BOOK REVIEW: The Little Book of Hygge, by Meik Wiking

Title: The Little Book of Hygge: Danish secrets to happy living
Author: Meik Wiking
Genre: Hygge, Lifestyle, Nonfiction
Publisher: Penguin Life
Release Date: September 1st, 2016

What is hygee? And how do you say it, anyway? Meik Wiking says that hygge (pronounced HOO-GA) “is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home.” He then teaches how to create hygge in the home and in your life like the Danes, the happiest people in Europe according to the European Social Survey.

So what are some ways we can bring some hygge into our lives? Wiking includes a “Hygge Manifesto” complete with adorable graphics:

  1. ATMOSPHERE (Turn down the lights.)
  2. PRESENCE (Be here now. Turn off the phones.)
  3. PLEASURE (Coffee, chocolate, cookies, cakes, candy.)
  4. EQUALITY (“We” over “me.” Share the tasks and the airtime.)
  5. GRATITUDE (Take it in. This might be as good as it gets.)
  6. HARMONY (It’s not a competition. We already like you. There is no need to brag about your achievements.)
  7. COMFORT (Get comfy. Take a break. It’s all about relaxation.)
  8. TRUCE (No drama. Let’s discuss politics another day.)
  9. TOGETHERNESS (Build relationships and narratives. “Do you remember the time we…?”)
  10. SHELTER (This is your tribe. This is a place of peace and security.)

I loved this book! I recommend you reading it with a cup of tea or coffee, snuggled under a cozy blanket, with a candle lit close by. Now, doesn’t that sound hyggelig?

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BOOK REVIEW: Girl, Stop Apologizing, by Rachel Hollis

Title: Girl, Stop Apologizing
Author: Rachel Hollis
Genre: Inspirational, Lifestyle, Nonfiction, Self Help
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: March 5th, 2019

“I can achieve anything if I’m willing to work for it. Not because I’m
especially gifted, 
but because I’m especially dedicated to improving
along the way.”
– Rachel Hollis, Girl, Stop Apologizing

If you read last week’s post, you already know how much I loved reading Girl, Wash Your Face. This new release by Rachel Hollis is even more amazing! Girl, Stop Apologizing: a shame-free plan for embracing and achieving your goals is a book targeted to women in their 20’s and 30’s, though I think all women, teens and up, can take something from it.

In Girl, Stop Apologizing, Hollis addresses excuses to let go of, behaviors to adopt, and skills to acquire so that you can turn your dreams into plans. She challenges you to walk out your calling without worrying about other peoples’ opinions of you. Whether you are single, a wife, a mom, an entrepreneur, or anything else, she drives home that there is no “right” way to do life.

I enjoyed Rachel’s direct approach and fresh perspective on work, goals, family, and faith. This book affirmed things I’ve thought for years: do not feel guilty for living your life in a way that’s different than what others expect; do not feel the need to justify your dreams, or apologize for having them in the first place; do not let others say who you can and cannot be. You get to decide what you are going to do with your life.

So chase those dreams, make those plans… and girl, stop apologizing!

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Lightly

Title: Lightly
Author: Francine Jay
Genre: Nonfiction, Lifestyle, Minimalism, Self Help
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: February 26th, 2019

I first met Francine Jay in the pages of her book, The Joy of Less. I have to say that Lightly has risen to the top of my favorite books in this genre. I felt my soul give a resounding yes to her words, page after page. This book resonated with me so much that I wish I could have written it myself! Even if you don’t identify yourself with minimalism, I believe there is something for everyone in this book.

As the subtitle implies, Lightly gives you tips on “how to live a simple, serene, & stress-free life” (oxford comma added because oxford commas are awesome). Jay addresses the heaviness of life that we all live with, and suggests a lighter way to go through life.

lighten your stuff
Eliminating the excess so that you can curate your things to match your needs.

lighten your step
Adopting some eco-friendly habits in order to tread lightly on the earth.

lighten your stress
Casting off trivial tasks and digital distractions to focus on what really matters.

lighten your spirit
Lifting the weights from your heart to move through life with more mindfulness.

