Posts Tagged ‘Books’

Reading Pretty: My Paris Dream by Kate Betts

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I simply devoured Kate Betts memoir My Paris Dream. You may know Kate as the author of Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style, but to me I feel a kindred soul. In My Paris Dream, Kate reflects on her time spent in Paris and the learning experience of a young woman who followed a dream. The book resonated with me because it’s coming on my 14-year anniversary of studying in Paris and all I can think of is: “what if Jamie never encouraged me to go?”

Before I graduated from college I had two choices – walk a stage or board a Continental Airlines (now United Airlines) flight to Paris. Guess which one I chose? Paris. I didn’t need a cap and gown ceremony. I needed baguettes, cheese, wine, and coming into my own. The previous few years had been a nightmare.

I lost my dad in 1999 and I remember my brother Jamie stepping in when I needed him. When my French teacher suggested I study abroad in Paris immediately fear crept in. I confided in my best friend Cassaundra, but I also confided in Jamie who I thought would discourage me. He didn’t. He immediately said “Move in with me and my family, save all your money, and go study in a place you dreamed about.” Well, alrighty then.

I took Jamie and his family up on their offer. On May 11, 2001 I stepped on a plane to go study, solo and prayed that all the money I paid for an apartment (before Air B&B) would result in me having an apartment. Cell phones? Not so much. My entire family went to the airport with me. This was when you could sit with your families before you flew and they could literally see you off. I remember sitting in CDG (Charles de Gaulle) after landing crying and writing in my journal. I was here. The place of Josephine Baker, Richard Wright, Laduree, Eartha Kitt, James Baldwin, Dior, Louis Vuitton, and oh yes, Sisley Cosmetics.

The year was magical. Unlike anything, I had ever experienced growing up in the South. It was literally my personal Paris dream. The dream would have never happened without Jamie. I miss him every day and especially now as I reminisce on my time in Paris. I had a dream and I was thankful for a brother who stepped in and helped make it happen. How many people are not living their dream and just existing? I hope you my fellow readers are not one of them. Life is too short to find your own Paris dream.

“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?” ~ Rumi

Reading Pretty: Spinster by Kate Bolick

spinster

There are things in life that are not for everyone. Marriage and kids as it relates to this review. I wish we lived in a world where people respected others decisions on what works and doesn’t work for them instead of being judgemental. Kate Bolick’s Spinster gives a detailed look on one person’s journey of discovery and choices.

Choices. That’s a word we rarely use when it comes to our own lives. Years ago during a church service I remember my pastor saying “Life is choice driven. We live and die by the choices we make.” To this day, I still use this statement. To everyone I consult, family, friends, and people wanting my opinion on certain things. Everyone makes different choices. Those choices work for them or may not. The judgment, jealousy, and bitterness to others choices shouldn’t faze you in the least. The book gives one woman’s choice, how she came to the choice, and how she continues to live with it.

The book resonated with me because of her decision to own her choice. I wish people who read the book, especially women, come away with understanding how important choices are in their lives. In every single aspect. Personal and professional. I have traveled the world and visited countries where women don’t have choices and to be a woman in this country, be able to make my own choices, and live my life on my terms is well – priceless.

Reading Pretty: Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen

yoga girl

If you practice yoga regularly and don’t know who Rachel Brathen (“Yoga Girl“) well you must be living under a rock, not on Instagram, and definitely not one of her 1.2 million followers. I have been following Rachel and her adventures on her home island of Aruba, traveling the world teaching classes, and dealing with major life heartaches for a long time. It’s one of my favorite Instagram yoga accounts.

What I love about her page is not only is it inspirational, but she says what we all think. Sometimes life sucks. In one year she lost her best friend and grandmother (lows). It was a year of getting married (high), writing her book (another high), and much more. As a follower you see all the good, bad, and ugly. It’s still hard for me to be so open how every morning I want to scream since Jamie died and yes my life is good, but it sucks not to hear his voice every single day.

Rachel’s book is a mixture of memoir, yoga, and cookbook. I missed Rachel and Dennis (her husband) when they came to D.C. last year and I was bummed. She’s on book tour and I’m bummed again that I can’t make any of the dates. I am pushing for them to come back to D.C. because they have a lot of fans. My husband tells me I should go to her Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga Teacher Training in Aruba. That sounds like it’s up my alley. Water, yoga, sand, and get bronzed.

Yoga Girl comes out today. I received a copy to preview, but I love it so much I ordered a copy for my Kindle. I spent my Saturday afternoon savoring the book and a matcha tea latte. It’s on my nightstand where I keep most of my yoga books and I still can’t get enough.

Reading Pretty: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

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I’m sure you have heard of this little book that has become a juggernaut about clearing clutter for EVER. Like ever, ever? The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo is not only a best seller, but really a game changer. I’m serious. No joke. The book makes you think of everything you own, desire, and love as either joyful or not. It’s really simple. Every item you touch a piece of clothing, paper, or book you ask yourself “does this bring me joy?” If it doesn’t it goes. I am a big believer in donating, so after a few hours of using this method I had four large garbage bags ready to go to Goodwill and a shelter. I got rid of all the yoga clothes I don’t wear anymore, coats, shoes, bags, and much more. Also, Marie doesn’t recommend using old clothes as “lounge” clothes so you don’t “save” them. I look forward to the beautiful boudoir pieces I’ve acquired by not recycling them. I honored them for their purpose and let them go.

