My 2017 Management Reading List

One of the (many!) great perks of my job is a small annual stipend to devote to self-driven professional development. I thought about looking for some online courses, but I then I noticed some of the books on my reading list that could probably fit the bill - so I organized a large order of books delivered to my mom's house over winter break to bring back and read throughout the year!

I think there are a couple missing from the shelf here, but most of the books that I selected are on here! In particular, I'm excited about Adam Grant's 2 reads Originals & Give and Take, as well as Multipliers.

Most of these I saw for the first time at airports (why do people LOVE buying management books in airports?!), but corroborated reviews with Amazon before clicking "purchase". 

Since January 1st, I've read these four. I actually loved every single one of the above! 

The Checklist Manifesto was a recommendation from a direct report & my boss, and it's a super interesting read about how checklists can save lives & work smarter, not harder. 

Payoff & Beyond Measure are both mini-books published by TED, by guest speakers who have had extremely successful TED talks. They are only ~100 pages each, and are so easy to read. I really, really think these should be the Little Golden Books for adults in management! 

Finally David & Goliath (was a bit of a stretch for management work) but it Malcolm Gladwell does a great job at pushing your limits of understanding and challenges your perspective of the world as you know it. David & Goliath starts with a second look at the biblical tale, and then goes on to share many 'underdog' stories, always highlighting the advantages of alternative perspectives. I devoured this in a weekend - highly recommend! 

I try to make sure I either wait two weeks between books, or read 2-3 personal books before diving into another. I've been in hyperspeed in terms of reading so far this year (I imagine it's going to slow down soon), but I'm going to try and hold to this principle. 


If you've read anything that you especially loved that you haven't seen above, let me know! I'd love to add books to the list for next year's stipend. 


March Goals (2017)

Hey World,

The calendar is dragging us to the end of the first quarter, and I am excited at the pace 2017 carries with it. I can only imagine the whole year is going to be as packed as these past two months have felt! I've been able to prioritize a lot of reading and a lot of resting (which I am immensely grateful for!), defied all desires for online ordering of clothes (the sales though!), and mapped out a savings/spending plan for Brady & I for this year. In short: I'm ready to keep plugging along!

Here's how my February Goals went:

1. Get passport with my married name (!!!!!) 
The passport has been applied for and now I'm trying to figure out in-country DHL to do the ol' switcheroo with the embassy since it's made it one way...but not the other. 
2. Begin/Resume wedding posts on A Path Unpaved  We kicked off with two posts on our wedding readings and our wedding vows
3. Go to Sauti za Busara for my MA thesis (research, part two!) Thank you BG for coming and keeping me focused for a couple of days to get what I needed! We took over 300 images and got some critical information for eventually wrapping this thesis up.
4. Keep going to Yoga at least 1x a week ...yikes. Not so great here. 
5. Execute 2 kinds of "givingness" this month, that are not money-driven I wrote about the Valentines Day cards I made, but also signed up to be an online resume volunteer through a nonprofit. I'm still waiting for an assignment from them; hopefully in March! 
6. Finish reaching out to my far-away friends for much needed catch-ups  I feel like the list here always gets longer instead of shorter here, but I still have five days to finish it up :)
7. Discuss our 2017 donation plan with BG again We had an honest conversation, and basically determined this is not the year to commit a larger amount however we'll discuss items throughout the year and the amount which we think we can give!

And now time to dive into March! 

1. Host my friend Rose in Iringa! (Funny story: Rose & I have actually never met, but all signs indicate we're going to be BFFs) 
2. Plan a small adventure during my work trip to Rwanda 
3. Begin teaching myself calligraphy with the tools I brought back over Christmas
4. Update my contacts book with another 20 contacts! 
5. Prepare three wedding posts for the month of March 


#BecomingTeam Grimes: Our Wedding Vows

A couple of weeks ago I shared our wedding readings, and today I wanted to talk a bit more about our wedding vows.

Brady & I talked on the day we got engaged (hiking back down the mountain!) about writing our own vows. We loved the notion of spending nearly a year pondering and finessing the words we would say to one another that would try to capture our marriage promises. In fact, I started writing my vows in a draft document in February! Brady is a bit more laid-back, and wrote his on our route back to the US before the ceremony. 

Despite having no one look at them for comparison on content or length, and being extremely secretive during the writing, Brady and I were pretty darn similar in our messaging, which made my heart swell during our ceremony.

