My 100 Day Spending Fast

In September 2017, I dared myself to survive a one-month spending ban. The ban was mostly successful, thanks to the encouragement and help from my friends and family. In December, after buying loads of Christmas presents, I knew another detox was needed. In my goals for 2018, I vowed to pay down $20,000 of my debt in hopes of reaching a record low of $40,000.

This audacious goal won’t come without sacrifice. That’s why I’m cutting my excess spending for 100 days.

100 Days Spending Ban | Rose Colored Water #debt #money #spendingfast

January 1st – April 10th

This spending fast could not have arrived at a worse time, but maybe that makes it the best time. There’s no time like the present. The next few months require so much of me and my money. I have to:

  • move to a new apartment (deposits, fees, etc.) – My roommate is PCS’ing and most of my friends are moving as well, so I’ll be living in a one bedroom.
  • a lot of going away parties and gifts – my friends know I’m on a spending fast, but I wouldn’t miss their going away parties for anything! I will spend some money to be with them and wish them well on their new adventures.
  • the vet has recommended that Motley’s teeth be cleaned – This procedure will cost around $1000. I am still trying to decide if this is a necessary procedure.
  • the A/C went out in my Terrain – This is not something I am going to fix until I absolutely have to. Living without air in the car won’t be so bad when I’m not commuting an hour each way.

All of these things will need to be saved and budgeted for. They may even impact my ability to reach the $5000 debt pay-off goal I’ve set for this 100 day spending fast.

So far, I’ve done well. From what I can tell, I’ve spent $15 on extra stuff since the start of January. That included one going away lunch for a co-worker and a Coke from the vending machine. The next few weeks should be spend-free, aside from groceries and gas.

I look forward to seeing my debt drop every month. Will you join me in the spending fast?

How to Start a Blog in 5 Simple Steps

Starting a blog is easy. Maintaining a blog and making it look like the amazing blogs you read all the time takes more work. I have started more than five blogs over the last ten years, but Rose Colored Water is the only one I’ve followed through with. This is because I finally found something to write about.

Rose Colored Water is considered a lifestyle blog, but I write mainly about managing personal finances and being in the Air Force. A majority of my traffic comes from women looking for answers about enlisting in the military. We need more females out there documenting their experiences!

When you start your first blog, you don’t need to have a focus. Top bloggers will tell you that you must have a focus and niche, plus loads of content before starting, but for a newbie, I believe you must simply begin.

If you want to start blogging but have no idea where to begin, use this simple, five-step guide to get started.

Start a blog with these 5 simple steps! | Rose Colored Water #blogging #hustle

1. Purchase hosting and a domain name.

This is the most important part of starting a real blog. There’s nothing worse than stumbling upon a blog with awesome content, only to see that it’s called – Having a “free” blog is a great place to start, but if you want to be taken seriously and have a blog worth looking at, you need to purchase hosting.

There are a lot of options out there for blog hosting, but I use Bluehost. Many bloggers use Bluehost and have no issues. I have never had any problems and their customer service has always been on point. It is very reasonable for startup costs, especially for newbie bloggers. I highly recommend them!

Click on my ad below or any of the links above so you can have site hosting for just $3.45/month! It’s a great deal and you’re set for the next 3 years!

Get cheap web hosting for just 3.45/month! | Rose Colored Water #blogging #website

Once you get started, you’ll be asked to pick a package and domain name. I use the BASIC PACKAGE. You shouldn’t need any more than that as a new blogger, and you can always upgrade later as your blog grows. I’ve been blogging for three years and the BASIC PACKAGE is still giving me more than I need.

Bluehost signup - start a blog | Rose Colored Water #blogging

After you’ve selected your package, you’ll be taken to the next screen showing you how to choose a domain name. Search for the domain you want, but be intentional about what you name it.

I chose Rose Colored Water because my middle name is Rose, and I liked how it gave the idea that these were my thoughts. For a lifestyle blog, it works. NOTE: You want your domain name to be short, simple, and easy to remember. You should try to make it relevant to the kind of content you’ll be posting too. 

