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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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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L’art de la Simplicité

Title: L’art de la Simplicité: how to live more with less 
Author: Dominique Loreau
Genre: Lifestyle, Minimalism, Nonfiction, Self Help
Publisher: Trapeze
Release Date: January 12th, 2017

Let me begin by saying how much I wanted to love this book and read it in one sitting. I just didn’t. I wasn’t able to connect with it the way I’ve connected with others like it.

There was a lot to like about this book, a lot of wisdom shared, from eastern civilizations in particular. Many of the ideas found in this book will stick with me for a long time, so I am grateful to have read it. Ideas such as living lightly and eating lightly and overall quality of life.

Some of the things that I didn’t necessarily agree with however, the author stated them as rather black and white subjects. To me, there are few things in life that are truly black and white, but we needn’t get into any of that here. It just came across a bit on the harsh side, and I doubt that was the author’s intention.

The book was divided into three parts: Materialism and Minimalism, Body, and Mind. I did appreciate and take away a lot of ideas from each part. I just would have liked the book more if it had been a little more “here is what I think” and less “this is the only way to live.” But anyway, there you have it.

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Real Life Organizing

Title: Real Life Organizing: clean and clutter-free in 15 minutes a day
Author: Cassandra Aarssen
Genre: Lifestyle, Nonfiction, Self Help
Publisher: Mango
Release Date: April 18th, 2017

This book begins by asking the questing: what kind of clutter bug are you? Haha. But really. The author states that every person deals with clutter differently, and falls under the category of butterfly, cricket, ladybug, or bee, or some kind of combination of these. This idea was actually interesting to me, as my husband and I seemed to have different ideas of what organized looked like.

“A butterfly is a very visual person and generally likes to see all their belongings for fear of ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ They also can become easily distracted and can float like a butterfly from task to task without really completing any of the projects that they begin.” More is said about butterflies, but you get the idea.

“A cricket is a classic piler!” Image result for hand raised emoji “They are very neat and tidy piles, but piles nonetheless. Crickets like very detailed and logical organizing systems, which can sometimes take too much time to set up or require too much effort to use properly. Therefore, Crickets will stack neat piles until they have time to put them away properly…” Me, me, definitely me. Next.

Ladybugs are generally stressed out by surface clutter and strive to keep their living space clean and clutter-free. Without a micro-organizing system in place, the small stuff can get shoved here, there, and everywhere!” (Now, imagine a cricket and a ladybug living together. The cricket has neat, little piles that the ladybug likes to hide so that the surfaces are clear! #rantover)

“A bee is someone who always has a new project or hobby on the go! They almost always like to keep their tools, papers, and supplies out in plain sight until they have finished the job or hobby they are working on.”

There is (obviously) a lot more to the book than “clutterbugs”, but this idea was probably the most helpful thing I took away from the book, especially since it can reveal how you and your partner tend to look at clutter and how to deal with it. The author also includes many cute charts in the back of the book to help get you going with your decluttering and cleaning. Overall, a fun read!

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Simple Matters

Title: Simple Matters: Living with less and ending up with more
Author: Erin Boyle 
Genre: Lifestyle, Minimalism, Nonfiction, Self Help
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Release Date: January 12th, 2016

In addition to the beautiful, subtle pictures throughout the book, Simple Matters shares truths and wisdoms that I believe anyone can apply to their home and lifestyle. I loved the author’s perspective, having lived in a small flat in NY. Not only did she make the best of the small space that she had, but she made it a home.

This book has it all, beginning with decluttering, simplifying, and organizing, but not stopping there. She goes on to discuss decorating, bath & beauty, getting dressed, cooking & entertaining, cleaning, and finally thriving. I appreciated how thorough Simple Matters was. Not just tackling the clutter (which is essential) but making your home a place where you can rest and grow and thrive.

Each different chapter in Simple Matters was well thought out and intentional about things concerning the home and the body. On a bigger scale, living smaller benefits our environment, too, by being more sustainable, and less wasteful. If you are interested in minimalism, or just a simpler approach to a sustainable life, this book is for you!

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