I also ordered these simple vow books, personalized with our names on them, for our ring bearer to carry for us from Etsy, and I would recommend them to anyone looking for something well-crafted and simple! Paperpunched has a bunch of different options, each for $20-30 a set. Now, I have them tucked in a 'wedding basket' alongside a few other items we'll cherish forever from our big day! 

(Sidenote: Did you notice the similarities!?)

While our ceremony was private, B & I have also talked extensively about why sharing our vows more widely is important -- they are not only to one another to hold ourselves accountable, but for our entire support network of family and friends to also assist us in accountability, which is why I'm really excited for this opportunity to highlight our promises to one another. In March, I'll be sharing what we've invested in to make these vows an integral part of our every day. 

 In the meantime, what vows did you choose to do, or are thinking about - traditional or custom? 


All photos featured here were taken by Jen Hudson Photography

Following Positive Vibes

Hey World,

Last week was quiet here on the blog save for my Galentines Day post -- but I'm prepped and ready to make up for it this week!

Today (as part of a two part series), I want to share some of my favorite Instagram followers that share good vibes, encouragement, and motivating quotes with me almost every day. Though I do love a good picture of cute puppies, succulents (!), and lots and lots of drool-worthy travel destinations, I also appreciate more positive reminders.

Conscious Magazine is one of my favorite follows. I love their quotes and their recommendations for books to read. If I was in the US, I would definitely want to order their magazine! 

Levo is all about women who work, and finding a career path they are most passionate about. 

This is a second magazine that I wished I could read in person! So much positivity. 

Boss Babe is sassy, and drops the occasional swear word. However more often than not, I think a crazy dose of inspiration is good for the soul :)

I've saved the best for last. Rank & File is the final magazine feature, which if their instagram is any indication, is one that I would run to the grocery store myself in order to purchase! Also, they describe themselves as "purpose-driven entrepreneurs who believe people are worth serving & business can create change". Yes please!

Have you found any great Instagram accounts that you'd recommend? 


Treat Yourself!

As I'm sure your grocery stores have been reminding you since January, tomorrow is Valentines Day! I'll be celebrating at work with my team and a slice of cake, and hopefully convincing Brady to cook dinner for us with St. Paul & the Broken Bones or Leon Bridges playing. It will be low key, particularly because I'm allergic to flowers and chocolate (see babe, I'm a catch!). 

I've always loved organizing a Galentines Day because it carried less expectations, and opened the opportunity to love up on some of my closest friends. In high school, this looked like chocolate-dipping our own strawberries and having pasta with vodka sauce. In college, it was dressing up and going to a nice meal. In recent years, it's looked like a girls camping trip, a day at the shooting range, and sending a lot of funny cards about being single and reciting of the phrase "Treat Yourself!" from the show Parks & Recreation. 

In light of that, and a lack of Galentines celebrations planned for this year, I wanted to put together a little montage to remind me of some feminine things perfect for February!

Find some time in your schedule this week to go for a walk or a bike ride, curl up and read a great book, buy your favorite sweet snack at the grocery store, or sit down and write that letter you've been meaning to send to a friend you've lost touch with. In short, treat yourself!


My 2017 Travel Wishlist

Hey World,

When I think back to 2016, I am flabbergasted by the amount of places and adventures BG & I were able to squeeze into a single year!
I also forgot to add Zambia on this list in November!

We've already decided that 2017 will be more deliberate with our spending (read: we want to save more money), but that doesn't mean I don't have my sights on a few fun trips I hope to try and sprinkle through the calendar year. We are very lucky in that we are given more vacation than we would receive with most US jobs, which helps make all of this possible!

All of that to say, here's my realistic travel wish list for 2017:

#1. Going gorilla trekking in Rwanda: This is so high on my East African bucket list that if it was any higher, it'd fall off. I'm waiting for a long-time friend to plan her trip and come visit so we can tick this off together, but it's looking like sometime in late fall may be the time!

#2. See the pyramids of Egypt: Egypt Air actually has a direct flight from Dar es Salaam to Cairo. The only issue is the flight to Dar es Salaam from where I live basically doubles the cost! This could be a fun trip to take around our one-year wedding anniversary (and gives us a reason to splurge a bit), and my dad is thinking about joining us for some near-Nile adventures! 