Many people use their names, or a play of words with their name, and it works well for them. Lifestyle blogs have more flexibility than niche specific blogs. Don’t let choosing a name stop you from going through with starting a blog. Many people become paralyzed by this. You can always transfer it later, though it will require more work. Getting started is what counts.

Sign up for blog hosting | Rose Colored Water #blogging #websites

Now that you have a domain name and some decent hosting, you’ll finish creating your account. Bluehost will offer some additional services, but you can add those all later if you need to. Just buy the basic hosting.

Once you’ve finished creating your account and purchasing your subscription, Bluehost will send you a WELCOME! email with a link to your home dashboard called the cPanel. You will complete your next step – downloading WordPress – there.

2. Download WordPress.

Many bloggers use WordPress as the backbone of their site. If you buy hosting through Bluehost, this is the easiest way to go. WordPress allows for easy customization, and gives you everything necessary to start blogging today. Plus, IT’S FREE!

  1. Go to your cPanel.
    • A link will be sent with your welcome email from Bluehost taking you to your home dashboard.
  2. Under the cPanel, scroll to the WEBSITE section.
      • Click “Install WordPress.

    Install WordPress | Bluehost | Rose Colored Water

3. The next page will walk you through the steps of installing WordPress on your site. This is fairly simple, and if you have any issues, you can always email or tweet me, and I’ll try my best to help you through it.

3. Find a theme.

This is the most exciting part of starting your blogging journey. During your WordPress install, they might advertise themes, but I recommend waiting until you have installed WordPress and look through their free themes. I started out with free themes, but around two years in, I went to Etsy and bought the theme you see now, for about $17.

Your blog dashboard will look something like this:

Wordpress themes | Rose Colored Water

  1. Go down to Appearance > Themes.
    • Click on Popular for the most common free themes you’ll see.
    • Click on the theme you want and Install. You will be able to customize it a little more after installation.
  2. Check out Etsy for responsive WordPress themes like mine.

4. Get familiar with how WordPress works.

You will be forever frustrated with blogging if you don’t learn how to manage the back end of your site. Take some time to play around with things before announcing your blog to the world. As I’ve told many friends who’ve started blogging, you will want to change things numerous times before you finally settle on a single layout.

Take some time to learn how to format posts and upload blog images. Decide what you want in your top menu and sidebars.

5. Write three posts.

After you feel comfortable with WordPress, START WRITING! My first posts don’t exist on this blog anymore, but you can bet I wrote a big hello to the world and shared it all over my social media accounts.

If you want to stay in a niche, do some research and write three article-style posts. Once you’ve written a post, click publish.

Type a WordPress Post | Rose Colored Water

Now you have a real blog with a real name with real content! There will be a learning curve, but over time, you will absolutely get the hang of it. It’s a new year, and there is no better time than the present to START YOUR OWN BLOG.

Don’t let fear stop you! Blogging can change your life! Good luck, and hit me up if you have any questions!

How to start your own blog in 5 steps. | Rose Colored Water #blogging #hustle

Goals for the Year 2018

This is the third year in a row I’ve made New Year Resolutions. I started back in 2016 (see my 2016 resolutions and 2017 resolutions) and was so impressed with how successful it was, I kept on doing it. Without my yearly and quarterly reviews, I wouldn’t accomplish half of these goals. Rose Colored Water has been instrumental in what I achieve every year, and even if I never posted, the check-ins alone would keep me going.

This year, I decided to stop calling them resolutions and start calling them goals. My plans and desires are not resolutions by definition. A resolution is something you “resolve” to do. My goals are more than just things I am resolving to do. I could resolve to eat better, but I would rather make a specific goal to cut out dairy three days a week.

See what I mean?

2018 Goals | Rose Colored Water

For 2018, I made concrete goals I can take specific steps to reach. Plus, most require a lot of work and aren’t dedicated to making me a better person. I am not trying to lose weight, eat better, or pursue minimalism. This year, I need to get things done. If I don’t, other parts of my life will rearrange and change course.


There are very specific career goals I have in the Air Force, and I hope to complete all of them in 2018. I’ve mentioned it before, but if I don’t get into nursing school, then I can’t apply to the NECP. That will mean another year of waiting for the next cycle to open again. There’s also the possibility that I will get into a nursing program, but not into the NECP. My goals extend past my acceptance into that program.

