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Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Monday, February 23, 2015

grace (eventually)

One plus (potentially the only plus) of many weeks of morning sickness was getting back into my reading habit.  To help relax and distract myself from nausea before falling asleep, I'd read for about 30-60 minutes.  The habit has stuck, and I've been back to reading a book or two a month.  I recently finished another Anne Lamott book and overall I enjoyed the read. 

She tends to talk about her struggles with George W. Bush in this book A LOT - like almost every essay.  But otherwise, the essays contain the kind of honest, soul bearing writing I've come to associate with Lamott.  

Some of my favorite quotes from this book:  

If you have a body, you are entitled to the full range of feelings [depressed, fascinated, scared, fine, exhausted, sad, accepting, enraged, grateful, amazed].  It comes with the package.   

A sober friend told me that while fear and confusion often swirl around us, faith is straight ahead: I trusted that even though I didn't know a thing about taking care of infants, toddlers, kids, or teenagers, I would be shown the next right step on a need-to-know basis.  I trusted that other parents would help me every step of the way, and that if I did not keep secrets when motherhood was going particularly badly, there would be healing and enough understanding and stamina to get by.  And this has proven to be true. 

Children can connect you to the child inside you, who can still play and be silly and helpless and needy and capable of wonder....Having a child, loving a child deeply in a daily way, forces you to connect with your mortality, forces you to dig into places within that you have rarely had to confront before, unless you have taken care of a dying parent or friend.  

In the long haul, grace will win out over everything, over the misery, the stupidity, the dishonesty....

The best way to change the world is to change your mind, which often requires feeding yourself.  It makes for biochemical peace.  It's almost like a prayer: to be needy, to eat, to taste, to be filled, building up instead of tearing down.  You find energy to do something you hadn't expected to do, maybe even one of the holiest things: to go outside and stand under the stars, or to go for a walk in the morning, or in such hard times, both.  

Reading Anne Lamott always reminds me to be gentle with myself.  We're all just human and we're going to have plenty of ups and downs.  I also love the reminder that grace is infused in all those ups and downs and gives extra beauty to our lives.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

great with child

A few weeks into my pregnancy I got hit with some terrible morning/all day sickness.  I had been so happy to be pregnant, but feeling so sick all the time was really wearing.  I had all sorts of expectations about what being pregnant would be like.  I'd feel like a temple of life!  I'd feel like a calm, peaceful warrior ready to take on the biggest challenge of my life!  Um...no.  I felt weak, sick, flabby, bloated, and annoyed.  Not anything like I had pictured.

I needed something.  Some kind of perspective shift - especially as I started to feel better.  And this book delivered it.

Beth Ann Fennelly's Great with Child is essentially the pregnant version of Letters to a Young Poet.  A young mother herself, Fennelly agrees to write her young pregnant grad student letters throughout her pregnancy.  The grad student is nervous, unsure whether she is up to the challenge of being a mother.  Fennelly offers her guidance, wisdom, and humor in her nine months of letters.  They were so simple and so profound and they were exactly what I needed to read.

Recommended for all expectant mothers.

Friday, October 3, 2014

vintage cakes

A few weeks ago I promised a peek inside the latest pretty book I checked out from the library: Vintage Cakes.  Author and baker Julie Richardson includes some of her most popular and delicious cake in this cookbook.  Some of which I was lucky enough to sample at the Cakery during my last visit to Portland!  I still haven't tried making a cake from the cookbook, and I think it might have to wait until my baking habit kicks back in in December.  But I promise to share photos from all my vintage cake baking endeavors with you :)

This is the Cakery's most famous cake and the one I would really love to learn how to make.  I can bake pretty well, but I've never tried making a layer cake.  I imagine I could make it, especially with practice, but something about the stacking just seems pretty intimidating.  But I think the final product would be worth facing that fear. 

Can you imagine making this?  How fun would that be to try to eat?

My mom used to make Texas Sheet Cake pretty often when we were growing up.  It was my brother's absolute favorite.  Make sure to enjoy with a large glass of milk.

Hope you enjoyed this dose of Friday cakes.  And hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

the cakery

During our recent trip to Portland, I stopped by a special bakery.  When Paul used to live in Portland, I would grab breakfast or a treat at Baker & Spice during my visits.  I was pleasantly shocked to find out that this bakery is responsible for The Cakery *and* a beautiful book called Vintage Cakes.  The Cakery makes the most beautiful cakes and bakery goods and has the coolest baking accessories and books for sale.  