It not only helped me in what I have, but what I buy. Totally crazy for me. I don’t hoard clothes, but beauty products? Yep. I had lotions I bought in Greece from 2006. Yes, girl. I went through and tossed them because most only had a fourth of product left. This allowed me to really see my favorite winter lotion is the Mario Badescu Olive Lotion. All those half used bottles of watery lotions gone. Now my beauty closet is clean and organized. I didn’t have to KonMari (the term used in this endeavor) my perfume because I am so selective about fragrance that I don’t buy anything I don’t love. All my scents have a meaning and a story behind them.

I did a huge cleaning out and donating of books last year so I only buy books I really love like the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. Everything else I read through the library which also helps my wallet. If you want to know what all the fuss is about, read this article from The New York Times. I seriously suggest you read this book. If your new year’s resolution of clutter has gone by the wayside try this method. It’s hard. Be prepared to spend most of the day doing it.

“As you put your house in order and decrease your possessions, you’ll see what your true values are, what is really important to you in your life . . . focus instead on choosing the things that inspire joy.” ~ Marie Kondo

Reading Pretty: It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell

Andie Mitchell

My book reading as of late is all over the place. I go back and forth from fiction to non-fiction and lots memoirs. The latest joy is reading It was Me Along by Andie Mitchell and the writer behind the blog Can You Stay for Dinner. It’s the story of Andie’s struggles with food. It’s fascinating that now she writes a blog about food. I didn’t want this book to end and felt that if I met Andie in real life we would be friends.

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Net Galley. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that allow me to create new and special content like this for All About the Pretty.

Reading Pretty: Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live On Purpose. by Lara Casey

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I devoured Lara Casey’s book Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live on Purpose in two day. It was a particular gloomy Saturday and I wanted something to break the fiction books I was reading. I received a preview copy of the e-book, but I enjoyed the book so much I wanted to support her and purchased a “real” book.

Lara is a major proponent of looking at your life and making the necessary changes you need to make without blaming someone else for your happiness. She goes deep into her unhappy marriage and work and how she turned it around without making any excuses. I know there are a lot of self-help books out there, but what makes Laura’s book great is her desire to discuss the art of not “being perfect.” I’m still trying to figure out when perfect became the ideal. Life is messy, thank goodness. We need stories to tell and perfect doesn’t make good story telling.

I always say Instagram is the highlight real of your life and not the real dirty work. Yes, I consider what a photo will look like before I post, but actually my bed isn’t made, my office is a hot mess, I’m tired, and the past few days made me realize I need to make some shifts. She has a yearly conference and I’m seriously considering going.

Lara thanks for a great book. Keep making it happen.

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Net Galley. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that allow me to create new and special content like this for All About the Pretty. 

Holiday Gift Guide 2014 – The Book Nerd

Book Nerd

I have an addiction to books. I can’t stop buying them in all forms. I read hardback, paperback, and e-books. If I’m having a bad day the best thing for me is to walk around in a bookstore and I feel much better. I have always been a voracious reader and I read all types of books. I have been known to read cookbooks to in bed at night. I’ve read some great books this year and I wanted to give my favorite books for the book lover in your life.

I offer a few of my favorite wellness books because we all can take better care of ourselves. Beauty starts inside dear hearts. You all know about my love for Elena Brower.

At the moment I am blowing through the Daniel Silva ‘Gabriel Allon’ books. I’m obsessed. Seriously. I have been tweeting him and because he lives in Washington, DC I am putting out in the universe that I’m going to meet and talk with him in 2015. I don’t mean book signing chats, but an in depth conversation. I have so many questions I want to ask him and it needs to be in person. As the daughter of a U.S. Marshal and FBI graduate my conspiracy theory brain is always working.

I’m also obsessed with Ann Patchett. As an English major I love a really well written book that causes me to think and engage the brain cells that at times I want to turn off. If you haven’t read Bel Canto do me a favor and go buy it stat. Baby it’s cold outside and these books are perfect for enjoying with a big cuppa tea.

A Discovery of Witches is a must. If you haven’t read Deborah Harkness brilliant trilogy please don’t talk to me. Just kidding. It’s that good. I bought them in ebook and hardback. Yep, I need those beautiful covers on my shelves. My love for her is deep people. Deep. Joy the Baker is my new food girl crush. I’m still making her simple spicy vegetarian tortilla soup at least once a month. Plus, Joy recently moved to Louisiana (my birth state) and that makes her equally as wonderful based on her 504 area code.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
Read more because it’s all about the pretty.

Wellness

Wellness Books

Thriller

Thriller

Trilogy

Trilogy

Cookbooks

Cookbooks

Literary

Literature

Reading Pretty: The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger

The Divorce Papers

The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger was a fun and enjoyable read. I will say this is a good book to add to your summer reading list. The book is obviously about a couple going through a divorce, but to me it shows what happens when we don’t communicate with the people we love in our lives. Technology brings us together and separates us at the same time.

I love technology and all that it brings. I’m all Apple. At times I want to throw my phone across the room because the art of conversation seems to be a dying breed. I still crave human interaction via a phone or in person. I love hearing my nieces and nephews voices on a call. It’s nice to get a text from them, but I don’t want to live all my words on a tiny screen. My mother is a big text-er. At times it is great, but a lot of times I just want to hear her voice.  Her voice is so grounding and soothing even when she’s asking me something about her iPhone. She loves it as much as I love mine. I’m learning to embrace my inner geek as I long for more substantial connections.

Words mean things. And sometimes they are better left offline. Do you miss real phone or in person conversations? Let me know in the comments.

This post was inspired by the novel The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger. Young lawyer Sophie unwillingly takes her first divorce case with an entertaining and volatile client in this novel told mostly through letters and legal missives. Join From Left to Write on March 18 we discuss The Divorce Papers. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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