reading

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

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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)

Glossies Made Me Do It

Glossies made me do it...!

I read several magazines each month and often find myself pinning recipes and decorating ideas from their pages. When I discovered this fun, monthly link-up “Glossies Made Me Do It” (“Glossies” are what our British friends across the pond call magazines – especially those related to fashion & beauty) I knew I wanted to join in.

Glossies Made Me Do It is hosted by Cat Eyes and Skinny Jeans, Shooting Stars Mag, and Happy, Pretty, Sweet starting on the 1st Friday of the month through the 24th

Here’s what I thought of  March’s magazines:

Essence

This ad for Maybelline’s  The 24K Nudes made me think of  Urban Decay’s Naked 3 pallet.  Have any of you beauty bloggers tried it?


Oprah

“Gooey, Crispy, Melty and Glorious Grilled Cheese” on page 130 made me pull out the panini press to make my own sandwich creation. This mix of cheese, bacon, guacamole and tomato was so melty and messy it had to be eaten with a knife and fork.

 

 

Redbook

“The great plastic basket makeover” on page 20 made me want to decorate.  I love that this basket looks so simple and cheap to make (#styleandsavings). Craft Cord comes in a variety of colors – you can choose one to match your color scheme.  

 

Join the “Glossies Made Me Do It” link-up  through March 24th and come back on the first Friday of next month for April’s issues.

 

Book Discussion: The Mothers a Novel

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The Mothers a Novel by Brit Bennett is one of the best written books I have read in a long time – maybe ever. I would place it among the ranks of The Secret Life of Bees. If you enjoy this book as much as I did – it will stay in your mind after the last chapter closes.

Thought provoking topics provide the foundation of the story which also has unexpected twists and secrets that unravel slowly. Brit Bennett didn’t take the easy way out by writing in detail about the milestones a reader would expect, which makes this novel so interesting.

The following questions are intended for book discussion and may contain spoilers:

1 – Why is this book titled The Mothers?

2 – Why didn’t Mr. Turner keep Nadia closer after her mother’s death?

3- Why wasn’t Mrs. Sheppard more compassionate towards Nadia?

4- Both Pastor Sheppard and Mr. Turner dedicated lots of time to the church. Is it good to serve the community as an example for  children or bad to take time away from raising them?

5- How were Luke and Nadia affected by their decision ?

6- When Aubrey first started visiting Luke, why didn’t Nadia tell Aubrey about their past? Would you have told your friend if she started dating your ex?

7- Why didn’t Luke tell Aubrey that he used to date Nadia?

8- Why does Luke treat Aubrey better (in the beginning of their relationship) than he treated Nadia ?

9-What made Nadia & Aubrey’s friendship last after the day at the beach when Nadia admits to hooking up with Luke in high school?

10 – Nadia imagines what her mother’s life would have been without her. Do you think Nadia gets married and/or raises a child one day?

11- Why did Aubrey desperately want to be a mother?

12 – Should Luke and Nadia have ended up together?

After reading this novel, I wanted to learn more about Brit Bennett. Through various magazine articles, I found that she grew up in Oceanside, California where the novel takes place and like Nadia,  also went to college at the University of Michigan.The Mothers is her very first novel and she was 27 years old when the book was published in 2016.  It is inspiring to see a young black woman author with so much talent and I look forward to reading more of her work.

 

 

February Friday Faves 2.2.2017

Welcome to the first Friday of February 2017!

Here are a few of my favorites from this past week:

Soap & Glory Gift Set

I have been a fan of Soap & Glory for several years now. This gift set was a Christmas gift from my sister.  I love the pink packaging and the fresh, clean scent. The shower gel lathers into lots of bubbles and the body butter is a thick moisturizer – perfect for protection from the cold winter weather.

 Sample Size 12 months

Speaking of soap and glory, 12 months Soaps is continuing to grow. These sample soaps are an adorable size and are made with natural ingredients.

 Thrifted Cardigans

I recently purchased  a dress and needed a cardigan to go with it. I found the black cardigan with the flower embellishment at a local resale shop. The brand is The Limited (they were pricey, but still sad to see it go out of business) and only cost $8.00! The red cardigan is Ann Taylor Loft from Poshmark for $13 plus shipping.

The Minimalists

The Minimalists is a podcast that I just discovered – they started in January 2016, so there are already 52 episodes that I can listen to. I’m still deciding what I think about it. I just want to live in a healthy balance somewhere between TLC’s Hoarders and HG TV’s Tiny House Hunters . For now minimalism seems extreme, but I am interested enough to keep listening and add it to my podcast rotation which also includes Gilmore Guys & AMPsConnected

Happy Friday – Enjoy your Super Bowl 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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