"Best Of" List / Austin

5 Austin Restaurants I’m Loving Right Now (Dec 2017)

12.11.17

Every few months, I stop and take a moment to think about the restaurants that are really impressing me in the moment. Some are new, but often I try to think about the oldie-but-goldies that  often get overlooked due to all the new restaurants in town.

This month, I’ve created a list of 5 places that I can’t stop thinking about! #justcantgetenough.

There are endless excuses to go out to eat in December (in-laws in town, celebrating accomplishments made in 2017, ringing in the new year), so I hope you’re starting to call your favorite restaurants to book that table! Read More

Health

How I’m Staying Healthy This December

12.06.17

There are so many ways to get sick during the month of December…you know what I mean? It’s also one of the saddest months to get sick, because…HELLO! Holiday cheer! Christmas parties! Festive baking! Eggnog! I don’t want to get sick at any time of the year, but the month of December is especially high on my “stay healthy” list.

I’m not making any drastic changes or doing any crazy diets this month. That’s just not my way of enjoying the holidays. But I am taking a few steps to make sure I’m feeling my best all month! I’m also highlighting mental health and wellness in December, because stress is absolutely a form of sickness! Recognizing mental health as part of my overall “health check” is a newer idea for me, but I’m noticing so many positive changes in my life when I take the time to make sure that my mind is feeling healthy. The main way I do this is through exercise, but journaling, reading, podcasting, and nurturing my relationships all fall into my general “mental health” category. Read More

"Best Of" List / Austin

Where To Enjoy Holiday Cocktails in Austin

12.04.17

December has some of my favorite flavors: clove, vanilla, allspice, and nutmeg. Thankfully, these spices pair perfectly with all sorts of fun holiday cocktails!

Austin’s restaurant scene has a delectable offering of festive drinks to enjoy this month! Yay, lucky us! Take a look at what I’ve found around town, and if I left something out, add to the list in the comments section: Read More

Austin

Celebrating 1 Year of Food Blogging!

12.04.17

Yippee! I’ve been blogging about Austin’s food scene for a full year now!

Thank you so much for following along!

View More: http://francephotographers.pass.us/somuchlife

My first year of food blogging was wayyy more fun that I even anticipated. This was my plan for blogging: start, and have fun. Haha. 🙂 I decided that the ONLY reason to blog would be if it brings me enjoyment. I know a lot of people are starting blogs these days with the hope of going full-time from it, or using it as a side hustle to bring in extra income. But if that was my primary reason and I didn’t enjoy the process, it wouldn’t be worth it. It HAS to be fun! Read More

Reading

November Reads

12.01.17

Yay! I’m always so excited to talk about books with you!!

I’ve noticed something for the past few months of reading: my books are chosen randomly, but somehow the main messages of these books seem to line up.

I always have a long queue of audiobooks and ebooks on my Overdrive app, so the books I read are kind of decided by fate! Whatever becomes available that month is what I read.

I also choose books based on other’s recommendations; I have a couple great blogger friends who read a lot as well, so I follow them for inspiration. If I’m really excited about a book and don’t want to wait for it at the library, I’ll buy it on my kindle.

And of course, I just research books on my own. I recently read through a few of Tai Lopez’s favorite books about self-development.

I also looooove me a good chick lit book during the holidays.

All this to say: since my books choices are mostly SUPER RANDOM, I’m surprised when I notice that lots of them are telling me the same thing!

This month: intuition, and making firm decisions.


1. Essentialism by Greg McKeown

This book was recommended to me by SO MANY PEOPLE, I can’t even remember who they all are now. The book’s basic idea is this: if you’re currently expending your energy in a thousand different direction and moving an inch each way, you should be using your energy to move a thousand miles in one direction.

Essentialism resonated with me because of its simple message: do less, but better. The message is simple to understand and relatively easy to put into practice. I’ve already started using some of the things I’ve learned.

Here’s my example: as a blogger and social media influencer, I get offers nearly every day to help promote a product. And you would seriously laugh if I told you the wide range of brands that approach me! Ha! Everything from energy drinks to teeth whitening to spa packages to shoes to monthly planners. It’s really all over the board.

For my first few months of blogging, I felt like I should just say YES to every opportunity. Or if I really didn’t want to review a product, I’m hmmm and haw and mull it over for too long, wanting to say no while still leaving the doors open.

Now, I’m getting in the habit of giving a gracious but firm “no” when it’s not a product or opportunity that aligns with who I am as a person, or the brand of So Much Life Blog.

