Start a book club. #30Before30

Horray! I finally found my book-club buddy, Calliemae. Together we have started the “Cross Country Book Club” with the motto: We run. We read. We lead. Established on Oct 6th, the CCBC brings readers and runners together from states apart.

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I’m pretty thrilled and this week Calliemae even sent me a commemorative book mark solidifying my membership into our book club. How awesome is that?! We are always open to book suggestions and new members! (In case you haven’t heard, our book club is even better than Oprah’s!!!!) You can check out the list of books that we’ve read and our reviews here, and see what we are currently reading below.

CCBC Currently reading:
For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker


CCBC: Books Read


The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
Read: October 2015
Calliemae’s review 4/5 starsThe only thing that held me back was how it seemed to start slow initially. I’m big into books sucking me in right away.”
Mandi’s review: 4/5 starsHard to read at parts, but also hard to put down. An amazing story of resiliency.”


61aOOoMsXML._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_For the Love by Jen Hatmaker
Read: November 2015
Calliemae’s review: 4/5 stars “I really enjoyed the message(s) she had. And the book is very relatable to all demographics. I also liked that it was of a religious genre but still tied in the ups and downs of everyday life. My only dislike was the writing style. It was hard at times for me to grasp what she was talking about. Otherwise a recommended read.”
Mandi’s review: 4/5 stars “Honest and truthful. Full of good reminders of what really matters. Fell in love with Jen a little bit while reading this book.”
Ali’s review:




Join us! XOXO

Summer 2015 Goals

(May 1 thru Sept 1) I’ll be updating my progress throughout the summer.

  • Run 500 miles
  • Yoga head or hand stand
  • 5 Pull-ups by July 1, 10 by September 1
    • Did 2 pull-ups, May 17
  • Read 15 books
  • Complete Personal Trainer Certification
  • Chloe + Isabel Forever 40
  • Catch up on Smashbooking

Would love for anyone to join me in pursuit of these goals, or ones that you set for yourself. What are your goals for the summer months?


Giving Audio Books a Listen

I recently started a job that requires me to commute an hour to and from each day.  In addition, I am a Transfer Admissions Representative meaning I drive to Community Colleges in Illinois to recruit transfer students.  Needless to say, that is a lot of hours in the car and as much as I love Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift, I needed something else to keep my eyes on the road and my brain awake.

These are the first three audio books that I have tackled on the road and my love for all three of them is sky high.  I’m not going to summarize them for you, you can google that if you’d like to hear more about what they are about.  I am just going to give you a few of my thoughts and sum it up with how I would describe the book in one word.


  1. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter was the first audio book that I have ever listened to.  I got a free subscription to Audible and decided to give it a try.  (You can link an Audible account through your Amazon account. Watch for a free 2 month trial – that’s what I did. I just canceled because my 2 months was up and I did not feel like paying for a subscription).  I loved the story.  It’s one of those books that bounces through a couple different characters & their story lines and in the end you see how it all fits together – like a perfect puzzle.
    If I had to describe this book in one word it would be: magical

2. Step on a Crack by James Patterson.  This book was recommended to me by a colleague and I had never read anything by James Patterson before.  It was a thrilling mystery that had me in tears more than once.  I became very attached to some of the characters and this story tugged on my heartstrings more than I expected it to!  It is a mysterious thriller with many twists and turns.
If I had to describe this book in one word it would be: intense

3. Mean Streak by Sandra Brown is the audio book that I am currently in the middle of.  It is so good I do not want to get out of my car when I get home from work.  It has been so engaging and surprising and I am so in love with the characters (most of them).  This is, by far, my favorite book I’ve listened to and I just have NO idea how it is going to end.
If I had to describe this book in one work it would be: gripping 

Have you read/listened to any good audio books lately?  I’d love to hear them!  Remember, you can usually get audio books from your local library!