recommendation

White Girl Problems -AND- Psychos – Babe Walker

 

 

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“Everyone makes fun of me during group sessions. Their nickname for me is ‘White Girl Problems’. I know that Jackson and the rest of the cast of Trainspotting think that because I grew up in Bel Air, they know what I’m all about. They don’t. My life is not a joke, and that nickname is actually so f*cking rude.”

“By the time we sashayed through the door, all the pieces of my quest to lose my virginity were falling into place. I could see the finish line in the distance. I could hear the cheers of my loved ones on the sidelines; they were handing me cups of water that I was pouring on my head. They were throwing me PowerBars, and I was slapping them, because everyone knows PowerBars are nothing but carbs and sugar, with barely less regret than a Snickers bar. P.S. I would never run a f*cking marathon.”

“Genevieve thinks I’m crazy to spend so much money on my teeth, but Genevieve doesn’t know what my nightmares look like.”

“However, the most important thing I can leave you is the following wisdom: Never accept a marriage proposal from a man in open toed shoes. He’s either gay or a gypsy. Never cry. It causes swelling. Doctors, lawyers and princes come and go. Oil money lasts forever. Get your first face-lift by the time you’re forty-two after that it’s too late. Don’t go to bed with a full face of makeup on, unless you think you may die in your sleep. You should never have to work to make a living. You’re smarter than that. I miss you already, my love, and I’ll be watching over you. So spend my money with good taste. I deserve that.”

 

This week I read both White Girl Problems and the upcoming sequel Psychos (to be released April 29th). We’ve all laughed at the hilarious Twitter account that catalyzed the development of these books, but in order to properly understand the sequel I figured I should read the first one as well. As per the publisher’s request I did not include any quotes from the much anticipated Babe Walker follow up, but did include a few quotes from WGP to give you a feel for the tone of both of the books.

Normally, I am not into this kind of stuff. Ignorance and entitlement are two traits that I usually loath, so I was a bit worried about reading two whole novels that are rooted in that stuff. Right off the top I do have to say that I feel this book should be called Rich Girl Problems, instead of White. Just sayin’. Other than that, I have to admit I found these books entertaining. I couldn’t help it. If you can sit back and enjoy them without judgement, and focus on the fact that they’re a great satire on the ridiculously wealthy youth of today, they’re actually really funny.

In White Girl Problems we meet Babe Walker, a fictional twenty something daughter of a wealthy entertainment lawyer (he bankrolls her ridiculous lifestyle) who is obsessed with shopping, fashion, not eating solid food, and trying to maintain control of her alter ego Babette. After she spends nearly $300,000 at Barney’s during a mental breakdown she realizes it’s time to go to rehab for her shopping and/or substance abuse issues, but mainly her shopping. She pens this “memoir” during her time in rehab, and it covers a full range of topics. Some of the chapter titles should give you an idea of what these topics include:

Sorry For Texting You 93 Times Last Night

My Vagina is Bullsh*t

Every Job I’ve Ever Had Is The Worst Job I’ve Ever Had

I’m sure you get the drift.

Psychos, the much anticipated follow up, takes place after Babe gets out of rehab, and her dad has taken the manuscript for the first book and gotten it published. It ends up being incredibly successful, and kind of changes Babe’s life, since now she’s more than a socialite, she’s actually kind of a celebrity. I preferred this one to the first one. I felt like Babe was a much more likable character because she really was trying to get better post rehab, and she was able to step back and realize her ridiculous behavior more. Well, just barely, but she tries. In addition this one had a much better flow and I found was easier to read. I can’t include any quotes or plot points, but the tone is a slightly more mature one than that of the first book.

With summer just around the corner, I would recommend these as some great beach reads. They’re light, funny, and completely ridiculous. But, sometimes you just have to stop taking life so seriously and read something silly. I don’t think these books are for everyone, but I am someone who usually can’t stand listening to entitled people complain and I still enjoyed them. If Babe gets too annoying for you, just remember that these books are written by two males and one female as a SATIRE. They’re supposed to be absurd and larger than life.

 

Happy reading lovelies!

