Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading

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I love a good memoir especially one that is funny. Clinton Kelly’s book, I Hate Everyone Except You, definitely made me laugh. Aside from the humor, Clinton is a great writer. You probably know of him or have seen Clinton on

You probably know of him or have seen Clinton on What Not to Wear and The Chew. In his book, he tells us snippets and stories about his life and he comes across as witty and engaging.  He is honest and raw and candid about everything which makes the reader feel like we are his best friend.

I only wish that the book was written more like a memoir than a collection of essays but maybe he will do that for his next book? This one is due out in January 2017.

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I know that fans of Fredrik Backman’s best-selling novel, A Man Called Ove, will absolutely love this new novella. Both beautiful and sad, And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer and Longer will likely be read in one sitting. Here’s what you need to know (oh and have tissues handy):

Grandpa and Noah are sitting on a bench in a square that keeps getting smaller every day. The square is strange but also familiar, full of the odds and ends that have made up their lives: Grandpa’s work desk, the stuffed dragon that Grandpa once gave to Noah, the sweet-smelling hyacinths that Grandma loved to grow in her garden.

As they wait together on the bench, they tell jokes and discuss their shared love of mathematics. Grandpa recalls what it was like to fall in love with his wife, what it was like to lose her. She’s as real to him now as the first day he met her, but he dreads the day when he won’t remember her.

Sometimes Grandpa sits on the bench next to Ted, Noah’s father—Ted who never liked math, prefers writing and playing guitar, and has waited his entire life for his father to have time for him, to accept him. But in their love of Noah, they have found a common bond.

Grandpa, Grandma, Ted, and Noah all meet here, in this peculiar space that is growing dimmer and more confusing all the time. And here is where they will learn to say goodbye, the scent of hyacinths in the air, nothing to fear. This little book with a big message is certain to be treasured for generations to come.

It’s a must-read even for people like me who hate to cry when they read!

 

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Im right smack in the middle of Class by Lucinda Rosenfeld and I have to say I love it. I admire the author’s skill in tackling huge and sensitive topics like rich/poor and black/white and privilege and all kinds of things she writes about. I like the style of writing which is smart but witty too without being obvious.

Karen Kessler thinks she’s the embodiment of her liberal views until trouble starts to brew in her daughters ethnically diverse elementary school which brings to the surface Karen’s own deep issues. I am finding this book very amusing and can’t wait to get back into it later today.

Here’s the official synopsis:

For idealistic forty-something Karen Kessler, it isn’t enough that she works full-time in the non-profit sector, aiding an organization that helps hungry children from disadvantaged homes. She’s also determined to live her personal life in accordance with her ideals. This means sending her daughter, Ruby, to an integrated public school in their Brooklyn neighborhood.

But when a troubled student from a nearby housing project begins bullying children in Ruby’s class, the distant social and economic issues Karen has always claimed to care about so passionately feel uncomfortably close to home. As the situation at school escalates, Karen can’t help but wonder whether her do-gooder husband takes himself and his causes more seriously than her work and Ruby’s wellbeing.

A daring, discussable satire about gentrification and liberal hypocrisy, and a candid take on rich and poor, white and black, CLASS is also a smartly written story that reveals how life as we live it–not as we like to imagine it–often unfolds in gray areas.

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Disclosure: I find this stuff very interesting and also very creepy. I can venture down a dark, deep path in a matter of seconds when anything having to do with conspiracy theories and the Illuminati is presented. So naturally I couldn’t wait to dig into The Illuminati, The Counter Culture Revolution-From Secret Societies to Wilkileaks and Anonymous by Robert Howells. I am reading this slowly so I don’t get too overwhelmed and crazy, especially with all of that pizza gate stuff being brought to light recently (haven’t heard of this? Look it up immediately).

The author takes us all the way back to the origins of the secret societies in the 1700s giving us the how and why these were formed. The societies were developed to influence people and even in the present day there is a smoke screen up to hide what’s really going on in the world.  This book goes really deep into religion and government, events, and more in-depth topics that

This book goes really deep into religion and government, events, and more in-depth topics that I have to take a while to process what I am learning. I can’t imagine the work that Robert Howells put into this project. A must-read for anyone who is remotely interested in these secret societies, Wikileaks, Anonymous etc.

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I don’t know if you were as into the Netflix series, Making a Murderer like I was. Totally gripped by the show, I was left with many questions and confused as ever about what really happened in this case.  So naturally I want to read Convicting Avery by Michael D. Ciccihi.