Jay concludes, “If more people lightened their stuff, we’d have less debt and less pressure to keep up with the Joneses. If more people lightened their step, we’d have less waste, less pollution, and a lovelier planet. If more people lightened their stress, we’d have a happier, healthier, less harried society. If more people lightened their spirits, we’d realize we’re all connected together in compassion and cooperation.” That sounds like the kind of life I want to live. What about you?

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The Magnolia Story

Title: The Magnolia Story
Authors: Chip and Joanna Gaines
Genre: Autobiography, Biography, Lifestyle, Nonfiction 
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: October 18th, 2016

Chip and Joanna Gaines – household names, all thanks to their hit HGTV show, Fixer Upper. Then you have Magnolia Market (their store, both online and in Waco, TX), Magnolia Table (an old diner recently renovated), and did you hear that their very own Magnolia Network is underway on the Discovery channel?

It seems that everything the Gaines touch turns to gold. (You only need to watch one episode of Fixer Upper to know what I mean.)

But it wasn’t always like this for them. Chip and Joanna have had their struggles just like the rest of us (well, maybe not just like… but struggles nonetheless). They know how it feels to be broke, to have overwhelming debt, to wonder how it’s all going to work out. (Spoiler: it sure seems like it all worked out.)

One of the things that stood out to me in this autobiography is their unwavering faith in God. They don’t shy away from this part of their lives, and they definitely don’t forget to give him the credit for making Magnolia what it is today. Of course, they had to do their fair share of hard work, but they remained faithful to the callings of God for their family.

Even though their story inspires me as a budding entrepreneur, their trust in God and their priority to their beautiful family is actually what inspired me most. This is an easy, must-read if you are at all interested in Fixer Upper and the Gaines’ family!

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Spark Joy


Title: Spark Joy
Author: Marie Kondo
Genre: Nonfiction, Lifestyle, Minimalism, Self Help
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Release Date: January 5th, 2016

Note: Spark Joy is a companion to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It is “an illustrated master class on the art of organizing and tidying up.” I recommend reading her first book before reading this. 

If you have read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and are wanting more tips and techniques for your home, Spark Joy is for you. Marie begins by sharing her master tips, “Honing your sensitivity to joy,” “How to fill your home with joy,” and “Everything you need to know about storing joyfully.” The premise of this book, like her first book, is surrounding yourself only with things that bring you joy, and discarding the rest with gratitude.

The second part of the book is titled “The tidying encyclopedia,” which consists of chapters dedicated to tidying clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous), and sentimental items. I really enjoyed all of the illustrations she used for these categories. They were cute and helpful visuals to help inspire the organizational process.

The last part of this book, “Life-changing magic,” is all about putting into practice the things you have just read. She walks you through “A home that sparks joy,” spending time on every area of the home, and closes with “The changes that come when you’re done,” which include all the amazing benefits that follow putting your home in order.

I read this book in one day, as I did with her first book. It is the kind of book I love to read that gives me inspiration and motivation to make my home as enjoyable to live in as I possibly can.

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Top 5 picks: books on organization and minimalism

If you’ve stuck with me and my reviews for the past two months, I salute you. If you got any ideas or inspiration from my posts on organization or minimalism, I would love to hear from you!

Maybe you are interested in these kinds of self-help books, but don’t know where to begin – there are so many! And yes, some self-help books are more helpful than others. For this reason, I have put together my Top 5 Picks of the books I have recently read. (Included are links to my reviews of each book, as well as links to purchase them on Amazon.)

The Joy of Less

 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

 

The More of Less

 

The Curated Closet

 

Simple Matters

Have you read any of these self-help books? Are you adding any of them to your list of books to read? Let me know if you liked them as much as I did!

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It’s All Too Much

Title: It’s All Too Much: an easy plan for living a richer life with less stuff
Author: Peter Walsh
Genre: Lifestyle, Minimalism, Nonfiction, Self Help 
Publisher: Free Press
Release Date: January 1st, 2007

I think I would have devoured this book, had it been among the first few I had read on this subject. As it was, I still really enjoyed it, though I have read similar things in similar books (probably copying this author!)

Walsh has some great ideas in dealing with your stuff, and later organizing it. Part One of the book addresses The Clutter Problem, while Part Two deals with Putting Clutter in Its Place. He then tackles room by room, which I find helpful when dealing with clutter and organization.

This is definitely a book I would recommend if you are looking for a fresh start with your things and your home… I just might recommend reading some other books first!

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