Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Everything You Need You Have by Gerad Kite

29807307Gerad Kite was a therapist for years before realizing all the talk and analysis weren’t making a lasting difference in the lives of his patients. So he quit his practice and looked for a new way to help people feel better. What he discovered is a different approach to finding a secret, peaceful, and permanent place inside yourself that you can access at all times, a path to getting out of your head, to surrender to what is. You’ll see that you already have what you need to be happy and well.
Kite draws on the principles of ancient Chinese philosophy and his extensive experience helping people from all walks of life as a relaxation and acupuncture expert. His ten steps will show you how to tune in to your natural rhythms, view your emotions from a different perspective, and finally experience a state of bliss that you can return to again and again.
The secret to feeling at home in yourself isn’t therapy, meditation, silencing your phone, throwing out your possessions or traveling the world. The answer is already inside you. – Goodreads

It was an interesting read, but I wasn’t completely in love with this read. It was…average at best.

If it’s your first time reading a book on meditation and enlightenment, then it’s a great choice. If you’ve been around the block a few times, it’s nothing new. I do think that Kite does a great job at taking complex ideas of Taoism and ancient Chinese concepts and breaks them down into everyday language, but it was a mess of ideas at times, too.

I do like the overall idea of looking inward for fulfillment and validation — so often we look externally for those feelings and are usually let down.

Overall, it was a quick little read, but it just didn’t resonate with me. I rated it a 3/5. I was given a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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Nourishing Meals: Healthy Gluten-Free Meals for the Whole family by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre

16240550A whole foods cookbook and guide to raising healthy children including over 300 nourishing gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free recipes. – Goodreads

This one is tough. On one hand, it’s definitely chock-full of allergy-friendly recipes; the recipes I tried were delicious, easy to make, and the ingredients were easy to find (IE, no special trips to any specialty stores). It’s organized well and there are plenty of recipes to choose from.

However, the book is simply overwhelming. I have no doubt that there are more than 300 recipes; I haven’t counted, but the sheer size of the book is intense and took me several times to go through and bookmark.

The other downside is the lack of photography; I like to be able to see what I’m going to be making, and the sparse few pages of photos in this volume do not do it justice.

I rated it a 3/5; the recipes are great and there are plenty to choose from, but the overwhelming amount of recipes and lack of photos lost it two points.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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The Comprehensive INFP Survival Guide by Heidi Priebe

32319547Despite their agreeable demeanor, INFPs represent one of the most passionate and complex personality types within the Myers-Briggs Inventory. Employing a wholly unique stack of cognitive functions, this type sees the world around them not just as it is but also as it could be—making them a deeply imaginative and highly idealistic personality.

In this detailed, type-based survival guide, seasoned MBTI author Heidi Priebe explains the strengths and struggles INFPs face as they navigate the world around them as one of the most creative and emotionally intense personality types. – Goodreads

I know, I know. Another MBTI book, Lauren, really? Weren’t you an ENFP? Literally, didn’t you just read Priebe’s ENFP book?

Okay, okay. Yes. Yes, I did. However, after reading this, I’m 99% I mistyped myself, as INFPs are prone to do. Afterall, I’ve been testing as an INFP for YEARS. What, suddenly I like to surround myself with people and I’m an extrovert? Yeah, so I retook the test and answered all questions with an extrovert angle. Thus, ENFP. I’m dumb. Apparently we’re also guilty of mistyping often.

This type lives in a world of identity possibilities and they are constantly shifting their perspective and redefining exactly what it means to be themselves.

Anyway, this book made me realize I’m just not operating on a healthy level as an INFP, which is really messing with me.

One thing that I have a difficult time coming to terms with — especially pursuing the career path that I am — is that I am a very emotional person, in the sense that I feel deeply and am constantly processing everything around me on an emotional level.

emotional intensity of the INFP is this type’s greatest blessing as well as their greatest curse.

