Tuesday, December 26, 2017

My Favorite Books I Read this Year

Dear Friends,

I don't know about you, but I'm craving the elusive "peace on earth" more than ever this holiday season. These are crazy, uncertain times. I'm finding myself in need of no material possessions - and instead seeking "comfort and joy" through experiences, meaningful connections, family time and books!

I've read some good ones this year. I want to share my favorites in hopes that they will strike a chord with you and stir something in you that provides just what you need this holiday season and in the coming year.

The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel

The Little Paris Bookshop is in the running for my favorite book of all time! It is a beautifully-written novel about the power of books to heal. I devoured this delicious read on our trip to Tahiti in September. It's absolutely wonderful, human and colorfully written. And it's set in Paris and Provence - which I love! It was the perfect "beach read" while offering life lessons and a soul-feeding narrative. 

The Awakened Family

The Awakened Family is hands down the best parenting book I've read. If I could give this book to every parent I know - including those with adult children and grandchildren - I would. Dare I say, it's life-changing. It's a whole new way of approaching parenting. It challenges us to focus on healing ourselves, checking our ego and taming our fears in order to raise highly resilient and emotionally connected children.  


Shantaram is an exquisitely written book set in Mumbai, India. It's the longest book I've ever read. Truth be told, I'm 31% through, which feels like an accomplishment since it's 944 pages. When we visited India this time two years ago, we didn't make it to Mumbai, but having experienced the craziness of India, this story transports me back to this incredibly exotic country and culture. But more than a book about India, the beautiful prose offer a description of the human experience that is relatable to any culture. 

It's hard for me to sum up this incredible book (especially since I haven't finished it), so I'll share part of the official description with you: "Burning slums and five-star hotels, romantic love and prison agonies, criminal wars and Bollywood films, spiritual gurus and mujaheddin guerrillas---this huge novel has the world of human experience in its reach, and a passionate love for India at its heart." 

The Complete Color Harmony Pantone Edition

This is Leatrice Eiseman's 10th book and arguably her best! The Complete Color Harmony Pantone Edition is for anyone who loves color. From the basic terminology of color (what do hue and value mean?) to a section about the psychology of color (my favorite) that includes the messages that certain colors communicate, to color and mood (another favorite) which includes 30 color moods of 36 palettes each, including over 3,500 Pantone colors, to what your personal choices say about you, this is a thoroughly engaging book with engaging explanations and beautiful photos. It's pretty much eye candy!

Celebrations: Poems of Life and Love

Sofia and I had a "chance" meeting with poet Kathryn Carole Ellison this past spring when she was signing her books at the Papyrus store in University Village. I was immediately drawn to Kathryn, her warm smile and her beautiful jewel-toned books that carry inspiring messages that really resonated with me. I immediately bought a copy of "Celebrations" for my mom and it has become my go-to gift for every occasion.  Kathryn's poems are beautifully written and easy to understand - and carry just the right messages. As I mentioned in my last post, I've started a ritual of reading at least one poem each morning. Here is one of my favorites.


What have you been reading lately that's touched you?



P.S. Some of my friends tell me they don't have time to read. In that case, I highly recommend Oprah's Super Soul Conversations Podcasts. I listen to them on my walks. In true Oprah fashion, they are amazing, inspiring and so relevant! 

Sunday, December 24, 2017


By Kathryn Carole Ellison

Rituals are central to our lives
Whether we recognize them or not - 
They're used when major events occur
To essentially 'mark the spot.'

They're also used in daily chores
Like preparation of a meal.
A person might use them in business
When firming up a deal.

Rituals give us places to be playful in life;
To explore meaning in what we do;
And time to rebuild family relationships,
Time to mend and glue.

Rituals connect us with our past;
They define our lives in the present.
They show us our path to the future,
Which we can make more pleasant.

As we pass on our ceremonies and traditions
To the next generation in line,
We tie together branches of the family tree
And use our love as twine.


I love rituals and traditions - and our family has many! I recently started a new morning ritual - just for me - that is beautiful and grounding. 

One of the great blessings of 2017 was meeting a wonderful woman who is a poet. Kathryn Carole Ellison's collection of poetry immediately spoke to me - in a very deep way. In her poetry she shares life's lessons in a beautiful, approachable way that really resonates with me. 

Every morning before I reach for my phone or read the news, I make a cup of tea, light a glassybaby, and read a poem (or two or three!). I randomly open to a page and the message is always just what I need that day. Then I take a few minutes to meditate on the message before I begin my day. It's powerful and calming at the same time. I carry the message with me throughout my day. 

I shared this ritual with a friend this week, and she sent me a text this morning with this picture expressing her gratitude for the gift of poetry I gave her and letting me know that she started her day with tea and a poem. 

If everyone started their day this way, I have a feeling the world would be a better place.

What are rituals that ground you? 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Color Factory

Think Willy Wonka's for color enthusiasts . . . this is The Color Factory
a 13,000-square-foot pop-up experience in the heart of San Francisco. Housed in an old office building, this two-story interactive exhibition celebrates color in a big and bold way!

Originally opened in August, the exhibit sold out right away. They've extended the run and it's currently sold out. Just goes to show, I'm not the only one who loves color!!  

A good friend of mine who lives in San Francisco was able to score four tickets for 10 a.m. last Thursday. We were first in line and for two hours we totally geeked out over color. It was a blast and a completely immersive color experience!

Throughout the exhibit we were encouraged to take photos and selfies - so here goes! Buckle up for a colorful ride through the magical rooms of The Color Factory!

First in line . . . !

Our crew of "chic color nerds!"

Scratch and sniff wall - yep! 

The scents in the olfactory exhibit were crazy realistic. My fav!

Then the orange room!

Followed by the fabulous blue Balloon Bath.

A fan of all things disco, I especially loved the next room!

The room housing a giant Light Bright was really fun too!

The green room invites guests to color on the walls with gigantic pens! Yes, they were heavy!

Always a fan of colorful ribbon and all things Swedish, I especially loved this amazing ribbon installation designed by Swedish artist Jacob Dahlgren that includes over 10,000 ribbons hanging from the ceiling. Fun fact: Jacob has worn a different striped shirt every day for the last 17 years! He has a book about it!

Who doesn't love confetti?! We got to play around in a room full of it!

Next up: Yellow!

We even got yellow soft serve! Yummmy!

The fun continues with pink!

Almost done - one last picture in front of the colorful elevator!

And, finally, because we love color so much, we brought our favorite color book along with us: Leatrice Eiseman's The Complete Color Harmony: Pantone Edition!

On behalf of my colorful crew, Lara A., Lara L., Julie and me - I hope you enjoyed the tour! If you have a chance to visit The Color Factory, do!!