OMPP

A Journey to the Dark Heart of Nameless Unspeakable Evil: Charities, Hollywood, Joseph Kony, and Other Abominations – Jane Bussman

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“I’d run away to Hollywood to write movies. Unfortunately people who were good at writing movies got there first, so instead of writing Casablanca I found myself writing about what a fantastic bloke Ashton Kutcher was. Worse, I was by trade a comedy writer, trained to say the most inappropriate thing possible; now the reflex had mutated into some kind of cultural Tourette’s, and I was scared, because sooner or later I was going to explode all over Paris Hilton.”

“Except, as I’d learned over the years from talking to endless celebrities, fame arrests social development at the exact age it strikes. It’s not the celebrity’s fault; Britney is doing pretty well for an 11-year-old left in the care of pharmaceutical giants and K-Fed’s winkle. Michael Jackson was completely normal for a five-year-old who loved pajama parties. On the reverse side, George Clooney famously slogged through twenty-odd guest roles, including ‘Lip-synching Transvestite’, before hitting it big with ER, so he’ll be a graceful thirty-something for the rest of his days.”

“Museveni, the poor bastard, had his fair share of problems, what with poverty and AIDS-6.4% of Ugandan women were trotting round full of HIV. Luckily Museveni got budget support from Britain and America, probably as a thank you present for not being Robert Mugabe.”

“There were 150 people flopping around and one young doctor walking among them. House had more drugs in his urine than this guy had in his medicine cabinet.”

 

A Journey to the Dark Heart of Nameless Unspeakable Evil is the true story of bitter British comedy writer Jane Bussmann’s departure from her job interviewing celebrities in Hollywood, in order to try her hand as a foreign correspondent (and win the heart of peacemaker John Prendergast) in war torn Uganda. This book was originally published in the UK as The Worst Date Ever, and is now being brought over to us in North America under a different title. Amazon says it will be available to purchase on May 13th of this year.

As she says in her book, it’s Bridget Jones’ Diary meets Private Benjamin meets The Devil Wears Prada meets Out of Africa and The Constant Gardner. I’m not going to lie, it’s a weird genre to wrap your head around. I chose to read this book because I was genuinely curious; with all the initial reviews describing its hilarity, I couldn’t imagine how one could report on Kony and the disgusting atrocities facing Uganda right now, and be funny about it.

While I will admit that yes, I did laugh out loud a few times, it was really only at the beginning of the novel when the author’s focus is on poking fun at celebrities and Hollywood. Even then the laughs were limited as whenever I hear someone whine and complain about an opportunity they should be grateful for, I can’t help but tune them out. After she reaches Uganda I didn’t really laugh at all. Even during the breaks where she wasn’t interviewing abandoned children or rape victims and was instead trying to make light of a lack of toilet paper or her maxed out credit cards, I couldn’t really find the humor. How could I laugh at her complaining about a temporary living situation in a war-torn country, when at the end of it all she is able to hop a British Airways flight home and escape it, leaving behind the people that are forced to live like that without a way out? Cognitive dissonance apparently. It made me feel a little sick to be honest.

I commend Jane Bussmann for wanting to make a difference, and shining a light on several challenges Uganda is trying to overcome in a way that makes it more approachable for the layman than the often heavy and micro-focused articles featured in political publications. Perhaps it is because I am already fairly familiar with Ugandan atrocities that I couldn’t find the humor in this novel, but if you’re still really in the dark about Joseph Kony and the LRA then perhaps this is actually a good way to begin your learning. I think the most upsetting thing about this book is that its British counterpart was originally published in 2009. Here we are five years later and the situation in Uganda has changed so little that the author didn’t need to adjust it at all before its North American publication.

 

While I would have to say I disliked it, I would still recommend it for someone who knows nothing about the current situation in Uganda.

 

Until next time,

OMPP

All My Puny Sorrows – Miriam Toews

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“Nobody moves away from Winnipeg, especially to Toronto, and escapes condemnation. It’s like the opposite of the Welcome Wagon. It’s like leaving the Crips for the Bloods.”

“I’m at an age where I’m stuck between two generations, one using the term “getting laid” and the other “hooking up,” so what are you supposed to call it?”

