books

Style and Savings Reads: 7: an experimental mutiny of excess (Part 2)

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Jen Hatmaker, the author of this book lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and 5 children (2 are adopted from Ethiopia). This book is categorized as Religion/Christian Life/Social Issues, so there are many references to church activities and Christian scripture. Jen defines 7 as “an exercise in simplicity” and for seven months, challenges herself to set limits in seven different categories.

For Part 1 of my Review (chapters 1 – 3) click here

4 Media

Jen’s Lessons: During the Media month, Jen and her family significantly cut down their screen time

TV • Gaming • iPhone • Apps • Radio • Limited texting • Limited internet

Just for practical purposes of safety and school they did not completely cease texting and internet usage, but it made them a lot more mindful as to how often and for what purpose they were using technology (eg. research for a homework assignment vs. a Facebook status update)

Of course this was challenging at first, but they filled their new found free time with more imaginative games, family time, cleaning, and cooking meals together

My Take: It would be challenging for me to not read blogs online, scroll through social media posts, or watch TV after work. If I did choose to accept this challenge, I would read more, spend more time outdoors, and meet up with friends in person

5 Waste

Jen’s Lesson’s: Jen’s family focused on reducing their reducing, reusing, and recycling during this month by taking the following actions:

Gardening • Composting • Conserving Energy & Water • Recycling • Sharing 1 car • Shopping Thrift & Second-hand • Buying local

There were several ways that reducing waste tied back to previous months’ challenges:

  • Just as Food month, made Jen appreciate the variety and abundance of food in the U.S., gardening gave her an appreciation of the skill and effort it takes to grow your own produce

  • Continuing the habits of Media month’s goal of cutting back TV and computer usage helped with energy conservation

  • Wearing a limited number of clothing items during Clothing month, and participating in the clothing swap prepared Jen for shopping thrift & second hand

This month coincided with back to school season, and Jen realized that buying lunch size packages of snacks is not as economical as purchasing full size or bulk. Basically you pay extra for the convenience.

What stood out to me most was that Jen called attention to a wide-spread issue: buying organic food is not cheap!

During this challenge she felt conflicted between wanting to buy organic food and locally grown produce and wanting to reduce spending. For many people, this isn’t even a choice – they must choose the lowest cost option.

My Take: I have been good about recycling lately, but I know I could do better as far as conserving electricity. Thrift shopping was the inspiration this blog and I still believe that buying pre-owned is a great way to save money and support sustainability by reusing products that already exist rather than using resources to create new items

6 Spending

Jen’s Lessons: During the Spending month of Seven, Jen’s family limited their spending to only 7 Vendors/categories

Farmers Market• Target • Gas • Limited travel • Emergency medical • Bills • School

The most memorable part of this chapter was the realization that her son was in need of a haircut. With Great Clips not being one of the Seven vendors he was subjected to the embarrassment of an at-home haircut gone wrong. Jen also struggled with once again limited food options as fast food and restaurants were also off limits.

This chapter also had some eye opening statistics about the amount of U.S. spending on things like cosmetics and perfume vs. the cost of global clean water and education.

My take: Target was on Jen’s list because it’s a one-stop shop that would cover all of her family’s necessities – but I could really do some damage shopping at Target. I don’t think leaving Target as one of the seven vendors would help me cut spending. Restaurants and fast food do make up a significant chunk of our monthly budget so there would be material cost savings there, but it would be a challenge to prepare dinner and lunch every day.

7 Stress

Jen’s lessons: During the final month of Seven, Jen planned to pause for prayer 7 times daily and for her family to observe Sunday as a day of rest and a Sabbath dinner. Two of the seven prayer times were midnight and dawn and it was challenging for her to be awake at those times. She also set an alarm to as a reminder to observe the scheduled prayers.

My take: It was during our last vacation that I  realized the need to build pauses into a busy schedule. I like to have action packed sight-seeing trips, but this time I was feeling tired and jet-lagged. Next time, I make a travel itinerary, I will be sure to leave time for napping.

 

Overall, I enjoyed reading 7: an experimental mutiny of excess. In each month of Jen’s journey, I was able to see habits that I could also adopt in order to simplify my life.

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Style and Savings Reads: 7: an experimental mutiny against excess

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

 

Jen Hatmaker, the author of this book lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and 5 children (2 are adopted from Ethiopia). This book is categorized as Religion/Christian Life/Social Issues, so there are many references to church activities and Christian scripture. Jen defines 7 as “an exercise in simplicity” and for seven months, challenges herself to set limits in seven different categories.

