summer reading : 2016

2016 summer reading

Those who know me well may gasp at this reading list, what with all the fiction. It honestly wasn't a conscious choice at first, but rather a reflection of the vibe of life right now. If I had to sum it up, I'd say it's less the frantic pace of improve, learn, grow and more a cadence of be present, enjoy, savor.

I culled these choices from a variety of places - my own Good Reads list, Modern Mrs. Darcy Kindle deals & summer reading guide, and my Net Galley queue. 

Up from the Blue | Life from Scratch | Euphoria | Modern Lovers | The Girls | It Was Me All Along | The Year We Turned Forty | The Universe Has Your Back

What are you reading this summer?


the more of less : joshua becker

ThemoreoflessDan and I don't live a completely minimalist lifestyle, but we do make a concerted effort to have less stuff. When we moved from a 2 bedroom apartment to a 4 bedroom house, we promised each other that we wouldn't fill every space. We're thoughtful about what we buy, and prioritize the experience of living over the materialism of living.

I've been a fan of Joshua Becker for quite a while...we actually met at a book signing (for another author) several years ago. I have always found his writing to be honest & approachable,and this book is consistent with his blog voice. I will admit that I don't recall as many religious references on the blog...but I do appreciate that Joshua is upfront about their inclusion in the book. This is a handy refresh of what minimalism is (and can be) about....
 

Check out Joshua's blog here, and his book here

And in the spirit of having less stuff, leave a comment if you'd like me to pass this book on to you! First come, first mailed. :)

I received this book through the Blogging for Books program. I was not compensated for this review, and all opinions expressed are my own.

 


the taco cleanse : prevent or reverse taco deficiency!

While most of the world was kicking off their NY resolutions to eat healthier, Dan & I were in Mexico enjoying all the eating & drinking, courtesy of our all-inclusive resort. Now that we're back to "real" life, we're returning to our salad & fish habits...with infrequent episodes of eating chocolate chips out of the bag, and finishing a bottle of wine on a Tuesday. Hey, we never said we were perfect. Perhaps it's time for some discipline in our lives?

Enter The Taco Cleanse.

This cookbook makes me smile. It's irreverent. It's kitschy. It's vegan. And it's about tacos. What more can you ask for? The authors write...

The Taco Cleanse is cheap, easy, and delicious. Its recipes are authentically Austin, and are sometimes even inspired by Mexico, where the taco was first created. Everything tastes better folded (exactly once) into a tortilla. Just eat one or more tacos at every meal, adding margaritas as necessary. It's that simple.

I'm partial to the Wake & Shake Scramble, the High Vibration Kale Chips, and the Tater Tot-cho Tacos. (book note...looks like Amazon is temporarily out of stock, which is super cool for the authors...so y'all might have to wait a bit to start your taco cleanse!)

I rec'd a copy of this book for review from The Experiment Publishing. No other compensation was rec'd, and opinions expressed are my own.


the surrender experiment : michael singer

What would happen if you met resistance with surrender? That's essentially the question that Michael Singer set out to answer in his real-life Surrender Experiment. As he explains, "This experiment would not be about dropping out of life; it would be about leaping into life to live in a place where we are no longer controlled by our personal fears and desires." 

What I lovedThe interplay of hippie/zen & everyday life. The way that Singer lived in seemingly opposing worlds - spiritual vs tech, for example - and was able to thrive in both. The honesty with which he wrote about times when resistance was the first reaction to pop up...a good reminder of the practice of surrendering. Most of all, the reminder that change, no matter how difficult (FBI raid, anyone?), is all about transformation. I didn't underline much in this book, but this passage sent me searching for a pen...

"Perhaps change only takes place when there is sufficient reason to overcome the inertia of everyday life. Challenging situations create the force needed to bring about change. The problem is that we generally use all the stirred-up energy intended to bring about change, to resist change."

What I left: Near the end of the book, I found myself skimming through the pages that detailed the medical services company & related FBI raid. I didn't need the play-by-play to "get it." Aside from that, I found Singer to be an simple & engaging writer. 

If you've read Singer's bestselling book, The Untethered Soul, I'd love to know what you thought. I enjoyed his writing, so I think that I'll put that book on my to-read list.

I received this book through the Blogging for Books program. I was not compensated for this review, and all opinions expressed are my own.


#summer15 reading list | still in process...

Summer 15 reading

I had the best of intentions. For reals. I thought that I'd spend a lot of time this summer reading by river, reading on planes, reading at the gym....and I just, well, didn't. I finished a couple of the above books - Light is the New Black and The ADHD Advantage. Neither really resonated with me - LITNB started strong, but lacked authenticity and The ADHD Advantage read as very one-sided (NO MEDS!). 

I may have mentioned that I started listening to Happiness for Beginners on Audible. I hated the narration (it's the only time that I've ever requested a refund for an audio book!)...I'll likely check this one out of the library. I'm reading Lessons from Madame Chic right now, along with finishing The Surrender Experiment and Rising Strong (which wasn't on the above list originally b/c it released in late Aug, but I ended up getting an early review copy). Boys in the Boat carries too much corporate energy for me right now (long story), Better than Before stares at me from my bookshelf, and The Art of Asking is on my library list. I started listening to For the Love on my commute, and should probably finish A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and Plan B (I started listening to each of them at some point this summer). I downloaded Essentialism to use up Audible credits, but who knows when I'll get around to listening to it! 

What's on your reading list?


