Thursday, July 28, 2016

Book Review - "Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Daily Lives" by Gretchen Rubin (#11 - 2016)

Ever since I read The Happiness Project (my review of it from 2013 is at the bottom of this post) I've been a huge Gretchen Rubin fan.  She takes what may seem like dry subjects and makes them interesting and informative.  I find her books so easy to read and digest.  I loved this book, LOVED it.  She takes an in depth look at how and why we form habits (and how we can form more good habits and ditch the bad ones).  Now habit formation and execution is not a one-size-fits-all thing, she bases it on how we respond to expectations.  She calls these "tendencies" and there are four types (I'm an "Obliger").  Knowing how we respond to expectations and being self-aware, we can then come up with strategies to make habits "stick".  I'm overly simplifying things, but trust me there is so much insight in this book.  I highly recommend picking it up!  Side note she has a podcast too that I enjoy.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin - I've been wanting to read this book for quite and while.  I've heard some good buzz and let's face it, who doesn't want to be happier (or at least read about someones journey towards more happiness)?  Bottom line, it's totally worth your time.  You may not have the same happiness journey (in fact she points out that you probably won't), but it will help you to think about your own keys to happiness and what you can do to help make yourself happier.  I really liked how she didn't sugarcoat or shy away from being self aware enough to point out her flaws/weaknesses/what she wanted to work on.  I could totally relate to the whole "being snappy, yelling and nagging" issue she had.  I loved that the book made me stop and think a lot and I'm going to work on my own resolutions, mindfulness and happiness.  Totally and completely recommend this book!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Book Review - "My Journey" by Donna Karan (#10 - 2016)

My Journey by Donna Karan

I'm a HUGE Donna Karan fan (have been since day 1, oh yes, I remember when she showed her first collection), so I was eager to pick this one up.  Memoirs/biographies are sometimes a double edged sword.  On one side you are excited to find out more about the person and how they work/live and on the other side you are afraid that you might not like them and/or might not live up to your expectations of them.  There was a little of the latter in this book.  I loved finding out what inspires her and how she got her start but the way she treated and handled her first husband was appalling.  She's quite the character and honestly she would drive me nuts with all the mediums, psychics, retreats, etc. what she calls her "woo woos".  She is self-aware enough to admit that her late husband and daughter roll their eyes at that stuff too.  I most enjoyed the way she outlined how her business started and how it grew.  She really was doing stuff that was so groundbreaking, it's hard to describe it if you didn't live during that time, but she truly created clothes that were both feminine, easy and comfortable yet structured and powerful.  Her fabrics really played into that, I owned a pair of dress shorts by her (obtained at a major discount) that held their shape, moved with you, and I wore them until the fabric literally fell apart.  She knew how to cut a garment, how to drape, she knew what flattered a woman's body.  This is what is sorely missed now that she's not involved with the company.  I 'm not sure we will ever see someone like her again, which is very sad for me.  I know, you are thinking, but we see stuff like what she was doing everywhere now.  Yes and no.  We are seeing the "look" but we are not seeing the fit, the drape, the chic layers that all work together, the mindfulness of what women need.  Overall this book is totally worth your time if you are interested in Donna Karan or fashion history.  

Monday, July 18, 2016

Book Review - "A Window Opens" by Elisabeth Egan (#9 - 2016)

A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan

I had heard so many glowing reviews of this book that I couldn't wait to pick it up.  I'm totally the working-mom-in-her-40s that this book is aimed at.  I had high hopes.  Those were quickly dashed by Alice, the main character whose lack of self-awareness is breathtaking.  Alice's husband decides to leave his high-powered law job in Manhattan which means Alice has to find a full time job (she was working part time at a woman's magazine).  She finds a position at a book selling start up.  But it's hard, yo.  It's so hard when you have a nanny and your husband works for himself now close to home.  You have to work long hours, check emails outside of work and deal with difficult bosses (the horrors).  Her best friend is a book store owner and when Alice takes the job at the competition (that she needs to pay the bills - keeping up with the Jones's ain't cheap) her friend totally turns into a bitter a-hole.  Guess she's not that great of a friend?!  But then she is?!  The characters are really awful.  Yes, there is a touching side story about her father and his cancer battle and how stressful it is.  But then she gets all bent out of shape about her lawyer husband helping her mom and dad get their affairs in order.  It's honestly hard for someone like me who doesn't have the help she does (example, she never has to make dinner, the nanny or her mother does that every night) to muster up much sympathy.  She got sad one day because they were sharing toothbrushes at home (?), like there aren't 1000 Duane Reades in Manhattan that you can't walk in and buy some toothbrushes in 5 minutes (?).  It's head scratching. It's like she wants to be a stay-at-home mom but doesn't want to actually admit that or something.  I couldn't figure out if this was a thinly veiled memoir, because it came across as a bit of that, which comes off as sour grapes.  I honestly cannot recommend this book at all, it's insulting. 

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