My summer reading list + top summertime fabric picks

I mentioned last week that summertime is when our family reconnects with our local library and I shared my creative, DIY way for keeping track of library books.

Today I wanted to share my summer reading list with you. You’ll notice I’m a big fan of non-fiction, self-help books. But I also include some great home and garden eye candy books, an epic fictional story, and my favorite book of all time. Click on the book titles for more information.*

1. “The More You Do the Better You Feel: How to Overcome Procrastination and Live a Happier Life” by David Parker


I like this book because the author shares his personal story of overcoming debilitating procrastination and depression. He explores the “why” behind our “stuck” and offers practical strategies for moving forward. It’s truly motivating and thought-provoking.

2. “The Nautical Home: Coastline-inspired Ideas to Decorate with Seaside Spirit” by Anna Ornberg


3. “Nantucket Cottages and Gardens: Charming Spaces on the Faraway Isle” by Leslie Linsley

These two books are absolutely perfect summertime coffee table books. We live near a lake, so I love to infuse my home with nautical-themed decor. These books deliver the inspiration I need to create that coastal feel.

4. “Flip: How to Find, Fix, and Sell Houses for Profit” by Rick Villani and Clay Davis

It’s been a dream of mine for many years to buy a run-down property, fix it up, and sell it for profit. I’m finally at a spot in my life where this dream may soon become a reality. I’ll be sharing more details about that endeavor in later posts. But for now, I’m immersed in this book, which is jam-packed full of practical, easy-to-understand instructions for a successful flip. This is a must read for anyone interested in speculative real estate ventures.

5. “The Shack” by William Paul Young

This fictional story of tragedy and healing help to answer that timeless question, “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?” If you haven’t read this book, get it now. It will forever change the way you view God.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my favorite book of all time.


I try to read a bit of the Bible every day. The wisdom and insight found in this book is constantly life-changing for me. It puts all things in perspective.

Before I wrap things up today, I wanted to share a few of my favorite fabric picks for summer. Terry’s Fabrics interviewed me recently and, as a result, they put together a Designer Insights page that explains my thought process when designing and decorating a room. Also included are my top fabric choices this season. Check out the article here.

Terry's Fabric

* Links to books in this post are affiliate links. Purchasing though these links will not cost you anything additional, but a small portion will come back to Living Rich on Less, helping me continue to provide great, free content. Thanks in advance for your support.

How not to ‘let yourself go’ after marriage + 2 free movie tickets

My husband and I have been married 15 years. We got married in the year 2000, which was the best decision ever because we never forget which anniversary it is. 😉


He’s my lover, my best friend, my unfair advantage … all that mushy stuff. And I truly do love him more today than ever before. I have to admit, though, that keeping the passion alive after 15 years of marriage can be a challenge at times. With kids, work, volunteer activities, hobbies, etc., the last thing I’m thinking about is whether or not I’ve freshened my lipstick! But I also know that we both desire to have a partner who makes an effort to “fan the flames” and one who we’re proud to have standing next to us at parties.

So despite the fact that what I really want to put on every morning is paint-splattered yoga pants and a sweatshirt, I try to take the “me” time I need to look and feel good. I also encourage my man to do the same.

To give you a recent example, my husband was lamenting about how, after a few years, he was still using a raggedy, old grooming kit and getting a poor shave as a result. He said he didn’t understand why he still hadn’t taken the time to buy a razor that worked well for him.

When our time is consumed with the demands of work and family, taking care of ourselves often takes a back seat. And since I knew my amazing husband values teaching our daughter to ride a bike and our toddler son to count to 10 more highly than buying a new shaving kit, I bought the razor for him myself.


It was more than a razor purchase, though. It was an affirmation from me that he was worth taking care of himself.


So how, with all the daily pressures of life, do we not “let ourselves go” after marriage? Today I thought I’d share my top three strategies for keeping a marriage sizzling hot!

