Talking as Fast as I Can – by Lauren Graham

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If you want to catch up for a coffee with Lauren Graham, this book is for you.  Like probably 99.9% of the readers who picked up this book, I read it because I love Gilmore Girls.  As if the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life wasn’t enough of a good thing, I wanted more.  I wanted to know whether Lauren Graham was anything like Lorelai Gilmore, and spoiler alert: she is.

Lorelai Lauren writes like she talks.  Fast-paced, entertaining, conversational, the book is extremely easy to read (I did it over three nap sessions, and my bubba doesn’t nap for long at all).  The highlights for me were:

– Anecdotes about Lauren starting out as an actress (no, the roles did not just land in her lap, so much went on behind the scenes with a lot of odd jobs, training etc.);

-Her thoughts on being single before she paired up with Peter Krause (it was refreshingly honest and something most of us have thought about at one time or another, without the Hollywood pressure thankfully);

-Her thoughts on writing, including the Kitchen Timer method (which is something that Don Roos passed onto Lauren – it’s a great method to try if you want to develop a writing discipline or just to get writing); and

-Of course, all the inside goss on the filming of Gilmore Girls (both the original series and the new episodes on Netflix).

There you have it.  No, the book is not the next War and Peace (nor does it attempt to be) but it is honest, Lauren wrote it herself (no ghost-writing here), and it does extremely well for a book of its genre.  Perfect to read on the plane, or by the pool on your next island getaway.

Rating: 3.5/5

Have you read Chapter One?

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Every 90 seconds a mother dies in childbirth.  Globally 2.9 million babies die within their first month of life because they don’t have access to basic healthcare.

Were you aware of these staggering statistics?  I wasn’t….or perhaps, it has never struck home as much as now.  Holding my little girl in my arms, I know that every child deserves their best chance at life.  That’s why I’m supporting Thankyou by purchasing a copy of ‘Chapter One’.  Thank you is a social enterprise which gives 100% of their profits to their charitable trust, which then distributes funds to food, water and health and sanitation programs around the world.  You may have seen some of their products in supermarkets etc.  (I first became aware of them by seeing their bottles of water around.)

In short, by purchasing a copy of Chapter One (which tells the story of how Thankyou came to be, and how we as individuals have the power to change stuff) you are helping to raise funds for the launch of 1) Thankyou Baby and 2) Thankyou New Zealand.  Thankyou Baby will develop a range of nappies and baby body care products, with 100% of the profits helping to fund health programs for mums and bubs in need.  Thank you New Zealand aims to start Thankyou from the ground up in New Zealand.

There’s some concrete goals in place:  if things go “ok” thank you aims to raise over $2 million for infant and maternal health projects in the first 3 years.  And if things go awesomely, they think they’ll be able to raise over $15 million dollars for these projects in the first 3 years.

Read more about these guys here and think about supporting them through purchasing a copy of Chapter One

PS. I’m not affiliated with Thankyou and they have not sponsored this post (and in fact do not know about this post).  I just wanted to spread the word and extend the invitation for you to be part of something life-changing.

‘Money + Mindfulness’ by Lisa Messenger

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I picked up this book at the local newsagent, intrigued by the topic (been thinking a lot about finances lately), the author (Lisa Messenger is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Collective magazine) and let’s face it I’m a sucker for a book with lots of pretty photos.  It was a super breezy read, where Lisa shares (in a let’s sit down for a cup of coffee tone) lessons learnt from her own entrepreneurial journey.

The biggest take-away for me was about mindset.  That a lot of my attitude towards money was formed by childhood imprints and that sometimes I need to step out from a mindset of scarcity and tell myself it’s okay to invest in myself.  Whether that’s paying for a seminar, a course, or something else that will better help me become the best version of myself.  Henry Ford was quoted (from his book My Life and Work):

We teach children to save their money.  As an attempt to counteract thoughtless and selfish expenditure, that has a value.  But it is not positive; it does not lead the child out into the safe and useful avenues of self-expression or self-expenditure.  To teach a child to invest and use is better than to teach him to save.

There’s a lot of truth to that quote and I’m just starting to learn what it means to use money well (and hopefully we can teach our little girl what this means as she grows up).

Recommendation:  The book is supplemented by the Money + Mindfulness playbook (I’m yet to look into that) and is a good read for anyone who’s thinking about what it means to use money well.  Financial concepts are explained in a very digestable and relatable manner but if you’re looking for formulas and theories on finances, this probably isn’t the best fit for you.

Rating: 4/5

PS. This is not a sponsored post.

‘California’ by Edan Lepucki

This book fell into my lap (literally).  Stephen Colbert encouraged his late night TV show viewers to purchase this book in support of first-time publishing author Edan Lepucki who was affected by the Amazon-Hachette saga.  My hubby, the ever devoted Colbert enthusiast, heeded his exhortation.  However even if it hadn’t been for my hubby, this was still the type of book which I likely would’ve picked of my own volition.  Young couple.  Post-apocalyptic landscape.  Survival.  Yep, sounds like something I would read.