But enough about me. The book was good — though I did enjoy the ENFP guide better. This one was VERY heavy on the cognitive functions and I found myself flipping back and forth to make sure I was getting it all. I had to stop often to make sure I was absorbing the information; it was a lot of heavy stuff to take in, whereas the ENFP guide was a lot more fun-centric. This one was very deep and definitely hit the darker points of my type, which was needed. If you’re looking for a funny read on what your type does at a party, though, THIS IS NOT IT.

One of my favorite parts of the book was how INFPs work with other types — though it was phrased in the context of relationships, it was pretty easy to ignore that language and relate it to how I interact with other types in a day-to-day sense. It was also helpful from a romantic angle, though, as my boyfriend is an ENTP and we often see the world very differently. All of our challenges were spot on and provided helpful tips on how to understand where the other type is coming from.

The ENTP may feel smothered by the INFP’s need for reassurance and commitment, whereas the INFP may feel neglected by the ENTP’s need for independence and freedom.

#needyAF

Overall, the book was exactly what I needed to identify my funk and figure out a plan of action on how to get out of it. I’ve definitely been rolling in a tertiary loop and need to work on strengthening my functions.

If you’re an INFP, I recommend this. If you are close with an INFP, I recommend this. I rated it a 4/5 on Goodreads.

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The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

29405093In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is—a woman with the courage to bare her soul to stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh.

Ranging from the raucous to the romantic, the heartfelt to the harrowing, this highly entertaining and universally appealing collection is the literary equivalent of a night out with your best friend—an unforgettable and fun adventure that you wish could last forever. Whether she’s experiencing lust-at-first-sight while in the airport security line, sharing her own views on love and marriage, admitting to being an introvert, or discovering her cross-fit instructor’s secret bad habit, Amy Schumer proves to be a bighearted, brave, and thoughtful storyteller that will leave you nodding your head in recognition, laughing out loud, and sobbing uncontrollably—but only because it’s over. – Goodreads

I. Can’t. Even.

It has happened. Someone has dethroned Mindy Kaling in my book of comedic royalty, and that someone is Amy Schumer. From the first chapter, I was sucked in and couldn’t stop. Which was good, because I read the first three-quarters on our journey to Mexico and the last quarter in the first day.

Seriously, I couldn’t stop laughing. Snickering. Inhaling sharply. “Is Amy writing about penises again?” the boyfriend would ask. This book is not safe for children and if profanity and vulgarity offends you, don’t pick it up.

Despite the naughty humor — which you should expect if you’ve ever watched Amy’s show or standup — the book tackles some pretty serious topics, too, such as gun control, sexual assault and multiple sclerosis (her father suffers from it). There is some sass and humor mixed in, but she does a very good job and shedding some light on these serious issues. It definitely showed me another side of Schumer and made me appreciate her so much more.

If you enjoy self-deprecating humor, stories about sex and being blackout drunk, feminism and some serious stuff, check this out. I had a ton of laughs and really enjoyed it. I rated it a 4/5.

 

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The Comprehensive ENFP Survival Guide by Heidi Priebe

26838309Life as an ENFP is no walk in the park.

Despite the happy-go-lucky attitude they exude, only those who share the specific preference for extroversion, intuition, feeling and perceiving on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator can truly understand the unique form of chaos that governs this type’s restless mind. Embodying a profoundly strange stack of cognitive functions, ENFPs approach the world with both the enthusiasm of a child and the wisdom of an old soul.

In this detailed, type-based survival guide, seasoned MBTI author and shameless ENFP Heidi Priebe explains how to manage the ups, downs and inside-outs of everyday life as one of the most passionate yet self-contradictory types. – Goodreads

Once upon a time, I thought I was an INFP.

I was wrong.

First off, I love Heidi Priebe. After all, I just finished How You’ll Do Everything Based On Your Personality Type. If you haven’t checked her out on Thought Catalog, I highly recommend it. If you don’t know your MBTI, go here.

As an ENFP, I feel crazy about 98% of the time. “Having a thousand great ideas that you never follow through on”, “wanting to be alone….but like, with other people nearby” and “being a walking contradiction in almost every way” are my three favorite descriptions of myself that I read in this book. Along with a multitude of others, because that’s the point of MBTI, right? To read a description, snap your fingers and go, “Yes! Someone gets me!”

