book club – Thoughts By Natalie Style, motherhood, wellness + life. Thu, 12 May 2016 17:01:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 September Book Club: Rising Strong Wed, 26 Aug 2015 12:00:35 +0000   I super love this back-to-school time of year, don’t you? It doesn’t feel like fall at all in San Diego yet, but now is usually the time of year when I start watching You’ve Got Mail and dreaming of bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils. The fact that school is back in session makes book club seem even more significant to me for some reason. Maybe it’s because I’m not in school anymore and reading is a very academic thing. Whatever it is, I”m eager to be more intentional about my reading—so much so I might even make that one of my upcoming Live Well challenges. An-y-way…our book this month is one I’m excited about because of my obsession with it’s author. For September we’ll be reading Rising Strong by Brené Brown and I have a feeling it’s going to be one of those life-changing sort of books that sticks with us for a while. Here’s a little snapshot from Amazon: When we deny our stories, they define us.  When we own our stories, we get to write the ending.  Social scientist Brené Brown has ignited a global conversation on courage, vulnerability, shame, and worthiness. Her pioneering work uncovered a profound truth: […]]]> 4 August Book Club: Overwhelmed Fri, 31 Jul 2015 21:44:05 +0000 One thing is for sure: the balance between motherhood, work, maintaining a household and having a social life is sort of exhausting. In fact, it feels rather impossible to do it all and at least once I week I find myself talking to Brian about how there literally isn’t enough time in the day. Anyone else?!? In that spirit, I’ve chosen a book that really appeals to us who just want to find time to relax. For August, we’ll be reading Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte. Here’s a little description from Amazon to give you more details on what you can expect… When award-winning journalist Brigid Schulte, a harried mother of two, realized she was living a life of all work and no play, she decided to find out why she felt so overwhelmed. This book is the story of what she discovered-and of how her search for answers became a journey toward a life of less stress and more leisure. Schulte’s findings are illuminating, puzzling, and, at times, maddening: Being overwhelmed is even affecting the size of our brains. But she also encounters signs of real progress-evidence that what the […]]]> 4 July Book Club: Primates of Park Avenue Mon, 22 Jun 2015 12:00:18 +0000 Is it just me, or do you crave lighter reading in the summertime? I love a good beach read, and sometimes even find myself interested in picking up a novel when July and August roll around. So I thought this month we’d do something less life-improvement/minimalist-oriented and more entertaining. And since a lot of us take vacations over the summer, I wanted to be sure to share my book pick sooner rather than later unless you’re heading out of town and need a good read to bring with you :) I am absolutely fascinated with the idea of Wednesday Martin’s new book Primates of Park Avenue—and I think you will be too after reading this description from Amazon… Like an urban Dian Fossey, Wednesday Martin decodes the primate social behaviors of Upper East Side mothers in a brilliantly original and witty memoir about her adventures assimilating into that most secretive and elite tribe. After marrying a man from the Upper East Side and moving to the neighborhood, Wednesday Martin struggled to fit in. Drawing on her background in anthropology and primatology, she tried looking at her new world through that lens, and suddenly things fell into place. She understood the […]]]> 1 June Book Club: Skin Cleanse Mon, 01 Jun 2015 18:40:15 +0000 Wow…is today really June 1st? It totally crept up on me! The month has started and that means it’s time to move on from Better Than Before—a book I LOVED and will be sharing some thoughts on soon—and start reading something new. My pick for June is Skin Cleanse: The Simple, All-Natural Program for Clear, Calm, Happy Skin. Who doesn’t want that? With summer just weeks away, we’re all no doubt hoping to spend more time by the water and less time in front of the mirror. In the warmer months especially, less makeup is better. But wearing less makeup is a hard thing to do if our skin isn’t behaving, am I right? Here’s the promise of this book, straight from the back cover: Breakouts. Dryness. Redness. Oiliness. If you’re like most women, you’ve been on a never-ending quest for perfect skin—or even just good skin—since adolescence. It’s a frustrating pursuit to say the least, filled with one disappointing (and expensive) miracle solution after another. Why is it so hard to get good skin? Adina Grigore, founder of the organic skincare line S.W. Basics, would argue that getting clear, calm, happy skin is about much more than products and […]]]> 3 3 Steps to a Tidy Space Forever (aka The KonMari Method) Tue, 12 May 2015 12:00:24 +0000 Last month for book club we read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and let me just say, the strategies described in the book (referred to as the KonMari Method) are definitely life-changing. While I absolutely recommend reading the whole book, in a nutshell, there three simple—but not necessarily easy—steps to achieve tidiness in your home forever… 1. Discard by category, not location. While it’s tempting to tidy by location (i.e. kitchen, bedroom, etc), apparently category-by-category is essential to doing it right. She recommends a specific order for discarding, starting with clothing and moving down the list towards items that get more and more personal, saving sentimental things (like photos and old notes) for last. Her simple rule for deciding what to keep and what to toss? Ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” If yes, keep it. If not, toss it. It sounds so crazy, but imagine how wonderful it would be to be surrounded by only things that bring you joy? I want that! 2. Designate a place for everything. Very important: do not attempt to find a place for anything until you’ve finished discarding completely. This sounds like a nightmare for anyone who needs a tidy space […]]]> 3 May Book Club: Better Than Before Sat, 25 Apr 2015 17:34:04 +0000 After reading last month’s book, I wasn’t sure I could find another that would capture my interest and excitement so fully. That is, until I discovered Gretchen Rubin’s newest read, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. I am completely obsessed with optimizing my life, so of course this book majorly has my attention. I’ve already started reading it and am learning so much! Here’s an excerpt to give you an idea of what’s to come: . . . . . When we change our habits, we change our lives. We can use decision making to choose the habits we want to form, we can use willpower to get the habit started; then—and this is the best part—we can allow the extraordinary power of habit to take over. We take our hands off the wheel of decision, our foot off the gas of willpower, and rely on the cruise control of habits. That’s the promise of habit. For a happy life, it’s important to cultivate an atmosphere of growth—the sense that we’re learning new things, getting stronger, forging new relationships, making things better, helping other people. Habits have a tremendous role to play in creating an atmosphere […]]]> 5 April Book Club: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up Sat, 28 Mar 2015 19:20:30 +0000 March has essentially come and gone and it’s time to start reading our next book! Since I am all about minimalism this year, I’ve picked a book that got great recommendations that I feel like I’ve been hearing about everywhere: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I’ve already started reading it because I was so excited I couldn’t wait. So far, I really love it and am eager to get started with the techniques the author describes. Here’s a little excerpt to entice you… “Let’s imagine a cluttered room. It does not get messy all by itself. You, the person who lives in it, makes the mess. There is a saying that ‘a messy room equals a messy mind.’ I look at it this way. When a room becomes cluttered, the cause is more than just physical. Visible mess helps distract us from the true source of the disorder. The act of cluttering is really an instinctive reflex that draws our attention away from the heart of an issue. “If you can’t feel relaxed in a clean and tidy room, try confronting your feeling of anxiety. It may shed light on what is really bothering you. When your room is […]]]> 7 March Book Club: More or Less Sun, 01 Mar 2015 16:14:33 +0000 March absolutely snuck up on me! But alas, it is here, and that means it’s time to move on to our next book—one that is very much in line with my word of the year. The book I’ve chosen is called More or Less, and it’s a book about having enough, sharing with others and choosing excessive generosity. Sounds pretty amazing, right? From Amazon… In More or Less, Jeff Shinabarger calls readers to create their own social experiments to answer the question, “What is enough?” It all started with one idea: What would happen if we created a culture in which we gave away whatever was more than enough for us? How would our habits change if we shed the excess of money, clutter, and food in our lives? In More or Less, readers will learn how to draw a line of “enough” in their consumer choices, how to see generosity as a chance to experience freedom in a greedy world, and how to make small changes now that will help others forever. As Shinabarger reminds them, defining “enough” is more than a responsibility—it is an opportunity to give hope. I can’t wait to see how this book impacts my view of […]]]> 6 Book Club Chat: Yes Please Tue, 17 Feb 2015 20:55:01 +0000 I have a confession: I never finished Yes Please! I wish I could say I didn’t have the time, but I actually really did—I just didn’t end up prioritizing this book the way I’d planned. Which I suppose does say a bit about how I felt about it. While I haven’t finished it (though I plan to!), I do want to follow through with some brief reflections and open up the comments below for more discussion from those of you who did manage to read the whole thing. From what I did read, there was one chapter of the book that really shined for me: Plain Girl vs. The Demon. She starts it off saying, “I hate how I look”—a statement all of us can relate to in some way, or at the very least, a thought every person has had at least once in their life. She goes on to talk about “the demon voice” that’s in the back of our heads—you know, the one that tells us we’re not good enough or our nose is weird or our thighs aren’t right—and how we can make the choice to not let it take over our lives: I had already […]]]> 6 February Book Club: The Body Book Thu, 29 Jan 2015 13:00:47 +0000 February is usually a time when we let go of our healthy resolutions in favor of the couch, Netflix and Valentine’s Day chocolates. While I am definitely all for those things being part of life (case in point), I think balance is really where it’s at. And since balance and wellness are two things I care a lot about in my life, I’ve been dying to read Cameron Diaz’s The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body. Here’s are a few snippets from the beginning of the book that made me totally excited to choose this as our February read: “Unfortunately, as women, we are constantly being pressured about being more beautiful, about being thinner, about looking younger, or sexier, or blonder or more brunette. As women in today’s society, we are encouraged to compare ourselves to other women when what we need to do is focus on our own strengths, our own capabilities, our own beauty.” “Here’s what this book is not: It is not a diet book. It is not a workout regimen. It is not a manual to becoming a different person. Here’s what it is: […]]]> 6