Tag Archives: books

currently…

19 Oct

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looking forward to…

Carving a scary pumpkin with Brian, dressing Frank in his taco costume and parading him around town on Halloween, eating copious amounts of candy on Halloween, celebrating our wedding anniversary on November 9th (we’re turning two!), celebrating thanksgiving with our families (we are joining them all together for the first time), the holidays in general, getting a christmas tree (every year we name our tree Bert and this year it will be Bert IV), a quiet December with more time for creative projects, finishing some projects around the house, my upcoming trip to Kansas City to visit my step father Irv and to Atlanta to visit my girlfriend Chantal and her sweet family.

reading…

Oy. I got so many books going right now. My goal to read all these (& these) books by the end of the year has turned me into a reading machine (it has also set me up for failure. I still have so many to read!). I plan on putting together a book review post at some point. “At some point”- famous last words. Anyway, I read and LOVED “Everything I Never Told You”- I devoured it in three days. Then I moved onto “Luckiest Girl Alive” for one of my book clubs- still haven’t finished it. Can’t seem to get into it. What am I missing here? I think I still plan on finishing it. Maybe? It’s sits next to my bed waiting for me to pick it back up. In the meantime I’ve moved onto “Big Magic” and so far I am loving it. It’s all about living an inspired and creative life and I’m down for that.

watching…

So much tv- it’s embarrassing. I wish there weren’t so many shows that we liked. On Sundays we watch “Homeland” & “The Walking Dead”…on Monday we (or maybe I should say I)  watch the new sitcom “Life In Pieces” (have you seen it? I’m not one to laugh out loud when watching television but this show gets me every single time. The first episode literally had me crying)…on Tuesdays I got nothing (I usually catch up on my reading that night)…on Wednesdays we watch “American Horror Story”…on Thursdays we (ok, I force Brian to watch with me. It’s what marriage is all about, right?) watch “Grey’s Anatomy” (yes, some people still do. I can’t give up now, I’ve been watching it for twelve years at this point), “Scandal” & “How To Get Away With Murder”. Oh and then you have netflix…I am obsessed with “The Affair’ right now. We are six episodes into the first season and love it. Oh and lastly, we watched “Amy Schumer: live at the Apollo” on HBO last night. HAAAA. I love that women. So many inappropriate jokes but so funny.

you know what I’m not watching…

“The Leftovers”- I keep trying to watch it but I don’t think I’m smart enough. But really…is anyone smart enough? What is this show even about?? It frustrates me to no end.

practicing…

mindfulness in all things I do…from making the bed…to taking Frank on his morning walks…to spending time with the people I love.

loving…

My girlfriends. This is a constant feeling for me, but lately I’ve just been so in awe of the females in my life. Each relationship adds so much joy to my life and I can feel their support at all times. The tiny hints of fall in the air in Los Angeles, movie dates with my mom and brother (it takes me back to childhood. we have some good laughs), evening walks with Frank and Brian, flannel shirts,  avocados, pictures of my fiends babies (so many cute kids!), going to bed at ten (ok, 9:30) every night (I like my sleep) and my husband…I’m always loving my husband.

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What are you guys currently up to?

 

 

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my fall/winter book list: part 1

17 Sep

I realize that I am setting myself up for failure with the length of my desired fall / winter reading list. But I can’t help it! There are so many books I’ve been wanting to read. I figure if I read half of them, I’d be happy. I’ve decided to split my list into two posts to make it more digestible. So here goes…the first seven books I’d like to read this fall/winter.

I’d love to hear what you guys are reading too….maybe I’ll add to my list! ha.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

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Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue—in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.

When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia’s older brother, Nathan, is certain that the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it’s the youngest of the family—Hannah—who observes far more than anyone realizes and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened.

The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

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As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ani has a secret.

There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.

With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that’s bigger than it first appears.

The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

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Fates and Furies is a literary masterpiece that defies expectation. A dazzling examination of a marriage, it is also a portrait of creative partnership written by one of the best writers of her generation.

Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years.

At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed. With stunning revelations and multiple threads, and in prose that is vibrantly alive and original, Groff delivers a deeply satisfying novel about love, art, creativity, and power that is unlike anything that has come before it. Profound, surprising, propulsive, and emotionally riveting, it stirs both the mind and the heart.

