Girl, Stop Apologizing, by Rachel Hollis

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Okay, guys…  I’m a little bit obsessed with Rachel Hollis. I was gifted this book from Harper Collins Canada in exchange for my honest review. Oh boy, I can’t even contain my excitement for this book to hold on to the review until it’s release date… which is March 12, 2019. I get that it’s super mean for me to rave and be so excited about a book that’s release date is so far away. BUT, I will make you a promise to re-release the review days before the book is set to hit stores.

Here’s why I wanted to get this review out. Girl, Stop Apologizing, is the follow up book to Girl, Wash your Face. I think that reading them in succession is essential! I think that the first one is about acceptance, then the second is about action.

Rachel Hollis has a knack for noticing the pitfalls that women fallback on to excuse their living into their full potential. Because Rachel has been there. She has been the woman who needed to change. But what she did was… actually change. WHOA, right I know, no excuses. She just executed the habits, and committed to the positive changes.
In Girl, Stop Apologizing, Rachel Hollis is ready to arm you with a plan to start owning your life. She identifies the excuses to let go of, the behaviors to adopt, and the skills to adapt to your lifestyle that will help with positive growth.

Straight up, I loved this book. As a woman, these books are deeply freeing. They make you feel less alone in your own little crazy world. They make you realize that feeling like a hot mess of a woman is okay, but just own it. And maybe take some steps in your life that help your morning/evening run a little smoother. Accept that you can be a successful woman, and also an amazing family person. You may not be perfect, but you can damn well try your best each day to commit to being ACCOUNTABLE.

Our own insecurities on any subject either spark our curiosity or they feed our judgement.

In a world where we live on social media, and have constant comparisons, it’s easy to get sucked into the this shame cycle of scrolling through IG, Facebook, Twitter… whatever it is. But what Rachel Hollis reminds us is that we are the ones in charge of what we fill ourselves up with. It’s so easy to play the “comparison game”, but remember that you are the one who can cater your lifestyle. If the IG model makes you feel less beautiful… unfollow. If the news makes you feel anxious… shut it off. If your schedule makes you feel like a chicken with your head cut off… slow down. If you feel like you have no energy… fuel your body.

I’m learning that slowing down is okay, but being mindful of actually scheduling is what makes the day feel more balanced. Currently I’m sitting in my office, shovelling mouthfuls of my homemade salad into my my mouth, while typing this review. Sometimes friends, you just have to do it. You just have to commit to the small chunks of time that add up to the hours that get the job done.

This book has literally breathed motivation back into my life. It’s full of things I needed to be reminded of. Now, it’s time to implement some of them 🙂

Happy reading, friends!

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Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall

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The best runner leaves no tracks. Tao Te Ching

Born to Run is a book that SOOOOO many people over the years have asked me if I’ve read it. I’ve been running for what seems like forever. It feels like its always been a part of my life. It’s the thing that energizes me when my batteries feel low, it’s the thing that calms me down when I feel crazy, and it’s a place of joy for me. So when I needed some mojo the week before my marathon, I finally decided to read it.

If you are starting to read this review, and thinking, “Meh, running book?!?! I’m out.” DON’T LEAVE!!! This book is definitely not meant only for people who run. It’s a great story, and has some really interesting facts sprinkled throughout it.

Christopher McDougall is a runner, and a journalist. He loves his daily runs, but his body doesn’t. When he is plagued with running injuries he travels to the Copper Canyons in Mexico to discover the running secrets of the Tarahumara Indians. He is perplexed by the differences in their footwear, diet, and habits, and their ability to run for many hours in their deadly terrain. McDougall discusses all these differences, along with a fantastic story about a great race in the Copper Canyons. It includes the running phenomenon Scott Jurek, and many other eclectic runners.

This story was amazing. I felt like it paced like a marathon. A medium pace while slowly picking up to a fast sprint by the end of it. Ultra running is a unique sector of the running world. I love to go to these trail runs in which there are tons of ultra distances… myself, always doing the distance below the ultra. But, this book makes me want to run an ultra. I felt like the true spirit of running was completely captured through the people in this book. Jenn Shelton was my fav.

