote a post on branding        after I officially launched my design services this past summer       to approach the subject in my own terms. Do you have your own take on       your field? Share it on your blog!   37. Find a creative way to share tidbits of your life lately. There are a       million and ten ways you could approach this, so come up with       something original! Some of my favorite examples include Awkward and       Awesome and Clara Conversations.   38. Create a "through the years" or flashback post. Is there a tradition       or event that you participate in year after year? Your readers would       probably love to see it on your blog. An example?  This post by       Justin and Mary on their past Halloween costumes.    39. Give away some secrets of your trade. Many people shy away from       sharing the information that has made them successful for fear that       it could create competition, but it's had the opposite effect in my       experience. Share what you know! If you do what you do well, you'll       have nothing to worry about. Readers will love gaining your great       insight and information.    40. Teach people how to make something unique. We all have a DIY board on       Pinterest, don't we? There's something in each one of us that loves       learning how to make something that we wouldn't have thought to make       before.    41. Write about some common misconceptions in your industry. Are there       things that people assume about your business or trade that aren't       accurate? Address them in a blog post!   42. Ask your readers for feedback. Do you have a question or dilemma? Let       your readers participate by sharing it on the blog. Michaela did this       with her readers in our Home Suite Home project when she asked them       to vote on which design concepts they liked best.   43. Share your sources of inspiration. We see this all over the place on       blogs, but think of your own creative way to make an inspiration post       distinctly your own. I do this on my blog a couple time each month       in Today's Top 3.    44. Solve a problem. Is there a particular issue that keeps coming up in       your industry time and again? Provide a solution to it! Some       examples? Braid Creative wrote a post on organizational tools for       creative entrepreneurs and Ashley wrote a post for photographers on       organizing their email inbox.   45. Write a post on the best (or worst!) advice you've ever received.        This could be both helpful and hilarious for your audience.    46. Highlight the best (or worst!) moments since starting your       blog/business. Again, this could be both helpful and hilarious for       your audience.   47. Share your recent projects. Blogging is a great marketing tool. Use       it to your advantage and highlight your latest work! Not only is it       fun for your readers to follow along with, but you never know if       potential customers are following along with you. Think of it as free       advertising for your portfolio.    48. Share a testimonial or success story. It could be about your       experience with another professional or a clients' experience with       you. Word of mouth is the best advertisement.   49. Surprise your readers with something unexpected. Do you have a hidden       talent or trait that your readers might not know about? Find a way to       highlight it on your blog! I did this in my "That's a Rap" post and       although it was totally random, it gave my readers a glimpse of my       personality outside of blogging and designing.   50. Create a long list of something specific to your       trade/blog/industry/field. Case in point.   That's a wrap! Which ideas are you most excited to try? Do you have any  suggestions for no-fluff, content-rich blog posts that I may not have  mentioned? by Joao.Almeida.d.Eca
Joao.Almeida.d.Eca
Joao.Almeida.d.Eca While there's no right or wrong way to blog, great content is the key to blogging success. But share-worthy content isn't always easy to come up with or create, is it? Today I'm coming to the rescue with 50 blog post ideas that you can use to provide your readers with quality content and keep them coming back for more. 1. Share a behind-the-scenes look of your blog or business. Everyone loves getting sneak peeks of what your office looks like, photos of things "in the works," and looks at rough drafts. Michaela Noelle did this on her blog last week and it was a great success! It also adds a little personality to your blog and allows your readers to connect with you. 2. Write a blog series on your process. I did this with my creative process last month and it was a huge hit. Readers love to find out how you do what you do, so highlight each step of a project in a blog series and walk them through your process. This is helpful for readers who are in a similar field and for potential clients and customers.  3. Roundup helpful posts and link to other bloggers. Readers also like finding out which blogs you follow along with and what posts you find interesting, so link to other bloggers and share articles and posts that might be helpful for your audience. (This is also a great way to connect and network with other bloggers. I can see which bloggers refer to me in my analytics and I almost always reach out to them!) Jenny Purr does a great job with link-ups. 4. Write a post on how you got started. We all love a good success story. Share your experience and tell your readers how you got here. Plus, it's fun to document your journey and remember where you started. And on that note... 5. Share tips on how to become successful in your industry. Which resources and advice have helped you get to where you are? Don't keep all of those tips to yourself - share the love with your readers! 6. Feature a professional in your field. This could take the form of reaching out to someone for a Q&A on your blog (like this Coffee Date with Molly Jaques) or just highlighting someone in your industry that you admire. This is also a great networking opportunity. 7. Host a giveaway. Readers love getting free things, whether it's content, entertainment, or goodies. Create excitement around your blog and reward your readers for following along with you by hosting a giveaway! Giveaways are also great marketing tools for your blog.  8. Write a polarizing post about something you may not agree with in your field. While it's easy for all of us to go along with the crowd and do what's popular, there may be some things in your industry that you want to do differently. Write about it! (Please note that I'm not promoting negativity, complaining, ranting, or bashing - there's a way to go about this tastefully and respectfully.) Here are some great polarizing posts: Time for Change, 3 things I'm no longer doing for my website, One Word That May Be Hindering Your Business 9. Make a list of things you wish you had known when ... Hindsight is 20/20 and we all have the opportunity to learn from others' mistakes. Share a handful of things you wish you had known when you first started blogging, writing, designing, doing calligraphy, photographing weddings, etc. Need an example? Read this post.  10. Share a day-in-the-life post. We all like to see how successful people go about their day. Write down your day (without going into too much detail) and give your readers an insider look! Breanna Rose does this in her Creative Diaries series, and they are some of my favorite posts. 11. Ask someone to guest post about something specific in your industry.  We never have all the answers and it's fun to get advice from other people that are doing great things in your field. It's also fun to highlight talented people and bring attention to their business. You could even look at it as a networking and marketing opportunity and do a trade - ask someone to guest post on your blog in return for guest posting on theirs.  12. Write an informational post about your blogging platform. Readers love learning about how you do what you do. Write a review of your blogging platform, the things you like and don't like, and whether or not you would recommend it. This post about Squarespace has been one of my most popular posts and I continue to get emails and feedback about it! 13. Roundup and highlight the tools you use in your trade. I said it in #12 but it's worth repeating: readers love learning how you do what you do. Make a list of things you use everyday and share it on the blog! Here's my example. 14. Teach your readers about something you're an expert in. We all love to learn from the pros and get insider information. Content like this will be shared over and over again and gain a lot of feedback. 15. Share some takeaways from a recent experience, workshop, or event.  Have you attended an event related to your field in the last few months? Share it on the blog and highlight your favorite moments! Your readers will love reading about your experience and the workshop/conference may even share your post, too. 16. Make a list of things people should avoid in your industry.  Sometimes it's even more helpful to learn about what not to do. Share some common mistakes that people make and how to avoid them. I was a little leery of sharing my Top 10 Design Mistakes to Avoid, but I was pleasantly surprised by the feedback! 17. Highlight milestones, launches, and important events. It's always good to have a reason for people to get excited about your blog/business. Make a big deal out of changes and events by featuring them on the blog! 18. Explain the meaning behind your blog/business name. Some names are straightforward, but some have a fun story behind them. Turn it into a blog post and share the story behind your blog/business name. (The meaning of the Elle & Company is mentioned in this post.) 19. Feature the people you work with. It's rare that we run a blog or business completely on our own; there are usually people who work for us or with us to help us keep things running, even if it's just by their encouragement. Use your blog to highlight them, promote them, and feature their work. I featured my biggest fan and business partner a few months ago, and it's one of my favorite posts to-date. 20. Make a list of things people may not know about your trade. There's always information out there that people are surprised to hear. For example, non-designers may not know that using Comic Sans is one of the biggest no-no's in this industry. Create a list of "did you know" items and share it with your readers. I guarantee it will be a hit. 21. Write a review of a product you use often. If you're a photographer, write about your favorite lenses. If you're a designer, share about your favorite software. If you're an entrepreneur, share the programs you use for project management and accounting. People are always on the lookout for helpful products and tools - share your feedback with them.  22. Repurpose old blog posts with a roundup. Chances are that you've spent hours on blog posts that are now buried in your archives. Share them again by doing a roundup! A Beautiful Mess does this at the end of every month to highlight their posts and I did this recently with my Weekly Truth backgrounds. Don't let those great posts go to waste.  