Posts Tagged ‘Reading Pretty’

Reading Pretty: Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore



Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore is the perfect book to add to your summer collection. The book’s premise is about the desire and longing to belong to something appears great on the outside. In the world of social media this can be also true. If you glance at most social media posts (Instagram and Twitter), life is painted as always being great. It’s the moments that look good on camera and sometimes that’s not always pretty.

In reality, life is messy, flawed, with loads of ups and downs. They are days when all I need is a good cry and everything will be better. I always believe people see an image in their mind of your life and think it’s all great. What they don’t see is how hard you work, how many late nights, the continual learning, and things you have given up for your dream. I recently came across a great quote. “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.” It’s true. There isn’t a testimony without a test.

The next time you look at all the pretty images online know that everyone has a story and they might prefer not to show the bad. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Bittersweet is one of those books that make you an examine your own truth. And we all should do that from time to time.

Reading Pretty: Sacred Sound: Discovering the Myth & Meaning of Mantra and Kirtan by Alanna Kaivalya

Sacred Sound

The word mantra means many things to many people. If you log on to Instagram you see tons of them every day. They are words used to motivate and inspire. In many yoga classes a particular mantra is OM. Most people don’t know what these words mean so they either embrace them or are uncomfortable with them.

Alanna Kaivalya’s new book Sacred Sound : Discovering the Myth & Meaning of Mantra & Kirtan is for you. Alanna goes deep with her explanation of the words, what they mean, and how to pronounce them. I’ve been on Alanna’s virtual library to enhance my mantra pronunciations. I feel like I’m back in school. Yoga school that is.

When I first started yoga there was no way I would recite any of the mantras. I just didn’t go there. The more I practiced yoga and the more comfortable I became with mantra and kirtan I made them part of my meditation and yoga practice. I have even found myself practicing at home, chanting, and singing.

I loved Alanna’s first book The Myth of the Asanas which explained the meaning of some of yoga’s most popular poses and I knew Sacred Sound would be another winner. Alanna says this about the myths of yoga. “Because every myth illustrates some kind of human truth, every myth calls out to what is enlivened inside our own psyche. Every myth helps us to realize and bring about our true potential. This is the power of mythology. We find some kernel or ultimate truth in every story — a lighthouse that guides us home. The myths that speak to us are the ones we should listen to and follow… no matter what version we know. If it calls to our soul, we should follow it.

Listen to Alanna explain Sacred Sound.


Om Pretty!

Reading Pretty: Thrive – The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington

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Webster defines thrive as: “to grow or develop successfully : to flourish or succeed.” It does not include anything about being rich, busy, sleep deprived, conniving, and mean. It seems in our society today the only way to thrive is to be the best no matter what the cost. Unhappy? Check. Mean? Check? Sleep Deprived? Check, check. There really is enough to go around for everyone. I am not against hard work. Hard work is what makes the dream work. But, hard work without rest, time for reflection, time for people you really care about – well, it makes you not a very pleasant person to be around. I’m sure you can name a few people who have this problem. 

The word busy has been thrown around loosely these days. I’m guilty of it and are so many people. It’s like we wear the word as a badge of honor. For the past few years I have been on a quest for the sanctity and quest for finding the pockets in my life for self-care. This doesn’t always mean a massage or a spa day, although that isn’t too shabby, but finding the time to just be, grow, workout, practice yoga, and sleep. I admit not being the best sleeper. It’s a work in progress for me. But I do know that I can’t function and be the best Julia without it. How much nicer would everyone be if they turned off the TV, computer, tablet, phone, gadget, gizmo, etc.

What would happen if you slept your way to the top? Pun intended. You have to read the book to understand this concept. Let’s all work on building a life of well-being, wisdom, and wonder.

This post was inspired by Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington who encourages everyone to sleep their way to the top. Join From Left to Write on May 1 we discuss Thrive. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

{4.18.14} Le Weekend

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This weekend I find myself in another hotel, but this one is closer to home. I will be on a quick stay-cation to reset and regroup before heading out again next weekend. It’s all good because I’m bringing a few of my favorite things of the week.