#3. See the Aye-Ayes: If you know me IRL, you probably also know I had a weird childhood obsession with a strange endangered animal called the aye-aye. Well, past self - prepare to have your mind BLOWN. After speaking to some colleagues who have gone recently, Madagascar has a lot of great adventures to offer (and many many lemurs!!!) and it's just a mini-ocean away. I've convinced BG the time to go is now.*

#4: Americana: If you received a Christmas card from us, you probably saw this referenced. While we have literally 0% of it planned and I may have to get 1-4 wisdom teeth removed the week before, I have every intention of this being the best family vacation ever. Think: RV camper, states with no ocean access, national parks, rest stop breaks every 30 minutes, and tumbleweeds. Alright, I don't know if the Grand Canyon has tumbleweeds, but there's only one way to find out! 

 I am really excited to re-frame travel this year as being based on experiences rather than stamps, and trying to include more deliberate trips with a focus on family & friends.  While these plans would slow down the number of new countries to just two for this year, I have faith that perhaps another sneaky trip could be tacked in there (Switzerland, please!!!!).


*By "now" I really mean Easter, but close enough to start a countdown clock! 

#BecomingTeamGrimes: Wedding Readings

Hey World,

It's been almost five months since our wedding, and just this weekend, I finally shared 200+ wedding photos on Facebook to family and friends. Talk about procrastination! Anyways, with many of the images out of the bag, it's time to talk details.

Photo by Jen Hudson Photography!
Today I wanted to share the two wedding readings Brady & I selected (okay, mostly I selected) that our officiant read during the ceremony.

The first is the poem, The Art of Marriage. B & I had many discussions about the work that marriage was going to be -- maintaining a marriage would require effort, time, forgiveness, blunt honesty, and most importantly choice. 

The conscious choice day in and day out to say "alright, let's get through one more day together" -- and I think this poem captures so much of that sentiment.

 Image Source: Southern Weddings

Our second reading I found online, and seems to be a little less popular. I did absolutely no research beforehand on who Pierre is, but it turns out he was a Jesuit priest (Parents, you're welcome)! I particularly loved this reading because our love story has been so much of an adventure already, and becoming our best selves, together, is what we wanted both of our readings to reflect.

What were your wedding readings? If you had to do it again, do you have another reading you would have loved to reflect on?


Sharing Love on Valentines Day

Hey World,

Similar to my post on Kiva, I want to use this year (and this blog) to think about sharing ways to spread kindness and positivity through giving or acts, as much as possible.

I am also cognizant that I do not want to share anything that I haven't already done myself -- it would be silly to share something that I wouldn't also have dedicated my efforts to!

For Valentines Day, I was looking for a way to mail cards to someone who may like a pick-me-up. I also figured that Valentines Day cards could be extremely easy to make and wouldn't take too much time. 

I found on Do Something a campaign that partnered with Meals on Wheels of America -- which happens to be an organization that my mom and I have a special place in our hearts for!

I signed my name up, emailed the coordinator from a branch less than an hour from my hometown, and spent two evenings preparing 25 Valentines Day cards. Typically, MOW serves clients to address senior hunger and isolation so you can only imagine how much impact a surprise card could make alongside a nice hot meal! 

All in all, I probably spent 2-2.5 hours making cards -- cutting the hearts, gluing them to paper, and hand-writing a unique message in each (following a similar template).

Here's one of the cards I wrote:


I would like to ask you to take a moment and reflect on every single time you have made someone else laugh or smile. Countless, right? Thank you so much for sharing your joy to the world, and Happy Valentines Day.

A friend from Upstate NY"

I loved this exercise, and it cost me just a few stamps to put together a package to mail to the MOW of North Syracuse, who will then make sure they are distributed on Valentines Day to some of their clients or hard-working staff!! It really couldn't have been more easy.

This is an awesome project to do yourself, ask friends to join you in a craft party, or facilitate with children to introduce givingness on a holiday dedicated to love. I would seriously encourage you to check here to find a Meals On Wheels location near you and get some cards in the mail by the end of the week!

More than 50,000 cards have been made and sent to Meals on Wheels already -- will you be making 50,001?


Monthly Mantra: Shine Your Light

Hey World,

It's time for the sixth edition of monthly mantra

In case this is your first time stopping by, at the beginning of the month I share one quote I've come across to give a positive frame of reference for the coming weeks. They will be shared without explanation, as inspiration comes to each of us differently!

If you have any suggestions for a single sentence mantra, leave it in the comments, and you may see it in an upcoming month! You can check out all of my previous monthly mantras here.