Ah the cure for post-holiday blues…some people dance in their kitchens, others of us check out from life with a good book.
Actually…this year I really don’t have post-holiday blues at all. I have more of a LET’S BULLDOZE A CHRISTMAS TREE thing going on over here. IDK. I’ve just been ready for spinach salads and a fresh season of Downton Abby since Thanksgiving was over. (That’s what January is all about, right?) Truth be told, I never really did get fully into the Christmas spirit this year! Ah, next year, next year.
BUT…I did turn 33, get fringe bangs and read some great books! So I was pretty okay with that. If you want some goodies to add to your winter reading list, give these a try!
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way we Live, Love, Parent and Lead
This is a book all about the virtues of vulnerability. The author is a self-proclaimed vulnerability researcher. (You can watch her famous Ted Talk on vulnerability here…it’s one of the five most viewed Ted Talks in the world.) She really has a way of putting language to very abstract concepts and making them concrete. Yunno…things like shame and vulnerability. I recommend both the book and the Ted Talk. This book was a huge perspective-changer for me, mostly because well…I HATE BEING VULNERABLE THANK YOU AND GOOD BYE. That is hopefully changing for me so expect to see more Brene books in upcoming posts!
Styled by Emily Henderson
Eye candy, inspiration, eye candy, inspiration. That’s my review.
Actually, just kidding. There’s also an awesome quiz to help you find your style (I scored Minimalist…of course). I got this book because I love, love, love almost anything by Emily and often find myself pinning her rooms over and over only to find that…oh, it’s another room by Emily! All of the styles she discusses definitely have a strong modern bent to them (it’s rather California-y, too, I think. If there is such a thing.) So if you are a true traditionalist or country rustic lover, you may not like her advice. She of course focuses on vignettes throughout the book, because she is a stylist and that’s really where Emily H. shines. Being a minimalist, I’m not super vignette-y, but there are definitely some odd surfaces in my house in need of styling. The biggest revelation to me was the concept of layering items on a surface…I think that’s because I tend to be more of a liner-upper type. The strange window well in my kitchen is now styled and has become sort of a nice focal point in the space that I enjoy walking past. Styling is such a great alternative when you can’t do a full reno, which I think is the case for the average person…and is why I would recommend this book to everyone. The more I look at the photos and absorb the tips, the more revelations I have about what to do wiht the funky surfaces and odd corners of my 80’s modern house. The book a beautiful coffee table piece with endless good ideas.
Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of our Every Day Lives by Gretchen Rubin
I’m just a real nerd for titles like these. This was my favorite of all four reads. It is very exploratory on the subject of habits; the author uses herself as an example throughout the book. It really made me look at my habit forming tendencies in a whole new way. I think the greatest revelation was the chapter where she discusses habit-forming as being a product of how a person responds to inner and outer expectations. My habit-forming style is Questioner and my husband is an Obliger, which really describes both of us to a T and sparked a lot of interesting conversations.
The Complete Book of Running for Women by Claire Kowalchik
I estimate that I’ve owned this book for about ten years. I’ve gone back to it so many times over the years as both a reference and an inspiration to pick up running again. She just makes the idea of lacing up your tennis shoes and going for a jog around the block so approachable…and dare I say, pleasant? I started strength training again, but still have yet to incorporate any type of cardio or running back into my weekly routine. At this point in my life my time is so limited! How do you other runners do it? Do you go early in the morning to the treadmill, or do you run outside during the day? We have tons of parks and running trails here in Vacaville, but none of them are safe for me to go on alone…and especially when it’s dark (which is probably my best opportunity to run!) I’m also pretty limited on taking kids now that I’ve got three to haul along. I put out a cry for help on Instagram AND at my gym for a cardio buddy on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5 am, but for some reason no one seemed super excited about that idea? (HA HA.) Any advice?