Love Warrior review

I finished Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton a fews months ago and have been meaning to write about it since! You know those books that come to you exactly when you need them? This was like that for me. I raved about it to anyone who would listen. While I was reading Glennon’s words, I couldn’t help but feel connected to her. Not surprisingly, her evaluations and observations about life, love, and all other things messy were spot on. I also felt in-step with her because I, too, am a writer.

With every metaphor and every perfectly strung together sentence, I felt her. It was like, girl, I know how good it is to make sense of it all through words. I know that clarity.  I’ve felt that heart overhaul; when your words are all you have but they sure do make you strong and sure, don’t they?

As mentioned, it’s been a few months since I’ve devoured this book but it still comes up almost weekly in conversation for me. I’m always like – “have you read Love Warrior, not Love Worrier, as in, to worry… but Love Warrior?”  Most people haven’t and I instantly insist they order the book stat. Especially if they are a female.*

This book made being a woman make sense to me. I am a sensitive, emotional female. Reading Love Warrior made me feel like that is okay; that maybe it’s even normal. …And that’s a line I’m rarely fed.

How refreshing to read that having feelings – complicated, intense, scattered emotions – is just apart of the game! What a relief! I don’t have to live this muted, mundane life with a limited emotional range. I can cry hard, laugh loud, be in lust with my yoga practice, feel like my whole life’s tale is told in a song so good you can’t help but turn it up, and it’s fine. It’s fucking fine because shit is hard and reacting to it all is human.

I will note that a major component of Love Warrior is religion. Glennon has her own take on it and it’s basically that love is love and God wants nothing more from us than to love each other and ourselves.  I admire, respect, and agree with her definition. However, even for me, there were times when it was a lot of love talk. And I think that’s sayin’ something, if I’m the one saying it.

Nonetheless, Love Warrior is a highly recommended read. But be sure to have another book lined up after, because you’ll be done with this one before you know it.


*Disclaimer: based on the generalization that we ladies are more emotional than men. Of course I realize there are all sorts of different women out there (and men!) and there isn’t a “right way” to be female or male.


Recent reads

I love reading books written by women. I like to spend my money on these books because I want to support them. Some people splurge on new clothes; I spend my money on new shiny books with glossy covers. Recently I’ve read Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison and Live Fast Die Hot by Jenny Mollen.


Both books are a collections of anecdotes; though the subjects are pretty different. Overall, I enjoyed Live Fast Die Hot more because 1. Jenny Mollen is my spirit animal (so, admittedly I am completely biassed) and 2. it’s just really funny. Jenny is a lovable lunatic and I really see myself in her. 😉 She’s neurotic and self-absorbed but in all of the best ways. I recommend Live Fast Die Hot as a vacation read, so you can really sink into it and fully immerse yourself into Jenny’s world. This book took me longer to read than I expected, mostly because I felt like I had to be fully there to take in all of the jokes. For me, it wasn’t a great read before bed, but as soon as I started reading it during the day/on my commute, I devoured it.

Down the Rabbit Hole was a decent read. It was very telling of Holly’s opinion on Hugh Hefner and I’m sure he wasn’t too happy with the book. I occasionally watched The Girls Next Door when it was still on TV and, reading the behind the scenes from Holly’s perspective, just goes to show you how fake “reality” TV is. Overall, I don’t think I would recommend this book (this is me being nit picky but I hate cliches in writing and this book is filled with them!) unless you’re looking for some dirt on the Playboy Mansion. That being said, I do like Holly Madison and respect her for writing about her experiences!

Next on my list is I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual. I am really looking forward to this read – especially given important movements like Black Lives Matter – and will write my thoughts on it as soon as I finish!

All my ladiiiiies…

A couple of years ago my friend told me about her new year’s resolution to read one book a month. I thought it was a brilliant idea! I love to read and had fallen out of the habit. In retrospect, I also love that this resolution focuses on our mind and not our body, like so many new year’s goals do.