Here’s what you need to know about this new book coming to us in April 2017:

The shocking Netflix documentary Making a Murderer left millions of viewers wondering how an apparently innocent man could be wrongfully convicted – not just once, but twice. This book explains, in plain English, the numerous flaws in Wisconsin’s criminal justice system that led to the wrongful convictions of Steven Avery and his mentally challenged nephew Brendan Dassey. Equally disturbing, it also reveals that similar flaws exist in other jurisdictions of the country.

The author, himself a criminal defense attorney in Wisconsin, details the egregious procedures that resulted in the Avery and Dassey convictions. Besides the use by law enforcement of suggestive eyewitness-identification methods and interrogation tactics known to produce false confessions, defense lawyers had their hands tied by a truth-suppressing trial rule. Though they had evidence that someone other than Avery murdered Teresa Halbach, Wisconsin courts rarely permit consideration of such evidence. Perhaps most troubling, the burden of proof in this state is actually much lower than the constitutionally-mandated “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.

The author not only discusses the documentary, but he also quotes from and cites Avery’s and Dassey’s appellate court decisions, appellate court briefs, numerous trial court documents, other cases, law review articles, and scientific studies.

I cannot wait to delve into this book. If you are a fan of true crime, its going to be a must read for you too.

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And switching gears from crime and secret societies, Kate Alcott’s new book The Hollywood Daughter is going to be a welcome respite from all the information I am downloading into my brain! This novel is written by A Touch of Stardust and The Dressmaker, two books I really enjoyed.

Here’s the synopsis:

In 1950, Ingrid Bergman—already a major star after movies like Casablanca and Joan of Arc—has a baby out of wedlock with her Italian lover, film director Roberto Rossellini. Previously held up as an icon of purity, Bergman’s fall shocked her legions of American fans.
Growing up in Hollywood, Jessica Malloy watches as her PR executive father helps make Ingrid a star at Selznick Studio. Over years of fleeting interactions with the actress, Jesse comes to idolize Ingrid, who she considered not only the epitome of elegance and integrity, but also the picture-perfect mother, an area where her own difficult mom falls short.
In a heated era of McCarthyism and extreme censorship, Ingrid’s affair sets off an international scandal that robs seventeen-year-old Jesse of her childhood hero. When the stress placed on Jesse’s father begins to reveal hidden truths about the Malloy family, Jesse’s eyes are opened to the complex realities of life—and love.

All I needed to know what that this book is about the 1950’s and Hollywood and I was anxious to read it. Cannot wait to have free time over the holidays to enjoy some good books!

What are you reading?

You’re Not Weird …You’re Just An Introvert

You’re Not Weird …You’re Just An Introvert

“I feel my own emotions. I feel the emotions of everyone around me. I feel emotions from my past, as vividly as though they were happening right now. I feel everything”:

For the longest time, I worried about what was wrong with me. Any more than a few people together in a room and I feel nervous, anxious, out of place and stressed out. Many years ago, when at family events, I’d sneak off into a quiet room to be alone. I wasn’t being standoffish or rude- well, maybe to an observer, but deep inside an anxiety gripped me and the only thing I could do was to have a little time to calm down.

Many years ago, when at family events, I’d sneak off into a quiet room to be alone. I wasn’t being standoffish or rude- well, maybe to an observer, but deep inside an anxiety gripped me and the only thing I could do was to have a little time to calm down. Alone.

Confession 3 INFJ:

Many, many years later I took one of those personality tests, a Myers- Briggs. If you are not familiar with the test, here’s the official 411:

“The MyersBriggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is an introspective self-report questionnaire designed to indicate psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions.

Isabel Briggs Myers created the sixteen personality types with the help of her mother, Katharine Briggs, and the theories of psychologist Carl Jung. Since then, much research has been done into how each type functions at work, at home, and in relationships.”

. #give #self:

You can take the test here (click here) and figure out which personality traits you have. I think it’s very interesting to get a glimpse into what makes people tick.

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I have taken the test numerous times at different points in my life and always come up with the same personality type which is an INFJ. It’s the rarest of all personalities, less than 1% of the population is an INFJ. It was illuminating, to say the least, to finally have my quirks validated. No, I’m not standoffish or weird.

No, I’m not standoffish or weird.

The draining and anxious feelings that sweep over me when I’m with more than a few people does not equate to me being rude, its the way I am wired. Other introverts will understand. Extroverts will not comprehend this because those outgoing types who enjoy being social actually get their energy from being with others.

INFJ:

INFJ and MBTI:

I also know that I am what’s called a Highly Sensitive Person. There’s even a website dedicated to this type of personality.

