Why Your Time Was Not Wasted On That Book You Didn't Finish

I recently read a book that was interesting and I was finding value in it but roughly halfway through, I lost interest.

Now to be clear, the book wasn’t the problem. This was all me. And I couldn’t figure out why. The book started off great; I had been enjoying it, and I was learning things. So what the heck happened?

You don’t have to finish every book.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had this issue. It’s not a frequent occurrence, but it does happen.

Usually, I keep pushing forward, a page here, a page there. Because, while I will tell you there are too many good books in the world for you force yourself through a book you’re not enjoying, I have problems following my own advice.

Then one afternoon, while scrubbing out the bathtub (of all things), it occurred to me—what if I didn’t need to finish the book? What if I had learned the lessons I was intended to learn from that book? And having absorbed the lesson, the universe was telling me to move on?

If this sounds out there, hang with me. The idea that God, the Universe, or Fate is that involved in my reading life feels woo-woo to me, too.

But I wouldn’t completely discount the idea either.

Either way, is it necessary to finish a book for it to have value?

You can see from the picture that I found lots of things to take notes on. What was to be gained by pushing on, reading a book I was no longer enjoying? Do we have to absorb ALL the ideas in a book for the book to be of value?

I don’t think so. First, it’s way too easy to read a book and then not apply any of what we’ve learned. I’d guess that implementing what we’ve learned is a problem for many of us. So if you read a book and act on even one thing you’ve read, you’re ahead of the game.

Second, don’t you think an author would rather you take away one big idea from his/her book and be excited and ready to use that idea than for you to keep reading and be “meh” about the book?

Third, what if the universe was telling me something? What if I had learned the lesson I needed, and it was time to move on to another book?

(Caveat—if a book is about a system, you likely need to read the book in its entirety and implement all the steps for you to get the desired results. But that’s not what I’m discussing here.)

Francis Bacon said, “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.” (Bolding mine.)

So if you find yourself in a similar position of not wanting to finish a book, I give you permission to quit the book. In fact, I insist on it.

By the way, the book I was reading was Business Brilliant: Surprising Lessons From The Greatest Self-Made Business Icons by Lewis Schiff. I recommend you check it out. Some ideas are counter-intuitive. Reading Business Brilliant will make you aware of your where mindset is and any changes you need to make in your thinking.

And the big lesson I learned from the book? The one that was my A-Ha moment?

 “… about 7 in 10 middle-class respondents agreed that ‘cutting back expenditures to help accumulate wealth’ is important to their financial success. About the same number cited ‘cutting back on little luxuries’ as being important... Self-made millionaires, though, take the extreme opposite view... To self-made millionaires, financial success is achieved by increasing what comes in, not restricting what goes out. Savings are a fine thing, but those who have gotten wealthy didn’t get there by saving."

Huge mindset shift for me. Focus on bringing more in.

What are your thoughts on not finishing books? What book have you learned from even if you didn’t finish the book? Let me know in the comments.

What Is The Makeup of a Confident Woman?

When I was in my teens and 20s, I rarely wore makeup. Unless it was a special event, such as my wedding day, I was fortunate that I didn’t need it. Plus, I knew enough to know that I didn’t have the skills to apply makeup properly and I had no interest in learning them, so I didn’t bother.

But as I’ve gotten older, my skin has lost that youthful glow. While overall it’s in good condition, it’s gotten blotchy, my eyes seem smaller, and my lips are thinner. Welcome to your 40s.

The Makeup of a Confident Woman. The Science of Beauty, The Gift of Time, and The Magic of Putting Your Best Face Foward by Trish McEvoy

So makeup has become more of a necessity for me to feel good about myself when I leave the house. I feel more confident when I take the time to apply makeup.

Well, Trish McEvoy is the author of The Makeup of a Confident Woman and her mission is to help women exude confidence, and makeup is the tool Trish uses.

"Everyone of us needs something to help us sail through the day and make it better. Makeup has been that instrument for me and it can be yours, too."