Divorce the Divorce : Gloria Marie Pierson

Divorce the divorce

I’m going to cut to the chase on this one: if I had written a book nearly 3 years ago when I divorced, this book would be its twin. During the build-up and the aftermath, I had countless conversations with my best friends about doing the work. This book is all about that work. Even if you’re NOT divorced, and not planning to be divorced…you should still read this book (just explain it to your spouse ahead of time to prevent any misunderstanding).

 

What I loved: So much! Breaking down the work into weekly areas of focus is brilliant. Each chapter/week has a focus, an activity, and a mid-week “delight.” Two of my favorites (that were definitely a part of my post-divorce learnings)… Morning Rituals (Chapter 19) and Believe & Succeed in 30 Days (Chapter 42). The book explores meditation, gratitude, affirmations, vision boarding…all practices that were (and continue to be) central to the way that I rebuilt my life. Gloria’s style is friendly & honest. She shares her own experiences throughout the book, which brings an authenticity that was key for me.  

 

 What I left: really, nothing…I nodded my head in agreement throughout the entire book. The only thing that I’d suggest leaving is the belief that this book is only useful after a divorce (note - that's not the author's belief. I just think that many people will skip over this book b/c of the title). I think everyone can benefit from a 52 Step Journey to Create Unlimited Happiness.

 

Gloria, thank you so much for sharing this book with me!

 

You can find Gloria’s book here and her website here.

 

I received a digital copy of this book from the author. Opinions expressed are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.

 


a modern way to eat : anna jones

Modernwaytoeat

I definitely have a thing for cookbooks. This one might be my new favorite. Here's why...

1. It's GORGEOUS. Stunning photography. 

2. It's huge. 352 pages. 200+ recipes. 

3. It's more than a cookbook - it's inspiration to eat well.

4. It's vegetarian. Like, duh. 

5. It's real food. Full-of-greens fritters. Springtime wild garlic and lemon risotto. Food that you can make on a weeknight. 

6. It's creative. Vegetarian food is NOT boring. 

A Modern Way to Eat  is my kind of food - it's foodie, but approachable. It's a little fancy, but it's fun. 

I received this book through the Blogging for Books program. I was not compensated for this review, and all opinions expressed are my own.


listening lately.

May book coversI've been on a bit of an audio book kick lately. My commute isn't long, but I really dislike listening to the radio...so audiobooks (and/or podcasts) are a nice alternative. Here's what I've finished, and what I'm still listening to...

The Fringe Hours - I had heard about this book from several bloggers, but had kind of put it in the "good for moms of littles" category. I mean, I have nearly grown kids....and all the free time in the world, right? Ha! I wish. The reality is that live fills in all the parts that used to be filled in with kid activities. It's a different busy, that's all. So...I really enjoyed the insight and reminders about finding time to dedicate to self-care and to things/activities that bring me joy. Jessica's book sparked a conversation with several friends about what the one task is that is REALLY worth outsourcing. For Mo, it's cleaning and grocery shopping (although she only outsources one). For another friend, it's mopping the floor. For me? Laundry. I'm seriously pondering using a laundry service to free up more of my Fringe Hours for creativity & fun. 

The Fifth Agreement - I very much believe that "when the student is ready, the teacher appears." I've had The Four Agreements on my bookshelf for a couple of years. Confession - I've never read the entire book. I listened to The Fifth Agreement on a business trip this week. The book includes a pretty extensive explanation of the first four agreements, so I really got a lot of bang for my buck! The agreements are all "common sense"- but not easy to live by. "You have the right to live your own life, in your own way, and there is no wrong way." <-- YES. 

Packing Light -  This book is about travel but so much more. I originally worried that I wouldn't find much to "relate" to, given that the author is young, and the story is really a "coming of age" exercise. But isn't that what I'm doing right now? I've moved, I'm shedding baggage, and I'm very much practicing "packing light" (remember - one of my Core Desired Feelings is lightness!). I'm only about 2/3 through this one, but I'm enjoying it very much. Wisdom beyond her years for sure. 

I'm certainly in the mode of "give me all of the inspiration & knowledge, pretty please and thank you!" right now. Books, blogs, podcasts, audiobooks....yes, yes, yes, & yes. What's the best NON-fiction piece that you've read or listened to lately? 

 


living with intent : mallika chopra

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 12.55.47 PM

"The road to intentional living is paved with bumps, potholes, flat tires, and detours; perfection isn't a stop on that road. " - Mallika Chopra, Living with Intent

What I loved: The realness of Mallika's story, despite (and as the result of) having a famous father, and raising her family in a privileged lifestyle. The common thread that links all of us...we're all just trying to figure out how to live our best life. The "easy" exercises/actions at the end of each chapter. I'm a fan of any author who can bridge the gap between "soccer mom" and "enlightened"...and Mallika does this well. She stresses about her weight, worries about her daughters, and struggles with being true to who she is....but still embraces the value of meditation, intentions, and mindfulness. Among the many quotes that stood out for me - "It's not about leaning in or opting out. It's about being real in the moment and making choices that are right for me."

What I left: Using intent as an acronym (incubate, notice, trust, express, nurture, take action). Yes, I realize that this forms the structure of the whole book...and I "get it." I just felt that it was overcomplicating the basic principle of being present, and affirming what you want for your life. That said, many people will appreciate the idea of breaking down the "steps"...and if that allows more to give mindfulness a shot? That's great!! 

I received this book through the Blogging for Books program. I was not compensated for this review, and all opinions expressed are my own.