As I stare at my library haul for this week, I am wondering how on Earth I’m going to finish my 3 books in the next 2 weeks. I am normally a non-fiction gal, but this week, I have 2 novels on my queue. And I’m excited about this little change. So, let’s back up first and talk about the library. Our local library is the best arm {in my opinion} of the larger Sonoma County Regional Library. I admit to having been absent from the library scene until about 5 years ago when I began using the library as a rainy day outing for my oldest son, which means we’d visit about 4 – 5 times a year. I admit to largely ignoring the library for myself the majority of my adult life. That certainly doesn’t mean I wasn’t reading books, but in the lifestyle of consumption I was leading I never even thought about checking out a library book instead of buying one on my kindle or at the book store. I LOVE to read and I’m sure I’ve spent a good chunk of change on books in my lifetime. Easier was it to buy when I had my kindle (which I have since given away), as the book simply appears in your queue with the click of a button.  Voila! Instant reading pleasure. I am not slamming anyone who reads on a kindle, ipad or other device – it just wasn’t for me. And once I started paying more attention to my consumption habits, the kindle was a red flag in the book buying department.

The library then became my main source of books and once I discovered the request/hold process, I was back in {the book reading} business, this time without the cost. In the last year, I’ve read more than the previous 3 years combined. {Full disclosure: within the years of 2011 – 2014, we were quite busy – read more about that here.} So, what have I been reading? I’m glad you asked. Below is a list of my top 5 inspirational books of 2015 and how I’ve implemented changes from them into my life.

Everything that Remains: A Memoir by the Minimalists by Joshua Fields Millburn

This was the first book I read that opened my eyes to my consumption lifestyle. At the time I read it I had been following The Minimalists online, but on a pretty tertiary level, as the changes I thought I “needed” to make seemed pretty daunting. After reading the book my eyes have been opened to the way I view our belongings and lifestyle. A simpler life came into closer view and I began tackling both the physical and mental clutter and making space for experiences vs. stuff.

Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste by Bea Johnson

While the tone of the book was a bit off for me, I took away so many simple changes in reducing our family’s trash. Many feel that Bea is pretty extreme in her lifestyle and I agree that a zero waste life is not for everyone – including us. But, I have adopted many of her ideas with ease and made huge gains in reducing our family’s footprint. Bulk shopping at our lovely, local Oliver’s store has probably made the biggest impact. Our food bills have been lowered dramatically and the packaging waste has made a huge difference. I have also gotten rid of our plastic plates, cups, bowls, water bottles and food storage containers as well as eliminating the use of ziploc bags for lunches. Items have been replaced with quality glass or stainless steel containers that last far longer than their plastic counterparts without the icky toxins.

Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery


I so loved this book and the scientific look at what makes people happy in their living environments. This book inspired me to commute via biking or walking more, and to embrace my local community. Ultimately, it was this book that inspired me to experiment with having just 1 car for our family of 5. Read about that here and here.

Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey

Reading this book and implementing the changes that Dave suggests has enabled us to radically change how we manage our finances. We’ve paid down debt, cut up our credit cards and are on a road to being debt free  – and yes, that includes the mortgage! The financial side of simplifying our lives has been the most freeing.

My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’Homme

Oh how I adore Julia Child! It was a treat to read how she went from a bored housewife to a culinary genius. I loved becoming immersed in her transformation to a chef and cookbook writer. The level of detail in those recipes is truly amazing. This book made me want to cook more and in the months since I’ve read it, I’ve made more meals from scratch than ever before. Bon Appetit!


There are so many more books that I drew inspiration in 2015, which ending up being a transformative year for me. You can find the rest of my reviews here.

xo, Lindsey



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