23. Repurpose an old blog post with a follow-up. Can you add onto something you've already done? Write a sequel or a "part 2" to an old blog post and make use out of that content again. 24. Repurpose an old blog post with a revision. Do you have a post that you wrote a couple years ago that could be revamped or reused? Make some revisions and post it again! 25. Share about how you use a certain social media outlet for your blog/business. There are so many social media outlets out there and everyone uses them a little differently. Share about one of your favorites and give your readers tips on how you use it for your blog/business. Here are some examples of posts I've done on Instagram and Pinterest. 26. Turn an FAQ or inquiry into a blog post. Is there a common question that readers ask you by email or in your post comments? Turn it into a blog post! An email from an Elle & Company reader regarding content actually inspired this blog post. If it's something that multiple readers have asked you about, chances are their are more people who would love to know more about it, too. 27. Tell an interesting story. We all love a good tale and we all enjoy being entertained. Do you have a "you're not going to believe this" story? Share it on your blog! 28. Write an informative post on how people can work best with you. Are you a calligrapher, photographer, or wedding planner? Share some tips for brides on how to make the process as simple as possible. Are you an interior designer? Share some insights on how clients and designers can maintain a great working relationship. This is helpful for current and future clients and it's also helpful for those in your field who are just getting started. 29. Create and share a free resource. We all love free things. That's why we follow along with blogs in the first place! Find creative ways to share free resources with your audience. I do this with my Weekly Truth series and it's been a hit (especially on Pinterest!)  30. Find a creative way to link up with other bloggers/business owners.  There are several ways you can go about this one. You could create a writing challenge like Bailey did with her Blogtember series, start a fun linkup like What I Wore Wednesday, or partner with another blog friend like Michaela and I did for the Home Suite Home project. The possibilities are endless, so get creative and come up with something distinctly you! 31. Create a blog series on a project. People love following along with step-by-step transformations (that's why Young House Love was my favorite blog for so many years!). Are you working on a project for a client, remodeling your home, or training for a marathon? Share about it on the blog and show sneak peeks of the transformation as you go. 32. Highlight one of your products or services. This is your blog; use it to your advantage! Come up with creative ways to highlight your business and your products. This could take the shape of a "how-to" post or you could pose them as a solution to a particular problem. 33. Create an infographic. Not only are graphics and photos more interesting and entertaining, they're sharable. Even if you aren't able to draw one yourself, compile information on a topic in your field and come up with a creative way to display it. I did this with the feedback I received from a reader survey this past summer and the infographic was a hit! Which perfectly transitions into my next idea... 34. Take a reader survey and come up with a unique way to share the results. Not only is this feedback helpful for you, but readers like to see who else is following along with you. A Beautiful Mess and Young House Love always do this well.  35. Share your mission statement and blog/business strategy. Write a post on what's at the heart of your blog or business. Why do you do what you do? What motivates you? 36. Define or share your take on your industry. For example, many people use the term "branding" but designers approach that subject differently depending on who you talk to. I wrote a post on branding after I officially launched my design services this past summer to approach the subject in my own terms. Do you have your own take on your field? Share it on your blog! 37. Find a creative way to share tidbits of your life lately. There are a million and ten ways you could approach this, so come up with something original! Some of my favorite examples include Awkward and Awesome and Clara Conversations. 38. Create a "through the years" or flashback post. Is there a tradition or event that you participate in year after year? Your readers would probably love to see it on your blog. An example?  This post by Justin and Mary on their past Halloween costumes.  39. Give away some secrets of your trade. Many people shy away from sharing the information that has made them successful for fear that it could create competition, but it's had the opposite effect in my experience. Share what you know! If you do what you do well, you'll have nothing to worry about. Readers will love gaining your great insight and information.  40. Teach people how to make something unique. We all have a DIY board on Pinterest, don't we? There's something in each one of us that loves learning how to make something that we wouldn't have thought to make before.  41. Write about some common misconceptions in your industry. Are there things that people assume about your business or trade that aren't accurate? Address them in a blog post! 42. Ask your readers for feedback. Do you have a question or dilemma? Let your readers participate by sharing it on the blog. Michaela did this with her readers in our Home Suite Home project when she asked them to vote on which design concepts they liked best. 43. Share your sources of inspiration. We see this all over the place on blogs, but think of your own creative way to make an inspiration post distinctly your own. I do this on my blog a couple time each month in Today's Top 3.  44. Solve a problem. Is there a particular issue that keeps coming up in your industry time and again? Provide a solution to it! Some examples? Braid Creative wrote a post on organizational tools for creative entrepreneurs and Ashley wrote a post for photographers on organizing their email inbox. 45. Write a post on the best (or worst!) advice you've ever received. This could be both helpful and hilarious for your audience.  46. Highlight the best (or worst!) moments since starting your blog/business. Again, this could be both helpful and hilarious for your audience. 47. Share your recent projects. Blogging is a great marketing tool. Use it to your advantage and highlight your latest work! Not only is it fun for your readers to follow along with, but you never know if potential customers are following along with you. Think of it as free advertising for your portfolio.  48. Share a testimonial or success story. It could be about your experience with another professional or a clients' experience with you. Word of mouth is the best advertisement. 49. Surprise your readers with something unexpected. Do you have a hidden talent or trait that your readers might not know about? Find a way to highlight it on your blog! I did this in my "That's a Rap" post and although it was totally random, it gave my readers a glimpse of my personality outside of blogging and designing. 50. Create a long list of something specific to your trade/blog/industry/field. Case in point. That's a wrap! Which ideas are you most excited to try? Do you have any suggestions for no-fluff, content-rich blog posts that I may not have mentioned?
Favorites
You click what you have and it comes up with all the recipes you could make!

The site is where you search for recipes based on what's already in your fridge!! You just check all the things you have off of a list and voila! There are a bunch of meals lined up for you! by annmarie
annmarie
annmarie You click what you have and it comes up with all the recipes you could make! The site is where you search for recipes based on what's already in your fridge!! You just check all the things you have off of a list and voila! There are a bunch of meals lined up for you!
Feed Me
This easy stitch is perfect for an afghan or blanket. It is just sets of 3 stitches, one single crochet and two doubles. Once you get into the hang of it, you can do it in your sleep! Use it for a baby blanket in a pretty pink or blue or for a regular afghan with bright colors! You can change colors after a few rows for a multicolored effect. by Sunflower*04
Sunflower*04
Sunflower*04 This easy stitch is perfect for an afghan or blanket. It is just sets of 3 stitches, one single crochet and two doubles. Once you get into the hang of it, you can do it in your sleep! Use it for a baby blanket in a pretty pink or blue or for a regular afghan with bright colors! You can change colors after a few rows for a multicolored effect.
Favorites
This is the most complex and unique necklace I have ever designed. (This sample is done in ‘faux’ pearls.) I can make it for you in crystal or pearl. (Whatever your imagination can come up with.) One extremely long,strong double thread is worked into overlapping loops. It is labor intensive and uses at least 12 strands of 4mm beads and 1 strand of larger beads. If this is too dramatic for you and you would like this style a little more delicate then I can do that. by heather
heather
heather This is the most complex and unique necklace I have ever designed. (This sample is done in ‘faux’ pearls.) I can make it for you in crystal or pearl. (Whatever your imagination can come up with.) One extremely long,strong double thread is worked into overlapping loops. It is labor intensive and uses at least 12 strands of 4mm beads and 1 strand of larger beads. If this is too dramatic for you and you would like this style a little more delicate then I can do that.