“Yeah but apologies are what keep us civilized, I said and she said no, not at all, apologies allow for all sorts of brutality.”

“Living with my mother is like living with Winnie the Pooh. She has many adventures, getting herself into and out of trouble guilelessly, and all of these adventures are accompanied by a few lines of gentle philosophy. There’s always a little bit more to learn every time you get your head stuck in a honey pot if you’re my mother.”

“She asked me if I’d read to her from it and I said no. Just a paragraph? No. A sentence? No. Half a sentence! One word? No. A letter? I said okay, that I would read the first letter of the novel. She smiled and closed her eyes and sort of burrowed into her bed like she was preparing herself for a delicious treat. I asked her if she was ready and she nodded, still smiling, eyes closed. I stood and cleared my throat, and paused and then began to read. L. She sighed and lifted her chin to the ceiling, opened her eyes and told me it was beautiful, BEAUTIFUL, and true, the best thing I’d written yet. I thanked her and shoved the page back into the plastic Safeway bag. “

Okay, I know… a LOT of quotes this week, so you know what that means. Miram Toews has done it again with All My Puny Sorrows.

What. A. Great. Book.

I have read two other books by her over the years and I am always blown away by her writing style, and the simple beauty of her stories. Her characters are real people that you can understand and relate to, and when they mess up they don’t mess up in a contrived or predictably fictional way; they mess up in a real human way that is so honest it gives you empathy goosebumps, yet still manages to make you laugh at the same time. Her writing is flawless. I don’t even know where to begin… I guess I’ll start with the publisher’s synopsis:

You won’t forget Elf and Yoli, two smart and loving sisters. Elfrieda, a world-renowned pianist, glamorous, wealthy, happily married: she wants to die. Yolandi, divorced, broke, sleeping with the wrong men as she tries to find true love: she desperately wants to keep her older sister alive. Yoli is a beguiling mess, wickedly funny even as she stumbles through life struggling to keep her teenage kids and mother happy, her exes from hating her, her sister from killing herself and her own heart from breaking. 

But Elf’s latest suicide attempt is a shock: she is three weeks away from the opening of her highly anticipated international tour. Her long-time agent has been calling and neither Yoli nor Elf’s loving husband knows what to tell him. Can she be nursed back to “health” in time? Does it matter? As the situation becomes ever more complicated, Yoli faces the most terrifying decision of her life.

It is incredibly difficult for an author to tackle subjects like mental illness, sexual promiscuity, suicide, religion, women’s rights, and depression, and not do it in a way that is preachy, or heavy, or just generally over the top. However, Toews does it, and she does it extraordinarily well. After I had finished reading this one, I did a bit of research and discovered that many, if not most of the events in this book were taken directly from her real life experiences. While this makes my heart hurt for what she’s had to go through in life, I am so appreciative of her willingness to bare her soul. It allows her story to have such an intimate and authentic voice that it removes a lot of the social taboo surrounding these controversial issues, and allows
the reader to focus on the meat and potatoes of the protagonist’s journey and process. It was only once I wiped one last laugh/cry tear from my cheek and closed the book that I truly understood the sentence,”… just because someone is eating the ashes of your protagonist doesn’t mean you stop telling the story.”

I laughed, I cried, and then laughed again. If you’ve ever loved someone so much that the thought of losing them is crippling, then I think you will love this bookIf you are a fan of literature (it’s filled with wonderful literary allusions) then I think you will love this book. If you enjoy reading a novel with strong, smart, quirky and independent FEMALE characters, (I know – it’s rare!) then you will love this book.

Miriam, your writing is both haunting and inspiring. I bow down to you. Incredible.

 

Until next time,

OMPP

Annihilation – Jeff Vandermeer

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“So we just stood there, and although I could feel the heat and weight of him beside me, the steady sound of his breathing, we were living apart.”

” ‘I hope it’s only about six feet deep so we can continue mapping,’ the surveyor said, trying to be lighthearted but then she, and we, all recognized the term ‘six feet under’ ghosting through her syntax and a silence settled over us.”

“… some questions will ruin you if you are denied the answer long enough.”