Her belief is that when you feel confident about how you look, that confidence will show in your body language, your attitude, and your mood. Others will be able to perceive it.

“No sooner do you love what you see in your face in the mirror than your entire mentality changes and suddenly you’re practicing other habits that culminate in a better, more beautiful you.”

She acknowledges that some women don’t want to bother with makeup or feel they don’t need it.

“What does feeling your best mean? Maybe you wouldn’t ordinarily include makeup in that definition, but I’m asking you right now to challenge yourself. Invest the time to put on your makeup using my system and see what happens.”

McEvoy starts the instructive part of the book by going over the basics of skincare and the tools you need to apply makeup with skill.

Next, she asks you to identify your Beauty ID.

  • Level 1 is someone who uses few products, spends minimal time on makeup, and even skips makeup altogether some days. This is me.

  • Level 2 is someone who won’t leave the house without makeup and feels that makeup enhances and defines their look.

  • Level 3 is someone for whom makeup is a creative outlet. They enjoy playing with makeup, experimenting with new looks, and they own a lot of makeup products.

You may be at different levels at different times in your life but overall, there is likely one with which you most identify.

Then she gets to the tutorials.

There are 8 steps to each level of makeup but obviously, you don’t have to go through all 8 steps. You may not need them.

1. Brighten and Prime Upper Eyes
2. Eyeliner and Color
3. Lash Enhancement
4. Under Eyes
5. Even Skin
6. Face Color
7. Brown Enhancement
8. Lip Enhancement 

There are six women of varying ages and ethnicities that she takes through all eight steps. It starts with a before and after picture of the model. Then McEvoy does a Level One look (the minimal look) and walks you through all eight steps. Next, on the same women, she does a Level 2 look, again with the eight steps. Finally, same woman, a Level 3 look, and all eight steps. 

After those extensive tutorials, there are an additional six models that she uses to address specific beauty concerns that you can correct with makeup, such as uneven lips, thin lashes or drooping eyelids.

That section was most interesting to me because McEvoy used one particular model, Valerie, who was in McEvoy’s first book when Valerie was 20. Then we get to see Valerie again in this book at age 30 and McEvoy explains how Valerie’s look has changed and so her makeup needs change as well. 

The photography throughout the book is well-done and it’s easy to see how the makeup is being applied so you can use the same technique on yourself. 

What did I learn?

My eyes tend to be dark so learning how to brighten the eye area (page 66) and create that Triangle of Light (page 134) has been super helpful. (Not that I make use of it every day—remember I’m a Level One kind of girl.) Right now, I’m experimenting with different under-eye makeup products and brands. (Any suggestions?)

I also learned how to create a fuller lash line by using a gel liner at the base of my lashes (page 87). This has been my favorite tip and one I put into practice just about every day that I wear makeup.

Have you read The Makeup of a Confident Woman? What did you find helpful? Let me know in the comments.

If you haven’t read it and need help with your makeup, you can get your copy of The Makeup of a Confident Woman at Amazon.

How To Be Confident When Grocery Shopping For Your Family

“Wouldn’t it be great if you had a trusted field guide who could take you by the hand and walk you through every aisle of the grocery store, explain the health benefits and concerns of each food group, and then offer tips for selecting the best, most nutritious variety of each?”

How to feed your family real food and be confident about it

Feeding our families is tricky business today. As I sit here writing this, I’m overwhelmed. What questions should I highlight in this piece? 

“Is it better to buy organic or local?”
“What foods are on the dirty dozen list again?”
“Should we buy cage-free or grass-fed?”
“The packaging looks 'green' and healthy, and it says it’s 'made with natural ingredients,' but it uses partially hydrogenated oils—didn’t I read that those are unhealthy?”
“This product says it’s organic, but it has 23 grams of sugar in it—that can’t be good, right?”
“Or,” and this is a big one in our house, “how do we store these very expensive organic blueberries? Last time they spoiled so quickly.” 