That I year I think I fell short on reading 12 books but I know I got close. Last year I probably read at least 12, if not more. This year I don’t only want to read 12 books but I want to track my progress and write down my thoughts from each book. Especially because I’m one of those people who re-reads books.  (I try to read my favorite book of all time, Heart of the Matter, every November because it’s my birthday month. Besides, fall is so cozy and perfect for your favorite book and a cup of tea #amirite)


I started 2016 with Not THAT Kind of GIRL by Lena Dunham. Mike and I started watching Girls and I was pleasantly surprised that the show did not match my expectations. Hannah (Lena Dunham’s character) is a hot freakin’ weird mess just trying to make in through her 20s. This intrigued me. So I bought Lena’s book.

I plowed through this book! Lena tells different stories of her upbringing, of dating, of how weird The Biz is, and makes you feel like you’re not alone. There were so many things in this book that  I should’ve highlighted for future reference (which I used to do in books #nerdalert) but since I mostly read in bed before I go to sleep, I didn’t. Lena acknowledges things that I’ve wondered if only I’ve experienced before. She is unashamed, unapologetic, and someone I undoubtedly want to have lunch with.

After Not That Kind of Girl, I ordered Yes, Please by Amy Poehler because it’s a book I’ve been wanting to read and I was on a girl-high from Lena’s book. Yes, Please was witty, truthful, funny, and gives you behind the scene glances into Amy’s life on SNL and Parks and Recreation. Overall it was a good read. Because I finally took the time to “get to know her” I now like Amy Poehler equally as much as I like her best friend, Tina Fey. As expected, Amy is hilarious! Like a I said, the book was good but (and this is just me being nit picky) I wasn’t really feeling the design of the book. It seemed to be a cross between a novel and a coffee table style book; among her block novel-style text, it was sprinkled with professional and personal pictures and catchy titles and taglines. The entire time I was reading it, I was both enjoying it and thinking, oh, Amy, why didn’t you pick a side, girl? Again, this is a stylistic thing and can very well be just me who feels this way but, since I do, I would recommend this book as a borrow not a buy.


Food and Lifestyle Book Reviews

Last year, I read some really good books that inspired me. Read on for the titles, authors, and quick synopsis.

No Impact Man by Colin Beavan – This book was left in my office by a co-worker I never met and was going to be thrown out before I swooped it up. It sat on my shelf for a couple months before I finally started reading about Colin’s chronicles of living a life with little to no impact, in Manhattan of all places. I found this book to be eye-opening and inspiring. It really makes you think about how much we all consume on a daily basis. There is also the No Impact Man documentary which I watched after reading the book. Highly recommended!

French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon – I’ve mentioned this book on the blog before and will likely continue to do so. Mike’s sister, Wendy, was reading it last year when we were in Australia for Christmas and she was expecting her first child. Wendy summarized the book as she read (and as we traveled the coast of  Australia) and I couldn’t get enough. I ordered a copy for myself right when we got home and devoured it. I’m not a mother but found this book insightful and very interesting. The author moves from Vancouver to France, where her husband is from, with her two young daughters and spends a year learning the “ways” of the French and their non-picky little eaters, very different from (most) kids here. The book describes cultural differences between how food is viewed, prepared, and eaten in North America vs. in France, along with antidotes and a few recipes for readers to try at home.

A Year of No Sugar by Eve O. Schaub – This book was another winner and really helped me solidify my gripes against sugar. (I realize that sounds snobby but I don’t apologize because sugar is the worst and everyone should know it’s truths. …Not to be dramatic or anything.) Eve and her family* spend a year with a very limited sugar intake. I absolutely loved this book. For some unexplained reason, it made me feel nostalgic for a life I’ve never lived. Eve’s way of describing her hometown in Vermont (in my mind, seemingly perfectly simple… think: Gilmore Girl’s Stars Hallow); paired with her relentless quest for more knowledge about sugar; and her  detailed accounts of her findings, feelings, failings, as well as successes, made for a delightful and educational read!