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What I loved about the book was that its focus was on the nature of relationships.  How we love when the familiar is taken away.  How we choose our allies.  The lengths we would go to, to protect the ones we love.  One of the main characters Frida suspects that she is pregnant and fluctuates between feelings of great love and great fear for her unborn child.  This particularly struck a chord with me (particularly as I’m reading this in my third trimester of pregnancy!), as I’ve faced moments when I’ve pondered, ‘What sort of a world am I bringing this child into?’  My conclusion (for now) is that whilst I cannot know what the future holds, I live trusting that ultimately there is enough love to go around.  (There’s a great reflection on Brain Pickings titled ‘Margaret Mead’s Beautiful Letter of Advice to her Younger Sister on Starting a Family in an Uncertain World which is definitely worth a read).  It’s interesting to explore this very same question in Frida’s life and how she tries to resolve this tension in her not-too-distant and frighteningly realistic post-apocalyptic world.

The novel is a bit slow-paced at times (for an impatient reader as myself).  Whilst the story is carefully drawn and beautifully crafted, I felt that the plot was a bit flat and could’ve been told with fewer words.

Recommendation:  I’d recommend this book for readers who are looking for a ‘twist’ to the typical post-apocalyptic genre (ie. one more focused on relationships than one which imagines the logistics of the future-world in great detail).

Rating: 3.5/ 5

 

No Matter the Wreckage

Do you enjoy reading poetry? It’s never really been my thing until recently, when I came across Sarah Kay (a poet from New York City) via the TED talk video (highly recommended): If I Should Have a Daughter. What makes her poetry so enjoyable is that it is accessible. I find traces of myself in them; fingerprints on the pages and footprints in the snow.

No Matter the Wreckage is her powerful debut of a collection of poetry; I’ve lingered over each word chosen, each moment captured, and each experience expressed. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who wants to start reading some poetry, or who wants to embark on a journey of better understanding the human experience.

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Reading this book has ignited my desire to capture moments and experience through words. Now, I’m not kidding myself; I know I am no poet. So I will take baby-steps and start with lists (Sarah mentioned that writing poetry can be scary for teenagers so she tricks them into writing poetry by getting them to write lists).

In celebration of the year that has passed, here is my list.
10 Lessons from 2014
1. Change is inevitable; it is better for me to embrace it than to run from it.
2. Practicing forgiveness can go a long way towards my happiness.
3. Beauty comes in many forms – I should spend less time imitating other people’s beauty; instead I should let my own shine.
4. Take good care of my teeth, otherwise trips to the dentist will be very painful (and costly).
5. Focus on health, rather than measurements.
6. Sleep earlier, and earlier still.
7. Be kinder, more often.
8. Read more often, and more widely.
9. Don’t stop being curious.
10. Ask more questions.

What are your lessons from 2014? Would love to read your lists too x

Reading: The Glitter Plan

The Glitter Plan

Juicy Couture was never really my thing.  My whole wardrobe consists of navy, white and black staples (think sweatshirts and tees rather than valour tracksuits and pink bomber jackets).  And anything sparkly?  No thanks.  I once spent a whole afternoon (during my high school days) picking rhinestones off my tshirt (cause I liked the shape, the material and the price of the tee – but it had a small number of rhinestones glued to it which just had to come off).  However, I knew of the brand.  I’ve seen celebs wear it.  And whilst I don’t wear it, I can appreciate what a big deal it was for the fashion world and admire the drive and fun nature of its founders.

The Glitter Plan (recent book by its founders) caught my eye – I’m a fan of a good entrepreneurial story and this is a mighty good one.  Two best friends (Pam and Gela) started a business with $200 in Gela’s apartment….and turned it into a global brand.  They didn’t go to business school, but they went with their gut and adopted a very hands-on approach (think using sharpies to write on pieces of cloth to create the label tags).  This book is part memoir, part business manual and it follows the girls’ business story (with a very distinctive punk-rock voice).  It’s a great read for anyone who has a vision of creating something big, but lacks a bit of courage or resources to kick-start it.

To share the love, I’m giving away one copy of “The Glitter Plan”!  For your chance to win, please comment below and tell us (in 25 words or less)

What is one step you can take today to move closer to your goal/ dream?  

Entries close Saturday 22 November 5pm AEDT.  Competition is open to Australian residents only.  Winner will be chosen by me and announced on this blog this time next week (Sunday 23 November 9pm AEDT).  Basically I’m just looking for someone who will enjoy reading the book!  Good luck x

Edit: Amber Melody is the winner of the Glitter Plan.  Mel will also win a copy of Happier At Home (by Gretchen Rubin).  Thanks for playing! x