Vintage Cakes!  Don't worry, I've rechecked it out from the library so I can try to make my own layered cake.  Just have to decide what the special occasion will be...

An amateur baker's dream - all those amazing books!  And that mixer!  And the colors!  Ah!  

Of course my eye was attracted by these macaron books.  Can you blame me? 

Look what else I found: People's Pops.  The Cakery has great taste.  

I loved the Cakery so much I visited twice during our four day trip to Portland.  I sampled macarons and one of the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever had.  

Paul and I also picked out a special lemon cake for our little celebration of his dad's birthday.  The taste was so good it made me really want to try out one of the cake recipes from  Vintage Cakes

One of the cake makers in action.  It reminded me of watching the wedding cake makers do their magic at the cake shop I worked at in high school.  Maybe with more practice I can be a tiny bit as talented as they are some day.  Anybody want to volunteer to eat my practice cakes?

Until then I'll keep dreaming...and reading Vintage Cakes.  Check back next week for some peeks inside the book!

Friday, July 18, 2014

adventures in wildwood

I love books that I can escape into, books that make me yearn to be part of a world created by an author.  My current favorite escape books are the Wildwood Chronicles by Colin Meloy.  The books are a modern day Chronicles of Narnia-type series based in Portland, Oregon.  The heroine of the books, young Prue McKeel, ventures into "The Impassable Wilderness" and discovers a new world - populated by an evil queen, Wildwood bandits, and talking animals.  
I love how imaginative this series is -- and I also love that I can actually visit the Impassable Wilderness!  The "Narnia" of these books is Portland's Forest Park, the largest urban park in the United States -- 5,157 acres!  Paul and I took an urban hike through Forest Park during our last visit, and while I didn't see any talking animals, I did feel pretty excited to be in the setting of one of my favorite books. 

Portland has such easy access to so many beautiful areas.  I appreciate that their city planners took care to maintain a lot of the land's natural beauty when building roads and houses. 


The giant sequoias don't come up in the Wildwood Chronicles, but they're still pretty neat.  

Ah Wildwood.  Since I can't visit Portland as often as I'd like, I guess I'll just have to indulge my fantasies by reading more Wildwood Chronicles.  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

three pretty books

I am happy to share three new pretty books today as part of my ongoing series highlighting gorgeous and inspiring books.  The best part: these books are all available to borrow for free from the library.  Beauty on a budget!  Today I'm sharing peaks into Holly Becker's three Decorate books.  Holly is the author of the Decor8 blog where she shares her passion and inspiration for living a creative life. 

Decorate was Holly's first book, released in 2011.  This book is a pretty typical design book, divided into sections based on different styles (i.e Natural Style, Flea Market Style, Colorful Style).  I loved so many ideas I saw in this book and wished I could "pin" them all. 

D E C O R A T E   W O R K S H O P

Decorate Workshop was such a fun book, and if it hadn't been requested by someone else in the library system I would still be studying it.  Decorate Workshop is a more user friendly version of Decorate, with a step by step guide to applying Holly's decorating principles to your own space.  I really loved that she gives ideas for things you'll need to get started (floor plan, details, swatches) and asks good questions to get your inspiration flowing and help you think of what you really want for your space.  She finishes the different sections with pictures of absolutely gorgeous spaces. 

D E C O R A T E    W I T H    F L O W E R S

And now my favorite book of the Decorate trio: Decorate with Flowers.  Holly's most recent book (co-written with Leslie Shewring) is focused on adding floral decorations to your house/apartment in fresh and creative ways.  This is the kind of book that I would cuddle with before going to sleep every night in the hopes that the gorgeous images would inspire my dreams.  The flowers!  The colors! The paper accent! Ah, be still my heart.  I now plan on keeping a flower budget for the rest of the summer so I can add mini arrangements to our house...all the time.  

How about yes please to this whole book?  Even if I would never make anything out of this book, I would buy it for our coffee table just so I could browse through it.  

Hope you enjoyed the glimpses into these pretty books.  Have you read any good books recently? 

For more pretty books: last installation, more pretty cookbooks, and the first round up