Favorites
Health & Fitness Home Gym Doorway Chin-Up Pull-Up BarHealth & Fitness Home Gym Doorway Chin-Up Pull-Up Bar Compatible Devices   The chin up bar is a great addition to your at home training program. It will adjust to fit most standard width door frames.  Disclaimer: the chin up bar has been designed to fit residential doorways 26' to 32' and support up to 100 kgs. This product has been manufactured and tested to decrease risk of injury. However, risks of injury exist in the use of this product. Therefore, the user assumes all risks of injury in the use of this product. Consult your physician before starting any exercise program. If you experience any discomfort while using this product, discontinue use and consult your physician immediately.Please install this product according to the instructions below. Benefits of Pull-Ups??? Convenient When you want to build upper body strength, you need to create resistance with the aid of dumbbells, barbells or weight machines. Pull-ups can be done with nothing more than a pull-up bar. If you do not have access to one, you can also use an open beam, the edge of a deck or you can visit a local park and use a set of monkey bars. This makes it possible to build strength with limited equipment.Multijoint Exercise Multijoint, or compound exercises, require you to use more than one muscle group and more than one joint when you perform them. These types of exercises recruit a maximal amount of muscle fibers and they can help you gain mass efficiently. Pull-ups are one of these exercises and they recruit the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius, deltoids, pectoralis, brachialis and triceps. These are anatomical names for the back, shoulders, chest and arms. Quick Variations A standard pull-up is done with your palms shoulder-width apart in an overhand grip on the bar. You can also do many variations quickly and easily by changing your hand position. Chin-ups are done with an underhand grip and they put more emphasis on your biceps. Wide-grip, close-grip and alternating grip are all other hand positions you can use. In essence, you can do multiple targeted exercises without having to adjust weights.Grip Strength Pull-ups can help develop powerful forearms and grip strength to help improve your performance in several sports. Activities like martial arts and wrestling require a strong grip.Transferable Strength Building strength with pull-ups can transfer over to weight training exercises including pulldowns, rows and curls. Regular execution of pull-ups helps you do these exercises more easily. by Top-product
Top-product
Top-product Health & Fitness Home Gym Doorway Chin-Up Pull-Up BarHealth & Fitness Home Gym Doorway Chin-Up Pull-Up Bar Compatible Devices The chin up bar is a great addition to your at home training program. It will adjust to fit most standard width door frames. Disclaimer: the chin up bar has been designed to fit residential doorways 26' to 32' and support up to 100 kgs. This product has been manufactured and tested to decrease risk of injury. However, risks of injury exist in the use of this product. Therefore, the user assumes all risks of injury in the use of this product. Consult your physician before starting any exercise program. If you experience any discomfort while using this product, discontinue use and consult your physician immediately.Please install this product according to the instructions below. Benefits of Pull-Ups??? Convenient When you want to build upper body strength, you need to create resistance with the aid of dumbbells, barbells or weight machines. Pull-ups can be done with nothing more than a pull-up bar. If you do not have access to one, you can also use an open beam, the edge of a deck or you can visit a local park and use a set of monkey bars. This makes it possible to build strength with limited equipment.Multijoint Exercise Multijoint, or compound exercises, require you to use more than one muscle group and more than one joint when you perform them. These types of exercises recruit a maximal amount of muscle fibers and they can help you gain mass efficiently. Pull-ups are one of these exercises and they recruit the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius, deltoids, pectoralis, brachialis and triceps. These are anatomical names for the back, shoulders, chest and arms. Quick Variations A standard pull-up is done with your palms shoulder-width apart in an overhand grip on the bar. You can also do many variations quickly and easily by changing your hand position. Chin-ups are done with an underhand grip and they put more emphasis on your biceps. Wide-grip, close-grip and alternating grip are all other hand positions you can use. In essence, you can do multiple targeted exercises without having to adjust weights.Grip Strength Pull-ups can help develop powerful forearms and grip strength to help improve your performance in several sports. Activities like martial arts and wrestling require a strong grip.Transferable Strength Building strength with pull-ups can transfer over to weight training exercises including pulldowns, rows and curls. Regular execution of pull-ups helps you do these exercises more easily.
Bestseller
For those of you without children or those who don't stay at home with your kids, wondering what stay-at-home moms do all day why we always say we are so busy so tired, THIS IS WHY. At least, part of why. In my house they usually begin with "how do you make...light-bulbs, candles, ice-cube trays" you name it! by proteamundi
proteamundi
proteamundi For those of you without children or those who don't stay at home with your kids, wondering what stay-at-home moms do all day why we always say we are so busy so tired, THIS IS WHY. At least, part of why. In my house they usually begin with "how do you make...light-bulbs, candles, ice-cube trays" you name it!
Favorites
Just one of those cloth shoe racks held up by a curtain rod with hooks. Fill holes with dirt and pick what you want do grow. I think this is great to do with clippings as well instead of putting them in a big pot   Very cool Idea for a small yard or spot.  is there a way to seal it so it doesn't mold? by merle
merle
merle Just one of those cloth shoe racks held up by a curtain rod with hooks. Fill holes with dirt and pick what you want do grow. I think this is great to do with clippings as well instead of putting them in a big pot Very cool Idea for a small yard or spot. is there a way to seal it so it doesn't mold?
I'm in the garden
Do you want to get some glam in your glimmer with a sexy dress? This flare dress has cute and sexy written all over it. There are six colors for your selection. More surprise at OASAP! by aimee
aimee
aimee Do you want to get some glam in your glimmer with a sexy dress? This flare dress has cute and sexy written all over it. There are six colors for your selection. More surprise at OASAP!
Fashionista
Ears come in all shapes and colors and need to be styled just like your outfits do. How you adorn them is a reflection of your personal style and individuality. Whether you have one piercing or several, there are a multitude of options for you to express yourself. The EarStylist by Jo Nayor features a stunning array of gold and diamond earrings affordably priced so you don't have to pick just one. Pin this and let's create your Ear Story! www.earstylist.com by leona
leona
leona Ears come in all shapes and colors and need to be styled just like your outfits do. How you adorn them is a reflection of your personal style and individuality. Whether you have one piercing or several, there are a multitude of options for you to express yourself. The EarStylist by Jo Nayor features a stunning array of gold and diamond earrings affordably priced so you don't have to pick just one. Pin this and let's create your Ear Story! www.earstylist.com
Beading
Look you cannot arrange for only some stylish and shiny wooden made creations for the storage of all of your accessories, nor do you ever feel like being self sufficient in the matter of storage. There are a lot of accessories that we really have to deal with and we have to provide them some better and secure space. So I guess this wood pallet made kist that is simply white washed would be of great support. by sarahx
sarahx
sarahx Look you cannot arrange for only some stylish and shiny wooden made creations for the storage of all of your accessories, nor do you ever feel like being self sufficient in the matter of storage. There are a lot of accessories that we really have to deal with and we have to provide them some better and secure space. So I guess this wood pallet made kist that is simply white washed would be of great support.
Humor
Mark Silverstein design. I want this ring for sure, but I want it all to be silver, no gold in there. 3 crossing wedding bands. Ecc. 4:12 states "a cord of 3 strands is not quickly broken" God, husband and wife . THIS ONE! THIS IS THE ONE I WANT! @futurehusband :P by Kim Paige
Kim Paige
Kim Paige Mark Silverstein design. I want this ring for sure, but I want it all to be silver, no gold in there. 3 crossing wedding bands. Ecc. 4:12 states "a cord of 3 strands is not quickly broken" God, husband and wife . THIS ONE! THIS IS THE ONE I WANT! @futurehusband :P
wedding
Happy Friday! Today I wanted to share with you a sequence for your hips and hamstrings that I taught in class this week. It's a great sequence for runners and cyclists to help loosen up those tight... by dorthy
dorthy
dorthy Happy Friday! Today I wanted to share with you a sequence for your hips and hamstrings that I taught in class this week. It's a great sequence for runners and cyclists to help loosen up those tight...