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer is the first book in The Southern Reach Trilogy, and is set to have all three installments published this year. While it’s kind of nice not to have to wait years and years between books, (cough George R. R. Martin cough) I’m not entirely sure I will read the sequel that is scheduled to come out next month. I was really disappointed that I didn’t like this book as much as it seems everyone else has… I mean, check out the publisher’s synopsis and tell me this doesn’t sound like one of the coolest books ever:

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

This is the twelfth expedition.

Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.

I LOVED the idea that the entire expedition was being handled by women, and was very excited to sit down and enjoy a magical and mysterious escape for a few hours. Unfortunately I found this book so hard to get through that a few hours turned into many, many hours, and it was hard for me to finish. While the story is intriguing, and the writing is beautiful, I found it difficult to become invested in the characters, and their outcome; in fact I just didn’t really care. This is probably because it is written as more of a factual scientific report than a character driven novel, which I’m sure has an overall purpose to the trilogy, but was difficult to enjoy when I’m not yet sure what the larger picture is.

Actually, as I reflect on the story, characters, and writing style more, it really feels as though this would make an excellent script. I could very easily see this being adapted and doing well as a film. Think of an all female cast version of Alien, meets The Beach, meets… The Road. Yeah, try and wrap your head around that one. You have to admit it sounds pretty cool when it’s pitched as that.

With so many positive reviews of this one, I can’t help but feel like I missed something. You know what? Maybe I will give the sequel a chance to win me over. But until I’ve finished that and can, ideally, recommend the series, I would say to hold off on this one. Time is a very precious commodity, (as is discussed in this story) and I would much prefer any of my readers to become invested in something I can truly stand behind.

Until next time,

The OMPP

The Here and Now – Ann Brashares

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“Sometimes I only hear what we don’t say. I only think the things I shouldn’t think and I remember what I should forget.”

” ‘For now people are thrilled about everything digital, endless data forms, your own piece of the cloud and all that. Nobody has much respect for paper at the moment, but I think the excitement kind of dies down after a while,’ I tell him. ‘As time goes on I think people, definitely my father, come back around to respect the power of actual things you can actually touch.’ ”

“Maybe it isn’t corruption or greed that makes you cowardly. Maybe it’s not weakness, suffering or even fear. Maybe it is love.”

 

Once upon a time, I loved the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. I think most girls of my generation will agree that they were some of the better and more realistic (despite the whole magic pants thing) novels for our age group at the time. The characters were all strong, even in their weaknesses, and they felt very well developed and authentic. It’s because of my nostalgia for the books about sacred jeans that I was especially excited to read The Here and Now, also by Ann Brashares, which is to be released on April 8th.

Prenna James is a seventeen year old immigrant to the United States, except she hasn’t immigrated from another country, she’s come from another time. In the year 2090 we have led our planet into such a place of ruin that its inhabitants can no longer survive, and decide to send 1000 of their best and brightest back in time to recolonize the world in 2010. Of course, in order for the colony to survive they must follow a strict set of rules in order to keep their existence a secret from the ‘natives’, AKA the people that are really from that time period. They can never reveal their true identities, they can never try to change history, and they can never be intimate with anyone outside of their colony of time travelers. Obviously, in true dramatic narrative fashion, all of these rules are broken when Prenna falls in love with another senior named Ethan, and the two set off a timeline domino effect by being together.

While the book started out strong, I’m very sorry to say that it didn’t finish that way… at all. Yikes.

None of the characters felt very well thought out. Prenna and Ethan have this whole love-at-first-sight-based-on-nothing thing going on that I think is awful in young adult books (actually, any book) because it sets up some seriously unrealistic expectations. There are so many holes in the plot I had difficulty following along (from big things like the time travel issues not lining up, to small things like characters using other characters names without having been introduced first; see chapter nineteen), and the motivation behind everything anyone does is convoluted at best. If you only have three (or was it two? or maybe four? I was never quite sure) days to save the world, why are you playing cards for hours on the beach, debating about whether or not to have sex and drinking sangria illegally? This is difficult for me to say, because I had high hopes for this book, but it feels like the author wasn’t sure if she wanted to write a really well thought out time travel piece, or a coming of age story about two star crossed teens. Instead she’s done both, and she’s done both poorly. And the ending? Don’t even get me started on the ending.