1Food

Jen’s Lessons: During the first month of 7, Jen focused on food, limiting her diet to only 7 items

Chicken • eggs • whole wheat bread • sweet potatoes • spinach • avocados • apples

She really ate only these seven items – that means no sauces, condiments, seasonings aside from salt and pepper, and what she seemed to miss most – no coffee! (There wasn’t much detail about other drinks – maybe she only drank water?)

This led to occasional awkward meals when she socialized with various friends at restaurants. Also, it was hard for her to watch others enjoy tasty meals. By the end of the month, she had more appreciation for the abundance and variety of food we have in America.

My Take: I’m not willing to change my eating habits that dramatically, but I see the value in cutting back on snacks & junk food. Instead of a diet limited to 7 foods, it would be better for me to add 7 new healthy foods to my routine.

2Clothes

Jen’s Lessons: During month 2 of 7, Jen limited her wardrobe to only 7 items

Jeans • Capri pants • Dress shirt • 2 T-shirts • Long sleeve T-shirt • Shoes

Being a public speaker, eyes would be on her and at certain church events, the members wore their Sunday best. As most of us can relate, in her self-consciousness, Jen thought people would notice or comment more than they actually did. Part of the challenge was making sure those 7 clothing items were clean. Without a closet full of clothes to choose from, laundry had to be done much more often.

Being in Texas, Jen didn’t add a coat or jacket as one of her 7 items and suffered the consequences on an unusually cold day. This experience was a reminder that members of the homeless community often do not have the clothes, outerwear or shoes to properly protect them for the weather.

My take: My favorite part of this chapter was the Austin Women’s Clothing Swap. Ladies brought in gently used clothing they no longer wanted and all of the items were sorted and displayed on racks like a boutique. For a $5 entrance fee, the women could choose “new” clothes to take home. All unclaimed items + the money collected from the entrance fee were then donated to charity.

Swapping clothing with friends is a fun way to “shop” without spending money and cuts back on the use of natural resources used in the production of new clothing.

I regularly clean out my closets and donate clothes that are no longer my size or style. Donating clothes leaves you with a good feeling when you know that they are going to a good cause.

Prom Dresses donated to a local event called “Gown Town” which offered free dresses to girls who were unable to buy a gown for prom.

Closet Clean-Out for the #NewYear #style #styleandsavings #bgtt

A post shared by Style and Savings blog (@styleandsavings) on

3 Possessions

Jen’s lessons: During month 3 of 7, Jen gave away 7 items each day for 30 days – a total of 210 items. Instead of dropping things off at the local Goodwill or Salvation Army, she tried to  give to directly to people in need including a family of refugees who just moved to the U.S. and children whose school counselor noticed their need of clothes. Meeting refugees who were starting over with nothing (they needed bedding, dishes, and furniture) made Jen & her friends realize their own abundance of possessions.

My take: Listening to the podcast The Minimalists (mentioned in a previous Friday Faves post) has made me more aware of excess clutter. One of the tips I learned from the podcast is called the Minimalists Game in which you challenge someone with a similar de-cluttering goal to each give away a number of items every day ( 1 item the first day, 2 items second day, 3 items on the third day –  until 30 items on the 30th day for a total of 465 items in a month)The winner is whoever completes the challenge, but of course both people have succeeded to some extent in simplifying their home. Jen’s whole family of 5 was included in the purge of 210 items  – so this may or may not be more challenging for a smaller family or single person depending on how many items they own.

Stay tuned for the rest of my review in Style and Savings Reads:  7: an experimental mutiny against excess (Part 2)

February Friday Faves 2.17.17

Welcome to the third Friday in February! Here’s a recap of my favorite parts of the week.

Cooking

This chicken recipe falls into the Semi-Homemade category because it uses the pre-cooked Tyson chicken strips. The sauce is pretty easy to make with a few simple ingredients. I pinned this on my Restaurant At Home board, because they are a close copy-cat to Chili’s Honey Chipotle Chicken Crispers.

For Valentine’s weekend I cooked brunch  using a cast-iron skillet (a wedding present) for the first time. These breakfast potatoes were pretty easy – I like making recipes that don’t require lots of ingredients and use what I already have in the kitchen. I think the key to these potatoes is adding enough olive oil in the beginning and watching carefully so that the bacon doesn’t burn. I also made this recipe again too – it may be becoming a favorite.