Jenn isn’t battling a rival to the bitter end, or striding across a mountaintop with the steel-jawed majesty of a Nike model, or gasping toward glory with a grimace of heartbreaking determination. All she’s doing is…running. Running, and smiling.

This past weekend I participated in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon with my forever running buddy, Krystal. This was a goal that was in for My Happiness Project. I used to race a lot, then when I had kids, I just enjoyed when I could get out for a run. But this year I decided I would start doing the things that I used to love to do, and discover new things as well.

This race was determined for it to be different. To not be obsessed with time, paces, and proper fueling.  The gradual letting go of controlling the run, coincided with less injuries, more joy, and a surprisingly not much different on race day. In short… when I decided to stop controlling the run, it stopped making me it’s bitch!

So that’s what I did friends. I let go of the idea that I needed to run this marathon so fast that it felt painful… and ya know what?!?! I literally had people who were cheering compliment me on my smile. I was so damn happy this race, and it didn’t hurt. Lesson learned… let go, and let what happens be.

Next up… maybe an ultra?!?!

 

 

The Measure of my Powers, by Jackie Kai Ellis

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I had heard about The Measure of my Powers from a lovely friend, and then on the WSIRN Podcast, it was being recommended as some really good Canadian memoir writing. So while listening to that podcast episode, I requested it from my library. WELL, three pages into to it I decided to stop reading, and go out and buy it that day… it was just too damn beautiful to not own for my own personal library.

Jackie Kai Ellis had seemed on the outside to be perfect. She was married to her “hot” husband, had a successful career, and also owned a home. But within the first paragraph you see that Jackie struggled everyday to have the desire to go on. Her depression was so heavy that she had contemplated on whether she should continue to live. Jackie found her purpose in the kitchen. It all started with a chocolate chip cookie, and the ability to find joy in each bite. She then went on to discover herself through food, and travelling from France to Italy, then the Congo.  

First off, this book is stunning. The sheer weight of it is heavier than your average book, because of the stock of the paper. Each page feels crisp, and just waiting for me to dog-ear it! Sorry all you people who believes books shouldn’t be marked up 🙂 She has also made the pages colourful, and sprinkled her life changing recipes throughout it.

Here’s a list of the things I loved the most about this memoir:

  1. The thoughtfulness that Jackie took in sprinkling her recipes, and her favourite quotes, makes me feel really connected to her. I even felt inclined to reach out to her after reading this book to tell her how much it resonated with me… and she so sweetly replied.
  2. It’s back drop is set a lot in Paris. And I just love Paris, croissants, and all the descriptions that Jackie details. Except now I need to go back!
  3. The authenticity, and rawness that Jackie exposes. Her struggles, I’m sure will resonate with a lot of people, but knowing that she was able to pull herself out of this hard place is so hopeful.
  4. Lastly, her descriptions of food were magical. She could describe each bite so well that you want to stop and enjoy your next meal as much as she does.

Okay, so now that I’ve gushed a ton about this one, I’d love to leave you with one quote from her book that I just thought was so beautifully badass!!!

For so long I had dreamt of dying, to dispose of a life I despised in so many ways. But if I were to throw my life away anyway, I thought, maybe I could waste it living, doing whatever the fuck I wanted, however the fuck I wanted to. I would have been dead anyway.

That’s all for today my friends, I’m off to do what the f*ck I want… and possibly bake some chocolate chip cookies from the recipe in this book!

 

A Tribe Called Bliss, by Lori Harder

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I stumbled upon Lori Harder when a client had recommended her podcast called Earn your Happy. So, after some intense binge-listening, I heard she released a book based on how she reached her highest potential. I ran out to the only bookstore that had it and bought the last one… and happy danced upon holding it in my hands!!

A Tribe Called Bliss is based on Lori’s journey through dealing with anxiety, loneliness, and disconnection. She describes in detail on how she shed those unfulfilling friendships, and discovered her untapped potential. This book is truly a manual on how to create deeper connections with people, instead of burying deeper inside yourself. It’s also a manual on how to use specific tools that will help you become a better and more whole being.