All that being said, I did really enjoy the letters scattered throughout the book from Prenna to her deceased brother Julius, describing her perception and understanding of our world today. She has a specific observation I found interesting about how kids today would rather sit inside playing video games than go outside and use their imaginations, which is totally foreign to her as in the future that she is from, the kids dream of being able and allowed to go outdoors. I also found the ‘history’ of how the next 75 years will supposedly play out for humanity to be extremely thought provoking, as most of it is grounded in the truth of issues we are actually dealing with today. Our potential future is terrifying if we don’t start making some necessary changes today.

 

Unfortunately, I would advise against reading this one, as much as I wish I could say otherwise.

 

Until next time,

The OMPP.

Everyday Entrepreneur: Making It Happen – Fred Dawkins

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“The most important skill in the 21st century will be the ability to create your own job.”

“Cash flow doesn’t lie. If you’re short on cash you’re either under financed, selling too cheap, not collecting fast enough, carrying too much inventory, or your expenses are too high.”

“Hyper connectivity is a blessing and a curse. Use the flexibility provided by technology to improve the balance in your life, not destroy it. A 24/7 commitment will drown you and destroy the most important relationships: friends and family. You simply have to work to live. There is no meaningful future in living to work.”

“The money comes with the territory – it has never been the goal. The rewards are the countries I’ve seen, the people I’ve met, the things I’ve done, the independence gained and the friends I’ve made. Money is the medium of exchange, a by-product of success and a way to measure it, not a reward.”

Lately I’ve been feeling as though I’ve been reading a lot of novels, which is always lovely, yet there is something incredible about how you feel after finishing a piece of non-fiction. I find I somehow feel smarter afterwards, at least more so than after I’ve finished a novel. I’m in school right now in addition to working full time, and have been pondering the idea of starting my own business one day in the field I’ve been studying. Thus, Everyday Entrepreneur: Making It Happen by Fred Dawkins seemed like an obvious next choice.

Reading business books can always be a bit more challenging to get through, especially when it comes to keeping your eyes open at bedtime. Everyday Entrepreneur wasn’t like that. It’s written as a story, about three individuals from different backgrounds, coming together one summer at the cottage to take free daily classes on entrepreneurship from a man named Sam. Within two weeks, each individual has taken the words of this successful and enigmatic gentleman, to heart and decided to pursue their dream of starting their own business. I found it really honest, relatable, and frankly, helpful. This book was full of great advice and anecdotes on how to succeed in the 21st century, a time where one of the most important skills one can have is the ability to create their own job.

If you’re looking at starting your own business, and want a book on entrepreneurship that isn’t stuffy or boring, give this one a go. I really enjoyed it and found that I learned a great deal from Sam’s wise words myself. It even comes with a handy bullet point list of all the most important notes to take away from the book in an appendix at the back, so if you don’t have the time to read the whole thing, (perhaps because you’re a busy entrepreneur?) at the bare minimum check it out for the list.

Until next time,

The OMPP

The Enchanted – Rene Denfeld

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“York knows the truth doesn’t matter in here. Inside, the lies you tell become the person you become. On the outside, sun and reality shrink people back to their actual size. In here, people grow into their shadows.”

“I  would think for hours how strange it was that some parts of words are silent, just like some parts of our lives. Did the people who wrote the dictionaries decide to mirror language to our lives, or did it just happen that way?”

“She thinks about how sad it is that we remember the killers and not their victims. What if the world forgot Hitler and remembered all the names of his victims? What if we immortalized the victims?”

“… if there are things inside of us too tiny to see, might there be things outside of us too big to believe?”

What caught my attention about The Enchanted, was when I read the publisher’s synopsis, stating that it was Alice Sebold meets Stephen King. I was intrigued; how is that even possible? Well, it is possible. Never have I read a more beautifully written book about such a dark and deeply controversial topic: death row. I was moved, and could not put it down. Seriously, I even cooked dinner with one hand and read this in the other. In fact, I frequently read to my partner at night as it helps him fall asleep. This book had the opposite effect, and we were up until the wee hours of the morning with him begging me to read more.