1. Get into nursing school.

I am applying to five programs, but two of those may fall through before I can finish their application. I will update you as things develop. Acceptance into nursing school means I can move forward with my application to nursing school.

2. Get into the NECP.

Once I am accepted into nursing school, I will move forward with applying to the Nurse Enlisted Commissioning Program. If I don’t get into the NECP or can’t apply, this goal will roll over to next fall where I will reapply.

If I don’t get into nursing school or the NECP, I plan on hopping into a few more college courses (pathophysiology, general chemistry II, and medical terminology) to increase my chances and gain more educational experience.

3. Score a 90 on my PT test.

Typically I take my test in October. However, if I get into the NECP, it is highly recommended I test in June or July so my testing cycle falls during summer sessions (less going on and more time to prep). I have never scored below a 90, and I don’t plan on starting now.

4. Make Staff Sergeant (E-5) first time.

I will become an E-4 (Senior Airman) just in time to test for the rank of E-5 (Staff Sergeant). Staff Sergeants are given more responsibility and take on supervisory roles and responsibilities. I want to make E-5 the first time because it comes with a big pay increase and I would finally be the same rank as many other people my age. That’s the tough part about enlisting at an older age. I believe I am ready for that position and hope to have a positive impact in my work center.

If I don’t make it this year, I will have to wait another year to test. If I don’t get into the NECP, it would be horrible for me if I didn’t make this rank the first time. Talk about feeling like a failure…

5. Volunteer 100 hours at the hospital.

I volunteer in the emergency department at a local hospital, so over the next year, I would like to gain at least 100 hours. This provides invaluable experience for me and looks great when applying to nursing school.


These are the general goals I want to accomplish in 2018. They aren’t necessarily important to anyone but me, but I place them high on my priorities.

1. Take one big trip.

Hopefully, this trip will be a big move to wherever I get into nursing school, but if that falls through, I would like to take a real vacation. I want to go somewhere I haven’t been so I can forget about my problems.

2. Move closer to work.

As you may already know, last year I moved to be closer to my husband’s (now ex) work. This increased my commute time from 30 minutes to more than an hour each way. Now that I am divorced, I can move back to the area I lived before – shortening my commute time, increasing my happiness, and reducing my expenses.

I will have to give up my two bedroom lifestyle because my roommate is PCS’ing in April and I move in March. There is no one else available to live with right now, so I think it’s best for me to downsize and sell some stuff. This will help with some of the debt pay-off and improve my minimalist mindset.

3. Read my entire 2018 book list.

Every year, I make a reading list. This year, I am attempting to read 39 books. It’s an audacious goal, but some of these books are from my 2016 and 2017 lists. Check out this page to see all my book reviews as I work through the list this year.

4. Make intentional purchases.

I hope to spend very little money in 2018, but I also want to create a space that feels cozy and minimal. Right now, I still feel my home has too many odds and ends. Reducing the amount of stuff (furniture, random knick-knacks, etc.) will create a much quieter, peaceful environment.

I’m going to continue purging old things I’ve found in dumpsters (literally) and start saving up for specific furniture and decor pieces I’d like to have. Check out my Home Decor Pinterest board to see some of my minimalist style wants.


1. Pay my debt down to $40,000.

I have about $60,000 in debt. This is scattered across credit cards and student loans. Paying off $20,000 on my salary is going to be tough, especially since I will be living alone. However, I’m dedicating 2018 to the biggest, most bodacious, nearly unachievable goals.

If I can put an additional $1000-$2000 a month towards my regular debt payments, I can achieve this goal with the help of other things. Paying down my debt to $40,000 would be ALMOST as good as getting into the NECP.

Below are some goals that will help put more money towards my debt.

2. Refund my extended warranty on my car.

I admit it. Buying the extended warranty for my GMC Terrain was a decision made out of fear. It felt like the right thing to do to reassure myself. Now that I’m trying to cut my expenses and find some loose cash, the warranty must go. I’ve never needed it, and with a healthy emergency fund, I will be able to handle anything that comes my way.

