Tuesday, January 29, 2019

"Ready to Wear" by Mary Lou Andre

I got this book for fifty cents in the library, and what a steal that was!  Centered around how to be fashionable and organize one's closet, this book has taught me so much.  I have already utilized many of the tips to dress better.  The most important takeaway I got was to organize clothes based on lifestyle--NOT color.  When I did this, I was finally able to dress better for work because my work clothes were front and center.  No longer were my work clothes mixed in with workout clothes, formalwear, lounge clothes, and pajamas.  Another helpful tip Andre gives is to shop in one's closet before making purchases.  I was about to buy a pink skirt when, after following Andre's advice, I found I already owned two!  Andre is a styling professional and will teach you how to dress better.

"You're My Little Sweet Pea" by Kit Chase

An adorably fun story is included in these full-color, hardcover pages.  From all over the animal kingdom, readers will see and understand how much guardians love their children.  There is story time, eating, playing together, cuddling, falling asleep, and so much more.  The main message for children is that they are loved, wanted, special, and adored.  Besides being all cute and fun, I think this is a message that everyone needs to hear from toddlers to seniors.  So many people in today's society have sadness because they feel unwanted.  If everyone read "You're My Little Sweet Pea" before bedtime, think of how happy the world would be and how much better of a place it would be to live in.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

"The Healing Self" by Deepak Chopra, MD and Rudolph E Tanzi, PhD

I listened to this book as an audio book CD while driving.  It is all about preventative medicine and how to avoid disease / improper aging.  The authors heavily emphasize having a good diet, exercise plan, way to manage stress, community support system, and so on.  It is presented on multiple occasions that many of the most common illnesses in the western world are lifestyle-induced.   As for aging, the authors talk about how that does not have to be a negative experience.  Many people who age poorly do not do so because "that's just how life is".  Rather, most people age poorly because their years of not taking care of themselves catch up to them.  Then there are many more seniors who stop exercising as they age, which makes matters worse.  The chapters on stress were really interesting, as it made me think of how worry, anxiety, fear, and other bad emotions can cause havoc on my physical body.  If you want to lead a better life now, listen to "The Healing Self".  You are not doomed to a fate of illness and sickness as you age.  You have the power to heal yourself!


Monday, January 21, 2019

"Staying Healthy with the Seasons" by Elson M Haas, MD

I checked this book out at my local library because I was interested in how my health could vary season to season.  Haas' book is all about holistic medicine and natural wellness.  There is a huge emphasis on diet, exercise, and nutrition.  Haas discusses how traditional Chinese medicine focuses on certain "elements", body parts, foods, colors, and emotions for each season.  I've heard of winter, fall, spring, and summer, but this book actually has a fifth season of late summer.  That was news to me.  I learned all about how to balance myself in each season, how to change my diet to what is growing at the time, how to manage my emotions when it is too cold to go outside, and much more.  I'll be honest.  Some parts of this book were a little out there for me in terms of natural wellness (sorry, but I'm not going on a 10 day juice cleanse!).  Still, I found the book to be well-researched, well-intentioned, and thought provoking.

"Mars and Venus on a Date" by John Gray, PhD

My local library was having a book sale, and I got this book for fifty cents.  What a steal!  Having heard of "men are from mars, women are from venus", I decided to give this book a go.  It was very interesting.  It's all about how men and women approach dating and goes into what the author refers to as the five stages of dating.  The stages are attraction, uncertainty, exclusivity, intimacy, and engagement.  Intimacy does not necessarily mean physical intimacy but rather emotional intimacy.  Gray notes that many women are unsuccessful in dating because they skip steps (e.g.- many women jump into intimacy before the man has even entered exclusivity).  Gray also emphasizes the traditional roles of the man being the provider and the woman being the receiver.  This means that when a man gives a woman a gift, the woman need not concern herself with "making it up" to the man but rather just by being happy and graciously receiving.  Gray says that making a woman happy is a gift in and of itself to a man.  This does not mean that the woman can't give the man gifts on occasion, but just that it should be the man doing the majority of the gift giving.  Gray says that a woman who gives too much and repeatedly rejects a man's gifts sends the message that she is self-sufficient, does not need a man, and that the man is useless.  It was also interesting how Gray says that breaking up does not mean that someone doesn't love the other person - it just means they are not compatible in the long run.  Gray also talks about embracing differences in dating prospects and getting out to various events to expand one's social circle.  There is so much more in this book, but I encourage readers to find out for themselves.  May you find your soul mate.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

"The Art of Seduction" by Robert Greene

This book is all about what types of seducers exist, what types of victims seducers prey upon, and the methods seducers use to lure their prey in.  While very interesting, this book was borderline creepy.  There were no graphic sections (for instance, it would be written that so-and-so had an affair but no physical details were given) but the way it was written appeared to be instructing readers in how to manipulate others.  That aside, like most of Greene's books, I did not read the whole thing.  His writing style is very thorough but often too lengthy for me.  I chose to read just the first half of the book that describes the types of seducers (examples from history were provided).  Since I have no interest in seducing others, I skipped the second half of the book with all the steps on how to seduce (sorry fellas!).  Anyway, what I found most interesting is how emotional seducers are.  While some seducers like sirens rely on their physical attraction, many other types of seducers have little to no physical appeal at all.  What they employ instead is poetry, flattery. extreme personal attention, and other forms of making someone feel desirable.  That's the key--making someone else feel something great--that oftentimes far outweighs physical attraction.  I'm not saying physical attraction isn't important; I'm just saying a smooth-tongued and flattering person is a better seducer than a bumbling supermodel.