The story is written from the perspective of one of the death row inmates, as he watches and reflects on his fellow prisoners, and the maximum security stone prison that houses them. He loves to read, and the safety that the pages of his books bring him is what allows him to exist in such a brutal environment. He is mute (or is he?), and thus has developed such an incredible ability to listen and observe that he can almost see through people, into the deepest parts of their souls.

As a fact investigator in death row penalty cases, Rene Denfeld seems especially qualified to write such a beautifully haunting novel on the conditions of prison, the men patiently waiting for their last meal, and what it was they did to get there in the first place. At times I felt like cringing at the difficult subject matter, but the beauty of its prose and the authenticity of its characters made this novel possibly my favorite book of 2014 thus far. This book reminds us that we are all human, and that often, the hardest person to forgive is ourselves. This is a story that feeds the soul.

I felt this one in my gut; I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

Until next time,

OMPP xo

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

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“His fingers smelled of suitcase, metal, Mein Kampf, and survival.”

“They say that war is death’s best friend, but I must offer you a different point of view on that one. To me, war is like the new boss who expects the impossible. He stands over your shoulder repeating one thing, incessantly: ‘Get it done, get it done.’ So you work harder. You get the job done. The boss, however, does not thank you. He asks for more.”

“That makes two weeks, she would later write in the basement. Two weeks to change the world and fourteen days to ruin it.”

“I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race – that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.”

The Book Thief by Markus Suzak… All I can say is, wow. While I had often heard about the book, I had never heard what the book was about. Obviously the title gave me some context, as did the trailer for the movie, but going into reading it I had no idea of the specifics. I feel as though this added to my experience, so I don’t want to say too much here. This is all I will tell you:

1. Even though it is labeled as a ‘Young Adult’ book, this book is for everyone, and anyone who loves to read, and not just read for the sake of reading, but read for the sake of falling in love with a story, its characters, and the slow, delectable devouring of exceptional literature.

2. It is set in Germany during WW2. Contrary to the title, it is about more than just a girl who steals books.

3. It is narrated by Death.

 I loved it. I loved so much about this book I can’t even begin to explain why I loved this one so much. I will admit, is it perfect? No. Are there some occasions where the author uses one too many artistically offbeat metaphors? Yes. Are there times when you have to go back and reread what was just said to make sure you grasped it completely? Yes. But perfect is impossible, and we all know that. At the end of the day, I haven’t been moved by both a storyline, AND the writing of a novel in a long, long time. She may be labeled as only a book thief, but this little girl and her love of words stole my heart. Yes, cheesy, but it’s the truth.

Both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time, The Book Thief is definitely one to check out.

 See you soon,

OMPP

Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg

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“Gymboree once sold onesies proclaiming ‘smart like daddy’ for boys and ‘pretty like mommy’ for girls. The same year, JCPenney marketed a T-shirt to teenage girls that bragged, ‘I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me.’ These things did not happen in 1951. They happened in 2011.”

“Research over the last four years has consistently found that in comparison to children with less involved fathers, children with involved and loving fathers have higher levels of psychological well-being and better cognitive abilities. When fathers provide even just routine childcare, children have higher levels of educational and economic achievement, and lower delinquency rates. Their children even tend to be more empathetic and socially competent.”

“Aiming for perfection causes frustration at best and paralysis at worst.”

After many months of some of the strongest women in my life (my mother, my partner’s mother, my partner’s sister, and my boss, just to name a few) telling me to read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, I finally made a point of sitting down and finishing it. I’m very glad I did.

It’s not that the book is difficult to get through, on the contrary it’s actually a very quick and interesting read. Even though I started it weeks ago I think the reason it took me so long to finish it was because of the dedication on the first page. I had heard this book was somewhat of a feminist manifesto, so I found it interesting that its author thanks a man, her husband, for making “everything” possible, before the book has even begun. I remember thinking to myself, well if this book is all about how I don’t need a man, why is she owing her success in its entirety to one right now?

