Posts Tagged ‘Books’

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

Magic copy

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



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 Books









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.

Reading Pretty: Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin

Happier at Home

Happier at Home. A perfect book for the start of a new year. But how do you make that true when it’s July and nothing seems to be going right? It’s simple. It’s a choice. That’s how I’m looking at another year to begin again. One of my big complaints is the weather here in DC. I don’t work well with the cold anymore. I just don’t. I realize that I am 3 years past my DC expiration limit. But, I have another person to consider when deciding it’s time to jaunt to the west coast. A husband. I finally finished this book yesterday and decided that right now I can’t move. I just need to be happy that I do have a warm home, health, family, friends, and a really supportive husband.

What will make me happier at home? Being happy with myself and to do that means I need to start planning some trips. There is nothing like setting goals of travel – the planning, plotting, and realizing the joy in just doing that. I am going to add some road trips to my travel list, figure out my annual Hawaiian getaway (Aloha!) and plan a major trip to Asia for 2016. In 2010 The Don and I spent 3 weeks in Africa. It was amazing, exhilarating, life-altering (got engaged), and expanded my views of the world and myself. It’s time I put energy into another trip like Africa and we might as well continue with the first letter of the alphabet. Why not 2015 you ask? That travel calendar is already 90% complete. That’s how I roll.

I’m happier at home because I’m happy with myself. Also, planning makes me a very happy girl. How are you happier at home?

This post was inspired by Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin where she runs a nine month experiment to create happier surroundings. Join From Left to Write on January 6 we discuss Happier at Home. You can also chat live with Gretchen Rubin on January 7 on Facebook! As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.



Reading Pretty: Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (And Dark Chocolate)

I always have a Paris book in my reading rotation. But before I headed to Paris in May, I wanted to read Amy Thomas’ ode to my beloved city. Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (And Dark Chocolate) is a sweet junkie’s tome on life and sweets in one of the greatest food cities of the world. It also gives you a glimpse in to the expat life of a hard working, smart, and sweet obsessed writer.

Amy was asked to transfer her job at a copy writer for Louis Vuitton and she jumped at the chance. Her memoir reflects the highs and lows of living in a foreign country, missing your friends, but also finding yourself.

Before I left, I made a list of a few sweet spots that Amy recommended. One is seeking out the croissant. Sure, they are croissants on every corner, but some better than others. After reading about the same croissant shop from Travel and Leisure I knew I had to go.

So, I dragged my friend Carol and we headed to Pâtisserie Boulangerie Blé Sucré. Light, buttery, flaky, with a hint of salad and a café was just what we needed. I bookmarked numerous sweet spots from Amy’s book and plan to recreate a sweet tour on my return in October.

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