The fine print reassured me that even if I did need to use it, they would find a way to not honor it. So… through a bunch of hassle and letters, I will attempt to get back the pro-rated amount left over on this extended warranty. It will go right back into paying this car off.

3. Pay off my car.

Of the $20,000 I want to pay off this year, my car is the first priority. I am still underwater on it and it is the biggest payment I have. I hope to pay it off in full by September.

4. Switch to the Blended Retirement System and get my employer match.

As of January 1st, a new retirement system is available for military members. I won’t go into details here, but I’ve decided to opt-in to this plan, which will now include a 5% employer match to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). I want to continue contributing 10% into my TSP, so now it will be like I’m putting in 15%. Pretty dope, right? Once I pay off more debt, I’ll increase my contributions.

5. Reach $5000 in my emergency fund.

That ever-elusive $5000 I’ve been trying to save is finally going to happen. Honestly, I’d rather have this sitting in my bank account than paying down the debt to $40000. I want to feel secure financially, and this is the most important way to achieve that.


1. Monetize Rose Colored Water.

Last summer, I said that monetizing my blog was a priority and I wanted to make $500 a month by the end of 2017. This was also around the same time I decided to end my marriage. Everything blog-related was put on the back-burner and I vowed to eventually get back to it. This is the year. I am still keeping the goals of making $500/month on the blog by the end of 2018. Through affiliate marketing and ads (possibly), monetizing my blog will help me reach the goal of paying $40,000 in debt off by the end of the year.

Want to help? Start a blog through Bluehost for just $3.45/month! CLICK THE BANNER ABOVE (I will earn a small commission) for a great deal on blog hosting and help me on my journey to debt freedom!

2. Retake/Finish the Making Sense of Cents Affiliate Marketing Course.

I started this course back in April 2017 and never completed it (for the same reason as above). After May, I really want to dig back into this course and get to work on affiliate marketing and optimizing my posts.

3. Publish 10 posts a month.

I have not wanted to blog for a long time, but I am dedicated to growing my site and helping others. This year, I hope to publish at least 10 posts a month. This will require me to re-motivate myself and work through my lack of inspiration. I have a ton of ideas and drafts; I just can’t bring myself to write them. This is my year though. I’m going to make it happen.

4. Finish re-optimizing my blog posts.

This is something I worked fervently on last spring, but fell to the wayside when all my life changes happened. I hope to continue this and finish making all my blog posts beautiful with Pin-worthy images.

These are big goals for the year, but I believe I can accomplish a lot of them if I stay motivated, excited, and energized. Many of my friends are PCS’ing this year, so I will be spending more time indoors (alone, sadly). The positive side to this, if I don’t get into the NECP, is that I will be able to put more time into reading and blogging.

What are your goals for the year?

Books I Read | December 2017

I admit it. I completely fell off the blogging bandwagon in November, causing me to miss my November reading recap post. December’s reading recap will be an accumulation of books I read in November and December. I did pretty well once classes ended. I even checked off some books that were on my reading list from 2016.

Some of the books I read were complete trash. It was very disappointing. I guess that’s the way it goes when you choose randomly on Goodreads.

Books I read in December 2017 | Rose Colored Water #readingchallenge

A Practical Guide: How to Start and Keep the Planner, To-Do List, and Diary That’ll Actually Help You Get Your Life Together – Rachel Wilkerson Miller

I decided to start bullet journaling in late November, and I really enjoyed it. It slowed down once my classes ended because I didn’t feel like I had a lot to put in it, but this book is a great way to get started with the process. I highly recommend it if you’re considering starting a bullet journal.

bullet journal | Rose Colored Water

Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life – Jen Hatmaker

I listened to this on audiobook and it was really good! Jen Hatmaker is a Christian writer with some liberal views on faith. She narrated and added her own tidbits that aren’t in the written text, which was refreshing and insightful. If you are interested in hearing from a woman who loves God and isn’t a fire and brimstone type, put this book on your list!

The Bette Davis Club – Jane Lotter

This book was so underwhelming. It started slow and didn’t pick up or get interesting until the last 50 pages or so. I thought it would be a fun read, but it was doldrum. There is very little related to Bette Davis, and the analogy in which she is used is dumb. Don’t read.