Reading

This week I started reading The Mothers by Brit Bennett. I had seen it on a couple of other blogs (it’s a very colorful and photogenic book cover) and it was in the Quarterly Literary Subscription box recently. So far I can see why this book is so popular – there’s no boring lead-in or build up – the action starts immediately. I read 4 chapters in one night!

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Photo Credit: Quarterly

Wearing

One of the besties gave me this Coach Love perfume sample in my Christmas gift. Coach is one of my favorite brands. The scent is floral without being too young and girly and it fits the romantic spirit of February.

Drinking

Although we didn’t get to spend the actual holiday together – I’ll be making  Strawberry Lime Margaritas with my sister as a toast to  Galentine’s DayI would love to have a party like this to celebrate one year….

 

Cheers to the Weekend!

 

Style and Savings Reads – April 2016

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This month’s Style & Savings book list includes The Precious One,  Gatsby’s Girl, and How to be Parisian Wherever You Are 

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Title: The Precious One

Author: Marisa de los Santos

Goodreads Synopsis: 

From the bestselling author of Belong to Me, Love Walked In, and Falling Together comes a captivating novel about friendship, family, second chances, and the redemptive power of love

In all her life, Eustacia “Taisy” Cleary has given her heart to only three men: her first love, Ben Ransom; her twin brother, Marcus; and Wilson Cleary — professor, inventor, philanderer, self-made millionaire, brilliant man, breathtaking jerk: her father.

Seventeen years ago, Wilson ditched his first family for Caroline, a beautiful young sculptor. In all that time, Taisy’s family has seen Wilson, Caroline, and their daughter Willow only once.

Why then, is Wilson calling Taisy now, inviting her for an extended visit, encouraging her to meet her pretty sister — a teenager who views her with jealousy, mistrust, and grudging admiration? Why, now, does Wilson want Taisy to help him write his memoir?

Why I Would Pick up this Book: Mostly because the way Wilson is described is intriguing! Also, I think the family dynamic between the half-sisters will be interesting. I also want to know the story of Taisy’s first love since the synopsis hints that there may still be a connection.

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Title: Gatsby’s Girl

Author: Caroline Preston

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Just as Jay Gatsby was haunted by Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fizgerald was haunted by his own great first love — a Chicago socialite named Ginevra. Alluring, capricious, and ultimately unavailable, she would become his first muse, the inspiration for such timeless characters as Gatsby’s Daisy and Isabelle Borge in This Side of Paradise.
Ginevra was sixteen, a rich man’s daughter who had been told she was pretty far too often for her own good. Scott was nineteen, a poor boy full of ambition. They met at a country club dance in St. Paul, Minnesota, in January 1916. For almost a year they wrote each other letters — so long, breathless, and yearning that they often required more than one envelope.

But despite their intense epistolary romance, the relationship wouldn’t last. After throwing him over with what he deemed “supreme boredom and indifference,” she impulsively married a handsome aviator from the right society background.

Ruminating over what might have been had she picked the writer instead of the flier, she furtively reads the now famous Fitzgerald’s work. When she sees herself — much to her surprise — in his characters, it’s not just as the spoiled debutante he’d known; he’s also uncannily predicted the woman she’s become, cracks and all.

Why I Would Pick up this Book: Since American Literature class sophomore year of high school, I have been a fan of The Great Gatsby. It paints a picture of the Roaring 20’s as extravagant, reckless and full of glamour & excitement. I loved seeing it come to life in the 2013 version of the movie with Leo DiCaprio as Gatsby. The synopsis sounds like The Great Gatsby was actually based on Gatsby’s Girl which is a true life story of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ginevra.

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Title: How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are

Author: by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, Sophie Mas

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Bohemian free-thinkers and iconoclasts, Anne Berest, Caroline De Maigret, Audrey Diwan and Sophie Mas cut through the myths in this gorgeous, witty guide to Parisienne savoir faire.

These modern Parisiennes say what you don’t expect to hear, just the way you want to hear it. They are not against smoking in bed, and all for art, politics and culture, making everything look easy, and going against the grain. They will take you on a first date, to a party and through a hangover. They will tell you how to be mysterious and sensual, make your boyfriend jealous, the right way to approach weddings and the gym, and they will share their address book in Paris for where to go at the end of the night, for a birthday, for a smart date, for vintage finds and much more.

