Let’s Get Nasty……#GIRLBOSS

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About a year ago I went through a new hobby on the verge of a semi-obsession. Like anyone else, when you find something new it starts to pre-occupy all of your spare time. It is fun, exhilarating, and helps to make the hours in a day fly by. For me this new hobby was all about business, literally. I became fascinated with the upper echelon in corporate America. How did the CEO’s of some of the biggest companies in the world get to where they are now. For those leaders who are women, how did they standout in a world dominated by men. I read book after book on the subject, attended conferences, and all the while it just pushed me even more within my own career. I had to get to the next level, I wanted to become one of these women I was reading about. It was not long after this I was promoted at work. Now having felt I had achieved a goal I had set out for myself I took a break from the all consuming world of business in my spare time to go back to reading a few lighter reads.

Now a year later and feeling that itch at work to get ahead becoming almost a rash I cant scratch, I decided to pick up a book that has been on my business to read list for quite sometime. I try to buy most books used if I can. As much as I want to become a kindle or tablet reader for the sake of the environment, there is just something I love so much about holding a newly purchased book in my hand. For this reason I try to buy most books used. Plus there is also the extra bonus of it feeding into my love of thrift and the hunt for what you want. I had looked for this book for quite sometime at my favorite used book store in the city with never any luck. Finally a couple of weeks ago I was in luck! I purchased it immediately and headed home on this particularity raining day to snuggle in my bed to start reading it. Upon opening the book I found what I can only imagine was the author Sophia Amoruso’s autograph, dedicated to “Hawks is a #Girlboss!” I knew this book was meant to be mine. Plus another perk of buying used, you never know what surprise you might find.

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I have read a lot of memoir’s along with business books over the last couple of years and this was defiantly one of my favorites. More for the story of Sophia’s rise to stardom vs the business advice. Although I do think she gives some very solid points, especially for girls who are just starting out in their career. She writes in a way that you can tell is truly in her voice.  Sophia is not afraid to tell it like it is or just be herself, something I truly admire. As a leader, you are made to think you have to be a certain type of leader in order to get a head or be respected. Something I have never quite agreed with. I admire Sophia for being the type of leader she wants to be, not who she feels she needs to be in order to get ahead. She truly proves anyone who is passionate, dedicated, and has that fire inside to succeed can.

I finished the book quickly and have since become fascinated by the author and what she has to say. I have found myself listening to her pod-cast , #girlboss, on my drive’s home from work. Here she interviews various women who within their own fields are dominating. Her conversations are real, not staged, and truly authentic. Sophia may not be for everyone, but for myself she is providing a much needed refresh into what a women leader can be.

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The Girl On The Train- So Good I Forgot What Being Social Was

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They only come around every once and a while, a book so good, so compelling, you cant put it down. From the moment you start it pulls you in with such a strong gravitational pull you are helpless to resist. I can remember having this feeling several times as a child, which is maybe why I was always such an avid reader growing up. One of the most memorable was when I was in elementary school. Being a child fascinated with the dark and mysterious it is not surprising I found my way to R L Stein books. I never liked the Goosebump series, too easy of reads for myself. Instead I went straight for the Fear Street books which were geared towards young adults.  I became obsessed. Within the first few months I had finished off the entire series at that time. I cant remember just how many books that was exactly, but 50 would not surprise me.  I remember one day staying home sick from school just so I could read all day, finishing off 3 whole books. Looking at my bookshelf adorned with all of the books I had read was like looking at my prize possessions. To this day looking at my bookshelf gives me a sense of comfort and accomplishment.

As I have gotten older books rarely grab me like the once did. Perhaps it is because now most of the books I read are non-fiction and what can I say, a book on the reasons why we overeat just does not pull me in the same way a book about flying wizards does (Let’s not even start on my obsession when reading the Harry Potter series). With that said, non-fiction can’t isn’t my everyday read, but I do still need a way to escape sometimes, to leave the real world and get drawn into a place of fantasy and excitement.

Recently I had kept hearing how good “The Girl On The Train” was by Paula Hawkins from several people. One of which was my mother, a devoted reader herself and a woman whose taste in literature I trust 100%. Without even knowing what the book was about I went and purchased a copy. I have found it rare for a book to not live up to its expectations when it is a best seller and is recommended by so many people.This book was no exception.

Within the first 50 pages I was hooked, always a tell-tale sign of a good book for me. This book had a unique perspective from the various characters I had never read before. The book started with re-capping the protagonist’s thoughts as she rode her local train in the morning and evening. You were not involved in what was actually happening in the moment, instead you had to grab bits and pieces from her thoughts and reflections from the day. Reading through the main characters thoughts I became sympathetic, but also frustrated with her. She was intriguing and sad. This book was a murder mystery which kept me hanging on till the very end. Once it was all finished I felt a sense of sadness as I knew I had just lost what had been my best friend for the last week. If you have not read it yet, I highly recommend grabbing a copy.

