Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Reading List for the New Year

Though I haven't been writing much, I am thrilled that I've been reading a bit this winter.


More than two years since its creation, my little blog is still here. I like to think of it as a testament to the "slow and steady" motto. I may not update frequently (though I would like to), but this is a little project of mine that has become too dear to abandon. So, here we are, with a monthly update.

Fortunately, things have calmed down quite a bit since before and during the holiday season. I like to think that February is really when life starts getting back to normal, and the stress and pressure of the holidays and the new year's resolutions have either taken firm hold, or have been forgotten entirely. My own resolution to maintain balance has thus far been working. One of the things I've been making "me time" for is to read. I have a broad range of interests, so I tend to be reading several things at one time. Here is a list of what I've been reading this winter.

This novel is my first encounter with the magical realism genre. Written by Isabel Allende, a Chilean American writer, this book explores, through changing first- and second-person narratives, the individual lives of members of an unusual family. Like a few other South American authors I have read (most recently Mario Vargas Llosa and Junot Diaz), Allende's prose is detailed, artistic, and complex. I've only just begun this book, but after one chapter I am very much intrigued in reading about what will happen to lovelorn Esteban and his almost sister-in-law, the mysterious Clara, two of the story's early protagonists.

This book by Marie Kondo offers home organization tips and a guide to getting the clutter in your life (everything from excess clothing to papers and documents) under control. An important method Kondo recommends is to take everything out at once-- which really goes against those of us who tend to do things little by little! However, I recently tried out Kondo's method when organizing my dresser, which had become an overwhelming mess of clothing, jewelry, makeup, and lotions. I had no idea how to get it, and most importantly keep it, under control. I tested Kondo's method, and more than a month later my dresser is sparkling. (I'll have to blog more about it in the future.) This is a good book to read if you are looking for a fresh approach to tackling your clutter.

The Oh So French blog.

Sadly, the writer of my favorite blog, How to Be Chic, is on hiatus again. Totally understandable! (Given how infrequently I am able to update my own blog, I might as well be on hiatus, too!) Fortunately, Fiona's blog is still live and features a fantastic list of links to other blogs and other French- and European-inspired lifestyle sites. It was here that I came across the Oh So French blog, which, interestingly enough, is a blog for the Simon Perele lingerie brand! Fortunately, this blog has very few ads and does not try to push any sales items. Au contraire, it offers practical little beauty and lifestyle tips, about everything from the art of the French before-dinner drink, to embracing one's "imperfections" as an essential element of French cool. The website has a clean layout with well-organized, listed tips that any aspiring Francophile can easily incorporate into everyday life.

Bouncing between reading materials gives me a chance to always have something around that will suit my mood. If I need to escape, I enjoy whatever fiction I have on hand. If I need to be inspired, I click through my favorite blogs. If I need a new approach to tackling home organization or home life, I have a great collection of books and magazines filled with tips and suggestions. I find diversity beautiful-- both in real-world beauty standards, and in my monthly reading list!

Here are two questions to ponder for Two for Tuesdays:
  1. What are you reading right now?
  2. What's your favorite blog or book with lifestyle and home-living tips?
The above photo was taken by me (or my husband) outside a bookstore during our honeymoon in Dublin in 2009.


  1. Andrea, thank you so much for mentions of my blog! I'm not sure if you are on my mailing list, but if not you may not know I have restarted my blog again. I know, what can I say, I can't stay away. The photos of your pets are adorable - Catfish! So so cute. And Monty, what a honey. He looks so happy romping.

    1. Hi Fiona! Thank you so much for visiting. If you couldn't tell, I am a huge fan of yours! (I think Catfish would really like Jessica and Nina, too.) I am so glad to see your blog is back-- and your new eBooks are an added bonus! Thank you for visiting and for your comment.