The Real Food Grocery Guide isn’t going to answer every possible question, but it will give you a solid base of information so you can be confident about what you’re feeding your family.

The author, Maria Marlowe, is a certified integrative nutrition health coach who wrote The Real Food Grocery Guide to “serve as the manual I wish I had when I was making the switch to real, nourishing foods that support health—the stuff our bodies were actually designed to eat in the first place.”

Here are three areas that I found most beneficial.

1. The section on produce has been a game-changer for me and is the reason I decided to buy this book. I read an advanced digital copy last summer via NetGalley, and when I got to the produce section, I knew I had to own a hard copy of this book. My daughter loves fruits and vegetables and is always willing to experiment with new foods. But we’ll often stand in the produce section with puzzlement. If we want to buy papaya, what do we look for? Well, Marlowe tells us to look at the color. It should be mostly yellow or orange-yellow. The body should have a slight give, but the neck should be firm. Brown spots on the skin won’t affect the flavor. She also tells us the most nutritious varieties to purchase, how to store it (properly storing produce is a big money-saver), and even how to cut it up and eat it.

2. Buying fresh food and eating healthy can feel expensive. Marlowe offers many ideas for saving money while shopping for healthy foods. Two online options that were new to me were thrivemarket.com and nuts.com.

3. Oils—Cooking with oils has befuddled me for years. (Please don’t laugh—I really don’t enjoy cooking.) I know that vegetable oil is bad for you and olive oil is good for you. But you can’t cook with olive oil because it has a low smoke point. (What is a smoke point anyway?) Marlowe answers that question and walks you through all the different kinds of oils, what to use when, and what phraseology to look for on the label.

4. The last section that I think is super helpful is the chapter on packaged foods. In this chapter, Marlowe defines the buzzwords that often show up on the packaging. What do labels such as Fair Trade, Local, and Natural mean and how does it affect the food we’re buying?

She also explains why it’s better to read the ingredients list when you are deciding if a food meets your standards for healthy eating. She also includes a large graphic of a Nutrition Facts panel that breaks down what all the sections mean.

I purchased the physical copy of The Real Food Grocery Guide because I love physical books, but it might be better to own the ebook version. Then you can pull it up on your phone when you are standing in the grocery store trying to remember what fresh okra should look like.

You can purchase your copy of The Real Food Grocery Guide at Amazon.

Do you have a favorite book that helps you with healthy-eating? Please let me know in the comments. I’m always looking to add to my TBR list.

In Other Reading . . .

I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy to share a bit about some of the other books that I've been reading.

Gridiron genius by michael lombardi

It is the most wonderful time of the year for football fans. Football season is starting and football books are being released. Gridiron Genius by Michael Lombardi (no relation to Vince) is a behind-the-scenes look at what makes some NFL teams so great. I had the opportunity to read an advance review copy via Netgalley so I can't quote from the book but there are a few lines that are just genius/borderline snarky in the humor. I hope they made it to the final edition. The book would be great for all football fans and students of the game. Gridiron Genius is available for preorder now and will be released September 11, 2018.

Shattered mirror by sarah price

Shattered Mirror by Sarah Price tells the story of a mother fighting to save her son from drug addiction. Kelly Martin is a single mother who is the only one in her son's life willing to face the reality that he is in trouble. Her ex-husband, her family, and her community offer no support, preferring to avoid the issue or blame her parenting for his addiction. Shattered Mirror offers a hopeful story to those facing similar struggles with addiction. It is free to read via Kindle Unlimited.

Belle by sarah price

The same Sarah Price who wrote Shattered Mirror might be best known for her Amish fiction. I grew up near an Old-Order Mennonite community so once in awhile I get a craving for books about that simple, tech-free life. Sarah Price is my favorite author for these stories. Her books are true to the Amish faith and lifestyle. It is a wonderful change of pace from business books and psychological thrillers. (In full disclosure, I much prefer her books that are not based on retellings, but all of her writing is solid.) Belle is the first in the Amish Fairytale series.