The Gemini Effect – Chuck Grossart

Another disappointing read. I am so glad to finally have this off my list. It was on my 2016 reading list and I was able to read it using my free Kindle Unlimited Trial. I thought it sounded so interesting, but it was poorly written and felt like the author stole from a thousand other stories. Picture I Am Legend and World War Z in book form.

The best part about this apocalyptic novel was that it started in Kansas City. I don’t recommend it.

The Winged Histories – Sofia Samatar

This book has great reviews on Goodreads but it was so difficult to read and understand. The writing is unique and beautiful, but I found myself asking what the heck is going on right now? I skimmed the whole thing. I did not enjoy it and if someone asked me what it was about, I wouldn’t know what to say.

Friends Like Us – Lauren Fox

This was exactly what I thought it would be. I actually read it a few days ago (getting an early start on my 2018 list) because it was on Hoopla as audiobook. It definitely feels like the author stole everything from Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin. It was written well, but so overdone. If you like these kinds of stories, go ahead and read it. Just don’t expect anything big.

Beneath the Surface – John Hargrove

I’m not quite finished with this, but I’m close enough to write a review. I have been torn apart in multiple ways reading this book. This man, a senior trainer who worked with orcas at SeaWorld – unveils the truth behind performing orcas and the work that went into making these carnivorous creatures seem like cuddly, understanding beings.

Many people don’t know that I have my scuba certification and went to college in Maine for a year to pursue this career.  The summer before I left, one of their oldest and best trainers was killed by Tilikum. That was in 2010. After the trainer’s death, workers were no longer allowed to get into the water with the whales. That piece, among so many other things, killed my dream and I decided to pursue something else.

Hargrove details his rise in the SeaWorld training ranks and how he eventually left the company because his beliefs changed. While I love seeing the orcas perform, Beneath the Surface opens your eyes to how animals in captivity react and endure life in captivity. There is no “thriving” in that kind of environment.

I could write an entire post on that book, but I recommend reading it for yourself. (And definitely read before you watch Blackfish.)

That wraps up my December reads. I am excited to get started on the rest of my 2018 reading list! What have you been reading lately?

30+ Books to Read in 2018

With the start of a fresh year comes a new list of fresh reads. In 2017, I actually read/listened to more books than ever before, but many of them were not on my 2016 or 2017 reading lists. I’ve talked about how I use my library’s selection to work through my reading lists, and if they don’t have a book, I usually don’t get to read it. That’s because I loathe paying for books (especially audio and electronic versions).

30+ Books for 2018 to help expand your reading list | Rose Colored Water

I’m not backing down though. This 2018 reading list contains my heftiest reading goal yet – 30 books – PLUS the leftovers from 2016 and 2017. This year, I will attempt to read 39 books, in addition to whatever crosses my fancy on Hoopla’s recommended list.

Is it attainable? Absolutely. Will it be difficult? Yes. Much of my success will depend on if I get accepted into nursing school and the NECP. If I don’t, there is no doubt in my mind that I can finish all of these books.

Something special about this list is that when choosing books, I pushed myself to pick things I am interested in, but don’t typically read. I’ve added more non-fiction, more trash (your basic quick reads), and more “best-sellers.” I am trying really hard to push the boundaries of my traditional genres, and I’ve done a pretty good job. I can’t explain how excited I am to get started.

Women Like Us by Erica Abeel

I hope this novel follows the likes of Commencement and Superior WomenIt starts out at a girl’s college, and each of the four friends are determined to be brilliant and successful. The book follows them as they grow into the women they always hoped to be. Will they all make it?

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

I have no idea what this book is about. The Goodreads summary is long and convoluted. I know it is a mystery novel, which is why I added it to my list. I also think it takes place in another time. Historical fiction/mystery? Why not? This is one way I’m expanding my reading list. For those that don’t know, I am not a fan of mysteries.

The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis

Basically, a guy falls in love with a girl named Rachel. That is the gist I got from Goodreads. Not much to go on, but it sounded cute. This is the light reading needed when in the midst of heavy classics and thrillers.