I’m glad I finished the book however, because Mrs. Sandberg (the very successful COO of Facebook) answered that very question wholeheartedly. This book is not about how women don’t need men; this book is so much more than a (self-described) feminist manifesto. She even addresses that word that many women shy away from: feminist. Over the years it feels like the word “feminism” has picked up a negative connotation. News flash people – being a feminist doesn’t mean you’re some bra-burning socialist lesbian with a deep-rooted hatred for men. Being a feminist simply means that you support equal rights, opportunity, and respect for both women and men in the workplace, and at home. Mrs. Sandberg has a husband who happily and willingly shares both household and breadwinning duties, thus helping her make “everything possible”. I get it now.

The book is written in a very approachable, and conversational tone, with many examples that will have, I believe, both men and women nodding in understanding and agreement. This book is just as important for men to read as for women, especially men who have girlfriends, wives, sisters, daughters, nieces, and female coworkers. It discusses being comfortable sitting at the table, sharing household responsibilities, and it brings to light the competition between women in the work place, and how we need to build each other up and not tear each other down. Since I really want all of you to read this one I don’t want to say much more other than it is eye opening, honest, and refreshing.

Thank you Mrs. Sandberg for saying a lot of what needed to be said, and bringing this discussion to the forefront.

DEFINITELY check this one out folks.

xo

OMPP

Lawrence Zarian’s 10 Commandments For A Perfect Wardrobe – Lawrence Zarian

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“Style may sound superficial, but you really can’t escape the fact that your style is a visible expression of who you are and what you’re feeling about yourself. Your style tells your story to the world. What story are you telling about yourself? Think about that!”

“In fact, you should avoid dry-cleaning cashmere – the chemicals can make it brittle…. The best cashmere is made from extra-long fibers. Cheap cashmere is made from short fibers that will pill.”

“We, as a society, have managed to get out of balance. When we aren’t working, we’re obsessively watching others live their lives through social media. This leaves very little time for real connection or the ‘right now’! Every spiritual text has been saying this since the beginning of time. What you seek is in you. Well, that’s fine to understand as a concept, but it is much more powerful to actually experience it every day.”

“My dad would always say, ‘If you walk down the street and fall in a hole, and then you walk down the street and fall in the same hole – what do you do the third time? You choose a different street.’ There’s something about the surprise of doing something different, taking a chance, pushing yourself. The next time you don’t feel like facing the world for whatever reason, choose the contrary action, pick a different road, and see what happens.”

I had seen Lawrence Zarian on TV several times on everything from “Entertainment Tonight”, to “Rachel Ray”, and of course, doing live coverage during my favorite event of the season – the Oscars! So I was really excited when Bird Street Books sent me an advanced copy of his new book, (out February 25th people!) Lawrence Zarian’s 10 Commandments For A Perfect Wardrobe. 

Normally I’m a bit hesitant to read ‘style’ books, as I have found them to be very superficial, and focussed on a very rigid, and suffocating set of rules i.e., ‘don’t wear white after labour day’! (What does that even mean!?) Fortunately, this book was NOTHING like that, and as you can see from my featured quotes, discusses the spiritual and emotional side of looking and feeling great, just as much as it does the physical. Mr. Zarian (aka LZ) obviously really cares about how a woman (and a man – there’s a wonderful section for men as well!) looks, and more importantly how she feels in what she’s wearing, which I really respect and appreciate. This is definitely the best book I’ve ever read on style, because it’s not about fitting into a cookie cutter mold, it’s about really honing in on your personal style, and honoring both that, and who you are as a person. Not to mention it is full of really awesome tips on how to get the most out of your clothes, and other goodies like what cashmere is best (see above).

His fashion ‘commandments’ never feel stuffy, or restrictive, and in fact really foster a creative and flexible environment to have fun with styling your outfits. The tone in which it is written is direct, conversational, funny and genuine, as if LZ is talking to you and just you. Despite coming from one of the top styling gurus, it never feels rude, condescending or pushy, and one of the best things about this book? LZ gives you tons of advice on where to purchase many of the items he discusses, from (and here’s the key word) AFFORDABLE stores and websites.

This book is about so much more than a perfect wardrobe; it’s about self worth, and living your life to the fullest, and looking fantastic while you do so. Loved it LZ!

Until next time,

OMPP