At this point in my life, I feel like female friendships are interesting. I have some friends I’ve had for a super long time, and those relationships are the ones that feel authentic and always pick up where they leave off. It’s cool if we haven’t talked in a bit, and we always check in on each other, and reach out to each other. BUT, meeting new friends at this stage is such a hard ship to navigate. With a young family, time is limited… and sometimes you may click with someone who could potentially become a really good friend, but the time is so limited that there isn’t much time for it to flourish. Or sometimes these new friendships start off great, and then you start to realize that maybe you didn’t have as much in common as you thought you may have. Either way… it’s a weird thing to struggle with at this stage in my life… but in talking to other women after reading this book, there are a lot of people who feel the same way.

What I loved about this book was it made you really look inside of yourself, and figure out what exactly holds you back from connecting with other people, and most of all, yourself. I’m not really on the level to air all my dirty laundry on here, but I will say that there was one line that made me realize what does hold me back. Upon reading this line, I cried, and cried, and then I journaled.  Another thing resonated with me is that Lori talked about how often we cut people down because of our own insecurities. She talks about how malicious gossip is so hurtful, and there is a difference between that type of gossip, and the processing and venting that can be helpful. Lori shares quotes all through this book, and here’s one that made me go AHA, about gossip;

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. – Eleanor Roosevelt.

One last thing I will share with you that I took away from this book is that Lori Harder must be a huge bookworm, because she even references Anne Shirley. She talks about how she always believed there would be one friend who would be her “bosom buddy”, and that this belief had proven to be untrue. So, as you may guess, anyone who is an Anne fan already feels like a kindred spirit to me.

Anywho, that’s all on this one friends. I’ve been really trying to sprinkle in some more non-fiction, self-help, memoir genre books to give my reading life a little more variety. I hope you’ve enjoyed these reviews as much as I’ve enjoyed reading these books.

Up next, a fiction title that a client has lent me called The Rent Collector. I’m thoroughly enjoying this one, and it also has referenced some great books in it… that’s a win/win, friends!

You are a Badass at Making Money, by Jen Sincero

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In light of my recent career changes, I picked You are a Badass at Making Money up in attempts to have some hard steps help me grow my business. You may all remember my raving review for You are a Badass… I was/am still obsessed with that book. It was amazing, so I was pretty eager to pick up her next one.

You are a Badass at Making Money is written by world-renowned success coach Jen Sincero. This book is basically a summary of all the decisions that have lead her to becoming a someone who is scraping by in life, to someone who is kicking some serious ass financially.

You can have excuses or you can have success; you can’t have both.

Jen Sincero’s writing is easy to read, and so funny!! This book is filled with quotable lines, in which I have underlined and dog-eared to go back and remind myself. She’s an incredibly wise woman, who definitely believes in the Law of Attraction.

What comes out of your mouth comes into your life.

If you are looking for hard steps/facts that will lead you to financial success, this isn’t your book. Jen Sincero’s approach is a much more modern day, “if you build it, they will come” type method. In a similar vein to You are a Badass, she gives you steps in which to encourage confidence, visualization, and wanting something bad enough to make it happen. While I agree that all these things will put you on the right path to success, I also think that this type of jump-in-with-both-feet-without-thinking attitude can be detrimental. I do believe in a little thing called luck, and that some people do have it. On the other hand, if you never try to do anything how do you know if you aren’t the lucky one??

I really liked this book, I think it’s everything that I want to believe can happen if you truly desire something. But I do think it’s worth saying that there are flaws in it for sure. I don’t think that everyone can afford to take a chance, and this is where the lines get a little muddy. Not everyone can throw caution to the wind and invest in a dream. Dream chasing can be a luxury, that not everyone can afford.

Anywho, that’s all I have to say on this one today! Up next I’m reading Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. Let’s just say I’m mildly obsessed with the glamour of the Fitzgerald’s, and I’m excited to share this one with you!