Thrive by Arianna Huffington. Arianna is the creator of The Huffington Post. A few years ago she realized she was sleep deprived, stressed, and over-worked. Raise your hand if you have been there. It taught her a valuable lesson. Arianna, wasn’t taking care of Arianna. This book is how to thrive on your terms.

Gardenia Rattan by AERIN. I’m a sucker for a good gardenia based scent. I blame my mom. She loves any and everything gardenia. This is a soft gardenia that’s balanced with other white flowers. People will want to run towards you wearing this.

ESPN The Magazine. I’m sure you are like “why did Julia pick ESPN?” I’m actually a huge sports fan. I love most sports, but my favorite sport is the NFL. I am behind a few issues of ESPN and need to catch up. I know it seems crazy that this beauty junkie-travel loving-yogi would be reading ESPN. It’s not. I also get Sports Illustrated too, but I’m current on that one.

Happy weekend. Bisous!

{4.5.14} Le Weekend

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As you read this I will be flying the friendly skies to California. I’m headed there to run a race with my Hawaii girls Amber and Erika. I was planning on running the half-marathon, but because of this crazy cold winter I wasn’t able to run outside as much so I emailed the race committee and said put me in the 10K. It seems like it took forever to get here. We are running in Napa Valley so there will be lots of wine, beauty talk and laughter. After that I will be covering a few hotel and spas for review here. I’m grateful for this time. It’s been a doozy of a week and I’m looking forward to some fun. Here are my loves for the week.

Bisous Beauties!

Panic by Lauren Oliver. I can’t get enough of all these young adult novels with a dystopia them.

Nivea Kiss of Care & Color Lip Balm. It’s nice to have a sheer lip color balm and this one is on repeat in the beauty bag. It has just enough color for my brown lips and enough goodness that I’m not reapplying it like crazy. Sheer Crimson is everything to me right now.

NaturaAlmond Butter. I saw this almond butter on a person I follow Instagram and immediately knew I had to try it. It is everything I love in an almond butter – minimal ingredients and all natural. The products are only available in stores in the South, but I’m pushing my local Wegmans to get some for me.

Follow along on my adventures here: TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

Reading Pretty: The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson

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The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson is the perfect book for a beach getaway. At times I wanted to yell and scream at Allie the main character. The book’s underlying theme of wanting something you know isn’t really good for you, but you are trying to make it fit. I was recently speaking with a friend who has been married a long time and she says “people marry an idea of a person instead of the actual person. It’s not rose colored glasses, it’s a rose colored life. People are always trying to make things fit like a bad shoe.” I couldn’t help but laugh because it’s true. As women we grow up with this idea of the perfect person, job, car, and house. Then life happens and for many it may not be what they really want when they get it. The idea of the perfect life doesn’t exist. The idea of what is right for you exists if we are wiling to make necessary changes and get uncomfortable. As my mother says it’s this part of your life that you find out who you are really are. Momma wisdom.

This post was inspired by the novel The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson. Allie thought she had the perfect husband, until she finds him and another woman in a compromising position in their own apartment. Join From Left to Write on April we discuss The Idea of Him. Join us for a live chat with Holly on April 3.  As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.


{3.28.14} Le Weekend

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I feels like spring. I know I shouldn’t be so happy, but 50 degree temperatures make this girl very happy. Although, the forecast call for rain, I don’t care as long as I don’t have to wear a puffy coat. I looked at the calendar and I’m like where has this year gone. It’s flying by. April is upon and it’s time to ponder new spring dreams, aspirations, and fun.

Here’s to the weekend and a few of my beautimous favorites. Cheers!

Nest Midnight Fleur Rollerball. This is the rollerball that will make her debut in Napa Valley next weekend. I am always working on my travel fragrance collection. A girl must smell nice while living a life en route and this is a new favorite.

Soy Sauce for Beginners. I can never get enough of coming to age story and this one has made their way to my Kindle. Excited to step out of my reading rut of series books about killers, madmen, and secret agents.

Paddywax Passionfruit & Guava Boheme Candle. This is what happens when you work part time at a yoga studio that also is a boutique. You discovery new candles that you can’t live without. This is the current candle in the office rotation. My friend Maria told me it reminds of her spring break. It reminds me of Kauai and all I need is some fresh papaya.

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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