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October 2016 Readathon

It's that time of the year again! Another readathon! I've signed up and I couldn't be more excited. It starts at 8AM on Saturday, October 22nd, and will end around 8AM on Sunday, October 23rd.

While I won't read the whole 24 hours (I need my nap time and my nighttime sleep as well as breaks for food, snacks, and whatnot), I will try my best to unplug from working online (except to make little updates every now and then and participate in some mini challenges), so hopefully my productivity book will work.

Throughout the day, my TBR is: 

  1. The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing - Bigger Pockets
  2. Retire Young, Retire Rich - Robert Kiyosaki
  3. The $100 Startup - Chris Guillebeau 
  4. The Book on Managing Rental Properties - Bigger Pockets 
While the first book is not technically a real book-- it's actually an e-book that I've printed out and is only around 80+ pages, I still consider it a book to read!

If you've noticed, my list is mostly non-fiction books and about personal finance and other investments. That's because I have devoted most of my time to studying and reading things that should help improve my life. You can read some of the best non-fiction books I've reviewed & recommended here.

Hope to connect with you guys at the readathon! This page will also be the place where I will post updates (instead of A Journey We Love, which is a blog I share with my husband).


Mid-Event Survey

 1. What are you reading right now?
Nothing. Still Retire Young, Retire Rich (stopped for a few hours to run errands and do grocery shopping, and meet up with a friend... in Barnes & Noble!)

2. How many books have you read so far?
Big fat ZERO
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
Still the same book as above.
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
Meeting a friend, running errands, and all the normal stuff.  I just live like it's a normal day (even though it's not)

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
That people are so active on social media! It's just insane!


Hour One Challenge: 

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I'm reading from sunny Jacksonville, Florida!

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Mostly Retire Young, Retire Rich by Robert Kiyosaki - mainly because I am a few pages in and definitely taking notes (most of the books I'm reading are non-fiction and I take a lot of breaks to write down what I'm learning in a notebook)

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
No snacks! My husband won't let me eat junk food

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
Let's see, together with my husband, we blog about travel, financial independence, and occasionally books on our other blog, A Journey We Love. You can also see some of our photos from our travels & everyday life on our Instagram and on our Facebook page (would love it if you guys can follow us!) - We both read a lot of books if we're at home (after work, or whenever we are in airplanes or just on vacation)!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

Looking back on my answers from the April 2016 readathon, I didn't really do much last time because I was in a travel seminar. This time, I don't really have much to do in the morning so I'll concentrate on reading, learning, checking social media updates that others posted (I love seeing their TBR piles), and pretty much getting ready for our afternoon appointments.   

Review: Me Before You

Me Before You Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow - just, wow.

I'm not a fan of romance books but this is definitely something that was interesting. So, most people have probably seen the movie trailer (or the movie) by now, so it isn't really a spoiler anymore.

The book is the tale of Louisa & Will, Louisa being a woman who feels content living in her small town in England, while Will lived his life to the fullest - a traveler, a lover, an adventure seeking man who actually loves his job and knows what he wants... that is, until a freak accident ended up with him paralyzed and in a wheelchair.

Louisa then gets hired as his caregiver and the rest is history.

I love the chemistry of the characters: from people who would never even think about mingling with each other, to eventually becoming friends and maybe more. To the both of them teaching something to the other without even knowing it- Will teaching Louisa how to be more adventurous and giving her the gift of choice, which she didn't even think she had. To Will making Louisa think that there is more to life than the four walls that she had confined herself to. To making Louisa think that her past is definitely not something that would define her.

To Louisa teaching Will that there is hope and love in the world even in the most desolate and unfortunate situation you can be in. To patience and learning. To loving and living.

And well, I love this book because of the travel aspect, because well, travel is my life. And reading is a good second to it.

I was lucky enough to borrow it from the local library (twice)- which now has a 100+ person queue in order to borrow it - so good luck if you want to save a few dollars and not buy the book from the store.