The book is split into sections — Introducing the ENFP, Growing Up ENFP, ENFPs in the Workplace, Unhealthy ENFP Behaviors, ENFP Relationships, etc. The breakdown made sense and flowed well. The ENFP in me fought to skip past the boring cognitive function section, but it proved useful and actually quite interesting.

My favorite part of the book was the section on Unhealthy ENFP Behaviors. Yes, it’s all fun and games to read funny stuff about your type. But the nitty-gritty-shitty stuff is where it’s at. Of course, as Priebe states in the book, it’s a spectrum. Characteristics range from healthy to unhealthy and all the bits in between. For example, a healthy ENFP is reflective, meaning they need alone time to recharge and reflect on their emotions. However, on the flip side, an unhealthy ENFP may become reclusive, where they avoid social interaction in favor of obsessing over their feelings. There is a difference between being principled and self-righteous, etc. It was enlightening to read about these behaviors and spot the ones where I may lean toward the unhealthy side — IE the difference between being agreeable and a pushover.

It was a long, delightful read that I looked forward to opening each night.

In the end of the book, a group of ENFPs describe why they love their type. This one summed it up perfectly, and I couldn’t have said it better myself.

“I like that I can lead a group, sit in solitude for days, think far ahead, improvise, be a huge ball of energy, calm down others when they’re stressed, be a mushball, be tough and decisive, create new opportunities for myself, adapt to the world around me…I defy so many stereotypes, and I like it that way!”

If you’re an ENFP, pick this up. If not, pick up her other book that features all of the types. Or hit Thought Catalog. Whatever. I rated this a 4/5.

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Eating in the Middle: A Mostly Wholesome Cookbook by Andie Mitchell

25852800In her inspiring New York Times bestselling memoir, It Was Me All Along, Andie Mitchell chronicled her struggles with obesity, losing weight, and finding balance. Now, in her debut cookbook, she gives readers the dishes that helped her reach her goals and maintain her new size. In 80 recipes, she shows how she eats: mostly healthy meals that are packed with flavor, like Lemon Roasted Chicken with Moroccan Couscous and Butternut Squash Salad with Kale and Pomegranate, and then the “sometimes” foods, the indulgences such as Peanut Butter Mousse Pie with Marshmallow Whipped Cream, because life just needs dessert. With 75 photographs and Andie’s beautiful storytelling, Eating in the Middle is the perfect cookbook for anyone looking to find freedom from cravings while still loving and enjoying every meal to the fullest. – Goodreads

Damn, did I miss reviewing cookbooks. I took a brief hiatus because I kept getting distracted by other shiny objects (gardening books) and couldn’t focus. I’m back.

Fun fact: I used to write a cooking column for my college newspaper. It was titled Hooker in the Kitchen, because, well, my last name is Hooker and I cooked stuff. In the kitchen. I digress.

I was thrilled when I unwrapped this heavy number from its postage wrap. The cover art is gorgeous and the paper is thick — it’s a great quality cookbook.

I love that most of the meals are light and clean, which some not-so-light-and-clean recipes thrown in — after all, the whole theme of the cookbook is moderation and balance.

My one gripe with the book? The insanely long ingredient lists. It’s not very budget friendly to pick up a jar of apricot preserves, some special cheese, etc. if all you need is a tablespoon. I was a little bit disappointed at this (and at my barren fridge).

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Check out that rad Grandma plate.

My new roommate and I decided that roommate dinner needed to happen, so we decided to make the Lemon-Herb Fish with Crispy Oven Fries.

Now, I’ve made oven fries before. Yes, they’re in the shape of fries, but they’re usually limp and meh. According to Mitchell, the secret to these fries is the hot water soak right before baking. I didn’t believe her.

But she was so right. These fries came out AMAZING. Crispy baked fries?! What?! Yes. This alone made the whole book worth it. The fish was pretty fantastic, too.