Are you one?

  • Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby? YES.

  • Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time? Yes, I want to sit and cry.

  • Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows? Our surround sound makes my insides want to explode.

  • Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation? Absolutely. My bed in my favorite place.

  • Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations? Yes. I cannot stand confrontation, bad feelings, negative talk, anger.

  • Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art? All the time. 

  • Do you have a rich and complex inner life? I never stop thinking and find it hard to just relax.

  • When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy? Always sensitive, typically on the verge of tears.

Here’s the site, you can take the quiz, but if any of the above questions having you nodding your head, you are probably highly sensitive too.

AHHH!!! This is so accurate!:

I do see those eight sides, but have no problems deciding; it's about the greater good.:

As I get older, I am understanding myself or at least trying to, and finally, I can conclude that just because I am a highly sensitive introvert, there is nothing profoundly wrong with me. I am often surrounded by extroverts who seem to breeze through life while I am in a dark corner overthinking every detail of my life.

It’s just so hard to feel so much, you know?

If this strikes a chord with you, I invite you to check out my Pinterest board, Empaths and Introverts where I have over four hundred pins letting us know we aren’t alone!

 

Nourish Organic Deodorant Cream

Nourish Organic Deodorant Cream

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One of the first products I swapped out from conventional to green was deodorant. Conventional deodorants typically contain aluminum, parabens and other toxic chemicals which have been linked to serious diseases like cancer and Alzheimers. There is a strong link between deodorant and breast cancer which runs in my family so I don’t want to take any chances!

Nourish Organic has a lovely, creamy deodorant that works well and does not cause any irritation. I have very sensitive skin and certain non-toxic products will bother my underarms so I have to be careful but this one glides on and works perfectly with not the slightest hint of redness or a rash.

Here are the ingredients: 

Organic Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Organic Beeswax, Organic Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Organic Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Organic Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Organic Saccharomyces Ferment, Organic Fragrance*

The coconut oil is so soothing and nurturing while the corn starch helps absorb odor. I apply in the morning and am good all day.

These come in the following scents: Almond Vanilla, Lavender Mint, and Fresh Fig– the scents are very light so if you aren’t big on fragrances, don’t worry.

This was my first time trying Nourish Organic and it wont be my last. They  make lots of other products including face and body creams, oils, lotions, so many clean, non-toxic items that are worth your time to check out. You can see more by going here.

Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading

Since the election, I’ve been reading and watching documentary movies and books, you could say I’ve been a little obsessive. I think I am coming out from the haze but I have been researching and exploring quite a bit.

I watched- and learned quite a lot- from Hillary’s America. You can view the clip above. Once I watched that, a friend recommended Clinton Cash, another really well done and informative movie free on You Tube, below.

Very good movie and only about an hour long. Watch it! You won’t believe it.

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Another friend suggested I read Guilty As Sin by Edward Klein which was a fast paced book about Hillary Clinton and I really liked it. Here’s what you need to know:

When FBI Director James Comey announced in July that Hillary Clinton would not be indicted for mishandling classified information, America was stunned.

Had the scandal-happy Clintons escaped justice once again? Not so fast, says investigative reporter and bestselling author Ed Klein. There is far more behind Comey’s shocking press conference than meets the eye — and a minefield of email evidence between Hillary and the White House.

In his astonishing new book, Klein uncovers the real story behind Hillary’s email scandals and the dirty political games that have kept her one step ahead of the law – for now. Klein reveals what the FBI’s team of 150+ investigators really found on Clinton’s server. How Comey originally threatened to resign over White House attempts to intervene in the investigation, and his secret plan to go around the Justice Department if needed. How an unprecedented Congressional investigation during an election year is uncovering new shocking evidence of corruption on a level some would call treason. And what Bill and Hillary still have left in their bag of tricks in their desperate quest to get back into the Oval Office.

Because this book was written recently, you will probably know everything that unfolds but Klein gives a lot of insider information which makes the story captivating and hard to put down. I read it in record time!

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I read and loved Matthew Quick’s other books so I was very excited to get a sneak peek of The Reason You’re Alive. I was pulled into the story right away and read into the late night yesterday. What a gifted novelist to take a rather unlikeable fellow, put him front and center and make a reader have compassion for him.

Here’s the synopsis:

After sixty-eight-year-old David Granger crashes his BMW, medical tests reveal a brain tumor that he readily attributes to his wartime Agent Orange exposure. He wakes up from surgery repeating a name no one in his civilian life has ever heard—that of a Native American soldier whom he was once ordered to discipline. David decides to return something precious he long ago stole from the man he now calls Clayton Fire Bear. It might be the only way to find closure in a world increasingly at odds with the one he served to protect. It might also help him finally recover from his wife’s untimely demise.