The hiltons by j randy taraborrelli

If you follow me on Instagram or have read some of my other linkup posts, you know that I love J. Randy Taraborrelli. His biographies are very well-written and well-researched. The Hiltons is about the rise of Conrad Hilton and his hotel empire. I could've gone without the mentions of Paris but I suppose there is some relevance to the story and it really is a tiny portion of the 500+ page book. I can't decide which of Taraborrelli's books to read next.

What have you been reading recently? Let me know in the comments. I'm always looking to add to my TBR list.

Time Management Magic: How To Get More Done Every Day

Time Management Magic: How To Get More Done Every Day and Move From Surviving to Thriving is written by Lee Cockerell, retired Senior Operating Executive of Walt Disney World Resorts. In his book, he shares the time management lessons he learned in his executive career and now teaches in his Time/Life Management seminars. It’s a short book but full of useful tips.

We're always looking for ways to improve our time management skills so that we have more white space in our lives. Today, I'm sharing three lessons I learned from reading Time Management Magic.

Time management magic. How to get more done.

Lesson 1—Schedule Your Priorities

If your priorities have become habits and get done without reminders, you’re in great shape. But if you are not keeping up with your priorities, you need to put them into your schedule. For example, exercise is something we know we need to do. And if you regularly work out at 6:00 am every day, you don’t need to schedule your workout time; you already do it. But if exercise is a priority and you are not making time for it, you need to block it out on your schedule—just like any other appointment. Every day there should be a specific time slot for you to go to the gym, go for a run, whatever your workout routine is. Making an appointment for yourself and writing it down will keep you accountable. And scheduling your priorities can work for any area of your life—date night with your partner, one-on-one time with your children, time with friends. In the book, Cockerell uses an example of scheduling a weekly phone call to his mother.

Lesson 2—Use checklists, systems, and procedures

“…You can’t have a successful organization if you are plagued by disorganization and lack of consistent performance.”

Whether you are running a one-person side hustle, maintaining a household, or are the CEO of a major organization, checklists and procedures can make life less complicated. If you are doing a home renovation project, you don’t have the drywall guy come out to hang drywall if the plumber hasn’t finished with the pipes. There’s a procedure you follow when doing home renovations. If you are launching a new product in your business, you likely have a checklist of all the tasks involved. That checklist keeps you organized so you can have a successful launch. There’s even a system for skincare. You don’t put on night time moisturizer until you wash off the day’s makeup. Checklists, systems, procedures—they keep you organized so life runs a bit more smoothly. 

{Read my post 12 Checklists That Will Make Life Easier here.}

Lesson 3—Use Signifiers On Your To Do List

Am I the only one who will make a list to make a list? I’ll write down all the things I need to get done and then rewrite the list so that the number one thing is on the top and the last task is on the bottom. It works, but I’m writing the list twice which it’s not a good use of my time.

Instead what I should be doing is making a list and then using signifiers to show me what is urgent vs. what is necessary vs. what can wait. The following what a list might look like using Lee’s signifiers. (You could use different signifiers.)

A-2 write post
*draft sequence
B-1 send email
B-4 book flight
A-1 design opt-in
B-2 order math
B-3 make appointment
C-1 pick up dry-cleaning 

Things marked by an asterisk are urgent and must get done. Things designated by an A are necessary, A-1 being more vital than A-4. Tasks denoted with a B are important, again B-1 being of higher importance than B-4, but all Bs are less urgent than the As. The Cs are of limited value. They can be put off or even handled by someone else. 

What I love about this idea is that it eliminates the need to write your list in a specific order. You write down what needs to be done and get it out of your head. Then you add signifiers to show what should be done first, second, and so on. 

The key will be not to let it overwhelm you. If you spend five minutes trying to decide if a task should be an A-1 or an A-2, you’re going to exasperate yourself. And you’re not saving any time. Just pick one and move on. Or maybe it would be easier for you not to use signifiers. Any time management system should be helpful, not a hindrance. 

