You First: Journal Your Way to Your Best Life by Lea Michele is a beautiful hardcover journal that makes you just want to write. You'll have plenty of material to cover, as well. It's a great tool for those new to journaling and those who are stuck in a journal rut.
The journal truly covers the whole person and is divided into four sections: You, Ambition, Relationships, and Happiness.
The first section contains prompts you to consider your heritage and ancestry, fitness and diet. The Ambition section walks you through goal setting, identifying role models and growing through challenges. The third section centers on friendships, romantic relationships, and colleagues. The Happiness section covers hobbies, charity and gratitude.
I plan on starting this journal journey after the holidays. But so far I haven't been able to put it down. It is very attractive, just the right size (about the size of a Kindle) and the pages are well organized and beautifully presented.
From the Publisher:
YOU FIRSTJournaling Your Way to Your Best Life. Lea's second book, ‘You First’ is about respecting and understanding what you really want—and then going out to achieve it. Keeping a journal and asking yourself the hard questions about what you want out of life is the best way to achieve your dreams. Lea's guided journal will address all the topics she wrote about in Brunette Ambition , including fitness, diet, work, school, and relationships, but with all-new material to help readers reach their goals and inspire them to live their best life.
ABOUT THE AUTHORLEA MICHELE is a best known for her performance as Rachel Berry on the critically acclaimed, Golden Globe-, Grammy-, and SAG-award-winning Fox television series Glee, as well as Ryan Murphy’s newest series, Scream Queens. She is the author of New York Times bestselling health and lifestyle guide, Brunette Ambition, and her chart-topping album Louder debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200. She has starred in four Broadway shows, and has been nominated for an Emmy, a SAG Award, and multiple Golden Globes. She lives in Los Angeles.
This book was given to me by Blogging for Books for the purpose of this review.
This week I commemorated 12 years as an Avon lady and it got me thinking about all that I've learned on this journey. And I'm not talking about how to pick a lipstick or why it's important to use the right cleanser and moisturizer. No, I've learned much more than that and it might surprise you. Or maybe not.
1. Women worry about wrinkles.
Even my oldest customers, those in their 80s and 90s, are looking for the miracle cream, ointment, or serum that will smooth away their wrinkles, erase the fine lines, blur their pores and brighten their tired eyes. Some worry about it more than others like the few gals I know who would stand on their heads while applying their night cream if I promised them they'd look 20 years younger in the morning. It's funny, but really, it's sad. And it gets me to the next thing I've learned.
2. Women need to be told they're beautiful.
Want to watch a woman lose 10-pounds and shed 10-years in mere seconds? Tell her she's beautiful. Compliment her lipstick color. Point out how that shade of blue really makes her skin glow. Notice that she's changed her hair and tell her how nice that new, lighter shade looks on her. She'll instantly perk up like a flower getting rain after a dry spell. And yes, this applies to my 20-something customers and my 90-year-old customers. All of them crave compliments and none of us give them enough, nor receive them enough.
3. Everyone is lonely.
When a visit from your Avon lady or your Schwan man is the highlight of your day, you must realize you're lonely. My customers, and their husbands, average 70-years-old. That's not old, folks. But, so many of them are forgotten by their families. Some of them have friends and activities to keep them busy, but I see them in the quiet desolation of their homes and the loneliness hangs in the air. I've often wished I could call up their kids and say, "hey, call your mom." Or send a text message to their grandkids saying, "stop in and see your grandma." I heard about a commercial in Europe where an old man fakes his death so his family will all come home for the holidays. They've been too busy in previous years to see him and each other and I guess he's desperate. A lot of people are mad about this, saying it's manipulation and cruel. Well, after twelve years of visiting lonely, aging folks, here's what I think: it's the truth. We're all so busy with our kids and our lives that we've forgotten about the generations before us.
4. There is such a thing as a clean house.
The only customers I have whose homes aren't model-home perfect are the customers who still have kids at home. By the way, they may have kids at home, but they're still lonely. Anyhow, this little nugget is the one that brings me a lot of hope but tucked inside it is sadness. Why sadness? Because every one of those customers with the neat-as-a-pin home will tell you that they miss the mess of kids. I'm still not sure I completely believe that, but when they tell me this, I see the sincere sadness in their eyes, so it must be true. But man, I'm willing to give this one a go. I'd love to not step on Legos or trip over Barbies just for one day.