Overall, I loved the wide variety of dishes to choose from (though I didn’t love the wide ingredient lists). Everything seems relatively simple to make and I’m excited to try more recipes out of this book. Give this one a shot!

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

The Rooftop Growing Guide by Annie Novak

25614778If you’d like to grow your own food but don’t think you have the space, look up! In urban and suburban areas across the country, farms and gardens are growing atop the rooftops of residential and commercial buildings. In this accessible guide, author Annie Novak’s passion shines as she draws on her experience as a pioneering sky-high farmer to teach best practices for raising vegetables, herbs, flowers, and trees. The book also includes interviews, expert essays, and farm and garden profiles from across the country, so you’ll find advice that works no matter where you live. Featuring the brass tacks on green roofs, container gardening, hydroponics, greenhouse growing, crop planning, pest management, harvesting tips, and more, The Rooftop Growing Guide will have you reimagining the possibilities of your own skyline.

This one is pretty self-explanatory — it’s a book about growing a garden. On a rooftop (or other small area).

I’m not planning on growing a garden on my rooftop, but I am pretty green (hah!) to this whole gardening thing. So, the information on irrigation, soil types, containers, depth, pests, diseases, etc. was all VERY simple and helpful for someone who knows nothing about keeping plants alive, much less producing a basketful of goods.

I love the concept of small farming, so it was cool to see Novak also introduce the idea of rooftop beekeeping and chicken farming.

Bonus: the photos were gorgeous and inspirational. I definitely cannot grow anything on my roof, but I wish I could. The views of rooftop gardens from all over were very cool.

Overall, I really enjoyed this read and am looking forward to planting my first garden. Thank you to Blogging for Books for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review!

L

How You’ll Do Everything Based On Your Personality Type by Heidi Priebe

28175117So you know your four-letter personality type. You know what some of your strengths and weaknesses are. You know which career you ought to pursue and which situations you shine in.

But now it’s time to explore everything the research won’t tell you.

In this entertaining collection, Heidi Priebe, author of The Comprehensive ENFP Survival Guide and prominent writer of all things Myers-Briggs, explains how you’ll grow up, hook up, break up and everything else in between, based on your personality type. – Goodreads

I am a sucker for Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator posts. So, when I stumbled upon Heidi Priebe’s articles on Thought Catalog, I pretty much fell in love.

See, I’m an INFP. Which means 98% of the time, I feel misunderstood and that nobody “gets me”. When I read an article that nails how I am when I’m thriving, what exhausts me, and what kind of employee I am, well, I feel this sense of *finally* being understood (and if you don’t know your MBTI, I recommend checking out 16personalities.com)

When I saw Priebe’s new book, How You’ll Do Everything Based On Your Personality Type, I was like…shit yes. I need this in my life. And it was $0.00 in the Kindle store, so DOUBLE SCORE.

I read it in an evening, giggling over the different chapters and how I do things based on my type (and the people I’m with the most often and how they do things). Some were a tad off, but hey, you can’t fit everyone in one of sixteen boxes. It was a quick, easy, enjoyable read.

4/5 on Goodreads because I love the information. I’m glad I didn’t sink money into it, though, because all (or most) of the chapters can be found on Thought Catalog.

L

The Emotional Edge by Crystal Andrus Morissette

25387387Ever Feel Like Your Inner Age Doesn’t Match Your Outer One?

The Emotional Edge empowers you to stop reacting in knee-jerk ways that hurt and instead start expanding your life to become the greatest expression of you possible.  Once you know your Emotional Age, you can take any needed steps to become an authentic adult so you stop giving your power away. You’ll learn:
You’ll learn:
–Whether you’re a Parent, Child, or Adult ‘archetype’—take the Emotional Age Quiz and find out
–When you’re inadvertently sabotaging yourself and why
–How to channel fear and anger into courage and willingness
–How to change your communication scale and style from passive or aggressive to assertive, accepting, and ultimately peaceful
–Methods for fine-tuning into your unique needs mentally, emotionally, and physically
–Ways to live your best life without guilt, shame, or blame
–And lastly, how to rewrite and re-route your relationship, work, and bliss paths
 
Never feel like a victim of circumstance, genetics, or your past again.  Instead of letting your emotions get the best of you, now it’s time to get the best of them! – Goodreads

As if I needed to read an entire book to tell me I act older than I am.

