Encouraging Books for 2020

Encouraging books are one of my favorite parts of my morning routine. Last summer, I downloaded Audible as a way to pass the time during summer break. But I had no idea that once I downloaded it, I would become an audiobook junkie!

Encouraging books for millennials

Now, I listen to encouraging books (read: audiobooks) for about an hour every morning while I get ready! It takes the boredom out of doing my hair. And the promise of learning something new actually gives me more incentive to get out of bed in the mornings!

Here are some of my favorite encouraging books for Millennials:

Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis

Girl, Wash Your Face | Rachel Hollis

This is one of the most encouraging books of the decade. Everyone has been all about this book lately, and for good reason! I’d never heard of Rachel Hollis before it, but listening to this book made me a huge fan! She is honest and real, even when it’s embarrassing (like a story about shaving her toes). It’s like advice a big sister would give you. And since I don’t have a big sister, I appreciated it SO MUCH. This book is great for anyone in college, out of college, in their first real job, newly married, new moms, and working moms… I honestly can’t think of a stage of life where this book wouldn’t be helpful 🙂

Of Mess and Moxie, Jen Hatmaker

Of Mess and Moxie | Jen Hatmaker

Jen Hatmaker is one of my most favorite authors ever. Her book, Interrupted, literally changed my life. It’s what made me want to leave the world of private schools and teach in one of the most low-income neighborhoods in America. She is so real and raw and FUNNY. This book is way less intense than Interrupted or Seven. This book is about extracting all the joy you can out of your daily life. Jen’s writing is fun, encouraging, and will give you the emotional boost you may be needing. This book is fun and encouraging for women of all ages!

Captivate by Vanessa Van Edwards

Captivate | Vanessa Van Edwards

This book is all about body language and other subconscious things that are important for relationship building. Vanessa is a social researcher and she shares the best place to stand in a party, what to do in a job interview, and how to work better with your coworkers. Plus, I love it that she backs everything up with science. And I love it even more that she conducts most of the research herself. Her stories and experiments are fascinating! If you are job-searching, YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT THIS BOOK!

Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Designing Your Life | Bill Burnett & Dave Evans

These two guys actually teach a course on this at Stanford. But since taking a course at Stanford isn’t practical for most of us, this book is a good substitute! This book primarily focuses on Design Thinking, which along with Growth Mindset, is all the rage in education these days. This book tells stories of people who had no life plan or who changed the current path of their lives. If you are contemplating a career change, this book is for you. If you are fresh out of school and looking for your next steps, this book is for you. No matter your phase of life, this book is for you. It will definitely give you some insights into what you are passionate about!

You are a Badass, Jen Sincero

You Are a Badass | Jen Sincero

This book is probably the most self-helpy one on this list. However, Jen Sicnero’s style of writing and storytelling is pretty funny, even if you aren’t into that kind of book. Her basic message is that the universe is conspiring in your favor. It may sound cheesy, or fantasy-like, but I truly believe there is something to be said for a positive mindset! She talks a lot about how she has overcome obstacles in her life. And she tells stories that have helped her learn important life lessons. Her honesty is refreshing and maybe the motivation you need to get back on track. This book is perfect for anyone feeling a little down or stuck in life.

Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin

Better Than Before | Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin has become one of my favorite authors over the past few months. Even if you haven’t heard of her, you would probably recognize the cover of her first book The Happiness Project. I remember seeing it in FedEx Office in college (I spent a LOT of time at FedEx Office). This book is like Organized Charm on steroids. Gretchen is amazing. She researches, she writes, she shares. Everything in this particular book is about creating new habits. 21 different strategies total. 21! It will help you run daily, eat healthier, sleep earlier, study consistently, WHATEVER your dream goal it! Definitely check it out 🙂 This book is good for anyone looking to make life changes, but needing concrete steps to do it!

Read: 3 Habits That Will Boost Your Productivity
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

Daring Greatly | Brené Brown

Brené Brown’s main topic is vulnerability. She researches vulnerability, why we hate it for ourselves but like to see it in others, and how it can make us better leaders and humans. This particular book focuses on taking risks and is full of advice and great quotes. “If you’re not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback”. How often do we accept judgments of others WHO ARE NOT IN OUR SITUATIONS? And on the flip side of that, how often do we judge others when WE are not in the arena? This book is perfect for anyone needing a little extra boost of encouragement to take a big leap.

Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown

Braving the Wilderness | Brené Brown

Brown encourages you to look at what lies you tell yourself and the power they hold over you. Everyone feels like they are a little weird/different/unlike anyone else. And guess what? You are. None of us have had the same mix of personality, upbringing, life experiences, education, skills, talents, etc. This is something we P R E A C H in Kindergarten, but it’s so hard to follow as adults. Brown encourages you to be true to yourself, even at the risk of feeling like you don’t fit in. It’s a message that we start needing to hear when we’re about 12, and apparently never stop needing to hear. This book is perfect for people who are “pleasers” or are seeking to fit in.

You might also like: How to Actually Accomplish Your Goals
The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin

The Four Tendencies | Gretchen Rubin

This book is like a spin-off of Better Than Before. Rubin talks about how there are four main categories of people when it comes to habit formation. What I like is that she’s not saying there are four main ways to BE or four main personality types. She’s saying, when it comes to forming (or quitting) a habit, there are four ways people handle it. This book helps you find out what YOUR tendency is and those of your children, coworkers, roommates, spouse, etc. Great for anyone who is starting new habits or looking to work better with others. 

Also read: Good Habits for College Classes
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic | Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic is one of those books that gives you a little surge of optimism with every paragraph. Elizabeth Gilbert’s writing is so encouraging, matter-of-fact, and inspiring that you can’t help but pick up her positive energy. She talks about how long she spent on her dream of being a writer before her first book was ever published. Gilbert walks us through how to be courageous enough to share our creative work. She talks about not trying to satisfy your ego (because you never will). And she talks about creating for FUN, not for money. This book is great for any makers/creators who hold themselves back out of fear.

You might also like: How to Feng Shui Your Work Space
Encouraging books for 2020

Most of these books are ones that focus on emotional, warm and fuzzy type things. I’ll probably do a follow-up book on my favorite professional growth books soon! I know that there are SO MANY encouraging books for both personal and professional growth. Please tell me which ones are your favorites! 🙂

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Best Teacher Gifts Under $25

Teacher gifts can be challenging. Whether your child’s teacher’s birthday is coming up, or you’re a teacher participating in Secret Santa, it’s always tough to know what others will like. If you’re looking to get a little more creative than the traditional Starbucks gift card (and support small business), then here are some of the best teacher gifts for you!

Book Lovers’ Soy Candles from Frostbeard

Do you know what most teachers love? Books and candles. When you find something that combines the two, it is truly exciting! Frostbeard is a candle shop based in Minneapolis, Minnesota that focuses on candles for book lovers. You can choose from scents like Bookstore, Old Books, Oxford Library, and Headmaster’s Office, just to name a few! They also offer several sizes, so you can go big or tiny based on your teacher gift needs 🙂

Laptop Stickers from Coffeein5th & NewHampshireBelle

Laptop stickers are perfect teacher gifts! Teachers love motivational quotes and cute illustrations. It’s part of the job. Laptop stickers are the perfect way to gift a teacher with a pretty little dose of positivity each time he or she opens up a laptop to take attendance. And speaking of that, NewHampshireBelle has the perfect sticker reminding them to do that, too… admin will thank you 😉

( Get better at taking attendance here —> Tips for Forming Good Habits )

iPhone Charger Decal from FourPandas

This shop out of Jacksonville, Florida offers all kinds of monogrammed teacher gift ideas! Teachers (and I can only speak for the Southern ones) LOVE monogrammed gifts! I love monogrammed gifts because they show that you put some thought into it ahead of time. Plus, teachers (along with everyone else) can never have enough chargers!

Personalized Notebook from OldWaysFuss&Feathers

I feel comfortable telling you that, no matter the teacher you’re thinking about, he or she is a list-maker. Teachers just can’t help it. There are a million and one things to remember: Notes to take in meetings, things to copy, children to send to the office early next Tuesday at 11:10. #teacherlife is impossible without lists and notes, which is why notebooks are one of the best teacher gifts! These sweet notebooks out of North Vernon, Indiana just add an extra little bright spot to list-making! 