fitness
first do one coat of lightest purple shade (do not let dry)2.apply 4 thick lines of all shades, first start with dark, then medium, then lightest and then again dark (again: do not let dry) 3. + 4. now start dragging with a toothpick (from left to right on left hand, from right to left on right hand) 5. ready design, this is how it should look like (let it dry) 6. now when you drag, you will see where the lines are your bare nail, and that's the point where we refill those gaps with a silve by Noginsk Elektrostal
Noginsk Elektrostal
Noginsk Elektrostal first do one coat of lightest purple shade (do not let dry)2.apply 4 thick lines of all shades, first start with dark, then medium, then lightest and then again dark (again: do not let dry) 3. + 4. now start dragging with a toothpick (from left to right on left hand, from right to left on right hand) 5. ready design, this is how it should look like (let it dry) 6. now when you drag, you will see where the lines are your bare nail, and that's the point where we refill those gaps with a silve
Favorites
If you hear a knock at your front door and you get up to answer it only to find no one there, open the door wide for a couple of seconds and then close it. This will let a good spirit in. But don’t open it again if there are more knocks. Not even if they continue for the rest of the night. You might just be inviting an evil spirit into your home. And if there are three knocks the first time around, don’t open the door at all! If there is a knock at your back door, it is the devil himself ... by ofelia
ofelia
ofelia If you hear a knock at your front door and you get up to answer it only to find no one there, open the door wide for a couple of seconds and then close it. This will let a good spirit in. But don’t open it again if there are more knocks. Not even if they continue for the rest of the night. You might just be inviting an evil spirit into your home. And if there are three knocks the first time around, don’t open the door at all! If there is a knock at your back door, it is the devil himself ...
Favorites
This year, I decided to make a stack of the books I read. I wanted a tangible and visual encouragement to choose knowledge, words and wisdom over mindless entertainment. I cancelled my Netflix membership and spent many Saturdays getting lost in bookstores and buying books before I even finished the one I was in the middle of, and the stack grew and grew. Halfway through, I had finished 16 books. Now, 2014 is coming to a close, and the grand total of books read this year is 39 (but the Bible is really 66 books if if you really want to get specific...). I loved some, struggled to finish some, highlighted the heck out of some, and shared many with friends and family.  Now, I'm sharing the final list with you with a few of my thoughts in hopes that you too will read more books this year than you did last year. If you have recommendations of must-read books for 2015, please share them in the comments!  I've shared a quote from each book, the photo (because don't we all judge books by the covers just a little bit?), and my thoughts in review of each-- happy reading! One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. // "I have to seek God beauty. Because isn't my internal circuitry wired to seek out something worthy of worship? Every moment I live, I live bowed to something. And if I don't see God, I'll bow down before something else."  This book is a beautiful challenge-- "a dare to live fully right where you are." Grab a notebook and prepare your heart for a whole lot of thankfulness and start writing your own list of one thousand gifts. It will change your outlook on life. Wild by Cheryl Strayed. // "How wild it was to let it be." This is one woman's compelling, honest, beautiful story of her adventure "from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail." I know it's about to be a movie, so read this first before you see it. You won't want to put it down, you'll feel like you were there every step of the way, and you'll fall in love with Cheryl page by page. Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. // "The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer." This book is short but profound, a "classic exploration of Christian community" that was written in the early 1900s but is still completely relevant today. As a small group leader, this book was a wealth of wisdom and truth on how to foster an authentic community-- I think I underlined something on almost every page. Gospel by JD Greear. // "Radical generosity and radical commitment to the mission is the response of every person who has experienced the grace of Jesus Christ. Following Jesus, being His disciple, means living as He lived. He leveraged His life for the lost." This book is about "recovering the power that made Christianity revolutionary" and I loved it. Bold, easy to read, helpful, and so solid. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. // "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." This "eater's manifesto" is a fantastic read about how food has shaped our culture and changed so wildly over time, what Pollan calls the American Paradox-- "the more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we become." As a gluten-free vegan with a majorly plant-based diet, I loved this book and his proposals of how we can make great food choices, but I would strongly recommend this to anyone who eats food (aka everyone). A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Connor. // "Don't ever let me think, dear God, that I was anything but the instrument for Your story--just like the typewriter was mine." This collection of writings from O'Connor's journals is honest, raw, unedited and wonderful, "the record of a brilliant young woman's coming-of-age, a cry from the heart for love, grace, and art." A short and stunning read. Forgotten God by Francis Chan. // "We are most alive when we are loving and actively giving of ourselves because we were made to do these things. It is when we live like this that the Spirit of God moves and acts in and through us in ways that on our own we are not capable of." This book is all about "reversing our tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit," but not in a weird, hyper-spiritual way. It's like a conversation with a friend who is super passionate and prays with you often and points you back to truth and who God in the Trinity really is. Start Here by David Dwight and Nicole Unice. // "Remember that this life with Jesus is not something you accomplish or master; it's a growing relationship from this day forward." This book was written by two people on staff at my church that I respect, love and admire. It's a book about "beginning a relationship with Jesus," but it didn't matter that my relationship with Jesus started a long time ago-- this book was still an authentic and encouraging reminder of what faith looks like. This book comes straight from the Bible through the words of two people who love the Lord so evidently and are such incredible tools He is using to build the kingdom here on earth. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. // "I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once." If you want to weep and have your heart feel basically every emotion on the whole spectrum, this is the book for you. I recommend reading it before you see the movie, but definitely do both. Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist. // "I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don't want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift." This book (currently on loan to a friend, hence the different picture! sorry!) is electric, alive, fresh, and free. It's all about "celebrating the extraordinary nature of everyday life" and it's such a refreshing read, much like a cold tangerine would be. I fell in love with Shauna after the first few paragraphs, and knew I would be reading anything she ever wrote in that moment. This book was a delight and a joy. Packing Light by Allison Vesterfelt. // "One of the hardest parts of packing light, I've learned, is that it's as much about what you take with you as it is what you leave behind. ... Packing light isn't as simple as throwing up our hands and leaving everything up to God. It's as much about holding on as it is about letting go-- and knowing the difference between the two. It matters what you put in your suitcase." This book on "thoughts on living life with less baggage" follows Vesterfelt's journey on a cross-country road trip, but it's so much more than that. It's a refreshing and honest read about life and the journey and how to do it all authentically and simply. Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. // "When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow." Shauna's "thoughts on change, grace, and learning the hard way" was poignant, beautiful, and soulful. This book is like a warm hug from a dear friend while you're curled up swapping life stories on a comfy couch over mugs of coffee. It's warm and real and reflective in the best ways. I hang on to her every word and feel like we've been best friends forever every time I read her stories. Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist. // "What's becoming clearer and clearer to me is that the most sacred moments, the ones in which I feel  God's presence most profoundly, when I feel the goodness of the world most arrestingly, take place at the table. The particular alchemy of celebration and food, of connecting people and serving what I've made with my own hands, comes together as more than the sum of their parts." This book is a "collection of essays about family, friendships, and the meals that bring us together" next to exquisite recipes, and I can't say enough good things about it. Obviously I love Shauna Niequist, but it's more than that. This book welcomes you into a kitchen buzzing with activity and full of the most incredible tastes and smells, welcomes you around the table where love overflows and real life happens. Jesus > Religion by Jefferson Bethke. // "I saw that the church wasn't a museum for good people; it was a hospital for the broken." You may have seen the viral video a while back by Bethke, and this book is an expansion of that. It's about "why He is so much better than trying harder, doing more, and being good enough." It's full of contrasts between Jesus-life and religious life, and it's an awesome read. Room by Emma Donoghue. // "An astounding, terrifying novel...It's a testament to Donoghue's imagination and empathy that she is able to fashion radiance from such horror." - The New Yorker This book will absolutely take you captive from the first page to the last. I couldn't put it down. It's riveting and a thriller through and through in the very best way. A must-read. The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning. // "In season and out of season, in success and failure, in grace and disgrace, the courage to risk everything on the signature of Jesus is the mark of authentic discipleship." This book, a "call to a life marked by holy passion and relentless faith," is bold and beautiful and compelling. This was the first book by Manning that I read, and I loved his style, his wisdom and his heart. Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller. // "God saw Abraham's sacrifice and said, 'Now I know that you love me, because you did not withhold your only son from me.' But how much more can we look at his sacrifice on the Cross, and say to God, 'Now, we know that you love us. For you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love, from us.' When the magnitude of what he did dawns on us, it makes it possible finally to rest our hearts in him rather than in anything else." I've been a major Tim Keller fan since falling in love with King's Cross, and this book didn't disappoint. It's about "the empty promises of money, sex, and power, and the only hope that matters." If you've ever put your faith in any of these things (aka everyone), this book shows us how the Bible reveals powerful truths about our society and our hearts.  The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. // "To be alive is to be broken. And to be broken is to stand in need of grace. Honesty keeps us in touch with our neediness and the truth that we are saved sinners. There is a beautiful transparency to honest disc plies who never wear a false face and do not pretend to be anything but who they are." This book is a classic. I've been wanting to read it for ages and was so excited to find this old copy on my parent's bookshelf at home. I love the word ragamuffin--"each of us comes beat-up, butnr-out, ragged and dirty to sit at our Father's feet. And there he smiles upon us-- the chosen objects of his 'furious love.' YES. So good. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. // "'Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity.'" This novel is enchanting, and I now understand the hype around it. It's simple and full of wise and quotable lines. Do yourself a favor and pick up this beautiful read. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. // "I think Christian spirituality is like jazz music. I think loving Jesus is something you feel. I think it is something very difficult to get on paper. But it is no less real, no less meaningful, no less beautiful." Total honesty here: I did not like this book at all. Everyone and their mother seems to be obsessed with it, but I struggled to get through it. I made myself finish it, just to make sure I wasn't missing anything. I just straight-up don't like Miller's writing style, and he really rubbed me the wrong way. But hey, everyone else seems to love it, so maybe it's just me. A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich. This book was written as an attempt to write a history of the world for younger readers, from the Stone age to the atomic bomb. It isn't full of dates or facts, but it reads more like a story. I found it heard to get through the whole thing, but it definitely was interesting to read about the scope of history and humanity in a new style that was definitely much more engaging than a textbook. If you like history, this is definitely a book you'll love. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. // "Ice-pick sharp...spectacularly sneaky...impressively cagey." -New York Times If you didn't hear about this book, read this book, or see this movie this year,  you must live under a rock. It spread like wildfire this year, and rightly so, because this book is haunting, it sucks you in, and it leaves you on the edge of your seat in the best way. There are so many twists and turns--I couldn't put it down. The movie is incredible as well--not for the faint of heart though. Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott. // "But in baptism, in lakes and rain and tanks and fonts, you agree to do something that's a little sloppy because at the same time it's also holy, and absurd. It's about surrender, giving in to all those things we can't control. It's a willingness to let go of balance and decorum and get drenched." Anne Lamott is my new favorite. She's frank, honest, refreshing, sentimental, wise and witty. An author with dreadlocks that shares thoughts on faith but isn't afraid of cussing is my kind of author. This book is a great collection of Anne's "thoughts on faith" -- a definite must-read.   The Road by Cormac McCarthy. // "The searing, post apocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece." This was one of those books that I've always heard about and it's won the Pulitzer Prize and is a national bestseller, so when I found it at my favorite local bookstore for just a few bucks, I knew it was time to give it a read. There aren't chapters or clear dialogue or anything, so I found that I flew through it quickly even though it was slow in parts. It's intriguing and moving and makes you wonder what the world might look like someday. Gold by Chris Cleave. // "Her life was one endless loop that she raced around, with steep banked curves so she could never change or slow down. It just delivered her back to herself, over and over and over." This book is heart-warming and heart-breaking, about Olympic speed cyclists, love, ambition, loyalty, family...you fall in love with the characters, want to cheer them on as you read about their races, and want to cry with them when the pain comes. This book (I have to say it...) is gold. Little Bee by Chris Cleave. // "We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, 'I survived'." The back cover of this book says it all: "We don't want to tell you what happens in this book. It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know enough to buy it, so we will just say this: This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you never have to face. Two years later, they meet again--the story starts there... Once you have read it, you'll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens. The magic is in how the story unfolds." So there you have it. If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland. // "If you write, good ideas must  come welling up into you so that you have something to write. If good ideas do not come at once, or for a long time, do not be troubled at all. Wait for them. Put down the little ideas however insignificant they are." I found this little book at my favorite local used bookstore, and seeing that it was "a book about art, independence, and spirit" intrigued me. It wasn't the best book I've ever read, wasn't the worst, I underlined some stuff and disagreed with some stuff. The back says "it is about having values, about belief (in the imagination and its relation to personal integrity), and about the bravery of coming to understand yourself and of putting marks down on paper." Writers, it's worth a read. Everyone else, probably not. From the Library of C.S. Lewis compiled by James Stuart Bell. // "This is the perfect entrance to the world C.S. Lewis inhabited, and it arrives just when that world of books is under the threat of extinction. Thanks to those who have given us such a gold mine." This book is just that-- a gold mine. I've been obsessed with Lewis and his books for years, but this was all "selections from writers who influenced his spiritual journey" and it was fascinating. I think one of the best ways to get to know somebody is to read the books they love, and this was like doing that with Lewis. Not a page went without underlines or sticky notes or big fat stars from me, and I have a whole new wealth of information from writers I never read before or knew about. These selections span many centuries and are deep and brilliant and categorized by theme to break it up-- it's an excellent book and resource that I loved every word of. Quiet by Susan Cain. // "It's as if extroverts are seeing 'what is' while their introvert peers are asking 'what if.'" EVERYONE. READ THIS BOOK. NOW. I've never wanted to give a book to everyone I know so badly (okay, except maybe the Bible). It's gold. As a hardcore introvert, this book resonated with me on every page and made so much of how I feel and see things and respond to things make so much sense. It was hugely helpful, absolutely brilliant, deeply insightful, fascinating, wise, and just so very good. "The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking" -- YES. Introverts and extroverts alike-- read this and I promise you will understand people and yourself more clearly and it will change your life. Also-- Susan's TED talk is incredible too, if you're more into that sort of thing than you are into reading a whole book. Whatever you do, just soak up her goodness ASAP. Small Victories by Anne Lamott. // "Who knows, maybe those two robe leaders, Gandhi and Jesus, were right--a loving response changes the people who would beat the shit out of you, including yourself, of course. Their way, of the heart, makes everything bigger. Decency and goodness are subversively folded into the craziness, like caramel ribbons into ice cream." Anne's writing is a breath of fresh air-- I laughed out loud at her self-deprecating humor and appreciated her honesty about the reality of life and faith as she shared her thoughts and experiences on some of the best and worst of it all. She feels like that best friend you can count on to crack you up while also giving you a swift kick in the pants as she points you back in the right direction toward Christ, all in her honest, frank, wise and witty way. A must-read collection of essays and stories, no matter if you have read stuff from her before or if you've never heard from her. The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. // "Sometime before I die I think I'll find a microphone and climb to the top of a radio tower. I'll take a deep breath and close my eyes because it will start to rain right when I reach the top. Hello, I'll say to outer space, this is my card." This book is "an affecting and hope-filled posthumous collection of essays and stories from the talented young Yale graduate whose title essay captured the world's attention in 2012 and turned her into an icon for her generation." Marina died in a car crash five days after she graduated, and this is what she wrote before that. It's beautiful. I loved every word-- both her fiction and her essays equally. She was 22 when she died, and being 22 now myself, I was struck by (and slightly envied) her poignancy, raw talent and elegance-- I so highly recommend this book. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. // "Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path." This. Book. It's one I want to shove into the hands of every single human I meet. Everyone needs to read this. I discovered Brown through her TED talk a while back and fell in love with her research, completely. This book was wonderful. Based on so much sound and thorough research, it dives into "how the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead," so it's relevant to every single living person. Read this book. Now. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. // "But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way." This book, described in the inner flap as "the most lighthearted of all [Austen's] novels" was elegantly written (as to be expected) but humorous at points, poignant at points, and strangely modern and relevant at points. I loved it, I don't think it gets enough credit-- it really is a great work of Austen's. Soul Keeping by John Ortberg. // "The human soul seeks to integrate our will and our mind and our body into an integral person. Beyond that, the soul seeks to connect us with other people, with creation, and with God himself--who made us to be rooted in him the way a tree is rooted by a life-giving stream." My church did a sermon series on the soul last month and recommended reading this book as an accompaniment to it, and I'm so glad I did. The soul is the most important part of us and caring for it is so crucial, and this book was chock full of great words of wisdom on how to do so well. Loved this one. Ties That Bind by Dave Isay. // "Listening to the experiences of regular people living life to the fullest and exemplifying humanity at its finest has, time and again, stirred my soul and strengthened my faith in this nation and its people." I became a fan of NPR this summer and always loved the times I would catch StoryCrops-- snippets of conversations of people who shared their stories and conversations and hearts with the world. This book captures those conversations between relatives, friends, coworkers, neighbors and more in heart-wrenching, beautiful, moving ways. This book was one I read in one sitting and loved so much. Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey. // "We are seeking Jesus--we want to smell him on the skin of others, and we want to hear tell of his activity. We are seeking fellow travelers for this journey. We are hungry for true community, a place to tell our stories and listen, to love well, to learn how to have eyes to see and ears to hear. We want to be part of something amazing and real and lasting, something bigger than ourselves. We want to be with other women who know and love and follow our Jesus. Somehow we know that we will love him better if we hear from others how much they love him, too." This book's title might turn you off, or might make your heart swell with excitement. Either way, this book is a fantastic, honest, engaging read. "Feminist" has always been a word with strong reactions and associations, but this book is really "an invitation to revisit the Bible's view of women" through "exploring God's radical notion that women are people, too." It's so great. Bessey makes beautiful things out of her words. Hearing God by Dallas Willard. // "We were important enough for God to give his Son's life for us and to choose to inhabit us as a living temple. Obviously, then, we are important enough for him to guide us and speak to us whenever that is appropriate." This book is about "developing a conversational relationship with God" and to be honest, I've started and lost interest in it several times throughout the last year, but finally sat down and before forcing myself to commit to finishing it. Flipping through it, I underlined a ton and wrote lots of notes, so it's obvious that it resonated with me, but maybe the density and depth of the material just made it harder to digest in large quantities.It was my first book by Willard and I loved his intellect and wisdom, but wouldn't recommend this book for a light or quick read, although I do think it's a good book for those who have ever wondered about statements like "God spoke to me" or "God revelaed this to me" or things like that. The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. // "He comes as a Baby because He's done with the barriers. He comes vulnerable because He knows the only way to intimacy with you is through vulnerability with you. You can't get to intimacy except through the door of vulnerability. So God throws open the door of this world--and enters as a baby. As the most vulnerable imaginable. Because He wants unimaginable intimacy with you." This book. Stunning. Holy. Soul-filling. I cannot say enough good, worthy words. Every day of this Advent season, this book and Ann's glorious way with words quieted my soul, drew me to bended knee in awe of my Savior and this season, and was such a breath of quiet, fresh air I desperately needed. I will absolutely be returning to this work of art every Advent to come. (ps-- there is a version for children and families that I'm sure is out of this world!)   The Bible.  // For the first time in my life (as sad as that is to actually admit out loud), I have officially read the entire Bible. And it changed my year and my faith and my heart. Reading through it this way, with a portion from the Old Testament, a portion from the New Testament, a Psalm and a Proverb every day,was interesting and showed me Scripture in a whole new way, with parallels I never realized before and connections I made for the first time. Now, at 22, I have finally read every word of Scripture and can't wait to continue diving deeper and deeper into this love story I'll never get enough of. While I would definitely say there are better and deeper ways to study the Word, this is a great way to get into it and stay accountable to getting through even slower or less exciting books and chapters, so I definitely recommend doing it at least once in your life. Whew. What a year of reading it has been. Share your favorite reads or best recommendations in the comments and I'll add them to my list for 2015! My goal is 50+ books next year, so stay tuned for future RADreads posts! by Daisy Price
Daisy Price
Daisy Price This year, I decided to make a stack of the books I read. I wanted a tangible and visual encouragement to choose knowledge, words and wisdom over mindless entertainment. I cancelled my Netflix membership and spent many Saturdays getting lost in bookstores and buying books before I even finished the one I was in the middle of, and the stack grew and grew. Halfway through, I had finished 16 books. Now, 2014 is coming to a close, and the grand total of books read this year is 39 (but the Bible is really 66 books if if you really want to get specific...). I loved some, struggled to finish some, highlighted the heck out of some, and shared many with friends and family.  Now, I'm sharing the final list with you with a few of my thoughts in hopes that you too will read more books this year than you did last year. If you have recommendations of must-read books for 2015, please share them in the comments!  I've shared a quote from each book, the photo (because don't we all judge books by the covers just a little bit?), and my thoughts in review of each-- happy reading! One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. // "I have to seek God beauty. Because isn't my internal circuitry wired to seek out something worthy of worship? Every moment I live, I live bowed to something. And if I don't see God, I'll bow down before something else."  This book is a beautiful challenge-- "a dare to live fully right where you are." Grab a notebook and prepare your heart for a whole lot of thankfulness and start writing your own list of one thousand gifts. It will change your outlook on life. Wild by Cheryl Strayed. // "How wild it was to let it be." This is one woman's compelling, honest, beautiful story of her adventure "from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail." I know it's about to be a movie, so read this first before you see it. You won't want to put it down, you'll feel like you were there every step of the way, and you'll fall in love with Cheryl page by page. Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. // "The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer." This book is short but profound, a "classic exploration of Christian community" that was written in the early 1900s but is still completely relevant today. As a small group leader, this book was a wealth of wisdom and truth on how to foster an authentic community-- I think I underlined something on almost every page. Gospel by JD Greear. // "Radical generosity and radical commitment to the mission is the response of every person who has experienced the grace of Jesus Christ. Following Jesus, being His disciple, means living as He lived. He leveraged His life for the lost." This book is about "recovering the power that made Christianity revolutionary" and I loved it. Bold, easy to read, helpful, and so solid. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. // "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." This "eater's manifesto" is a fantastic read about how food has shaped our culture and changed so wildly over time, what Pollan calls the American Paradox-- "the more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we become." As a gluten-free vegan with a majorly plant-based diet, I loved this book and his proposals of how we can make great food choices, but I would strongly recommend this to anyone who eats food (aka everyone). A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Connor. // "Don't ever let me think, dear God, that I was anything but the instrument for Your story--just like the typewriter was mine." This collection of writings from O'Connor's journals is honest, raw, unedited and wonderful, "the record of a brilliant young woman's coming-of-age, a cry from the heart for love, grace, and art." A short and stunning read. Forgotten God by Francis Chan. // "We are most alive when we are loving and actively giving of ourselves because we were made to do these things. It is when we live like this that the Spirit of God moves and acts in and through us in ways that on our own we are not capable of." This book is all about "reversing our tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit," but not in a weird, hyper-spiritual way. It's like a conversation with a friend who is super passionate and prays with you often and points you back to truth and who God in the Trinity really is. Start Here by David Dwight and Nicole Unice. // "Remember that this life with Jesus is not something you accomplish or master; it's a growing relationship from this day forward." This book was written by two people on staff at my church that I respect, love and admire. It's a book about "beginning a relationship with Jesus," but it didn't matter that my relationship with Jesus started a long time ago-- this book was still an authentic and encouraging reminder of what faith looks like. This book comes straight from the Bible through the words of two people who love the Lord so evidently and are such incredible tools He is using to build the kingdom here on earth. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. // "I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once." If you want to weep and have your heart feel basically every emotion on the whole spectrum, this is the book for you. I recommend reading it before you see the movie, but definitely do both. Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist. // "I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don't want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift." This book (currently on loan to a friend, hence the different picture! sorry!) is electric, alive, fresh, and free. It's all about "celebrating the extraordinary nature of everyday life" and it's such a refreshing read, much like a cold tangerine would be. I fell in love with Shauna after the first few paragraphs, and knew I would be reading anything she ever wrote in that moment. This book was a delight and a joy. Packing Light by Allison Vesterfelt. // "One of the hardest parts of packing light, I've learned, is that it's as much about what you take with you as it is what you leave behind. ... Packing light isn't as simple as throwing up our hands and leaving everything up to God. It's as much about holding on as it is about letting go-- and knowing the difference between the two. It matters what you put in your suitcase." This book on "thoughts on living life with less baggage" follows Vesterfelt's journey on a cross-country road trip, but it's so much more than that. It's a refreshing and honest read about life and the journey and how to do it all authentically and simply. Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. // "When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow." Shauna's "thoughts on change, grace, and learning the hard way" was poignant, beautiful, and soulful. This book is like a warm hug from a dear friend while you're curled up swapping life stories on a comfy couch over mugs of coffee. It's warm and real and reflective in the best ways. I hang on to her every word and feel like we've been best friends forever every time I read her stories. Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist. // "What's becoming clearer and clearer to me is that the most sacred moments, the ones in which I feel  God's presence most profoundly, when I feel the goodness of the world most arrestingly, take place at the table. The particular alchemy of celebration and food, of connecting people and serving what I've made with my own hands, comes together as more than the sum of their parts." This book is a "collection of essays about family, friendships, and the meals that bring us together" next to exquisite recipes, and I can't say enough good things about it. Obviously I love Shauna Niequist, but it's more than that. This book welcomes you into a kitchen buzzing with activity and full of the most incredible tastes and smells, welcomes you around the table where love overflows and real life happens. Jesus > Religion by Jefferson Bethke. // "I saw that the church wasn't a museum for good people; it was a hospital for the broken." You may have seen the viral video a while back by Bethke, and this book is an expansion of that. It's about "why He is so much better than trying harder, doing more, and being good enough." It's full of contrasts between Jesus-life and religious life, and it's an awesome read. Room by Emma Donoghue. // "An astounding, terrifying novel...It's a testament to Donoghue's imagination and empathy that she is able to fashion radiance from such horror." - The New Yorker This book will absolutely take you captive from the first page to the last. I couldn't put it down. It's riveting and a thriller through and through in the very best way. A must-read. The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning. // "In season and out of season, in success and failure, in grace and disgrace, the courage to risk everything on the signature of Jesus is the mark of authentic discipleship." This book, a "call to a life marked by holy passion and relentless faith," is bold and beautiful and compelling. This was the first book by Manning that I read, and I loved his style, his wisdom and his heart. Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller. // "God saw Abraham's sacrifice and said, 'Now I know that you love me, because you did not withhold your only son from me.' But how much more can we look at his sacrifice on the Cross, and say to God, 'Now, we know that you love us. For you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love, from us.' When the magnitude of what he did dawns on us, it makes it possible finally to rest our hearts in him rather than in anything else." I've been a major Tim Keller fan since falling in love with King's Cross, and this book didn't disappoint. It's about "the empty promises of money, sex, and power, and the only hope that matters." If you've ever put your faith in any of these things (aka everyone), this book shows us how the Bible reveals powerful truths about our society and our hearts.  The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. // "To be alive is to be broken. And to be broken is to stand in need of grace. Honesty keeps us in touch with our neediness and the truth that we are saved sinners. There is a beautiful transparency to honest disc plies who never wear a false face and do not pretend to be anything but who they are." This book is a classic. I've been wanting to read it for ages and was so excited to find this old copy on my parent's bookshelf at home. I love the word ragamuffin--"each of us comes beat-up, butnr-out, ragged and dirty to sit at our Father's feet. And there he smiles upon us-- the chosen objects of his 'furious love.' YES. So good. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. // "'Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity.'" This novel is enchanting, and I now understand the hype around it. It's simple and full of wise and quotable lines. Do yourself a favor and pick up this beautiful read. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. // "I think Christian spirituality is like jazz music. I think loving Jesus is something you feel. I think it is something very difficult to get on paper. But it is no less real, no less meaningful, no less beautiful." Total honesty here: I did not like this book at all. Everyone and their mother seems to be obsessed with it, but I struggled to get through it. I made myself finish it, just to make sure I wasn't missing anything. I just straight-up don't like Miller's writing style, and he really rubbed me the wrong way. But hey, everyone else seems to love it, so maybe it's just me. A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich. This book was written as an attempt to write a history of the world for younger readers, from the Stone age to the atomic bomb. It isn't full of dates or facts, but it reads more like a story. I found it heard to get through the whole thing, but it definitely was interesting to read about the scope of history and humanity in a new style that was definitely much more engaging than a textbook. If you like history, this is definitely a book you'll love. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. // "Ice-pick sharp...spectacularly sneaky...impressively cagey." -New York Times If you didn't hear about this book, read this book, or see this movie this year,  you must live under a rock. It spread like wildfire this year, and rightly so, because this book is haunting, it sucks you in, and it leaves you on the edge of your seat in the best way. There are so many twists and turns--I couldn't put it down. The movie is incredible as well--not for the faint of heart though. Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott. // "But in baptism, in lakes and rain and tanks and fonts, you agree to do something that's a little sloppy because at the same time it's also holy, and absurd. It's about surrender, giving in to all those things we can't control. It's a willingness to let go of balance and decorum and get drenched." Anne Lamott is my new favorite. She's frank, honest, refreshing, sentimental, wise and witty. An author with dreadlocks that shares thoughts on faith but isn't afraid of cussing is my kind of author. This book is a great collection of Anne's "thoughts on faith" -- a definite must-read.   The Road by Cormac McCarthy. // "The searing, post apocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece." This was one of those books that I've always heard about and it's won the Pulitzer Prize and is a national bestseller, so when I found it at my favorite local bookstore for just a few bucks, I knew it was time to give it a read. There aren't chapters or clear dialogue or anything, so I found that I flew through it quickly even though it was slow in parts. It's intriguing and moving and makes you wonder what the world might look like someday. Gold by Chris Cleave. // "Her life was one endless loop that she raced around, with steep banked curves so she could never change or slow down. It just delivered her back to herself, over and over and over." This book is heart-warming and heart-breaking, about Olympic speed cyclists, love, ambition, loyalty, family...you fall in love with the characters, want to cheer them on as you read about their races, and want to cry with them when the pain comes. This book (I have to say it...) is gold. Little Bee by Chris Cleave. // "We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, 'I survived'." The back cover of this book says it all: "We don't want to tell you what happens in this book. It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know enough to buy it, so we will just say this: This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you never have to face. Two years later, they meet again--the story starts there... Once you have read it, you'll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens. The magic is in how the story unfolds." So there you have it. If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland. // "If you write, good ideas must  come welling up into you so that you have something to write. If good ideas do not come at once, or for a long time, do not be troubled at all. Wait for them. Put down the little ideas however insignificant they are." I found this little book at my favorite local used bookstore, and seeing that it was "a book about art, independence, and spirit" intrigued me. It wasn't the best book I've ever read, wasn't the worst, I underlined some stuff and disagreed with some stuff. The back says "it is about having values, about belief (in the imagination and its relation to personal integrity), and about the bravery of coming to understand yourself and of putting marks down on paper." Writers, it's worth a read. Everyone else, probably not. From the Library of C.S. Lewis compiled by James Stuart Bell. // "This is the perfect entrance to the world C.S. Lewis inhabited, and it arrives just when that world of books is under the threat of extinction. Thanks to those who have given us such a gold mine." This book is just that-- a gold mine. I've been obsessed with Lewis and his books for years, but this was all "selections from writers who influenced his spiritual journey" and it was fascinating. I think one of the best ways to get to know somebody is to read the books they love, and this was like doing that with Lewis. Not a page went without underlines or