Other Key Ideas From Time Management Magic:

“Plan each day as diligently as you plan your vacations…Think of it [your plan] as a GPS or a map: without it, you will not get to where you want to go.”

“Efficient is being able to get things done. Effective is doing the right things in the right order, and making sure you address everything that is urgent, vital, and important, in every part of your life.”

“Time/life management is probably the most crucial skill a person needs to be successful and happy.”

While I usually suggest you buy the books I talk about, I feel like Time Management Magic is a little pricey for its content. Brand new, it’s $15.99 for 137 pages. If you are interested in reading it, try getting it through your library or inter-library loan. The Kindle edition is $7.39 which is more reasonable, but I am partial to owning physical books. (Prices at the time of this posting.)

What are your favorite time management tricks? Or what is your favorite book about time management? Please let me know in the comments. I’m always looking to add to my TBR list.

How To Be Confident When You Buy Your New Home

Buying a home can be a scary process. There’s a lot to know, and there’s a lot of money at stake. Buying a home is likely the most significant purchase you’ll ever make, so it’s normal to be nervous and intimidated about what lies ahead. 

How to be confident when you buy a new home.

Ilyce Glink has written a book that will leave you feeling prepared and confident as you begin your home buying adventure. 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask “is for anyone who feels even a little unsure about the process of buying a home.” In its fourth edition, it’s been updated to deal with the most current market issues.

There are three ways to read this book—read cover to cover, read only the Fast Pass section (9 must answer questions), or pick it up and use it as a reference tool when you encounter a specific problem.

The Fast Pass section is the first part of the book, and it’s nine questions that Glink says you really must answer before you jump into the buying process. These questions include: Should I rent or should I buy? How much should I spend vs. what the bank says I can afford?

You’ll benefit from these questions only if you are honest with yourself. Don’t try to convince yourself that you’ll be happy with a quiet house in the country if you love the weekend nightlife near your current home. Glink says, “Honesty…is crucial to help you find the right house, at the right price, and on the right terms.”

After the Fast Pass section, Chapter 2 starts with “How Do I Know What I Want to Buy?” This whole section deals with the beginning of the home-buying process. To help you discover what you want in a house, Glink has created two worksheets. Working through these worksheets and having them on hand will keep you focused so you’d don’t get distracted by shiny object syndrome. You don’t want to end up with a three-bedroom house that has a spectacular pool but only one bathroom if there are two adults and three teens in your family.

There are numerous topics covered in this book. But here is a small sampling of the questions included.

What’s the difference between an agent and a broker? Followed by:
    17 Questions to Ask Before You Hire an Agent or Broker
How do I know what I can afford to spend?
    There’s a worksheet to help you with that.
How much will it cost to own and maintain a home?
How do I apply for a loan?
What are lender’s fees?
What are junk fees?
What is earnest money?
What if the seller won’t give back the earnest money?
When we make an offer, what contingencies should we include?
What do we do in a bidding war?
How do I find a real estate attorney?
How do I find a reputable professional home inspector? Followed by:
    Home Buyer’s Watch List—12 Things To Watch Out For When Visiting Homes
What Is title insurance? Followed by:
    Top 20 Things Title Insurance Protects You From
What happens during the closing process?
What if we discover a problem after closing?

After 400 pages of all the questions you can think of, and many questions you didn’t know you had, there are three appendices.
    Top 10 Mistakes First-Time Homebuyers Make
    6 Simple Things You Can Do to Make the Home-Buying Process Easier
    5 Mistakes People Make When Buying New Construction

There is also a glossary of Real Estate Terms Every Home Buyer Should Know.

It’s rare that I use the word “impressive” to describe a book. But 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask is an impressive book. Even if you are on your second or third home, there are 400+ pages of information to help you with almost every possible situation.

Armed with this comprehensive tool, you will be able to handle the home buying process with confidence and optimism. And at $12.85 for the most recent paperback edition, it’s a small price to pay for confidence when you are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Do you have a favorite book or resource for buying a home? Please share it in the comments.