As David confronts his past to salvage his present, a poignant portrait emerges: that of an opinionated and goodhearted American patriot fighting like hell to stay true to his red, white, and blue heart, even as the country he loves rapidly changes in ways he doesn’t always like or understand. Hanging in the balance are Granger’s distant art-dealing son, Hank; his adoring seven-year-old granddaughter, Ella; and his best friend, Sue, a Vietnamese-American who respects David’s fearless sincerity.

Through the controversial, wrenching, and wildly honest David Granger, Matthew Quick offers a no-nonsense but ultimately hopeful view of America’s polarized psyche. By turns irascible and hilarious, insightful and inconvenient, David is a complex, wounded, honorable, and loving man. The Reason You’re Alive examines how the secrets and debts we carry from our past define us; it also challenges us to look beyond our own prejudices and search for the good in us all.

What are you reading this weekend?

I Do Not Want What I Cannot Have, A Lesson In Living With Less

I Do Not Want What I Cannot Have, A Lesson In Living With Less

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I want to travel,  a new camera, a luxury car, modern furniture, and I want an oversized Louis Vuitton tote bag to top it off. But at the end of the day, what I want doesn’t matter if can’t find contentment with what I already  have.

We are conditioned from birth through the media, especially magazines, to always  seek out bigger, better, newer. The idea that contentment, beauty, and a luxury lifestyle can be purchased leaves us in a state of perpetual desire.

But what I have learned is that if you aren’t happy with less, you will never be happy with more.

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When my husband and I decided to move, (and that’s a whole other story) we had a tiny bit of time to fit a huge house and thirteen years into boxes. I began separating things I had but didn’t use, and things I used consistently, into piles and discovered that I had too much “stuff.”

In typical human fashion, I’d been saving things, especially beauty-related items, for a day that would never come. Expensive perfumes and luxury lipsticks and nice clothes that I’d splurged on essentially went unused because that special occasion I’d been waiting for never rolled around. Meanwhile, my piles and boxes grew larger.

I bought holiday plates and serving trays and organic snacks and beautiful high heels and art supplies that sat in dark closets or boxes, never seeing the light of day.

Why?  I was waiting for precisely the right moment to indulge. And that moment did not show up.

Hanging onto to things “just in case,” I have now realized is fear packaged as frugality. Saving paper clips from packages, blank envelopes, small boxes, and tissue paper were my specialty. I had an entire cupboard dedicated to colored tissue paper just in case I needed to wrap one thing or a hundred somethings. When it came time to pack up, I stood in the hallway, knee deep in Kohls boxes, wondering I had a problem that warranted therapy.

I decided to be brutal and purge. Vowing to not lament over having a certain shirt or camera or designer  bag, I turned my focus on to what sat before me which looked a little like this:

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Despite having too many things, I still found my brain wandering down a brightly lit corridor fueled by the enticing aroma of new stuff.  I had to tell myself to STOP. For reasons I don’t understand, maybe the rush of buying anything from Target and TJ Maxx, I had accumulated an impressive collection of cleaning supplies which were scattered throughout our house and garage.

Once our entire house was divided into boxes, we moved into a tiny apartment that was less than half the size of our home. I took only the barest of essentials which turned out to be a lot. I made many many trips to our local Goodwill where I donated every item and piece of clothing I knew I wouldn’t wear including a few things with tags still hanging limply from the sleeves.

I have learned that being in a state of desire is counterproductive to possession. If your focus is on what is lacking, then perhaps you aren’t giving gratitude for what you already have and this will keep you from receiving. There’s also a lesson in there about having too much, too much clutter, too many things, an excess that is not healthy or necessary for day to day living.

Do you see the connection? I had a feeling that my best  bet was to throw things out, focus on what I absolutely needed and nourish a sense of gratitude and confidence that everything I desired for the future was being taken care of by a force greater than myself.

 

Here were my big lessons:

*Having less “things” is very freeing.

*Clutter makes me crazy and is exhausting.

*If you don’t use it, get rid of it.

*Don’t save items for the perfect occasion. Use them now.

*Be grateful for everything, big or small.

* You don’t need as much as you think you do.

*Donate clothes if you are not wearing them, same with makeup and beauty items.

*Donate household goods if you don’t use them.

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You can follow my Pinterest feed where I post about Minimalism here.! I’m a work in progress but I’m trying! Any tips to share on this topic? Find me on facebook here and share!