sticky notes or big fat stars from me, and I have a whole new wealth of information from writers I never read before or knew about. These selections span many centuries and are deep and brilliant and categorized by theme to break it up-- it's an excellent book and resource that I loved every word of. Quiet by Susan Cain. // "It's as if extroverts are seeing 'what is' while their introvert peers are asking 'what if.'" EVERYONE. READ THIS BOOK. NOW. I've never wanted to give a book to everyone I know so badly (okay, except maybe the Bible). It's gold. As a hardcore introvert, this book resonated with me on every page and made so much of how I feel and see things and respond to things make so much sense. It was hugely helpful, absolutely brilliant, deeply insightful, fascinating, wise, and just so very good. "The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking" -- YES. Introverts and extroverts alike-- read this and I promise you will understand people and yourself more clearly and it will change your life. Also-- Susan's TED talk is incredible too, if you're more into that sort of thing than you are into reading a whole book. Whatever you do, just soak up her goodness ASAP. Small Victories by Anne Lamott. // "Who knows, maybe those two robe leaders, Gandhi and Jesus, were right--a loving response changes the people who would beat the shit out of you, including yourself, of course. Their way, of the heart, makes everything bigger. Decency and goodness are subversively folded into the craziness, like caramel ribbons into ice cream." Anne's writing is a breath of fresh air-- I laughed out loud at her self-deprecating humor and appreciated her honesty about the reality of life and faith as she shared her thoughts and experiences on some of the best and worst of it all. She feels like that best friend you can count on to crack you up while also giving you a swift kick in the pants as she points you back in the right direction toward Christ, all in her honest, frank, wise and witty way. A must-read collection of essays and stories, no matter if you have read stuff from her before or if you've never heard from her. The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. // "Sometime before I die I think I'll find a microphone and climb to the top of a radio tower. I'll take a deep breath and close my eyes because it will start to rain right when I reach the top. Hello, I'll say to outer space, this is my card." This book is "an affecting and hope-filled posthumous collection of essays and stories from the talented young Yale graduate whose title essay captured the world's attention in 2012 and turned her into an icon for her generation." Marina died in a car crash five days after she graduated, and this is what she wrote before that. It's beautiful. I loved every word-- both her fiction and her essays equally. She was 22 when she died, and being 22 now myself, I was struck by (and slightly envied) her poignancy, raw talent and elegance-- I so highly recommend this book. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. // "Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path." This. Book. It's one I want to shove into the hands of every single human I meet. Everyone needs to read this. I discovered Brown through her TED talk a while back and fell in love with her research, completely. This book was wonderful. Based on so much sound and thorough research, it dives into "how the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead," so it's relevant to every single living person. Read this book. Now. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. // "But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way." This book, described in the inner flap as "the most lighthearted of all [Austen's] novels" was elegantly written (as to be expected) but humorous at points, poignant at points, and strangely modern and relevant at points. I loved it, I don't think it gets enough credit-- it really is a great work of Austen's. Soul Keeping by John Ortberg. // "The human soul seeks to integrate our will and our mind and our body into an integral person. Beyond that, the soul seeks to connect us with other people, with creation, and with God himself--who made us to be rooted in him the way a tree is rooted by a life-giving stream." My church did a sermon series on the soul last month and recommended reading this book as an accompaniment to it, and I'm so glad I did. The soul is the most important part of us and caring for it is so crucial, and this book was chock full of great words of wisdom on how to do so well. Loved this one. Ties That Bind by Dave Isay. // "Listening to the experiences of regular people living life to the fullest and exemplifying humanity at its finest has, time and again, stirred my soul and strengthened my faith in this nation and its people." I became a fan of NPR this summer and always loved the times I would catch StoryCrops-- snippets of conversations of people who shared their stories and conversations and hearts with the world. This book captures those conversations between relatives, friends, coworkers, neighbors and more in heart-wrenching, beautiful, moving ways. This book was one I read in one sitting and loved so much. Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey. // "We are seeking Jesus--we want to smell him on the skin of others, and we want to hear tell of his activity. We are seeking fellow travelers for this journey. We are hungry for true community, a place to tell our stories and listen, to love well, to learn how to have eyes to see and ears to hear. We want to be part of something amazing and real and lasting, something bigger than ourselves. We want to be with other women who know and love and follow our Jesus. Somehow we know that we will love him better if we hear from others how much they love him, too." This book's title might turn you off, or might make your heart swell with excitement. Either way, this book is a fantastic, honest, engaging read. "Feminist" has always been a word with strong reactions and associations, but this book is really "an invitation to revisit the Bible's view of women" through "exploring God's radical notion that women are people, too." It's so great. Bessey makes beautiful things out of her words. Hearing God by Dallas Willard. // "We were important enough for God to give his Son's life for us and to choose to inhabit us as a living temple. Obviously, then, we are important enough for him to guide us and speak to us whenever that is appropriate." This book is about "developing a conversational relationship with God" and to be honest, I've started and lost interest in it several times throughout the last year, but finally sat down and before forcing myself to commit to finishing it. Flipping through it, I underlined a ton and wrote lots of notes, so it's obvious that it resonated with me, but maybe the density and depth of the material just made it harder to digest in large quantities.It was my first book by Willard and I loved his intellect and wisdom, but wouldn't recommend this book for a light or quick read, although I do think it's a good book for those who have ever wondered about statements like "God spoke to me" or "God revelaed this to me" or things like that. The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. // "He comes as a Baby because He's done with the barriers. He comes vulnerable because He knows the only way to intimacy with you is through vulnerability with you. You can't get to intimacy except through the door of vulnerability. So God throws open the door of this world--and enters as a baby. As the most vulnerable imaginable. Because He wants unimaginable intimacy with you." This book. Stunning. Holy. Soul-filling. I cannot say enough good, worthy words. Every day of this Advent season, this book and Ann's glorious way with words quieted my soul, drew me to bended knee in awe of my Savior and this season, and was such a breath of quiet, fresh air I desperately needed. I will absolutely be returning to this work of art every Advent to come. (ps-- there is a version for children and families that I'm sure is out of this world!)   The Bible.  // For the first time in my life (as sad as that is to actually admit out loud), I have officially read the entire Bible. And it changed my year and my faith and my heart. Reading through it this way, with a portion from the Old Testament, a portion from the New Testament, a Psalm and a Proverb every day,was interesting and showed me Scripture in a whole new way, with parallels I never realized before and connections I made for the first time. Now, at 22, I have finally read every word of Scripture and can't wait to continue diving deeper and deeper into this love story I'll never get enough of. While I would definitely say there are better and deeper ways to study the Word, this is a great way to get into it and stay accountable to getting through even slower or less exciting books and chapters, so I definitely recommend doing it at least once in your life. Whew. What a year of reading it has been. Share your favorite reads or best recommendations in the comments and I'll add them to my list for 2015! My goal is 50+ books next year, so stay tuned for future RADreads posts!
Favorites
There are books you can’t stop reading, which keep you up all night.There are books which let us into the hidden parts of life and make them vividly real.There are books which, because of the sheer skill with which every word is chosen, linger in your mind for days.The Shock of the Fall is all of these books. An extraordinary portrait of one man’s descent into mental illness. It is a brave and groundbreaking novel from one of the most exciting new voices in fiction. by lorene
lorene
lorene There are books you can’t stop reading, which keep you up all night.There are books which let us into the hidden parts of life and make them vividly real.There are books which, because of the sheer skill with which every word is chosen, linger in your mind for days.The Shock of the Fall is all of these books. An extraordinary portrait of one man’s descent into mental illness. It is a brave and groundbreaking novel from one of the most exciting new voices in fiction.
Books Worth Reading
Aren't handprint crafts the cutest? There are so many fun things you can make simply by dipping one of your little's hands in paint and sticking it on a canvas! All you need to do is grab your favorite... by Jaipuri Bandhej
Jaipuri Bandhej
Jaipuri Bandhej Aren't handprint crafts the cutest? There are so many fun things you can make simply by dipping one of your little's hands in paint and sticking it on a canvas! All you need to do is grab your favorite...
Favorites
I know there is beauty all around me if I just decide to look for it. This painting is a sweet reminder of your beautiful soul. You Are Beautiful. Just as you are. by bette
bette
bette I know there is beauty all around me if I just decide to look for it. This painting is a sweet reminder of your beautiful soul. You Are Beautiful. Just as you are.
Favorites