Their eyes were watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

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When Janie, at sixteen, is caught kissing shiftless Johnny Taylor, her grandmother swiftly marries her off to an old man with sixty acres. Janie endures two stifling marriages before meeting the man of her dreams, who offers not diamonds, but a packet of flowering seeds …

‘For me, THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD is one of the very greatest American novels of the 20th century. It is so lyrical it should be sentimental; it is so passionate it should be overwrought, but it is instead a rigorous, convincing and dazzling piece of prose, as emotionally satisfying as it is impressive. There is no novel I love more.’ Zadie Smith

We should all be feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-viewed Tedx talk of the same name—by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun. With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences—in the U.S., in her native Nigeria, and abroad—offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike. Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a bestselling novelist, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman today—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

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From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

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currently: on the ground next to my bed

8 Jul

books

In a perfect world this post would have been entitled “currently: on my nightstand” but I don’t have a nightstand. I must change this nightstand situation soon because the pile of books next to my side of the bed is getting out of hand. I trip over them constantly. Although, they do come in handy when I am in need a surface to balance my water and chapstick on. Anyways, my bedroom layout/makeover is for another post…a home decor post. This post is about books! Are you guys reading anything good?? I have a handful of books going right now. It depends on my mood which one I pick up on a given day. Does anybody else read 5 books at a time? Or do I just have commitment issues?

Currently on the floor…next to my bed…

“The Brain That Changed Itself” by Norman Doidge

I’ve been interested in the powers of the human brain recently, so I found this book about neuroplasticity fascinating. Until recently the brain was thought to be hardwired and unchangeable- much like a machine. But new research shows that the brain is a plastic, living organ that can change its structure and function…and not only in infancy like originally thought but well into old age. I’m not usually one to read books that you can find in the science section at the bookstore but this one reads different from a wordy textbook. It is filled with personal stories of triumph- ranging from stroke patients to amputees…to my personal favorite…a woman who recovers from the damage to her inner ear’s vestibular system.

“Bird By Bird: some instructions on writing and life” by Anne Lamott

Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’

One of my favorite excerpts from the book. The way her brother felt about his report on birds is how I feel about life some days. Not the fabulous parts but the parts that feel hard. I doubt I am alone here. Sometimes certain tasks, projects, lessons and days for that matter seem completely overwhelming and all you can do is take it bird by bird. As you can probably tell from the title of the book it’s not only a book about how to navigate life but also how to navigate being a writer. Anne Lamott is such a soulful and funny writer. I have a major crush on her.

“The Girl On The Train” by Paula Hawkins

I know. I know. I’m so late to girl on the train party. It seems like everybody and their mother has read this book- and loved it for that matter.. I think it’s taken me so long to read it because I was waiting to borrow it from a friend but no one seems to have paper books anymore. Instead everyone has an electronic device. Clearly, I am late to the electronic device party as well. I just hate the idea of saying goodbye to books. Anyway, I’ve seem to have diverged. Back to the girl on the train. I’ve barely just begun it but I have a feeling I’m going to devour it quickly.

“The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz

I have read this book a million times and it never disappoints. It’s always next to my bed and I pick it up from time to time when I am in need of some wisdom. The author Don Miguel Ruiz shares four principles (1- Be impeccable with your word 2- Don’t take anything personally 3- Don’t make assumptions 4. Always do your best ) to practice in order to create love and happiness in your life. Has anyone not read this book? You must run out and buy it immediately if you have not. It’s so so so good.

“Euphoria” by Lily King 

My mom passed along this book to me after reading it and loving it. I have yet to begin it but it’s up next after The Girl On The Train. Here’s the synopsis…Euphoria is Lily King’s nationally bestselling breakout novel of three young, gifted anthropologists of the ‘30’s caught in a passionate love triangle that threatens their bonds, their careers, and, ultimately, their lives. Inspired by events in the life of revolutionary anthropologist Margaret Mead, Euphoria is “dazzling … suspenseful … brilliant…an exhilarating novel.”—Boston Globe. Sounds like an interesting read, right? Has anybody read it?

“Taking The Leap” by Pema Chodron 

And lastly, Taking The Leap….yet another book that has a permanent place next to my bed (as you can probably tell by its ripped cover). The always inspiring Pema Chodron draws on the Buddhist concept of shenpa to help one understand how certain habits of the mind tend to “hook” us and get us stuck in states of anger, blame, self-hatred, and addiction. But once recognize these patterns, they instantly begin to lose their hold on us and we can begin to change our lives for the better. I pick it up often when I am in need of her reboot.

….so what are you guys reading???