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

Goodreads describes this book as “a deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse.” It combines magic, science fiction, and traditional romance to create a novel that I’m sure will be entertaining. It also addresses climate change as the reason for the world’s impending doom. Reviewers describe it as quirky and genre-less. Sound interesting?

Speak Easy, Anne by Brandy D. Anderson

I can’t hide my love for the Golden Age in New York City. Bootlegging. Prohibition. Flappers. It calls to me, and Speak Easy, Anne promises to deliver it all. It seems like a low-budget book, but that won’t stop me. This list is about pushing boundaries, right?

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale

This selection was based purely on the book cover. I mean, look at it. The cover is stunning. It also combines fantasy and historical fiction in Russia. My excitement to read this book cannot be contained.

Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg

It’s the Jazz Age in New York City. I don’t need to know anything else about this book to be excited about it. It also spends some time in the Great Depression. This historical piece follows Mazie, a vibrant young woman who is always looking for a good time. However, when the Depression hits, life changes for everyone and Mazie finds a way to help where she can.

I am so looking forward to this book based on this woman’s diary from the 1920’s and 30’s.

Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin

I’ve been trying to read more classic novels and Go Tell It On the Mountain has been on that list for years. It’s about a 14-year old boy working to discover who he is in Harlem, 1935. I am anxious to read this book, as it really is out of character for me. I am sure it will not disappoint, and I hope it adds some perspective to my life.

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin

A historical fiction piece about the tiniest of heroines. Many of us know the story of Tom Thumb, but what about his wife? Melanie Benjamin uses her skilled imagination to show us the world from the perspective of two feet tall. Right on the heels of the new movie “The Greatest Showman,” I am genuinely excited to see how this story reads. It has been on my Goodreads list for a long time.

The Dream Lover: A Novel of George Sand by Elizabeth Berg

This book caught my eye when I read The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. George Sand was a famous female novelist who had many lovers. She spent her time in Paris during the period when all the prominent writers and artists flocked there for creative pursuits and unbridled passion. This novel follows her scandalous behavior and most prolific moments.

In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan

This book has a mermaid on the front. That is a core reason I added it to my list. It is a young adult fantasy novel of mermaids and elves. What’s not to love? We’ll see if it holds up.

The Weird Sisters (2018 Reading List)

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

My sister is one of my closest friends, so I love reading sister stories. This book follows three sisters who return home to care for their dying mother. There’s more to their prodigal return though. Each carries a secret and a burden, and their time spent at home reveals more than they expected. The story seems like it could have a happy ending and I love happy endings.

The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking Want to Read by Oliver Burkeman

People have always called me a pessimist. I consider myself a realist. See where I’m going here? This book could be the life-changing magic I’ve been looking for. Goodreads says this book turns decades of self-help advice on its head.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

I don’t know how I found this book, but I am genuinely terrified to read it. This book should not be read electronically or with audio. House of Leaves is an experience that must be read in its tangible book form. Something is very wrong in this house that a young family moves into. This creepy, twisted book may actually give me nightmares, and I am mentally preparing myself for that.

Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond

In an attempt to read more non-fiction and better my reading comprehension, I added this book on the recommendation of a friend. Diamond is an excellent non-fiction writer, recounting the history of all people’s throughout time. This book shines light on how humans have moved through centuries of change. I am sure an in-depth review will be necessary, as it is a very large book.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” I have tried to read this book so many times I have lost count. This is the year I will read the whole thing, no matter how dry and slow it may be.

Illusionarium by Heather Dixon

A book about illusions and the plague – it seems like the perfect amount of mystery and fantasy to peak my fancy. We shall see how it goes!

Friends Like Us by Lauren Fox

This sounds like a cute chick lit read about best friends. I’ve already started reading it, and now I’m beginning to think it’s a knock-off of Something Borrowed. If that be the case, I probably won’t enjoy it, but we will see.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman


First, it’s Neil Gaiman. I have only read American Gods, but I have heard so many praises about this man’s work. I chose The Ocean at the End of the Lane because the cover is beautiful. How else do you choose which book to read next from a fantastic author who has multiple works?