*I just realized a commonality in these 3 books are the author’s families and how they are kind of whisked (“forced” sounded too harsh…) into participating in these major lifestyle changes because the mom or dad decided to. As a writer myself this reminds me that we have little to write about besides our own lives, journeys, and stories. Which, for the record, is exactly how I like things to be.


In the past years I have dabbled in quite a few other books about eating and living a compassionate, healthy, informed and educated lifestyle. Below is a list of those books and a sentence or two about each of them. In the spirit of full disclosure, I didn’t make it completely through all of the following books and, for the ones I did read entirely, it has been years since I’ve finished them, so these descriptions are quick and unrefined.

Food Rules by Michael Pollan – This book is an obvious one. This is basically a staple in any “health conscious” person’s kitchen/home and though, as my grandpa pointed out, Mr. Pollan doesn’t have any credentials in nutrition (he graduated with a degree in Journalism), his thoughts and “rules” resonate with me (and many others!).

Eat only foods that will eventually rot …that’s just good sense. (Although I would respectably add a timeline in there because we all know there’s that smart ass ready to tell us that  McDonald’s goes bad too. Eventually.)

Naturally Thin by Bethenny Frankel – Bat shit cray or not, Bethenny has some good advice to give about letting go and just living, urging you to realize food should not be the devil or your best friend; like her rule You Can Have It All, Just Not All At Once – what a relief and a perspective shift! This book helped me let go of some serious stipulations I was putting on my diet and is recommend as a refreshing take on telling you how to eat. (Which everyone is doing, including myself! Ha.)

The Skinnygirl Dish by Bethenny Frankel – Bethenny lists tools and provides recipes in this book for healthy, non-stress noshing.

Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin – I first read this book in college and still remember the authors advise to Trust No One (not even them). I love this advice to this day because it’s so true! In the end, you know your body better than anyone. With conflicting information from experts telling us Paleo Is The Only Way To Live in one article and then Veganism being The Cure For Cancer in the next, it is especially important to do your own research and come up with your own guidelines. (Expect please know, you can trust me and The Veg Voyage when I say vegetables are, in fact, the key;)

The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone – This book is all about being a Vegan with a capital V and living well… kindly. Surface level, I felt kind of …judged while reading this book (which is certainly not a kind feeling!). Alicia outlines the steps for me to become a vegan and then a “superhero” vegan (someone who, if my memory serves me right, eats only nuts, seeds, and maybe a few leafy greens, like on their birthday, for a treat). But, if you can leave your ego out of it, this book is a good one with a meaningful message. It includes pretty pictures and recipes to start A New Vegan Lifestyle. Yeah!

Overall, I give Alicia props for putting it out there and bringing attention to the matter. You do you, girl – regurgitating your food for your babe and everything.

The Honest Life by Jessica Alba – Okay, I don’t know what the deal is with celebrities writing lifestyle books now (what happened to fragrances!? jLo wants to know!) but I’m completely on board with it. (Yes, I already pre ordered Balancing on Heels by Kristin Cavallari…) Like the next girl (who has dreams of having two kids and looking like Jessica Alba after; if she can do it, I can do it, RIGHT!?) I am a fan of J. Alba and …didn’t regret buying her book. Overall I didn’t LOVE the book – and was more interested in an inside glimpse of her life – but I highlighted a few tips and tricks here and there and I dig her message so, it’s all good. Money well spent.

The Body Book by Cameron Diaz – I should probably give this book a second chance because I could barely get through the first chapter… I like Cameron Diaz well enough but I distinctly remember feeling like I was reading an unedited letter while perusing this book. To me, her thoughts sounded scrambled and sporadic… like she didn’t really have an end goal… but the book seems to align with what I’m interested in so I’ll make an effort to try again and let you know how it goes.

Let me know your thoughts on any of the above books or recommendations you have!


♡ Ashley