Book Review: Hurt People

The COVID-19 pandemic for all the fear it brings, has also given many of us some much needed time to concentrate on hobbies or projects that have fallen to the wayside. For me, I was finally able to finish “Hurt People” by Cote Smith and it seems that I finished it at just the right time as the overarching theme seems to fit perfectly with what we are dealing with right now.

So what does a coming of age tale about two brothers who meet a man who is not what he seems while growing up in Leavenworth, KS have to do with COVID-19? Well initially nothing.

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Indie Bookstores: the Resurrection of Print?

I love reading. It’s in part, how I ended up as an English major. My dad instilled the virtues of reading within my sister and I from a very young age. From reading bedtime bible stories to Curious George to Miss Spider, I loved the time my dad and I shared at exploring new worlds together. As I got older, my dad and I would spend hours either at the library or at Waldenbooks inside Metro North Mall (if any of you remember that little slice of nostalgia). I consumed books as if my life depended on it and that didn’t really change until I got to college.

During my college career, I noticed there was a bit of a shift in how I looked at reading, I was an English major and I was in love with being an English major. But the problem with taking four English classes a semester is…that you’re taking four English classes in a semester. I was still enjoying what I was reading, but by the time I had graduated, I realized that I had no desire to read at all. I guess you could say I went through an academic burn out.

About a year ago, that itch to read came back. I just woke up one day hungry to read. Perhaps, you could say it was a slow shift in mindset that did it or you could say it was just a feeling. Either way, I was ready to dive into a book, seek inspiration and explore new worlds and realities. But I didn’t just want a book, I wanted a book. One that I could physically hold in my hand, feel the slight roughness of the page brush against my fingertips, and, of course, release that familiar book-y musk that has come to remind me of my childhood.

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Planners: Prepping for the New Year

2019 is coming to an end, which means it’s time to refocus on those goals you’ve thrown to the wayside in preparation for the new year. The number one way I like to get ready for the new year by picking up a brand new planner. Something about a fresh planner just gets me excited for what the new year will bring. However finding a planner has always been difficult for me because, most planners are set up with the same weekly or monthly format and leaves little room for a daily to-do list (and I LOVE a good list).

The truth is, mass produced planners will always have pitfalls. It’s hard to cater to the masses when everyone is so different and has their own organization method that works best for them. On the other hand, if I were able to combine all the features of every planner I did like, I might still run into the problem of whether I would use every feature i said I wanted.

The planner that I used last year which has brought the most success for me organization-wise, has been the Day Designer planner by Whitney English. And I really love that planner. But, in the pursuit of looking local first, I decided 2020 would be the year I would look for a new planner to see if there really is a better planner system that works for me.

Day Designer

DD Planner Photo 1

Featured planner pages

DD Planner Photo 2

Sample of daily page layout

  • Provides a daily planner option in addition to a weekly planner option
  • Daily page spread with a to-do list section for each day (my dream!)
  • Provides yearly intention prompts with ideal year, month, week and day charts which I really liked because it allowed me to think about what I would like my routine to look like so that I could establish good habits for myself.
  • Not every section on the daily spread was useful to me so I ended up wasting a lot of space on the daily spread. I would sometimes use the “Due” box to write down when I had a bill coming up, but more often than not, I just ended up writing it down in my top-do list because I forgot the box was there half the time.
  • I didn’t like that the daily schedule took up a separate column on the page. I don’t have a daily schedule where I am always having “appointments” and I’m not so anal retentive that I have to write down EXACTLY what I’m doing at every moment. As a result, this section being so big was rendered a little useless.
  • It’s a daily planner and so is a little bulky, which made it hard to carry my planner from place to place and ultimately effected how often and useful my planner was

Easy, Tiger

Easy, Tiger has it’s roots in Kansas City but has since moved to New York to give the Yankees a taste of Midwestern snark. I have always been in love with Easy, Tiger’s glassware, but they have truly grown into a novelty home goods store and has even added partner stores, Level 9 and J.C. and Rollie.

ET planner photo

Photo courtesy of the Easy, Tiger website.

  • Offer a weekly and daily planner option
  • Better price point for a similar product. ($35 vs. $49-$59)
  • This planner serves snark on every page and doesn’t take itself so seriously, which is kind of nice when you’re stressed out about life.
  • No monthly overview, at least not from what I can see in the product preview on the website. The monthly overview is really important for me when I am scheduling appointments and provides a long term look at what’s ahead in the month. I don’t think I could live without a monthly overview page.


Workspacery is kind of like Day Designer in the sense that it’s owner, Jenna Murillo is focused on creating a product that will spark productivity as well as providing personal tips as to how her products can be used in your personal life. I’ve been aware of the Workspacery for a few years now, but wasn’t particularly interested in the Refresh Planner as it was a weekly set up, which wasn’t what I was looking for at the time. However Workspacery recently released the enneagram planner collection, a different planner layout carefully crafter for the nine enneagram personalities.

Upon taking a few different enneagram test, I found that I was either a 1, 4 or 5. One test did definitively tell me that I am a 1 wing 2, but I actually found myself gravitating more towards the 4 and 5 planner layout the most.


Top: Type Four planner Bottom: Type Five planner (photos courtesy of the Workspacery website)

Overall, I like that both planners have a lot of room for notes, still has a top three priorities section like my current planner and extra space for expanding to-do lists as needed, However, 4 grabbed me a little bit more because the commitments section, where I would list appointments, meetings, etc., only takes up a little bit of space on the spread and there is a dotted section to write out any project I’m currently working on.

There are also guided prompts for self reflection which is something I really appreciated about my Day Designer planner and am glad to have that here to reflect on as I go throughout the year. I will miss having stickers to label things, but honestly, I have so many from previous planners that not having more stickers isn’t much of a loss. I don’t love having to fill in the dates on this planner; I’d prefer them to be pre-filled so that I am constantly reminded to use my planner to ensure that I don’t double book myself or forget anything important throughout the week (I guess it just means that those stickers of mine will get used after all.) Conversely, this is a nice feature if you’re more of an “as-needed” planner user. Also, it’s kind of nice that the enneagram planners are only six months long so that you can switch planners if you find that one layout isn’t really for you or your organization method changes.

Utilmately I bought the 4 enneagram planner for the new year. I went ahead an bought a 12 month set to give this layout a good honest try for the whole year.

Which planners are you looking at the start the new year right? Which of the three planners would you have gone with? Tell me everything.

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Kansas City Noir: Escaping to the Familiar

Kansas City Noir book

Kansas City Noir, edited by Steve Paul and published by Akashic Books

My birthday has come and gone and we are quickly heading into August, which means that beach and poolside insta photos are becoming far more frequent. For some reason as we get older, the appeal to actually get in the pool, goes down and the appeal to sunbathe near the pool with a good book goes up. Whether you’re sitting poolside at the neighborhood pool or oceanside on a summer vacay, sometimes it’s nice to view your hometown in a new way.

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