I decided to take a little break from cookbook reviews (mostly because I didn’t like my choices and this book seemed interesting) and read a self-help-esque book. It was a nice change of pace and I really enjoyed it, actually.

The first part of the book addresses your emotional age and what the book will cover. Instead of taking the quiz in the book, I opted to take the quiz on their website. According to my results, I am Katharine Hepburn — Woman Energy/Adult Archetype.

There are three archetypes — Parent, Child and Adult.

Parent archetypes are those people who take care of others and neglect themselves. They also blame themselves and feel sorry for themselves (my words).

Child archetypes are needy, narcissistic, and feel that the world revolves around them. I know a few of these.

Adult archetypes is the most “transcended self” and features the best characteristics of Parents and Child archetypes. Basically a well-rounded, emotionally awesome individual.

I was actually expecting to get the Parent archetype before I took the quiz, so I was slightly surprised (and my straight-A self was very pleased).

My favorite part of the book were the questions/exercises in each section (IE, what is triggering you, what are you afraid of, what is your love language). I also liked the section on communication, mostly because I am a Comm nerd.

Overall, this is a great book if you’re interested in emotional intelligence, bettering yourself and learning to communicate well with those around you. I rated it a 4/5.

L

Thank you to Blogging for Books for a copy of The Emotional Edge in exchange for an honest review!

Brodo: A Bone Broth Cookbook by Marco Canora

25614851No one has been more responsible for the recent explosion of interest in bone than New York City chef Marco Canora.  After completely revitalizing his health by integrating bone broth into his diet, Marco began to make his nourishing broths available by the cupful to New Yorkers from a small window in his East Village restaurant, drawing sell-out crowds virtually from the beginning. No longer just a building block for soups and sauces, bone broths are now being embraced for their innumerable health benefits, from cultivating a healthier gut to greater resistance to colds and other illnesses.  In Brodo, Marco shares the recipes for his flavorful, nutritious broths and shows how to serve them year round as well as incorporate them into recipes and as a daily health practice.  Perfect for stirring into a broth bowl or a pot of risotto, as a more gentle, supportive alternative to the afternoon caffeine fix, and an immunity and health booster any time, the homey bone broths in Brodo should be a part of every well-stocked pantry. – Goodreads

I’ve been waiting to post this review because I wasn’t entirely sure how to go about it in a fair way—after all, the book itself is good, the problem lies with me.

See, I learned something while reading, reviewing and trying recipes from this book: I don’t like bone broth.

I desperately want to be on the bone broth bandwagon, you see. I have gut issues, and I know that bone broth is amazing for helping with leaky gut, digestive issues, etc. So when I saw this on Blogging for Books, I was stoked. I ran out to my closest health food store to find some bones, and I patiently waited for the book to come in the mail.

Marco is a bone broth badass. There are so many great recipes to choose from in this handy little book, complete with photos.

The recipes are easy — the most difficult part is finding the bones. Luckily Marco gives you all of the tools you need to find bones, tools, and techniques. It was easy to understand and follow.

I made beef broth (using grass-fed beef bones). I followed the basic recipe so I knew I couldn’t mess it up. It smelled great, but skimming the fat made me want to vomit. I ultimately couldn’t keep down more than a sip because I’m a total weenie when it comes to that. I did use the broth for a beef stew, though, and it was great. But as far as a sipping broth goes? Count me out.

In all, this is a handy little book to keep around if you’re interested in trying out the magical healing qualities of bone broth.

I rated this a 5/5 — the photos were gorgeous, the book was laid out great, it featured plenty of tips and techniques, and the directions were easy to follow for beginners.

L

I received a free copy of Brodo from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.