Books

Book Review: Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden

Ever since reading Dan Barber's book The Third Plate I have been passionately exploring the world beyond merely eating organic. Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden is absolutely perfect for Pacific Northwest readers who want to take the next step beyond eating organically to consuming food that is geographically and seasonally based. Did I mention that Joshua McFadden actually worked for Dan Barber's Blue Hill restaurant prior to becoming Chef/Owner at Ava Gene's in Portland? No wonder I loved this book so much!

I have tested out several of the recipes from the book and my family and friends thoroughly enjoyed them. While I initially received a galley in order to review the book,  I just purchased it because I am planning to cook from it tonight. Tonight I will either be making the Pan-Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Salsa Verde, Avocado, and Seared Squid or the Cream of Celery Soup. The ultimate sign of a great cookbook to me is one that you know you will keep returning to season after season. 

Also, if you feel like you might need a little inspiration before delving into a cookbook like this, I would highly recommend the movie Haute Cuisine about a feisty Chef who prepares geographically based meals for a French President.

4 Books I Am Reading

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Social Media Tip #1: Create content that is relevant but also infused with your DNA.  I recently polled my social media audience and they requested that I share more about "my process" "work/life balance" "how I find clients" and "tools I use". So this is the first post in a series where I will focus on my process with social media, as well as include tips from some of my favorite people on social media. First, can I just say that this is a process of experimentation, pivoting and evolving? So don't feel like you have to be perfect immediately, or even a month later. I personally have found it to be a tricky tension of creating content which resonates with my audience, but also developing those things which I get joy out of creating. Isn't that always the struggle between art and commerce?

This week I am in luck because it's #readabookday and if you know me at all, you know that I am quite obsessed with reading and learning in general. I know that what I find interesting may not always be appealing to you guys, but I do try to lead the way in the fact that I am always looking to different industries, religions, etc. for that which is beneficial to the common good. I believe gold/treasure/truth is hidden in unexpected places, and many people miss out because they don't explore the random alleys and follow their curiosity down rabbit trails. Also, it seems that "open minded" has become a shield for only being open to what is comfortable to us. I like to be challenged and to wrestle with ideas that I don't understand because when I do I have seen it leads to personal growth. It is quite easy to turn away from those things which are uncomfortable but I would encourage us to have courage and turn into the questions.

What I am reading has a profound effect on how I feel. So I try to be careful of taking in the right balance. Feed your curiosity, feed your happiness. Here is what is currently in my bag (well at least 1-2 of them, otherwise it gets heavy):

  • Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown: On my trip to San Diego over the weekend I walked into a North Park bookstore in search of The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson (because someone had recommended it to me) but I ended up walking out with this book. As I say to anyone I suggest a book to, don't feel obligated because a book needs to meet you at the right time. This book aligns with my feeling like it's time to make some changes for a new chapter in my own life to begin.
  • Make Your Mark: The Creative's Guide To Building A Business: My friend Matt (A Cook Named Matt) gave me this book to read several months ago and I am just getting around to it. Definitely ask your friends and fellow entrepreneurs what they are reading, because I always get great tips!
  • Tears To Triumph by Marianne Williamson: I feel that it's incredibly important to process the things/relationships which happen in our lives because our past can have a profound effect on our businesses and our future if not processed properly. Lately, Marianne Williamson has been seriously speaking to my heart. Remember to take care of the whole you.
  • Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist: Fall is always a season of contemplation and turning inward. I begin to prepare now for the next year. This book has become a part of my morning ritual (now that I finished BIG MAGIC). I am slowing down and evaluating the components of my life - are they are deep or shallow. I want to be connected but much of life tries to distract us and keep us from making those deeper heart connections.

What are you reading these days? I always love hearing about new/old books, my list seems to be forever growing :)

Resources

  • If you are planning out your social media content calendar, then I would encourage you to take a look at Track Maven's post on national holidays. It's a great resource and will save you time trying to compile a list of your own.  It's where I got the prompt for today's post :)

Develop A Morning Ritual

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My favorite mornings begin with a steaming hot shower followed by the whistling of a boiling tea kettle. I make a cup of my favorite tea (you can order some for yourself here), then with a match I light some candles and sit in my sacred space. There is something about beginning my day in this way that puts an imagined armor or protective bubble around me. Because let's be honest just surviving your day, much less being empowered to make it something amazing can be a lot of work. In order to be fully alive, to be deeply in touch with who we are, so that we can infuse it into all we do -- we must dedicate some time. YOU are worthy of investing in. I have found that these quiet moments anchor me and prepare me for the day ahead.

“But this is what I’ve learned the hard way: what people think about you means nothing in comparison to what you believe about yourself.” ― Shauna Niequist

Typically as I sit sipping my tea I also journal about the previous day, processing whatever may be on my heart or mind. If I have nothing to write, or feel like I'm in a weird place, then I will read something which I think will light the fire within. There were months where every day I would read a page of two from Big Magic, and recently I have been soaking up Present Over Perfect. There is a power that can come from reading the right words, at the right time. So when you are choosing a book to incorporate into your morning ritual, make sure it is one that resonates with where you are in the season of your life.

To be quite honest, there are some seasons where I am really good at having a morning ritual and other times where this ritual has been utterly neglected. I went through a year of having very inconsistent quiet times and it truly had an affect on me. When life gets busier is when our rituals tend to fall by the wayside, but those are the times when we need them to root and sustain us the most. Our energy affects the people around us, so if we are not taking care of ourselves we will be a conduit of anxiousness, stress, etc. instead of being a source of calm, love and joy.

“Everything we do is infused with the energy with which we do it. If we're frantic, life will be frantic. If we're peaceful, life will be peaceful. And so our goal in any situation becomes inner peace.” ― Marianne Williamson

Perhaps it's time to revisit your morning ritual. It's ok if it's not the same every day, the really important thing is that your morning starts in a beautiful way, so that you are filled with a brilliant calm and happiness which will spill onto others throughout your day. Don't let your days run you, instead be intentional -- it's amazing to watch what will happen when your perspective is light and hopeful from the very start of your day.

“When a woman rises up in glory, her energy is magnetic and her sense of possibility contagious.” ― Marianne Williamson