Full of wit and self-deprecating humour, How To Be Parisianexplains those confusing subjects of clothes, makeup, men, culture and lifestyle as only a true Parisienne can.

Why I Would Pick up this Book: Paris is such a beautiful place and I am interested in how French/Parisian culture differs from American culture. I have been fortunate to visit Paris for a short time, enough to see the sights but not long enough to get to know people.

 

books linkup

Style and Savings Reads – March 2016

 

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 Here are 5 books on my “To Read” list. As I haven’t read them all yet, this is a list of recommendations (not book reviews)

Title: The Status of All Things

Authors:  Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

Back of the Book Synopsis: Kate is a thirty-five-year-old woman who is obsessed with social media. So when her fiancé, Max, breaks things off at their rehearsal dinner—to be with Kate’s close friend and coworker, no less—she goes straight to Facebook to share it with the world. But something’s changed. Suddenly, Kate’s real life starts to mirror whatever she writes in her Facebook status. With all the power at her fingertips, and heartbroken and confused over why Max left her, Kate goes back in time to rewrite their history

Why I would pick up this book: I generally have an interest in how Facebook and social media is shaping social interactions online and offline and how someone’s Internet self – representation compares to his or her real life. I have gotten a little over half-way through this book and it is very  light-hearted in that it requires you to suspend reality and believe in magic like a Disney Channel movie (i.e. Freaky Friday).


 

25690958  Title: Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be                                                           Your Own Person

Author: Shonda Rhimes

Inside cover synopsis: In this poignant, hilarious and deeply intimate call to arms, Hollywood’s most powerful woman, the mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder chronicles how saying YES for one year changed her life―and how it can change yours, too.

Why I would pick up this book: Shonda Rhimes! TGIT is a weekly social event at my place.  I chose this book for my book club’s January selection because I felt that it would serve as motivation to say “yes” to new experiences in the new year. I am finishing the last chapter of this book (which is equal parts memoir and advice) and I have enjoyed learning more about Shonda’s background and how she writes pieces of herself into her characters. My favorite part of the book was her commencement speech at Dartmouth. As a recent grad, there were parts that I could really relate to!


22557272   Title: The Girl on the Train

Author: Paula Hawkins

Synopsis: Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Why I would pick up this book: This book was suggested by one of my book club members as our next book. I had seen it mentioned on other blogs and book lists and became interested because it sounded suspenseful. I started reading it a couple days ago and it is really a page-turner.


 

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Title: The Glitter Plan: How We Started Juicy Couture for $200 and Turned It into a Global Brand                    

Authors: Pamela Skaist-Levy, Gela Nash-Taylor, Booth Moore 

Goodreads Synopsis: Part memoir, part business manual, and 100% juicy—the inside story of Juicy Couture, one of the most iconic brands of our times

Why I would pick up this book: Occasionally, I like to ready business book especially related to entrepreneurship. A couple summers ago, I read Girl Boss and I think this book will have a similar feel. Also, I’m a big fan of Juicy Couture. Their first perfume is one of my favorites and I used to search ebay for used Juicy bags in college and found a genuine leather one for $30 !

  


22822844  Title: The Real Thing: Lessons on Love and Life from a Wedding                                                           Reporter’s Notebook

Author: Ellen McCarthy

Goodreads Synopsis: From a Washington Post weddings reporter who’s covered more than two hundred walks down the aisle comes a warm, witty, and wise book about relationships—the mystery, the science, and the secrets of how we find love and make it last.
 
Ellen McCarthy has explored the complete journey of our timeless quest for “The One,” the Soul Mate, the Real Thing. This indispensable collection of insights—on dating, commitment, breakups, weddings, and marriage—gives us a window into enduring romance:

Why I would pick up this book: As you may know from my Wedding Wednesday posts, I’m getting married this summer. It’s so easy to get caught up in the fun of event planning, but once that day is over, it would be good to have advice on how to have a happy & lasting marriage


 

18813642  Title: Bad Feminist

Author: Roxane Gay

Goodreads Synopsis: Pink is my favorite color. I used to say my favorite color was black to becool, but it is pink—all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I’m not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue.”

In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman of color while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years and commenting on the state of feminism today. The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.

Why I would pick up this book: I think this book will be funny and filled with pop-culture references while also analyzing serious topics such as equality, what it means to be a feminist, and what changes can be made to make the world a better place for women. Also, Roxane Gay is currently teaching at Purdue in the College of Liberal Arts

 

 

 

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