Friday, May 22, 2015

let's reflect on this for a minute.

I'm not very Zen. I'm not easy going. I don't mediate. BUT. I want to be all of those things, so I read Paradise in Plain Sight by Karen Maezen Miller who is actually a Zen teacher and helps students (and readers like us) find contentment in the here and now, just like she did in the ancient Japanese garden in her backyard (even though at the time she didn't exactly have a green thumb). Miller uses her Japanese garden as a metaphor to explain Zen concepts. I can get behind this idea because the home I've created over the last two years with my husband IS my Zen place, if I had such a place. I've created a very cool and open space for myself when my husband keeps his crap in his designated rooms, and I love it. This book is about making wherever you are in life right now, your paradise, and I love that message along with the rest Miller shares, especially the message on change. Because change is SO hard for me. This was a very soothing read and helped me realize how my own fears can blind me to so much promise for myself.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

if you're looking for results, Heller's got them.

Marla Heller's The Dash Diet Younger You will transform your body, leaving you twenty years younger and twenty pounds lighter in just ten weeks. Well, I don't want to be nine years old again, and twenty pounds is a little much, but I still got A LOT out of this book, which builds on the success of Heller's popular DASH diet, it's simply designed for a younger looking inside and outside. I am in it for my mildly high blood pressure, honestly, and so far so good.

The Dash Diet Younger You includes a 14-day meal plan with breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner specified for each day. HELLO. You can do anything for 14 days. There are 75 recipes in all, and they are followed by a section on a healthier lifestyle, and on managing the aging process. Very easy to follow, and no one's asking you to do anything outrageous. Eat more plant-based foods and eliminate those sugars and processed goodies. The testimonials are super encouraging, so if you are someone looking to reverse time a bit, this diet is definitely for you.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

luckiest girl....alive.

Jessica Knoll is definitely an author for the every girl. Having credentials from Cosmo AND SELF (my favorite magazine), she has a way with women, and she really proves that with her debut novel, Luckiest Girl Alive and heroine (or anti-heroine?), TifAni FaNelli.

Twenty-eight-year-old Ani has spent her twenties reinventing herself. Working toward the woman's version of the American dream. Kick ass job, check. Nice digs, check. Hot body, check. Successful and sexy fiancĂ©, check. Her life is going on perfect, but fourteen years ago something happened to this girl that she just can't shake. And apparently no one will let her as she's asked to participate in a documentary revolved around the trauma, telling her side of the story. Ani is planning a wedding, starving herself into a size negative, about to marry a man she doesn't even love, to forget a past that won't go away. Alternating between her twenty-eight and fourteen-year old selves, I wouldn't call Ani a likable character, but the more you learn about her past the more you understand her present. And everyone deserves a chance to tell their side to the story.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

for a laugh, or seven.

Dave Barry has been writing humorous essays for decades, and they just keep getting better in my opinion. His latest, You Can Date Boys When You're Forty, is filled with lots of new material because there are just so many amazing things to mock these days. Barry does get crude here and there, but when you're making fun of Fifty Shades of Gray, how can you not be a little crass? I appreciate Barry's latest take on the world, and I know his fans will, too.

I do however think he saved the best for last because his last chapter, "How to Become a Professional Author" was probably the most hilarious thing I have ever read. I was LOLing all over the place.

Monday, May 18, 2015

make the time to be quiet.

Finding God Through Meditation by Daniel Burke is designed for the Catholic faith, but many of us come to a point where we yearn for the meaning of life, and want to establish a relationship with the Creator. Many of us seek quiet time, peace, and time to reflect. Add some Saints, and that is what this book is about. Burke incorporates the Saints who are masters of prayer, like St. Peter, who used meditation and contemplation regularly to engage thought, imagination, emotion and desire, and suggests that meditation helps Christians develop a deeper relationship with God.

I know that many of you aren't into the idea of mediation because it has been so overplayed in movies, and we live in a world that is so fast paced and loud. But I do think it's important to take the time to be quiet. Quiet our minds and try to listen to what our hearts are telling us.

Friday, May 15, 2015

fantasy friday.

The Elusion series is a duology of fantasy/action/sci-fi/futuristic young adult novels written by co-authors Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam and are sure to spice up your reader's library. The series is set in a futuristic Detroit (which is a lot worse than present Detroit if you can imagine), narrated by sixteen-year-old Regan who, along with the rest of the residents of this city live with acid rain falling from the sky, forcing them to wear purifiers to survive everyday life. Many wish to escape their current reality, and before his unexpected death, Regan's father made an app for that. An app that transports you to exotic places, where you can find adventure and forget your troubles. Book one of the series, Elusion, is action packed while reader's follow Regan and her attempt find out what's really going on in the virtual world that seems too good to be true, because it is.


In book two titled, Etherworld, Regan and Josh (who she befriends in book one) are stuck behind the firewall in Etherworld, and are unable to fight Elusion. I am not going to go into a lot of detail as to not spoil book one for anyone who hasn't started this series. But there is more danger in Etherworld, more betrayal, romance and more to lose.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

what day is today, today is mother's day.

I am not big on feelings, but when I really stop to think about my mom, I turn into a big puddle of mush. I love her so much I can't think about it too hard or it physically pains me. I downright SOBBED when I read A Letter to My Mom from the Letter to My Series by Lisa Erspamer. I loved it so much. I'll cry right now. It is filled with so many sweet, sweet letters from guys and dolls, some you know and some you'll want to know, to their mothers. The letters are filled with gratitude to mothers for believing in them, supporting them, encouraging them, never letting them be defeated. It's an ode to mom's who make things happen. I know it's after Mother's Day, but what a wonderful 'just because I love my mom' gift?

My mom is the QUEEN of making things happen. I would always come up with some harebrained scheme or another (still do sometimes) and she would listen and then always respond with, well what are we going to do to make this happen? I love her so much.