It's definitely a great book.

View all my reviews

Review: Busy: How to thrive in a world of too much

Busy: How to thrive in a world of too much Busy: How to thrive in a world of too much by Tony Crabbe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As part of my new way of 'reading' and 'learning' something even on a busy day, I decided to focus more on non-fiction books. Whilst browsing at the local library, I happened to pick up the book Busy by Tony Crabbe.

The premise starts out easy enough -- in a world where people are being bombarded with information and other distractions, how can we avoid being 'busy' in a bad way? How can we stop ourselves from making 'Busy' an excuse that we just use for everything else that we can or can't do?

The whole book is less than 300 pages, enough to keep your attention, and is written in layman's terms that you will easily relate them to your own lives. It mentions some key facts like spending more time with your family, developing more productive habits to follow daily, and how to manage your time wisely and not just say you're 'busy' because you're looking at emails or text messages on your phone just because you heard it chime.

It reminds us that we should take time where our brain is recovering from the bombardment of data and information it has to process and from thinking all the time and not really processing what it really needs to process. To embrace idle time (every now and again) as a way to relax and rejuvenate yourself.

The last chapter you can skip reading altogether - it's just a recollection of the author's thoughts and how he applied his own suggestions he outlined on his book into his daily life. You don't really need to read about that. What you'll need to do is skim through the topics and see if you can put that into practice in real life.

So, would I recommend buying this book? Probably not. Head on out to your local library or second hand bookstore to see if this book is for you. Better at the library because you know, it's free, and you just return it if you get tired of it.

**This book has been borrowed from the Jacksonville Public Library **

View all my reviews

April 2016 24 Hour Readathon

It's another Read-a-thon day again! Early this morning, I woke up and got ready for the Family Travel for Real Life seminar. I've been here since 9AM, meeting new people and learning new things about travel hacking. It was only through a break that I happened to check upon Twitter and saw an update about the Read-a-thon.

I completely forgot about the event!

We still have a two hour drive from Orlando back to Jacksonville so I'll read then.

On the reading list:
  1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert - I've read 100+ pages so far out of 270+. 
  2. Busy by Tony Crabbe - nearly done, last 20+ pages remaining! 

Hour 15 Update:

I finally got home and had dinner after the big travel seminar I went to today. I napped in the car and finally got to pick up Big Magic a few minutes ago, then put it back down again to catch up with social media & memes I've missed while traveling.

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now? Still the same as the starting meme answer - well, because I just typed the starting meme around 5-10 minutes ago! 
2. How many books have you read so far? Big fat Zero!!!
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?I'm hoping I could make a dent on Big Magic, we'll see
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? A lot - my fiance is working right beside me on our blog, and he is asking me a few questions about other things. I just deal with it normally, I multi-task. 
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? That people are super super active on social media -- I can't keep up!! 

Starting meme answers: 

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Jacksonville, Florida

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Big Magic

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Nothing. I don't eat snacks while reading, just water. 

4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I'm Ruby, originally from the Philippines, but moved to Florida more than 2 years ago. I have a dog named Rosie, a future husband named Peter from Slovakia, and love to travel. You can keep up with our travels on our new blog, A Journey We Love and you can read more about us here

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
I participated in a couple of other ones, from when I was in the Philippines and from a few months ago. You can see an archive post here. The one thing I did differently today was nap in the car during a long (2+ hour) car ride, and well, tried to keep up (but failed miserably) on social media as well. 

Book Review: How to Retire with Enough Money: And How to Know What Enough Is

How to Retire with Enough Money: And How to Know What Enough Is How to Retire with Enough Money: And How to Know What Enough Is by Teresa Ghilarducci
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was an okay book, not something I will want to read again though.
The book's premise revolves around how to plan for retirement. As an early 30-something year old, why am I planning for retirement as early as now? Surely I can do this later on when I'm old(er) and wiser?

