Welcome & 5 Books That Inspired Me To Live Like This

August 10, 2015
by kay
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First of all, welcome to Kay Redesigned. I’m really glad you’re here.

Second, let me tell you a little about the Kay behind the blog:

Throughout my life, I’ve always been different: in the way I approach friendships, the jobs I strive for, the way I fill my fringe hours.

For the last decade or so, I’ve let myself feel bad when my idea of a good life doesn’t align with what others want for me. And I know I’m not the only one who feels that way.

I don’t want you to feel trapped by that. You shouldn’t feel trapped by that.

You are your own person. Your own body. Your own heart. Your own mind. And what you love, how you love, how you fill your days, is your prerogative.

This blog is about living a life well designed, a life well intentioned, a life that fulfills you—not the boxes you’re told to check off. It’s about celebrating things that make you smile, the beauty of a well-chosen piece of furniture, or a planned room design, or a running habit you put to the test every morning when the clock strikes five. It’s about having passions, and goals, and balance, not selfishly, but intentionally, so that you can be a more supportive, energized, enthusiastic human being for the people in your life.

I hope this blog helps you navigate your way.

So let me start with a list of books that helped me navigate my way, in college and the years that have followed:

Life After College by Jenny BlakeLIFE AFTER COLLEGE by Jenny Blake

Jenny’s book was my must-buy the last semester of college. I have always leaned on books to help me through hard times, and while I had no idea what that first season would bring, I knew it would be a transition to rival all other transitions.

Her book is absolutely a must-read, not only because it’s built for women who want to get their life figured out (whatever that means, because honestly, life is never truly figured out), but because she breaks it down into topics.

Need to focus on your health? Struggling with your relationships? Is getting on a clear career path freaking you out? Hone in on those chapters, exercises, and to-read lists.

Plus, she talks a lot about values, and goals, of which I am a big, big fan. Can’t get anywhere unless you know 1) why you want to get there and 2) where your there is. And if you’re low on cash, start with her website, which is absolutely loa-ded with free tools.


Fringe Hours by Jessica TurnerFRINGE HOURS by Jessica Turner

Struggling to find the time for yourself? Do you go from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. and wonder where your day went?

Jessica’s book is your answer to finding those moments, those “fringe” hours, where you could be doing all the things you love (or maybe all the things you hate, like calling doctors and insurance companies).

She breaks the book down into four phases: explore, discover, maximize, and live well.

If you’re not a reader, this is so fast and skimmable it’s crazy. After the first two sections, you’ll uncover what you value, what hobbies you wish you were pursuing, and where little bits of time are slipping through the cracks of your day. Decide to make a conscious effort to change right then and there, or read on for more help from Jessica.

What I love about it is it stops the glorification of busy, and it forces you to have open, honest conversations with your spouse/partner about how you contribute to household chores, family errands, and other day-to-day tasks. Her website also has a free time tracker.


Start Something That Matters by Blake MycoskieSTART SOMETHING THAT MATTERS by Blake Mycoskie

This book inspired me in the days before I finalized and launched my first big venture in college – a website dedicated to college undergrads who were floundering with relationships, school work, balance, healthy habits, depression, anxiety, and more. It’s not a “go do it” kind of book, because it really focuses on Blake’s story and how he founded TOMS, but it’s such a short, inspirational read.

If you’ve been thinking about doing just that–finding something to do that feels good inside, or gives back, this book is a great starting place.



Tiny, Beautiful Things by Cheryl StrayedTINY, BEAUTIFUL THINGS: ADVICE ON LOVE AND LIFE FROM DEAR SUGAR by Cheryl Strayed

This is for the anxious souls. The new graduates. The new anythings. This book will calm you, assure you, settle your waking thoughts. As I read page after page of advice, told so eloquently from a columnist who was answering life’s toughest questions, I knew two things: 1) I was most definitely not alone and 2) that was perfectly okay.

I’ll leave you with this one, because it’s the best thought to end your day: maybe you’re worried about something ending, or scared to start a new, or nervous you’ve made the wrong decision, or you’re not where you’re supposed to be at this point in your life, at this age. Maybe it’s none of those things. Cheryl’s book will remind you that no matter what you’re wondering, or musing on, or fretting about, it’s all normal, and nothing is perfect, and you are going to be just fine. I found myself scribbling quote after quote from her book, humming them in my head for months afterward, because she has a soothing way about her.

And if you love Cheryl’s book, and need something different, go listen to the audio version of Shauna Niequist’s COLD TANGERINES. She is another soothing, storytelling, soul.

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