August is my favorite month for many reasons. Here are a few things I’m up to right now:
What I’m Reading
I only seem to find time to read during the summer when I’m sitting by the pool or the ocean. So far I’ve finished an interesting biography of Jackie O; read the latest memoir from one of my faves- Jen Lancaster; and now I’m working on an interesting book about hosting meetings and events. The Art of Gathering goes through the various steps of planning a get together and preaches grounding every decision (invite list, venue, activities, etc.) to align with the true purpose of the gathering. So often we rely on convenience, defer to precedent, or focus on logistics when planning meetings and events when it should be about encouraging interaction and human connection to get the intended result. My favorite part so far is “don’t be a chill host.”
What I’m Watching
TV has been pretty good this summer. My TV life is basically Bravo, plus a couple other shows. I just finished the latest season of Younger. I enjoyed the latest season of Southern Charm a lot, and now I’m all in on Southern Charm Savannah. I’m keeping up with the some Housewives. The only Bravo show that didn’t do it for me this summer was Below Deck Med. I didn’t really like the cast at all. And I wasn’t going to watch it, but I just got sucked into Very Cavallari. I only really watch stupid TV. Sue me.
What I’m Wearing
I’m wearing anything that keeps me cool in this heat and humidity. At work that means lightweight, washable dresses. At the gym it’s breezy Adidas tanks, and on the trail, it’s my latest running sneaks. On the weekend, I’m loving the last couple things I’ve gotten from Lou & Grey. The fabric is like butta. I’ve totally lost interest in all the huge sales going on right now. I’m waiting for the new fall stuff!
How is August treating you so far?
I’m sure for everyone else this is a low bar, but four books in a summer is a really solid accomplishment for me. I’m very proud of myself. Here’s what I read by the pool every weekend. In case you don’t notice, I stick to non-fiction, because that’s how I roll.
1. Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. I’ve had this book on my nightstand for over a year, and I finally committed to reading it. It was pretty interesting. It was a little slow going at the beginning because he describes a lot of biological dynamics that relate to human feelings. It got a little clinical, but it got better. My main takeaway was that trust is essential for successful leadership.
2. Superficial by Andy Cohen. I’m a big Bravo fan (he’s an executive at Bravo). I watch almost all of the shows, so this book caught my eye. It’s his daily diary, and primarily documents his work and crazy busy social life. He rolls with celebrities around the clock, so it’s interesting to get a “behind the scenes” perspective. There’s some self reflection but it’s definitely not the most profound look I’ve ever read. It was perfect for the beach because it’s full of great gossip!
3. I Regret Nothing by Jen Lancaster. I needed a back up book for vacation and I looked up Jen Lancaster because I’ve read several of her books in the past. She writes really hilarious memoirs about her life. This is her latest, and it’s great, just like the rest of them. She addresses a little mid-life crisis by creating a bucket list and working through the items one by one. It’s funny and subconsciously inspirational as you go through her journey of stepping outside of her comfort zone.
4. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. I knew I needed one more book to get through my weekend mornings by the pool and I read an article about the author of Glass Castle from the promotional tour for the movie. The story sounded unique so I thought I would give it a shot. It was a quick read, which is saying a lot because I’m a very slow reader. The story was pretty interesting but, at the same time, none of the characters are very likable. It was an interesting view of a family that is the polar opposite of my own family or really anyone I know.
What books have you read lately?
I read another book! I’m on a roll! That’s two summer! (I realize that I am the only person my age who considers this a legitimate accomplishment, I would provide an excuse to avoid judgment but I am fresh out of excuses for this one)
Anyway, this book had my name all over it for two reasons: A) I live for Martha Stewart, she is the ultimate, and B) I read something by Jen Lancaster
and loved it. Lancaster has a series a memoires about various portions of her life that revolve around certain themes or challenges. In this book she is in the process of rebounding from a particularly challenging year and makes a new year’s resolution to follow the “tao of martha” to both build some skills and restore some self purpose. I’m all about this.
The style of writing is so relatable to me because I feel like she’s talking to me like we’re best friends. I think if we met each other we would have plenty to talk about because we watch all the same shows, have similar personal priorities, and we are both firmly in Camp Martha (not to be confused with Camp Oprah). I love that she divides women in Camp Martha and Camp Oprah. Oprah’s people are about living your best life and having pajama parties with your best friends. Martha’s people, on the other hand, are more goal oriented. They focus on accomplishments. She points out that Martha doesn’t have a bathrobe. When she wakes up in the morning, she immediately gets dressed for the day. I love it! I’m the same way! (full disclosure, I have a bathrobe, but I never wear it in the morning, I either immediately shower and get dressed for work, or get right into my workout clothes)
So Lancaster spends the whole year working through various areas of Martha’s domestic empire from broadening her cooking repitoire, to working in her garden, to planning the perfect party, to re-organizing her kitchen cabinets, to re-decorating her guest room. Not only does the experience broaden her own set of capabilities, she learns a lot of lessons of efficiency and perserverance in the process. She doesn’t keep a strict schedule and her projects kind of eb and flow based on her moods throughout the year, but she ends up finding a lot of value in the exercise overall. She stuck to her resolution for the full year and ended up with a much cleaner, more efficient household and life when all was said and done. Another reason to bow down to the all knowing Ms. Martha Stewart.
In the process of unpacking and setting up my new apartment, I have had a few occasions to consult Martha myself. Here are some of the fruits of that consultation: my picture hanging. It’s not quite perfect, but I think its damn close.