5. We all have burdens too heavy to carry alone.
Some days I'd come home from deliveries so worn out, so emotionally drained that I'd lay down on the floor and breathe deeply. Dying loved ones, debilitating illnesses, money stolen by crooked accountants, divorces, estranged children, lost jobs, and mental breakdowns. That's just one year of customer experiences. I could tell you stories about in-laws and bosses that would blow your mind. It's always amazed me how many deeply personal things people share with their Avon lady. Who needs the hair salon? I'll come to you and listen to your burdens all for the price of lipstick. Sure, it's funny when I say it that way, but it didn't take me long to realize my services were cheaper than seeing a counselor. In these cases, a listening ear and a warm hug go a long way. And just to be clear, there were plenty of times when a customer relieved my burden. Once, I was on my way to see a customer when I received an email from a high school buddy that his mom had just passed away. Marge had been a special person in my life and I was pretty sad. That customer saw my tears and took me in her arms and held me while I cried.
Oh I could tell you some hilarious stories, too. Like the time I went to the wrong house and rang the doorbell before I realized it. Or the time a customer hid on her porch and yelled "boo!" as I knocked on the front door. She's 82. Yes, I've laughed and I've cried my way through the last 12 years as an Avon lady.
I used to always say, "it's just lipstick" and remark at how nothing I do or sell actually saves a life. If the world ran out of lipstick tomorrow, it would still keep turning. Granted, it wouldn't be pretty, but it would be turning. Being an Avon lady is really a trifle in the grand scheme of life. But look at all I've learned. Look at all the people who have touched my life and the ones whose lives I hope I've touched, too. So, ya, 12 years is a long time but I guess that's how long it took to learn these things. Maybe you'll catch on quicker than I have.
2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas caught my eye because of its funny title. How could the Cat's Pajamas be a place? And what exactly happened there? Turns out The Cat's Pajamas is a jazz club and it's in jeopardy. But that's not the only interesting thing about this quirky Christmas read.
Instantly I was enchanted by Madeleine the cigarette-smoking, shoulder-shimmying, 9-year-old woman-child we meet on the first page of the book. If the author, Marie-Helene Bertino, hadn't told us her age, I would have thought Madeleine was a 20-something with swagger. She's an old soul trapped in a sassy girl's body. Love her!
I don't want to spoil the story for you, but this is definitely a fun read that will keep you interested, entertained and perhaps even entranced this Christmas. The story takes place on the eve of Christmas Eve, so let it whisk you away into its quirky world with its oddball characters and twisty plot. You'll love it!
From the Publisher:
ABOUT 2 A.M. AT THE CAT’S PAJAMASAn enchanting and staggeringly original debut novel about one day in the lives of three unforgettable characters
Madeleine Altimari is a smart-mouthed, rebellious nine-year-old who also happens to be an aspiring jazz singer. Still mourning the recent death of her mother, and caring for her grief-stricken father, she doesn’t realize that on the eve of Christmas Eve she is about to have the most extraordinary day—and night—of her life. After bravely facing down mean-spirited classmates and rejection at school, Madeleine doggedly searches for Philadelphia’s legendary jazz club The Cat’s Pajamas, where she’s determined to make her on-stage debut. On the same day, her fifth grade teacher Sarina Greene, who’s just moved back to Philly after a divorce, is nervously looking forward to a dinner party that will reunite her with an old high school crush, afraid to hope that sparks might fly again. And across town at The Cat’s Pajamas, club owner Lorca discovers that his beloved haunt may have to close forever, unless someone can find a way to quickly raise the $30,000 that would save it.
As these three lost souls search for love, music and hope on the snow-covered streets of Philadelphia, together they will discover life’s endless possibilities over the course of one magical night. A vivacious, charming and moving debut, 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas will capture your heart and have you laughing out loud.
Marie Helene-Bertino is the author of Safe as Houses, winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Prize. An Emerging Writer Fellow at New York’s Center for Fiction, she has spent six years as an editor and writing instructor at One Story. A Philadelphia native, she currently lives in Brooklyn.
I received this book from "Blogging for Books" for the purpose of this review.
As You See...
...I have an opinion on pretty much everything. Life is filtered through my rose colored glasses. It's just the way I see it.