Until next time, happy reading!

Girl, Wash your Face, by Rachel Hollis

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Before I get started… jump on over to your library and grab this book. Or better yet, go buy. Mark it (if you bought it), highlight it, dog-ear it, and be ready to come back to this one over and over. I bet you can guess that I loved this book. If you have’t noticed, I’m on a bit of a self-help binge right now. A book that encourages me to live a more meaningful life… I’m there! But after a couple of these you feel like you’ve read them all. BUT Rachel Hollis nailed this book. It spoke to me on such a level that I actually said aloud to my hubby that this was the book I should have written. It’s the words right out of my mouth.

Here’s the premise… stop believing the lies you tell yourself. Rachel Hollis shares with readers the 20 lies that she has told herself over her lifetime, and how she overcame this narrative that she had told herself for so long. This is where I was sold. I am constantly telling myself “lies”, and even worse… believing them. Sentences such as, you aren’t smart enough, you need to be fitter, you need to eat better, you need to try be prettier, you need to be a better person, are constantly running through my head.

You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are.

I’m going to make an effort to stop watering that negativity plant. I’m going to water positivity, and allow it grow. I am also going to make an effort to surround myself with the people who energize me, and encourage me to be better. This book has shown me that the people who are positive, who wanting to better themselves, and also listen to my crazy ideas, are the ones whom I want to be surrounded by. Let’s just do away with negativity, and self-doubt altogether. It’s reminded me that I can do anything I truly WANT to do. Upon finishing this book I made a list of ridiculous goals, that are really far fetched, but things I really want to do.

Your dream is worth fighting for, and while you’re not in control of what life throws at you, you are in control of the fight.

My new narrative includes, you got this! You are smart, and willing to continually learn. Your body is strong, and my mind is even stronger. You can do anything, as long as you tell yourself this. Life is going to be the story that you are willing to write!

Anywho, that’s all for tonight. Happy reading, friends!

 

Educated, by Tara Westover

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Phew, the minute I finished this book I had to tell myself to unfurrow my brow, and lower my shoulders. Educated was recommended to me by a cottage reading buddy, who enjoys much the same type of books that I do. Then, this book blew up the social media bookish world. Every time I jumped onto Instagram, this book was in my feed.

Educated, by Tara Westover, is a heart-breaking memoir. It comes in at just over 300 pages, and it’s the story of her childhood, and path to an education. She first stepped into a classroom at the age of seventeen. Tara grew up in a Mormon household, whose parents were survivalists that lived an isolated life in the mountains in Idaho. Her childhood consisted of making herbal tinctures with her mother, and salvaging a junkyard with her father. Tara had seemed to have a conflicted feeling in her gut from a young age about her families beliefs, and decided to educate herself. She ends up at BYU, Cambridge, and Harvard, to eventually become Dr. Westover.

Whoa, this book was a hard read for me. Not in it’s style, just the content. There is child abuse, neglect, and just plain cult-like behaviour. Tara and her siblings seemed so trapped by their lifestyle, and ultimately deciding whether to complete the cycle. I had to read this novel in short blips of 25 pages here, and there, because some of the content was just unimaginable. This memoir made me feel grateful for my education, my privileged childhood, and loving parents and siblings… because Tara definitely did not have this.

First find out what you are capable of, then decide who you are.

I wish that Tara had waited another 20 years to write this novel. She’s a young woman, only 32 years old, and I think that hearing what affect her childhood also had on her future relationships, children (if she decided to have them or not), and also her career. I think that hearing this story without being so fresh may have given me a different perspective, and maybe her as well.

This memoir reminded me so much of The Glass Castle. I really did enjoy Tara’s voice, and think she is an incredible woman, who fought with such a force to become the woman she always felt she was. Maybe we will see a Part 2 in a couple decades. Lastly, Madeleine over on Top Shelf Text had pointed out to me that on Amazon her family gave scathing 1 star reviews to her memoir… something to check out if you are interested.

Anywho, until next time, happy reading!