Read: Weekly Lesson-Planning Process

Teacher T-Shirts from uniquebelletique

“Wait a minute…” you may be thinking. “Teachers wear t-shirts about teaching?” Yes. Yes, we do. On a dress down day, a teacher shirt, jeans, and cute tennis shoes are the most Instagrammable teacher outfit you can imagine! Teacher t-shirts make great teacher gifts! Luckily, Etsy is FULL of cute shops with tons of options, like uniquebelletique out of Midlothian, Texas, and whimsyandwhiteboards out of Salem, Oregon. 

Bonus

No teacher gift is complete without a meaningful card. In fact, you could really get away with this being your ONLY gift. And I’m not talking about a card that says, “Thanks for being the best teacher ever,” but a truly meaningful card. One where you list the things he or she does from day-to-day that you appreciate. It could be how your child’s teacher has worked really hard with him/her on handwriting over the past few months, or how your coworker across the hall always offers to make your copies.

Teachers like kindness and inspirational words, right? (see above) I still have cards hanging over my desk at home that are 3-4 years old. Those kids are almost in middle school now! But the kind words that those parents took the time to write me have been some of the most lasting gifts I’ve ever received.

You might also like: School Supply Shopping List

What gift ideas would you like to add to this list?! Please share them in the comments section 🙂

Best 2020 Planners

It’s time for 2020 planners! Ahh… all those fresh, new possibilities. The fresh packages of color-coded pens. The cute stickers. The goal-setting. I cannot even begin to describe how excited this season makes me! I’m so excited to share my favorite 2020 planners this year with you!! Here we go! 

Emily Ley Simplified Planner | $48

I bought one of these at the beginning of the school year, and I was really pleased with the design, size, and priority activities at the front. If you get overwhelmed by too many boxes and detailed lists in your planner, this one is for you! It is easy to carry around. The paper is of excellent quality, and the overall brand is just super cute and happy. Emily Ley also offers a few books that pair nicely with the planner to help you prioritize your tasks and set goals

Erin Condren Softcover Life Planner | $30-$35

After admittedly not being the biggest fan of Erin Condren planners, I have to say that the new softbound option has drawn me back to Erin Condren. I LOVE how sleek and easy softbound planners are to carry around. I love not having to worry about big, bulky coils. Plus, as always, the colors and designs are beautiful. The 2020 planners come in three different layouts so that you can choose the one that works best for you! 

Happy Planner | $21-$39

Even though I don’t necessarily love big-coil binding, The Happy Planner is one I can really get excited about! I am using the lesson planner this year, and I absolutely love the colors, the layout, the quotes, and doodles. It truly makes you feel… well, happy. These also work well as scrapbooks or journals. There are TONS of gorgeous planner stickers on the Happy Planner website and Michael’s (usually accompanied by great deals, too!). 

Panda Planner | $34

I recently discovered this planner and am pretty obsessed with it! The layout reminds me of a cross between Passion Planner and Day Designer. I LOVE that helps you cultivate a positive attitude (and who couldn’t use a little more of that?)! There are different options to choose from, but I like the pre-dated, weekly layout the best! I love that it offers places for you to list your priorities, as well as the day’s wine wins. ( hey, sometimes wine may be your win 😉

Read: Flexible Long-Term Planning Solutions

Passion Planner | $30-35

Year after year, I check out (and usually buy) all kinds of new planners. I always want to be sure I’m not missing out on something that could be helping me keep my life together. But I ALWAYS seem to come back to the Passion Planner. I love the goal-setting exercises that the beginning and how they keep you focused throughout the year. The 2020 planners have gorgeous color choices. This year, they also have sticker packs and a daily layout!

You might also like: How I Organize My Planner

Planners are more than just a pretty place to keep track of your commitments. They are visible evidence of how you spend your most precious resource: your time. I am always on the lookout for planners that help people identify their long-term goals, and break them down into smaller steps. How you spend your time now ends up being how you spent your life. Make sure you’re being proactive and in control of your time! 

There are a MILLION other planners out there, and plenty I don’t know about yet! Please share them in the comments so I can buy them all check them out 🙂 

HAPPY (almost) 2020!! Follow Organized Charm on Instagram for all kinds of planner tips! 

Also check out: Ordering a Plum Planner