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: Body Love, by Kelly LeVeque

Title: Body Love
Author: Kelly LeVeque
Genre: Health, Nonfiction, Nutrition, Self Help 
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: June 27th, 2017

“At its core, Body Love is about feeling empowered, not overwhelmed, by food and nutrition. It’s about learning simple tips and tricks to eat to satiety and naturally balance your hunger hormones, not fighting not to eat. It’s about ditching the food drama.”
Kelly LeVeque, Body Love

Health and wellness consultant Kelly LeVeque uses her extensive knowledge of nutrition and science to offer a sustainable alternative to frustrating diets. Her alternative focuses on what she likes to call the Fab Four: protein, fat, fiber, and greens. Protein, among other things, signals to your brain that you’re full; fat is necessary for brain functioning and helps manage hormones; fiber moves food through our digestive system and removes toxins from the body; greens are a natural source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

LeVeque teaches a science-driven approach: eat for satiety, elongate your blood sugar curve to burn fat, and be “hormone aware” to autocorrect if necessary. Not only does this approach help your body find (and maintain) its ideal weight, it’s doing so in a healthy, sustainable way. This book includes 88 Fab Four recipes (over 50 smoothie recipes!) to help you “live in balance, weight what you want, and free yourself form food drama forever.”

Body Love, a light, yet educational read, was exactly what I was looking for. Not just informational, but inspirational!

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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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The Power of Moments

Title: The Power of Moments
Author: Chip Heath & Dan Heath
Genre: Business, Nonfiction, Self Help
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: October 3rd, 2017

“Some entrepreneurs win, some entrepreneurs lose. What they share is a willingness to put themselves in a situation where they can fail.”
– 
Chip Heath & Dan Heath, The Power of Moments

This book was recommended to me by my brother-in-law upon starting my organizing business (www.spruceupllc.com), and now I get to recommend it to you! The Power of Moments, however, is not just for business owners or entrepreneurs. It’s for anyone wanting to make the most of life.

The Heath brothers talk about defining moments – “meaningful experiences that stand out in our memory.” Many defining moments “happen” to us, but in many cases, we can create them, instead of just waiting for them. There are 4 elements that create defining moments:

elevation
Defining moments rise above the everyday.

insight
Defining moments rewire our understanding of ourselves or the world.

pride
Defining moments capture us at our best.

connection
Defining moments are social – we share them with others.

Something that stood out to me under “insight” was this: “You can’t appreciate the solution until you appreciate the problem.” (Why would people hire me to organize their home if they aren’t first convinced of their need for help?)

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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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