  1. Make grooming a priority. I realize a regular shave may seem like a small thing in this department – that is, until you’ve got a few kids hanging around your ankles. Then it may become the biggest feat you hope to accomplish in a day. Yes, there are times when sweatpants and crazy hair are acceptable. But I’m not talking about those moments. I’m talking about the regular, everyday you. Somehow we manage to show up at the office or church looking civilized. Why do so many of us give ourselves permission to no longer care how we present ourselves to our life partners? Shouldn’t we go the extra mile for that most important person?

To help motivate us, Schick® has a “Make It Epic” campaign going on right now to encourage us to make taking care of ourselves and spending time together with our partner a priority. Here’s how it works:

  • Buy. Purchase two participating Men’s Schick® or Edge® products in a single transaction from now until July 10, 2015. Retain your receipt.


  • Snap. Draw a star (*) next to the qualifying items on your original, dated receipt. Take a clear photo of the entire receipt and text it to 811811 with the word SCHICK by July 10 for validation. (Text message terms apply.)
  • Redeem. If validated, you will receive a text back with a code valid for a movie certificate for two admissions (up to $20 total value) to see any movie! Click here for more information about this promotion and for idea starters.
  1. Watch your mouth. Yelling … disrespectful words … just plain crazy talk … I’ve been guilty of them all. The problem is that it makes me look like, well, a crazy person. Think about it this way: Just as we wouldn’t show up at the office in paint-splattered sweatpants, we probably also wouldn’t go running around the place yelling at the top of our lungs, “Can’t any of you animals throw your lunch trash in the garbage where it belongs? This place sucks!” In other words, we should make an effort to speak in a manner that would prevent us from being embarrassed if a visitor was standing outside our front doors listening. Think more classy, less crazy.
  2. Honor reasonable requests from your partner. Wearing the perfume or hairstyle your spouse finds attractive is about showing you love and care for him. Making an effort to dress nicely when you go to dinner and picking up after yourself around the house will show the same. Small gestures that cost you a little time and effort can have big payoffs with regard to how your partner feels about you and the relationship.

Just like a garden, a marriage requires regular care and feeding to produce beautiful results. What can you do today to help #makeitepic?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Schick® Men’s Shave. The opinions and text are all mine.

Creative way to keep track of library books

Summertime is when our family reconnects with our local library. Oh how I wish we were faithful about visiting this magical place all year round! But at least during the summer we are regulars.

This year, I wanted to get smarter about keeping track of all our library books to avoid the dreaded 20-minute hunt for that one missing book that needed returned, like, three days ago.

So I put together this super easy library book holder to corral everything. It probably took me two hours of total work time to complete this project.


Materials needed:

  • Unfinished crate (You can pick one up at your local craft supply store or check out the inventory at Crates and Pallet.)
  • Wood stain and finish
  • Thin sheet metal
  • Piece of plexiglass (for the bottom of the crate)
  • Four small screws
  • Letter punch set*

Step 1: Apply a coat of Varathane® stain in Traditional Cherry to the unfinished crate.


Step 2: Cut out a rectangular piece from the sheet metal using tin snips. (I picked up my pair at Home Depot.) This will serve as your “Library” label.


Step 3: Take a hammer and punch the word “Library” into the sheet metal label using the letter punch set.


Step 4: Attach the label to the center of the crate with four small screws. I recommend pre-drilling the holes first to keep the wood from splitting.


Step 5: Apply a coat of Rust-Oleum® Satin Clear Enamel to seal the piece.

Satin-Rust-oleum-enamelStep 6: Add a piece of plexiglass to the bottom of the crate, to keep books from falling through the crack in the bottom. (I stole a piece from an old picture frame in our basement and cut it to fit.)


Step 7: Hang up the holder and enjoy your new, highly organized library book storage system. :)

Library book holder


Do you have any tips for how to keep track of library books?

Special thanks to Rust-Oleum for providing some of the supplies needed to complete this project. 

*Affliate link