The Best 5 Books I Read in 2020

    *Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you click on a product link or use one of my codes, I may receive a small compensation at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I love or use myself!

    Another year done, another reading recap.

    In 2020, I read a total of 21 books and five of them really stuck out. Today I’ll be sharing those five best books I read last year along with my thoughts on them for you!

    If you’re interested in seeing more of the books I read check out this full list on Bookshop or friend me on GoodReads.

    The Girl He Used to Know

    I feel like I had seen this book while working in the library in 2019 and was drawn to the cover so when I found it on BookOutlet I purchased it. I was not disappointed.

    Annika is such a well rounded character, and I loved being in her mind. I thought she was just going to be another “shy girl” trope which I always related to, but was happily surprised that there was more to her than that. Spoiler alert, it’s soon easily discerned that Annika has some sort of developmental disorder making the book deter from the typical “shy girl” trope. 

    the book The Girl He Used To Know by Tracey Garvis Graves on top of cheese pieces

    I had never read a book told from the POV of someone with a development disorder so I loved the new perspective and representation. I especially loved that the author didn’t advertise that specific quality of the main character to capitalize on the recent call for diversity in all media.

    I read this book in two days and cried two times. A great one to start off this list right? 

    Read more…

    I Didn’t Achieve Everything I Wanted to in 2020 — and That’s Okay

    At the beginning of the year, and throughout, I set some goals for myself. Some of them were more descriptive (like being able to do a pull-up by myself before the new year) and others were very vague (like keeping up with my blog). But then 2020 came and went and I didn’t reach every goal I wanted last year. And that’s totally okay.

    I had been seeing a lot of things circulating on social media about how you should be extra gentle towards yourself in regards to what you achieved in 2020. I mean… we had (and are still in) a global pandemic!

    I agreed with all the posts I was seeing, but I also think you should be gentle with yourself every year. Instead of focusing on what you didn’t accomplish, instead, focus on all the things you did accomplish – no matter the size of the accomplishment.

    Related: What I’m Doing to Improve My Mental Health

    So I thought I’d volunteer as tribute and share all the things I’ve been beating myself up about and then all the things I should instead be celebrating.

    Goals I Tried to Accomplish

    Do One Pull-Up by Myself

    I’ve always wanted to be able to do pull-ups by myself. I finally started practicing them every workout in September. Had gyms not closed again in November I’m sure I would have been able to do at least one by myself by now but that’s okay.

    girl in a gym locker room mirror wearing a mask

    Related: Comparing Four Popular Gym Chains: which gym is right for you?

    I may not have accomplished this goal, but I’m more motivated than ever. Once they open again I’ll be ready to start working towards this goal again.

    Read more…

    10 Spooky Small Businesses Your Halloween Obsessed Friend will Love

    Are you or a friend a lover of all things Halloween? Do you know someone that just emanates witch vibes? Does your friend have an obsession with horror movies? Well, do I have the perfect list of small businesses for you!

    I’m a huge Halloween fan (just check out my Instagram) and have a section of my bedroom and living room dedicated to the spooky and macabre so most of my social media feeds are tailored for those interests. AKA I know where to shop to find pieces for the mystical, witchy, magical and horror-loving friend.

    Below you’ll find ten small businesses to support this holiday season (or all year round) to purchase gifts for you and your peers.

    Jump to a Store:

    The Pretty Cult$$
    Dark Mother$ $$
    Die with Your Boots On$$ $$$
    Holli Rose Art$ $$
    Cocorrina$$ $$$
    Not Your Average Babe$ $$ $$$
    Black Thorn$ $$
    HausWitch$ $$ $$$
    Foxblood$$ $$$
    Queer Quartz Shop$

    $ – Under 15 dollars
    $$ – Under 50 dollars
    $$$ – More than 50 dollars

    The Pretty Cult

    Price range: $$

    This shop caters to anyone with a dark heart or magickal inclinations. The shop owner and creator, Arielle, designs and handprints all the items herself. The Pretty Cult sells everything from tote bags, to dresses, to candles and room spray, tea towels, pins, patches and more.

    Here are my picks:

    Read more…

    Dosha Mat Review: the Acupressure Mat that Helped Relieve my Back and Neck Pain

    *I was sent the following product by Dosha Mat to review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own and I would never share something I didn’t love myself. Thank you for supporting brands that support Life with Caitlyn.

    The Dosha Mat acupressure mat is everything I didn’t know I needed in my life.

    I’ve never used acupressure before and have only ever had one real therapeutic massage. However, I do foam roll often and used to get my leg muscles rubbed out a lot when I was involved in sports years ago. I rarely ever get rubbed out professionally any more but I do sometimes attempt to do it myself if I have major leg knots.

    However, that’s not something I can really do for my back and neck knots. My middle to upper back is almost always sore and I feel like I’ve had a perpetual crick in the right side of my neck since college. Stress will do that to you.

    Related: Dealing with Overwhelm in College

    I sit at my desk while at work trying to rub out my shoulders and adjust my sitting position so my spine didn’t feel like it’s in so much agony. Neither ever really provide lasting relief, especially since for work I’ve always sat at a desk for hours staring at screens.

    Then I discovered the world of acupressure mats. Specifically the Dosha Mat.

    What is Dosha Mat?

    Dosha Mat has thousands of little lotus flower tips to provide pressure on your body to provide pain relief and relaxation. The mat itself is made of hypoallergenic natural linen and the cushion inside is made of 100% natural coconut fiber. The lotus flowers themselves are made from toxic-free surgical plastic. Making the Dosha Mat 100% eco-friendly.

    dosha mat close up

    Dosha mat is about 2.25 feet by 1.5 feet and easily folds in half, making it almost as easy to transport as a yoga mat.

    The best part of Dosha Mat as a company is that they donate 15% of their profit to non-profit organizations that work to provide exercise programs like yoga to youth in need. Combining that with the fact their mats are 100% eco-friendly makes me love the company even more.

    Read more…

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