The thing is, myself and Peter are aiming to become Financially Independent as soon as we can, just so we can be "retired" and we can use that spare time in pursuing other interests, like traveling the world and building businesses that we are passionate about. So, picking up this book is adding to my agenda of learning more about retirement, and properly preparing for it.

First off, this book is catered to the US setting - so, sorry if you live in another region, you may not be able to relate much to the tips, such as:

1. Putting the maximum yearly in your 401k.
2. Maximizing your contributions to IRA (if you don't have a 401K)
3. Investing in low-fee funds (hello Vanguard)
4. Hacking away at your debt (in our case, we only have a mortgage which we are starting to hack away slowly by putting a quarter of our side hustle money in it)
5. Having an emergency fund of at least 3 months to tide you over (in our case, we are saving 6 months of our home emergency fund as a couple. I already have my own personal emergency fund, and we're working on Peter's) - having an emergency fund is a lifesaver!
6. Saving for a car as early as now - because where we live (Jacksonville, FL), it's almost impossible for us to get anywhere without a car. We are going to do the bicycle route eventually when our workplace moves closer to our home, but I'll need to learn how to cycle first (yes, I don't know how to bike) and we'll also need to buy bikes, which is an additional expense.
7. Being more frugal and only living within our means

While those tips seem great, we've already been putting them into action for the past two years, so I'm not sure how the book changed my mind or convinced me to do a change in lifestyle otherwise.

However, the book is fairly thin and is a quick read, so might be worth perusing over.

I'd give this book 3/5 stars because it may help other people, but I for one, don't find it so useful or life changing to entail a 5/5 stars.

The book was borrowed from my local library (Jacksonville Public Library)

View all my reviews

Book Review: The 39 Clues Cahills vs Vespers: A King's Ransom

A King's Ransom A King's Ransom by Jude Watson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After reading the first 11 (12?) (13?) 39 Clues Books a few years back when I was still living in Manila, I decided to give it another go because I was looking for something fun and light to read when i was having such a bad month. This time, it picks up where book 1 left off - Vesper One still has Amy & Dan's family/friends hostage and they still have to steal another priceless artifact for him, in this case the Da Virga map. It takes them through Europe - Geneva, Neuschwanstein Castle & Prague in search for the map, along the way trying to dodge people who may want to harm them (the Vespers), and Interpol.

While it is an interesting read for me because I've personally been to Neuschwanstein and can definitely imagine the characters running around trying to find it through the passageways, the book tackles murder and well, sabotage - which I don't think is great for really young readers. I do love the fact that it tackles historical people & of course, the travel part from city to city.

Reading this book made me pick up the next book in the series from the library, which I'm due to pick up sometime soon. Now, this book is also one of a few more published/planned to be published in the franchise, so I think those who like the series will have something to look forward to.

I gave the book a three stars mostly because I'm getting annoyed at having a lot of questions yet not enough answers to them. I'm sure it'll be revealed during the last few parts of the book (or on consequent sequels), but it just hooks you to it. It kind of sucks if you have to buy the books as there are so many of them, but hey, I've got my local library to help me out!

Book was borrowed from the Jacksonville Public Library.

View all my reviews

**Would I recommend this book? Why yes, it is a great series -- but would only do it if you have a public library that has all the books. It's going to cost too much time & resources (ie money) if you want to collect all the books yourself! What if it never ends, you know?

Review: The Bride's Guide to Wedding Photography

The Bride's Guide to Wedding Photography The Bride's Guide to Wedding Photography by Steve Sint
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Finally finished this book as I was researching and trying to learn more about things I need for my wedding day. I was actually shocked at how much wedding photographers cost - if I wanted someone really good, it will eat up more than half of the original budget I intended, so I thought of staying away from having a professional and just let my friends do the photos. Yes, regardless if people say that I will want to look back at it and I'm paying someone for the creative styling, it just doesn't make sense to spend that much money for just one day.

