Less Than Challenge

Living life with less than…

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Quick Reads

In keeping with the new year theme that’s seemed to define my return to LTC thus far, I figured I’d share another of my New Year’s resolutions today: read more books.  According to my Goodreads profile, I finished 15 titles in 2013.  I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate, but in any case, this year I’m aiming for 20.

While there are certainly some books that are worth relishing over a good, long period of time, I figure I’m going to need at least a few quick reads to achieve my goal.  Since lots of you may be looking to do something similar this year, I figured I’d share a few of my favorite quick reads (books I finished in less than a week) from my recent reading history.

Songs of Willow Frost1. Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford

Admittedly, I read this book over the course of a short cross-country trip I had to take back in September, so I had lots of time for reading on planes.  That probably helped me finish this novel more quickly than usual, but I also stayed up late every night devouring as many pages as I could because Willow Frost was just so captivating.  This book told a story filled with emotion and developed so vividly that I can still picture each of the characters as I write this – months after actually reading it.

I’ve also heard great things about Jamie Ford‘s debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, so I’m definitely planning to make that one of my twenty books in 2014.  If you’ve read his first bestseller and haven’t yet had a chance to pick up Songs of Willow Frost, I highly recommend that you do.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?2. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

Ok, bear with me because the next two books are both by famous female television comedy writers/stars.  But they are really not the same, unless you count the fact that they are both hilarious.

I’m generally not a huge reader of non-fiction comedy, but Mindy Kaling‘s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? really turned me on to the world of books that are funny.  I am now entirely obsessed with Mindy, addicted to her show (The Mindy Project on FOX), and anticipating her next book like none other.  I am not lying when I tell you that every person I know who read her first book loved it, and this includes people with much different literary tastes than my own.

Furthermore, it’s on this short list because it was a quick, easy read, so you really have NO reason not to at least try it.  Please, I beg you, join my Mindy fan club.  You will not be sorry.

Bossypants3. Bossypants by Tina Fey

After learning to appreciate a good funny book thanks to Mindy Kaling (see above), I was really anxious to read Tina Fey‘s huge bestseller, Bossypants.  Lucky for me, an awesome coworker brought the book in as her gift in our office-wide holiday gift exchange, and I got to take it home just in time for Christmas vacation!

Bossypants is one of those books that’s super easy to read in teensy tiny snippets if you have to.  If you’re really looking for a book to fly through, look no further.  I read this book in less than 3 days, thanks in large part to the fact that I couldn’t resist reading a few pages absolutely every time I had a free minute.  I loved that it didn’t require a huge time commitment on my part to get plenty of laughs and entertainment.  Tina Fey is a very funny woman, and I really enjoyed this glimpse into her life beyond the few things I really knew about her before reading.


So…based on my totally unscientific review of books I’ve read quickly in recent times, I’ve determined that funny books make for easy reads, and easy reads are going to be key to achieving my reading resolution this year.  Imagine my delight when, as I was writing this post, I discovered Thought Catalog’s list of 15 Must-Read Books to Satisfy Your Inner Comedy Nerd.  Turns out I’ve already read 3 of the 15 (I’m also a Chelsea Handler fan), so I’m thinking I’ll try to incorporate at least another 2 or 3 on this year’s reading list.

Any recommendations?  Be sure to share, and check back throughout the year (or follow me on Goodreads) for updates on my 20-book challenge!


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New Year, New Start

I have to admit, when I failed to keep the Less Than Challenge going after my summer vacation, I thought this blog had seen its final days.  But if ever there were a time to make a fresh start, it would be the beginning of a new year, right?

I’m sorry to have left my few loyal readers hanging without warning this summer.  I really hope I’ll be able to make it up to you with some fresh content in 2014!

I promise you that despite my lack of writing, I have still been trying to live the “less than” lifestyle on the regular.  In fact, I’ve taken “less than” eating to a whole new level, doing a healthy holiday detox last week that I can’t wait to tell you about!

So please, forgive my absence and know that I am very excited to be back!  While you (anxiously/eagerly/skeptically?) await my next post, feel free to catch up on some of my old favorites…

Oh, and one other thing.  I recently decided to stop tweeting as @LessThanGirl.  Rather than start again now, I’m simply turning my personal Twitter account into my everything Twitter account.  So if you aren’t already, start following me @ltc_kimmy to get LTC updates and a whole lot more.  🙂

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To Labor and to Wait

It has been a month since my last post, and besides the fact that I’ve just been really busy recently, I’ve also been taking a little time to rethink the format and concept behind the Less Than Challenge.

After completing (or failing to complete) my first few challenges, I have realized that imposing strict time constraints on a “less than” lifestyle is not always especially productive. Sometimes it takes waiting out a sale cycle or getting through a busy work week before I can really make the most out of less. And I want to share successes, inspiration, tips, and techniques with all of you, rather than simply posting a series of challenges and results.

So starting with my very next post, I’ll be kicking off a summer full of “less than” living in a slightly different style. I hope you’ll come along for the ride…

to labor and to wait

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The First Fail

It’s been more than a week since my last challenge, which was supposed to be completed in less than a week. And yet, this isn’t a results post…

So here’s what I’ve learned: I am much more judicious with my money than my time.  Continue reading

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CHALLENGE #4: Gatsby Love

Re-read The Great Gatsby and see the new movie in less than a week.

Like the rest of the world (at least the world as I see it), I have total Gatsby fever in anticipation of this week’s movie release. Months ago, I vowed to re-read the novel so it would be fresh in my mind at the theater, but alas I have not yet made it past the first chapter. And so – you guessed it – it’s time for a new challenge!  Continue reading

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Live Below the Line RESULTS

To sum up my Live Below the Line experience in a single sentence: it wasn’t really hard to live on less than $1.50 a day, but it was basically impossible to enjoy it.

Below the Line Peas.jpg


Perhaps you saw the picture of the 65-cent peas I posted on Instagram on Thursday night. Trust me, they tasted every bit as bad as they look. And normally I love peas!

That’s the thing about this challenge…  Continue reading