"The Courage to Be Free" by Guy Finley

I listened to this audio book CD while driving in my vehicle.  The author talks about how people are not born with worries and anxieties, but rather that those are acquired over time.  Finley urges readers and listeners to return to what he calls the "fearless and original self".  There is a colorful analogy given with eagles and crows and an owl.  The crows convince the eagles that they are not skilled fliers.  The eagles can't fly because they are convinced they need special goggles, helmets, bags, jackets, and other gear that weight them down.  The owl asks the eagles if they were born with such contraptions and tries to make the eagles "snap out of it".  The eagles eventually realize they are limiting their true potentials by carrying around baggage from other creatures (in this case, the crows).  It can be hard to see how one is not courageous, but using a story to relate to is much easier.  This was quick with only 2 CD discs and I really enjoyed listening to Finley.  I found this audio book to be most uplifting and encouraging.  Don't let anything hold you back.  Spread your wings and fly!

Friday, January 11, 2019

"I Love You, Funny Bunny" illustrated by Sean Julian

Who doesn't love bunnies?  This is an adorably cute book all about a child bunny and its guardian.  The gender of the child rabbit is not mentioned, so this could be a son or daughter.  The rabbits frolic together in the park, eat together, sing together, dance together, play together, make art together, and more.  The overall theme is how much the parent bunny loves the child bunny.  They love spending time together and loving each other as a family.  At the very end, there is a big "I love you" part that is great for any child reader to hear.  I loved the illustrations in this book.  The nature was so lifelike.  I also enjoyed the little birds and other wildlife in the background.  I thought it rather clever when the rabbits used a carrot as a microphone when singing. 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

"The Little Book of Hygge" by Meik Wiking

I listened to this book as an audio book CD while driving to and from work.  Written by a lead happiness researcher, this book is all about what makes people happy.  In particular, there is an emphasis on the Danish culture of hygge.  Apparently, Denmark is one of the most, if not the most, happiest countries according to major research studies conducted by the United Nations.  Wiking thinks this is due to hygge.  What exactly is hygge?  Well, that's hard to put a definition on, but examples abound in the book.  Hygge can be meeting with friends, having tea, lighting candles, cleaning one's house, eating chocolate, cooking stew, relaxing, riding a bike, walking in the park, wearing a scarf, reading a good book, and more.  When Wiking spoke of the Danish love of pork and sweets and butter, I thought the people may be happy, but are their hearts healthy?!  Nevertheless, people will learn from this book to enjoy life's little moments.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

"The Power of the Herd" by Linda Hokanov

My boss said I should work on my soft skills by learning about Emotional Intelligence.  So, when I went to my local library and searched for "Emotional Intelligence", this is one of the books that popped up.  Being an animal lover, the image of the horses made me pick this read over other drab business management books.  But I digress.  This book is really interesting in that it compares horse behavior to human behavior.  The author talks about the quiet strength of horses, which are prey animals that eat only vegetation.  She explains that if this gentle beast of 1000+ lbs can impact change in a herd and deal with carnivorous beasts, so can people impact change in their communities and deal with difficult people.  A large emphasis is placed upon nonverbal communication, energy states, emotions, blood pressure, breathing, and so on.  Kohanov argues that, just like with horses, emotions are contagious with humans.  My personal favorite was an emotions chart that took various emotions and broke them down to fundamental questions to ask oneself.  Kohanov says that readers should not ignore or repress their emotions but rather ask what those emotions are telling us.  For instance, instead of ignoring and pushing down anger, use that anger inside of you to ask yourself, "what boundaries have been violated and how can I better hold my boundaries in the future?".  I particularly liked the idea of "returning to grazing".  When horses get in altercations or face danger, once it is done, they don't ruminate on it - they simply go back to grazing.  I could go on and on but I encourage readers to learn about equine wisdom for themselves by reading this book.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

"I thought it was jut ME (but it isn't)" by Brene Brown, PhD, LMSW

I listened to this audio book CD.  It is all about the science of shame in the world.  Brown explains how shame is a belief that one is inherently bad.  She explains various scenarios from abuse survivors to addicts to alcoholics to single moms to those struggling with infertility to divorcees and more.  Brown argues that everyone has at some point in time has experienced something they didn't plan or admire.  That does not mean that has to define the person.  Brown talks about therapy and the dangers of those who never move past old identities.  If someone was bullied 10 years ago, that identity as "loser" or some other mean name can haunt them for years if not properly dealt with.  Brown also encourages listeners to think of how they shame others both consciously and unconsciously.  The enemies of shame are compassion and empathy.  Only when one can extend these virtues to others can one move past shame.  It's often said that people are kinder to others than they are to their friends.  This CD can be depressing at times but it does drive home the point that holding onto shame has no advantage for one's personal self development.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

"The Cow Said Neigh!" by Rory Feek

This full-color, hardcover children's book is downright adorable.  It is about farm animals who want to be like other farm animals.  Hence, they say the sounds of the other animals.  There is no judgement about how the animals choose to act or what noises they decide to make.  It is not a hallmark special in that sense.  Rather, it is up to the reader or child's reader to explain and talk with the child.  This can be a fun and silly book that teaches kids what sounds animals make.  It can also be a more existential book that teaches kids what envy looks like and how everyone is unique in their own way.  It can really go either way, and that's up to the reader.