Yes I know it's also once in a lifetime, but hey, my money can last me longer than that one day if I saved it and invested it, right?

Back to the book - it is dated, it was still talking about film, and really - who uses film nowadays (except maybe for Instax or Polaroid) - and with the new day & age of everyone having smartphone cameras with huge megapixels and HDR, then again, what is the point of having professional photography right?

Instead of the book trying to sell me a photographer, it actually said an option I liked, to skip it all together!

So, would I recommend this book? Probably not - because it's not really that useful in this day and age right now, plus you can see excellent photos from magazines instead.

View all my reviews

Review: Minions Volume 2: Evil Panic

Minions Volume 2: Evil Panic Minions Volume 2: Evil Panic by St├ęphane Lapuss'
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was a great, quick read - there is literally no dialogue in this book, just the illustrations of the minions, but it was cute and fun to read. I love the minions, they make me happy - so reading this after a long day at work makes it all the more better! This is also my first book read for 2016, so many more books to come, hopefully!

You don't need to pick up the first book in order to get what's happening in the second book as their stories stand alone from each other. The theme of this book is the evil minion - where one spray can actually cause your good, old minion friend to turn into a purple evil minion that wants to eat everything!

Of course there are plenty of other stories in the middle that makes it even more entertaining.

Definitely recommend reading this book - but probably not to buy it, as the price is a bit steep. I picked it up from my local library (Jacksonville, FL) - I'm always in the library a couple of times a month (sometimes even multiple times a week!)

View all my reviews

2015 in Books

As we nearly end 2015, we look back at the things that we have done mostly throughout the year. I was updating my Goodreads account based on the books I have read (that will count for 2015), and got the below Year in Review.

Overall, it was a great year for reading, and for blogging as well. When I was younger, one of my goals was to read all the books ever published. Yeah, not so attainable a dream is it? I'm slowly reading through books that engage and excite me - and no, these does not include self published e-books on my Amazon account. These are purely the books that I've picked up in hard copy form (from the library, of course - can't live without it!)

2015 in Books

Books I've read

More books read for 2015

I've completed the reading challenge!

Review: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great book about the power of human habits, and how they ultimately shape (and maybe destroy) your life. It makes you more aware of the innate habits that we have as humans, and how to effectively change them (hard, but definitely doable with a lot of discipline and willpower). Also mentions the habit loop: the cue, the routine and the reward. Every habit has these three, and how to address your habit and change it means identifying a cue, and maybe changing the routine or the reward.

Absolutely amazing book, really glad I picked it up.

View all my reviews

Moving Domains

Hello All,

Just a quick note to say that I haven't been blogging here for a while because Peter and I decided to get our own domain! You may now follow us at A Journey We Love (www.ajourneywelove.com)

We'll upload our travels on that new websites, as well as how much we spent, itineraries you may replicate if you happen to go to the same destinations as us, trip reviews, and everything in between.

That's also the place where we discuss more about our small business (AirBnB-ing our spare bedroom & freelance writing), wedding planning & details, as well as looking after our home.

I might still utilize Ruby Loves Adventure for one-off personal posts & maybe a bit of book reviews, but most of the activity will definitely be in the domain. This blog has been up for the past 8 years and I couldn't be more happy about it, but we all have to move on at one point to better things ahead. I don't know why it took us a while to finally get a domain but we finally did it - better late than never!

Join us on our new website, and thank you for your support on Ruby Loves Adventure!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

It's November 26th in the US, and it's Thanksgiving! 

I'm thankful for a lot of things, mostly going to be posted starting next year on our brand new website, A Journey We Love. It's still under construction, but hopefully it'll be up within two weeks (or more, depending how long Peter will get to reconfigure the template)

For the meantime, we are busy booking our trips for 2016! It's going to be very exciting, and hopefully you'll still stay with us for the ride.

Until then, I'm off looking for shopping deals for things we need for the year (yes, we stock up). Have a nice holiday for those of you in the US

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