“I never feel lonely if I’ve got a book – they’re like old friends. Even if you’re not reading them over and over again, you know they are there. And they’re part of your history. They sort of tell a story about your journey through life.” – Emilia Fox

 

 

currently : two

5 Mar

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currently : two

watching…

the americans (it’s SO good this season. I have a total crush on Keri Russell), girls (yet another show that is so good this season), togetherness (probably my new favorite show on tv), house of cards, better call saul (I’m still on the fence about this one…I really want to like it), walking dead, grey’s anatomy (I just can’t quit you), how to get away with murder (loved the season finale) & scandal. Patiently awaiting for bate’s motel to return on monday night. I can see after writing this list I am watching far too much television. I just can’t help myself…there are some seriously good shows on television right now.

listening to…

Serial podcast– I know…I know… I am so late to the game on this one but I finally decided to give it a shot and got totally sucked in. I listened to all the episodes in a few short days and I am now obsessed with the case. Is he innocent?? Is he not?? Ugh. I can’t stop thinking about it.

reading…

“Taking The Leap” by Pema Chodron (or re-reading it I should say. I love that Pema Chodron)

loving…

coming home to “just because” flowers from Brian, my new morning & evening routine (more on that next week), my therapist, haagen dazs low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt (it’s becoming a bit of a problem…I must stop stocking it in the freezer), afternoon dates with my best girlfriend Taline and her delectable baby boy Liam, clementine daily, sleeping soundly, the smell of jasmine on my morning walks (everything is in bloom!), watermelon colored nails and toes, pinteresting, these photographs, coconut scented candles, this quote…”A secret to happiness is letting every situation be what it is, instead of what you think it should be.”

grateful for…

my health, my husband, my pup, my friends & my family. In no particular of course.

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happy list

6 Sep

things that have been making me happy recently…

– spending hours (yes hours) watching “Breaking Bad” with Brian. We got to the “Breaking Bad” party late but we are making up for lost time. We are obsessed. The other night we watched 3 in a row- that’s close to 3 hours of television! We would have watched more but we had finished the DVD. We’re like addicts over here.

– my yoga practice. My time on the mat keeps me sane. 

– elephants. My obsession started when I learned that I can ride an elephant when we are in Nepal! This is going to be me-

– putting my vision boards in full display again. I think Brian was a little surprised when he got home from work and it greeted him at the front door! I mean, don’t I look beyond happy in that middle picture?!

– the book “Wild”- Cheryl Strayed is an incredible writer. 

my weekly hikes in the Santa Monica mountains

– spending mornings writing at my favorite coffee shop

– this quote

“Write like a motherfucker.” ― Cheryl Strayed 

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What’s been making you guys happy recently??

Currently on my nightstand

22 Aug

Last night I went to put my glass of water on my nightstand and couldn’t find any room…it has become overrun with books! Here’s the rundown…

1. Lonely Planet Nepal– As I mentioned on Monday, Brian and I are going to Nepal in November! We are seriously excited. Is it November yet?? The first thing we did after buying the tickets, was head to the bookstore (yes a few still exist) to buy books. To say I have become obsessed with researching Nepal would be an understatement. Swayambhunath, I’m coming for you!

2. Blue highways– I bought this book before I left on my road trip across the USA last year. Sadly, I still have not read it. At least I accomplished driving across the country!! I have high hopes that I will get to reading it at some point soon, so for that reason it stays on my nightstand.

3. The Spontaneous fulfillment of Desire– I have read this book a million times and every time I do I find something new to love about it. It makes me remember that the world is a pretty magical place.

“I do not believe in meaningless coincidences. I believe every coincidence is a message, a clue about a particular facet of our lives that requires our attention.” – Deepak Chopra, The Spontaneous Fulfillment Of Desire

4. The Color Of Water– This was given to me as a present for my 30th birthday last month and it’s fast become one of my favorites. I am almost finished with it and I can’t say enough about it. Such beautiful writing on it’s pages. Love it. Go buy it.

“And when James asked what color God was, she said, God is the color of water.” 
– James McBride, The Color Of Water

5. The Alchemist- I am sure many of you have read this one considering how famous it’s become. It is my favorite book of all time. Yet another one that reminds me that the world is a magical place and that we all have a purpose to fulfill.

“Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

6. Wild- Just bought this book  at my mother’s insistence. She thought it would give me inspiration for my book. Considering the woman knows me pretty well, I did as I was told.

7. FIfty Shades Of Darker- I know. I know. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have read two out of three of these. I will say that after finishing this one (in two days…they are an easy read) I decided that I’m not reading the third. I’m done with the saga.

8. I Feel Bad About My Neck– I love Nora Ephron. LOVE. She is a huge inspiration to me as a writer and this book is one of my favorites. fifty

“When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.”
― Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

9. Awaken The Giant Within– I have mentioned in prior posts that I have been to a Tony Robbins seminar in the past (keep your laughter to yourself). I know people have mixed messages about him but I happen to find this book a helpful tool in living my best life.I re-read it often.

“A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”
Tony Robbins, Awaken The Giant Within 

What books are on your nightstand??? I would love to know!