I love to read and try new things. In the past I have had a little bit of a compulsiveness when it comes to finding new books I love. I find them, read them, and do everything they say and buy everything they suggest. That behavior has lead to spending a lot of time doing things I don't quite like and owning piles of things I probably don't use. So, this is yet another area in my life I am trying to find balance and good judgement. Trying to balance learning new things with doing new things that fit my lifestyle and actually work for me, and steering clear of the quick fixes I used to be attracted to. Here is my list of what I am reading and loving right now.
It's All Easy by Gwyneth Paltrow. My dear friend and yoga instructor, in LA posted a picture of the vegan gluten-free chocolate mouse and I was sold (no impulsiveness here). The recipes in this book are actually easy and really, really good. The Shanghai Noodle recipe may have just become my favorite dish. I even tricked my daughter who always says to me, "Mom, if this is one of your healthy coconut milk creations, I don't want it!" Well, totally got her to drink the Chocolate Banana "milk" shake. Success! My kids love pasta. I am making a conscious effort to not resort to a quick Annie's mac and cheese when they want pasta (even if I am in a time crunch). Gwyneth's lemon herb pasta with cherry tomatoes was a big hit with my kids, and me. I don't eat a lot of pasta, but when I do, I make sure it is worth it!
A Perfectly Kept House is The Sign of a Misspent Life by Mary Randolph Carter. Yes! Well, yes for me. I keep this book out because it makes me feel better about myself. Ha! I wish I could say I am really organized and excellent at making sure everything goes back to where it belongs. But that is not the case. I do really try hard, but somehow, my house stays a little chaotic. And that is OK with me. For example, I love the paper bats my kids drew and hung from the ceiling (even though at first glance it looks like the paint is peeling off the walls). This book is a reminder to me that things don't always have to be perfect to be better.
EATING Clean by Amie Valpone. This is a great book on tips to live a toxic-free lifestyle. I have recently been so inspired by this book and a recent dinner I attended to take a closer look at the health of my lifestyle. Amie has completely healed her life by embracing a vegan and anti-inflammatory lifestyle, including all of her beauty and home products. I could have easily slipped back into my tendency to read this book and go crazy throwing out everything in my house. And there is a lot of unnecessary chemicals in my household that I am learning about more and more. I have decided not to get too frantic. I am slowly replacing the products I've not yet swapped out for safer and healthier ones. Starting with any products and soaps I use on my kids.
The Organic Zoe bath wash is great for the kids. I learned that a lot of the lather/bubble in soaps come from harsh chemicals. My kids love the lather and bubbles. This soap was is sudsy with out being toxic. I think my favorite new product swap is the Combat-Ready Balm for kids. It says right on in "magic organic potion" which of course gets the kids thrilled. This is a natural alternative to neusporin and great for diaper rashes, ezcema, dry skin, sun burns, scratches and even says works on "princess pin pricks." I love the RMS beauty oil! It smells like baking and is super hydrating. Last but not least, crimson ILIA lipstick conditioner in Bang Bang.
They say "Mother Knows Best" and toxic free living is a topic that is certainly true in this case. My sisters and I grew up in Santa Barbara, CA. We were raised vegetarian and on only natural organic ingredients. I vividly remember my mom's juices, the days of no TV allowed, peppermint Castile soap, coconut oil for moisturizer, and if we went out to eat is was for falafel. As I grew older and became more independent, I somehow (and unfortunately) steered away from this lifestyle. At least now, three decades later, I am slowly but wholeheartedly, trying to get back to it. Nowadays when I group text my mom and sisters with the new products I am trying out, often my mom's response is "we used that 30 years ago." Thanks Mom!
The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. This New York Times bestseller is simple but profound. One of my Barre students gave it to me and I am so happy she did. My favorite chapter is on Infinite Energy. And I love this quote, “If you decide that you're going to be happy from now on for the rest of your life, you will not only be happy, you will become enlightened. Unconditional happiness is the highest technique there is. This is truly a spiritual path, and it as direct and sure a path to Awakening as could possibly exist."
How to be Parisian by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline De Maigret, and Sophia Mas. I love this book as much as I love everything and anything French. My favorite part of this book are the quick and easy recipes, like the Crepes. I also love it for the straight forward, direct Parisian style advice like this, "Take the time to listen and to get to know yourself. Take the time to change, to grow, to rest. Take the time to say yes, take the time to say no. Take the time to be quiet. Take the time to look after your body, to eat well. Take the time to ask yourself who you are and what you want.”
Not on my bookshelf:
Everyday Grace by Marianne Williamson. This one is not on my kitchen bookshelf because it is on the desk in my room. This past weekend Alisa and were asked to be part of a beauty panel as part of the Better Beauty event at Davio's Restaurant. There were close to 100 women that attended and it was a fun and informative event. One of the questions I got asked by the emcee and local TV personality, Jenny Johnson, was "what is one the most important things you do everyday for better health and beauty?" My answer was, I take just two minutes to myself every morning. This was not the answer I was planning on giving, but it came out because it really is. I am NOT good at meditation, I am trying-ish. The last time I went to a group guided meditation, I spent the whole time trying to figure out how to crawl out of the room without anyone noticing. I am just not good at sitting still. So long story short, after a lucky chance invite to get to see spiritual speaker, Marianne Williamson, I decided I could commit to just two minutes a morning to myself, to set my intention for the day. To be honest, when I started doing this, I didn't even really know what I should be asking for or saying. So I opted to light a candle right when I get up and just read a quote/prayer/mantra from her book. This has turned into 3-5 minutes per day to myself and sometimes now I am able to make up my own. It is hard to describe, but just these few quiet moments to myself, has made a big difference in my day. If you need help with a mantra, page 85 is the one I love and started with.