The Foodist, the Best Diet Book I have Read

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Lately I have had a few people ask me if there were books I used during my weight loss that I would recommend out to others. Unfortunately I did not read anything specifically in my weight loss mode besides a lot of health magazines and internet articles, however I have read a lot of books since then on food, fitness, and overall healthy living. Some of the books I have read have been very science based, while others are more opinion focused. My favorite books are the ones which are real, where I can relate to the topics covered, the advice given, and feel like anyone can do it. In order to make something a habit it needs to be something you are able to sustain. Who wants to live life without the indulgences of good food? With this in mind my favorite book by far on this topic is the “Foodist: Using Real Food and Real Science to Lose Weight Without Dieting” by Darya Pino Rose.

I first learned about this book at a local bookstore in Noe Valley called Omnivore Books who deals solely in books on food. Brilliant right? The books cover everything, cooking it, growing it, eating it, you name it. It was about a year ago I had found the little store and decided I needed to plan a whole day around going to it, have I mentioned my love of bookstores yet? This meant one Sunday morning after convincing Dustin to join me we got up and started the 2 mile leisurely walk there grabbing coffee and breakfast along the way.

Bookstores have always been a place of peace for me. I can spend hours in them. I take everything in around me. I walk from table to table looking at the curated assortment from someone else’s perspective. I take my fingers caressing the cover’s and picking up ever so gently the ones that peak my interest. I skim through the pages, pausing when I get to pictures. Looking, taking it all in. I found the foodist perched up towards the front window. As I started to read the summary my interest was immediately spiked even though I was no longer trying to lose weight. However the selling point for me from browsing to actually buying was seeing a little sign by the book talking to how in just a couple of weeks the author was going to be in the store doing a book reading and signing. I am a sucker for lectures, so in that moment the decision was made. I would purchase the book, read it, and attend the event.

First I am going to talk about the book, which we already know I loved. The author Darya had an ease to her writing that made it very educational without being preachy. It was refreshing to read a book that embraced food and health in a sustainable, which had been my focus at the time. Darya talks to how there is so much more to being healthy then constant exercise and watching everything that goes in your mouth. You don’t have to count every calorie or kill yourself at the gym to be able to lose weight and maintain it. Personally it made me feel confident that once the habits you make are established then your healthy lifestyle is easy to maintain, something I still struggle to fully trust. After reading her book my immediate reaction was feeling energized towards healthy living. I felt like I had just been talking to a friend who had given me some great advice.

In person Darya was very easy going. She talked to her book with a confidence and poise which made me want to befriend her.  I wanted to be engulfed with her knowledge. She seemed sweet, sincere, and grounded.  Nothing is better then hearing directly from someone on what inspired their work. It gives you context you would never get out of the book alone. Lastly I think what made me love this book even more was Darya lived in San Francisco, actually it turned out only a few blocks from where I lived. So the way she lived her life, the grocery stores she went to, the farmers markets, the gyms, those were the places I went to as well. If she could sustain this life only a few streets down from me, then I had no obstacles either.

To sum it all up, for anyone starting their healthy living journey, in the middle of it, or just needing to be inspired again I would recommend this book.  Trust me, you wont be disappointed.

 

December Book Review- Eating Mindfully: How to End Mindless Eating and Enjoy a Balanced Relationship with Food

 

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It was a couple of years ago when  I first heard the concept of mindful eating. I was over a year into weight maintenance and was starting to think of new ways to be able to incorporate back foods I loved without binge eating them. One of my closest girlfriends has an amazing ability to listen to her body. She is thin, beautiful, and never deprives herself. If she wants French fries she has them. If she wants a kale salad, then that is what she eats. What she does better than anyone else I know is feeds her body what it craves, she stops the moment she gets full, and puts her fork down never to look at it again. She truly embodies the concept of mindful eating. It was from my admiration for the way she lives her food life that I started to see how I could incorporate it into my own life.

For those who are not familiar with the concept of mindful eating, it is pretty simple.  Essentially it is not about limiting what you can eat, it is not dieting, it is being more mindful of what you are feed yourself and listening to your body’s internal hunger cues. I find this concept truly inspiring and have wanted to make it a way of life for myself over the last couple of years. I have to say when you can get into the groove and zone of mindful eating, it is by far the best relationship you will have with food and your body. I find the trouble is being able to stay in the zone when life starts to get stressful and chaotic.

I have read quite a few articles on the subject along with various books so when I came across “Eating Mindfully: How to End Mindless Eating and Enjoy a Balanced Relationship with Food“ by Susan Albers I knew I wanted to read it. Susan Albers is able to lay out very simple ideas that are easy for people to grasp and understand. As Susan describes on her website “Mindful eating is not a diet. There are no menus or recipes. It is being more aware of your eating habits, the sensations you experience when you eat, and the thoughts and emotions that you have about food. It is more about how you eat than what you eat.”

Overall I did enjoy the book. The concepts are very basic and easy to follow.  This book would be especially good for anyone who wants to lose weight, learn to appreciate food more, or to help get rid of emotional feelings associated with food. It is all very common sense and the ideas are straightforward for anyone to follow. My only criticism is it was a little repetitive for my liking and did not bring a whole lot of new ideas that I had not already read before. However in the end I am glad I read it and would recommend it out to others, especially those just starting their weight loss journey!