This might seem small (well, really, it is a small change…), but it has been significant in creating space and time in my days.


2. TOTAL RECALL: MY UNBELIEVABLY TRUE LIFE STORY BY ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER.

Um, HELLO! Most fascinating biography I’ve read in a long time! The Governator’s story is inspiring to me because of his mindset. Instead of saying he’ll “try” to do something, Arnold Schwarzenegger decides to reach the top, and then he does it.

Now, he’s obviously achieved a lot of success in his life (most decorated male body builder in history, one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, governor of the state of California), so this book is anything but humble. Let me just warn ya…. 😉 He’s brutally honest, and he discusses his failure and dark periods in addition to his good times.

Here’s the little nugget that stuck with me the most from his book: Arnold decided to go straight for the top in whatever he pursued. His philosophy is that the bottom of the ladder is the most crowded place, because everyone is trying to start from the bottom and work their way up. His plan? Go straight for the top. Then, if you fail, your worst case scenario is your starting at the bottom, just like everyone else.


3. Paris In Love by Eloisa James

This is such a sweet little book! Perfect to read while you’re curled up next to the fire place with a cup of hot cocoa in hand.

Eloisa James mostly writes Regency and Georgian romance novels; I have not read any of those. But this one sparked my interest! It’s a memoir of her sabbatical year spent in Paris with her husband and two children. She sold her house, moved her family abroad, enrolled her children in French schools, and documented the entire thing.

The book is written in a format of “facebook statuses.” Each little clip is just a paragraph or two, and they can be read independently or collectively. This is a darling read that deserves to be on your holiday reading list!

I listened to this as an audiobook, read by the author. I can highly recommend the audiobook version!


4. Grounded Coffee Book by gregory alford and steven eggert

Gregory, one of the authors of this book, was the barista at our wedding who pulled espresso shots for our guests! Nate and I met him at the counter of Houndstooth Coffee, and now we’re friends with him and his wife.

He has been working on this coffee brewing book for the past two years, so I’ve heard a lot about the process. I was SO excited when he offered me a copy to read and review! I read it cover to cover, and I’ve been using it daily in my coffee brewing as a reference for recipes. This is a one-of-a-kind book that every coffee snob (or wannabe coffee snob) needs. You can order it online here! (We’ve already purchased another one to give as a holiday gift to someone….I can’t say who, because he or she might be reading this blog…)


5. Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

I fell in love with Shauna Niequist’s writing when I read Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around The Table last year. This is about slowing down, embracing a life that is more meaningful, and embracing connection over competition.

I started this book right after I  finished Essentialism, and they both struck the same chord with me: there are a million things that might seem like they are the MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER AND THEY MUST BE DONE NOW, but they aren’t. They really are not all that important. Find the things that have real value, and pursue those, and be willing to let the other things go.

I’ve gotta say… I enjoyed Bread and Wine more than this book, although this was still an enjoyable read.


6. Winter STreet

7. Winter Stroll

8. Winter Storms

(All by Elin Hilderbrand)

Cue the chick lit!! Haha! These are the first three books in Elin Hilderbrand’s “Winter” series. (There are four books total, and I’m reading the fourth one right now.) They are sweet, short, and a little predictable. Perfect holiday books!

I consumed all three during Thanksgiving break while I was cozy at my parent’s house next to the fire place in my Ugg robe and slippers.


9. You are a badass by Jen Sincero

(Anita mentioned this book recently, which is what inspired me to finally read it.)

I’m a bit of a self-help book junkie. Some of them are fluff, and some of them are actually full of helpful stuff. You are a BADASS has a cover that made me think it would be a little frilly and light, but it’s actually full of some really great advice!

This is a book to read when you need a healthy kick in the pants. It’s about living your best, brightest, most successful and fulfilling life. It’s full of spirituality, so you should expect lots of references to meditation, energy, vibrations, the Universe, and alignment. (All that stuff resonates with me, but I realize that some people find it a bit wacky.)

I read through this book with my journal next to me so that I could do the exercises Jen recommends. (There are lots of good ones!) I finished this book at night, and I woke up the next morning feeling SO excited and optimistic! I’m re-reading this one for sure.


Don’t forget, you can always see the entire list of books I read in 2017 here. All 100 of them!

And you can see all the books I’ve read thus far in 2017 here.

Are you on Goodreads? Let’s be friends! Find me right here!

Oh my gosh, y’all. I have something really fun planned for Monday! I’ll chat with you then!

Have a happy weekend!

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