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg

Because I was raised in middle America where the white trash of America thrive and find success (I can say this because some would define my own family as white trash), I found this non-fiction piece intriguing. In an effort to continue pushing myself to read things I normally wouldn’t, I added this book to my 2018 list. This follows the lower classes and the social injustices they have endured throughout history.

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

Set in Alaska, a Colonel is charged to brave its wilderness and find the gold everyone is intent on finding. With just a few men and his newly pregnant wife, they endure intense hardships along the way. It is said to have some magical elements weaved throughout and has positive reviews. I think it’s going to be a beautiful and possibly tragic read.

Kraken by China Mieville

In what seems like a birth story of the Kraken, this novel takes place in a London we do not recognize, where a different kind of magic runs deep and a battle is brewing. I thought the book cover was lovely, and I think the fantasy side of it will be interesting.

The Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Anne Noble

I am very excited to read this tale of three orphan children brought together as siblings and bound by unique circumstances. Each arrived to their “Auntie” by different means. Specifically, one sister arrived in a seashell, and at the age of 16, is now growing scales. Together, they must get her to the sea or she will die.

Nothing is ever as easy as it seems though, and their journey is full of dangerous surprises. What will they learn about each other as they try to save their sister?

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

One woman, the widow of a Nazi resistor, returns to her grand castle after WWII. She is determined to keep the vow she made to her husband of protecting the other wives of his fellow resistors. Through shared pain and grief, the characters come together to heal from the devastation World War II wrought on the world and their lives.

The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson

A small town in England lives through the perfect summer. Follow their stories before the perfect summer is about to end in war and broken nations. A touching story about pre-WWI England, this historical fiction piece is sure to be a heartfelt read.

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater


All the Crooked Saints is set in Colorado and circles the Soria family. Each of them has the ability to perform miracles, but are also trying to escape their own abilities. Published in October 2017, I have wanted to read this since it popped up on my Goodreads recommendations.

Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler

I don’t talk about relationships, sex, or childbirth on this blog much because it doesn’t seem relevant to my readers. However, I recently embarked on a journey of learning more about my body and what makes it tick. For those that do not know, I am not a huge fan of hormonal birth control. I believe it can work for some people, but it was not good for me.

With that disclaimer out of the way, this book is one I have wanted to read since deciding to pursue alternative birth control options and learn about the female body’s inner workings. I first heard about it on Blair Blogs as she discussed her own experience with hormonal birth control.

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

This is a story about six art students who meet during the summer of Nixon’s resignation. The plot finds them in adulthood. Will they all find success as artists? Can their bond be broken by greed, love, and a changing world? I always love stories like this (see Women Like Us), so I hope it is as fun to read as others of its kind.

A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright

This book could be terrifying because it is based on fact.

“Wright illustrates how various cultures throughout history have literally manufactured their own end by producing an overabundance of innovation and stripping bare the very elements that allowed them to initially advance.”

Based on what we know about climate change and other environmental factors, this book sounds truth-bearing and scary. I pride myself in not living as ignorant in bliss, so I’m sure I will enjoy this read, even if it gives me night terrors.

Internal Time: Chronotypes, Social Jet Lag, and Why You’re So Tired by Till Roenneberg

Roenneberg explores our biological clocks in this non-fiction book about time. I am an early bird. My roommate is a night owl. It is fascinating that I can wake up at 5 a.m., feeling chirpy and lighthearted, while his favorite time is after the sun goes down. Why are we like this? I look forward to reading Roenneberg’s explanations of our internal timepieces and how we can better use them to our advantage.

Books from 2016 & 2017 to Read

I’m proud to say that I actually finished a couple of books from my 2016 reading list (Beneath the Surface The Gemini Effect), but there are several that I didn’t get to. I am prioritizing those over my 2018 list because I want to knock them out and it seems like the list never gets shorter. This year, I’m determined to finish all of them (even if it means sacrificing my 2018 reads)!

  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman
  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Knitting Under the Influence by Claire LaZebnik
  • Night of the Animals by Bill Broun
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  • The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
  • The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee
  • The Instructions by Adam Levin

Have you ever read any of the above books? I’d love to hear if you enjoyed them! If you do decide to read any of these, please let me know so we can discuss them! Let’s be friends on Goodreads, too!